True Grit 100-Miler – Santa Clara, Utah

Taylor Lideen Repeats as True Grit Champion and Joey Lythgoe Takes First 100 Mile Win

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

 

Once again riders from all across the country made the trek to Santa Clara, Utah, to take in the desert singletrack oasis tucked in the southwestern corner of the state. Warm weather and ideal trail conditions greeted the 500 riders registered for this year’s True Grit Epic.

The fact that the NUE series finale would be moving out west in 2017 provided extra buzz as many of those in attendance would be making a run at the series title, a challenge that is typically out of reach for most racers out west who have a hard time traveling to the east coast for the series final. This year’s finale will be located in Big Bear, California.

100-mile open male winner Taylor Lideen leading Dylan Johnson.

Open Male

The open men’s field included a healthy bunch of seasoned NUE racers looking to kick off 2017 with a race win.

Last year’s True Grit champ Taylor Lideen (Elevated Legs) looked poised to repeat after a winter of training in sunny Arizona.

Looking to unseat Lideen as champion was 2016 NUE series champion Dylan Johnson (Cameron Racing). Johnson was making his first appearance at the Utah race. Following a long trip out from the east coast Johnson wasn’t left with much time to ride the True Grit course prior to race day and would be racing blind for the first of two laps.

Not to be counted out was Colorado duo David Krimstock (Giant) and Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz); both experienced ultra-endurance riders capable of taking the title in Santa Clara. Perennial contender Cary Smith (The Hub) of Jackson, Wyoming is always in the mix and should never be counted out of a 100-mile event.

This impressive bunch departed downtown Santa Clara just as the sun rose Saturday morning. Once on course, it didn’t take long for Lideen and Johnson to establish themselves up front. A sight the chasers would have to get used to seeing all day.

Misfortune struck Cary Smith early on as one puncture led to another leaving the Wyoming strongman walking his bike on course in the first hour of the race and forcing him to call it a day much earlier than he would have liked.

This left the two leaders out front with Josh Tostado solo behind, doing his best to chase down the leaders.

“I felt really good the first lap and a half but toward the end of lap two the heat started to get to me.” The Breckenridge-based rider shared after the finish.

This was a common theme for most riders even with temperatures creeping just above the mid-seventies many riders, who traveled south from snowy, cold winter locations, were quickly overheating.

Lideen wasn’t feeling the heat though. In fact, the Phoenix-based rider was in the opposite situation. “I thought it was so cold this morning,” he remembered at the finish. “Mary (his wife and support crew) and I had to drive the van around this morning to get the heater running so I could warm up.”

Now in the seventies he was feeling comfortable and midway through the second lap he started opening up a gap on Johnson, who had stayed glued to his wheel following all his lines throughout the day.

On the long, false-flat climb of Stucki Springs, Lideen slowly pulled away from the reigning series champ who was also dealing with a broken saddle that cracked toward the end of the rugged Zen trail.

Lideen could feel a gap opening and kept the hammer down, deciding he wouldn’t look back until the very end, just a mile or so from the finish when his win was all but secured.

The two-time True Grit winner was ecstatic at the finish. Through big smiles Lideen had this to say about the course, “I think this the best single day endurance racecourse. It’s true mountain biking. I like seeing more and more people racing with dropper posts each year. Some of this stuff gets gnarly on an XC bike. I think it’s great.”

Johnson, comfortably held on to second spot crossing the line just over 10 minutes behind the race leader.

Josh Tostado took third but was feeling the heat, coming from the sun and Giant rider David Krimstock who was closing the gap on Tostado late in the race.

In the end, just over a minute separated the two with Tostado taking third.

Krimstock would finish the day in fourth place with not much time to spare over final podium finisher Heath Thumel (Race Pace Bicycles).

100-mile female winner Joey Lythgoe. Photo by Crawling Spider

Open Female

The women’s event featured one overall favorite and several lesser-known challengers looking to compete for the top spot on the podium.

Previous True Grit 100 race winner and ultra-endurance superstar Sonya Looney (Freakshow/Scott) was looking to continue her winning ways in Utah but would be challenged by former 50-mile winner Joey Lythgoe (Kuhl) and successful triathlete and road racer Shirley Lydsman (Red Rock Bicycles) who just recently found a love for the dirt.

The race got off to a fast start with several of the women mixing in with the men. The main contenders were all well established early on until Looney suffered a flat on one of the opening descents costing her time early on.

Lythgoe established herself out front and never let off the gas for the rest of the race. After the first of two laps the Kuhl rider’s lead was just over 10 minutes and almost double that at the finish line.

Lydsman meanwhile, surprised herself with a strong showing occupying the second spot throughout the race. Her fitness and ability on the mountain bike showed as she tackled one of the most technical racecourses on the NUE circuit.

Sonya Looney never recovered from her early flat. Loosing significant time and getting into the red zone trying to catch back up left the defending True Grit champ in a very dark place suffering from heat stroke for much of the day.

She worked her way back to the fourth spot but was never able to overtake third-placed rider Abelyn Broughton (Fitzgerald’s Bicycles) in the end.

Chase Edwards finished off the podium in fifth.

Riders flows over the rocks on Zen trail. Photo by: Crawling Spider

Singlespeed

At the beginning of the day the big question on everyone’s mind was, ‘Is Gordon Wadsworth here.’ It was rumored the multi-time NUE singlespeed champion and last year’s True Grit winner would be in Utah defending his True Grit win from 2016.

Steven Mills (New West Medical) stood on the start most interested in Wadsworth’s location. Mills was determined to rectify his mistakes from 2016 that let Wadsworth steal his race win. Mills led all of last year’s 100-mile event until an inexplicable course deviation just 10 miles from the finish meant he needed to ride back on course and complete the section he missed dropping him from first to third.

Mills took no chances this year and if Wadsworth was on hand Mills was determined to take him on. He threw a heavier gear on than he rode in ’16 and went hard right from the start.

Mills got out early, mixing in toward the front with many of the fastest geared competitors. And although Wadsworth ultimately didn’t make the trip out west Mills rode as if he were there.

He went out so hard in fact that even his closest chasers couldn’t see or follow him.

“He kind of has a great game plan for this race,” said second place finisher Quin Bingham (America First/Bikers Edge). “He has a big gear and gets out front really fast with the geared guys. Then he was just gone. I chased for awhile but you eventually just kind of forget about him.”

Mills also rode a hardtail on the rough southern Utah course but that didn’t seem to slow him down much.

Out front all day Mills eventually finished with a time of 7 hours 28 minutes. Good enough for first in singlespeed and ninth overall.

Bingham finished just 12 minutes behind the leader. Mark Schafer (Team Eastside Cycles) finished third.

Kip Biese, last year’s NUE singlespeed runner-up came home in fourth.

 

Masters Men 50+

Last year’s True Grit winner Greg Golet returned as the overall favorite in the 100-mile event. In addition to taking last year’s race win he also finished second in the overall NUE series barely getting beat out in the series final by top rival Jeff Clayton.

Clayton wasn’t on hand in Santa Clara giving Golet a clear shot at another True Grit title.

He proved to be up to the challenge turning in a blistering sub-eight-hour time, the only masters racer to do so.

Golet had a clean ride with no issues throughout the day. His consistent pace got him to the finish line almost a full hour ahead of second place and provided him with a great start for his shot at the 2017 NUE title.

Tim Phillips crossed the line in second at 8 hours 46 minutes followed by Sten Hertsens (Carborocket) just five minutes later.

Next the NUE heads back east to the Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, Tennessee April 29th. Check back for full coverage only on MTB Race News.

Click Here for full results from the True Grit 100

True Grit Marathon – Santa Clara, Utah

Keegan Swenson and Jenny Smith Win NUE Opener in Utah

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

 

In it’s second year as an official NUE event the True Grit 50 or marathon event showed significant growth and stacked fields to compete in the series opener.

Once again riders from all across the country made the trek to Santa Clara, Utah, to take in the desert singletrack oasis tucked in the southwestern corner of the state. Warm weather and ideal trail conditions greeted the 500 riders registered for this year’s True Grit Epic.

The fact that the NUE series finale would be moving out west in 2017 provided extra buzz as many of those in attendance would be making a run at the series title, a challenge that is typically out of reach for most racers out west who have a hard time traveling to the east coast for the series final. This year’s finale will be located in Big Bear, California.

Keegan Swenson leads Justin Lindine on course.

Open Men

The opens men’s race featured some of the fastest legs in the United States. Two-time U.S. national championship runner-up Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) was making his first appearance at this 50-miler. Swenson would be going up against longtime friend and teammate Alex Grant (Cannondale) who was making his return to mountain bike racing after being sidelined for almost all of 2016 after suffering a foot fracture in the world cup opener.

Last year’s NUE marathon champ Alex Pond was on hand looking to defend his title as was Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) who always finds his way to the front of the pack.

Off the start it was Keegan Swenson and Justin Lindine providing the watts early on. Driving the pace and easily shedding the majority of the field in the early miles. The early pace was too much for Grant but California rider Menso De Jong (Clif Bar) and youngster Zach Calton (Competitive Cyclist) emerged from the pack staying close to the leaders. Calton surged ahead bridging the gap to the leaders.

