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Most previous years Jim and I have helped stuff the LT100 runners' duffel bags prior to packet pick-up. Last year we did the cyclists' bags, too, but there were so doggone many of them (about 1,600) that it was more torture than fun.

This year even more riders are entered in the race -- 1,877 officially.

That's a lot of bags to stuff and we knew the process wouldn't be as much fun as it was years ago with fewer entrants. No, thanks. We decided to let the paid staff and other volunteers do it this time.

But we like giving out the bags, shirts, numbers, and other things at packet pick-up so we contacted Bill and Jan Moyer soon after our arrival in Leadville to let them know we were available to help them again with that job.

Jan and Bill "Yeah, I'm in charge" Moyer joke around before packet pick-up starts on Friday.

Bill and Jan live in Michigan. For many years they have spent several weeks in Leadville each summer to put their heart and soul into the LT100 bike race and run.

I'm not sure what perks they get. I hope they are on Lifetime Fitness' payroll now and getting paid for their expertise and effort. They know race logistics inside and out and are an invaluable resource to whoever's running the show.

They're also great people to know. It's been a pleasure to work with them over the years.

Bill assured us he could use our help with packet pick-up on Thursday and Friday. We went into the store a few days before that to get our volunteer shirts (light blue short-sleeved 100% cotton, made by American Apparel), then showed up for work on Thursday morning.

Volunteers in the courtyard get ready for the cyclists to start coming
through the line for their medical checks, wristbands, packets, numbers, etc.

Check-in for both the bike race and run are being held in the new LT store and adjacent courtyard this year instead of the old gym.

Part of the process was done outside (wristbands, number on hand, cursory medical check, goodie bags, other inserts, shirts) and part inside (bib numbers, timing chips). 

Riders did a loop from the sidewalk through the two canopies in the courtyard, then went inside the store and out the front door. To keep the crowds down, companions weren't allowed to go through the check-in line.

I'm not sure that's an improvement for race entrants and volunteers because space was even more limited than at the gym, it was downright chilly in the shade outside where we worked on Thursday, and sometimes it was crowded inside the store (it got much worse than the next picture shows):  

If it was raining or more windy, this location wouldn't be very good at all.

The new location is definitely an improvement for race management, though. All the shirts and other  items for packet pickup, finishers' garments and awards, and the aid station supplies are now being stored in the back of this building, not at the variety of places around town where they used to be kept.

That is much more convenient for race organizers and the volunteers who dispense these items.


Jim and I worked Thursday from 10:30 AM to a little after 3 PM. Because o f a major computer glitch re: the cyclists’ bib numbers, check-in started at 11:30 instead of 11.

As Bill Moyer predicted, a large number of entrants came through in the first two hours, then the line was a trickle and we had more time to relax and socialize with the other volunteers and the riders checking in.

Since we got there early we were able to choose our jobs. Jim handed out some flyers and GU Brew electrolytes and I gave out shirts with a woman named Jenn. I like giving stuff out; I feel like Santa Claus!

The racers’ shirts are very soft short-sleeved tee's in an attractive dark gray color with a subtle silver  design and lettering. Everyone seemed to like them:

Jenn, who also handed out shirts, holds one up for me to photograph.

This year the entrants' shirts weren't in the bags (the bags were generic, which makes stuffing them a lot easier) and the riders were allowed to pick whatever size shirt they wanted -- unisex S, M, L, and XL, but no women's cut.

For the men, at least, the shirts ran more true to size than they usually do in this race.

I liked the fact that riders could pick their shirt size. In the past entrants had to accept whatever size they ordered, regardless of whether they ran bigger than they should, smaller, or were true-sized. Everyone seemed happy to have a choice this time, and it made my job easier because no one gave me grief about shirts that wouldn't fit.

Here's an interesting observation -- even with short sleeves, many of the men tried on their shirts before deciding on a size. Ironically, the women didn’t!  I expected the opposite.

