Howard Grotts outpaced WorldTour riders to clench his third consecutive Leadville Trail 100 MTB win on Saturday. The Durango local crossed the finish line in six hours, 19 minutes, 18 seconds.
Despite taking much of the season off from racing, Grotts maintained a strong pace throughout the course which includes over 11,000 feet of climbing. Grotts pulled away from the other leaders as he climbed Powerline on the return, just like in 2018.
Grotts said he began to cry as he descended the last pass of the course. The mountain bike race was likely Grotts’ last professional race.
Instead of representing Specialized Racing in the world circuit next year, Grotts plans on coaching youth mountain-biking, attending graduate school and competing in races he hand picks.
Colorado natives and road cyclists Lachlan Morton and Quinn Simmons took second and third, both crossing the finish line about three minutes after Grotts.
The race marked Simmons’ first Leadville competition. The road cyclist, who is only 18 years old, came back from four flat tires to catch the leaders.
Several bikers, including female winner Rose Grant, encountered tacks on the course.
Grant crossed the finish line in 7:36:07. Though she has won titles at a variety of cross-country races across the nation, Saturday marked her first Leadville 100 MTB win.
Sarah Sturm, of Durango, took second and Angela Parra, of Costa Rica, took third.
Over 1,600 racers from 50 states and 23 countries participated in Saturday’s race.
Leadville local Wesley Sandoval placed 60th among the men. Female locals Roxanne Hall, Hayden Shea and Abby Reinholt placed in the top 100 of the women.
“Back of the Pack” rider Ty Hall passed 1,474 bikers to raise money for the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation. Life Time founder and CEO Bahram Akradi raced to fund raise for the Life Time Foundation, which is leading a campaign to remove highly-processed ingredients from school cafeteria menus.
The Leadville Trail 100 Run will take place on Saturday.