After the race’s early climbs Swenson and Lindine led into the slickrock labyrinth of Zen trail. Both talented bike handlers, the lead duo flowed over the rocks like a flashflood pulling away from everyone including Calton who had worked hard to match the leaders pace.

Now the duo forged ahead, pushing the pace once again and opening big gaps behind them.

In the final miles, Lindine and Swenson traded attacks with neither rider getting an advantage. Late in the race the lead duo stayed together approaching the 1-mile paved finishing straight into downtown Santa Clara.

Lindine took the lead out with Swenson tucked behind waiting to make his final surge, which came just feet from the finishing chute as the Cannondale rider popped ahead just enough to take the win by one second.

Behind them Alex Grant had worked through his early cobwebs and traded the third spot with Calton. He made his final move on the Barrel Roll trail just miles from the finish securing a third place finish.

Calton rolled in for fourth followed by De Jong for fifth.

Riders flows over the rocks on Zen trail. Photo by: Crawling Spider

Open Women

The 2017 women’s field represented the most competitive bunch ever assembled at the NUE opener. Over twenty women registered for the race including mountain bike speedsters like Alexis Skarda (NoTubes/Kenda), Jenni Smith (NoTubes/Kenda), last year’s runner up Nicole Tittensor (Scott/Jan’s), collegiate cyclocross star Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Assos/Pivot), Arizona speedster Erin Osbourne (Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution) and ’16 podium finisher Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling).

A mixed start with the open men’s group meant a fast start for the ladies. Alexis Skarda showed the most power off the start opening it up early. She was joined early on by Gomez-Villafane.

Jenny Smith managed to find her way up to the lead group before being gapped again just before a notoriously technical section called “the Waterfall.”

Skarda managed a small gap that widened at Sofia Gomez-Villafane missed a turn and ended up off course. This put Smith in second position chasing her teammate Skarda.

“Alexis was climbing so well today,” said the always-cheery Smith after the finish. “She would pull away from me on the climbs and I would have to claw my way back on the flats and downhill sections.”

Lucky for Smith she stayed close enough throughout the race to pull ahead in the closing miles and take advantage of the rolling downhill terrain leading to the finish line.

An impressive effort throughout allowed with race winner to cross the line with a smoking fast time of 3 hours 50 minutes; fast enough to beat more than half the open male riders.

Alexis Skarda came in about 5 minutes back after being in close contact with Smith for most of the day.

Sofia Gomez-Villafane soldiered on for third place after encountering some confusion on the notoriously tricky racecourse. “I didn’t have the luxury of pre-riding the course so I got off track about four times out there… Overall a hard day on the bike, but it was a good day.”

Nicole Tittensor secured the fourth spot after trading her position with Jen Hanks several times throughout the day. Ultimately her strong climbing gave her the advantage over the Pivot/DNA Cycling rider.

Start of the True Grit Marathon

Singlespeed

A moderately-sized crew signed up to race one-speeders in the southern Utah desert. Ten in all, decided riding 50 miles of rugged terrain would just be too easy with gears.

The favorites included 2 podium finishers in the 100-mile True Grit event in 2016. Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling) and Corey Larrabee (Kuhl) finished fourth and second respectively in ’16 and spent much of the race wheel to wheel last year.

The 2017 race got off to a quick start with several of the singlespeeders spinning their way to the singletrack with the lead group of geared 40-49 racers. Once on the dirt Larrabee and Boffeli were joined by Brent Cannon (Team Elevate) as the three leaders made their way through Cove Wash and onto the early climbs in Green Valley.

When the uphill started Larrabee showed a clear advantage being marked for a short time by Boffeli but eventually opening up a solid advantage on the climb to Zen trail.

Now riding with the fastest of the geared riders Larrabee kept putting time into the chasers pushing a 32 x 20 over the 50-mile course.

In the end the Kuhl rider passed all but two of the geared riders he started with and posted a time that was over 10 minutes faster than last year’s winning 50-mile finisher.

A satisfied Shannon Boffeli took second suffering a bit in the heat. “Even on my best day I couldn’t have matched Corey on the climbs,” Boffeli shared at the finish. “I could get close on the flatter stuff early on but he just crushed me when it started to get steep.”

Brent Cannon solidified the third spot with a strong finishing time well ahead of the next closest rider.

Both Larrabee and Boffeli have eyes on the NUE marathon title so expect to see them at more NUE events throughout the season.

 

50+ Masters Men

The master’s event turned out to be a battle of local talent with local legend Dave Harris (LW Coaching) taking the win over fellow Utahns Zan Treasure (Bountiful Bicycle) and Dave Smith (Red Rock Bicycle).

Although once active on the race scene Harris has been absent from competition for years focusing his efforts on youth mountain bike coaching and desert moto riding. After Saturday it was clear the years away from racing haven’t slowed him much as he posted a time of 3 hours 51 minutes, which would have put him in the top-30 of the open male category.

Once again the True Grit epic did not disappoint. Riders taking on the True Grit challenge know they can expect a tough, technical course with incredible views, great weather, enthusiastic support crews, and a hefty dose of spring-time singletrack riding.

Cannondale rider Alex Grant’s thoughts after the race captured the overall feeling well. “It felt so good to be back out racing the mountain bike. It has been almost 11 months since my last MTB race. It felt so familiar yet so strange getting ready. Last year’s injury definitely gave me some perspective, when I was laid up and couldn’t step on my foot for 3 months I had plenty of time to think about how I would never take just being mobile and active for granted again. Every race I do is all just gravy because at the end of the day I unclip and walk away on two feet.”

 

Click Here for Full Results From All Categories

NUE Announces 2017 Race Schedule

“Celebrating our first ten years as the premier XXC Race Series”

The 11th Annual National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series www.nuemtb.com announced the 2017 race schedules this week that included several exciting changes.

The NUE Epic Race Series Schedule, comprised of races at or near 100 miles in length, will witness the return of the Breckenridge 100 mile in Colorado, a new race, the Marji Gesick, located in the upper peninsula of Michigan and a new date for the Big Bear Grizzly in California which will also serve as the new Championship race where all ties are broken.

In 2016, NUE introduced the first Marathon Race Series schedule, comprised of races at or near 50 miles to 100k in length. In 2017, the Marathon race series will expand to include three new locations in 2017, the Carrabassett 100k in Maine, the B-68 in Breckenridge, Colorado and the Marji Gesick 50 in Michigan.

“On behalf of The NUE Race Series, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, many who have been with us for up to a decade now, for believing in our vision and supporting NUE. We are proud to promote our NUE sponsors including Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport of Germany, Darn Tough Socks of Vermont, KMC Chain, Lauf Forks, Voler apparel, Squirt Lube, and Chris Eatough Coaching, for providing training plans for NUE Racers, many tailored to specific NUE race courses based on his success with NUE.

Singlespeeder Gordon Wadsworth mixes it up with the lead group. Photo by: David Smith Photos

Born in 2006 to fill a need for XXC racers, the NUE Series began with just six races before growing over the last decade to now include twenty four races held within thirteen different states and now internationally in Costa Rica and Spain. In 2016, NUE made the leap to the International stage by introducing the Rincon de La Vieja Challenge, held in Costa Rica, as its first Latin American venue. Race attendance doubled this year to nearly 700, making Rincon, now known as the Volcano 100, one of the largest races in the NUE Race Series.

Rincon Race Director, Juan Carlos, “The Volcano 100 MTB race has gathered momentum being the first 100 miler of Latin America. It is truly a giant step forward to become part of the NUE (National Ultra Endurance) Race Series. We are honored and thankful for the opportunity and look forward to growing with the NUE, helping the NUE grow and promoting this wonderful sport of endurance MTB cycling internationally.”

The NUE Marathon Race Series will be made up of ten well known races plus two new venues. Distances will vary ranging from 50 miles to 100k. Like the NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series, the NUE MARATHON Race Series will be governed by the same rules and will require the same number of races (BEST 4) to become eligible for series awards and recognition. It is important to note that these are two separate race series. Points will not transfer between the Epic 100 Mile and Marathon Race Series. Marathon Series finishers will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, including a share of the minimum $4000 Cash purse, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE finisher jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series Finishers.

To claim the NUE Race Series Epic 100 Mile title, racers best four finishes will count. NUE requires a minimum of four races to receive a national ranking. ALL racers who complete four of the NUE 100 Mile distance races will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, including a share of a minimum $10,000 cash purse, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE Finisher Jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series finishers.

Additional Travel awards for NUE Division leaders or Champions, and randomly drawn NUE Racers,  including  the Volcano 100 and The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, will be announced publicly soon.

All ties will be broken at the Big Bear Grizzly in California to be held on a new date, September 30. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate. Everyone is welcome to compete on a level playing field alongside top Pro’s. ALL finishing racers receive a score based on their race finishes with a “lowest points wins” formula. The best possible score is 4.

Taylor Lideen leads the chase group. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Nearly ALL NUE Race Series events sold out again in 2016, some within mere minutes.  The NUE Race Series presents racers with a balanced schedule, east and west, plus Central America. Costa Rica is now served by Southwest Airlines making airfare to the capitol city of San Jose and Liberia, located farther north, as affordable as traveling across the US.

