MTB Race News Gear
Buy It Here!
Shirts, Socks, Hoodies and More...
Home Calendar MTB RaceNews Team Photo Gallery About Us

Syllamo's Revenge - Mountain View, AR

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |June 2, 2011 12:36 PM
< 1 2 3 4 >

Syllamo’s Revenge - Mountain View, Arkansas

written by: Ryan O’Dell

The Kenda NUE, National Ultra Endurance Series,, presented by Hammer Nutrition, made its debut Saturday in Mountain View, Arkansas. NUE Series #2 sold out in mere minutes.

Mountain View is considered the Folk Music Capital of the World and, in addition to its IMBA epic mountain bike trail system, the area also features Blanchard Springs Caverns and has become a popular destination for rainbow trout fishing and canoeing on the White and Buffalo Rivers which border the east and west sides of the district.

Syllamo’s Revenge, with 50 and 125k distances, takes place on the Syllamo, pronounced (Sil-lah-moe), mountain bike trail, a series of interconnecting loops offering mountain bike enthusiast’s 50 miles of trail, most of it single-track. The trail name dates back to an infamous resident of the area in the early 1800’s. A Creek Indian named Syllamo who was tolerated by the native Shawnees. His favorite hunting grounds were a particular creek drainage that was named for him.  

Although the temperatures were ideal, in the 60’s throughout most of the day, racer’s encountered difficulties from the very start on the yellow loop due to wet conditions from rains received the day before the race. The native limestone, better known as slick rock, is aptly named and it didn’t take long for racers to understand the implications of riding across rock slabs after hundreds of tires dragged mud and water over them. Don Lovelace Jr. from Tulsa, OK described the mud on limestone as "like riding on Teflon”. 

NUE Women’s Open:

According to NUE Women’s Open Champion, Amanda Carey, KENDA/FELT, "Oh my gosh, it was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had on my bike in a really long time. These trails are punishing, there’s no rest. I had two slow leaks, tried twice to fix it then I finally flatted, then I had drivetrain issues.”

When asked about about NUE 2009 Women’s Open Champion Cheryl Sornsen,, Carey replied, "When I started having my slow leak issues, I probably had a five minute gap on her, I’m not sure. Then I just started going backwards dealing with the flat and she passed me some time before aid two, I think. It took me almost two hours to chase her down.

I knew there was a chance I could catch her if I was smart. It would have been easy to make the mistake of trying to catch her all at once and then blow up, so I just tried to ride steady and smooth and a little bit faster than I probably should have but did it and just slowly reeled her in. Then we rode together for a little bit, about four and half hours in. She was super gracious, gave me the pass, and I kind of took off from there, picked up the pace a little bit, and can’t believe I survived it.” Carey went on for her second straight series win, finishing in 7:35:01.

According to Sornsen, of Fairfield, PA, who finished in 7:50:29, "I had a very conservative start. Amanda got ahead of me and I was surprised to see her along the side changing a flat. I assumed she had been there for a while because I assumed she had a big lead so I passed her and was thinking she would come charging up and she did. She is very powerful and it’s hard to keep up with her. I tried my best and really like this type of riding a lot. Syllamo’s is a good fit for the series.” Sornsen’s next race will be the Mohican 100.   

Sonya Looney of Boulder, CO, who finished third at 8:04:14, described the first part of the race as "like riding on ice”. She went on to say, "I had a really tough first thirty miles, I am riding a new bike and my front fork was basically not working. I had to keep stopping, messing with the rebound and letting air out of it to try to get it working. My stomach was having problems as well. I was like, barfing on myself.

I just kept telling myself it was going to be better and kept saying don’t quit, don’t quit. Then when I got really down I said to myself, "Thoughts create feelings, so stop thinking negative thoughts” and then, after about four hours, I felt my body starting to get lighter, felt like I could breathe, and then I think I was going like twice as fast because I covered about 30 miles in four hours.”

Speaking with Andrea Wilson of Cordova, TN who placed fifth in 8:20:54 as the only woman racing on a single-speed, "Brenda (referring to Brenda Simril) and I were kind of back and forth for the first, maybe, 25 miles, after aid two, and then I kind of got a little tired and she just took off and I didn’t see her again until right now.” (laughing) At one point, during the race, when a male racer questioned Wilson about her near flat tire, Wilson, sporting a Mohawk and piercings, exclaimed, "I brought this rim into the world and I can take it out too!” 

