Every year, thousands of entries get sent into the lottery to race the historic Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. Every year, a percentage of those people win the lottery and line up at the most famous 100 mile race in the country.
Now, with the creation of the Leadville Qualifying Series, a set of six races spread across the country, racers get a chance to qualify for the Leadville Trail 100 based on performance within their age category or by winning a smaller lottery within the race.
Each of the qualifying races are awarded between 70 and 100 Leadville Trail 100 entries and dole them out based on certain criteria. Half of the slots are awarded to the top finishers in each of the age categories, with more spots being awarded to the larger groups, and the remaining 50% of the slots are awarded based on a lottery to anyone who finishes the race within a certain time. This selection process increases a rider’s chance to enter the Leadville Trail 100, and the more qualifying races one enters, the better the chances.
Since the courses are similar to the Leadville race, the events provide a great training opportunity as well. Each qualifying race definitely stands on its own, as well, offering unique terrain and endurance races that appeal to a number of styles.
The Barn Burner 104 put on by Red Rock Co. and presented by Landis Cyclery is the second event of the qualifying series. Held on June 2 in Flagstaff, Arizona, the 104 mile course was chosen for its similarity to the Leadville Trail 100 course by being at a relatively high altitude of 7,000 feet and consisting of mostly fire roads. With the course being relatively non-technical, with some going as far to call it a ‘roadie’s course,’ it’s an ideal race for someone’s first 100 miler.