NUE is currently soliciting the support of additional partners to promote products and services that racers can use. Potential sponsors can receive more information by contacting Ryan O’Dell at nolimit@mohican.net

What is on tap for each event for 2017

The 2017 NUE Series will roll out on March 11 in the southwest at the True Grit Epic and True Grit Epic 50 in sunny St. George, Utah.  According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, “The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first twenty miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on single track and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain.

On April 29, NUE returns to Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 and Cohutta Big Frog 65 now under the direction of Justin and Amy Mace.  In 2016, the Cohutta 100 took on a fresh route, drawing up the southern end of the course that went into Georgia and displacing it west across more of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest and the Ocoee region.  Staging for the race takes place along the banks of the beautiful Ocoee River — site for the 1996 Olympic White Water Events.  The 100 miles of race course traverses the mountain terrain by world class single track and fire roads. The single track is fast and flowing, but can get tight and technical in spots. The fire roads are demanding but rewarding with long ascents, fast descents, and spectacular mountain views.

Out of the gate, the race makes about a three mile climb on pavement up highway 64.  This warm-up serves as a good field displacer and pole position before entering into the fast and flowy single track for the next twenty miles. Next is an out-and-back trip on beautiful mountain fire-roads.  Road texture alternates between hard-pack gravel and smooth moist dirt. Expect tenacious climbs (over 12,000’ of elevation gain overall), hundreds of curves, and peaceful mountain streams.  Upon return, racers will re-enter the single track for about nine final miles of the best trails in these mountains.

The weather in Southeastern Tennessee in late April ranges in expression. Expect a chilly morning for sure on race day, but a quick warming up in the early miles.  Eight Aid Stations provide supplemental support throughout the course and a delicious meal and coveted “Finisher” mug await at the Finish Line.”

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Next up is the 16th Annual Mohican 100 and Mohican 100k on June 3, the largest attended NUE Race where racers compete for a $10,000 cash purse, the highest single day cash award in the NUE Race Series. Like the Leadville 100, Mohican features a downtown start in Loudonville leading racers up a long climb for a $200 prime at the city limits. From there, the course covers several miles of double track before treating racers to Ohio’s top ranked pristine, flowing single track within the 5000 acre Mohican State Forest along a single loop spanning three of the counties that make up what is known as “Mohican Country”. Due to tremendous growth, The Mohican 100 mile and 100k imposed a limit of 700 racers beginning in 2015. This race may sell out quickly so it is recommended to register soon. 100 Mile Race finishers receive a custom Mohican finisher growler to be filled and refilled with a truckload of microbrew provided by Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland.

From the Buckeye State, racers wither head north toward Michigan or west toward Colorado! The NUE Series will feature two great races, east and west on June 17. Marathon racers will enjoy the Bailey HunDitO 50 in Colorado, a not-for-profit event invented by a Colorado State Senator benefiting youth biking initiatives in Colorado including Trips For Kids Denver/Boulder, which offers mountain biking opportunities to underserved youth, changing lives “two wheels at a time”, the Colorado High School Cycling League, a new resource for high school students around the state to be exposed to the world of mountain bike racing. Bailey also continues to support the advocacy and trail building work of the Colorado Mountain Biking Association as it builds new trails in the Platte Canyon area that both serve the local community’s recreation needs and is developing Bailey into a mountain biking destination.

Starting from the heart of Bailey, the race features over 45 miles of single track as it winds from Bailey through the Buffalo Creek Trail system and along the Colorado Trail to the South Platte then on to Deckers up Stony Creek Pass to Wellington Lake, and, finally, finishing to a fabulous new festival-like finish area in a private meadow by the river.

One the same day, NUE Epic 100 mile racers will be heading into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, also on June 17. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, The Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series.  If you like fast flowing, mostly non-technical single track, and Founders Brewing, this is your race. Perhaps that is why this event always sells out early, sometimes within minutes, so don’t miss your opportunity to register on January 8 at high noon.

Riders are treated to the spectacular scenery around Ducktown, Tennessee. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

As summer arrives, The NUE Race Series returns, to the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota July 8 for the Tatanka 100 and Tatanka 50k. The Tatanka 100 is NUE’s first and only point-to-point race beginning beneath Iconic Mount Rushmore and finishing in Sturgis! From the shrine of democracy to the city of riders, racers will test their mettle as they navigate South Dakotas famous Centennial Trail. The Tatanka 50k will retain many of the same challenges albeit over a shorter distance that offers NUE Marathon Race Series points.

One week later, think Big Foot and Volcano’s as Mudslinger Events hosts The High Cascades 100 in Bend returning for its eighth year to represent the state of Oregon on July 15. The Trails around Mt. Bachelor are truly epic and racers are treated to quality craft brews from Deschutes Brewing. With just 350 spots available, racers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Also on July 15, a new race has been added to the NUE Marathon Schedule located in Maine. The Carrabassett 100k located in the Carrabassett Valley adds some northeast flavor to the NUE Series.

On July 29, The Wilderness 101, directed by Chris Scott, is located in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If you enjoy technical backcountry single track and hair raising downhill thrills, nothing rocks quite like PA! W101 was one of just six races included in the inaugural NUE Race Series.

Also on July 29, NUE heads west for the return of the Breck 100 and B-68 in Colorado. Breckenridge can take your breath away, literally, as it begins at an altitude of 9000 feet before crossing the continental divide three times, eliciting jaw dropping views throughout in a three loop Clover shaped race originating from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge.

The final four races will occur within two month period, as usual, has a tendency to create some chaos in the series standings before the final tie breaking event.

Josh Tostado attacks the DH with the Grand Teton in the background. Photo by: Jakes Hawkes

First up is the 9th Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k located near Alta, Wyoming on August 5. “Pierre’s Hole, a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies. Today it is known as the strategic gathering place to ski unfathomable deep powder and ride some of the best unknown single track in the nation.

According to race director Andy Williams, “The Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k at Grand Targhee Resort  newest course layout adds even more new single track without the nasty climb down to the ranch from the early years of the race that many old timers may recall. The 2017 course will take racers through fields of wild flowers, aspen trees and old growth forest right in the shadows of the Tetons.”​ The “Grand Loop” which is all a part of the Pierre’s race course was recently named as an IMBA Epic trail!”

On Saturday, August 19, The Hampshire 100 mile and 50 mile races return as the Crotched Mtn. Hundred. According to race director, Andy Gendron, “Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride, a ski area located in Bennington, New Hampshire is continuing the tradition of the Hampshire 100 race hosted in Greenfield at Oak Park. The race has been a huge success over the last decade and Crotched Mountain is looking to build on that success for the future. The ski area will now host the staging area, on-site camping and event venue at their location in Bennington, which has been a part of the race course in the past. In addition, an outdoor BBQ and beer garden are planned for 2017 and the event date will be moved to a Saturday, Aug 19. The new event organizers are excited for this shift in the Hampshire 100 event and look forward to hosting in August.”

On September 2, The NUE Race Series goes Latin to beautiful Liberia, Costa Rica for the Fifth Annual Volcano 100, formerly known as the Rincon Challenge and Rincon Challenge 100k, a 100 mile and 100k loop around a volcano that features both jungle and desert conditions. Now served by Southwest Airlines, racers should note that travel to Costa Rica has become much more affordable with airline pricing about the same as a ticket from the east to the west coast in the US. Enjoy Costa Rican cuisine and hospitality competing alongside local Tico’s and fellow mountain bike racers from all over the world.

The next day, on September 3 over Labor Day Weekend in the USA, The Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will send up to 650 racers into the George Washington National Forest. Shenandoah is the grand-daddy of them all, and the largest strictly 100 mile race in the NUE Race Series! Shenandoah not only has a great reputation for amazing trails but is also well known for the outstanding support of volunteers and aid stations that many racers would agree sets the bar for excellence.

One September 23, NUE shifts north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Ishpeming for the Marji Gesick 100 and 50 mile races.  100 miles and 13,000 vertical feet armored with rocks, roots, drops, jump lines, flow trails, grueling climbs, dangerous technical descents and a final fifteen miles designed to push riders to their mental and physical limits.

Over its ten year history, the NUE Race Series has alternated the Championship race from east to west several times in an effort to keep the playing field level for racers. In 2017, the final NUE race will break all ties and determine the new NUE Champions on a new date and location returning to the west coast of California for the Big Bear Grizzly 100 and Grizzly 75k in Big Bear Lake. Big Bear has attracted racers from nine countries and eighteen states!

Tinker Juarez on course at the 2016 Big Bear Grizzly 100

 

Directed by Derek Hermon, racers familiar with the 100k Grand Fondo course will be treated to an extended portion of trail along a ridgeline with amazing views with the altitude beginning at 7000′ and reaching 8500′ with enough single track racers will beg for a fire road.

