By Ryan O’Dell
Remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac,
following in the way of last year’s Lee that brought soaking rains into a
region that was already water-logged from hurricane Irene, added difficulty to
an already challenging race, however, the race must go on!
The Shenandoah 100 released 600 anxious
hounds on wheels into The George Washington National Forest of Virginia for the
final race before the Kenda NUE Series Championship race at the Fool’s Gold 100
in Georgia, next Saturday. A highly anticipated showdown, this one-hundred-mile
challenge would witness the return of a champion and bring at least one
contender a step closer to the title.
returns AND gets the WIN!
"It’s funny that everyone always expects me to win the
Shenandoah 100. It’s never that easy!”
Sue Haywood (Stan's NoTubes Women's
Elite), who hadn’t competed at the Shenandoah for two year’s topped the podium
finishing first among women and 28th overall in just 8:33:47. Haywood commented after the
race, "It’s funny that everyone always expects me to win the Shenandoah 100. It’s
never that easy! Especially, since it’s my first one in over two years and I
had that cough thing that has been going around.
I wasn't even going to do the race
because I was scared that it would hurt too much, but then I thought of two
things: There are people who do and complete the race who are in worse physical
shape than me because they love riding their bikes and they love the challenge
of it. And then there is the beauty of the trails, the volunteers, and all my
friends who do the event. It’s an important event for our biking community. So
I decided that I HAD to do it.
Everyone knew that it was going to rain
at some point in the race because of the forecast. So, we all knew. But for
those of us that live in Virginia, those conditions are very, very rare. And
for the Shenandoah 100 those conditions haven't been seen before. We all joked
that race director, Chris Scott, had sold his soul to the devil for so many
years of good weather. Well, now we know he didn't!
I felt really good and was very
motivated to keep rolling at a good clip. When it rained, it wasn't so bad. It
made me go faster to get it over with quicker. I was good on the climbs and a
little conservative on the downhills with the Flash 29er hardtail and race
tires. I was in and out of great groups all day with lots of friends and fast
guys, so it was a blast that way. I climbed great up to checkpoint five but, after
checkpoint five, it seemed like we weren't in Virginia anymore.
It was like we got transported to the
deep, red mud jungle of Costa Rica with huge mud pits, nasty ruts and soul
sucking grassy climbs. But, then I thought that some people probably aren't
even to check point three yet and knew they would have way tougher conditions
I think some people want to put an
asterisk next to their time and do a mud adjusted version of it. But the whole
PR thing for these 100 milers can really get in the way. Every time is going to
be a little different and it’s the way that your mind handles the race that is
really important, no matter what the condition. Enjoying the company of the
other people out there, meeting the same challenges, and sharing the same
thrills, I really had a blast and was stoked that the locals had such a great
Karen Potter (Epic Brewing/MTBRacenews.com) had her best showing of the NUE Season,
placing second at 9:27:23, following her third place finish at the Hampshire
100, just two weeks ago.
"I had a pretty good race despite
dreading it with the weather forecast. I almost didn't come down to race when I
saw, earlier in the week, that the forecast was pretty bleak following the
aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. I mostly tried to just ride my own my ride this
race and not get overly concerned about where the other women were which can be
impossible not think about.
I knew Sue would have a strong ride and
she did. I never saw her after the start. I passed Brenda Simril (Motor Mile
Racing) on the first climb and then Vicki Barclay (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's
Team) in the top of the first climb on a short rough singletrack section. She had
flatted and didn't have the right CO2 dispenser for her cartridge so she had to
wait till someone would help her.
Kathleen Harding (Team CF) was ahead of
me at this point and I knew she was pretty strong after riding with her for a
bit at the Hampshire 100. I eventually caught her near the top of the third big
climb before descending into Aid Station 3. I was feeling pretty good at this
point and having a blast descending until I started to cramp a bit on the
downhill but managed to ride out of it.
