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Never Forget 100/50 - San Diego, California

Posted by: Jens Raz |October 10, 2011 2:04 AM
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Never Forget 100 - San Diego, California

Dana Weber Takes the 100 Mile Title

R&C "Never Forget 100” and Freedom 50” Report by Jens Raz

San Diego is not famous for its ultra endurance mountain bike racing. Surfing, horse racing and other less brutal sports are much more established here.  Partially, because designing a course in an urban setting that covers 100 miles is no easy feat!

The course was creatively designed and contained only one major road crossing. The 50 mile lollipop out and back course traversed scenic suburban trails just 15-20 minutes north of downtown

San Diego. They offered 5,000 feet of elevation change constantly helping to divide the field. Last year over 30 racers DNF’d, this year only 6 of more than 180 racers pulled out mid race.

Ever wonder what it takes to set up a race of this magnitude? Robert Herber, the promoter said "It took 300 directional arrows on course, 400 bushes tagged with orange construction tape, all of which were removed afterwards.

Racers went through about 10 boxes of oranges, 20 pounds of bananas, 75 gallons of water, a ton of muffins, and who knows how many sodas, Rockstars and Gatorades!”

The course not withstanding, Racers and Chasers meant business. By offering a $1,500 purse to the top 3 finishers of the 100 mile "Never Forget” slugger. The battle call was heard by quite a few fierce and notable competitors including;

"Fuzzy” John Mylne (Niner Bikes)

Doug "the Hulk” Andrews (

Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific)

Guy Sutton (Cal Coast)

Dana Weber (Trek)

Kurt Gensheimer (

Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific), who has just come back from the P2P race in Utah had this to say from the front line:

"After a hot week in San Diego, we fortunately had cooler temps for the 7:00 start as the pack headed straight uphill into some brutal 20% grades to the high point of the course at Black Mtn. Leading the way was "Fuzzy" John Mylne (Niner), who was racing with gears surprisingly. I moved into the lead as we rode into a steep hike-a-bike to the Black Mtn fire road, but was passed at the top by Chris Beardsley. Beardsley rode off the front solo downhill and took a nice lead. I was not too worried with 98 miles to go. As I crossed Carmel Valley Rd and entered the Lusardi Loop section, a chase group of 4 had formed including single speeder Kurt Gensheimer (, Guy Sutton (Cal Coast), and Dana Weber (Trek). Sutton was fresh off a great ride at the Park City point to point, and Weber just back from a stint in Europe doing some of the hardest mtb marathon races including a top 20 at the Swiss Grand Raid 125k. It was a solid group and we had Beardsley off the front acting as a rabbit for us to chase.

It took about 18 miles, but we finally caught him along Lake Hodges before going under I-15. The lead group was now 5 and we formed a fast pace line on the flat Mule Hill Trail to the turn around. At mile 25 was a U-turn and now we had to ride back into the course the opposite way with the entire field coming fast at us! It was a good way to check our lead. Doug Andrews, fresh off his NUE Series Masters win was chasing solo. Then a big pack of 10+ riders behind him, probably with a mix of 50 mile distance riders in it (The 50 milers started ~5 minutes back). It was a bit sketchy with some blind curves and corners, and a rider always coming when you least expected it. Leading the group was a lot of work as the leader had to be vocal to warn riders as well as pedal hard along this flat fast section. Nearing the end of Mule Hill Trail there was a blind 90 degree corner coming up. Beardsley was leading the group and I was in second position. As we got close I yelled out loudly "Riders coming" and "Heads Up!" We slowed from about 20 to 10 mph and just as we turned a rider coming the opposite direction cut his left hand turn sharp to the inside and right into our path. Head On Collision! Beardsley went down and I braked and crashed into the back of his bike. Gensheimer, Sutton, and Weber all just barely skidded to a stop. As we picked ourselves up, I was a bit stunned and the rider who cut the corner yells at us "You guys need to slow down!" Really? No apology. Unbelievable! We were on the right side of the trail. He's the one who went inside left and took us down. As we started going again someone remarked he was wearing an I-pod headphones and probably didn't hear our warning. Lame. Unfortunately Beardsley had lost his chain and it was jammed up. He was left behind fixing his bike, and the lead group was now 4.