The NUE series schedule is tentative and subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details. Stay tuned here for upcoming information about NUE Series Sponsors, Prize Money, and other race details. www.nuemtb.com

 

2017 NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series

Date Race Location Limit
March 11 True Grit Epic St. George, UT 600
April 29 Cohutta 100 Ducktown, TN 275
June 3 Mohican MTB100 Loudonville, OH 700
June 17 Lumberjack 100 Wellston, MI 450
July 8 Tatanka 100 Sturgis, SD 300
July 15 High Cascades 100 Bend, OR 350
July 29 Wilderness 101 State College, PA 400
July 29 Breck 100 Breckenridge, CO 750
August 5 Pierre’s Hole 100 Alta, WY 150
August 19 Crotched Mountain 100 Bennington, NH
September 2 Volcano 100 Liberia, Costa Rica 500
September 3 Shenandoah 100 Harrisonburg, VA 650
September 23 Marji Gesick 100 Ishpeming, MI 650
September 30 Big Bear Grizzly 100 Big Bear Lake, CA 500

 

2017 NUE Marathon Race Series

Date Race Location Limit
March 11 True Grit 50 St. George, UT 600
April 29 Cohutta Big Frog 65 Ducktown, TN 275
June 3 Mohican MTB100k Loudonville, OH 700
June 17 HUNDitO 50 Bailey, CO 200
July 8 Tatanka 50k Sturgis, SD 300
July 15 Carrabassett 100k Carrabassett Valley, ME 400
July 29 Breck-68 Breckenridge, CO 750
August 5 Pierre’s Hole 100k Alta, WY 150
August 19 Crotched Mountain 50 Bennington, NH
September 2 Volcano 100k Liberia, Costa Rica 350
September 23 Marji Gesick 50 Ishpeming, MI 650
September 30 Grizzly 75k Big Bear Lake, CA 500

 

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 5: Vinales to Cayo Jutias

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

After 5 stages, 4 nights of tent camping, 271 miles, about 100 stream crossings, and countless gallons of bottled water we had finally reached the final stage of Titan Tropic.

The final day of any stage race has always left me with mixed emotions; excitement to sleep in a bed again and give my butt a well deserved day off, but sadness that tomorrow I’ll wake up and not be racing my bike, instead I’ll be packing and returning to the real world. There really is nothing better than putting all your focus on racing your bike and recovering for the next day.

Sadly, all stage races must end and I was thankful that I woke up Friday morning feeling good. No stomachache. No vomiting every time I looked at food. I wasn’t shoveling in breakfast like normal but I got in some cereal and bread. Way better than yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

The final stage took us out of the Vinales Valley, out of the shadows of the mogotes, and up to the northern coast to finish on the pristine, white-sand beaches of Cayo Jutias.

Ourselves and the small contingent of U.S. riders in Titan Tropic were looking to cap off a successful week. We held the lead in the mixed duo category, despite losing time the previous day. Mountain bike super-legend Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) was wowing the field by leading the senior 50+ category but more impressively hanging on to fifth in the overall GC. Tinker was accompanied by second-placed senior rider and Cape Cod resident Kevin Hines (Corner Cycles) who sat in the top-10 on GC. While Selene Yeager (Bicycling) was solidly placed in 4th in the women’s competition. Everyone was looking forward to a good final day and that refreshing dive into the Atlantic following the finish.

Today’s roll out was fast, heading downhill on a paved road. Without warning the lead car sped off and riders ripped down to the first section of singletrack. The course bottlenecked quickly with riders battling for position.

The lead group crosses a river on stage 5. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

After the first few climbs and trail sections we began to settle in and tackle the progressive rollers that stood between us and the coast.

The final stage was shaping up to be a good one. The first 60km was almost entirely dirt with steep, short climbs making the legs burn. The second-place mixed duo team had gotten in front of us on the opening downhill road start as Jen was spun out with only a 30-tooth ring up front. We climbed our way back into the lead with some fancy trail navigation in the early singletrack and then hooked onto a group of drafting partners when the singletrack turned to logging road.

We were going good now and cruised past the final mogotes saying goodbye to the high cliffs and hanging gardens making our way into palm forests as we approached the coast.

With 10km left we exited the last of the dirt and entered a long causeway that would take us to our final destination. The road was dead flat but the wind was mercifully light and cool as it came off the water on both sides of us.

Finally, we made the turn off the road and onto the untouched sand. I dropped into the surf a little too deep and was immediately gobbled up by a wave that came almost up to my handlebars – my bike is not going to be happy with me tomorrow.

Jen Hanks on the beach at Cayo Jutias. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Higher on the shore now, we scrambled through the mangroves and palms dotting the sand and made the final turn toward the finish line arch.

It’s always a great feeling crossing the line after days and days of hard efforts, even more special we would get to enjoy taking the overall win, for the first time, in a multi-day stage race.

Just one last thing to do. We both dropped all our gear and raced into the clear turquoise water of the Atlantic.

It seemed like everyone had a great last day and a memorable week. The Titan Tropic was like nothing we had done before. The unparalleled cultural experience of Cuba fused with a week of bike racing and the excellent support of the Titan Tropic promoters combines to make a wicked stew of challenge, enjoyment, and unforgettable memories.

Once we complete a stage race Jen and I don’t typically do the same race again, always looking for a new experience and challenge, but Titan Tropic may change that for us. We are already looking forward to another week in Cuba, December 2017.

Us at the finish. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 4: Vinales to Vinales

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

We had been looking forward to stage 4 all week; 84 kilometers of dirt! The excitement was high going in and we felt like we would have fun and probably open up our lead a bit more doing it.

Unfortunately, that plan quickly went down the toilet as I woke up with a nasty stomach ache and some unfriendly diarrhea. I thought maybe I could power through but once I sat down for breakfast the mere sight of food made me want to barf.

First placed mixed duo team of Jen Hanks and Shannon Boffeli on stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I nursed down a glass of orange juice and went back to the tent to get ready for the stage.

Yesterday had been long and hot with a humid night of sleep to follow so I wasn’t sure if I was suffering some dehydration or a stomach bug. Just in case I started taking an antibiotic I brought down.

I was excited to start the day because sitting on my bike was actually easier than trying to stand or walk. The first 10km went by mercifully quick but I had pretty much burned any matches I had at that point.

Race leader Diego Tamayo controls the front of the field from Vinales to Vinales. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I was walking all the climbs. Jen took my heavy pack with all the tools and let me carry her lighter one but that barely helped. The second-placed team quickly passed us and I could tell by their urgency they wanted to put some time into us.

When I could ride Jen would push and pull me the way I do for her most stages but I still couldn’t keep up with her. Finally, after about two hours of suffering and harboring serious doubts that I could finish the day I managed to get some Honey Stinger energy chews in, the first calories I had eaten all day. I followed that with a little water and things were looking brighter.

Racers power past a tobacco drying barn in the Vinales Valley. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I could at least keep up with Jen on the flats. After a bit more time we actually passed a few people and were getting a good chuck of kilometers behind us.

At the third and final aid station I was feeling good enough to drink and force down a banana. We were off again. I gulped down one final drink and that put me right over the edge. Everything came back up. My mouth was like an uncontrolled fire hose ejecting every bit of water and food I had eaten the entire day all over my bike.

Shannon Boffeli rolling his way through stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

With nothing left in me I actually felt the best I had all day. The final 20 kilometers of the day weren’t fast but I could easily keep my legs moving unlike earilier in the day.

We crossed the line having lost just 18 minutes to our rivals. I immediately headed for the medical station.

Upon seeing me they put me on a stretcher and carried me into their makeshift clinic. My color was pale and skin was dry despite the 90-degree temperature and matching humidity. The team quickly placed an IV and started giving me fluids to replenish what I had lost.

Stage 4 offered up the most dirt of any stage in the 2016 Titan Tropic. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

It helped. A lot! After 2 hours, a liter of saline, and something to help with nausea I was feeling much better.

Today was a real struggle but also a great test of the mixed duo team category. Today it was the female partner pulling her teammate along. Doing everything possible to put in the fastest time and it worked. Without Jen’s help I very well may not have finished and definitely would have lost a lot more that 18 minutes.

Now I just need to get some food in me before tomorrow. It’s the shortest stage of the week but 68 kilometers could be impossible on two days without food.

IV fluids and oxygen after the finish. Photo by: Jen Hanks

Raul Hernandez and partner Laura Ortiz look to pick up time on stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 3: Soroa to Vinales

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

I apologize in the lapse in coverage from Titan Tropic 2016 but internet service on the interior of Cuba is fleeting at best. The experience is unparalleled however. We saw incredible sights while crossing the Cuban island from north to south before turning to the northern, Atlantic coast again for the finish.

Day three was the queen stage taking the race from the lush gardens of Soroa to the hidden valleys and floating islands of Vinales.

Race leader Marlies Mejias (Cuba) leads her teammate and defending champion Olga Echenique through the early river crossings. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

The entire stage is roughly 114 kilometers with over 2,000 meters (6,000 feet) of climbing spread out along the way.

A long neutral lead out got us going, extended by the overall race leader, Diego Tamayo (Team Tamayo), stopping to pee before the control car could pull off.

Once the group was released it was clear today was going to be another fast ride, despite the extra miles.

Tinker Juarez wowed the crowds this week in Cuba. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

After a handful of early road miles, we dropped off into some of the most remote riding we had done thus far. Rock strewn, beaten, forest tracks, cross cut by streams and muddy fords traveled over hundreds of years by nothing but horses and ox drawn wagons now provided passage for 150 mountain bikes.

Dropping deeper and deeper into the interior of Cuba we passed homes that rarely see visitors and must have thought the alien invasion was finally happening as gaunt beings in brightly-colored spandex, steadily streamed by. If indeed they thought the aliens were upon them, they were exceedingly nice about.

After the dirt ended, we climbed to a high ridge that traversed endless valleys. An absolutely marvelous road that feels like your riding the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia with forests of palms taking the place of the old growth hardwoods of North America.

