NUE Pierre’s Hole Epic

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.

Racers climb to the top of Grand Targhee and then turn and burn all the way down the 38 switchbacks.

Men’s Open

Men’s open podium: 1st Sam Sweetser, 2nd Jon Rose, 3rd Brandon Firth, 4th Adam Hill, Jake Inger

With the fastest time of the day, Sam Sweetser, wins the NUE men’s open with a time of 8:26:17.

Sam Sweetser leading through the Aid station

Over a half hour back, Jon Rose, pushed hard to hold off third place finishing second in 8:59:20.

“Pierre’s Hole 100 mile (actually 94) mountain bike race is in the books. It was one of the hardest days in the saddle I’ve ever had. The race took 8h59m. 
Most of the race was spent between 3rd and 5th place, sometimes as far back as 7th. I finally battled my way up to 2nd place with about 18 miles left. I could see the person who took 3rd at almost every switchback and had to go really deep to hold him off. 
Riding and racing bikes has has taught me so many things. One of the biggest lessons is that I can do hard things… on the bike and off the bike. 
Thanks to our sponsors Mad Dog Cycles/4Life Race Team Trek Bicycle 4Life Research USA #utahsfavoritebikeshop CarboRocketMad Dog Cycles”

Rose holds off Firth by a few minutes to take 2nd place.

Only a few minutes back, Brandon Firth, hangs on for a 3rd place finish crossing the finish line in 9:02.

“Pierre’s Hole is a very tough 100 miler. I was able to participate last year and landed just off the podium in fifth. So I figured going into this years event that I would take my time and ease into the race.
This years event saw very dry conditions and a hot day, which made it a hard day. I was glad at the midway point that I let the race come to me as the hot dry conditions started to rake a toll.  It was obvious that Sam was on a mission and was riding super strong. At the start of Lap two, 2-5 positions were all within 1-2 minutes of each other and Sam had about a 5 min lead.
At that point I liked my strategy and continued pushing on. I had a mistimed feed halfway through lap 2 and dropped off the group by a minute or so. I took a minute for a quick bite and a potty break. And continued  on.
At the beginning of lap 3 I was within 1.5 minutes of  2 place, and Sam was completely out of touch. I took a great feed and continued on with my strategy. By the Top of the big climb I was sitting in 3 position and making time on second. At the Bottom of the decent I overtook second position. At the midway point of the 3 and final lap I started to come unglued again and had to slow down and feed. A coke and a Banana later
I was feeling better but lost 2nd position to a rider from behind, but was confident I could bring him back on the last half of the coarse. Sadly I ran out out real estate and ended with 3rd for the day. I could see the rider just ahead of me but couldn’t close. I believe he was 1:38 up on me after 9+ hard hrs of racing.  Either way it was nice to be on the podium and to be finished.
I was a tight top five, with the exception of Mr Sweester 2-5 positions were only separated by a few minutes..
As always endurance racing it a long journey and there is always ups and downs in how you feel out there, but you just have to soldier on :)

Most likely my next endurance race will be the Park City P2P, where I will try to build a good strategy and stick to it the best I can. “Sponsor: Rocky Mtn Bikes”

Women’s Open

Toops gets back to back NUE wins

Women’s open podium: 1st Jen Toops, 2nd Becky Edmiston, 3rd Parker Tyler

Getting her third NUE epic series win for the 2019 season, 2018 Nue Marathon champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) wins the women’s open with a time of 10:35:54. With this win she is now tied for the overall lead in the women’s NUE epic series.

“After racing Pierre’s Hole marathon last year I knew I needed to stay out of the red zone on the first lap or I’d pay for it later. On the first lap I kept a steady pace up the long climb and had a little fun coming down the 38 special. At the bottom of 38 special I saw second place catching me and tried not to let it get in my head, there was a long race ahead and I didn’t want to blow up. My husband was aiding for me and giving me updates as I came through the aid stations. I was about 4-5 minutes ahead of second coming through the first lap. The climb after the start is tough and requires mental strength but the views are so beautiful. Wildflowers and the Tetons mountains. I decided to run my Pivot mach 4 this year for a little extra cushion equipped with a 32 Rotor Q-ring to keep my cadence higher with all the climbing! I could see Becky at the bottom of the climb on lap two and I continued my own pace, pushing when I felt good and continued putting a larger gap between us. After 70 miles of single track I focused on my nutrition, riding smart and getting through the last lap. When I entered the last meadow I couldn’t see second place and cruised to the finish line ready to run to the taco bar included with race registration! Thanks to our team sponsors (Pivot Cycles, Pearl Izumi, FOX, Ergon, Rotor, Stans, Carborocket, Honey stinger, Xpedo, SCC tech, Kask, and Continental), my husband for the aid and Andy Williams for putting on such a great race!”

About 40 minutes back, Becky Edminston took the second spot with a time of 11:12.

  “The first (of 3) laps was so fun! Other than the big climb, it was awesome singletrack trail that really suits my riding style. A couple of guys even commented what a good downhiller I am :) ha! At the end of the first lap I was only 4 minutes behind the lead female and I thought “I either went out too hard, or I’m about to have a great day”. Turns out it was a little bit of both!    Starting into the second lap ~mile 35 my body was experiencing some weird pains. My forearms were sore, my triceps started cramping, my shoes were cutting the front of my ankles. And then beginning the climb after 38 Special (long downhill) my left hamstring began to cramp. I never cramp! Fortunately, engaging my quads (i.e. pedaling harder) seemed to keep it from totally locking up. This was a game I would play for the next 60 miles. I was popping salt pills and trying to hold it together. There were lots of riders around from the shorter races and that gave me people to ride with and chase.     The third lap saw me really slowing down fighting cramps and nausea (maybe I went out too hard?!). The field had thinned out and I was riding mostly alone but also knew I was “almost” done. As someone who usually runs negative splits I started getting really worried that 3rd place was going to catch me. Fortunately, the 2nd half of the lap was fun and flowy and I had to pedal to keep from cramping! So pedal I did, and I crossed the finish line in 11 hours 12 minutes, holding on to 2nd place female and in the top 15 overall. Did I have fun? You bet!      A big thanks to HoneyStinger #HSHIVE for making waffles which were the only solid food I could stomach! Also Orange Peel Bikes #orangepeelbikes and Rock N’ Roll Sports #rocknrollsports for keeping me rolling!”

