written by: Ryan O'Dell
upsets Tostado in the Breck 100Ē
For six straight yearís local
strongman, Josh Tostado, (Santa Cruz/Shimano) has maintained a firm grip on the
podium of a race that has become his personal training ground since its
inception in 2005.
Tostado, who resides at 10,500 feet in
nearby Alma, was competing for an incredible seventh straight win, an attempt
reminiscent of Lance Armstrongís seven year hold on the Tour de France. However, unlike the tour or the popular
Leadville 100, both won by Armstrong, the Breckenridge 100 is perhaps, even
more difficult, with its large percentage of, often, technical single-track,
including sections of slick, steep, root covered rocky sections, stream
crossings, several passes over the continental divide plus three snowpack
crossings, lingering remnants of the record snowfall this year.
In 2010, Kenda NUE Series National
Champion, Jeff Schalk, (Trek), made his second attempt at the Breckenridge
title without success, thanks, in part, to two flat tires along Wheeler Pass on
loop one that set him back by just over nineteen minutes behind the seemingly
undefeatable local champion. In 2011
however, the now three-time reigning National Champion had returned, along with
a fresh new strategy following his record setting win at the Mohican 100 in
June. Both contenders would face the leading series contender, Christian
Tanguy, (Team CF) who has won three of the last five NUE Series races,
including the most recent Lumberjack 100 in Michigan.
According to Tostado who finished
second, breaking his own course record at 8:13:50, "I was battling with Jeff
and Kelly Magelky (Honey Stinger/Trek) on the first two loops and Jeff was
having an incredible day, just hammering it out on every single climb and
pinning it on the down hills. I was feeling great too, definitely the best Iíve
felt all year. He and I both broke the previous course record so we both had a
great race. Kelly was with us until about halfway through the second loop,
about 50 miles, and then I think he was having some chain suck issues before he
dropped off. Then it was me and Jeff for the remainder of the race.
It was the climb up Indiana in the last
stretch up to Boreas Pass. I was doing my best to stay with him but he is like
a shark that senses the blood in the water and he just took off and gapped me.
I saw him when I got to the top and I gave it all I could. He was maybe only
two minutes ahead of me at the top of Boreas and then I got some time back from
him on the Gold Dust trail down to Como.
When I got to Como I could see him on
the road and he could see me and he just starts hammeriní back up to Boreas. He
was too much today. It was super fun to be out there with Jeff battling, and,
to me, that is what this is all about, racing guys like Jeff, the top of the
top. Itís great that the NUE Series has branched out to the west coast more.Ē
Still in contention for the NUE title, Tostadoís next stop will be the High
Cascades 100 in Bend, Oregon next Saturday followed by the Pierreís Hole 100 in
Alta, Wyoming and the Park City P2P in Park City, Utah.
The first ever "non-TostadoĒ winner,
Jeff Schalk, who set the bar higher at 8:08:53, had this to say, "I really
didnít think I was going to win today. It was more will than anything. I
acclimated to Boulder, CO, about half the elevation as here, but I had shallow
breathing and a stitch in my side the whole time. I hadnít intended to go so
hard on the first climb but Kelly Megelky of Golden, Colorado was pushing the
pace and heís been doing really good this year, better than Iíve ever seen him,
so I figured I had better stay with him.
My plan the last two years was to
attack Josh early and it just didnít pan out. I was always falling apart within
about six hours or so. My plan today was to shadow Josh and also, since I am
not fully acclimated up here, my main plan was to stay seated as much as
possible to conserve oxygen and energy. I never did heart attacks, I never
stood, I was never as much of an instigator, at least I didnít think so. I did
push the pace on climbs but it wasnít like an all-out attack going for the win.
It was more like, just put a little pressure on, stay seated, try and feel good
and see what happens.
What I would emphasize most is that
Josh is amazing up here. I donít think I have ever had to work so hard to get a
win in the NUE Series. I think this is my 15th win in NUE and by
far, Iíve never worked or suffered as much as I did here and that is what it
took to beat Josh.