The preferred beast of burden in Cuba. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

For kilometer after kilometer we followed the winding road without encountering a single car that wasn’t affiliated with the race. It’s no mystery why the area around Vinales is quickly becoming a road riding destination.

Finally, we dropped into the Vinales Valley with it’s 1,000 foot mogotes, giant haystack shaped mountains, standing guard. A more unique and varied landscape would be difficult to imagine as lush greenery and palm trees sit atop limestone monoliths with sheer-vertical walls on all sides.

Sightseeing had to be put aside as our focus returned to reaching the finish line. Jen and I had ridden hard all day almost exclusively by ourselves. My feet were on fire the last 30km as the early morning creek crossings had softened my shoes and allowed to feet to float around.

Former Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari rides in the shadow of the many mogotes of the Vinales Valley. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

We picked up Jaime Alguersuari, a former Formula 1 driver, who passed us earlier in the day but was now dealing with some serious dehydration. He was riding with just bottles and lost one on a downhill section. He elected not to go back for it and it was costing him at this point. Jaime tucked in for the final road sections to the finish.

Stage three proved to be our best day as we put almost an hour of time between us and the second-placed duo mixed team, who we also learned are the former winners of the Titan Desert in Morocco.

Tomorrow, promises to be one of the best days for riding. The scenery of the Vinales Valley combined with a 100% off-road course should make for great riding and fun racing action.

Keeping the bikes clean and ready to go was important throughout the week. Titan Tropic workers power-washed hundreds of bikes a day. Photo by: Jen Hanks

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 2: Soroa to Soroa

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 2 Soroa to Soroa

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

The first competitive stage of Titan Tropic 2016 was a painful wake-up call for most racers. While yesterday seemed like a solid introduction to racing action it was a recovery spin in comparison to the grueling action of stage 2.

Crashes, blinding dust, searing pacelines, and rough roads challenged riders throughout the day. In total riders made a 104 kilometer loop south of Soroa before ending up at the finish again.

Jen Hanks and Shannon Boffeli working with a group on stage 2 -Image courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

While the racing was hard the cultural experience couldn’t have been better. Starting with cane fields and processing centers we made our way into more remote sections of Cuba. Gone are the classic American cars of Havana, out here the ox and horse still rule. If Havana seemed to be stuck in the 50s the area around Soroa is a trip back to preindustrial revolution.

Life is difficult in this part of the country. That didn’t stop residents from every home flooding into the streets to greet the riders with cheers and big smiles as they passed by.

For us stage 2 was DIFFICULT. The terrain was very flat and constant roadie tactics were needed to find your way into a group and protect yourself from the wind. It was far from “road riding” however. Imagine hammering along at 25mph with your Saturday morning road ride and suddenly the pavement drops away for half the field, then the other half of the riders plunge a foot below road surface into a pothole only to pop out just a quickly. Then the group reforms with just enough time to do it all over again. Now imagine you repeat this for three hours.

Making our way to Soroa. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

That’s how our day felt. By the end brain circuits were completely fried, legs burning with lactic acid, and a stomach serious pissed off about a lack of food.

Our day went as well as could be expected. We avoided multiple pile ups and our only crash was when Jen tipped over after the leader of our paceline led the whole group into a foot-deep tractor rut.

We managed stick with a fast group for most of the day and managed to leave them all behind as everyone else faded late in the day.

On the road to Soroa a Cuban local enjoys the country’s #1 export. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

For the first time, after all our stage races as a team, we crossed the line first, an exciting turn of events after a tough day.

For the first time we’ll go into tomorrow’s stage with a lead to defend. It should make for an interesting week.

Stage 3 is the longest of the Titan Tropic at 119 kilometers and perhaps the most scenic taking the race from Soroa to Vinales. This stage includes multiple large river crossings, mountain climbs as steep as 18%, and the unique mogotes (haystack-shaped limestone mountains) of Valle Vinales which make it a Unesco World Heritage site.

Jen prepares her bike for a grueling stage 3. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Enter to Win Chloe Woodruffs Olympic Bike

In following with the spirit of giving that goes along with the winter season US olympian and former national champion Chloe Woodruff is raffling off the Pivot Mach 4 she raced in Rio.

100% of each entry will go directly to the Arizona High School Cycling League, a non-profit supporting youth cycling. An entry costs just $10 and you can enter as many times as you like.

There are three ways to enter: visit Chloe’s website, send your entry by mail, or enter in person at the final Arizona High School Cycling League race of the year Nov. 6 at the Pivot Cycles Kid Zone tent.

Click here to visit Chloe’s site and learn more.

Even if you don’t bring home the bike, entrants can win one of many other prize packages from Stan’s NoTubes, Shimano, Kask, Clif Bar, ESI Grips, Castelli, and more.

You must enter to win before December 2nd.

Best of luck!

 

Chloe Woodruff's 2016 Rio olympics bike

Chloe Woodruff’s 2016 Rio olympics bike

chloe2 chloe3

Chloe’s Olympic Bike Specs

Frame: Pivot Cycles Mach 4 Carbon, size XS

Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Valor, 27.5″

Fork: FOX 32 SC, 27.5″, 110 “Boost” axle

Drivetrain: Shimano XTR DI2 1×11

Crankset: Shimano XTR M9020 with Stages powermeter

Brakes: Shimano XTR Race, 160mm 6-bolt rotors

Handlebar/Stem/Seatpost: PRO Tharsis XC carbon

Saddle: PRO Griffon carbon

Tires: Maxxis Pace 2.1

Pedals: Shimano XTR

Grips: ESI Racer’s Edge

BikeFlights will provide shipping for the Grand Prize!

Fool’s Gold 60 – NUE Marathon Finale

KENDA NUE Series #10

Fool’s Gold 60

Dahlonega, Georgia

Ryan O’Dell

For the first time this year, Fools Gold offered a 60 Mile option. This was another challenge for the Marathon Racers, providing a final opportunity to improve their national ranking. Besides being the final race, Fool’s Gold also served as the NUE Series tie breaker. This year’s Fool’s Gold moved to a beautiful new location at Anderson Creek Retreat near Elijay, GA, that included camping. Racers and spectators were treated to amazing views, including Springer Mountain, the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail.

In addition to race day awards, the top five NUE Division winners will receive a share of the $6,000 cash purse. Each of the four division winners will also be rewarded with complimentary entry into All NUE races in 2017, a custom made NUE Champions Jersey by Voler.

Women’s Open

Nielson Takes the Win!

Jen Nielson, South Paw Cycles/Liv, won the race with a time of 5:11:15. “Fool’s Gold 60! 60 miles of pavement pounding, gravel grinding, flowing single track fun! No issues with illegal day-of registration this time around. I was prepared(ish). From the detailed website, to the email updates, to the extensive race guide, this event was clearly going to be well managed down to the finest of details.

The extreme organization stressed my somewhat naturally chaotic and unorganized self…just a bit. Packet pick up no later than 06:20? Race starts at 07:45? Deadlines. So early! I hustled to get out of work on time Friday, so as to finish the race day packing. Erik busily wrapped up shop duties, ultimately making for yet another late travel night. No sooner than our heads hit the pillows, it was time to be up and moving. Packed up, bikes loaded, bodies fueled, race packets secured, port-a-potty trip in the dark…check! Back in the comfort of the Element, I was quick to announce pre-race nap time and get multiple alarms set. Good luck 90 mile racers, we Nielsons need our beauty rest! Thirty minutes of glorious sleep, plus hitting snooze x1, and it was show time. I won’t lie, this was my first time enforcing pre-race nap time and I wasn’t sure whether or not the effects would end up being most regrettable.

The mass start was indeed massive as everyone jockeyed for positions in front of the timing mat. I was among the many racers fanned out on the outskirts of the gravel road and into the grass, well outside of timing mat territory. As I tried to inch closer and closer to the gravel road, not wanting to risk any sort of timing penalties, a lady on a BMC calmly reassured me that we would all eventually make it across the mat. Unfortunately, that did little to reduce my anxiety or desire for a good start. A car horn announced the start of the race and I squeezed in with the rest of the racers, making it over the mat with a foot to spare. Whew! Go time for real now!

The Lust was locked out and ready to go, so we jumped to the outside of the pack and made quick work of getting up to the front before tucking back in for some drafting. Big sigh of relief. It was sketchy going, surrounded by the sounds of brakes squealing and tires rubbing other people’s tires. I was just hoping that the results of those sounds would not include me being on the ground. I found myself mostly spending time with a couple of riders behind Erik, who was a couple of riders behind Thomas Turner. Wise? I’m not sure, but I wasn’t about to give up what I had. Neutral start completed, the pack was getting friskier, with random attacks off the front. As things ramped up, my thoughts simplified, focused on things that I had survived and had prepared me for this…TNR @ Pendleton, TNR, TNR, TNR, Tabata, Tabata, Tabata (thanks Brian Sheedy)! Well, I don’t know if those things really made a difference, but they were pretty much all I could think about.

The first climb was long and chunky. The rhythm I had hoped to carry was quickly lost. At times, it felt like everyone was passing me and there wasn’t a wheel I could manage to hop on. After the climb, was a long, fun descent. I was totally awake and ready for it. I was ready to chase some of those carrots that had passed me on the up. The Lady Lust and I made amends after Black Bear Rampage, getting in some quality bonding time over the last week, and were finally finding our groove. It was exciting!