Brenda Simril, of Chattagnooga, TN placed fourth in 8:07:03 commented, "I think the hardest part of the course was the blue trail after aid two. The red loop was fun but I was shocked at how long it was” to which Wilson added, "It went on foreverrrr”. 

Simril, with evidence of dried blood on her nose and shin, added, "yeah, and you are going so fast that when you wreck, like I did, then you "f’d” yourself up pretty good. I lost my front wheel off the side of the trail and there was this dead tree over there and, well, I think the tree actually kept me from going further down the hill (laughter) so maybe it was a good thing that it was there?!  

NUE Men’s Open:

In the Men’s Open division it was Christian Tanguy,, taking the top spot on the podium with a blistering time of 6:10:19 after gaining his first win of the season at The Cohutta 100. According to Tanguy, who lives in Rochester, Michigan, "We started out with a pack of five riders and by aid station one we were only four, three time NUE Champion, Jeff Schalk, Trek, Brandon Draugelis, Racing Team, and Chris Peariso,  Adventure 212/Specialized. By Aid Station two we were only three after Chris flatted.”

"I had been riding for like an hour and half with only 7psi in the rear tire. It was a good thing though because the Yellow loop was kind of rough which gave me a little suspension but by aid station two, I decided that I really needed some air. Jeff left first but apparently had too much air in his tires so he stopped to let some pressure out. I was dead last in the group of three but it was not too worry because I was feeling really good at that point. Brandon was leading, Jeff was chasing and I was chasing Jeff between aid station two and three but by the time we crossed route 5 and the creeks, we were all back together.

Jeff took back the lead and the three of us climbed the big steps (known as "The Stairway to Heaven” although at least one racer commented that it was far from heaven) but, shortly after that, Brandon got a flat tire so he was out of the picture before aid station three. We didn’t stop at aid three heading into the bad branch trails. I was really feeling good but the bad branch really took a toll on me before we headed into aid station four.

 Jeff and I were really well matched at that point so I thought the only area where I could really make a difference was on the steep climb on the final yellow loop but Jeff probably knew it and, as I tried to pass on the wide trail, he kind of pushed me off into the rough stuff and I was losing my momentum but stayed within five yards of Jeff’s wheel.  Shortly after that there was this rough section and it was there that he dropped his chain. I realized that this was my opportunity.”   

According to Schalk, who  finished second at 6:23:47, "Yeah, I was feeling really good, battling back and forth with Christian, but with about 20 miles to go my chain just snapped. It was partially just being a victim of all the creek crossings. My chain was really dry and when it snapped it fell completely off the bike. I had to run back to get it, take out a link, and by the time you do that it was probably a five minute gap or something. I really wanted this win, however, this is really a beautiful place to ride and one of the more unique courses in the NUE series.”

 According to Brandon Draugelis who hails from rocky Bedford, PA, finishing third in 6:38:22, "I was really looking forward to this course because I heard about how rough it was. I sprained by shoulder last weekend so I was taking it a little bit easier in the rocks because I didn’t want to go down and hurt myself even further. In the second lap after everyone went through, it dried out a lot and I found my groove and felt like I was able to start railin’ the corners a bit faster and going over the rocks with more confidence before I flatted. I loved the course and would definitely make a trip down next year to do it.”

According to Kip Biese of Colorado Springs who finished fourth in 6:47:12, "I had a pretty bad start, didn’t warm up enough and went out too hard at the start but I got it going and felt pretty good at the end actually. I saw five guys break off the front on the opening climb and I briefly thought about making an effort to get up there but just didn’t have it. That was just too much of an effort off no warm-up and I think I fell back to eighth or ninth. After aid station two, I started feeling good and began moving up. I look forward to coming back next year.”     