Becky Edminston finishing the 100 mile race in second place

Taking the third step was, Parker Tyler crossing the line in a time of 11:44:43.


Singlespeed podium: 1st Andrew Jones, 2nd Brent Cannon, 3rd Hunter Karnedy, 4th Joseph Stroz, 5th Brant Haflich

In the single speed division it was, Andrew Jones, who took the win finishing in 9:14:05. Almost a half hour back was Brent Cannon fighting hard to earn a second place finish at 9:45:30.

Cannon congraulated by race director Andy Williams

Taking third place and still managing to smile at the finish was, Hunter Karnedy, with a time of 9:59:37.

Karnedy earns a third in SS division


Smith earns the W and gets 2nd overall

Finishing 2nd overall and taking the win in the masters division, Cary Smith crossed the line in 8:48:16.

Smith with a 2nd overall and winning the masters class

Mike Baughman took second place with a time of 10:12:09. About 50 minutes back on second, Gary Gardiner finished third in a time of 11:01:32.

Click here for full results

Photos by: Ryan O’Dell and Powder Day Photography

Pierre’s Hole 100k Report

NUE Marathon Race Series #8

Presented by Hammer Nutrition

Written By: Ryan O’Dell

Grand Targhee Resort has become a cool mountain destination resort for mountain bikers. This is the time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom and waist high in many places along the single-track.

This year’s race was the largest turn out for Grand Targhee Resort with close to 400 athletes. The morning started at 7:00am for the 100 mile racers and progressed with a staggered start for 100km and 50km racers. The 100 mile race included NUE Epic Series points; the 100k was included in the NUE Marathon Race Series.

“This event continues to grow year after year. It is exciting to see the same racers, as well as new racers. The resort continues to add miles of single-track trails, which makes for a slightly different course each year.” Andy Williams, events manager for Grand Targhee Resort.

Many racers recalled 2016 when world road champion Peter Sagan, who had recently won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour de France, made an unexpected appearance, winning the 50k race and, to the delight of many, sticking around for photos and autographs following the awards presentation.


100k women’s winner Caedran Harvey. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Women’s Open

Harvey wins with a sub six finish!

Caedron Harvey, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, was the first and only sub-six hour finish in the Women’s division at 5:57:59.

“Theme of the day: Even if I don’t want to, I Can

Over the days leading up to the race, I had contemplated many forms of mild self-mutilation. I could convincingly twist my ankle in that pothole, come down with the flu the night before, or even poison myself with some substance that would wear off by 9am on Saturday morning; all very valid options. But alas, Saturday morning came, and I was healthy and fit. I guess I am racing.

My mindset going into Pierre’s Hole was different than it had been for any of my prior races in my short career; I had finally come to accept that I can only ride as fast and as well as I can ride, and I need to be proud of whatever that means for me. That may sound obvious, but, as an extremely competitive individual with an unbelievable aversion to individual sports, it was a monumental recognition. That clarity of mind helped me approach Saturday’s race calmly, although the reality that 60+ miles and 7000+ feet of climbing was in my immediate future loomed large.

I had known that I’d face some stiff competition ahead of time, but, it wasn’t until I was standing on my bike at the start line that I realized just how much talent there really was. I enjoyed a brief moment of panic and heightened pulse, but I forced myself to remember my newly-developed mantra: ride your own best race. So, one deep breath and I was ready to roll.

From the get-go, I was out to test myself. In the 90 seconds between recognizing the competition and the start, I had resolved to stick with the wheel of the reigning champ (Karen Jarchow) as well as I could. Within a few hundred yards, I noticed everyone around me dumping gears and spinning at a high cadence, and I was faced with a decision: I could pace myself to the experienced women around me, or I could ride the way that I know best and turn a harder gear. I went for it. I revised my objective, then, to be the first to the top of 38 Special, and try to gain some time on the descent.

With that objective achieved, I enjoyed the long descent down 38 and Mill Creek, as I found greater comfort descending than climbing that day; my legs had felt pretty junky from the beginning, but I figured that the only way out of that pain was to push it. I was going to race regardless of my how my legs felt, so it wasn’t worth succumbing to my body’s whimpiness.

Halfway through the first lap, however, I started to realize what I had done: I had sprinted out of the gates at a marathon, and placed the target on my own back. “Caedran, you are SUCH an idiot,” I thought to myself. I was convinced (for an entire lap and a half) that my competition was more disciplined than I was, and that they were conserving just enough to throw down the gauntlet on the second lap. With that thought on repeat, I rode to defend my position. I had no concept of the time gap, or how spread out the field was, so I just assumed that they would sneak up on me at some point.

Jen Hanks gets a taste of the fine Grand Targhee singeltrack. Photo by: Michael Darter

So, then, there’s that second lap. A real mental sucker-punch, not just because you’re setting out to what you just did again, but that there is more of it. So you ride through the start gate, end of lap 1, and your race is STILL not even halfway over. Hooray.

I was feeling decent heading onto AJ’s trail, but was starting to worry a bit about my stamina. My legs were still giving me grief, but I wasn’t about to let them get the better of me. When I wanted to shift into an easier gear, I stood up instead. For the rest of the race, that was my tactic; since the first climb up Peaked, I had no idea how far ahead of Karen and Megan I was, but I wasn’t really interested in finding out.

Heading up Peaked, I knew that something had to give. I had 30 miles left to ride, and I could not destroy myself on a long climb so far from the finish. Scoping the meadow below and seeing no one, I weighed the options, and decided that I could afford to conserve energy climbing Peaked, thinking that any time that I lost getting up there I could probably make up on the descent. Whether or not that’s true, it was definitely the right decision. Had I emptied myself on Peaked, I’m not sure that I would have been able to maintain a reasonable pace for the rest of the race.