When we hit single track, it was fast and flowy. The Lust and I were ready for it. There were certainly some “oh $#*t” moments, coming into corners hot, not realizing the trail was no longer directly in front of me. Guys were caught and others passed me. I tried to grab wheels where I could, hoping to pick up the pace for some sort of meaningful impact on the competition. I guess it wasn’t all fast and flowy. There were some punchy hills in there that made the down to up transition hard on the legs. At one point, I hopped off the bike to hike behind a line of others hiking, and realized I was looking at some long slender legs that couldn’t possibly belong to a guy, right? I checked her out closely. Yup, definitely not a guy. I debated asking the burning question that was on my mind and finally decided to let my mouth win. Much to me relief, she was racing the 90. I passed with some words of encouragement and continued on, wondering who was really behind me in pursuit.

Lesson learned from Black Bear, I was conscious to be eating every time I hit a fire road. Food, food, food was another overriding simplistic thought for this race. Even if I wanted to forget eating, the volunteers at the aid stations were on it, chastising me for not getting nutrition, despite my reassurances that I was eating what I packed. Other thoughts that generally preoccupied me while I was out there were, surely there is a Carey Lowery out there on the prowl….Carey, Carey, Carey….and as I hit the downhills, surely there is a ripper like Kaysee Armstrong behind me…Kaysee, Kaysee, Kaysee! Much to my amusement, I wasn’t the only one thinking Carey.

The final ascent was a long steady fire road climb of about 3.6 miles. This climb I liked! My happy rhythm was ready! While grooving on up the climb I passed a guy I had been going back and forth with and he jumped on my wheel. Not long after spending a little time together, he asked “Are you faster than Carey?” I responded with an, “I don’t think so.” “Are you sure?” is what I got in return. “Well, she beat me last weekend.” was the best I could do for him. “Oh.” It felt like disappointment, which for some reason had me laughing a little. After a little longer, he asked how much further the climb was. I could only answer that I didn’t know for sure, but thought it was seven miles from the top to the finish (thank you Jerry McClung). He debated hanging on my wheel or catching me on the descent. His final words were that if we could rejoin by the end, he would give me a good draft in to the finish. Who could refuse an offer like that? So, I climbed on and he settled into his pace.

When I reached the top of the climb, I was greeted with a sign that indicated eight miles to the finish. Damn you Jerry! An extra mile?! 61 miles! Up until then, my mind had been racing with thoughts of excitement at the awesome descent that would await me. I was ready to rip. Or so I thought. Not long after starting down, my right calf started to cramp up. I never get leg cramps! I sat down on the sections I could, trying to shake things out. This wasn’t happening! After a shorter time than I expected, my friend came tearing by me, yelling that this was my opportunity to jump on his wheel for my lead in. Everything in me snapped to attention. It was go time! Forget your cramping legs, forget your aching hands, forget your throbbing feet, and forget everything else. I worked hard to stay on his wheel, but ultimately lost him. It was ok though, because I was finally on and catching other people.

I hit the final section of pavement, grabbed some nutrition, and set to work. I managed to get into a group of three guys. There were suggestions of working together, there was attacking and definitely not working together, there were words of encouragement that gave me extra boosts I didn’t know I had, and there were look backs to ensure others were dropped (including me). The final drag to the finish was a grass field that felt a lot like trying to ride through thick, deep sand. It felt like going nowhere. It didn’t seem to matter if you were standing up or sitting down. It was all the same slow arduous progress trying to reel in that finish line banner. Boy did it feel good to finally make it! Well, nothing felt good then, but it sure does now. 1st overall/women’s open. Erik Danger Nielson rocked it into 5th overall/men’s open, in a tough field of men.

Lisa Randall and Mountain Goat Adventures put on a great event! One of the best organized, most well marked, and well supported races I have been to. The amenities, post-race food, and awards/payouts were definitely something to brag about. It was a fantastic experience!

A surprise arrived for me on the Thursday before the race, meaning that this was the last race the Lady Lust and I would be doing together. It did have me on the verge of tearing up at one point during the race (endurance races will do that to you). I am glad this is the way we got to finish together!”

Tiffany Ballew, Peachtree Bikes, came in about fifteen minutes behind Nielson, with a time of 5:26:16. Having just finished with a first place win at Rincon, this was her fourth NUE Race of the season and her second place finish also moved her into second place overall in the NUE Series.

Beata Wronska, City Bikes, finished third with a time of 5:42:50. This was her second year racing at Fool’s Gold. She won first place in 2015. “This was not my first take at the Fool’s Gold since I had an opportunity to race it year ago and was fortunate enough to take the win. I was looking forward to come back on this challenging course and have some fun. Making the drive all the way from South Florida makes for quite a trip, but I and other Floridians find it well worth it.

Just two weeks ago, I raced in Val Di Sole, Italy in the Cross Country Masters World Championship where I can proudly say I podiumed and shared the stage with an Olympic medalist and 3-time World Champion and other top European riders. I felt already accomplished but realized that this endurance event would be a good aid to clear my mind and enjoy the quite different scenery to our local bike scene as well as a good moment to finish my season on a good note.

The truly off-road part of the course was pretty spectacular, especially the flowy single track and super tough and fun Bull Mountain. I had a wonderful time riding those sections and tackling the small creeks, steep uphill’s filled with roots which were so tough that only strong riders could make it all the way up, as well as having a blast on the super-fast and technical downhills. It was all so enjoyable that often I was forgetting that I was actually racing. There were times where I was battling my competition and swapping spots but also times when I felt like I was on my own in the whole forest and could hear only the trickling of water, rustling of leaves and my own breath.

I don’t think I will ever forget how I felt on the final rocky descent coming back to the finish line. The descent was so loose, rocky and bumpy that I experienced at the same time pain and almost complete numbness in my hands and feet. For sure my body was not used to descents like this and it made it more of a challenge for me than anything else. Coasting to the finish line after that was quite elevating and I had a brilliant time going back and forth with a few male riders and giving one rider a sprint finish which made if fun for both of us as well as spectators.

Finishing third and still placing on the podium this year leaves me completely content and satisfied, especially knowing the field was deep and stacked with talented riders. Now I just wish we had more races like this closer to home. I hope one day I will be able to focus solely on endurance racing and hopefully compete for the overall NUE series points.”

Laura Booth, City Bikes, finished in third place with a time of 5:42:50 jumping up to fourth place overall in the NUE Series.

Overall for the NUE Marathon Race Series, Karen Jarchow, Team Toepeak-Ergon, earned her first NUE Marathon Series Championship, sweeping the series with a perfect score of 4, winning ALL of the NUE races that she participated in.

Tiffany Ballew placed second overall and Becky Edmiston, Steamboat Velo, earned a final ranking of third overall in the NUE Series.

 

Men’s Open

Mendez takes the win in his first NUE Race!

Gabriel Mendez, Team 706P, won the Men’s Open with a time of 4:18:16. “The morning of the Fool’s Gold 60 and 90 mile endurance races, everyone was on their bikes in anticipation for the starts. At 7:15 sharp, we watched the 90 mile racers take off down the gravel road to embark on the grueling task. By 7:30, many of the 60 mile racers were already hanging out in the staging area, making small talk to pass time until the neutral rollout at 7:45. At the whistle, a couple hundred mountain bikers rolled out behind the lead car for the first portion of the race.

The pace remained tame for miles, even onto the first ascent of Nimblewill Gap, where Phil O’Donnell and myself rolled off the front (being roadies who could probably use a cushion on the twisty downhill) and established a small gap on the pack. By the end of the descent of Nimblewill, freshly graded and thus riddled with overturned rocks and potholes, we were joined by three others, Thomas Turner included.

The first upset in the top positions was caused by Erik Nielson and my stop at the 21 mile aid station; my bottle had been bucked out of its cage on the descent. This caused the two of us to have to chase up to O’Donnell and Turner, the race leaders. After some amount of time, I rejoined Phil and we pursued the charging Thomas Turner, who I was told was dropping the hammer at a hopefully unsustainable rate. At the 30 mile checkpoint, we were told that we were about two minutes behind the leader.

It wasn’t until the vicious ascent of Bull Mountain that I regained sight of Thomas. This was undoubtedly the toughest section of the entire race: the combination of mangled roots and gradients consistently in the double digits had me (and I would assume Thomas as well) hugging my granny gear and wrenching my bike simply to stay upright. However, the descent almost compensated in enjoyment for the suffering we endured up the mountain; it took all I had to hang on to Thomas’ wheel as we screeched and skidded down the single track and dirt roads at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour.

Following the descent, there was a stretch of road and a small amount of trail left before the 7 miles going up the backside of Nimblewill. At the base of the climb, I upped the tempo a bit in hopes of opening a small gap by the top of the climb, which lasted nearly 30 minutes but felt like an hour of switchbacks. Upon cresting the mountain, I realized I had to take all the risks on the final descent of Nimblewill to keep Thomas Turner at bay, as I had found he was significantly more competent at descending than I. Unfortunately, these risks earned me a cracked rear rim after the fact, but they also maintained my gap to the bottom of the downhill. From there, I knew it was a matter of elbows-on-the-bars time trialing against the headwind to the final stretch of gravel and grass.

