Fool's Gold 100 - Dahlonega, Georgia
Written by: Matthew Williams
Christian Tanguy (Team CF) and Jeff Schalk
(Trek) shared the victory in a controversial finish to the 2011 Fool’s Gold 100
miler, while Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) took a convincing victory in the women’s
Hot and humid conditions greeted riders on
the start line at the Monteluce Winery outside of Dahlonega, GA for the seven AM start. After a neutral rollout through the winery the racing got underway in
earnest and immediately went uphill. Gerry Pflug (Salsa/No Tubes) made some
accelerations early to go for the King of the Mountains prize at the summit of
the first ten-mile climb, but he eventually faded and it was Tanguy who led the
race over the top with Schalk close behind.
Not long after, however, Tanguy suffered the
first of his three flats and Schalk was able to establish gap of several
minutes by the end of the first 50-mile lap. That’s when the controversy hit.
Schalk arrived at the lap/finish cut off point before the volunteer had arrived
to direct him, and he went the wrong way, riding towards the finish line rather
than back out on course for lap two. Tanguy, arriving a few minutes later was
directed in the right direction. By the time Schalk realized his mistake he had
lost nearly 20 minutes.
Tanguy meanwhile had no idea that Schalk had
gone off course and was pushing the pace to try to catch up. "I thought that
Jeff couldn’t be more than a few minutes ahead,” Tanguy said afterwards, "so I
was pushing a really big pace to try and catch up. I kept looking ahead in the
straight-aways to see him, but I never could.” Of course, Schalk was not
actually up the road but was instead chasing Tanguy. Eventually Tanguy eased
up, figuring Schalk was riding too well. "When Jeff is like that there is
nothing you can do,” he said.
Tanguy had begun to settle in by midway
through the second lap. Tired from his earlier efforts on the climb and having
suffered a second flat, he was resigned to second place when an aid station
volunteer told him Schalk had gone off course. "So I got reenergized,” he said.
"At that point I didn’t know what had happened, I thought he had just missed an
arrow or something, it can happen to everyone.”
Tanguy grabbed another tube and headed back
out on course. Despite getting a third flat and having issues with his glasses
fogging up due to a torrential downpour he was able to race home in 7:11:12.
Schalk rolled in just a few minutes later. Drew Edsall rode a strong race
to take third, with Ernesto Marenchin and Peter Schildt rounding out the
Soon after the race the controversy
surrounding Schalk’s missed the turn became clear, and after much discussion
the decision was left to the riders. In a great display of sportsmanship they
agreed to share the victory, setting up a winner takes all show down for the
overall NUE series title at the Shennandoah 100 in just a few weeks.
In the women’s race it was Cheryl Sornson who
led from start to finish. Sornson said she felt "really good on the fist lap,”
and was able to establish a gap on the first climbs that would hold for the
rest of the race. And while Sornson suffered a little bit on lap two, the race
was never really in doubt. She took the win in 8:53:23. In second was Brenda
Simril (Motor Mile Racing), who has been riding well all year. Simril rode a
consistent race to come in just 16 minutes down on Sornson by the finish. Third
place went to Andrea Wilson.
As he has done all year Gerrry Pflug
dominated the singlespeed race at the Fool’s Gold. Pflug attacked early on the
races first climb, and though he suffered a little bit for his efforts he was
able to ride his race and settle in. His eventual time of 7:48:15 was not only
good enough for the singlespeed win, it also placed him 5th overall.
Second went to Jason Pruitt, with Shane Schrelhart rounding out the top three.
Masters Men 50+
Robert Herriman took a solid win in the
Master’s race. The Michigan racer led from start to finish, despite being
unfamiliar with the technical, east coast terrain featured in the Fool’s Gold.
Paul VanKooten second and Chris Irving was third.
1, Christian Tanguy (Team CF)/Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-Op) 7.11.12
3, Drew Edsall 7.32.19
4, Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat)
5, Peter Schild 7.46.17
6, Zach Morrey
7, Michael Loria
8, Troy Barry (Hammer Nutrition)
9, Mark Olson
10, Jason Morrell
1, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) 8.53.22
2, Brenda Simril 9.09.46
3, Andrea Wilson
4, Michelle Dulieu
1, Gerry Pflug (Salsa) 7.48.15
2, Jason Pruitt
3, Shane Schreilhart
4, Daniel Atkins
5, Brian Deloughy