We rolled past Lake Hodges, and into single track by the Hodges Dam. It was here that single speeder Gensheimer finally fell off the pace, but it was an impressive showing powering up the climbs and spinning like a mad man for 35 miles or so with the lead group. An effort he would pay the price for later though, but he would finish! Sutton, Weber, and I continued to trade pulls and kept a high tempo. As we headed past Crosby Estates and up the infamous tight switchbacks, I spotted Beardsley chasing back on alone. He caught us as we hit Artesian Rd, and I asked him what happened. He was having ft. der. issues as well as the initial tangled chain. It must have been a hard chase back, and I was impressed he rejoined. 3 miles later, however, we started the hardest climbs of the lap back to and up Black Mtn again. Weber set the pace up to Carmel Valley Rd and Beardsley was dropped. He would not rejoin. Then once on the proper Black Mtn fire road climb, I took the lead. Weber followed me with Sutton dropping just a little back. We descended into the finish at about 3:27 and got ready for Lap 2. 

Weber took a quick hand up from his wife Beth and headed up the hill alone for a "natural break." As I picked up 3 fresh bottles and more food from my cooler, Sutton came in looking for help refilling his CamelBak and was also grabbing fresh supplies. I left alone and caught up to Weber, who joined me and we slowly climbed up to the high point again. There was a long ways to go and I was hoping Sutton, who is known for his fast descending skills, would rejoin us. Riders were again coming at us so I descended carefully and was expecting to hear Guy's bike any minute. He never made it. I later found out that he did try to bridge the gap, but slashed a sidewall on the rocky decent. A slow flat tire fix requiring a sidewall boot would put him well back and chasing alone. Shortly thereafter, Dana pulled around me and I felt the pace pick up. It was a major effort to hold his wheel, but I was motivated to stay with him for the flat and windy sections to come. I shared in the work load, but I knew his pulls were stronger and I was heading for trouble. It was hard for me to recover or eat while I was following so I just kept going hard.

I hung in there and we kept swapping lead pulls all the way to the 75 mile turn around. On the way back, I checked my computer timer to see how far back 3rd place was. To my surprise, it was 8 minutes (one way) until we saw anyone, and it was Guy Sutton alone who yelled that he'd flatted as we past by. I expected to see Beardsley or Andrews next, but I learned later they both pulled out of the race. The second time heading back was much safer than the first time. The 50 milers were all off the course, and the number of recreational riders and hikers was far less. We kept trading fast paced pulls until about mile 85 near Hernandez Hideaway when Weber lifted the pace about the same time I was slowing. I knew I couldn't hold his pace to the finish so it was a relief to let him go. He rode out of sight quickly, probably fueled from the mental boost of dropping me after so long together and knowing the race win was his. I was pretty cracked, but could still ride a medium tempo pace. The ending climbs finishing the race toward Black Mtn were really difficult. I just wanted to be done so I kept going as hard as I could just to get it over. Dana commented after the race that he was feeling bad on these climbs as well, but he did great coming in at 6:55 (which is nearly an identical second lap split!). I limped in 9 minutes later for 2nd, which I was happy with. Sutton held on for a solid third after much of his own second lap suffering. He remarked that he chased really hard after fixing his flat, and eventually that caught up to him.

Thanks to Racers & Chasers for hosting another great event, and bringing epic mountain bike racing to San Diego. After a long, hard and fast day in the saddle, the top 3 finishers were rewarded

for their efforts with giant podium checks: Dana Weber 1st ($750), Brent Prenzlow 2nd ($450), Guy Sutton 3rd ($300). It pays to go fast at Racers & Chasers and I hope to see even more come out next year to take on the challenge of 100 miles in the dirt!”

The shorter in length, but brutally fast "Freedom 50” was dominated by the Cytomax/KHS duo of Chuck Jenkins and Hal Helbock who along with Eric Bierman time trialed to the finish in 3-1/2 hours averaging over 14 mph with 5,000 feet of climbing!


Pro Men - 100 mile


Dana Weber




Brent Prenzlow

Celo Pacific



Guy Sutton

Cal Coast



Romolo Forcino




Allan LaFramboise




Scott Holland



Pro Men - 50 mile


Chuck Jenkins




Hal Helbeck




Eric Bierman




David Sullivan



Pro Women - 50 mile


Rebecca Tomaszewski



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