I did not get into the Leadville 100. Of course, I did not apply, so not getting into the race is no surprise. Each year, I think about sending in an application. I see the pictures of massive groups of riders, the throngs of people cheering and the celebrity bike stars. And every year I think that at long last, I will apply for the race.
But I never do.
The idea of a lottery system has always turned me off. Especially the fact that for repeat racers, the lottery is no lottery. More and more racers are becoming grandfathered into the race, which leaves less and less room for first time riders. I don’t fault the riders. But if the lottery system is designed to promote diversity among the field, having the same racers year in and year out seems counter intuitive. It would seem that given this method of selection, at some point there will simply be no room for any first timers.
This is not meant to be an anti-Leadville diatribe. From all accounts the race looks fantastic. It is well run, and the town creates a real sense of event and accomplishment. I like that. And in fact that is one of the aspects of the race that is attractive to me. But, every December I grow cold to the process and neglect to send in an application. I can’t exactly say why. But each year I have the same internal argument. Eventually the desire to race at Leadville fades and I start to look into August alternatives.
I just don’t like the lottery system. And that dislike does not come from being rejected. I have never applied for the race. Maybe it is the random nature of the lottery. Perhaps it is the preferential treatment given to anyone that is deemed worthy of such treatment. Or, more accurately, maybe I am just a curmudgeon about the entire process. Perhaps I need to lighten up.
But I still don’t like lotteries.