Saturday August 13th is the return of one of the oldest and most well-known endurance mountain bike races in the world, the Leadville 100. Leadville hosts some of the biggest names in the sport and has come to be known as one of the most physically demanding races in the United States. With a starting elevation of over 10,000 feet and climbs reaching 12,000 this 100-mile trek challenges even the toughest riders. As a race that was originally started on 1994 as an effort to bring work to Leadville's mining community, Leadville has grown in publicity and popularity substantially over the last two decades. The race originally had 150 participants and has grown to 1,400 today, all whom must earn a spot or be selected to compete.
Last year, one INFINIT athlete placed in the top ten at Leadville and will be returning this year and riding using INFINIT for the first time at this race. Ryan Petry, a 25-year-old endurance mountain biker from Boulder, Colorado took 7th place last year at the Leadville 100 in only his second year racing this event, the year before he placed 11th. Ryan considers his performance in 2016 as nearly perfect. He had never imagined breaking the top ten racing against some of the best riders in the world. He placed 1st in his age group last year and has big plans to improve on his time this year. Ryan has changed up his routine since his last Leadville including hiring a professional coach to control his training, as well as receiving sponsorship from INFINIT which has allowed him to dial in a simple nutrition plan for racing and training.
Although Ryan is fairly new to the sport of endurance mountain biking he is already creating quite a name for himself, taking top spots in some for the biggest races across the country including the Whiskey 50 and the Leadville Silver Rush. But with a background in other endurance sports, pushing himself to success is nothing new to Ryan. He competed in cross country for the majority of his childhood and into high school, and soon after transitioned to triathlon. After competing in a few XTERRA races, Ryan began to realize that although mountain biking wasn’t really his strong suit at the time, it was the most enjoyable racing he had experienced. As a frequent trail runner, Ryan had the ability to combine his love for the woods with his enjoyment for the bike and that is what really got him hooked.
With "less than top notch" bike handling skills, endurance races were really the best opportunity for Ryan to succeed early in his career. He had the ability to push himself on long climbs and didn’t tire easily so for his first ever mountain bike race, Ryan entered the Mohican 100. This 100-mile race isn’t the most technically difficult course around, but it pushes riders' endurance to the limits. After completing the race, Ryan knew that endurance mountain biking was his future.
After the Mohican 100, Ryan entered the Whiskey 50. He really enjoyed the challenge of the shorter distance race, but he felt that the longer course races were more in his wheelhouse. In the 5 years that Ryan has been competing in endurance mountain biking, he has raced the Whiskey 50 every year, and has improved on his finish with each year. His first year he placed 50th amateur, then 2nd amateur, then 50th pro to 30th to 22nd. This year Ryan took 11th in the pro field. The Whiskey 50 has now become one of Ryan’s favorite races to compete in, and he uses it as a way to track his improvement as a rider.
Although Ryan is one of the top level endurance mountain bikers in the nation, he still makes sure not to take himself too seriously. On his days off he loves to trail run and explore his home town of Boulder. Trail running was really Ryan’s first love, and it continues to be his favorite pastime. When Ryan isn’t out running the trails, he frequently loads his bike up with a few bottles of his INFINIT bike blend and heads out into the mountains with really no schedule at all. With 2 concentrated bottles of his blend and an extra serving in his pocket Ryan will go out and ride for up to 5 hours until he decides it’s time to call it a day.
“A mountain bike is the ultimate vehicle when it comes to exploring your surroundings. Nothing is too steep and you can ride, or at least get over, just about anything. So you really get to see a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”
Ryan also works in sales and marketing 30 hours a week to help pay the bills, and to build a career for after he is done biking at the professional level. Ryan also spends a good amount of time with his triathlete girlfriend who he trains with from time to time to change things up from his normal routine. He also takes time to enjoy his life instead of getting "burnt out" on training. Grabbing drinks once or twice a week, hiking and enjoying the city of Boulder, all help Ryan to keep his life balanced and his training enjoyable.
As far as the future of his mountain biking career goes, Ryan hopes to get on a team so he can have other riders to improve with, but there are not that many endurance riders in his age group. In an effort to try to increase the popularity in the sport, Ryan takes time to teach younger riders technique and give tips to less experienced riders at camps. Thanks to his success last year at Leadville, Ryan was invited to help lead a camp for first time riders and up-and-comers. One of the biggest goals Ryan has for his career is to have enough influence in the sport to help increase its popularity among younger riders. Ryan also recommends INFINIT to other endurance riders that are struggling with a nutrition plan for their longer races, and training sessions lasting longer than an hour or so.
“INFINIT is an awesome product that I recommend to any rider, or runner for that matter, that is struggling with nutrition during races. That is something I would not say if I didn’t truly believe it, but I know this is the best option on the market when it comes to nutrition.”
Ryan has only been working with INFINIT for the past year but he has already noticed a huge change in his riding. First and foremost, he now has an easy nutrition plan that he knows he can push himself on and always expect the same results. Secondly it has just made his riding more consistent in general. Since switching to INFINIT Ryan has not bonked in a race once, hasn’t been cramping, and has been feeling fully on top of his game throughout his races. He has also noticed recovery time between workouts has significantly decreased. Using his blend alone Ryan is frequently able to finish a long workout with plenty of energy to do the other things he enjoys, like working on his car. Ryan also uses recovery products from INFINIT like MUD and REPAIR to help him stay fresh in between grueling days of training leading up to a tough competition like Leadville.
As the 22nd edition of the Leadville 100 quickly approaches, Ryan will be completing the race for the first time on INFINIT alone. Having already taken 11th and 7th in previous years, Ryan is looking to improve on his time and position from last year thanks to huge improvements in both his training and nutrition. He is confident that INFINIT alone will fuel him through one of the toughest mountain bike races in the country and give him another top ten finish.