Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops
The 2019 Pierres Hole 100 was once again slated to be a great day in the mountains of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The area doesn’t lack views with the Tetons in sight from most parts of the course. Grand Targhee events manager Andy Williams really puts his heart and soul into this race and it shows. With a great atmosphere and plenty for spectators and racers families to do, the resort really has it dialed.
Racers start at the Grand Targhee Resort and complete 1, 2, or 3, 31 mile laps depending on their distance of choice. The course is almost 100% single track except for a few short sections of double track to connect everything together. This can be a blessing and a curse; The trails are really fun, but they will wear even the toughest riders down.
Treadwell earns the Win
Dereck Treadwell earns his first NUE win of the season winning the Pierre’s Hole 100k with a time of 5:40:12. With this win he is now moves to second place in the NUE men’s open marathon series.
Even after a flat tire, Joseph Goetti takes second just three minutes back from Treadwell at 5:43:29
“Packing and driving up the day before, I had a great deal of excitement in me as well as some nervousness. This would be my first race on the mountain bike! I’d been thinking about transitioning into marathon mtb racing for the past year as I’ve always had a desire for the longer, more grueling races and getting out on the trails using more technical bike handling skills! After expressing my goals with Scheels, I am super grateful they agreed to sponsor me with an amazing bike, the new 2020 Trek Top Fuel 9.8!
In the 3 weeks that I’d had the bike leading up to this race, I’d put 270 miles on it with a few 4-5 hour rides to prep for this race! I was getting pretty beat up at first in my hands, back, and neck, but that had all worked itself out and I was feeling good and strong coming into the race.
The race consisted of 63.6 miles (100k) with about 7,700ft of elevation gain over 2 laps with 1 long climb and a few other moderate ones. Almost all of the race was on single track besides the first half of the climb on lap 1. This was on a fire road to allow us to get into position going into the single track.
Lining up along side me was other Scheels sponsored riders, Jamen Bennion and Millard Allen, both racing in the single speed category on hard tails (bikes with only 1 gear and no rear suspension (BRUTAL!))
I don’t think any of us got any quality sleep the night before, but that is normal before a big race and having slept well in the previous nights, I was confident I’d feel OK in the race! I woke up at about 5:45 to get my oatmeal in and allow it to settle. We prepared our gear, did a small warm up spin and lined up to take off at 8:10am.
My plan for the race was to be patient for the first lap and get a feel for the lap and how the other riders were doing; however, that plan quickly went out about a minute into the race. I was expecting a bit more of a fight for position on the first portion of the climb, but just getting my heart rate into the 160’s I was putting a gap on the field. I then changed my plan to push a hard, but still reasonable pace sitting in threshold heart rate at about 170bpm to come over the top first so I could take advantage of the new Top Fuels 120mm and 115mm front and rear suspension travel on an open downhill.
The new plan went well and I came over the top with a decent gap and opened it up on the downhill. Pshhhhhhhh, ahhh $#!^…. No more than 2 minutes into the descent and I was getting hit in the face with sealant from my front tire as air spewed out. I had not yet had a flat on my mtb, so I had my Co2 taped to my tire levers and allen wrench in my jersey (not thinking there was much chance I’d need to use them) which took precious time to unwrap. I first tried putting in more Co2 to no avail as it just leaked out. My spare tube was taped under my bikes top tube which took me more time to unwrap, and many riders were now going by. But I tried to stay calm, and was able to get the tube in and tire back on till ahhh $#!^… I didnt have enough c02 left to fill the tire.
HUGE thank you to the man who came by shortly after and lended me an extra canister which filled the tube up the rest of the way and saved my race! Lesson learned: I will have a much better strategy for fixing a flat next race as this one had cost me 8 minutes.
Proceeding down hill, I was riding a bit aggressive making time when I could but now having to deal with trying to pass slower riders. I came by Jamen shortly after getting going again as he had also suffered a front flat and was dealing with traffic as well.
Making my way onto the second climb after the descent, I was putting the power down riding at threshold again and making up places quickly. I was riding a bit higher heart rate then I’d planned on the climbs and in the rolling sections, but with descents take much longer on the mtb than what I’m used to on the road. This means there is good time to recover your cardio system in between climbs, allowing me to push harder where I could.
I came through the first aid station where Jamen’s family was stationed to help us out, grabbed another spare tube and ditched my bottle for a camelbak and continued to press on.