50 miles in with just 10 miles to go in
the second loop there was a hard climb and I pushed the pace only so I could be
in front of Josh for the single track on loop three. He is so fast on the
single track that he easily gaps me so I wanted to be in front. I pushed myself
so hard that I was having full leg seizure cramps, 50 miles in, I was like, Iím
screwed, there is no way! But luckily, Josh was hurting too so we toned it down
and the weather helped out huge.Ē Referring to the cloud cover and light rain
that moved in later in the day.
When asked whether he agreed with
Tostadoís comment about smelling blood on the climb up to Boreas Pass, Schalk
replied, grinning "honestly no, I was cramping 50 miles in and its funny, these
races are all about your poker face but, itís like, I ride side by side with
Josh for six hours and weíre both dead silent and listening to each other,
looking for weaknesses.
When I was cramping, I thought it was
over but I was also able to detect that Josh was standing a bit. He looked a
little uncomfortable, his breathing didnít sound super great so I thought well
maybe I have a shot. When I caught up with him and we were going up to Boreas
Pass the first time, I wasnít really trying to put him down, I was just trying
to put a little pressure on him to see if he would get tired. I knew there was
a gravel climb coming out of Como and since Iím often times a better climber
and he is a better descender, I thought maybe I could attack Boreas out of
Como. After five or ten minutes of putting pressure on, he finally popped a
little bit and when I saw a gap it was game on. It was like, oh my God, I think
I have a shot to win. Until then, I didnít think I had a shot.Ē Schalks next
race will be the Wilderness 101 where he will, again, face series leader,
Christian Tanguy and, according to Schalk, perhaps former NUE contender,
Jeremiah Bishop and two other road professionals who may show up for the
Leading the NUE Series with three wins
and placing third in the race at 8:24:38, Christian Tanguy shared his
experience, "Early in the race, on the dirt road up to Peak 9, Kelly Magelky put
the hammer down and after about three quarters of the climb, I said no, I canít
hold this for 100 miles. I lingered maybe 50 yards behind.
What really got me was the hike a bike
(referring to the three snowpack crossings leading up to Wheeler Pass). Each
time I lost 50 yards, especially the last one. I came to a complete stop. I
didnít know how to push the bike or carry the bike, it was very steep. I lost a
tremendous amount of time.
My goal before the race was to keep up
with those guys because I know on the backside there is a long paved path and I
didnít want to be alone without the advantage of drafting. I didnít succeed in
this and on the way back from Frisco, the rough single track got me really bad
so when I finished loop one I was far behind.
After that, I knew the trail and
realized that I had to save some energy for the french flume trail because it
is very steep with loose gravel. I barely made it without pushing the bike. In
the middle of loop two, I started feeling better and began going faster. I was
looking at the scenery and, perhaps, not thinking so much about the pain.
When I finished that there was still a
small mountain back to the start/finish but this was just a big as the other
two. (Chuckling) It was like, Iím at the top, nooo, Iím not at the top. What
was good for me is that I spotted Jesse where he had fallen off from Josh and
Jeff so it was great motivation to keep pushing and by the time I finished loop
two, I had passed Jesse. Finishing just 11 minutes behind Josh in my first
attempt, I was pleased with my time. I had a great day and my bike worked
excellent.Ē Tanguyís next attempt at his fourth win will be at the Wilderness
101 in State College, Pennsylvania on July 30.
Jesse Jakomait finished third, 8:51:17,
and Kelly Magelky held on for fourth, just over four minutes behind Jakomait.
Kirland makes it two straight at BreckenridgeĒ
Many women participated in this yearís
race, mostly in the B-68 and B-32 options. Only a handful attempted what race
director, Thane Wright, refers to as the "whole enchiladaĒ.
