Two-time defending PCP2P champion Alex Grant of the Cannondale Factory Team made it three in a row 6:48:59, continuing his dominance in Park City. “It went really well. I felt pretty good. Actually, I hit two trees and crashed once, so early on I was a bit worried. I had Tinker with me almost the whole time, until the last twenty miles and … you can never count Tinker out, so I was wondering what he had left. I wore a CamelBak and he only had one bottle most of the time—I don’t know if that was part of the difference.
On the Steppes climb coming out of Johns, probably around four hours in, we lost Josh Tostado. I actually got away from Tinker too but then he caught back up to me. That’s why I was worried. Then, goin’ up Spiro, I figured I would put the pressure on there. That’s where I got away from Josh Tostado last year so I knew that was kind of the breaking point of the race. If you’re not feeling good, you will lose a lot of time going up that.” Grant added that he plans to do a few more of the western located NUE Series races next year.
Photo Gallery: Alex Grant’s Cannondale Flash 29er
Not far behind the defending champion, mountain bike racing legend, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) a two-time US Olympian and former National 24 Hour Champion finished 7:01:00. According to Juarez, “I knew it was going to be tough today because of the altitude. I just got in yesterday so I knew I was gonna be hurtin’ at one point or another but I definitely started hurting with about twenty miles to go. I stayed with Alex as long as I could but I just didn’t feel fresh and, ya know, I just made the best of it.
Once he started pullin’ away, I just had to ride my own race. I did my best so I was happy and I held off Josh so that was good. After cracking, I had to ride for a long time to get that focus and energy back. I was happy that I was able to hold him off so it was good.”
When asked whether he planned to compete in the NUE Series next year, Tinker replied, “Yeah, I would love to get some in, for sure. Those have always been my favorites to pick if I have to choose a hundred-miler.”
Josh Tostado (Bach Builders) who finished second place in the PCP2P in 2010 and 1st place at the Breckenridge 100 2005-10 crossed the line in third place, less than two minutes behind Juarez at 7:02:26.
Amanda Carey gets the win, her sixth in the NUE Series this year
Kenda NUE Defending Champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) won by a big margin in one of the strongest women’s fields this season. “Jenny Smith (Alpine Orthopaedics/SRAM/Breezer) and I were together for the first five hours, trading back and forth, blow by blow. She would go by on the climbs and I would pass her on the descents. I knew I was descending faster, so I wasn’t too worried about small gaps on the climbs which is about the first half of the race. I put in a really hard effort to get into Johns first and came out with a pretty good gap.
I think she hit her limit trying to catch back on to me. I stayed at my same pace and didn’t see her for the rest of the day. Smith went on to finish fifth 8:46:43.
In only her second ever endurance race ever, Erica Tingey (White Pine) was somewhat emotional about her tremendous finish in what may have been the strongest women’s field this year. “It went really well. I just started out going mellow and I said, I’m just never going to push over threshold. I stayed under threshold the whole day and just knew that had to be good enough and it just happened to be good enough.
Finishing third, 8:36:28 in her first NUE race since placing third behind Carey and Cheryl Sornsen (Team CF) at Syllamo’s Revenge, Sonya Looney (Ergon)
Less than a minute later, three-time Leadville winner, Rebecca Rusch (Specialized) crossed the finish line in fourth place 8:37:24. “My race was really fun. I came here because of the reputation of the course, all singletrack, and the super strong women’s field. It’s exciting to see the women’s field getting deeper and deeper.”
Photo Gallery: Rebecca Rusch and Elite Women at 2011 Leadville 100
When asked how this race compared to Leadville, Rusch replied, “It’s totally different, Leadville is pretty much a fitness race. This is technical mountain bike riding and two hours longer in time. Like this and Shenandoah, the thing about the NUE Series that is really appealing is that every race is a super quality course.”
“Michael Shane snatches victory on 32/20 gearing”
37 year old Michael Shane (Club Ride Apparel) of Ketchum, ID took the Singlespeed division, finishing in 8:06:52 riding 32/20 gearing on a Niner-One-Nine. “For me, that’s the right gear every day, never change”.
