100 - Sturgis, South Dakota
NUE Series #7
By Ryan O’Dell
Kenda NUE Series welcomed a new venue on Saturday from the city of riders,
Sturgis, South Dakota. Under sunny skies and pleasantly mild temperatures,
racer’s rolled out at 5am on a backcountry loop nestled at the base of the
northern Black Hills in extreme western South Dakota.
is not only home to the world’s largest motorcycle rally but also harbors a
growing community of endurance athletes seeking unparalleled scenery and challenge.
Featuring a single grand loop, the Tatanka 100 course provides a mixture of
gnarly single track and fast, smooth cruising. The majority of the course
covers sections of the three longest official Black Hills trails: the
Centennial Trail, the Deerfield Trail, and the Mickelson Trail.
Tatanka 100 is held in conjunction with the Black Hills 100 Ultra-Marathon,
which, in its first two years, has earned a reputation as one of the toughest
foot races in the western US. These races share the same course for the first
50 miles, but the riders start one hour earlier, allowing them to get out front
and avoid any congestion on the trail.
Sornson gets her sixth straight
Women’s Champion, Cheryl Sorson, Team CF, made it sixth in a row as she smashed
the women’s field by an hour to finish 8:52:54.
Sornson has won every race she has entered this year and now holds a commanding
lead toward her third NUE Series title.
100 was a spectacular event. What a beautiful area with such pristine
trails, a hidden treasure. The event was well organized and ran smoothly.
The course was as described and meticulously marked with no worries of being
off track. We were blessed with pleasant temperatures and no rain.
race started early, but being from the east coast it still felt like a normal 7
am start. The start of the race saw the fastest riders breaking away from
the rest in efforts to get to the first trail head without a backup. The
first half of the race consisted of superb single track that climbed and descended
numerous times throughout the first 50 miles. Some of the climbs were
long and hurtful, but the descents were fun and flowy, making it all
worthwhile. At 50 miles I was five hours in and concerned that it was
going to be a longer than expected. Knowing the next several miles
consisted of a gradual climb on the famous Mickelson Trail, I made it a point
to stick with a group of riders and we began to put the hammer down. We
made wonderful time. The next 15 miles flew by and my spirits raised
thinking that I could finish the day under 9 hours. Once off the Mickelson
Trail we turned into some rough double track that proved to be taxing, but
knowing the end was near kept the pace spirited. There was some double-track,
then fire-roads before entering Sturgis.
of the race was a bit surprising as we entered a development and out into a
water drainage ditch then the aqua duct of the drainage thru sturgis and under
the roads that dumped us right into the finish at the town park. We were
welcomed at the finish with custom pottery mugs and huge congratulations.
was a great adventure with tough goings, but well worth the effort. I was
super thrilled with my trophy that was an authentic painted buffalo
skull. Luckily the men's overall winner was from the area and offered to
mail it home for me. It was the ending to a perfect day in a great town
that overflowed with splendor and good vibes.”
a second place finish at the True Grit Epic, Alice Drobna, webcyclery, from
Bend, Oregon finished second in 9:52:12. Brenda Simril, Motor Mile Racing,
rolled in just six minutes later in 9:58:22 to take the third spot on the
podium. Simril is currently in second place overall behind Sornson in the
points having two other second place finishes and two third-place finishes this
year. "I had never been to South Dakota before, so I really had no idea what to
expect. It was way more "alpine" than I expected, with gorgeous
scenery. I was cursing the 5 am start the night before, but during the race I
was really grateful for it because we had nice cool temperatures and lots of
shade for half the race. I loved the rugged single track and awesome down hills,
and this race had the best hike-a-bike of the NUE series by far.”
place went to Linda Shin, Crankskins/Blacksmith Cycles, of Oakville, ON in
10:16:39. 34 year old Shin is a contender this year with a third place finish
at Cohutta and fifth place finish at the Wildcat 100. Denise Coppock, Titletown
Flyer, from Greenbay, WI took fifth in 10:45:20. Coppock finished sixth at True
Grit and fourth at Mohican this year.
Local racer, Meyer, gets his
first NUE Series win!
Meyer, Quarq/SRAM, from nearby Spearfish, SD, also known among cyclists for
co-founding Quarq, a producer of power meters, achieved his first NUE Series
victory in just 8:08:53. Jim is now
Technology Director for Quarz, a subsidiary of SRAM, and an elite age-group
triathlete, representing the United States in short and long course age-group
world championships. He is a three-time Ironman finisher, including the
Ironman® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in 2004. Since 2007, Jim has
focused on road racing and endurance MTB. He won the Solo 30 Men's category at
Breck Epic 2012 and finished second in the Open Men's category at La Ruta de
los Conquistadores. This year’s top male and female NUE Series Champions will
receive an all-expense paid trip to compete at LaRuta in addition to sharing a
$10,000+ cash purse and complimentary entry into all NUE races in 2014.