The second Rick’s Basin lap was tough; I knew my nutrition was waning, and was resolved not to lose my position in the final 45 minutes of the 6-hour race. I knew that, the harder I pushed, the less likely that was to happen. So, again, I pushed myself. I stood when I didn’t want to, and powered up the little punches that Rick’s throws at you. After finishing Northwoods, though, I started to feel a little weaker and a little less focused, so I managed to sneak some gummies in on the climb, while squeezing the rest in my grasp on the handlebar during the descents. With a few more calories in me, I just needed to be smart and safe for the remaining 20-or-so remaining minutes. I could almost start counting down the number of times I’d have to pedal uphill, which gave me so much joy and quite literally propelled me through Snowdrift and onto the home stretch.

Before Pierre’s Hole, I had competed in the Pocatello Pedalfest in June, but crashed out and needed stitches in the eye – not super confidence inspiring. Later in June, I competed in and won our local Cache Creek Race, which is just 10.5 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing. Even for that race, I had thought hard about various minor injuries I could sustain the day before (or of…).  Last year, I competed in Grand Junction and Pierre’s Hole, neither of which went particularly well. I finished third and fourth, respectively, but was so new to mountain biking that I didn’t really understand how to ride efficiently (or well), let alone race that way.

One of the biggest differentiating factors between this season and last, for me, is my ability and willingness to hurt. Whereas before, I hadn’t really wanted to tap into the depths of that dark place, I have since embraced it as part of the game and, in some sick way, have actually started to enjoy it.”

Ten minutes later, Meghan Sheridan, Bingham Cyclery Peak Fasteners, was second at 6:07:40. “This was my first time racing at Pierre’s Hole and I believe my first NUE race.

I have done other long races in the past, including Leadville and the Point to Point in Park, City Utah multiple times as I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I mostly only race locally and places within a short drive. Only twenty women lined up to race and I wasn’t even sure who my competition was. I was feeling good on the first climb and didn’t want to blow up as I passed Karen Jarchow (defending NUE Race Series champ) near the top.

I then started to close the gap on who I thought was the only woman left out front (Caedran Harvey). I followed her close to 38 Special, where her skills surpassed mine and she gained some time on the downhill. I never saw her again. I just stayed steady and tried not to let any men pass me on the downhills for the rest of the first lap – which I succeeded at. I had so much fun on the first lap riding all of the trails, especially More Cow Bell and Perma Grin. Rick’s Basin was beautiful. One guy was following me close the whole time but he never got by.

Coming out of the North Woods, on the last push in Rick’s Basin over Snow Drift, I saw Karen Jarchow creeping up on me. As we came through the start/finish, the announcer commented on how strong I was riding, and then realized Karen was right behind me! I quickly grabbed my other camel back and jumped on the single track right in front of Karen to head out on the second lap. She stayed close for a while, and I pushed where I could up the mountain to try to gain a gap.

Peaked trail was TOUGH that second time. I stayed steady to the top though and didn’t see Karen by the time I got up there, continued to keep my cool on the descents, and push where I could through the rest of the race. One guy finally passed me on the road, a few others tried, but I stayed ahead of them to the finish.

I was feeling decent and wanted to push harder, but just wanted to get the race over with since my right brake hadn’t been working great the whole race and I was having some vision/contact issues out of my left eye. Incredible course, race, aid, organization, finish line fun! Thanks Grand Targhee!”

Twelve minutes later, NUE defending Marathon Series Champion, Karen Jarchow, Team Topeak Ergon, took third at 6:19:07. Jarchow is also the reigning Fat Tire Champion.


Rider on course. Photo by: Michael Darter

Men’s Open

Pond defends last year’s win!

Defending NUE Marathon Series Champion and 2016 Pierre’s Hole race winner, Alex Pond, Steamboat Velo, earned his second straight win at Targhee to finish 5:26:17. This was Pond’s first win of the NUE Race season since his fifteenth place finish at the season opening True Grit Epic in March.

“From the start, I found myself watching a handful of riders pull the front of the group up the first road section until I got my legs spinning and, just like last year, went for the solo lead out over peaked and into 38 special. I definitely paid for the hard effort over the climb because slowly going through Perma Grin and Quackie Ridge, two riders were reeling me in pretty quick so I made the decision to let off a little, get fueled up, and battle it out over the second lap.

The three of us made a quick pit stop before the climb back up and Matt Turner of Competitive Cyclist got the lead out, so I settled into his pace and waited out the climb with a local Jackson rider, Davey Mitchell, on my tail. Before we reached the top though, the race started to get interesting.

The local from Jackson made a hard attack over Peaked Trail while Matthew started to fade and I was stuck in the middle, knowing if I went any harder over the climb I would blow up, so I let him go and saved it for the last 16 miles. I made contact with Davey on ski hill road and could tell he was paying for the hard effort at 9000 feet.

Before we hit the next section of singletrack, I made an attack and, the next time I looked back, Davey had dropped off. I rolled past my bag drop, grabbed a fresh bottle, and headed out to Perma Grin for the last time. The climb felt slow and I was sure that I would start seeing other racers making gains, so I kept my focus forward, didn’t go over the top, and rolled in with a comfortable lead over the next competitors.

The race was a clean ride this year with no broken saddles. The Trek Top Fuel was the perfect race bike with a solid lockout on the front and rear suspension, Bontrager XR1 in the front and XR2 in the rear, Stans race sealant, three bottles of CarboRocket (2 of 333 full strength, 1 of Elecrolytes), five Honey Stinger Mango Gels, and two Honey Stinger chews (mixed up flavors) was the winning package.”

Twelve minutes later, Matthew Turner, Competitive Cyclist MTB TEAM, was second at 5:38:37. Ten minutes later, Justin Raynes, Owenhouse Cycling, was third at 5:48:06.

Twenty-Four minutes later, Nathan Collier, Pedal Pushers KIND Racing, finished fourth at 6:12:54.

