In 2010, the battle at the top of the women’s standings was a blowout, with two-time defending champ (and women’s course record holder) Rebecca Rusch putting more than 25 minutes into second-place finisher Amanda Carrey.
But don’t expect this year’s race to be such a snooze. The women’s field is stacked with top talent, and among that crew is Jenny Smith, who’s scored impressive race results at events around the world.
Smith’s latest highlight was a second-place showing at last Sunday’s Leadville Qualifying Series event in Crested Butte, Colorado. But ask Smith how the day went, and she was less than pleased.
The Gunnison, Colorado-resident led eventual winner Rusch for much of the race. But Smith ended up riding solo in the waning hour of the race, while Rusch hooked on with a group, and used the extra horsepower to track down Smith, and then drop her on the penultimate climb. Afterward, Smith swore she wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, calling the tune-up race a valuable learning experience.
“I didn’t have anyone to ride with and sometimes that’s just circumstance,” lamented Smith (Alpine Orthopedicts-SRAM-Breezer). “But I don’t expect to end up there at Leadville. Things will be different.”
Wherever Smith ends up on August 13th, she’ll arrive there aboard a Breezer Cloud 9 29er, a bike she calls “absolutely perfect” for the fire-road heavy Leadville circuit. Here’s a look.