There are many fewer women in the ride than in the run, i.e., the percentage of females to males in the bike race is much lower. We did run out of smalls at the end of packet pick-up on Friday but only a couple of men didn’t get them; I think all the women who wanted a small size got one. When we saw them getting low, we kept several aside for the women who came through last.

The reason the smalls ran out first? Male entrants who wanted to get a small shirt for their wife or girlfriend instead of getting one in their own size.

That's a good way to score points with one's spouse or girlfriend!

"Now which size shirt should I get???" the entrant in the red jacket is probably asking.

Part of the time our ultra runner friend Liz Bauer sat with us and handed out extra goodies for the bags while her companion Scott Brockmeier did medical checks (both Liz and Scott are RNs). Liz and Scott are in the run next week and are accumulating volunteer hours for one of the 100-milers they will be running next year. It was good to have some time with them. Some other ultra runners who are in town to acclimate for the run came by to see who was around and say hi.

After all the years we’ve worked the bike race and run we know many of the volunteers as well as entrants. It’s always good to see them again.

There were more than enough volunteers that day and the next. As mentioned in the last entry, cyclists get preference in future race lotteries if they volunteer enough hours, so the bike race almost has too many volunteers. Bill Moyer would have done fine without us at check-in on Thursday and Friday.

It's usually a different story for the run the next weekend -- the cyclists have left town and there aren't nearly as many people left to volunteer then. So far the run doesn't have a lottery; it just closes out pretty quickly.

Race management provided pizzas, veggies, drinks, and M&Ms for the bike volunteers at lunch. That much is about the same as when Ken and Merilee ran the show.

Jim teases Jenn during a break in the action on Thursday; we had less goof-off time on Friday.


We went up to Jack’s office to talk with him when we got back home Thursday afternoon. I’ll be helping him at the Twin Lakes aid station (or “feed zone” as they call it in bike races) on Saturday morning.

Jack loaned us last year’s professional video (DVD) of the race, Race Across the Sky by Citizen Pictures, and we watched it before supper.

That’s the second video of this race that Citizen Pictures has filmed and it was good. I know it helped  inspire Jim to maybe do this race sometime, although he gulps when he thinks about going up and down the Powerline. The movie was even more interesting because we recognized several of the cyclists who were featured in the film as ones who picked up their shirts and goodie bags that morning.

I paid special attention to scenes in the movie from the Twin Lakes aid station since I'd be working that location on Saturday for the first time.

Wow, was it busy! I made a good decision to tell Jack I can work only during the morning and not all day. A lot of crews hang out there all day, waiting for their riders on both the outbound and inbound (it's located at about 40 and 60 miles).

The Twin Lakes aid station is at the SE end of the lakes at the dam during the bike ride, not in the town of Twin Lakes as it is during the run.


We worked bike packet pick-up again from 6:45 – 10:45 AM on Friday. We knew we’d be outside again so we both wore plenty of layers to keep warm. Fortunately there wasn’t much of a breeze until we left so we were comfortable.

Or maybe we were simply too busy to notice if it was chilly on Friday! Jenn wasn't there so Jim helped me hand out shirts that day. We had our work cut out for us.

The check-in process was busier on Friday.

Before the line opened up on Friday morning Bill Moyer told us over 1,000 entrants still hadn’t checked in, out of a total of 1,877 registered. They expected a 10-15% no-show rate, about the same as for ultra runs.

Bill vowed to cut off registration at 10 AM. The line was still wrapped around the block at 10. I don’t know if anyone was turned away or not.

There were plenty of volunteers again on Friday but Jim and I stayed pretty busy with the shirts. After the line was closed we packed up the remaining shirts and headed to the outdoor cycling vendor booths a block or two away.


The bike race briefing began at 11 AM at the gym. We wondered how they would ever pack 1,800+  riders, their crews, and families in that gym.

Thankfully, they didn't try. When the gym was full enough, the rest of the folks had an alternate place to sit or stand across the street.

That was something we haven't seen before -- outdoor seating for a couple hundred folks under a large canopy set up between the gym and the new location for the vendors’ booths. A couple hundred more stood around listening/watching a moderate-sized monitor as Ken Chlouber, the mayor, and other speakers did the pre-race briefing:


That was a good move.