“The Pierre’s Hole 100km has been on my bucket list for years. Due to the race location’s distance from my home, I never thought I could make it happen. It wasn’t until a last minute family trip, planned in early June, that I could get off work, and luckily there were still spots open.

I showed up on race day with one goal — finish. I knew the race would start with a big climb, so I made sure to extend my race warm up so I was ready to go. This paid off since the race started out fast.

The first half of the race, I pushed harder than what I knew I should, but I just couldn’t help myself with the abundance of outstanding trail the Pierre’s Hole had to offer. I paid for it late in the first lap but, as an experienced endurance athlete, I knew that if I kept up with my fueling it would pass. By the time I finished the first lap, I was ready to attack the climb to start the second lap. It hurt, but I was able to push up the climb while still maintaining some clarity for a big descent down to Ski Hill Road. More amazedly, I still some gas left for the road climb as well.

The last hour of the race was brutal. The mind became foggy. It took everything in me to concentrate on picking good lines on the descents and giving it everything I had on the climbs. When I crossed the line, I had left every ounce of energy on the course —which, to me, defines a successful endurance race!”


Single speed

Larrabee earns the W and gets second overall!

Cory Larrabee, Kuhl, earned his first NUE SS win this season at 5:33:44 using 32×20 gearing, second overall behind Men’s Open winner, Alex Pond.

“Pierre’s Hole 100 has now become somewhat of a tradition with me and my support crew of five kids and my wife Amber. This year I decided that the third lap on the 100 miler kinda ruined the fun factor so the 100K was for me. I knew the competition would be great with George Flynn in the mix in the single speed category.

At the start, George was climbing strong and was twenty seconds up on me and a couple other ss riders. At the road climb, George continued to hammer and I was not able to get on his wheel. Eric Melson went up and rode with George and I was again 15 seconds back. On the loop out on the north of the resort, I passed Eric and set my sights on George. I would see him a switch back up from me but could never close the gap. At the aid station, I stopped to get bottles and fuel from my amazing crew and rode through the start/finish.

Going up the hill toward the single track, George was there refueling. We rode together for almost the entire peaked climb and I kept thinking that this could get interesting if neither of us fades. At the road climb, we both refueled and were heckled by the Fitzgerald Cycling crew at the aid station.

At the top of the road climb, we passed another geared rider. Then, going into aid 2, I looked back and didn’t see George. At this point, I thought I had better do what I could to maintain the gap. Just after the aid, I passed another geared rider and was curious where I was in the field. No reason to worry about it I continued, knowing that I had approximately 10-15 miles left.

I pushed as hard as I could and was cheered into the finish by my great wife and kids. I am extremely grateful to my sponsor KUHL Clothing, ESI Grips, Wolf Tooth Components, and Carborocket. I know that I couldn’t race or train without their help. Also, I want to give a big shout to my wife and kids. Thank you for your cheers and support.”


Five minutes later, George Flynn, finished second at 5:38:28.

Sixteen minutes behind Flynn, Shannon Boffeli, MTBRaceNews, was third at 5:54:11.

“My race started off a little slower than I would have liked as Corey, George, and Eric took off as we headed up Peaked Mountain the first time. I was riding 34 x 21 Rotor elliptical gearing, which I felt was the right gear for me but may have made the first climb a bit tougher.

By the time we hit the descent, I couldn’t see the three leaders but I was feeling pretty good and having a great time making my way through the singletrack at Pierre’s. This race has such a great collection of trails it’s always one of the highlights of my season.

The second time up Peaked I could see Eric again just a couple minutes in front of me and, by the top, I moved into third but he quickly passed me back on the 38 Special descent. I stayed close and, by the time we started climbing again, I was close enough I could move past and open up a solid gap.

I finished third but, more importantly, had a great time riding the incredible array of purpose-built one-track that Grand Targhee has to offer all the while battling it out with some of my best friends on the race circuit. I’m already looking forward to next season!”


Masters 50+

Harris wins Big!

David Harris, LW Coaching, wins the Masters division at 6:03:27, more than a half hour ahead of his nearest competitors.

Thirty-five minutes later, Ben Alexander, Team Rockford, was second at 6:38:34.

Six minutes later, Tim Walker, Non Stop/Sierra Cyclesmith, was third at 6:44:26.

“After pre-riding the course on Thursday, I thought this course and elevation suited me perfectly. At the start, I was eyeing who my fellow 50+ races were. I started out pretty fast but kept within my zone. About ten riders went super hard and I figured they were all 40+ racers.

Going onto Peaked trail, I was behind one guy with gray hair (definitely in my class). He was going really fast but I was wondering if he could keep that pace. He didn’t. Starting down 38 special, I kept my speed up with pushing too hard. Went right by the first aid station and started up the paved road. I didn’t know what place I was in but figured I was at least top three. One 50+ rider passed me up the hill and I went by one also. As I hit the section in Rick’s Basin, I was still going strong.

At the start of the second lap, I picked up my camelback (the first time in 30 years of racing I used one). Just as I left, I heard the announcer say that fourth place was right on my tail. It was time to get going! Going up Action Jackson and Buffalo Soilder, I kept the pace as high as I could and kept a gap to fourth. I rode steadily up to the top of the course and down 38 Special.

On Mill Creek, fourth place caught me and put a few seconds into me by the aid station. I lubed up my chain, asked a volunteer to pour water down my neck, and I was ready to go. Fourth place was still there and I joked to him that he could take as long as he needed eating. I was beginning to feel the effects of the race and needed as much time on him as possible as he was riding really strong. By the top of the road going into Jolly Green Giant, he had caught me and slowly pulled away. I never saw him again.

So I’m thinking now, I’m in fourth and just have to keep the legs turning to stay on the podium. I was riding a little bit slower than on the first lap but kept sipping on the CarboRocket and kept pushing towards the finish. About a mile from the finish, Jeremiah Bishop blasted by me leading the 100-mile race. I was happy to finish in fourth until, about thirty minutes after I finished, I saw that I was actually third. The guy that passed me going up the road on the first lap was vaporized on the second lap and carded a dnf. Overall a great race course and organization. Put this race on your “Must Do” list. My first Marathon podium and I am looking forward to the Grizzly 100k race in Big Bear.