According to Shane, “I think the course was way better than last year. The only part that was really rough was the mid-mountain trail. It was kind of like a war zone up there. On that part, I was worried that I was going to flat once or twice so I took it easy through there. With 14 miles left a geared guy came up with me. I let him go in front of me and he just took off and I just stuck on his rear wheel the rest of the way in then passed him on a downhill and got in.”
Refering to the Pfluginator, Gerry Pflug (Salsa/StansNotubes/ProBikes) who has won all but one of the NUE Series races so far, (tongue firmly planted in cheek) “Gerry, I would like to say thanks for not coming so I finally get to win one. Good luck tomorrow in Shenandoah!”
Second place went to Corey Larrabee (Revolution) 8:07:31, “It was really hard, brutal. I saw Shane on the last climb but just couldn’t reel him in. I improved my time over last year by fifteen minutes so I’m really happy. The course was just as hard as last year and anybody that says otherwise is crazy (laughing). The iron mountain trail was just miserable (laughing). I hope to never ride that again…, until next year, maybe.” Corey ran 32/21 gearing and commented that he wouldn’t change it.
AJ Linnell (Peaked Sports) led much of the race before placing third in 8:18:41. “It was a really fun race. A little bit of technical difficulties but other than that, it felt great. I had a flat tire on the descent into Park City. Then, after a long time trying to make up that time, I went off the course, dropped like a half mile down a hill I didn’t have to go down and had to go back up to join the course again.
The flat change was probably five minutes then maybe ten minutes going off course. The signage was there but I just caught the first part of the arrows going left, then, sort of missed the arrows going right and I just kept going left.” AJ also took third place at the Pierre’s Hole 100 after suffering a flat tire there. Linnell commented that he is planning to compete in many of the western NUE races next year.
The lone Masters racer to finish sub nine hours, Mark Hershberger takes the win
After winning the Masters at the Breck Epic just two weeks ago, Mark Hershberger (Team Jackson Hole) crushed the field at Park City in just 8:44:29. “I left everything out there. It was a lot of fun, very enjoyable. This is a mountain biker’s race! I rode with my teammate Paul Nash almost the whole way. We were talking and we had a lot of fun. My focus was Breck Epic and I only entered three days ago so I didn’t even know I was going to be in the race. I definitely want to do Pierre’s Hole next year. It’s right next door.”
Craig Terry (Red Rock Bicycle) finished second 9:27:00. “It was very difficult and it takes everything you got. I did it last year but I got three flats last year. I’ve done Leadville in sub nine hours but I think last year, I hadn’t fully recovered because there were sections where I had to walk and I didn’t walk this year. It’s just so physically demanding. It just beats you up. I laid it down twice but I got right back up. There is a big difference between laying it down and crashing. No mechanicals but I did wish that I would have lubed my chain about halfway through but the bike worked and I’m just grateful it’s over.” Terry indicated that he planned to do more western and southern NUE races next year.
A few minutes later, Jay Lewandowski (Chain Reaction) rolled his way into third in 9:33:57. “It went really well. It was fun last year so I decided to do it again this year. I felt like I was in better shape last year but I had about the same time. Last year I had two flats and this time I just broke a spoke. I have a little bit of asthma so I had some issues with that, since it was a little dusty out there.
Last year I raced singlespeed placing 15th or 16th so this year I turned 50 and raced masters on singlespeed. I did the Breck 100 a few years ago so I might do more NUE races but I’m really trying to do more with my kids. I don’t want to be selfish with my time for training (grinning). I just love riding and I live near Salt Lake so these are the trails that I ride.”
NUE Series podium finisher, David Grauer (Orthopro) of Niwot, CO finished sixth 9:52:21 behind Korlin Gillette (Millcreek Cycles) 9:37:14 and Steve Mower (Fishers Cyclery) 9:42:43. Grauer commented, “It was good. I felt good and enjoyed the trails and I would definitely come back. This is my fifth NUE race this year.” When asked whether he planned to compete next year, Grauer replied, “(laughing) One year at a time!”