Up The Road

Building Lance's Leadville Machine

It is not well known but I started working at Trek as a professional mountain bike mechanic for one of the race teams, last week I got back to my roots. 

As you all know Lance Armstrong is racing the Leadville 100 mountain bike race this week.  Well, he needed a new bike and I was tasked with making that happen.  A couple of days later a brand new Trek 9.9 Top Fuel showed up at my door; all the parts in boxes, just like the good old days.  It isn't every day that you get to build a bike that only 10 or so people have ridden and it isn't every day that you build a bike for Lance, this bike was special! 

I took my time building up Lance's bike, it was really fun and I wanted to make sure it was done right, when it was done I hung it on the scale, turns out it is under 22lbs with pedals, add a pound to make it race ready (seat pack) and his bike came out well under 23lbs ready to tackle the 100 mile torture-fest that is Leadville!!!  So far I had been having a great time with this new bike but it was just he beginning.  The bike needed to be delivered.

I have built a few bikes for Lance and even met him a handful of times before but this was a little different.  When Lance got his New Madone, I didn't have anything to do with it.  This was the first time that I was delivering a totally new product to him. 

Everyone always has expectation when they get something new, I did not know what Lance's were.  When I showed up and put his old bike on the scale and then his new one the tension broke.  His new bike is 2 pounds lighter then the bike he was planing on racing.  Some of that has to do with spec but a lot of it is just the frame weight.  He wasn't sure he wanted to change bikes so close to the race but when he saw the weight he decided that he would give it a try.  One ride later and I get an email that he loves it and he will be racing it in Leadville,  GREAT SUCCESS!!!!!


Keith Russell

Great story Ben! Next time I'm putting together a bike at the shop I work for I'll try to imagine what it would be like building it for Lance. I mean, I'm always super attentive but doing it for Lance....well, that's a different level :-)
Any chance of some more photos of said bike?


Lucky You!
Good Work Ben!

Adam Austin

Great story Ben. Awesome bike. Must have been a blast putting it together. Not sure if you remember, but you helped Joe and I out for the Discovery Channel contest a year ago. Thanks for the support, I love my Madone.

Sean Spinelli-Skakel

What are the specs on the bike?

The Specs are listed on Velownews, check out the article at


Ben Coates

greg witt

thats a great story thanks

Jordan Yard

Very rad.
What size is that bad boy Top Fuel?

Lance's bike is a 19.5 with a 120mm stem and the long seat cap. Ben Coates

Cambridge Cycle

That is a good makeup. Congratulations Ben!

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