Leadville News – August 14

Grotts,  Connors Repeat LT100 MTB Wins

By Kate Lessman, Leadville Race Series

Last Saturday, August 11 more than 1,500 riders from all 50 states and 35 countries participated in the 25th Annual CenturyLink Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike (MTB) Race.

The 25th Leadville Trail 100 MTB was held August 11, 2018 with more than 1,500 riders from all 50 states and 35 countries participating. Photo: Glen Delman Photography

In the iconic event, participants rode more than 100 miles of challenging Colorado Rockies terrain at elevations ranging from 10,152 to 12,424 feet. More than 1100 athletes finished within the 12-hour cut-off time including seven tandem teams.
Following the 6:30 a.m. MST start, Howard Grotts and Larissa Connors emerged again as the 2018 champions. Both also won in 2017. In the male division, Grotts won for the second year in a row and crossed the finish line in 6:18:08, followed in second place by Kristian Hynek who finished in 6:21:12. Payson McElveen also finished third for the second year in a row in 6:27:17.

In the female division, Connors finished in 7:40:13 followed by Julie Dibens in second place in 8:07:54 and Chase Edwards in 8:09:48.

Both John Callahan and Todd Murray from Colorado notched a 25th finish and are the only two competitors to compete in every Leadville 100 MTB since it’s inception

Leadville’s own Ty Hall competed as the “Dream Chaser” to help raise money for the Leadville Legacy Foundation. As the Dream Chaser, Hall started at the back of the race and passed fellow MTBers to raise awareness and funds to support the needs of the Leadville community. This year, Hall passed 1424 riders during the race and raised $22,448 for the Leadville Legacy Foundation. Additionally Life Time Founder, Chairman and CEO Bahram Akradi finished in 10:22:18. Ninety-seven minutes under the 12-hour cut-off. As part of his campaign “Every Minute Counts” Bahram and his friends will donate more than $682,000 to the Life Time Foundation.

Leadville Trail 100 founders Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin address the athletes before the race start. Photo: Glen Delman Photography.

The inaugural Leadville 100 Mountain Bike event launched in 1994 with 113 finishers and now in its 25th year, endurance athletes worldwide make the pilgrimage to Leadville, Colo., with the single goal of competing in ‘The Race Across the Sky’.

“Congratulations to Howard and Larissa on their amazing wins today and to all competitors who cross the finish line,” said Ken Chlouber, Founder of the Leadville Race Series. “ As we celebrate 25 years of the Leadville 100 MTB event it’s amazing to see the spirit of Leadville instilled in all participants, pushing themselves to embody a healthy way of life.”

The 2018 CenturyLink Leadville Race Series concludes Saturday, Aug. 18, with nearly 700 participants running the CenturyLink Leadville Trail 100 Run presented La Sportiva. The legendary “Race Across the Sky” 100-Mile Trail Run began in 1983 and still draws thousands of participants to Leadville each year for a demanding 100-mile out-and-back run course with total elevation range, or climb, of more than 18,000 feet.

The Race Across The Sky! Photo: Glen Delman Photography.

Latest News – August 13

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One! Two! Three! It’s Bat Count Time!

Regular Leadville Today readers may recall the Bats in the Belfry stories that have been posted in past years. Well, this week, the public will have a chance to get a bit more involved in this year’s bat count, as The San Isabel National Forest Leadville Ranger District, in partnership with the USFWS Leadville National Fish Hatchery, is hosting a family friendly educational night to learn more about bats and their ecosystems! Welcome to Bat-Palooza – the Inaugural year

Fish Hatchery

The Leadville National Fish Hatchery will be the spot for this Wednesday’s Bat-Palooza 2018. See you there! INFO HERE. Photo: Leadville Today

 The event is free to everyone and will focus on learning about the importance of bats in the community.  Learning and craft booths open at 6 p.m. where kids and families can create their own bats out of pinecones or participate in a myth busting or poster booth.  At 7 p.m., grab your blanket or lawn chair, relax and learn about the ecology of local bats, threats to them and their habitats and why we monitor bat populations.  The evening will conclude with the emergence of the bats from the main hatchery building around 7:30 p.m.  All you need to bring is a lawn chair and your quiet attention.

