Quick: How many Olympic gold medalists are racing the 2011 Leadville 100 on Saturday? One for sure. That’s Bart Brentjens, winner of the first ever Olympic cross country mountain bike race at Atlanta 1996. Bart-man also won bronze at Athens 2004, plus a ton of World Cup races during his long and prestigious pro career.
As for the number of gold medalists in Leadville this year, the answer is two. Just not two from the Summer Games. The other member of the most elite of elite clubs is Billy Demong, owner of gold and silver medals from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Demong is a Nordic combined athlete by trade, able to light it up on cross-country skis, and leap football-field distances as a ski jumper.
Turns out he’s not a bad bike racer either. During his time away from the snow, Demong charged through the amateur road racing ranks, quickly rising from cat. 4 to cat. 1. He’s since lined up at a handful of pro-level U.S. races, including the Tour of Utah and the Cascade Classic.
You might remember a certain incident at Cascade when Demong suffered a major mechanical and began running to the close-by finish line. Then up rolled Chris Horner, who told Demong to jump on. Demong obliged, and like a pair of 10-year-olds on the way to the candy store, rolled to the finish line.
Hopefully for Demong, there will be no such drama – or doubling — at Leadville. And while it’s unlikely the Utah-resident will contest a top placing, it’d wouldn’t be shocking if he ended up in the top 20. Here’s a look at the Giant Anthem X 29er that could carry him there.