NUE Series #1
March 12, 2014
By Ryan O’Dell
On Saturday, The True
Grit Epic Bike Race, will enter its second year as the KENDA NUE
Series Opener! Now in its fourth year of existence, True Grit has
made several improvements to its race course based on racer’s
According to True Grit
Race Director, Cimarron Chacon, "The
race course now includes the lower Bear-Claw Poppy Trail and will no
longer require additional laps on the Barrel Rolls Trail. For those
new to the race, this means a smooth transition between course
segments and a more fun and varied route. The
lower poppy is the result of hard work and negotiation with the Fish
and Wild life service to obtain the permit in this section. We hope
to make them proud and demonstrate how great racers can be.”
delight of racers, the forecast for True Grit will be a high of 72
degrees under mostly sunny skies. Since joining the NUE Series, the
race has nearly doubled in size with nearly 370 registered racers
Sornson returns to
defend last year’s win!
NUE Defending Champion,
Cheryl Sornson, Rare Disease Cycling (formerly Team CF), will return
to defend her win at True Grit and her NUE title this year. Last
year, she finished 8:36:04before going on to win five straight, finishing the season undefeated
with a total of seven NUE wins.
Following her win last
year, Sornson commented, "True Grit was a great adventure and a
good test of early season fitness.”
Brenda Simril, Motor mile
racing, returns following her third place finish last year at the
race before going to finish third overall in the NUE Series including
a win at Pierre’s Hole. Among the top contenders, Sonya Looney,
Ergon/Topeak, is entering for the first time and a strong contender
on the roster along with Jocelyn Linscott,Toasted Head Racing, who finished ninth overall in the
NUE Series last season.
Will Grant return to
defend his title?!
year’s winner, Alex Grant, Sho-Air/Cannondale, completed the course
in just 6:41:37,
that’s an average speed of 13.31 MPH. He is not on the roster
yet but has a reputation for showing up at the final bell.
Among the top contenders
returning from last year that are already on the roster, Cary Smith,
Rare Disease Cycling, who finished second, just three minutes behind
Grant. Last year Smith overtook the strongman from the high
mountains of Colorado on the three fingers of death by taking a
harder line on the middle finger, no less. Smith has raced all three
years of the 100 mile option and stood first or second on the podium
every year. Josh Tostado, Santa Cruz/Maxxis/Shimano, took third at
True Grit last year, but returns from high altitude, and numerous
victories, along with the course experience he gained last year.
Returning for a second
shot at victory is Jonathan Davis, Trek Colorado, who placed fifth
last year, will, no doubt, use his race experience to his advantage
this year. Also returning is Drew Edsall, Pro's
Closet /Stans No Tubes, a formidable competitor who placed first at
the NUE Syllamo’s Revenge last season along with a fourth place
finish at the Lumberjack 100.
New to this year’s
roster, Philly native Jesse Kelly, Rare
Disease Cycling, placed 7thoverall in the NUE Men’s Open last season. Justin "the honey
badger” Lindine, Redline
Factory/NBX, hopes to get his season on track early this year
following his second place finish at the Wildcat 100 last season.
Jeff Kerkove, riding for
race sponsor Ergon, has been a leader in racing at other big
endurance events such as The Whiskey 50 and La Ruta. Although this
will be his first time racing the True Grit 100, he has been coming
out frequently for training rides, and crushed the course last
Saturday during a Camp Lynda pre-ride with other pro’s.”
keep an eye on 28 year old Kyle Taylor, 92fifty' racing, from Black
Hawk CO, who, according to Chacon, stepped in and set all sorts of
new records in the geared category at frog hollow this year.
The Pfluginator faces a
formidable SS field
Five-time defending NUE
Singlespeed Champion, Gerry Pflug, Rare Disease Cycling, will return
to defend his True Grit title. Last year, the Pfluginator
narrowly edged out AJ Linnell, Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot
Cycles/American Classic, to get his first "W” of the season in7:30:35. Linnell fought back later into the NUE season at the
Tatanka 100, handing Pflug his only loss of the season. The battle
between Pflug and Linnell continued all season, each getting wins at
different NUE Series races in what became the most hotly contested
division in the NUE Series. Expect sparks to fly between these
Ernesto Marenchin, Pivot Cycles and
Twin 6, who finished third overall in the NUE Series behind Pflug and
Linnell is on the roster. Marenchin peaked late in the season last
year with second place finishes at both Shenandoah and Fool’s Gold.
Also testing his grit will be Trevor Rockwell, Team Noah
Foundation/Decorah Bicycles, who finished fourth overall in the NUE
Series last year, including second place finishes at Syllamo’s
Revenge and Pierre’s Hole.
Adding fuel to the battle for early
season SS supremacy is Cameron Chambers, Podium Cycles, a former
national 24 hour champion and podium finisher at the Breckenridge
100. He could make a big statement by winning race #1.
Locally, Jamon Whitehead, CutThroat/
BeeHive , is the Gro Races 25 Hours in Frog Hollow single speed champ
and a record holder who will be taking on the 100 on a towny bike.
His goal is to finish under the cut-off times.
Ohio’s Jolin will
defend his Masters Victory at True Grit
The top three finishers of
last year’s True Grit Epic are back this year! However, it was 53
year old David Jolin, Stark Velo from Bellville, Ohio who nabbed his
first NUE Series victory in 8:40:08before going on to experience his best NUE series run ever!
At the Fool’s Gold
Championship race last year, Jolin, finished just behind Marland
Whaley, Red Barn Bicycles, to finish second overall in the NUE
Series. No doubt, Jolin would like to relaunch his second attempt at
the title with a big win at True Grit. "Even though my body told me
differently, I did enjoy this race venue. The Zen Trail and Barrel
Roll had plenty of technical climbs and descents that required
picking a good line and, even then, it got dicey. The course also had
some great rollers that could get you up to great speed (stuckie
trail) and let you just hammer away. I think this was a great venue
for the opener.”
Perhaps his biggest
competitor will be the man from Salt Lake that, last year, finished
just over a minute behind him. At 8:41:24, 52 year old Jody
Bailey, 4Life/Mad Dog, is back for another crack at Jolin. "NUE has
always been my favorite race series.”
50 year old Charles Buki,
Rare Disease Cycling, is also returning following his third place
True Grit finish last year. Leading the series at one point, Buki
went on to finish seventh place overall in the NUE series.
Two new guns are headed to
Utah! Cohutta 100 (NUE #2) winner last year, Mark Drogalis, Cycle
Center Columbia, is starting his season a wee bit earlier this year.
Last season, the now 51 year old Drogalis finished sixth overall in
the NUE Series, including an impressive fourth place finish at
Shenandoah, the largest race in the NUE series. At 51, Roger Sutton,
Brick City Bicycles, is blowing in from sunny Florida gunning for an
early season win. Last year he placed second at the Cohutta 100.
Stay tuned here for the
latest results, photo and stories!