How to succeed in the Leadville Qualifying Series: Wilmington Whiteface 100

  • By Eszter Horanyi
  • Published Jun. 12, 2012
  • Updated Aug. 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM EDT
Beautiful weather and beautiful scenery made the 2011 race a day to remember. Photo: Whiteface/ORDA

Equipment recommendations

In sharp contrast to the Barn Burner 104, the previous stop in the Leadville Qualifying Series, the WW100 has an absurd amount of climbing. Because of this, bike weight can become a significant concern. A lightweight frame with 26-inch wheels is the lightest option, but since the course is also held almost entirely on dirt and paved roads, 29-inch wheels will help keep the momentum rolling in the absence of twisty singletrack or frequent short and steep climbs requiring constant accelerations and decelerations.

According to race organizers, this is not a race for ‘cross bikes or ultra-lightweight tires. With as much climbing as the course serves up, it’s a delicate balancing act between light tires and durable ones. A narrower tire, such as a Kenda Karma 1.9 or a Bontrager 29-1 or 29-0 (or their 26-inch equivalents) could perform well on the hardpacked dirt roads and pavement while minimizing tire weight.

Due to the nature of the course with long, steady climbs, the race will favor those who can put out a steady amount of power for an extended period of time and then recover on the long descents rather than someone good at high bursts of power for short periods. The course also has plenty of miles of fast dirt roads making it not purely a climber’s course.

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