NUE Singlespeed Open:

Two-time NUE Singlespeed Champion Gerald Pflug, SALSA/PAO BIKES took his second straight NUE Series victory, completing the course in just 7:06:32. Afterward, the "Pfluginator” had this to say. "It went real well, the race is real good. It’s really technical. The first part was wet, real slick, so I kind of checked my speed a bit and then as things dried off I just stayed on top of my gear and kept it goin’. I stayed up with the geared guys the best I could then a couple of those guys dropped off and I was just out by myself for a long time and didn’t see anybody. This is a real tough course, physically and mentally, you’ve got to pay attention the whole time.”

47 year old Robin Oscar of Signal Mountain, TN placed second behind the NUE Champ in 7:37:41 after a tenth place finish at Cohutta. According to Oscar, "It was a rough ride, very technical through most of it. I’m glad I didn’t have any mechanicals. That was the big key. I was passing people left and right with busted bikes, flat tires, the whole nine yards. Tailor made for single-speed as far as the course goes. It has some stout climbs but not a whole lot of flat ground where the geared guys are blowin’ you away.” Oscar announced that he would be competing at the Mohican MTB100 on June 4 and perhaps Fool’s Gold 100 and Shenandoah 100 this year.

When asked whether he ever saw the champ out there, Oscar said, "At 47, I didn’t really expect to, to be honest”. (laughter)   When asked about third place finisher, Boomer Leopold of Memphis, TN who finished just 6 minutes behind Oscar, "We were passin’ back and forth until the second time along the yellow loop. According to Leopold, "I had a pretty good day. I’ve raced the 50 miler for several years now but flatted last year and ended up placing fourth or fifth”.     

NUE Masters 50+:

51 year old Todd Henne of Plainview, AR took the masters, finishing 7:52:42. Chiding the writer for neglecting to include him in the race preview as the local favorite, Henne, tongue firmly planted in cheek commented,  "That’s all right dude, that was all I needed (for motivation). (laughter)  When asked whether any other masters were running with him, Henne said, "I have no idea, I just rolled all day, smooth sailing, felt fine, had fun, no problem with the bike, piece of cake.” Henne plans to compete at the Mohican 100, Fool’s Gold 100 and Shenandoah 100 this year.

According to Chris Irving of Arlington, TN, who placed second in 8:12:34. "It was a rough day. I crashed in the creek, had a flat, then had a couple more crashes. Todd Henne passed me about an hour and half in and I never saw him again. When asked whether anything unusual happened out there, Irving joked, "no, just an inability to change a flat!” (laughter)  Irving placed third last year at Syllamo’s, sixth at Cohutta this year and stated that he planned to do a few more NUE Series races, including Mohican. 

Barry Vollmer, 57, from the capitol city of Jefferson City, MO, finished third in 9:26:23. It was his third race at Syllamo’s, "It was fun. It’s a great course and it was a pretty day. It was cool and the rocks were slippery. I only had one flat tire so I had a good day, mechanically.” When asked whether he saw any of the other two race leaders, Vollmer replied, "It’s hard to keep track of people, I mean, I don’t keep track of anybody, I can barely keep track of myself out there.” (laughing)

On June 4, the series shifts to the Buckeye State in Loudonville, Ohio for the ninth annual KendaMohican 100 and 100k races. Another record turnout of 600 or more is expected this year along the remote single loop course spanning four counties in what is referred to as "Mohican Country”.  Registration is still open but filling up fast so racers are encouraged to register soon. Visit for more information.


 Pro Men


Christian Tanguy

(Team CF)



Jeff Schalk

(Trek Racing Co-Op)



Brandon Draugelis

(Team CF)



Kip Biese




Robert Marion

(American Classic)



Ernesto Marenchin




Jonathon Davis




Ryan Krayer




Edward O’Dea




Christopher Michaels




Andy Gorski




Kevin Conerly




Lee Unwin




Nathan Rice




Frank Webber




Brad Cobb




Hart Robinson




Justin Mace




Jeffrey Heun




Lee Simril




Scott Cole




Dan Kotwicki




Reilly Frakes




Andrew Christman




Pat Zimmerman




Aaron Martin




Rob Bell



Pro Women 


Amanda Carey




Cheryl Sornsen

(Team CF)



Sonya Looney




Brenda Simril

(Motor Mile Racing)



Andrea Wilson

(Outdoors Inc)



Namrita O’Dea




Laureen Coffelt





















Close (X)