The turn onto Big Bear Lane was a huge relief, although I did not realize we were to be routed down into the valley to be made to climb back out to the finish. As immensely painful as it was at the end of such a long race, hats off to the people who made this decision as anything less would have been unfitting to finish the brutal course (which was nothing short of epic) and it made you give everything you had left in the tank. All in all, I must say this was one of the best organized, most challenging races I’ve ever had the opportunity to compete in, and alongside multiple highly respected figures of the sport nonetheless.”

Just six minutes back, Thomas Turner took second at 4:24:40.

Fifteen seconds later and following two reported flat tires, Andrew Purcell, Wooster Bikewerks/Y-Not Cycling, in his fifth NUE Race of the season, took third with a finish time of 4:24:25.

In the NUE Race series overall for Marathon Men, Alex Pond earned his first NUE Marathon Race Series title. In point battle that was determined at Rincon in Costa Rica, Andrew Purcell placed second overall. David Pike, DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, took third overall in the point series.

Singlespeed

Betz comes out strong in second NUE Race, wins first place!

After finishing in fourteenth place at Big Frog earlier in the season, Jason Betz, Raising Cane’s Racing, grabs the win with a time of 4:47:15, just seconds ahead of second place.

Fifteen seconds later, at 4:47:30, Bradly Cobb, Motor Mile Racing, took second in his first NUE Series Race, the closest finish in the Fool’s Gold 60.

Cobb’s teammate, Justin Mace, Motor Mile Racing, took third with a time of 4:52:24 in his second NUE Race of the season. He raced earlier in the year at season opener, True Grit, placing 37th.

Overall, James Litzinger, Napoleon Elite, become the first NUE Marathon Series Champion undefeated with a perfect score of 4. Litzinger’s teammate, Scott Williams, Napolean Elite, finished the season ranked second overall in the NUE Marathon Series.

Ernesto Marenchin, Pivot Cycles/Twin 6/Was Labs, ranked third overall just one point behind Williams earning early season wins at both True Grit Epic and the Bailey Hundito.

 

Masters 50+

Turner on top!

In his first NUE Marathon race of the season, Greg Turner, Cartecay Bikes, wins Master’s 50+ with a time of 4:51:57.

Nineteen minutes later, last year’s race winner, Jorge Cortez from team JOVACO, finished second with a time of 5:10:41.

One minute later, Matt Hammond, Team Engine, completed the podium, finishing third with a time of 5:11:56. Along with his fellow podium dwellers, this was Hammond’s first NUE race this season.

Overall in the NUE Marathon Standings, 52-year-old Anthony Hergert, Rescue Racing, became the first NUE Marathon Masters Champion. Herget placed fourth at Fool’s Gold 60 this year, nine minutes behind Hammond at 5:20:06.  In route to his first series victory, Hergert,  completed in five of the ten NUE series races this season, including a first place finish at Rincon Challenge in Costa Rica.

NUE Webmaster, 61-year-old Dan Mock, finished 16th on the day at Fool’s Gold, moving into second place overall in the NUE Marathon Master’s division. 51-year-old Jim Thacker, Queen City Wheels ranked third overall in the NUE Standings.

 

WHATS NEXT: Stay tuned for the 2017 NUE Marathon Race Series schedule to be announced in early November. www.nuemtb.com

Fool’s Gold 100 – NUE Series Finale

KENDA NUE Series #14

Carla Williams and Dylan Johnson Wrap Up NUE Titles in Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Ryan O’Dell

The Fool’s Gold 100, the final stop of the Kenda National Ultra Endurance Series, was the last opportunity for racers to improve their national ranking. Besides being the final race, Fool’s Gold also served as the NUE Series tie breaker. This year’s Fool’s Gold moved to a beautiful new location at Anderson Creek Retreat near Elijay, GA, that included camping. Racers and spectators were treated to amazing views, including Springer Mountain, the southernmost point of the Appalachian trail.

In addition to race day awards, the top five NUE Division winners will receive a share of the $10,000 cash purse. Each of the four division winners will also be rewarded with complimentary entry into All NUE races in 2017, a custom made NUE Champions Jersey by Voler, along with an all-expense paid trip, excluding airfare, to Costa Rica to represent NUE at the La Ruta del los Conquistadores November 3-5, http://www.adventurerace.com/ . La Ruta is a three day stage race that stretches across Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean along an amazing course that includes two volcanoes, two oceans, Jungles and high-mountain passes.

Carla Williams descends on Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Carla Williams descends on Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Women’s Open

And the winner is, Carla Williams!

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, took top honors for a third straight year at the Fool’s Gold 100 finishing 7:42:09. This year Carla won first place in the NUE Series after taking second last year! Congratulations! “Fool’s Gold has some of the most fun and flowy singletrack in the NUE and it’s one of my favorite races. I was in a good position overall in the series leading up to this race and since Christy Olsen wasn’t at the start line, I could pretty much relax and just have fun out on the trails which is what I did. I pushed hard up the climbs and really enjoyed all the downhills. I was able to take 1st overall and win the women’s series! It’s been such a fun season traveling to new places, seeing old friends and making new ones, and I couldn’t be more excited to be heading to La Ruta in November.”

Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, finished second with a time of 8:52:17. This was her fourth NUE race of the season. Anne Pike, DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, took the third spot on the podium at 9:35:38. She raced five NUE races this season and moved into third place overall in the standings. Although not present at the final race, Christy Olsen, Fat Fish Racing/Crazy Pedaler, took second place overall in the series and Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycle, finished fifth overall! Congratulations to all of the women’s series finishers!

 

Dylan Johnson stands on top of the Fool's Gold podium. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Dylan Johnson stands on top of the Fool’s Gold podium. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Men’s Open

Dylan Johnson battles to get the win and takes the NUE Series!

With a winning time of 6:37:30, Dylan Johnson, Giant Co-Factory Northeast, fought his way to a Fool’s Gold finish, and took first place in the NUE Series! “I came in to the NUE final at Fool’s Gold with the lead in the series but by no means did I have it locked up. Brian Schworm, who’d been on my heels all season, was in a position to take the series win from me if he won at Fool’s Gold. I knew it would be a tough final and that Schworm would throw everything he had at me. Sure enough, the pace started very high and it didn’t take long before Brian and I found ourselves off the front in a one on one battle.

For the most part I stayed on Brian’s wheel knowing that I would have the advantage on the long gravel climb ten miles from the finish. Brian didn’t make it easy for me though. He charged every section and at times got a slight gap on me but luckily I was always able to reel him back in. We made it to the base of the final climb together and as soon as the grade got steep I made a move and put a little distance between myself and Brian and was able to hold it to the finish. It’s been an amazing season and I still can’t believe I pulled of the series win. I’d like to congratulate all the NUE series competitors this year, putting together 4 good races is no easy task. I can’t wait to represent the series at LaRuta!”

Six minutes later, Brian Schworm, Think Green VO2 Multipsort p/b SWORD, finished second with a time of 6:43:48. With this finish, Brian also placed second overall in the NUE Series. “The Fool’s Gold 90 mile race was the final of the NUE series and was decisive in determining the overall winner. There were three racers with a mathematical chance of winning: Dylan Johnson, Taylor Lideen, and me, and all of us were preregistered. I knew I needed to win and felt good about my chances.

The course is one of my favorites with great flow on fast trails with lots of climbing plus I had my teammate Nathaniel Cornelius to help out. When we lined up for the start of the race, I noticed Taylor was not present. Of course, Dylan was there with other contenders Tomasz Golas, Heath Thumel, Stewart Gross, and my teammate Nate. Soon into the first big climb these racers with singlespeed extraordinaire Gordon Wadsworth established a bit of a gap on the others. As we started descending the other side, I noticed that Nate and I, with Tomasz close behind, had a small gap on the others so I pressed the pace. I knew this wouldn’t be a decisive move but I thought we could make Dylan burn a match to bridge back up. Once at the bottom, Nate took over and with his road background, put the hammer down. Tomasz and I could barely hold on and we had a small gap.

Apparently behind us, Dylan, Heath, and Stewart joined forces and were able to catch back up before we hit the trail section of the course. Once on the trails, Nate continued to lead with a strong pace with the rest of us in tow until we reached aid station two. There some of us stopped, but some didn’t. This busted up the group and I found myself in the back due to a “natural break”. It took nearly thirty minutes but I worked my way back to the front with Dylan and Tomasz. We then rode together until the top of Bull Mountain.

Once we created the summit I went full-throttle to try and distance myself with my full suspension Specialized Epic versus Dylan’s hardtail. A couple times I gained a bit of a gap but Dylan was always able to close it down. On the next lap we rode quickly but nothing significant until will we reached the steep climbs before and ascending Bull Mountain. I felt very strong up these climbs but was uncertain about Dylan. It seemed like I may have a gotten a couple small gaps but, again, he closed them down quickly. On the following descent I tried again, in vain, to get away. Dylan was always right there.

