The ninth race of the Kenda National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE), the Fool’s Gold 100 and 50 mile races, presented by Hammer Nutrition, began with ideal mild weather along with primo course conditions for most of the race, however, the adventure had just begun for a record number of racers who would also experience Georgia heat, an isolated downpour, and even a missing sign that would present a dilemma with an unanticipated outcome.
Schalk and Tanguy agree to a tie!
NUE series leader and three-time defending champion, Jeff Schalk (Trek Mountain Co-Op) became the first in the Men’s Open this year to win four races following his win at Pierre’s Hole 100 in what has arguably been one of the most hotly contested seasons ever.
However, with just one point separating him from the defending champion on race day, the series was clearly at stake for Christian Tanguy, (Team CF). Tanguy had three wins and needed just one more to tie the defending champion. A win on Saturday would set up the tie breaker at the Shenandoah 100, a race won by Tanguy last year.
According to Schalk, “Christian was obviously having a good day. I felt good as well, but was riding defensively since I am one up on him in the series. We were alone out front by mile 25, having just dropped Rob Marion and Cesar Grejales. I was mostly sitting on for the first 40 miles, allowing Christian to be the aggressor and set the pace.
Then, he flatted, so I went on the attack. However, the course was not yet marked at the split at mile 45. Since the race is a two lap format with a lollipop stem to get to/from the start/finish, there needed to be a prominent marking at the end of the loop, but the race directors had not yet marked that intersection, so I followed the tape, which took me back towards the start/finish at the winery. By the time I got back to the intersection, it was marked, and the race director told me that I was the only one who it hadn’t been marked for and that I would be credited with the time lost (she had seen me down the road and kept track of the elapsed time) — this error cost me 21min.
Christian had crossed the line first, and wasn’t aware of what was happening, so obviously he thought he had won and didn’t agree with the 21-minute credit. After discussing it with both Christian and the race directors, we all felt it seemed the most fair to call it a tie, crediting us both with 1st place. I’m really disappointed that the incident occurred, but it was out of my control.”
2009 Fool’s Gold winner, Christian Tanguy (Team CF) commented, “I can see both sides of the issue and I think it was the best compromise to make us tie. The consensus from all the racers, and I talked to maybe thirty racers, was that me being second would not be fair because I crossed the finish line first, so I think tied place is the best thing that could happen. We all know that the series is going to be played out at Shenandoah now. I’m glad that we shook hands and we respect each other very much. I think it’s going to be a good showdown in two weeks.”
NUE Series rules prohibit a race director from adding or taking away time from a racer. By agreeing to share the win at 7:11:12, Schalk and Tanguy resolved to return to the battle ground another day.
Finishing third on the podium was Drew Edsal (1stplaceracing.com/supercoolbikeshop) of Florida. Edsal finished 7:32:19 followed closely by Ernesto Marenchin (Pivot Cycles) of Stow, Ohio 7:40:21 and Peter Schildt of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania at 7:49:17.
Sornson wins her first Fool’s Gold 100
2008 NUE Series Champion, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF), topped the list of contenders on the roster and didn’t disappoint, taking her first ever win at the Fool’s Gold 100 in just 8:53:22. This would also become Sornson’s second win of the season, following victory at the Mohican 100 on June 4.
Sornson, with two wins now, would need to win the next two races which are held just one day apart to challenge series leader, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), however, she indicated that she had no plans to attempt such an unlikely feat.
According to Sornsen, “It went really well, I felt good and rested. After the Wilderness 101, I took a break and got my head clear and my body right because I felt so sick that day, so I came in strong and hydrated.”
Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) placed a close second to Sornson at 9:09:46. Simril, who also has second place finishes at both the Mohican 100 and the Wilderness 101, had this to say, “It was great but it was hard, mostly because of the heat. But knowing the course—kind of a hometown course—just a couple hours away from where I live in Chattanooga, helped a little bit. This race will allow me to drop a sixth-place finish.” Simril is planning to compete in the series finale at Shenandoah.
Andrea Wilson (Outdoors, Inc) has not competed in the NUE Series since she placed third at the Mohican 100 on June 4 but maintained her solid form to take the third podium spot on a single speed.
Wilson is planning to compete at Shenandoah and hoping to get a top five overall spot in the series on a single speed. “I would love to see more women actually get out and ride single speed at races other than at just the Lumberjack. I heard there were more at Wilderness but it would be nice to see more women at some of the other races too.”
“The Pfluginator successfully defends his NUE Series Singlespeed title”
At age 42, NUE Series Single Speed Defending Champion and Fool’s Gold 2009 single speed winner, Gerry Pflug (Salsa/SPK/Pro Bikes) has clinched his second straight NUE Series Title!
The Pfluginator put it down for the eighth time this season, completing the latest course in just 7:48:15 on 34/21 gearing. Crossing under the large Kenda arch that marked the finish line, Pflug wobbled across sporting a rear wheel that appeared it might crumble right on the spot. Nearly all of the spokes better resembled loose guitar strings.
“I trashed my wheel really bad, coming down Bull’s (Mountain), it just fell apart. It was rubbin’ all over the place. I asked for a spoke wrench and no one had a spoke wrench, so I had to be pretty conservative on the last twenty miles or so.”
Pflug is also planning to compete again at Shenandoah, where series awards will be presented to NUE Series division winners along with every racer able to go the distance by completing the series requirement of four finishes.
Finishing in second place and completing his first Fool’s Gold was Jason Pruitt (29ercrew LAS Hodson Bay) at 8:22:50. “It was awesome! I had a blast on the singletrack. It was just like I was riding back home (Lafayette, IN). Shane Schreihart (Bikeman.com) of Woodstock, GA finished third in 8:31:59.
Herriman makes it three toward defending his NUE Series Title!
Defending NUE Masters Champion, Robert Herriman (Trek 29er Crew/WSC/ACFStores.com) is now just one win away from defending his title. He has early season wins at both Mohican and the Lumberjack following a third place finish at the Cohutta 100.
Although it has been Doug Andrews (www.GeoLadders.com) winning by margins measured in hours rather than minutes, on Saturday it was the defending champion, Herriman, reminding us of why he is the defending champion as he smashed the field by over an hour, 8:22:42.
He had this to say, “It felt good in the first fifty miles, I was ridin’ with some really strong guys, and then that big hill starting the second loop I kind started fallin’ apart but I felt a little better when the hill was over and just struggled through. Then the mud and rain came and I don’t like muddy and greasy, but I got through it. I was havin’ fun before that came. (grinning)”
Paul Van Kooten (Motor Mile/SCV) from Red Bank, TN finished second 9:41:35 followed by Chris Irving (Red Ant Racing P/B Vineyard Vine) from Arlington, TN who finished third in the Masters at 10:03:21.
A dark horse at the race, Todd Henne, who won Syllamo’s Revenge following a fourth place finish at the Cohutta 100 was out of the Fool’s Gold early on with a strain affecting his achillies tendon. Henne, who injured it earlier in the year, admitted that he had only been walking comfortably for only two days before testing his leg at the race, ultimately deciding to pull out.
Part of the post-race Georgia style welcome back party included Wild Heaven Craft Beers of Decatur, GA who offered a Belgian styled Invocation and the Ode to Mercy Imperial Brown.
Terrapin Brewing offered a top quality Rye Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale brewed with Rye described this way, “Its head rises above the honey colored beer by about an inch. The carbonation moderate to low, but it’s fitting for the style. It smells like a breakfast table of warm biscuits and grapefruit. There isn’t a strong bitter bite, but the flavor of the hops comes through pleasantly. The spiciness of the rye comes through in the flavor as well as some of the grapefruit.”