Among the 100 milers, Jari (pronounced
Yar-EE) Kirkland, Alpine Orthopaedics, from Crested Butte, CO captured her
second straight win, finishing in just 10:31:36. Kirkland had this to say about
her victory, "I donít necessarily know the competition but I came here to
improve my time from last year. I definitely did not feel too great on the
first two loops and it was just like, stick it out, stick it out, Jari, stick
it out. You came here to ride one hundred miles.
It wasnít until mile 80 that I found my
legs and all of a sudden, I felt good and it was like, definitely, no one is
passing me now, ya know. At the start, there were just guys around me, and I
didnít know whether there was a girl out front until I came in from the first
loop and heard the announcer say, "This is Jari, she is our leader!Ē and I was
like, sweet. (laughing) So then it was like, ok, even though you donít feel
very good, donít let anyone pass you, suck it up if you have to.
So I was riding the same pace as three
or four other guys and it worked really well because if I was starting to slack
a little, we just stayed together on the ascents and the descents. The last
lap, on the final climb up to Boreas Pass, I finally started climbing again,
passed a couple guys, and it was like, this is how I should feel. I didnít know
how close the next girl was then but it was like, sheís not passing me, thatís
it! I looked over my shoulder a few times just to see, like, do I need to pick
it up? But I didnít see anyone back there.Ē
When asked whether she had acclimated,
Kirkland responded, "I lived in Breckenridge for five years but Iíve been
living in Crested Butte for the last seven at 9000 feet. The first time I rode
Wheeler trail was last year but this year, I knew what to expect.
When asked whether she had competed in
any other NUE races, Kirkland replied, "No, but I did an Iron Man a couple
weeks ago in Idaho so Iíve been spending more time on my road bike. Iíve only
done three mountain bike races this year, however, I would love to do more NUE
races and compete with women like Amanda Carey and Cheryl Sornson. The problem
with me is that I didnít start riding my mountain bike until May because we had
so much snow at Crested Butte. You couldnít even ride on the road, it was like
we got more snow in April than February or March. Endurance is definitely my
forte, more so than a two hour race.
I think this is an amazing race. People
talk about 100 miles and Leadville but, in my opinion, and Iíve ridden the
Leadville course, I think this race is the best 100 mile race you could
possibly do because Leadville is all
road but Breckenridge is like, seventy five percent single-track. Itís so much
more interesting, more fun, and harder, but I like that so much more.
Finishing second this year was Melissa Trainer (Trek Bicycle
Store) from Boulder, Colorado, 11:45:39."This
was my first Breck 100. The course was
epic, challenging, beautiful, yet kept my interest as I looked forward to each
loop. I picked flowers at the top of
Wheeler Pass and enjoyed the beauty while trudging through the snow drifts and
looked forward to the downhill ahead. Well, I hit two trees, one of which tore my new glove to shreds and my
chamois butter failed me after 10 hours, sore bum today.
I was with Jari until we crossed the start line. (HA!) I was with her, actually had my sights on her
up the road to the top of Wheeler Pass then progressively I was told "sheís
15 minutes ahead of you, sheís 30 minutes ahead of you, sheís an hour ahead of
you...." At that point I just kept pedaling on......Ē
When asked what tire she chose for the race, Trainer
replied, "The Kenda Nevegalís were amazing on this course with the mix of
terrain, and were highly suggested by peers and mechanics. I have always been a Kenda fan even back in
the days of down hilling. I have been committed to the Hammer products for a
long time and the gel and Heed are the staple part of my nutrition for every
race. They digest easily and give me the
energy I need.
When asked whether she planned to compete in any of the
upcoming NUE races, Trainer replied, "I havenít planned any races yet for this
year, but will definitely race as many as I can in the future, and thank
everyone for putting on an amazing race!!!Ē
Thompson wins his third straight!Ē
Mark Thompson, (Wilderness Sports/Specialized/Big
Wheel Racing), of Breckenridge rocked the course for the third straight year,
the only singlespeed racer to break the ten hour barrier at 9:54:00. "I felt
pretty good on the first climb to Wheeler this morning although I havenít had a
great year of racing or training. I got a new job and it takes a lot of
commitment. Iím a district court judge here which is a handful. I struggled a
little later in the day with some GI distress which is always tough in these
100 mile races.