The hard rain came as I was descending
down into Aid Station 4 - that was quite a sloppy ride down. I was also
thinking, at that point, how bad the top of Shenandoah Mountain would be with
the fields that stay sort of soggy even on a dry year. I was starting to feel
really flat up the climb to Aid Station 5 but finally came around and got through
all the nasty muddy sections. I was also happy not to have been caught up that
climb either as I was feeling it in my legs by then. Once at the top of the
'big climb' I knew I was home free, for the most part, to finish up and held
Eight minutes later, Kathleen Harding
rolled into third in 9:35:10. Haywood’s teammate, Vicki Barclay, who placed
second at Hampshire, crossed fourteen minutes later 9:47:25 for fourth place. A
second place finish at Fool’s Gold Championship race next Saturday is what
Barclay will need to capture third place in the NUE Series. Brenda Simril (Motor mile racing) finished
exactly five minutes behind Barclay, placing fifth in 9:52:25. With three
second place finishes to her credit this year, Simril has a firm grip on third
place as long as she can hold off Barclay and finish strong at the Fool’s Gold
gets his third NUE Series win, now a legitimate bid for the title!
"It feels amazing to win on home turf today at the
Shenandoah 100, this puts Cannondale into the NUE 100 Series Lead with one race
left! It would be awesome to win the series.”
That was what
Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) had to say following his win on
"It was a
really challenging day today, the remnants of tropical storm Isaac made it a
proper mountain bike race! Torrents of mud water coming down the trail, lots of
riders lost brakes and had drivetrain issues. I am really lucky because my
Cannondale Flash worked perfectly today.
sections of single-track were fun, but you had to be on your toes due to the
roots and rocks. Unlike most 100 mile races, the start was fierce from the beginning
with pro roadie Keck Baker snagging the lead from Sam Koerber (Niner/Industry
Nine) for the first trail on Narrow Back. They rubbed elbows and Sam Crashed.
passing a cheering section with costumed fans our 7 rider strong group hit the
second toughest Trail section of Lynne Wolf and I knew this was a critical
section. I attacked when I noticed Christian Tanguy (Team CF) was a few riders
back on steep single track climb. My effort to put pressure at the front paid
off as Sam and I sped away in an early alliance to put time on our rivals. At
the time, I was unaware that Christian had flatted and was chasing most of the
Tanguy and Evan Plews (Ibis/Kenda) came on strong with a late race charge
nearly catching me at aid 6! Luckily, I had enough reserves to attack the final
climb up Hankey Mountain in the big ring. I had no clue that Christian, who was
just out of sight, was still closing in and had passed Plews to finish just one
I was really
impressed with Christian. He is an under rated rider. To come back after losing
five minutes like that, proves he is a World class competitor. It’s also a
great weekend for Cannondale Factory Racing because we had two NUE wins and now
hold a slim margin coming into the final race. The Fools Gold 100 Championship,
next week, is shaping up to be another great battle.”
defending Champion Christian Tanguy (Team CF), despite suffering a lengthy
flat, managed to claw his way back to within one minute of Bishop, finishing
second at 7:19:00. Christian had this to say, "The race started with an
incredible fast pace, the fastest I ever experienced for this race. We were
climbing at record speed and we were only five racers reaching the top
together. I was glad I was among that group.
reached the second major ascent of the day, a few racers joined us at the
front. However, the group was shattered when Jeremiah took the lead and put
pressure on the rest of us. Only Sam Koerber was directly following Jeremiah’s
wheel. I was in 4th place about 20 seconds back but not especially worried.
Once the main climb is over, there are still a few little up-hill sections
where I could push a little harder and join back. Most of the gap was closed
before reaching the main descent. My full suspension Epic 29er helped me close
the final bike lengths separating me from Sam’s bike.
going well until a sharp stone punctured my rear tire. The repair took me about
6 to 7 minutes to repair during which many racers passed me. I had reliable
tires but sometimes it is just a matter of luck (or lack of).
I teamed up
with some other racers until the beginning of the third main climb to Dowell’s
Draft. I had a good pace. Being on my own, I controlled my effort and avoided
any surges. Unfortunately it began to rain quite heavily at times. It was all
that I wished to avoid: a mechanical problem and the rain. The trails
transformed into little creeks; my vision through my prescription glasses was
just a blurry mess.