Coming though the start/finish line at the end of lap 1, I had climbed back into 5th place overall and was about 4:45 down on the lead. I pressed on riding at threshold again up the main climb, passing many of the 100 mile riders who had started at 7:10 to tackle 3 laps of the course (I plan to do that next year if I make it to this race again!) I was keeping my eye out for the yellow ribbons they had all open 100k men tie to their seats, the first of which I saw after descending down from the main climb and reaching the second climb.
He said he was pretty blown when I was passing and cheered me on to catch the leaders! Just being 1 spot away from the top 3 now gave me some extra motivation, and I continued to press on riding up the climbs at threshold.
I came through the final aid station with 15 miles to go with 3 open men still in front of me, exchanged my pack and grabbed another bottle which I used to cool myself. Shortly after this I came around the next open rider to move into 3rd, and then with about 10 miles to go I came around the next to move into second.
My stomach was starting to get a bit upset now. I started the race with a bottle of water, moved to a pack with Hammer Heed in it at aid 1, then grabbed a bottle of scratch at aid 2. At aid 3, I picked up another pack of heed and a bottle of water. Up to this point I’d taken in half a pro bar, a few packs of shot blocks and some maple syrup. I think next time I will switch out the 2nd bottle of scratch for water, and then my final pack may be water and have the bottle be scratch. I think too much liquid nutrition and not enough regular water was upsetting my stomach in the heat.
I backed my heart rate down to low 160’s on the climbs as I was beginning to feel the signs of cramping, but I was continuing to push hard and ride fast. For all I knew, the leader may have been feeling the same way, and I was going to fight all the way to the finish for the chance to catch him!
The remaining miles ticked down, and I ended up coming across the line in 2nd place, 3:16 down from the leader! Although it was a bit disappointing wondering what could have been if I wouldn’t have lost those 8 minutes with the flat, I was extremely happy overall with how I rode in the race! I had paced myself well taking it out hard, and I pushed it the the entire race without fading much at all! And most importantly I had and absolute blast racing my bike on the trails of Grand Targhee! Too focused to see it on the first lap, the view from the top of the main climb is stunning, and I was able to catch a few glimpse of it the second time around, struck in awe as I cruised down the descent. I highly recommend this area for anyone wanting to ride some amazing trails a bit more away from the crowds, and I hope to be back next year in the 100 mile race! My next mtb race will be Park City Point 2 Point on August 31st!
As always, I want to send a huge thanks to everyone supporting me, especially to my girlfriend, Kendra Nelson, who has stood by me though all the years of training, moving to Utah, and transitioning to the mountain bike! I would not have been here doing this if not for her! Also to Scheels for the bike and race, to all my family back home wishing me well! To Jamen’s family for helping us in the feed zones. And to my racing team, Above & Beyond Cancer Cycling p/b Scheels. “
About 8 minutes back, Dan Mahlum took third place at 5:51:18.
Harvey gets THIRD consecutive win
Taking the win in the 100k for the third year in a row, Caedran Harvey seems unstoppable finishing with a time of 6:20:11. A little over twenty minutes back was Ami Stuart crossing the finish line in 6:41:14. Taking third in the women’s open was Amber Steed coming in at 6:49:54.
Steed- “This was my first year tackling the Pierre’s Hole course at any distance, and 100 km seemed like a good goal for me. With some real challenges to contend with – elevation, stiff competition, heat, and distance – I felt nervous but excited to enter my first NUE race. I’d been racing for Sportsman and Ski Haus (MT) since 2017, so I felt I was starting to crest the learning curve of this XC racing thing. What could possibly go wrong.
I knew no one in my field of competitors, aside from the name of a prior winner who seemed to top the podium every year she’d entered. Coming from 3,000’ elevation and being a bit riper in age, I worried I might fall short – but, I also knew that anything can happen in racing. So, I focused on my own race and started with high spirits and rested legs.
The 100km course took us through two laps of Grand Targhee’s finest trails – and there was no shortage of seriously fun descending. Knowing there would be relatively few opportunities for easy passing, I worked my way up early during the starting road section. Feeling good, I kept my pace generally steady throughout the first lap, surprised to hear I was only a few minutes off the leader as I started lap 2.
This is about when my hydration and fueling strategy fell short, allowing the elevation and heat to bear down on my body. Despite my best efforts to push my increasingly heavy legs, I couldn’t muster the power to maintain the pace I’d hoped for. Crushingly, I watched as I was passed by another competitor when the course wound back through camp, further dampening my spirits. My goals for the remainder of the race shrank – but remaining on the podium kept the cranks turning and my motivation alive. Climbing those last few miles took more mental power than physical, and I managed to finish in third.