 This inaugural event will take place Wednesday, Aug. 15 on the south side of the main hatchery building at the USFWS Leadville National Fish Hatchery (2844 Highway 300, Leadville, CO 80461).  For questions about the event, please call Jeni Windorski at the Leadville Ranger District (719) 486-7421. 

One, Two, Three Bats at the Fish Hatchery?!

By Mary Jelf, Leadville Today Contributor

(re-posted from August 2017)

On a recent moonlit night, a group of volunteers gathered in the cool air, armed with lawn chairs and clickers to gaze at the wall of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, to observe and count bats.

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Bat Counters sit at the ready with clickers in hand waiting for the bats to leave their roost in the ceiling of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery building and be counted. Photo: Leadville Today/Mary Jelf

There is a maternity roost of little brown bats in the top of the historic building where bats hang and keep each other warm during the day.  Around twilight, they leave the roost in search of food, which is generally insects.  According to Jeni Windorski of the US Forest Service (USFS), each bat can eat its own weight in insects every night, making them very useful in keeping the insect population in check.

Why count the bats?  To keep an eye on changes in their population numbers.  The Myotis lucifugus species is being affected by a disease called white nose syndrome, which started in the Eastern US, but is spreading westward.  By counting bats at different locations during their summer residency, the USFS can work to identify what factors may change how they live.

Bats tend to roost in high parts of buildings, caves, and mines.  Windorski reported that when places are found to have bats, efforts are made to keep those spaces open for the animals with bat gates and other methods.  When the roof at the fish hatchery building was recently updated, the new design took into account the need for bats to enter and exit from both sides of the building.

Lin Denham participated in a bat count recently at another location where her post only counted two bats.  “I wanted to see more bats,” she replied, when asked why she came back for another round.

In addition to actually counting the bats, Windorski also sets up an SM2 Bat Song Meter, generically known as a “bat detector”, to record their ultrasonic echolocations.  These vibrations are not audible to humans, but can be analyzed in a lab to identify bat species by their unique signature.  If we could actually hear this, it would be loud like a smoke alarm.  During the count, Windorski also uses a device that picks up the ultrasonic waves and translates them into a frequency we can hear as clicks.  There is a ramping up of clicks just before a bat emerges from the roost to help with a successful exit. Windorski says that there is also a rev of clicks when a bat gets close to prey.  They send extra clicks to hone in on an insect, then knock it unconscious with their wings, catch it in the membrane that stretches between their legs and tail (the uropatagium), and scoop it into their mouths.

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Doesn’t everyone have one? The SM2 Bat Song Meter.

When counting bats, one must be vigilant and not count the ones that circle back and roost near the exit for a time.  They come out as singles, or in groups of two or three.  It can also be tricky not to count bats that exit from one side of the building, but then cross over to the other side.  The trick is to keep your eye right on the exit point, then make just one click per bat. 

During the count, observers noted that some bats were exiting sooner than expected, when conditions were lighter.  Windorski noted that sometimes scouts are sent out before the rest of the colony to check conditions and report back.  It also could be caused by hunger, since a big storm the night before may have cut short their feeding time.

The count ends when it is either too dark to see the bats or after ten minutes pass from the last bat seen.  The numbers from clickers at each exit point are added and average to get an accurate number.  The number from this count was 499 bats.  This is lower than the 811 bats counted earlier in the summer, which is normal.

“The babies are mostly grown now, which would mean less total bats here, “said Windorski.  “The cooler weather can also cause an earlier start to migration.”

After an evening paying such close attention to bats and learning about their habits, it was interesting to note that they live this way, each and every day, whether visitors to the fish hatchery – or counters with clickers – are there to notice or not. 

LT Contributor Mary Jelf practices living joyously in the high country. She relies upon beginner’s luck and the kindness of strangers. Some days she turns thoughts into words to share to make the world a better place.advice from a bat