Ravelo finishes 8th at Leadville
EAGLE COUNTY — Local mountain-biker Cristhian Ravelo found his way into the top 10 Saturday in one of the toughest fields in the Leadville Trail 100’s history.
For a rider with a stack of impressive results in his young career, Ravelo, 23, said the eighth-place finish was better, and more rewarding, than the wins he’s notched throughout the years.
“Just looking at the start list, we knew it was going to be the deepest field the race has ever had,” Ravelo said. “There were guys who just did the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy, the Tour of Utah champion was there, and that’s not to mention Todd Wells, state champion, and lots of others.”
Wells, 39, exploded out of the start and went on to win the race for the third time in his career. Behind him was a group of about 20 riders who Ravelo was able to hang with, eventually dropping a number of them.
“When we got to Columbine, (a big climb near the halfway point of the race,) a group of 20 of us came down to about five,” Ravelo said. “I was really glad to be able to climb with guys who were racing at the Tour, and we were dropping guys who have been racing at the Tour of Utah, so I was staying motivated, realizing that I could climb with these guys … one of the most rewarding parts of the race was just being able to fight it out with those guys.”
Preparing for this year’s Leadville 100 has been an all-year affair for Ravelo, who races for Toyko Joe’s. His household has been transformed into a team known as Ravelo Racing, and getting Cristhian into the top 10 at Leadville has become an all-hands-on-deck effort for the family team.
“A lot of the prep comes from my dad, who was a professional cyclist,” Ravelo said. “My mom takes care of nutrition, and now I have Jake (Wells) looking over my training.”
Wells, a local cyclocross professional and trainer with Form Attainment Studio, says helping locals attain their goals in racing is among the most rewarding aspects of his career. For many of the people using Form Attainment Studio, the goals are within reach, and Wells helps those people attain the form necessary to reach them.
“I feel like Jake really listens,” Ravelo said. “It’s one day of racing, but the prep has been there since the beginning of the year. Jake made sure I’m doing the right things without overdoing it, which was essential to the success at Leadville, hitting my peak fitness on that day.”
Wells and Ravelo set a goal of a top 10 at Leadville, and a less than seven-hour finish. While heading into the finish, Ravelo was far enough in front of ninth place to secure part of his goal as a top 10 finisher. He had to find new strength, however, to attain the other facet of that goal.
“At the end I was pretty much just riding in solo, trying to get under 7 hours,” he said. “Honestly I felt like I went as deep as I could on the last 25 miles.”
Ravelo’s finishing time was 6 hours, 55 minutes. He was the youngest competitor in the top 10.
“I think I’m growing as a cyclist,” he said. “Cycling is a sport of time. … Hopefully I’m not far off from making the actual goal of winning the thing.”
Ravelo continues racing this week in the Breck Epic, a six-day stage race in Summit County, which is set to wrap up on Friday.