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Breckenridge 100 Preview

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |August 4, 2011 12:05 PM

7thAnnual Breckenridge 100 Race Preview

By Ryan O’Dell

Saturday, July 16th at 6am ultra-endurance athletes from all over the US, both solo and teams, will roll out from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge for the start of the 7th Annual Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Challenge, race number five of the, growing in leaps and bounds,  KENDA (NUE) National Ultra Endurance Series, www.nuemtb.com, presented by Hammer Nutrition . Racers will also receive points in the statewide Colorado RME Series. 

Course architect, Zobbewan, has linked together an amazing network of backcountry trails, roads, double- track and bike paths featuring 13,719 feet of climbing through Summit County’s pristine back country. This race course, set mostly above 9000 feet, is arguably the most difficult of the series, offering three Continental Divide crossings at altitudes surpassing 12,000 feet along with spectacular, jaw dropping, "hey man, keep your eyes on the trail” scenery. 

The first loop sends racers up and over the famed Wheeler Pass. Due to record snowpack in the high country, racers may face a much more difficult crossing in the snowpack this year. "The typical 30 meter snowfield may be 200 meters!" Race Director, Thane Wright.

After passing through the start/finish zone in Carter Park, racers head out for loop two, considered the most difficult of the three cloverleaf loops. Wright, "Loop 2 will test any racers metal, but the extensive sections on the Colorado Trail make the effort rewarding.”

Passing through Carter Park again, racers head out on loop three toward an aid station located on the Continental Divide at Boreas Pass. Racers must reach Boreas Pass by 4:30pm, the final cutoff, earlier than all other NUE series races. The Rocky Mountains are re-known for afternoon thunderstorms with dangerous high altitude lightning. For racers able to make the cutoff, the reward is a ride on the historic flowing descent of the old flume - Gold Dust Trail, before a third crossing of the Continental Divide toward the finish at Carter Park.  

At the post-race celebration at Carter Park, racers will be rewarded with a gourmet buffet dinner featuring local cuisine from a variety of local area restaurants along with fresh brews from Colorado’s famous Oskar Blues Brewery, purveyors of Dale’s Pale Ale.

In addition to cash and prizes, NUE Sponsors are kicking in an additional $1000 worth of quality Kenda brand tires plus gift certificates from Velocity Wheels and Yakima Racks. All racers who complete at least four NUE Series events become eligible for series awards, including custom NUE Endura Brand Champion Jerseys. As always, No license is required to compete in NUE Series events.

According to Wright, "Registration is still open, however, time is running out for anyone that would like to register for this epic event.  For racers who may not be up for the whole enchilada, shorter distances are also available for solo riders and teams who would like to experience this spectacular high alpine cycling challenge.” 

Men’s Open

In the Men’s Open division, the question remains, can ANYONE prevent local strongman, Josh Tostado, from winning his 7th consecutive Breckenridge 100?! Tostado won last year in 8:23:47 and holds the course record of 8:14:37 set in 2008.

To win his seventh crown at high altitude, Tostado, Bach Builders/Santa Cruz, will, again, face three- time reigning National Ultra Endurance Series Champion, Jeff Schalk, racing for Trek.  Last year we witnessed a close race between the two until a couple of flats on the rocky descent from Wheeler pass, early in the race, pretty much took the defending champion out of contention.

According to Wright, "Local legend Josh Tostado absolutely owns this race winning every edition of the contest since its inception 7 years ago.  He has taken on all comers including Tinker Juarez, Jeff Schalk, Travis Brown and Evan Plews, to name a few, but none have been able to topple this man of steel who is undefeatable on his home turf.”

Earlier this season, Schalk and Tostado gave us a preview at NUE Series race #3, The Kenda Mohican 100 in Loudonville, Ohio. In Mohican country, Schalk found his legs and appeared to shake off the gremlins that derailed him early in the season, setting a new course record in the process for his third Mohican win, ahead of Tostado, who placed 5thin his only NUE Series race finish, so far, this year.

However, a new challenger has arisen from the Great Lakes State of Michigan, who is currently leading the NUE Series by one point with victories at Cohutta, Syllamo’s Revenge, and, most recently, on his home turf at The Lumberjack 100 in Michigan just two weeks ago.