Near the top, I
passed Michael Simonson (RBS Trek MTB Team/No Tubes) and it kept me motivated
to keep up with my good tempo. Going down wet and slippery rocks on a steep
trail is an exercise I don’t enjoy and I used extreme caution. The fourth main
climb was totally uneventful. I was just getting tired.
I could not
wait to put behind the relatively flat roads after aid #4. I was certain to
lose quite a bit of time there. Finally the grade of the climb increased, so
was the pain in the legs, but I was certain I was making up time. I reached up
to Brandon Draugelis (Team CF) and then Sam Koerber. By aid #5, under another
round of rain, the volunteers gave me splits: two minutes to Evan Plews and
four minutes to Jeremiah.
I went into
chasing mode but my reduced vision thru my muddy glasses was impeding my speed.
Even with a carefully negotiated downhill to aid #6 I was glad to hear that
Evan closed the gap to Jeremiah and they were just two minutes in front of me.
The last climb
was just painful; each pedal stroke was a difficult task but I passed Evan. I had
almost arrived so I kept the effort to my max capacity. Finally, by the finish
line I was second, not too far back from Jeremiah.
Like last year,
the championship will hinge on one single race: Fool’s Gold. I hope my legs
will feel just as good as for this edition of the Shenandoah 100.”
Less than three
minutes behind Tanguy, Evan Plews took third at 7:22:50, and now needs to win
at Fool’s Gold to continue his bid for the title. "Headed east for the
Shenandoah 100 this weekend but the best made travel plans were laid to waste
by a hurricane named Isaac.
After a late
arrival into Baltimore I got to bed after 2am. We made it to the venue in time
for the rain to begin. Seems like nearly every trip I make east for racing ends
up a muddy mess! Still on pacific-time, I couldn't seem to sleep a wink that
night and "woke up" at what seemed like the witching hour. I got on
my bike for a little warm up ride only to discover that I'd inadvertently
forgotten my legs in sunny (and not so humid) Oregon.
The race began
with some road work and I wasn't waking up and as the trail went uphill I was
going backward. As we reached the first trail I was behind a few too many folks
and lost considerable time on the first descent. I passed Christian Tanguy
fixing a bummer flat on the next downhill. Thank goodness for Michael Simonson racing hard and helping me work it
back as he kept hammering up on the road sections. Soon, I caught and
eventually left Brandon Draugelis on the next climb/descent cycle.
Near the top of
the "big climb" I passed Sam Koerber for second place then the race
took a turn when the neutral bottle swap wasn't available at aid station five.
I pressed on and caught Jeremiah Bishop on the next downhill only to go bottle less
again as I followed him past the last aid station. In the confusion over where
I might get a bottle, JB got a gap and, again, I missed a feed which turned out
to be critical. On the final climb, as I ran out of fuel, Christian finally
rode by effortlessly as only he can do! Even more tired than I was when the day
began I managed to finish in third place which seemed like a gift under the
circumstances. I am hoping for a little rest and acclimation to this time zone
will make Fool's Gold a better result, oh, and of course, sunny skies, low
humidity and absolutely no rain!”
minutes later, Sam Koerber finished fourth 7:40:07 with Aaron Snyder (Scott Pro
Mountain Bike Team) claiming fifth in 7:41:24. Tanguy’s teammate, Brandon
Draugelis (Team CF) rounded out sixth place 7:42:15.
gets his second NUE Series Win of the Season while the Pfluginator claims his
third straight NUE Series Title!
Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure)
took the top spot, 12th Overall, at 8:08:09 his faithful 32x18 gearing, although threatening to go with
a 32x17 next year! "All of the single speeders started together. Quickly, after
the start, I was with Matt Ferrari (Freeze Thaw/Hubcap Cycles/Stans NoTubes),
Justin Pokrivka (Top Gear/Cohen and Associates), Gerry Pflug (Salsa Cycles/NoTubes/Top
Gear), Ron Harding (Trestle Bridge Racing), and Lance Byrd (Adventures for the
Cure). Soon after that Ron, Gerry, and I
were able to get a small gap on the others and we got into a group with a few
I got a small gap on Gerry, running a
30x17, and Ron, who was running a 34x19 gearing, but they easily caught me on
the following descent. The third climb (mi 35-40) was a brutal one! Ron and I
got away from Gerry and we didn't see him again. After the race I found out
that Gerry DNF'd shortly after that climb. He is the leader of the series and
the championship is next weekend. If Ron won at SM100, the tie breaker would be
between him and Gerry next Saturday at Fool’s Gold. Gerry was smart to call it
a day and save his energy to be fresh for the showdown at Fool's
Gold, just in case Ron was able to beat me
for the win.
After that it was Ron and I battling for first. On the fourth climb, Ron made a
move. I promised myself that I would not let Ron take me outside of my pace
like he did to me at the last race. There are only two things that you have
100% control of in these races: pace and nutrition. I was going to make sure
that I did both of those perfectly. If I lost after that then so be it. To keep
pace I never allowed myself to go above a Zone 4 heart rate on any climbs until
the last 15 miles when the race really starts and you can let it all out.
After Ron got away from me, we entered
the most epic/longest/hardest climb of the day... It was a 20mile climb with
the last 10 being totally ridiculous, especially with the wet conditions. As I
caught geared racers going up the climb, I always asked them how far ahead Ron
was. At the start they told me five minutes! Towards the end someone told me two
I was hesitant to believe I was
catching him, but I just held my pace and, with only 1 or 2 miles before the
top, I caught him. I passed him going extra fast and trying to make it look
like I was not tired (laughing). I was hoping to dash his spirits so that he
would not want to chase after me. I was able to get a gap on him but he rallied
and never gave up... that's for sure.
Passing him gave me a huge boost of energy! I thought the major climbing was
over after the 20mile climb but I was wrong. There was a significant 5ish mile
climb right before the finish! This was actually kind of good for me because I
was feeling good. I passed three more geared riders on this last climb. Then, with
just 1.5miles left on the final descent, I cut the sidewall of my back tire on
I could not believe it! After all of
this, I was going to lose because of a flat tire?! NO! I would ride the flat to
the finish, surely destroying my wheel in the process, but it would be worth it
to win. Fortunately the Stan's
Sealant did its job and after only 30
agonizing seconds of listening to the air hiss out of my tire it stopped!!
Magic!!! Wow! I lost less than 5psi and I was rolling again.”
Ron Harding, winner of the Hampshire
100, was not far behind, finishing just three minutes behind Blair. However,
unfortunately for Harding, that three minutes would take him out of his duel
with the Pfluginator, who wrapped up his third straight title!
The two-time defending champion, Gerry
Pflug, who dropped out of the race, commented, "With my best four NUE Series
Races consisting of three wins and a second, the only way I could improve my
chances of winning a fourth consecutive NUE Series SS title was to win the
Shenandoah 100 race. But, with a tough field of SS riders and a threat of muddy
riding conditions coming from the forecast of heavy rain, I knew winning
Shenandoah was going to be hard to do. Additionally, I also knew that the most
important race for me to win out of the two would be the Fool's Gold NUE Series
Championship Race because it was a designated tie breaker race. I wondered if I
should even do Shenandoah a couple of days before the race, so that my legs
would be fresher for Fool's Gold. But, I decided to give it a try to see how my
closest competition (Ron Harding) was riding.
Pretty much after the first big climb
Ron, Patrick Blair and I were able to sneak away from the other single speed
riders. The lead between the three of us switched back and forth a few times
until the long climb after check point #2. About halfway up this long climb,
around mile 40 or so, Pat and Ron pulled away from me and the rain really
started to come down hard.
I knew it was still early in the race,
so I stuck to my pace and decided to see what happened. I learned by check
point #3 that the fast pair of SS riders ahead of me had already gained four
minutes at that point. While riding all alone on a very long paved road section
after check point 3, I realized that continuing to race was not the wisest
thing for me to do with the championship race less than a week away. So, I rode
into check point four and got directions for the quickest ride from there back
to the finishing area.
