Taking the High Road to Leadville

Whether it's on the mountain bike or road rig, Dave Wiens works in the climbing as he trains for the Leadville Trail 100.

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Editor’s Note: For six-time LT100 winner Dave Wiens, the road to Leadville is a well-trodden route, one he’s written on and off about over the last few years in a training diary on the Ergon blog. Leading up to the August race Dave is once again chronicling his training, which we’ll have here on Singletrack.com. So, without further ado, here’s Dave:


By Dave Wiens

Sunday, July 25 – Since it looked like I might get called in to work at some point today, I was on my road bike at 6:30am and heading west on Highway 50.

After 9 miles, Highway 149 takes off to the south heading for Lake City and beyond. This road offers the best climbing close to Gunnison, Colorado. The first 11 miles from Gunni are flat, then over the next 25, you have two good climbs. Since it’s an out and back (they’re all out and back around here), you end up with four climbs totaling around 4,500 vertical and topping out at 9,000 feet of elevation.

Unsure in the beginning, I started to feel pretty good and knew I’d be going all the way over to the Lake Fork, which gives you all of the climbing. I rode steady with HR’s in the 140’s and 150’s on the climbs. I was geared as low as my road bike would go on the steeper bits, which is most of the second, third and forth climbs.

No special efforts or power work, just kept the pedals going around. I do like to watch rate of ascent on my old Suunto and I was able to tag 4,000 feet per hour briefly on two of the climbs. Last year in TransAlp, I remember running some at 5,000 feet per hour, being beyond tapped, and getting dropped. That was special, Alban Lakata looking back at me and in the same Austian/German accent as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gerhard saying, “Come on Dave. You must ride hahder!” Okay, Alban, I’ll do that. Will you kindly pick my tongue up off of the road first, though?

I felt good for all of the climbs but at the beginning of the 11 miles of flats back to town, I was kind of blown. But that’s why we bring energy bars on bike rides, right? So I ate mine, came around pretty well and stroked it back into town. Then, I did a little work, prepped a killer dinner of tacos/burritos with a filling of ground beef mixed with hash browns all seasoned to a south of the border perfection. Tons of condiments: tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, black olives, greens and three different kinds of hot sauce. I like a crunchy inside of a flour tortilla for that soft crunch. Oh yeah.

After prep but before dinner it was off to the gym for typical weight workout number two. I was a little sore in places. I actually go out of my way to ease into something like this so I don’t get really sore but my abs and gluts, in particular, were feeling it. By number four, I should be good to go.

Overall, I’m happy with my week of training and where I am right now. Not sure about next week but will continue to hit on some of the same elements.

Here is the summary of the past week:

Weekly Total:   13 hours. That’s more like it. Good week of training.

Monday July 19 – Nuth’n. This is how I’ve always spelled it in my training logs.

Tuesday July 20 – 2 sets of 4, 20-40’s off-road, Almont area. Good HR’s to around 170bpm. 2,000+ vertical, 1.5 hours.

Wednesday July 21 – Intervals, first of the season. One 75 seconds; one 2.5 minutes; one 5 minutes; and one 10 minutes. All on the flats except a little popper for the last 3 minutes of the final effort. Spinning 100+ rpm’s. 1.5 hours.

Thursday July 22 – JR, hard at times, MTB trail riding at Hartmans. Got caught in the rain at the end. 1,500 vertical. 1.5 hours. Felt pretty good.

Friday July 23 – 2 hours of AMU. 75% spinning 100+, 25% mashing low cadence. Average HR 147. Road bike to CB and back. 2.5 hours total. PM Weights #1.

Saturday July 24 – Crested Butte Resort skills clinic. Then Gunsight Pass from town. Feel’n kinda worked; quite a bit of pushing. Cruised around on the Slate after the descent. Worked. 3,500 vertical; 2.5 hours.

Sunday July 25 – Road bike 149 to Lake Fork. Steady; felt good. Kinda blew toward the end but okay. 140’s-150’s on the climbs. 4,500 vertical. 3.5 hours. PM Weights #2.

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