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Wells and Rush Double Up in Leadville Trail 100!


Specialized’s Todd Wells and Rebecca Rusch raced to victory in the men’s and women’s contests at the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race in Colorado on Saturday.

Well defeated a top-notch field of endurance pro mountain bikers en route to victory. He stopped the clock at 6:23:38, the second-fastest Leadville finish time on record. Leading much of the race, he fended off the pursuit of 2010 marathon world champion Albana Lakata at 4:19 and Alex Grant at 11:54.

“The race went much better for me this year than last year,” said Wells. “I took three to four weeks to prepare specifically for it. I think that made a huge difference. I was able to ride strong the whole race and beat my time from last year by eight or nine minutes. It was a much better race this year.”

Wells spent much of the second half of the race off the front on his own. It was his first-ever Leadville win.

“I was hoping to be close to Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski’s time from last year. I didn’t think I could be faster than Levi (Leipheimer),” said Wells, referring to last year’s winner and the current Leadville course record holder. “He had the Tour de France to prep for this race, and a six-hour race is normal for him. With three weeks of specific training, I didn’t think I’d get the record, and I was happy with my time and the race.”

Notably, Wells fended off a multi-prong offensive from the Cannondale team, which had brought along several fast riders including Grant, Jeremiah Bishop and Tinker Juarez.

Wells’ win was remarkable considering that he spends the rest of the mountain bike season focusing on Olympic distance cross country length races. “This event is much different than most of my races which are one-and-a-half hours to one-hour-and-45 minutes long. This was almost four times longer, but I did a few weeks of big rides. I got a 30-hour week in last week and spent a few weeks at altitude, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to taper now going into the world championships in three weeks. Ideally, this will be the right formula before Worlds.”

When asked if he’d be back to go for the record and defend his win next year, it was still to soon after this year’s race for Wells to contemplate such a chore. “Oh man, I hope I don’t have to do this race again next year!” he said.

A three-peat for Rusch

Rebeccca Rusch won her third Leadville 100 in a row with a time of 7:31:46 and obliterated her old course record of 7:47:35 from 2010. Going into the race, however, she wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“I’m kind of shocked,” she said after winning. “I didn’t think I’d be able to pull that one off with the level of competition that was there today. I thought I would just try to hit my time from last year and I’d be happy with that, whatever the placing.”

“I crushed my own time and I won. I can’t believe I won.”

Rusch she drew motivation from the super strong women’s field in attendance this year. She defeated Gretchen Reeves, the winner of Leadville in 2007, Pua Mata, Kelli Emmett and Amanda Carey, to name a few of the favorites.

Seeing her teammate doing so well was extra motivation, too. “I saw Todd leading coming down Columbine,” said Rusch. “It was sweet that he did well, too.”

“It was great to have a strong women’s field. It added to the race, and that made it good.” Rusch rode in fifth place at the beginning of the race. She kept her cool, however, and steadily moved up into the lead as some of the other favorites had mechanicals. Experience had taught her to take nothing for granted and she remained vigilant until the end as she solo’ed toward the finish.

“It was a long day – anything could happen. Right until the end, I was looking behind me to make sure I had it and hoping I wouldn’t flat.” Rusch finished with a 3:52 advantage over Reeves.

Winning equipment

“We have the best equipment out there, so that part of winning is easy,” said Wells, who raced to his win on board a Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er hardtail.

“Last year I raced the (full suspension) Specialized Epic. This course is such a road race course that the hardtail bike is just perfect for it,” said Wells. “There aren’t really any rough sections and having the bike weigh a few pounds less and accelerate a little faster works great. I ran the new Rock Shox SID Specialized Brain combo fork with only 80mm travel to drop the front end and be more aerodynamic.”

Wells used his standard Specialized S-Works Renegade 1.95 tires (inflated to 27 psi front and rear) which he described as “super light and having perfect traction” He used a SRAM XX group and a carbon-railed Phenom saddle.

Rusch raced her Specialized Fate 29er hardtail to victory. It had a Rock Shox Sid 29er with Brain handling the front suspension and Specialized Fast Trak LK tires (inflated to 25psi front and rear). SRAM handled the shifting with an XO triple front and an XX 10 speed derailleur in the rear.

“The bike was killer,” said Rusch of her Fate. “This bike has won every race it’s entered from short track to town center crit to the Leadville 100.”



For more information, photos and videos of Rebecca, Todd and the rest of the Specialized Racing Team please visit

Posted by ryanlevander on August 15, 2011

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