Along the 15 mile ride on paved and
gravel roads back to the campground, the rain began coming down super hard
again. It was at that point I knew my decision to quit was the best one, since
I had more to lose by continuing to race than I had to gain from finishing in
any position other than first.”
Just one minute behind Harding, Gordon
Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery) finished third at 8:12:42. "It all began at
"Oh"630AM....I rolled out with the 8hr slot crew after hitting the
water closet a bit too late in the game to line up with the 7hr kids. Rolled
out the road and caught on to Matt "Ive got a belt buckle with ma name on
it" Ferrari half way up the first fire road climb.
The 32x18 gear I ran was well steep
through some parts, nothing ol’ Quadsworth couldn't handle though, but it was
absolutely my saving grace here as I was able to solo back up to Matt and the
geared riders, as the major storm dropped its fury on us. Leading into the
steppes of the "Death Climb" I recognized that I had a little more in
the tank than Matt, or for whatever reason he was keeping a slower pace than I
apparently was capable of, so I stood up on my 32x18 and paced the hell out of
I passed teammate Ryan Fawley on the
slopes of the climb, which caused a lot of confusion to Matt later when he
passed Ryan. I pulled into aid 5 and got the good word that I was only a few
minutes behind second place ss. I caught him on the killing fields of the death
climb and we settled into the Chestnut descent. Unfortunately my brakes were
toast from the sandy mud which was the upper stairsteps of the climb and I was
unable to keep up on the drops.
After a few Danny Hart inspired rock
drops I hit the fire road. I had in my head that second was way up the road at
that point and sat back onto a "bring it home" rhythm. Second ascent
of the final climb down I dropped into Stokesville like it was going out of
style, zero brake pressure forced me into a touch of a mad max six pack descent,
and I rolled in only a minute or so behind.
Seventeen minutes later, Ferrari would
finish fourth in 8:29:32 with Kelly Klett (Trips for Kids Triangle/Grassroots
Bikes) claiming fifth in 9:01:02.
is fair play for Masse who takes the win!
Roger Masse (Trek) "I knew Bob Koerber
(Koerber Custom Construction) would be trouble. The original fast Koerber, he's
a skilled and wily rider. Several years
ago at an XC race at Sugar Mountain, he surprise passed me in the final seconds
to take the win.
When the gun went off, Bob started
fast, probably too fast since he had to take an "extended" break at
mile 75 near the top of the soul-crusher climb at aid 5. I passed him there without realizing it. He must have eventually got back on his bike,
since he caught me at mile 91 right at the top of Hankey Mountain. I got on his wheel and he eventually just let
me pass on the last rollers before the final descent. I let it all hang out on the last descent all
the way to the finish. I would find out
later, that he didn't realize I was racing Masters. So in a moment of redemption, I snuck by him
right at the finish for the win.”
Masse claimed the win over his rival in
just 9:08:06 claim his second win of
the season following his win at the Wilderness 101. Masse’s finish puts him in a solid second place, behind Ron
Sanborn (Einstein Racing) who wrapped up his first NUE Series title by winning
the Hampshire 100.
Bob Koerber blew in, just over a minute
behind Masse at 9:09:13 to claim second with Jim Frith (Cycles De Oro GVC)
claiming the third podium spot at 9:26:06. Michael Boyes (Athens Bicycle) took
fourth in 9:56:48 with Scottie D (Foghorn Leghorn) rolling in fifth at 10:21:39.
The Championship race is less than one
week away. All four Division winners there will receive complimentary entry
into all NUE Series races in 2013 plus a share of the $11,000 Kenda NUE Series
cash purse. ALL NUE Series finishers who are out of the prize money will
receive prizes courtesy of Kenda Tire, Squirt Lube, Velocity Wheels, Sigma
Sport, and Darn Tough Socks.
For an inside look at the trails of
Shenandoah, check out Scott Wootten’s Pre-Race Six Pack Video on Dowell’s Draft: http://vimeo.com/28558444You can follow Scott’s page for more schweeet George Washington National Forest
Stay tuned here for the latest news and