Just one minute behind Walker, Brian Ressa, Utah, was fourth at 6:45:40.


What’s NEXT?!

The NUE Race Series heads east to New Hampshire for the Crotched Mountain 100, formerly known as the Hampshire 100, on Saturday, August 19. Visit for more information and stay tuned her for the latest news, photos and results.

Pierre’s Hole 100k – Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming

Karen Jarchow and Alex Pond Conquer Pierre’s Hole 100k

Written by: Jen Hanks & Ryan O’Dell

The Eighth Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 has been adding new singletrack each year featuring long, fun descents showcasing jaw dropping views of the Tetons and surrounding mountains. This year’s race included a 100-mile race, 50-mile and a one lap 50k race.

A highlight of this year’s race for many was racing alongside world road champion Peter Sagan who recently won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour de France. Sagan won the 50k race setting a blistering pace and, to the delight of many, stuck around for photos and autographs following the awards presentation.

World road race champion and Tour De France green jersey winner Peter Sagan blazed through the 50k course in just over two hours. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

World road race champion and Tour De France green jersey winner Peter Sagan blazed through the 50k course in just over two hours. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

The first NUE Marathon Racer to cross the finish line on a rigid singlespeed at NUE Marathon Series races this season wins a Lauf TR29 or TRBoost fork. James Dwyer, Green Mountain Sports Velo, earned this special award.

The next day, a dedication ceremony was held for the new AJ Trail in nearby Victor. City councilman and NUE SS contender, AJ Linnell, before his untimely death, led a vision for an urban trail that would lead out of Victor to nearby BLM lands. Last year, more than 130 volunteers picked up AJ’s mantle, constructing 700 vertical feet of trail on private property located at the edge of town connecting Victor to nearby BLM lands. The goal is to construct at least 12-13 miles of trail on BLM lands.

George Flynn crests a hill in the 100k event. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

George Flynn crests a hill in the 100k event. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Open Men

As riders toed the start line Alex Pond (Sonoran Cycles), with two marathon wins on the NUE series already, stood out at as the clear favorite. So much so that the race announcers were almost giving him credit for a win before the race even started.

There to foil Pond’s plans most prominently were local twin-powers Bart and George Flynn (Hoback Sports). The Flynn twins started off strong, leading the group on the opening climb and creating an early break, which included Pond.

Pond took over the lead just before starting the singletrack and quickly opened a lead. He built on that lead and stayed clear through the opening lap. Lap two looked to be shaping up similarly until bad luck struck the race leader midway through the second and final lap.

Here’s how he tells what happened next:

“The addition of the Action Jackson trail (in lap two) made for some extra time out on course and I was through my fluid almost before making it back up the climb on Grand Targhee.

After the long descent down 38 Special again my leg started to get tight and so I tried spinning my leg out, which was the biggest mistake of my race.

I clipped a rock and went down at full speed. After unrolling myself from the pile I put myself in I realized I was fairly unharmed, but I had absolutely demolished my saddle. I rolled about a half mile to a course marshal and frantically asked if he had anything I could bang my seat into place with. He came out of his backpack with a machete to which I thought ‘That’ll DO!’

I banged on the seat with the handle and right when I had the seat back into place, the foam snapped and completely destroyed the saddle. I knew I didn’t have much time left and in my head I only had 20 miles left to race. (It was really like 30).

I made it to the road and was able to barely sit on my saddle, very uncomfortably. Once back onto singletrack my seat started bouncing off the rails and I could no longer sit on it. I made it back to the last aid station before the final loop of 13 miles and scored some duct tape, which I secured the saddle with and a couple bottles and started the climb to hopefully hold off the very nearing Flynn brothers.”

Alex Pond somehow rode 30 miles on this demolished saddle.

Alex Pond somehow rode 30 miles on this demolished saddle.

Once back on course, Pond was now in sight of a chasing Bart Flynn who felt good about his chances to reel in the race leader. Almost as soon as he started his chase bad luck took it’s turn on Bart, this time in the form of a flat tire, essentially ending any challenge to Alex Pond taking his 3rd NUE win of 2016.

Bart’s flat cost him a position to his brother George who rolled across the finish line in second just over 4 minutes behind Pond. Bart would cross the line in third.

Behind the lead trio Troy Heathhecker (P-Town Cross) and John Reuter (Elephants Perch) had a back-and-forth battle for much of the day with Heathhecker finally coming out on top to take fourth in front of Reuter.

Alex Pond now controls the open men’s category in the NUE series. He will look to continue his winning ways at the Hampshire 100k in two weeks and the Volcano 100k in Costa Rica.

Karen Jarchow climbs her way through Action Jackson. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Karen Jarchow climbs her way through Action Jackson. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Open Women

The women’s race also featured a series leader with Karen Jarchow (Ergon) looking to build on her NUE exploits of 2016 with another win.

She was confident about the course profile as it included an abundance of climbing all at high-altitude, which played into the Colorado-based rider’s strengths. Her toughest competition would be coming from a pair of Jens. Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) and Jen Kandolin (Hoback Sports) both have the experience and fitness to challenge for the win.

Jarchow climbed into the lead early and was clearly feeling strong on the steeps at Grand Targhee.

“I was able to put in a couple minutes lead on the opening climb. However, once I dropped into the first descent, 38 Special, I got a little too excited and ended up on the ground within the first 5 of 38 switchbacks, bruising and scraping up my knee and elbow within the first 40 minutes of the race,” Jarchow shared after the race.

Another crash on lap one and a bent derailleur hangar slowed her progress but not enough to lose her race lead. After getting her derailleur issues straightened out Jarchow was back on course and taking no chances with position. “I kept my “foot on the gas” with efforts steady and took zero chances on the descents for the last 16 miles of the race – knowing I had already wasted a lot of time and energy through silly mistakes I didn’t want to lose the race with another. The quality of the trails really kept my mind focused and having fun through the finish!

