CC Cunningham is the blog writer and Program Manager for the Chris Klug Foundation.
…Sorry about that terrible pun, but we did have a pretty awesome time in Leadville, Colorado this past weekend! As is the yearly tradition with our foundation, this year’s CKF charity team traveled to our neighboring town of Leadville for the 25th annual Leadville 100 MTB race, the second oldest 100-mile mountain bike race in the United States.
Team CKF consisted of 15 racers this year: Drew Deters, Jeff Fier, Marc Kiernan, Gabe Gomez, Neal George, Jim Pavelich, Ken Janckila, Charlie Peterson, Ryan McClean, Ben Roos, Larry Jones, Chip Fuller, Alex Loeffler, Charlie Singer, Jon Gibans (CKF board member), and our very own Chris Klug.
We arrived in Leadville on Thursday for the two-day, pre-race Expo, in which businesses and other nonprofit organizations had the opportunity to sell their products and promote their causes to Leadville riders and race attendees. CKF hosted our own booth where we talked to people about the importance of organ and tissue donation and registered people as organ donors through our iPhone app, Swipe CKF. We were lucky enough to have a new volunteer there, Heidi Hughes, who helped us out over the course of the two days. Heidi is a two-time kidney transplant recipient from Frisco, CO who received both of her kidneys from living donors—the first of which was from her father. She did a wonderful job sharing her story and talking to people about her own experience with living organ donation.
We were up bright and early to see our riders off—6 AM to be exact. Our crew of aid station volunteers, supporters, and family members headed over to the start line on Harrison Avenue and 6th Street in downtown Leadville right as the sun was coming up behind the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. We were greeted to the sounds of cowbells and excited cheers as riders lined the street with their mountain bikes ready to go. At 6:30 on the nose, they were off as the starting gunshot signaled the beginning of Mile One of 100.
CKF manned two aid stations along the Leadville 100 course: one at the Twin Lakes Dam and one at Pipeline. Each one of our riders stopped to refuel, shed outer layers of clothing, and pause to catch their breath for just a second at these stations throughout the duration of the race.
Alex Loeffler finished first on our team with a total overall time of 8:08:36. Our founder, Chris Klug, finished the race (his 10th Leadville 100 MTB!) shortly after with a total time of 8:36:40. Right on his tail was fellow veteran Team CKF rider, Ryan McClean, finishing with a time of 8:48:16. This year was CKF board member, Jon Gibans’, 20th(!) Leadville 100 MTB race and his experience certainly showed as he finished with a time of 9:11:08.
Each year, attending the Leadville 100 MTB and watching our team members give so much effort and dedication all in the name of organ and tissue donation is always so motivating and inspiring to see as a spectator. We couldn’t be prouder of Team CKF this year and all the hard work and training they put in to ride this race.
Check out this video of Team CKF and our time at the 2019 Leadville 100 MTB:
We will be returning to Leadville this Thursday, August 15th to support our charity team of six determined (and maybe crazy?) runners who will be participating in the Leadville Trail 100 Run, a 100-mile trail run (you read that right!) through the Rocky Mountains on Saturday, August 17th.