Hannah Otto (née Finchamp) won the women’s division of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB on Saturday, riding solo across the line in a time of 7 hours, 24 minutes, 7 seconds.
Two-time champion Rose Grant finished second, 5:30 off the pace. Haley Smith finished well back in third with Sarah Sturm in fourth. Alexis Skarda, who was the early leader, finished fifth, 21 minutes behind.
Otto took command in the final half of the race and sailed away the top contenders. The five-time US collegiate mountain bike champion and current World Cup competitor entered Leadville in 10th place in the Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda. She was seventh in the women’s division of Crusher in the Tushar in July and in Fuego XC 80k in April.
All of the women in the top five at Leadville are in contention for the Life Time series. The big winners are Smith and Sturm, who are second and third in the series, respectively, and gained valuable points ahead of series leader Sofia Gomez Villafane. There are two events remaining in the off-road series, 40-mile Chequamegon MTB Festival in Cable, Wisconsin on September 17 and 100-mile Big Sugar Gravel in Bentonville, Arkansas on October 22.
How it unfolded
The Leadville Trail 100 MTB covered an out-and-back, 104-mile course of off-road terrain – rough forest service roads, double and single track dirt tracks – with a total of 13,129- feet of elevation gain. The mass start for women and men in the Rocky Mountains mining town began at 10,152 feet, making it one of the most challenging mountain bike endurance events on the calendar.
Alexis Skarda had an early lead for the women of almost one minute on the outbound climb to Carter Summit, with a foursome chasing – Sofia Gomez Villafane, Hannah Otto, Sarah Sturm and Rose Grant.
Skarda continued with her lead once 26 miles had been covered and she descended the Pipeline section, with Gomez Villafane trailing solo at 1:38 back. Otto, Sturm and Grant worked together but were another 42 seconds behind the Life Time Grand Prix series leader. The chasers included Haley Smith, Ellen Campbell, Evelyn Dong and Crystal Anthony almost three minutes behind the leader.
After two and half hours of racing, Skarda held her lead of almost three minutes to Otto and Sturm, Gomez Villafane and Grant.
On the return trip to Twin Lakes and 40 miles to go, Skarda was joined by Otto. Chasing to close a 2:50 gap was Rose Grant all alone. Haley Smith rode in fourth position, almost two minutes behind the defending champion and then Sturm another minute down.
On the pavement section that rises on the climb out of Twin Lakes, Otto took the lead and with 25 miles to go Otto had put 2:40 into her lead over Skarda. Meanwhile, Grant had closed down the gap behind Skarda to one minute.
Heading to the western side of Turquoise Lake toward Carter Summit, Grant had moved into second place but had 3:56 between her and the race leader. Smith began to make inroads toward a podium spot, now 1:36 behind Skarda. No one would gain any ground on the soaring Otto.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Hannah Otto (USA)||7:24:07|
|2||Rose Grant (USA)||0:05:30|
|3||Haley Smith (CAN)||0:17:46|
|4||Sarah Sturm (USA)||0:18:47|
|5||Alexis Skarda (USA)||0:21:31|
|6||Ellen Campbel (USA)||0:24:05|
|7||Paige Onweller (USA)||0:25:06|
|8||Kristen Legan (USA)||0:27:09|
|9||Melisa. Rollions (USA)||0:28:13|
|10||Crystal Anthony (USA)||0:31:11|