The race finishes with a short, power sucking climb up a grassy knoll to the finish line – again, taking no chances, I put my head down and pedaled hard to the line. I’ve been sprinted out at the line before and since I have never let up even when I think I have it in the bag. With luck, I wasn’t caught through all of my silly mistakes and was able to secure my fourth NUE marathon win, and hopefully the overall for the season.”

Behind the lone leader a two-person battle was raging between Hanks and Kandolin who traded positions all throughout the race with Hanks opening gaps on the downhills and Kandolin climbing her way back in front on the uphills.

After multiple position changes throughout the race, Hanks took a small lead into the final 13-mile loop through Rick’s Basin. Knowing she had to push it on the climbs if she wanted to hang onto her lead the Pivot/DNA Cycling rider gave her all on the seemingly endless punchy climbs throughout Rick’s Basin.

Jen Hanks battling for a top spot at Pierre's Hole. Photo by: Jakes Hawkes

Jen Hanks battling for a top spot at Pierre’s Hole. Photo by: Jakes Hawkes

“I basically started my sprint 10 miles from the finish,” Hanks said at the line. “I knew if I couldn’t stay ahead on the climbs I wouldn’t beat Kandolin because there weren’t any long descents left for me to attack on.”

At first her strategy seemed to be working until roughly two miles to go when Kandolin closed the gap and made her final move into second place. Hanks had given her all trying to hold off the Hoback rider and had nothing left when Kandolin made her final attack.

Jen Kandolin crossed the line with just over a minute in hand saying this was the hardest race effort of her career.

Hanks held on for third.

Fourth place went to Caedren Harvey followed Ami Stuart (Storm Cycles).


Men’s Singlespeed

The singlespeed race was won by Utah rider Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling), who crossed the line in 5:45:15; over 45 minutes in front of second place and the sixth rider to cross the finish line. Despite the big gap at the end, Boffeli’s race wasn’t as easy as it might appear. From the opening climb the lanky Utahn was challenged by long-time Idaho strongman Ryon Butterfield (Pro Leisure).

“I started pretty strong but when we reached the steepest parts of the opening climb I was having a hard time turning my gear (34 x 20) and Ryon got past me,” Boffeli shared after the race.

In fact, Butterfield led for the remainder of the first of two laps before the two riders met up again at the halfway point. Butterfield led by 20 seconds through the Action Jackson trail starting the second lap, finally giving up the lead during a “natural break” just before starting the lap’s big opening climb.

Here’s Boffeli’s description of what happened next: “I got past Ryon and just focused on turning the pedals and staying on the bike. I was turning my gear better than I did on lap one and after a few switchbacks I could tell I was putting time on Ryon. After that I just kept riding as hard as I could. It was an emotional race for me being almost exactly one year since losing my Mom to Leukemia. She was always my biggest fan and I could feel her excitement as I was riding out front. It helped me keep pushing all the way to the finish.”

Ryon Butterfield held onto his second place until late in the race when a mechanical forced him to end his day on foot.

This moved Paul Nash (Benchmark Builders) into the runner up spot, over 30 minutes in front of third place James Dwyer (Green Mountain).


Men’s 50+

The master men’s race was open for grabs until local rider David Saurman (Fitzgerald’s Bicycle) took control of the 50-plus field.

Saurman is a veteran of all eight editions of the Pierre’s Hole 100 and knew exactly how to gauge his efforts to conquer this challenging course. “I started slow but my engine finally warmed up and I started reeling in the field.  One by one I caught up to other riders.  First lap was great due to welcomed rain the night before and perfectly tacky trails and cool temps.”

As Saurman rolled on through the 100k course conditions were getting tougher and his fitness began wearing a bit thin until an unusual inspiration lifted his spirits. “I really was lacking on my long distance training this year, but muscle memory and general stubbornness kept me going.  I did get a bit of a boost when world road race champion and Tour De France green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) tore past me like a freight train doing the 50K race.  That was inspiring and so cool that he would show up to our local race before heading to Rio!  And though I missed him at the finish, I heard he was a real sport to hang out and let everyone (a lot of my friends) get photos taken with him.”

His inspiration held strong throughout the final lap as Saurman took the 50-plus race by over 5 minutes.

Rich Pampe finished second followed by David Caplan (

You can continue to follow the NUE series as it moves to New Hampshire for the Hampshire 100 in two weeks. Check back with for full coverage and results.

Click Here for Full Results From All Categories

Pierre’s Hole 100 Mile – Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming

Jeremiah Bishop Returns with a Win and Christy Olsen Closes in on the Overall Lead

By Ryan O’Dell

With lift service and high end rentals available for both XC and DH riding along miles of pristine singletrack, Grand Targhee Resort has become a cool mountain destination resort for mountain bikers. This is the time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom and waist high in many places along the singletrack. Timely rains a night earlier made the course conditions more tacky and ideal for racers.

The Eighth Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 has been adding new singletrack each year featuring long, fun descents showcasing jaw dropping views of the Tetons and surrounding mountains. This year’s race included a 100 mile race, 50 mile and a one lap 50k race.

World road race champion and Tour De France green jersey winner Peter Sagan blazed through the 50k course in just over two hours. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

World road race champion and Tour De France green jersey winner Peter Sagan blazed through the 50k course in just over two hours. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

A highlight of this year’s race for many was racing alongside world road champion Peter Sagan who recently won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour de France. Sagan won the 50k race setting a blistering pace and, to the delight of many, stuck around for photos and autographs following the awards presentation.

The first NUE Marathon Racer to cross the finish line on a rigid singlespeed at NUE Marathon Series races this season wins a Lauf TR29 or TRBoost fork. James Dwyer, Green Mountain Sports Velo, earned this special award.

The next day, a dedication ceremony was held for the new AJ Trail in nearby Victor. City councilman and NUE SS contender, AJ Linnell, before his untimely death, led a vision for an urban trail that would lead out of Victor to nearby BLM lands. Last year, more than 130 volunteers picked up AJ’s mantle, constructing 700 vertical feet of trail on private property located at the edge of town connecting Victor to nearby BLM lands. The goal is to construct at least 12-13 miles of trail on BLM lands.