Every race teaches me something, and some lessons are more powerful than others. At Pierre’s, I gained some perspective about the course, how I handle the conditions, and how I can better prepare in the future. But inevitably I’m humbled by my competition, inspired by my own accomplishments, and excited to return another day. While I don’t have another NUE locked into my calendar at the moment, I’m I’ll be showing up to another. Thanks to everyone who make these events possible!”
McDonald gets SS win
Getting his first NUE SS win and third overall, Will McDonald takes the top step with a time of 5:49:41.
“I raced on a full suspension yeti ASRc with 34-20t gearing. Race was great, started off in 3rd for ss and maybe 8th overall on the first climb, I was able to catch and pass the two singlespeeders ahead of me on the 38 special decent. And caught up with the 4th place overall rider, who I road with with for the rest of the lap, I would pass him on the DH and he would pass me on the up hills. We moved into the 3rd and 4th position halfway through lap 1. Last time I saw him was at the finish of lap 1 and then he took off from me on the long ascent to the top of 38 special and went on to win the race. The climb up to 38 special was pretty rough second lap with the 34-20t gearing, but I was able to grunt up there without cramping or bonking. I caught up to Bart Flinn at the bottom of 38 special, he was in a rough place and seamed to have bonked pretty hard. A few miles later on the decent back to the resort I had some deja vu and passed George Flinn, moving me into 2nd place overall. The rest of the race went pretty well, but with my legs fatiguing I wasn’t able to hold off the rider who ended up second overall, he passed me after the underpass and was able to put some good time on me during the ascents on the 2nd half of lap 2.Overall it was a great race and I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did with the minimal amount of training I have done this year, not to mention racing for twice as long as my longest ride in the past 2 years. “
About 13 minutes back, Millard Allen took second at 6:03:44.
“Pierre’s Hole is one of my favorite races, although it deceives me every year in how challenging it will be. I chose to run 32-20 gearing because of all the climbing and not thinking I would lose too much time in the descents. I had somewhat of a tough day but was able to finish strong enough to take second. Holden and I rode the first lap together and we were wondering if we would be able to catch Will, who passed us on the first big descent going down 38 Special. It felt like he passed us sitting still. I thought his full suspension bike and taller gear would allow me to catch him eventually, but he was a complete beast.
It ended up being a race for second place. Holden attacked going up Andy’s and Peaks Trails at the beginning of the second lap. He saw I was struggling a bit so he took a chance. I was able to keep him in my sight during the climb while toeing the line of not redlining too much. I was able to overtake him about 2/3s up the climb and hold it together the rest of the race. My nutrition was off and I suffered A LOT the last half of the second lap. Even if I had my nutrition dialed in that day, I am confident Will was just too strong.. plus with the larger gearing he would have been able to ride away from me. Solid race by Will, Holden, Brad Keyes and all the other racers! Amazing event and I look forward to riding True Grit Epic next year, TBD if it will be on a SS.”
About 15 minutes back, Holden Anderson pedaled to a third place crossing the line in 6:19:15.
Saffell on top
In a very close masters race, Bob Saffell, dug deep to take the masters win at 6:27:07.
“I had no idea what the field was going to show for the race. I was just looking forward to 100k of amazing one track. I was expeing Jon Gould to be the one to watch. He rode away on the first climb, confirming my expectation, Brent Peacock was a bit behind him. I settled in for the duration. Soon after feed one I caught Jon and got a small gap on him. I caught and passed Ami Stuart on More Cowbell and we were descending together on Perma-Grin when disaster struck. My shifter fell off my bar. I looked for the bolt for a second, determined i was going to have to drop out, when, hmm, tried a bottle cage bolt, and it worked. I took it easy through the lap, on the Andy’s climb on lap two I started to ramp it up a bit and decided, “what do i have to lose” I caught and passed at least one other 50+ on the climb and kept pushing it. In the Quakie Ridge section I caught glimpses of Brent, so I buried myself a bit and made the pass some where in the last 2 miles on Snow Drift, 40 seconds to spare. Brent had a soft front tire, otherwise it would have been a different finish.”
Less than a minute back, Brent Peacock, took second crossing the line at 6:27:59. Only 26 seconds back from second and taking third was, Kyle Rafford, at 6:28:25.
Photos by: Ryan O’Dell & Powder Day Photography
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