When asked how he got through it,
Thompson replied, "You know, I just basically ignored it, just set my mind to
the task at hand. I really wanted to win three in a row. I thought it would be
a neat streak and a good accomplishment. I just decided that I wouldnít let it
slow me down to the extent that I could.
When asked about the NUE Series
reigning champion, Gerry Pflug, (Salsa/NoTubes/ProBikes) who has won the first
five series races but placed seventh at Breckenridge, Thompson responded, "I
saw Gerry at the start line this morning. He and I talk every year at this race
and he said Geez, the altitude kills me every year at this race but Iím gonna
keep cominí back. I almost didnít come back this year, but I had to come back
and give it another shot. Heís a fighter!Ē
He had a better race last year but last
year though, I was just outta control. I felt fantastic, it was a day like Jeff
Schalk had today, where there was no chain on the bike, it had a motor, but
today was the hardest Breck 100 and Iíve done all seven of them. I suffered a
lot for this victory today.
When asked whether he had plans to
compete in any other NUE series races, Thompson commented, "Iíd like to try to
do but havenít been able to sort it out for this year but itís been kind of in
the back of mind that I would like to go out and try some of the earlier ones
in the season. I think it would be very different races, a lot more power,
smaller gearing, taller gears so to speak, and a lot different courses. It
would be a real change for me because, obviously, the altitude treats me real
Michael Scott, (Trek Bicycle Store)
from Denver placed second in what was a close race between second and third,
10:03:07. "It was good, my first time in the Breck 100. I started out a little
slow, kind of paciní it. My Garmin wasnít working so I was just going off feel,
which is kind of new for me. Thompson was gone, but Jeff Carter, who ultimately
placed third, was in front of me on top of Wheeler Pass and then I passed him
on the downhill and didnít see any other single speeders until the end of the
When asked what was most difficult,
Scott replied, "For me it was by Como, there was a section that was really
rocky but kind of flat, like a power section and I was pretty tired. The push
over that was pretty tough. Usually, we all want singletrack but by then I had
had my fill of single track and was looking for some open road. (laughter) I
wanted a dirt road and a railroad grade that I could just spin up.Ē Scott is
planning to compete in the upcoming Leadville 100 and the Vapor Trail 125 among
other local races.
of Denver finished third, 10:06:41. "Willaís Wheels is a charity organization
designed to raise money for a friend of mines daughter who died of cancer. Itís
for Colorado families who canít afford access to care and helps to pay for
things like rent, gas money, mortgages for people who lose their jobs trying to
get their kid cancer care.
When asked about the race, Carter said,
"I had a great day today, it was my third try at this race and Iíve always sort
of folded on the last lap. I played it smart but a lot of people duke it out
and try to climb a lot of steep hills. Iím really happy. It was one of my best
days as a cyclist.Ē
Andrews conquers the mountains making it two wins now in the NUE Series.Ē
After an impressive win early in the
season at the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee, Doug Andrews, (Geoladders.com) of
Mission Viejo, California and a former student of Ambassador University makes it two this year with a big win
in the high mountains of Breckenridge. Andrews was the only Masters racer to
come in under ten hours, 9:50:07.
Last year, Andrews, in his first race
at Breckenridge placed 8th overall. This year, Andrews, now 50 years
old, continues to astound the youngsters maintaining his 8th overall
position and, with this win, becomes a serious contender in the National Series
for reigning champion, Robert Herriman.
"The first climb was great, I felt
really good, I could see the leaders and was in 7th place when we
hit the snow at the top of Wheeler Pass. I was probably over tentative and had
a lot of people pass me, slipping to maybe 12th down Wheeler. Itís
pretty steep, and pretty tough, ya know.