Carla Williams gets going early at the top of 38 Special. Photo by: Jakes Hawkes

Carla Williams gets going early at the top of 38 Special. Photo by: Jakes Hawkes

Women’s Open                                                                 

Olsen gets her second straight win at PH100!

Four years ago, Christy Olsen, Fat Fish Racing, attempted her first 100 mile race at Pierre’s Hole describing her effort as “failed miserably”. This year, Olsen finished 9:41:34 in her second straight win at Grand Targhee.

“The Pierre’s Hole 100 race this year went really well. I was coming off of a really bad race at Tatanka so I was quite nervous about how it was going to go. The course was spectacular. It’s a challenging beginning to a race with a tough climb right out of the chute, but you are rewarded with 38 of the ‘most fun you will have on a bike’ switchbacks.

At the start, Carla Williams charged up to the top with a lot of power. I could not hold her wheel, but luckily I was able to slowly catch her on the descent and ride with her for most of the first lap. She really pushed me to my limits that whole lap. I enjoyed the new AJ Linnel trail. That was a great addition to the race. The next two laps were spent just trying to ride smart, smooth and stay on top of my hydration and nutrition because I knew Carla was right on my heels. The weather was superb, so staying hydrated was manageable. The course was well marked and the trails were fun and flowy, so that helped keep me going mentally because it was fun. I had great support at the aid stations so I didn’t have to stop for more than a few seconds each time which helped me keep the lead and boost my confidence for the next section of the race. I felt strong all the way to the finish line, which is all you can ask for in a grueling 100 mile race. Thanks goes out to my Casper support crew, Pierre’s Hole race organizers, and Crazy Pedaler Bicycles-Casper,WY!”

Thirteen minutes later, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop, took second at 9:54:54. Williams leads the NUE Series with three wins including Cohutta, Tatanka, and most recently, The Wilderness 101.


“I think Pierre’s Hole was the hardest and most beautiful NUE race I’ve done so far this season. It is a course of wildflowers and switchbacks, beautiful mountain views and there were still patches of snow on the course. The course is almost all single track and all of it rideable without any hiking sections.

Looking at results from last year, I knew Christy was going to set a super-fast pace. I had a good start, but even up the first climb, I was breathing way harder than I was used to. I kept pace with Christy for most of the first lap but she got a gap before aid two, and I stopped to refill my camel pack knowing most likely I wasn’t going to be able to catch her again.

After the 1st lap, it was constant battle with my lungs and legs. I was breathing so hard on the climbs, my legs were getting more and more tired, and overall I felt pretty bad. It was my first time racing at altitude so didn’t really know what to expect going in. Very happy just to finish this race! Shenandoah is next on the schedule for me.”

Ivy Pederson, Team Rockford, placed third at 10:58:44. “Pierre’s Hole was a great event. The trails at Targhee are SO FUN! Everything flows well, the climbs aren’t too steep, and the views of the Tetons and the valley are amazing. The volunteers on course and at the aid-stations were very organized and super helpful. The other racers were awesome too. People leaving after finishing their 50k/100k races even stopped to cheer me on when I needed it the most – at hour nine while I was riding up the road in the pouring rain (thanks Bowman Family!).

I rode alone for most of the day, quite happy to just focus on maintaining a consistent pace and ride my own race. I accomplished my goals for the race which were: don’t break my bike, don’t break myself, and have fun riding all day.”


Taylor Lideen leads the chase group. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Taylor Lideen leads the chase group. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Men’s Open

Two-Time NUE Champ, Bishop wins!

Jeremiah Bishop, Team Topeak Ergon, crushed it this year to finish 8:00:22! Bishop was the 2011 and 2013 NUE Series Champion, now focused on competing in World Cup and other large events around the world. Leading for the entire race, a crash on the final descent threatened to derail what had been, so far, a perfect race.

“Pierre’s Hole 100 was the most single track I have ever done in a race. After coming back from Trans Alp and training up for Leadville, I knew this would be a good race for the rocky mountain guys who shred single track. I had an absolute blast dropping in on 38 special’s 38 banked turns! There were only three sustained climbs so that’s where I worked to gain my gap. Knowing anything can and will happen in a backcountry race like this, my goal was to keep steady pressure on from the gun and it worked.

Jeremiah Bishop powers away from the field at Pierre's Hole. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

Jeremiah Bishop powers away from the field at Pierre’s Hole. Photo by: Cody Downard Photography

I got the buffer I needed to win despite a terrifying side wall cut that was one inch long! Racing to bring back seconds, I slid out on the ‘not packed edge’ of one of the new trails and sampled the local dirt. Indeed, it was a nice vintage. I can’t wait to come back to the Tetons for more amazing single track adventures!”

Taylor Lideen, Pivot Cycles, coming off his first victory at the Big Bear Grizzly 100, went on to finish second at 8:15:40.

Exactly one minute later, 2015 race winner, Josh Tostado, Santa Cruz/Swiftwick, finished third at 8:16:40. Tostado also finished fifth this year at the True Grit Epic and third at the Tatanka.

“I was very happy with my race, got to the front with Taylor, Jamie and Jeremiah. We rode the first half of the first lap together then Jeremiah gapped the three of us. We worked as a trio until the middle of the second lap when Jamie dropped off. Taylor and I rode the rest of the race together and we were able to work well together. In the last ten minutes of the race, Taylor was able to get a small gap on me and couldn’t keep pace with him at the end. I had a great time ripping around a super fun course with Taylor all day, great race!”

Fourteen minutes later, Sam Sweetser, Cole Sport, claimed the fourth spot at 8:30:02. Thirteen minutes later, Gabe Klamer, Fitzgeralds Bicycles, took fifth to finish 8:43:04.



Smith wins on an SS!

