World-class Competitions and Training
Leadville and Twin Lakes have been attracting athletes from
around the world for years. Some come here to enjoy the cool, fresh mountain
air and beautiful views. Some come to gain a competitive advantage with
endurance and high-altitude training. And others come to compete in some of the
world’s most challenging races.
On August 17, runners will line up at 4 a.m. to take on the extreme 100-mile “Race Across the Sky” course, which ranges in elevation from 9,200 to 12,600 feet above sea level. In 2011 and 2012, the epic USA Pro Cycling Challenge racer traveled from Gunnison to Twin Lakes, then up and over Independence Pass. This stage in the 2011 event was the hardest, longest and highest of the race. In 2012, they reversed direction and went over Independence Pass again, through Twin Lakes and into Leadville.
Thousands of spectators lined up along Harrison Avenue and on the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass, some camping along the roadside overnight, and some riding their own bikes to the peak, to cheer on the riders. They were rewarded with a spectacular view of professional riders from around the world in what was dubbed a “take no prisoners” day of racing.
Olympic swimmers, including Anders Lie and Lotte Friis, Denmark, and Aschwin Wildeboer, Spain, have returned several times to train at the Lake County Recreation Department Swimming Pool. The high-elevation training gives athletes an advantage and an extra boost when they compete at lower elevations.
There are competitions throughout the year, including triathlons, duathlons, Nordic and downhill ski races, and even a winter mountain bike series. At 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America and one of the best places on earth to train and compete.