Once we hit peaks trail it was a little
flatter, maybe a twelve percent grade. After the first loop, I was in first
place in 50-59 but had slipped to maybe 25th place overall and had a
lot of ground to make up. I learned a lot from last year, acclimated, got here
early and ate a little bit differently than I usually do or had in the past.
The first half of the race I ate no
gels, no sugary stuff, just peanut butter and tasteless stuff, hard to get down
but I just forced myself to eat it. Once I hit the second half, especially loop
three, I started hittiní the gels. By then, I was back a few places from tenth
and by the time I hit the Gold Dust Trail, had moved into tenth overall.Ē
Andrews is planning to compete next
Saturday in the High Cascades 100 and Pierreís Hole 100 at Grand Targhee in a
bid to obtain four wins which could set up a showdown at Shenandoah in Virginia
with Herriman or Roger Masse, both major contenders in the Masters division
from the east.
"Weíre having a good rivalry with the
three of us and maybe there will be a fourth guy, I donít know. The NUE Series
is fantastic and definitely a motivator to get out there and try to complete
Taking second place in the Masters was
NUE Series contender, David Grauer, (Orthopro) who completed the course in
11:16:21. "It went well, I felt pretty good. I think the weather was really
favorable. The cloud cover really helped with the heat and I didnít get to wet.
I had fun. I was riding a Specialized Epic 29er with Renegade tires and the
bike held up really well.
There were three of us riding together
during the first loop. I think it was in the first third of loop two that we
separated in a hot, rocky section called Little French Creek. I rode most of
it, walked some of it but you can ride it, certainly, more easily if you
havenít already ridden forty miles. (laughing)
Grauer has also completed both Cohutta
and Mohican and is planning to ride in the upcoming Pierreís Hole 100 and the
Park City Point to Point. He added, "I think this is my fourth year
participating in the series and I definitely enjoy it.Ē
Finishing third was Dean Cahow, (Team
Evergreen Racing) from Evergreen, Colorado who finished 11:39:26. "This was my
first time at this race so my game plan was a little conservative. I didnít
want to blow up and didnít know quite what I was getting myself into but
overall, it went really well.
The long climbs, of course, were
demanding but toughest part really is the latter half of the race when youíre
riding the technical stuff. Even the descending just pounds you and thatís
really, really hard. (laughing) I was actually wishing that we would start
climbing again because I was getting so beat up on the descents. And I was
riding a full suspension bike!Ē
When asked about other races, Cahow
stated that he didnít really have any goals but had finished the Leadville 100
sixteen times. He claimed that his best time was 9:07 including a couple of top
tenís in his age group.
The youngest finisher of the Breck 68
mile race was 15 year old Cameron Hooyer, (Surge Cycling) from Cottonwood
Heights, Utah, 9:35:43. According to his father, Mark Hooyer, who finished just
10 minutes behind his son following a mechanical issue, Cameron originally
registered for the B-32 but decided to compete in the B-68 following approval
by race officials. This was his longest race ever and first at Breckenridge.
According to Cameron, "It went good, I
did better than I expected. I expected to not be able to finish but I found it
in me somewhere to just stick it out. My feet got wet in the stream crossings
and I crashed twice but donít remember where it happened. I clipped my
handlebar on some tight trees at one point and tipped it over on loop one and
loop two (chuckling).Ē When asked what was most difficult for the young racer,
Hooyer replied, "The last stretch going up to Boreas Pass and the road going up
that seems like forever. Gibson hill was pretty tough too. I didnít expect it
to be so steep and it was right at the end of the first loop.Ē
When asked whether he planned to do any
other races, Hooyer commented, "I actually do cyclocross in Utah in the fall
and I say everything else is training for that but Iím really starting to like
mountain biking.Ē Cameron stated following his success at Breck that he may
enter the Park City Point to Point. The NUE wishes this up and coming young
racer good luck!
the NUE Series heads Northwest to the High Cascades of Bend, Oregon for the
HC100. Stay tuned for a race preview and highlights.