LEADVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) — Howard Grotts and Larissa Connors, both last year’s winners, emerged from the 1,500 entrants this year to stand atop podium again in Saturday’s Century Link Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race.
The iconic event challenges cyclists with more than 100 miles of Rocky Mountain terrain between 10,152 and 12,424 feet elevation.
Riders from all 50 states and 35 countries participated in the 25th running of the event.
Grotts, 25, of Durango, crossed the finish line in six hours, 18 minutes and 8 seconds — besting Kristian Hynek, 38, of the Czech Republic by more than three minutes.
Fellow Durango resident Payson McElveen, also 25, came in third place, nine minutes behind Grotts.
Leadville’s own Connors, 32, won by more than 27 minutes to take the women’s title. She crossed ahead of 43-year-old Julie Dibens and 33-year-old Chase Edwards, both also from Leadville.
John Callahan and Todd Murray, both 55-year-olds from Leadville, completed the course. They are the only two competitors to have lined up and competed in every ‘Race Across The Sky.’
More than 1100 athletes finished within the 12-hour cut-off time this year, including seven tandem teams. In its first year, 1994, 113 riders made the cut-off.
In a notable fundraising effort, local rider Ty Hall started last and passed 1,424 riders to raise money for the Leadville community.
Likewise, Life Time Foundation CEO Bahram Akradi raised more than $682,000 by finishing 97 minutes under the 12-hour cut-off for his organization that helps school districts to eliminate highly processed, unhealthy foods from school meals.
The 2018 CenturyLink Leadville Race Series concludes Saturday, Aug. 18, with nearly 700 participants running the CenturyLink Leadville Trail 100 Run presented La Sportiva. The demanding 100-mile out-and-back run course features a total elevation range, or climb, of more than 18,000 feet.