Christian Tanguy, Team CF, will be making an appearance in Summit County this year in an attempt to be the first to unseat Tostado and, in the process, win four NUE Series races this year. To accomplish this feat would allow him the enviable position to sit back and observe until the final race at Shenandoah 100 where all ties will be broken in this best four of eleven series. With six races remaining, including a late season back to back race at the Park City Point to Point in Park City, Utah followed by the Shenandoah 100 in Virginia, the next day, nothing is assured for Tanguy.

Other known challengers registered for this year’s event include, Jesse Jakomait, SRAM / Bandwagon Racing, of Colorado Springs who finished fourth last year, 41 minutes behind Tostado and Keith Collins, Bach Builders/Infinit Nutrition, of Denver who finished sixth last year.

Women’s Open

In the Women’s Open last year, Jari Kirkland, Team Alpine, of Crested Butte, set the bar for women at 9:59:07. Kirkland is also a record holder at Montezuma's Revenge and the 24 Hours of Moab.  Eszter Horanyi, Space Cowgirls, finished 10:20:49, however, so far, neither are registered for this year’s race.

Also noticeably absent from the roster, so far, are NUE reigning Champion, Amanda Carey, Kenda/Felt, who has three wins so far this year and 2008 NUE Women’s Champion, Cheryl Sornson, Team CF, who currently leads the NUE Series with four finishes, including a second place finish at the Mohican 100.

Their absence could leave the door open for challengers, Laureen Coffelt, Velosoul / The Natural Way and Molly Wolf, Gore Bike Wear/Wheel Werks, both in the NUE top ten with three finishes so far this season and both registered for the race.

Single Speed Open

In the Singlespeed Division, Two-time NUE Series Single Speed Reigning Champion, Gerry Pflug, Salsa/NoTubes/Pro Bikes, returns to the Breckenridge 100 after placing third last year, 47 minutes behind Mark Thompson, Wilderness Sports, of Breckenridge who took the top spot at 9:33:55 and Michael Melley, Landis/Red Rock, 10:17:22 of Chandler, Arizona.

The one geared wonder known as "The Pfluginator” is off to another amazing season as the ONLY racer in the NUE series that remains undefeated with four straight wins. With last year’s challengers absent from the roster, could Pflug pull off his fifth straight win?! 

Matt Turgeon, Moots/Big Wheel Racing, returns this year after placing fifth last year, 24 minutes behind Pflug. Also returning is Jeffrey Carter, Spot Brand, of Denver who placed sixth last year and Ryan Friedman, MORF / Redstone Cyclery, of Winter Park who finished seventh last year.

Masters 50+ Open

Bill Holden, Holden Brothers, leads the NUE Series after four this year as the only racer with four finishes, including a fourth place finish at Syllamo’s Revenge in Mountain View, Arkansas this year.

With three finishes under his wheels, defending NUE Masters Champion, Robert Herriman, Trek 29er Crew/WSC/ACFSStores.com, is well on his way to a repeat with wins at the Mohican 100 and the Lumberjack 100. He has faced stiff competition this season in the form of Roger Masse, Trek 29er Crew, now just one point behind the defending champion with second place finishes at Cohutta, Mohican, and Lumberjack this year. However, none are currently registered for the Breckenridge race with just over a week remaining until registration closes. If any of these leaders decide to show, all bets are off.

Larry Dewitt, Pro Cycling, of Colorado Springs set the bar in the Men’s Masters at Breckenridge last year finishing in just 11:35:57.

Of the12 starters last year, just five finished this difficult race, including David Grauer, Orthopro, who finished less than five minutes behind Dewitt, placing second. He returns with course knowledge this year, becoming the top contender with a great opportunity to take his first win of the NUE season.  

Before the celebration begins for Grauer, however, a new gun is reportedly coming to the highlands of Colorado this year and his name is Doug Andrews, GeoLadders.com. Andrews settled the score at the first showdown of the series at Cohutta this year, riding off into the sunset with the top prize. Although he dropped out at Mohican, Breckenridge presents him with a real opportunity to become an NUE Series leader. Let the shoot-out begin!  

And stay tuned right here for the latest results, photos and race reports.

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