On August 14, Performance Bicycle Racing Team member Cara Applegate, with her husband Andy Applegate and their tandem mountain bike, lined up alongside 1500 other brave competitors – including current ProTour riders, National Champions, and Olympians – to compete in the 17th annual Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in Leadville, CO.
The couple’s goals were lofty – to complete the 100 mile race, which climbs more than 10,000 feet at high altitude, in under 10 hours, a time which coincidentally would have won the tandem race in 2008 and 2009.
The riders were greeted with chilly air but clear skies as they took to the start line in the wee hours of the morning; once the sun broke through the last remnants of night it blazed a comfortable path for the remainder of the day.
The duo battled with another tandem team early in the event, suffering a race-threatening mechanical little more than 35 miles in. They repaired the issue quickly without too much time lost; by the midway point the Applegates were able to amass over an 8 minute lead on Jay and Tracey Petervary of Idaho.
The Applegates steadily increased the distance between themselves and their closest competitors, completing the course well under their goal in a time of 8 hours 42 minutes, earning themselves the coveted silver and gold belt buckle given to competitors who finish under 9 hours, as well as 80th place overall. The Petervarys were the second tandem across the line, 27 minutes back.
Next up for Cara: a brief break from the bicycle, having just completed her goal race of the year. Don’t expect this to be the last you hear of her – she’ll soon be storming the cyclo-cross world alongside her teammate Evie Boswell-Vilt on the team’s Focus Mares cyclo-cross bikes!