Biese of Colorado Springs, CO finished second in 8:26:58. Biese, now a
professional cycling coach, has not competed in the NUE Series since 2011 where
he placed third at Syllamo’s Revenge and ninth at the Lumberjack 100. However, Biese
is planning to compete in several upcoming races this year.
went into the trail third and got around Gerry and into second quickly. I spent the first hour 10-15 seconds behind
Jim Meyer and could see him on the switchbacks and open spots. I don't know
whether I could have made the push to catch, but I came into the race a little
fatigued so didn't try. With my May races I'm fourth in ProUET right now but
mostly I coach and should know better than to compete in a Wednesday XC race on
SS the week before a long race like Tatanka but it doesn't matter because I had
caught me about 1.5 hours in and I could still see Jim occasionally. Around two
hours in, A. J. passed me and I just tried to pace myself before Pilot Knob
Gerry caught me and we rode together on to Silver City. I took a long pit and
then started really easing up. My strategy was to go for the win on the big
climb after the hike a bike. Paul Berry was just behind me on the hike but I
rode it up and over after the first wall. He caught me on the Mickleson trail
as I was still saving up for the big climb that I learned wasn't there after
all. We rode together to mile 77 where he pitted and I rolled on. I caught
Gerry and just did what I had to in order to hold on for third place overall.”
Berry, Spoke Bike and Ski/Rocky Mountain Bikes/Soul Sportif and Dissen+
Compression Socks & Wear, from Kamloops, British Columbia finished third in
8:37:49. "After the initial roll out, I found myself third wheel into the
single track. However, this did not last long as Gerry Pflug flew by in his
55x11 (actually 32x18). At least that's what it looked like as I was pulling my
lungs back into my chest.
things settled in I found myself in a bit of a battle with three others. It wasn’t until the 30 to 40 mile mark that I
finally had some daylight. As I
continued, the course revealed more and more amazing trails and beautiful
scenery. As I came into Silver City and
then up to the hike a bike section, I found the eventual second place finisher,
Kip Biese, and God no wonder I couldn't keep up with this guy earlier! He told
me he weighs in at one hundred and twenty pounds...what the hell! Anyway, we proceeded onto the rail trail
section and worked well together into a significant head wind for about 30 km
(Canadian miles only shorter). We separated at the aid station and I managed to
crawl in a little battered but was content with my day. All told a great event with fantastic
minute later, Christopher B Knoll, from Minot, ND finished 8:38:19 in fourth
place. Ten minutes later, Ben Welnak of Littleton, CO took fifth in 8:48:43
followed a minute later by "The Billdozer”
Bill Dozer Colson of nearby Rapid City, SD in 8:49:23.
youngest and final finisher, 17 year old Sam Loftus, rolled in for his first
ever NUE Series finish, narrowly making the final cutoff, following a broken
drivetrain that forced him to limp in for the last five miles.
Linnell claims his first NUE
Series victory of the season!
a second place finish to the Pfluginator at the True Grit Epic in March, A.J.
Linnell, Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles, of Victor, ID powered up a loose
climb and never looked back in route to his first NUE Series victory this
season, second overall, to finish 8:16:13.
loved this race. Not every minute of it,
but I loved this race. The course featured loose, steep, rocky, gnarly, natural
trail riding. I rode the first twelve miles or so with Gerry until a steep,
sustained bastard of a hill where I cranked past him. My heart rate was through the roof, but what
was I going to do, get off and walk?!
of my favorite parts of singlespeeding is that there's just a minimum speed you
can go based on your gearing. There's no granny gear but if you can keep your
balance and just keep the cranks turning you can keep going, probably faster
than you would with gears. Yes, it sends
your heart rate to the red line and past, but that feels kind of good too.
passing Gerry, I rode with Kip for a few miles but eventually realized that I
needed to be riding faster if I was going to stay ahead of Gerry. He was riding
strong and I knew there was no room to relax. Kip was the only racer I saw. After passing him, I was alone until the
finish. I kept getting reports that I
was two minutes back from Jim, then 2.5 minutes back. I had hoped that I might
be able to catch him until we hit the Mickelson Trail grade. Damn, that thing is long! That was my dark
place for sure. I would have happily
welcomed another racer there to help get through the headwind and over the
top. After Mickelson, I was rolling into
the gentle down hills while Jim was able to shift up and open the gap to seven
minutes, which he held to the end.
was glad that I geared up to 34x18 for this race. It made the steep climbs hurt
but felt just right for spinning up the Mick and was definitely helpful on all
of the downhill forest roads in the last 25 miles.”