Now it was down to the final and largest climb over Nimblewill Gap. Dylan and I approached he hill slowly, even conversing about riding and such, but the moment we hit the climb, Dylan accelerated like a rocket ship. I wasn’t even able to hang with him for a minute. I was impressed!  Anyway, I still carried on up the hill to secure my second position in the race and second in the series. I knew I gave it all I had and was aggressive during the race but Dylan was simply faster. Of course I am very happy with my NUE results this year with two wins and four seconds. Dylan is an incredible racer and person. I am very happy for him winning the overall and for myself for finishing second. Thanks to my team and my supportive wife, Jennifer. Now, it’s time for some R&R and then start thinking about next year!”

Tomasz Golaz, DRT, completed the race in third place with a time of 6:54:30 at Fool’s Gold. Taylor Lideen, Pivot Cycles/92fifty, finished third in the overall NUE Series.

John Haddock on his way to a win in the SS category. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

John Haddock on his way to a win in the SS category. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Singlespeed

Haddock First at FG100, moves up to third overall in the NUE Race Series!

Racing in his sixth NUE of the season, John Haddock, J. A. King / Farnsworth Bicycles, achieved the top spot! He came in with an impressive time of 7:25:50. “I’d heard great things about the trails and scene down at Fool’s Gold, so I thought I’d head down to North GA and check it out! Plus, a bunch of buddies were going and my wife would join, which made the call even easier. My overall impressions of the race were as expected: a really cool course with a good mix of climbing, gravel, road, and a good helping of generally buff singletrack. Onsite camping was superb, the aid stations were great and course markings were perfect.

The race started out fairly tame but kicked up a notch once we hit the first climb. I saw the lead group pull away and settled into a fast, but manageable pace, with Gordon ahead and Scott close behind. On the rough Nimblewill descent, I was caught by some geared riders and eventually worked my way into a group on the road consisting of a now-injured Gordon Wadsworth, Greg Golet, Nick Bragg and Carla Williams. I entered the trails first and gradually pulled away from the group. I would find out at Aid 4 that Gordon pulled out due to injuries from a bad spill. After distancing the group, I rode by myself for the rest of the day, enjoying the woods and feeling good overall. The scene at the finish was excellent, with tasty food, great beverages, bathrooms and shady seating. Thank you to Race Director Lisa Randall for hosting a wonderful final event of the 2016 NUE season. Also, huge thanks to J. A. King and our team sponsors for all of their support this year.” With his win at Fool’s Gold, John Haddock improved to third overall in the NUE Series.

Scott Rusinko, Nox Composites, took second place at 8:00:12. Joseph Stroz, Stroz Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, P.C., came in third place with a time of 8:15:05.

Overall for the NUE series, Gordon Wadsworth achieved first place for the third year in a row! Kip Biese, KJCoaching/Old Town Bike Shop, who completed eleven of the twelve NUE races, the greatest of any racer this season, took second overall in the series. NUE newcomer, Steven Mills, 22 years old, claimed fourth overall in the NUE Series including wins at both the High Cascades 100 and first overall at the Big Bear Grizzly 100.

50-plus winner Jeff Clayton makes his way over Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

50-plus winner Jeff Clayton makes his way over Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Masters 50+

Clayton wins FG two years in a row, and takes the NUE Series victory!

Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, finished in 7:39:38 which was significantly faster than his finish time last year. Tied with Greg Golet with four wins each in the NUE Series, Clayton also claimed his first overall victory in the NUE Series! “When I heard that Greg Golet had been in an accident at Rincon and probably wouldn’t be able to race at Fool’s Gold for the series tiebreaker showdown, I was disappointed…I was really looking forward to the challenge. Then came the news first from the promoter, and then from Greg himself that he would be able to race after all!

With a neutral rollout for the first few miles I took advantage, along with defending NUE Champion, Roger Masse, of riding on the front of the peloton—not something I can normally manage! It wasn’t long into the race proper before Greg came by me and slowly pulled away out of sight up the gravel road climb…damn! I figured that I could/should make up time on the descent, with Greg being somewhat mobility limited with his injuries. Sten Hertsens, another strong Master’s racer came flying around me and I was happy to follow his quicker lines to the bottom, Greg still out of sight.

I did my best to lose Sten in the singletrack leading up to aid station 2, which I eventually succeeded in doing, and also reeled in Greg. After following Greg up to aid 2, I decided that I would need to put time on him in the twisty singletrack, especially the descents. This tactic worked, albeit slowly, as he gradually receded further into the distance.  By aid 3,4 at the base of Bull Mtn, he was out of sight. That is pretty much how the race between Greg and I settled in.

I was somewhat worried going into the climb back up the gravel road toward the finish as I knew Greg would probably be out-climbing me there again. That said, I figured if I had at least a ten minute gap, short of me having a complete meltdown or mechanical, I’d hold him off.  Once I hit the last few miles of pavement, I went full speed ahead all the way until the finish.

I finished under blue skies in beautiful northern Georgia, with my teammates Van and Cody cheering me on…a great victory to cap off a very fun NUE race series. I managed to win 6 of 7 series races, each venue with its own unique characteristics and challenges. My thanks to my Master’s competition for joining me in the series as well as the many other racers I suffered with. Also, thanks to the promoters and volunteers for putting on great races, my family for their support, my sponsors including title sponsor Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, and finally, Scott Sports for producing such a capable and durable race machine, the Scott Spark 900RC.”

Greg Golet, Team Chico, fighting to get back after an injury suffered at Rincon in Costa Rica, arrived next in the tie breaker showdown with a time of 7:36:49. For the season, Golet finished second overall in the NUE series. “It’d be dishonest of me not to admit that I have pretty mixed emotions about how my NUE season ended. I feel joy and gratitude in being able to race in the finals, experience the beauty of the Georgia trails, and share fun times with others, but also frustration from having to race while injured. I had a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by a reckless driver two weeks earlier at the Rincon de la Veija Challenge (Volcano 100) in Costa Rica. This left me with a fractured scapula, and considerable soreness on the front and backsides of my ribcage. I didn’t expect to be able to race; however, I started to feel better as the event approached, and anyway, was committed to the trip east given that I had a conference to attend in North Carolina immediately afterwards.

On the day before the race I did a long pre-ride of the Jake and Bull mountain loops of the course (first time my tires touched dirt since CR), and found that I was able to ride fairly well, as long as I didn’t have to absorb jolts of the trail with my left arm, or larger hits or twists with my torso. The ride got me really psyched up! The single track was amazing, and I was thinking about this Abby Wambach interview where she was talking about how pro athletes compete all the time while injured. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and realized that I just needed play the hand I’d been dealt. It would be better to race and not do well, then to not race and wonder how it would have turned out if I did. Plus if I won this one, I would take the series title!

Pretty early in the first big climb I passed Jeff and Roger (my main competitors), and was feeling great on the relatively smooth mostly hard-packed dirt road. The decent off the back was rough in spots, and I was perhaps a bit more cautious than I needed to be, but I didn’t want to crash (like Gordon did!). Mid-way through the Jake Mountain loop, Jeff caught and passed me. I stayed with him long enough to admire how well he was ripping the single track, but eventually he got away from me. My trail riding was OK, but I was stiffer than I needed to be, especially on the rougher descents, such as off Bull mtn. Realizing this bummed me out a bit (which was somewhat self-defeating), but I knew it was a long race and hoped that my endurance would pay off later on. Well, it didn’t; at least not enough for me to make up the deficits I suffered in the middle part of the race. Jeff finished about seven minutes ahead of me. I don’t know if I would have won if I wasn’t injured, but was pretty disappointed crossing the line. So it goes with racing some times. I’m glad that I gave it a try and am truly happy for Jeff. We hung out for quite a while after the race and he’s a great guy.

My compliments to Lisa on running a fantastic race. Everything was really professionally done. Also huge thanks to NUE Series Director, Ryan O’Dell, for putting on the best series imaginable. He always has the best interests of the riders in mind and it shows in so many ways. Thanks too to my amazing wife Debbie and my three kids for supporting me in pursuit of my dreams. I love you guys so much!”

Two-Time NUE Defending Champion, Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling, took third place with a time of 7:45:58 edging out Carl Reglar, Verge Sport/Test Pilot, in the battle for third place overall in the NUE Series. Reglar, who was not at the NUE Final, finished the season fourth overall.

Click Here for Full Results From Fool’s Gold 100

2017 NUE Race Series Top Five

Women’s Open:

1st Place- Carla Williams

2nd Place- Christy Olson

3rd Place- Anne Pike

4th Place- Chase Edwards

5th Place- Simona Vincenciova

 

Men’s Open:

1st Place: Dylan Johnson

2nd Place: Brian Schworm

3rd Place: Taylor Lideen

4th Place: Christian Tanguy

5th Place: Tomasz Golas

 

Men’s Master’s 50+:

1st Place: Jeff Clayton

2nd Place: Greg Golet

3rd Place: Roger Masse

4rd Place: Carl Reglar

5th Place: Sten Hertsens

 

Singlespeed Open:

1st Place- Gordon Wadsworth

2nd Place- Kip Biese

3rd Place- John Haddock

4rd Place- Steven Mills

5th Place- Scott Rusinko

 

WHATS NEXT: For the last four years, NUE Champions have a perfect record of first place finishes at LaRuta. Can they maintain such a high standard against some of the best stage racing ultra-competitors in the world?! Stay tuned right here and follow the Kenda NUE Series Champions as they compete with racers from all over the world at the LaRuta this November! www.nuemtb.com