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Wilderness 101 - State College, Pennsylvania

Posted by: Matt Williams |August 11, 2011 2:36 AM
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Local Favorite Vicki Barclay Has Break-Through Win While Jeff Schalk Defends at 101

This Saturday marked the 11th installment of the Wilderness 101. The Wilderness is one of 11 races on the National Ultra Endurance race schedule and always a fan favorite.

The racecourse includes 101 miles of treacherous rocky singletrack, high-speed doubletrack, dirt roads, and lots of train tunnels.

In addition to the demanding trail riders were forced to battle this year’s record temperatures and humidity. Saturday’s high was in the mid-90s with similar levels of humidity.

Open Men

While the result in the Wilderness 101 was the same in years past, with Jeff Schalk (Trek) claiming the top step in the podium for the 4th year in a row, the result was anything but certain for most of the race. Christian Tanguy (Team CF) once again put on a massive display of strength, and nearly snatched the victory. Schalk and Tanguy are now tied in the NUE Series standings with three wins apiece.

Early on though it was Roger Aspholm pushing the pace on the first climb. A small lead group had formed by the first Aid #1, when endurance racing stalwart Drew Edsall went to the front and reduced the group to eight riders heading into Aid #2—the start of the race’s first major climb.

It was there that Tanguy made his move—blowing the race apart. "Christian was pushing a massive pace up the climb,” Schalk said. "He was making me suffer; I was struggling to stay on.” The two crested the climb together though, and Schalk was able to get a gap on the descent. Tanguy caught back on the climb, and the two yo-yoed back in forth, with Schalk descending faster and Tanguy catching back up on the climbs, for much of the race. Behind, Michael Simonson (RBS Trek) had teamed up with Aspholm and Brandon Draugelis (Team CF) to form a chase group.

Around Aid #4 Schalk began to have some mechanical issues. "I dropped my chain and I lost maybe 20-30 seconds untangling it,” Schalk said. After a huge effort to close the gap the same thing happened to Schalk again on a fire road descent on the way to Aid #5. Schalk managed to close the gap again, and by Aid #5 the two leaders were back together. It was at the final aid station that Schalk finally got off the front for good. At Aid #5, "we both stopped to get a bottle,” Schalk said, "and I just got my bottle a little bit faster. I got maybe 10 seconds on him [Tanguy] out of that aid station. From there it’s rail trail to one little climb and I just buried myself to get away.”

Perhaps in fitting with the race’s reputation as a "backcountry” mountain bike race, the last few miles were anything but straightforward for Schalk and Tanguy. In the final section of singletrack both riders, separated by a few minutes, came across the biggest rattlesnake Schalk had ever seen lounging in the middle of the trail, forcing both riders to detour off the trail.  Schalk ultimately crossed the line in a scorching 6:26:25, with Tanguy coming through four minutes back.

Behind Schalk and Tanguy, Simonson broke away from Aspholm and Draugelis, and rode a clean race to take third in under seven hours. "This race has always been a disaster for me,” he said afterward, "so I was pretty happy to get through it smooth this time.”

With four races to go in the NUE Series, Schalk and Tanguy are now tied atop the overall standings with three wins apiece. Both will be looking to secure a forth win (a rider’s top four results count towards the overall standings), with the series’ final race, the Shenandoah 100 serving as a tie-breaker.

Open Women

The women’s race brought out many of the top names in ultra endurance racing but by the days end a first-time winner would claim victory.

Off the start, former NUE series champion, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) charged up the road in her usual fashion. This time she was closely followed by local favorite Vicki Barclay.

These two formed the lead group for the first half of the race until Sornson was forced to abandon due to illness.

Barclay overtook the lead in front of Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) and Karen Potter (MTBRaceNews.com/zaboo29).

Potter, last year’s runner-up at the 101 traded places with Simril several times in the opening 75 miles until blowing a tire in one of the notorious Wilderness 101 rock gardens.

Neither rider ever approached Barclay on the front. Vicki rode an impressive race being the only woman to break the 8 hour barrier. She crossed the line 30 minutes up on second placed Brenda Simril.

A torn sidewall and subsequent tire change cost Potter a lot of time but not her third place finish as the cruised across the line at 8.41.17.

Singlespeed

Gerry Pflug (Salsa/No Tubes) secured his second Wilderness 101 victory with what he called a "perfect race.” It was Pflug’s third 100 miler in as many weeks, but he was able to recover enough to thrive on the 101 course. "I was running a 34x19,” Pflug said, "which is bigger than what I’ve run in the past, but it felt pretty good.” Pflug was able to ride with the lead group through Aid #1, before getting dropped by the geared riders on a high-speed descent. "From that point I was pretty much by myself for the rest of the race,” Pflug said. Behind him Matt Ferrari and Jordan Wakeley had strong rides to round out the podium.

Unofficial Results

Open Women

1,

Vicki Barclay

 

7.42.31

2,

Brenda Simril

 

8.17.22

3,

Karen Potter

MTBRaceNews.com/zaboo29

8.41.17

 

Singlespeed 

1,

Gerry Pflug

Salsa

7.19.45

2,

Matt Ferrari

 

 

3,

Jordan Wakeley

 

 

 

 Open Men

1,

Jeff Schalk

Trek Racing Co-Op

6.26.25

2,

Christian Tanguy

Team CF

6.30.24

3,

Michael Simonsen

RBS/Trek

6.49.04

4,

Roger Aspholm

 

 

5,

Kevin Carter

 

 

6,

Steven Cummings

 

 

7,

Peter Schilpp

 

 

8,

Drew Edsall

 

 

9,

Morgan Olsson

 

 

10,

Ian Spivack

 

 

 

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