|Rebecca Rusch (Image courtesy of Specialized)|
As many of you now know, I got it right. Well, I think if you consider the details leading up to the event, it wasn't all that hard to guess correctly. Let's consider the following:
-Lance Armstrong, although he qualified to race, wasn't toeing the line this year. Had he thrown his hat into the ring, he would have been a top pick to win it.
-Six time Leadville champ, Dave Wiens wasn't racing either. Again, you'd have to slot him in as a number one pick had he been in the race.
-Many pro roadies were already racing in the Tour of Utah, or were going to be at the Tour of Colorado. Roadies? Yup! The LT 100 suits roadies quite well, and this year they graded out rougher sections of the course, making them "B Road" smooth. Levi Leipheimer has won the event before, in record time, just last year.
-Many top mountain bike riders were overseas contesting the World Cup. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, who came in second last year, wasn't there either. This narrowed down my choices quite a bit.
-Todd Wells is in top condition right now. He just won the National XC Championship jersey, and Todd is always a top contender at any XC race he enters. Why didn't he go overseas to contest the World Cup? I can not say for sure, but Specialized has a top flite XC racer this year in Jaroslav Kulhavy who is making history every time he wins on his Epic 29"er. Keeping Todd in the US for another shot at making history might have been too good to pass up.
-Rebecca Rusch: Nuff said. Until she stops focusing on the LT 100, or starts to wane in her abilities, she will continue to be a threat to win the women's race at Leadville. This year? She lopped off even more time from her previous record at Leadville. Amazing! There was no way I would have bet against her at Leadville.
So, when you think about those things, and if there were no flat tires, mechanicals, or other mayhem for the two Specialized riders, (like there was for their competition, by the way), it was likely these two riders would contend for wins. They did, and they did. But, as I mention, it wasn't without a little "help" on the men's side, at least. Alban Lakata of Topeak-Ergon made a great race of it, coming in second on a flat tire. Had he not flatted? Well, who knows?
So, it was a lucky, somewhat educated guess, and no big deal in the end. It isn't like I could have picked the correct lottery numbers or anything magical like that!