Two-time Men’s Open winner of the Pierre’s Hole 100, 2013 and 2014, Cary Smith, The Hub Bikes, is a local favorite from nearby Jackson, WY. For the first time, Smith attempted the race on a single speed with surprising results. Smith took it to the competition, including last year’s race winner, getting his third win at Pierre’s Hole in 8:28:23.

Last year’s race winner, Corey Larrabee, Kuhl clothing, was next placing second at 8:59:27 on 32×20 gearing. “The single speed field was very stacked this year, with Carey Smith deciding to race single speed I knew that beating him would be a challenge. From the start, I never was able to ride with Carey. I went back and forth with Kip and a couple of other single speed riders through the Peaked climb but, once we hit 38 special, there was just Carey and Shaffer up ahead.

I pushed up the road and was able to catch Shaffer on the road. Carey, on the other hand, started fast and continued to put time on me with every pedal stroke. At the start of the second lap I could see Carey up ahead but wasn’t feeling super great and, by the end of that lap, he had an even bigger time gap. I rode the rest of the race trying to stay motivated and, whenever I would see another geared racer up ahead, do my best to use them as bait. I was happy to hold onto second place with some severe leg cramping going into the final lap. Thanks to my amazing sponsors KUHL clothing, ESI grips, Carbo Rocket, Wolf Tooth Components, and my pit crew of my five kids and wife Amber.”

Twenty minutes later, Mark Schafer, Team Eastside Cycles, took third at 9:18:51. “Pierre’s Hole was my final race of the season and I was coming off a very successful third place finish at High Cascade 100. This race was definitely in my head.  I raced it the last two years and both years I was left a broken man. Noting how stacked the SS field was, my only goal was to get the belt buckle which slipped through my fingers in 2015.” Pierre’s Hole buckles were awarded to all men who finished under 10:15 and to all women who finished under 11:15.

“This year I decided to go with 32×20 in hopes to make the climb up the Peak Trail more bearable. On the first climb I hung back with my friend Matt Woodruff, who I could trust to set a perfect pace. We lost track of Cary Smith right away as he crushed up the climb.

We had a blast ripping down 38 Special, Mill Creek, and Cold Springs. As we spun up Ski Hill Road, we got passed by one of Matt’s Kuhl teammates on a single-speed. I ask Matt “Is that Corey?” and his response was “Yeah, he is AJ fast”. Noted… I will not be chasing him either, I needed to survive lap three.

I finished lap one after having a blast on Perma-grin (such a great trail!) and started into lap two just enjoying Action Jackson when I noticed Trevor Rockwell was gaining on me. Trevor put a hurt on me going up the Peak Trail but I was able to catch him again before More Cowbells on Lap two. At this point in the race, I was feeling really strong; belt buckle was in sight, so I decided to see if I could hold off Trevor and fellow teammate Adam Karch who was nipping at my heels all day.

I kept a steady pace the rest of race while enjoying the amazing views of the Tetons and some of the best single-track around. I came across the line thirty minutes ahead of what I thought my finish time would be and, not only did I get the buckle, but got the honor to stand on the podium with two of the strongest Single-speeders in the nation. Super Stoked! Thanks to (Race Director) Andy Williams and the Grand Targhee crew for putting on an amazing event. See you in 2017.”

Adam Karch, Eastside Cycles, placed fourth at 9:30:55. Six minutes later, Kip Biese, KJBike Coaching, was next for fifth place at 9:36:32. Biese holds the distinction of finishing the most NUE races this season. Pierre’s Hole marked his ninth straight finish including four second place finishes!


Masters 50+

Gardiner wins the Masters race!

Following a second place finish to Greg Golet in 2015, 53 year old Gary Gardiner, Bountiful bicycle P/B Mountain America Credit Union, from Centerville, UT achieved victory this year with a winning time of 9:48:39.

Four minutes later, Sten Hertsens, Muleterro, was next to finish second at 9:42:52, his best finish of the season following a fifth place finish at True Grit Epic, third at the Mohican MTB100, and fourth at High Cascades 100. “The course was is great shape and the rain helped to make it even better.

I had a good start and I think I was in first (Masters) after the first climb. I had a surprise when I came upon a tree that was laying across the course on the 38 special descent but it was gone the next lap. On the descent, Brian Brothers caught me and we rode together for the rest of lap one. I was feeling good at this time and thought I’d ride with him.

At the start of lap two, I went ahead of Brian and, I guess, he decided to let me go. I had a gap at the top of the second climb and was thinking I’d see Brian on the descent, as he seemed to be faster on the downhill sections. I didn’t see him and, later, found out he flatted on the downhill.

I came upon Carla Williams and we rode together for some time. On lap two, at aid station two, I refilled my pack bladder and had my crank bolt tightened. It was making a noise and needed to be checked and it was a good thing I did since it was loose. I was still feeling ok at this point.


On the third lap climb, I thought I may have seen Gary Gardiner and felt like he may be close behind. At the bottom of the last descent I felt a little sluggish then, on the last road section of the day, I turned and looked back to see Gary Gardiner coming up behind me. I tried to hang with him after he passed but couldn’t. Later, I did some refueling and started to feel better. Carla Williams and I came back together and rode the rest of lap three.

The rain and wind started, but didn’t affect my race. I seemed to feel better on the last section of lap three and finished feeling good with my race. All in all, I didn’t have any mental, physical or mechanical issues that really affected my results and I’m happy with the end result. It was a great course that was well organized and had some great volunteers to boot. No volunteers, no race. This was my fourth NUE race and I will be going to Fool’s Gold to finish the season. It’s been a good first year of NUE racing and hope to finish well at Fool’s Gold. Keep the rubber side down and keep hammering. Peace”

John Lauk, Boutiful Bicycle Racing, finished third at 10:17:26. Twenty-seven seconds later, Brian Brothers, Hammer Nutrition, took fourth at 10:17:53, following his first ever NUE win at Tatanka.

What’s NEXT?!

The NUE Race Series heads east to New Hampshire for the Hampshire 100 on Sunday, August 21. Visit for more information and stay tuned her for the latest news, photos and results.

Click Here for Full Results from all Categories