It was also a good idea to have the sponsors’ booths closer to the gym and packet pick-up instead of half a mile away at the school on Sixth Street. I'm sure more folks visited the booths in that convenient location:

Both of the bikes we carry with us when we're traveling are Specialized, so I took a picture of their booth. Jim has a Stumpjumper 29er mountain bike and I have a Tricross cyclocross bike.

Jim could ride the race with his bike some day but I don't think a cyclocross bike would be sturdy enough for this gnarly course. Not that I ever want to do it, mind you . . .


On the way home for lunch Jim made the comment that he’s enjoying the pre-race bike activities more than before.

That’s because he’s learning from the cyclists and is making his own fairly smooth transition from running to cycling. I still see myself as more of a runner (hiker, actually) than cyclist but I, too, am enjoying the cyclists more this time than ever before.


We went back to the store Friday afternoon to help Jack Saunders take aid station supplies out to  Twin Lakes – or so we thought.

Turns out that Chuck, the aid station supply coordinator, and his volunteers had almost everything that Jack needed already loaded on a trailer and in one other truck. All Jack had to do was hitch his pick-up truck to the trailer and haul it away. He decided to carry supplies out early Saturday morning; another crew had already set up the aid station and medical tents.

Volunteers set up the food, drinks, etc. under the red-striped Twin Lakes aid station
canopy on Saturday morning; the white tent next to it is the medical tent.

At Jack's request about twenty of the Twin Lakes volunteers showed up at HQ on Friday afternoon for a briefing.

I got another volunteer shirt (mine was dirty after two days) and later received some other goodies – a water bottle, ball cap (I gave it to Jim), and a ticket to the post-race feed in the courtyard where we did packet pick-up. Beer was offered to everyone but I turned it down; I would have accepted wine! I knew Jim could get all the beer he wanted at Columbine Mine, where he was assigned on race day.

In addition, Jack and Cindy had a BBQ at the office (where we’re camped) for the Twin Lakes aid station volunteers on Saturday night. That was very generous and made for a very long day for them.

When we got back to Jack's place on Friday afternoon Jim helped him fill up four 35-gallon tanks of water and one humongous 400-gallon tank. Cindy and I dug up 14 traffic cones in the office workshop and Jim and I later got 10 more at race HQ. We could have used even more than that at Twin Lakes with all the vehicles and people who were out there.

A couple hundred drop bags in the back of our truck

At Jack’s request we went to the courthouse lawn at 5 PM on Friday to get all the riders’ drop bags for Twin Lakes.

Oh, my! Of the three drop bag locations, our pile was by far the largest.

We helped Mike and Marge Hickman load their truck with bags for Columbine Mine, then moved our truck into their spot on the main street near the bags (parking spaces were at a premium). Mike and several other people then helped us load our truck. We were able to get all the bags in the bed with the camper hitch still in. I took the bags out to Twin Lakes early Saturday morning when I reported for work there.

We also went to the aid station storage area behind the LT store on Friday afternoon to get more cones and some safety vests for Twin Lakes.

Colorful old buildings in Leadville near the race HQ;  I took this photo Saturday
after coming back from working at the Twin Lakes aid station.

We’re glad to run these errands and help Jack and Cindy. They have a lot of responsibility and we are grateful Jack continues to let us camp at his office every year. We always wonder if this time will be the last, since he’d like to build several houses on this acreage. The lengthy permitting process and lousy economy have allowed us access for several more years than we expected.

We got back home about 6 PM on Friday, ate supper, and relaxed the remainder of the evening.

We got as much ready for the next morning as possible, since we wanted to get up early to watch the riders go whizzing by Jack’s place about 6:32 AM. It’s amazing to watch 1,800 bikes make the 90-degree turn from 6th Street to McWethy Drive just half a mile into the race when they’re still being paced by a vehicle and still in such a clump.

Next entry:  volunteering on race day -- Jim at Columbine Mine, Sue at Twin Lakes

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil