By Ryan O’Dell
Under ideal weather
conditions, the sixth annual Hampshire 100, with 100 mile and 100k options,
lived up to the expectations of more than four hundred racers along a rocky race
course that was, perhaps, more difficult than many anticipated according to
several reports. Some spoke of an amazing fiddler who was playing somewhere
deep in the back country along the course. "The music could be heard for miles!”
Others told of a swampy bog that, according to Troy Barry (Hammer Nutrition/NoTubes), "was so deep, I couldn’t see my water bottle!”
For many NUE Series
race leaders this weekend, the Hampshire 100 proved to be a pivotal race
heading into the home stretch with just three races remaining! For the Crotched
Mountain Rehabilitation Center, beneficiary of the proceeds of the race, the
doubling of the size of the race will, no doubt, help to make a greater
difference in the good work being done there.
Sornson earns win
number three setting up a showdown with Carey!
NUE Champion, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF), added one more win to the two she
claimed earlier this this year, including a win over the defending women’s
champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) at the series opener at Cohutta along with her
more recent win at the Wilderness 101 in Pennsylvania.
was the only woman who finished in sub nine hours at 8:58:36. "When it was
announced that the New Hampshire 100 was part of the NUE Series, I signed up
without hesitation. A new adventure is
always exciting. Little did I know that it would also become a goal race that
would offer me an opportunity at winning the series. Winning the race now has
me set up to do battle at the Fool’s Gold 100 in Georgia.
Hampshire 100 was a tough, fun-filled course. It had rocks, roots, mud, water, twisty techy single track, double track
and roads that uniquely routed you around quaint countryside. It was very "old school" and very
much under-billed in the original race description. The race start was a little
undesirable for some of us in that they did it in waves.” According to race
director, Randi Whitney, this was necessary to sort out the field before a
single lane bridge early in the race.
single speeders, and masters went off in the second wave behind the open men.
It turned out to be not as hard to pass as we thought, but did cause some
initial chaos until things sorted out. Vicki Barclay (Stan's NoTubes Elite
Women's Team) and I got a jump on the others at first. About ten miles in, I
looked and saw that I had gapped her as well. For the rest of the race I kept digging deep and didn't let up.
Fortunately my bike held out and helped me get to the finish. Throughout the race I needed every gear due
to such varied terrain and punchy, twisty single track. The mud and water weren't kind to the drive
train although I was impressed with the route and the overall organization of
rolled into second at 9:14:02. "After Cheryl got away, Karen Potter
(MTBRacenews.com) and Kathleen Harding (Team CF) caught up to me. The three of us rode together for about ten
miles. Karen managed to get ahead on the
Sandy climb leading to power line climb. I dug deep to catch back onto her wheel and rode with her through the
single track up to aid two. I managed to get out of aid station and on the next
climb ahead of Karen and never saw anyone again.”
Shrewsbury, MA, who also placed fifth at the Wilderness 101 this year, took the
third spot on the podium finishing 9:21:09. "I felt pretty good out there today.
I knew it was going to be a long 100 miler given my finish time in the 100k
last year (6:06:12), although I wasn't quite sure how fast the second shortened
loop would ride.
Cheryl started really
strong, as always, and was gone from the very beginning. Vicki, Kathleen and I
all rode together until the 'wall' coming off the sandy flat rail trail
section. I managed to stay on my bike for the entire climb and got a small gap
but Vicki caught back on and passed me at Aid Station three where I had to refill
my water bottles. She kept a gap from that point. I just tried to stay strong
and keep pushing but with the thought that I had to do another lap.
The middle of the
course gets really bogged down with slow riding singletrack and some tough
steep climbs. And then again, the last nine miles finishing the laps were
pretty hard too. You think you're almost there and it just takes forever to
ride those miles, although there were some pretty sweet singletrack sections
mixed in there too. Thankfully the second lap rode really fast with more dirt
road and a lot of the tougher middle sections cut out. There was a pretty long
steep climb at about mile 85 that went on and on... but at that point, you know
you're almost home.”
Brenda Simril (Motor
Mile Racing) who currently holds second place in the point standings following
three second place finishes this year, rolled into fourth place 9:50:15 with
Elizabeth Allen (Danielson Adventure Sports) of Willimantic, CT and Masters
racer Susan Lynch (Union Velo) of Medfield, MA rounding out fifth and sixth
"Tanguy put the
hammer down and I thought my legs were going to explode!” Tinker Juarez
champion, Christian Tanguy (Team CF), leads the NUE series, however, with just
one win in his quiver among a stacked field of competitors headed to New
Hampshire, he must have felt the heat, knowing how important a win in New
Hampshire would be if he had any hope of defending his title.
Race number nine, in
this best four of twelve series, became even more critical for all contenders when
Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) announced plans, just last week, to build on his
wins at Cohutta and the Wilderness 101 in an attempt at his first NUE Series
However, it was the
defending champ that took it to the field on Sunday with a winning time of 7:35:44! According to the former US
Olympian, David "Tinker” Juarez (Cannondale), who finished second in 7:41:50
after doing the Mt. Washington Hill climb a day earlier, "After Jeremiah
flatted, Tanguy put the hammer down! I thought my legs were going to
Tanguy commented, "With
Jeremiah, Tinker and a great bunch of other riders who beat me
earlier this year, I was really wondering how I would fare. I started the race
with one bottle and no gels figuring that the cool temperature would allow me
to reach my drop bag at mile 25 with no problem. As I came in and announced my
number to the volunteers, there was no action. I was wondering whether we had indeed
arrived at the correct aid station or not. Jeremiah and I were ready to turn
back but with the confusion we thought that there might be another aid just up
the road... well, there wasn't.
We reached the Strava challenge section and I thought, could there be any
better opportunity to test the legs? Jeremiah, Justin Lindin (Redline) and
Tinker Juarez joined me at the front. Just a few miles later, the trail got
extremely steep and only Jeremiah could go up without any dismount. He did not
seem tired from his efforts last weekend at the Leadville 100. (Bishop earned
bronze at Leadville)
Our group stayed in tight formation until Jeremiah experienced a flat tire
around mile 45. I was running the beefier tires and thought that I had carried
all this rotating mass for a purpose so I went to the front
and increased the tempo. However, I was sure that Jeremiah would be coming back
rapidly. I was just hoping to make him work a little harder.
With the faster tempo, Justin started to yoyo behind Tinker and me until he was
no longer to be seen. The trails were great and both of us had a great time.
However, the aid station at mile 48 was not coming fast enough and I was
running on fumes. I have no idea how I could have went so far with only one
bottle and no food. At the aid, I grabbed my bottle along with Hammer gels,
leaving with only one bottle but, after all, it is only 14 miles to the
start/finish area for the second loop?
On the long flats, Tinker was unable to relieve me at the front, but at least
Jeremiah was nowhere to be seen. In the first major climb, Tinker lost some
ground. It was a long ride to the finish and I was really giving it all to the
limit of my legs seizing up. The closer I got to the finish, the more I feared
a late surge from someone from behind me, however it did not happen, and I managed
to reach the finish in first place. In another two miles, I think I would have passed
out! I was so exhausted! I am sure that the competition will seek their revenge
at the Shenandoah 100, especially Jeremiah being on his home turf. I can only
hope my legs will feel as good as they did today!”
Brandon Draugelis (Team CF) finished third, 7:58:04. The top three were the only sub eight hour finishes
on the day. Four minutes later, Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry's) came in 8:02:42 to
finish fourth. Spreng is currently holding fifth place overall in the NUE
Series. Fifth place went to Keck Baker (Carytown Bicycle Company/Cannondale)
from New Kent, VA 8:09:26.
Just six seconds
separated the next two with John Burns of Yarmouth, MA in sixth 8:13:03 and
Jonathon Schottler of Danbury, CT in seventh place 8:13:09. The next three came also, just seconds apart,
Michael Simonson (TREK/RBS/CPA Crosssings) 8:16:11, Zack Morrey (Blue Ridge
Cyclery/NoTubes/Magura/Schwalbe) 8:16:19, and Troy Barry (Hammer Nutrition/no
Tubes) 8:16:37 with forty year old Jonathan Davis (Trek Bike Store Racing -
Boulder, CO) 8:19:23 managing to stay ahead of the boy wonder, 17 year old Dylan
Johnson (Scott RC Mountain Bike Team) 8:20:19.
Despite a reported
five flats in the granite rock of Hampshire, Jeremiah Bishop would go on to
finish sixteenth on the day.
Harding manages to
get past the Pfluginator for his first NUE Series win of the season!
Ron Harding (Trestle
Bridge Racing) from Coatesville, PA placed second at Syllamo’s and Mohican
earlier this season. Knowing that a win at Hampshire might be the only way to
stay in contention for a late season run, Harding took it to the defending
champion to capture his first NUE Series win in 8:20:19.
Defending NUE Single
speed Champion, Gerry Pflug (Salsa/NoTubes/Pro Bikes) leads the series with
three wins so far this year. Pflug rolled into second place 8:26:11, managing
to stay ahead of his closest challenger this season, AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald's
Bicycles/Misfit Psycles), who captured third, just behind the Pfluginator, at 8:41:19.
Pflug, "With a
really stacked singlespeed field, including many of the top finishers from
other NUE races this season, I knew the race was going to be difficult.
Additionally, the slower 100K race times from previous years led me to believe
that the Hampshire 100 course was going to one of the more difficult courses of
the year. Both of these thoughts held true for my Hampshire 100 race.
Right off the gun, all the main contenders in the singlespeed
race, minus A.J. Linnell, were grouped together during the first fast twenty
miles of the race. But, then, on the super steep power line climb, the race
started to break-up. Ron Harding and Patrick Blair put a thirty second gap over
everyone else by running the climb. I was the next to the top and knew it was
going to be hard to catch the fast pair of SS racers ahead of me, but I didn't
realize it was going be until almost mile 80 that I saw another singlespeeder!
I spent a lot of time alone during the race and was hoping that
Harding and Blair were going to wear each other out with their fast riding and
bigger gear choices. After pre-determining my anticipated race time, I chose to
use an easier gear than many of the other SS racers, a 30x18. It was a nice
gear throughout all of the the single track, but, I know using it slowed me down
on all the fast stuff.
After doing the race, I think it might be better to use a larger
gear because many of the climbs are too steep to ride in any SS gear choice.
Eventually, Blair did over-extend himself trying to break free from Harding and
I was able to catch him. I thought I might be able to catch Harding before the
finish also, but he was riding super strong and I never did catch sight of him
until after the finish. It was an awesome single speed battle and I was very
happy with getting a second place finish on the tough course and in the stacked
AJ Linnell, who killed it at the High Cascades 100 before dropping
out at the Pierre’s Hole 100 with stomach flu like symptoms, finished third,
fifteen minutes behind Pflug at 8:41:19. "I'm not sure what happened out there
today. The race started and within a few
miles I was off the back of the singlespeed pack, riding in a crew of slower
racers. Somehow I just couldn't close
the gap forward to the SS crowd. It was
like my legs forgot that they were supposed to be racing for the first 30 miles!
Somewhere around mile thirty, I slapped them around a little bit
and started pedaling like it was a race, but by that point I was so far back
that I couldn't catch the leaders. That said, once I started riding for real, I
had a great time cranking around the course. I periodically passed a
singlespeeder, even rode with Matt Ferrari (Freeze Thaw/ Hubcap Cycles/ Stans
NoTubes) for a bit on the rail-trail section, but it wasn't until mile 99 that
I passed Patrick Blair (Adventures For the Cure) and spun my brains out through
the finish. I was bummed that I didn't
ride with Gerry but, oh well, I just didn't have it today. Call it good
training for the Point 2 Point?!”
Two minutes behind Linnell,
Blair finished fourth 8:43:30. "I learned a valuable lesson today. Never go into the red zone (zone 5 heart rate
/ effort level) in a 100 mile mountain bike race unless you only have 10 or 20
miles left and you know you will make it to the finish! We hit a massive hill
that would have been ride-able except it was super sandy and loose. Harding and I ran while Pflug, (Super human king
of the SS!!!) inspired us all by riding it!! He rode it as fast as Harding and I ran it so we reached the top
At about mile 85
Gerry passes me. I tell him he is
crushing it and he is... he flies past me. He has no chance to catch Ron (who is also flying) but you never know,
maybe Ron will crack too?! (he didn't).
At mile 98, or was it
98.5? Someone catches me from behind. I
turned around and said, "You better not be a SS racer!" He mumbled something that I couldn’t
understand, then asked me to move so he can get around. I happily obliged him
because I was barely pedaling and had no energy at all. He flew past me... and it
was AJ! Back from the dead!”
Ten minutes later,
James Harmon (Createx Colors-Benidorm-Cycle Matrix Coaching) of Litchfield, CT
took fifth with Ferrari passing through the Kenda arch ten minutes later to
capture sixth in 9:03:33.
Sanborn leads NUE
series, capturing his fourth win!
For two years now,
Mark Virello of Boston, MA has owned the masters podium but admitted Sunday
that it just wasn’t his day as he pulled out of the race, vowing to return next
year to mix it up with the NUE Series contenders yet again next year, grin on
Ron Sanborn (Einstein
Racing), from Traverse City, Michigan, the unlikely series leader who stepped
into mountain biking in an effort to reverse poor health that threatened his quality
of life, has become the envy of all masters as he leads the NUE Series as the
only masters racer with four wins! Cohutta, Mohican, Lumberjack, then, a second
place finish at the Wilderness 101 behind his greatest challenger yet, Roger
Masse (Trek) from Bethesda, MD.
Masse took second to
Sanborn at Mohican then made the critical pass at the Wilderness 101 to stand
atop the master’s podium! But it would be a different story at Hampshire as
Sanborn crossed the line less than three minutes ahead of Masse 8:53:25 to cement his series lead.
"Roger Masse set the
pace once we started on the gravel road out of town. I settled in behind him
for a short time but felt like pushing harder. Jumping in front, I broke the
pack up and started pulling Roger, Cheryl Sornson, Vicki Barclay and a few
others up to some of the first wave. There was some more separation, and it was
me, Cheryl and a few others. Not seeing Roger any more I rode aggressive to
make my lead stick.
I caught up to Dan
Kotwicki (Aberdeen Bike/ Trek 29er Crew) who was pulling on the rail trail
opening up the gap further. We helped each other until he flatted at mile 25.
After that, I basically rode alone for the rest of the race and was very
surprised with the amount of tight, rough singletrack. That was a long day, but
knowing I could pull off my fourth Masters win kept me motivated. Hats off to
all that made this race happen, it was nice to see what New Hampshire has to
Just over five
minutes later, Masse crossed the line at 8:59:45. "It was very crowded when we
got to the first rail-trail section. We
had caught the tail end of the open wave which had started a minute before
us. Ron was more aggressive and crafty
riding through this crowded field and began to get some separation from me.
After losing contact with Ron, I wound up riding with Rich Labombard for a while until I dropped
my chain in one of the first single track sections. I'm not sure when I got around Rich, but I'm
guessing it was at one of the aid stations since I only stopped twice all
day. I chased hard in an attempt to
regain contact with Ron for the rest of the race, but didn't quite have the
goods. Ron was the strongest rider today.”
later, Labombard (Joe's Garage), from Easthampton, MA finished third 9:13:51.
The dark horse, Michael Johnson, of Carlisle, PA finished fourth three minutes
ahead of Derek Griggs (Recycled Sports) of Seabrook, NH 10:40:09.
All proceeds from the
Hampshire 100 benefit the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, a charitable
organization employing more than nine hundred people, offering a lifelong
alliance to people with disabilities. One mother from New York City, who was
visiting her daughter there for the weekend, stated that the center was one of
only three in the US of its kind. "Crotched has been a Godsend for me and my
young daughter who became disabled as a result of a medical procedure at a
hospital when she was just three months old.” If you would like to learn more
or would like to make a donation, visit http://www.crotchedmountain.org/
The two races occur on opposite ends of the country and just
one day apart, the Park City Point 2 Point in Utah on Saturday, September 1 and
the Shenandoah 100 in Virginia on September 2. Stay tuned here for the latest NUEz and information.