Maah Daah Hey 100- It Happened! Plus new course record set!

Tostado sets new course record in Maah Daah Hey 100

Written by: Marlee Dixon

The Maah Daah Hey mountain bike race is a 100, 75, 50, 25 or 13 mile mountain bike race through the badlands of North Dakota.  The race course is almost 100% single track along the uninterrupted Maah Daah Hey trail through the heart of the rugged Badlands. The Maah Daah Hey trail is a unique blend of dirt, clay, sandstone, and scoria with unending climbs and descents. On the tops of the badlands buttes you will find flat prairie grasslands. There are also some sparsely wooded sections scattered on the trail but overall there is minimal cover from the elements. Hence the name BADLANDS. 

Sunrise start to the Maah Daah Hey 100 Race

In 2020, the Maah Daah Hey mountain bike race actually happened!  ~70 people signed up for the 100 mile race which started in a campground outside of Watford City, ND and ended in Medora, ND.  At 6am on a beautiful sunny August morning, racers lined up for an epic day.  Once on route, racers went through a series of check points and 3 aid stations over the 100 miles.  Sag support was allowed to meet their racer anywhere on course or racers could leave drop bags at the aid stations.  With temperatures only in the 80s’, it was an optimal year to race! For support vehicles, it was an exciting day of driving miles and miles of back roads through farmlands to catch their racer at the next check point.  

For the Pro men, it was course record-holder, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Shimano) and Nathan Keck who lead the mens’ field.  Tostado and Keck worked together for the first 15 miles before Keck crashed and started fading back.  Juarez and Tostado rode together with Tostado in the lead at every checkpoint and aid station.  By mile 50, Luke Nelson had almost caught up with Tostado and Juarez, maintaining a gap of only a few minutes behind the leaders for the next 30 miles.  At aid 3 (mile 79), Tostado and Juarez picked up the pace and started putting time on Nelson.  They continued to ride together until the end finishing less then a second apart and setting a new course record.  Tostado won in a time of 8:32:58:31, Juarez finished 2nd(8:32:59) and Nelson in 3rd(8:41:00:37).  

For the Pro women, only 5 brave women completed the Maah Daah Hey 100.  Finishing 1st was Ashley Busack in a time of 11:34:34:54, Candace Jenkins in 2nd(12:39:47:25), and Sandy Marshall in 3rd(12:59:25:09).  

For years, the legendary Maah Daah Hey Trail was disappearing due to neglect and a lack of resources. The Maah Daah Hey race has become an avenue to keep the trail alive. Since 2013, The race directors, Nick and Lindsey Ybarra and hundreds of incredible #SAVEtheMDH volunteers have partnered with the USFS and spent over 8,000 volunteer man-hours transforming the trail into a world-class destination. 

Mens’ Pro 100 Podium

Tinker Classic – Beatty, NV

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Saturday morning, riders lined up to take on the Tinker Classic. The first-year event located two hours north of Las Vegas, in Beatty, Nevada, welcomed it’s first 100 racers brave enough to tackle the 60 or 100 kilometer distances.

Riders would be taking on the challenge of conquering the desert conditions while being treated to a tour of western history including the ghost town of Rhyolite, abandoned mines, narrow-gauge railroad tracts, and more wild burros than they could count.

Las Vegas rider Jake Billings crest the first major climb of the day. Photo by: Matt Ohran

The Tinker Classic is a point-to-point style event that starts in Beatty and ends at the desert oasis of Spicer Ranch where finishers would be treated to free music, beer, and tacos while reliving the challenges of the day.

Temperatures were already warm when the race started at 7:00 AM. As the leaders sprinted out of town on the day’s opening climb a herd of burros immediately buzzed the front group just as the sun broke over the hills.

Riders started on a long, 6-mile climb to the day’s highpoint of 4,600 feet.

Tinker Juarez prepares for the start. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

The race’s namesake, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), took up the lead, charging through a 20-30 mph headwind. Juarez was joined by Evan Plews (Ridge Cyclesport) and singlespeeder Steven Mills (New West Medical).

As the opening road kicked up Mills dropped off as his single gear became harder to turn over.

Juarez and Plews carried on, cresting the next steepest climb of the day and descending the rubble-strewn Silica Mine road. A steep, boulder-filled mining road, Silica Mine road is the most difficult section of the Tinker Classic and the one that prevents riders from choosing a cyclocross bike for the otherwise gravel-grinder-type course. Even with fat tires Silica Mine produced many flats and even more crashes as riders navigated through the jumble of loose rock.

The women’s race changed briefly on this descent as Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) worked her way into the lead past Anne Perry (Bingham’s Cyclery). Perry, a former road racing national champion, had opened a lead on the early climbs with Hanks closing it down on the rough descents but once the descending was over Perry wound it up again and surged back into the lead.

Bobby Monson and Shannon Boffeli leave the crumbling ghost town of Rhyolite. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Riders rolled back through Beatty and on to the turn-of-the-century ghost town of Rhyolite with it’s crumbling stone buildings and open air museum before crossing the border into California and Death Valley National Park. Despite the intimidating locale, temperatures remained in the mid-eighties with a cooling breeze keeping the racers comfortable.

A long grind on the old Tonopah narrow-gauge railroad grade was followed by 10-miles of steep rollers heading to the finish at Spicer Ranch.

At the front of the pack Evan Plews overtook race leader Tinker Juarez just miles from the finish line and appeared poised to take the win before missing a late-race turn and getting off course. Plews was well off course before realizing his mistake virtually ending his race.

Juarez moved back into the lead and rode uncontested over the final miles to the green oasis of Spicer Ranch and the win of his namesake race.

Wild burros take in the race action. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Second place went to Justin Thomas (Boulder Cyclesport) with singlespeeder Steven Mills finishing off an impressive day as the third person to cross the line. William Pease was the fourth rider to cross the line for third in the open men’s event. He was followed by another one-speeder Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling) putting two singlespeeders in the top-5 overall.

Anne Perry showed off her road legs tearing through the railroad grade and dirt roads opening up a hefty lead taking the win in 4 hours 53 minutes.

Amanda Felder (Bear Valley Bikes) overtook Hanks for the second spot and held on all the way to the line. Hanks came home in third.

Jen Hanks makes her way through the desert and old mining structures on the 100k course. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

At the finish riders enjoyed free tacos and beer while luxuriating in the cool green grass at Spicer Ranch sharing stories and collecting their awards that included a generous cash payout for the open men’s and women’s category.

The 60 kilometer race was won by 50-plus rider Tim Zandbergen (Velosport/RideBiker Alliance) with a time of 2 hours 41 minutes. Gina Rau was the fastest female finisher with a time of 3 hours 32 minutes. The 60k course followed much the same route as the 100k without crossing into Death Valley.

The overall Tinker Classic experience was overwhelmingly positive; a well-organized event, especially for a first-year race, highlighted by some of the friendliest race volunteers I’ve ever encountered and a local community truly excited to play host for this event. I can only imagine year two will be even better.

Steven Mills battles the wind atop the SS 100k podium. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

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