Leadville 100 Exclusive Interview: Race Favorite Todd Wells

Race Coverage

Triumph in 2011.

Mtbr.com: Who are the 3-4 other riders that will your prime competition?
Todd Wells: I would say the main competition will probably come from my teammate Christoph Sauser and last year’s winner Alban Lakata. Plus there is always someone who will be flying under the radar a bit but those are the guys I know that are racing and are always fast.

Mtbr.com: What’s your bike and gear set-up?
Todd Wells: We actually just received some great new equipment just in time for Leadville. I will be racing the new 2014 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er hardtail. We also have some new wheels that have a beadless rim that are much lighter and stronger than what we have been using up until now. I will ride the same S-Works 1.95 Renegade tires that I used when I won in 2011.

Wells will race the new 2014 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er hardtail and wear an aero helmet.

I will also use the same gearing that I used that year, SRAM 2X10 39/26 up front with an 11-36 in the rear. I opted to use that rather than the new lighter XX1 because being a bigger guy I need a smaller gear for the climbs but I carry more momentum on the descents so I need a bigger gear for that. I really like the ratios the 2×10 provides for Leadville. And now that Specialized has a wind tunnel they have done some specific testing for Leadville and I will be racing with the new Evade aero helmet. They have found that for this specific race it can be quite a benefit and I’m hoping it gives me an advantage. Every little bit of speed I can get with out any extra effort is a huge benefit.

Mtbr.com: And right after the race, we hear you are doing the six-day Breck Epic stage race? What’s the goal there?
Todd Wells: That’s right, I am Breckenridge bound after Leadville. I have never raced the Breck Epic before so I don’t know what to expect. There are some guys like Alex Grant and Ben Sontag that are racing in Breck but not Leadville so it will be hard to compete with those guys in the first few stages since they will be much fresher than me. I’m hoping to keep it close in the beginning and as guys begin to fatigue hopefully I can make up some ground.

What I’m really hoping for is that the weeks of long, high altitude training I spent building up for Leadville and Breck combined with the week of high altitude racing will give me a boost for World Championships at the end of the month in South Africa.

Mtbr.com: And when does your enduro career start? We hear that’s the new cool thing for “older” XC racers.
Todd Wells: Probably never. It seems like fun, and I feel like I’m a decent descender. But I feel like if I would do enduro it would have to have been 10 years ago when I was more into crashing and getting hurt. Now I like longer races like Leadville, La Ruta, the Malaysia stage race. I enjoy those longer races, point to point, different terrain like La Ruta where you get to see whole country.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • John Mallow says:

    Great article! I was fortunate to be at the 2011 Leadville 100! I was staging for my son that day. I grew up in Leadville and lived there for 28 years until moving to Grand Junction. I want to wish Todd Good Luck tomorrow! I wish I could be there! Maybe I”ll get in next year.

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