reigning champion, Gerry Pflug, Team CF / Pro Bikes , finished second in 8:27:21,
choosing a 32x18 gear for the race, but still firmly holds the reigns toward
his fifth series title with four wins under his tires at True Grit, Cohutta,
Syllamo’s Revenge, and Mohican this year.
year old Trevor Rockwell, Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six, of
Decorah, IA took third in 8:55:33 following up on a second place finish at
Syllamo’s and fifth at Mohican. "I was feeling as little nervous going up the
gravel as I was at my max heart rate already and it was only two miles into a
103 mile race! I kept going as the local
from Quarq in Spearfish put the pedal down even further. I was eyeing Gerry and A.J. as I knew that
they would be the ones to watch this entire race. Well, eyeing is all I was able to do because
they were gone from my view not too far into the race.
we took the turn into the singletrack, a little bobble by Doug Andrews ahead of
me over a cattle grate and I ended up having to dismount as well and badly. I stuck
my foot into the grate and nearly broke my ankle in the process.
was able to ride with Cheryl Sornson for a couple miles in the opening climbs
as she was setting a good pace and making me settle down. After a while, I got
past and was off in search of Doug, Gerry and Peat. I caught up to Doug, who
was riding rigid on a wicked downhill about ten miles into the race. I later
learned he had been riding with A.J. and Gerry but the down hills were not
treating him good. I was able to put in
little attacks over the next ten or so miles and opened up a gap.
hike-a-bike that puts all others to shame, I came upon Brett Heuring from Team
Noah, who found this hike to be a little harder as he decided to pull my turtle
move from Boone, landing upside down in a six foot hole filled with rocks on
the steep part of the hike! He was ok
though and finished his first hundo.
I was all alone on the Mickelson Trail, riding gradually up hill on a 3% grade
and into a head wind. I looked back to see three riders coming up quick. I noticed the short riding style of Cheryl
and, OH NO, DOUG! They caught me and the
pain was about to begin. They were
moving and I was in a bad place. I hooked onto the back of this train and held
on for dear life many times over the next 14 miles wondering if I was going to
die. I was figuring Doug had me as he
was riding strong even with the tough 32x15 gear he was running.
I came around a corner at about 85 miles and who do I see but Doug on the side
of the trail fixing a flat. I checked to
see whether he needed anything but once he said no, I was off like a bat out of
hell! This was my chance and I needed to go as hard as I could.”
NUE Master’s Champion, Doug Andrews, GeoLadders.com, of Mission Viejo, CA arrived
ten minutes back at 9:05:17 with Dwayne Goscinski and Peat Henry, both from
Team Noah Foundation/Free Awesome, both racers coming in at 9:25:47 for fifth
and sixth place respectively.
Whaley wails on the field by over
Whaley, Red Barn Bicycles, from Hamilton, MT took a big lead to get the win in 9:22:30, as the only sub ten hour
finisher in the Master’s field!
Series contender, Monte Hewitt, finished second in 10:29:54, in his best finish
this year, following two fifth place finishes at True Grit and Cohutta.
Jolin, Stark Velo, from Bellville, OH took third in 10:41:19 after getting his
first NUE Series win at True Grit, third at Cohutta and seventh at Lumberjack
this season. With this finish, Jolin moves into first place in the NUE
standings in what has become a very competitive Masters field this season.
"Coming into this race, I wasn’t sure how my
legs would respond after doing Mohican and Lumberjack back to back. In the
Master’s division, any number of guys could step up to the challenge for the
podium. My plan was to go out strong and keep the lead group from getting too
far ahead until we hit the singletrack. From then on it was 60 miles of mostly
singletrack. I just tried to take speed when I could get it.
I cleared Silver City and headed along the stream towards the hike-a-bike and
out of the valley to the Michelson trail, I had a better feel of where I
thought my overall time could be. I felt that 9:30-10 hours would put me in
good shape for the podium so I got in time trial mode and just started to eat
up miles as fast as I could. My big mistake arrived at mile 78 when I wasn’t
paying enough attention to the race signs and missed the turnoff at Edgewood,
adding a total of about seven extra miles just to return to the missed turnoff!
no idea where the other contenders were now, I just went as hard as I could.
With about ten miles to go, Monte Hewitt passed me but by that point, I was
running on fumes. Monte took advantage of the descents and kept me in his rear
view mirror. I was just thankful to nab a podium spot. Hat’s off to Kevin and
the Tatanka team! This is a must do NUE race!”
NEXT: The Kenda NUE Series heads
northwest to the High Cascades 100 near Bend, Oregon on Saturday, July 20.
According to Race Director, Mike Ripley, just 35 spots remain before this race
sells out again this year! Stay tuned here for the latest news, results, and