Redeeming her loss to 2009 NUE champion, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) just two weeks ago, two-time NUE women’s open champion, Carey had a clean race with no flats and proved that she was still in champion form, not only taking the women’s podium at 7:10:47 but placing 12th overall among both men and women.
Brenda Simril of Chattagnooga, TN placed fourth last year in 8:07:03 but improved her time and standing this year taking second place 7:47:47. She commented, “It was so hot! That was definitely the biggest challenge. I felt great, super strong all the way coming into the red loop connector the first time and then I started redlining, overheating really badly.
“I knew it was going to be hot so I carried my camelback all day and then I kept a bottle so that I could use it to pour water all over my head. I started doing that as much as I could and kind of limped my way into aid three. At three, I filled my camelback all the way up, dumped a couple bottles over my head so I kind of started to recover through the red loop and then the same thing happened my second time through.
“I caught Cheryl pretty early, before aid one, but the whole time I was waiting for her to come blastin’ out from behind me. Early on, I was riding with Andrea Wilson (Outdoors) and Kathleen Harding (Team CF/Elite Team CF) until the really technical descent on the yellow loop, before aid one, and got ahead of them there. I was looking over my shoulder and riding like a scalded cat for the rest of the race.”
Coming off a big victory at Cohutta, Sornson took the brunt of Syllamo’s revenge early in the race, yet somehow managed to capture third place, rolling up on a torn up Specialized Fast Track Control tire complete with a sidewall blown out and patched on one side and another major sidewall tear, bubbled out, ready to blow on the other side.
“Oh my goodness, the first downhill it was like, “psssssssshhh” and I was like, Oh God,” said Sornson. “I think it was a sidewall, then my tube was pinched or something, but a Guardian trail racer gave me their tube and air.” Unlike USA Cycling rules that prohibit racer’s from offering assistance to other racers, NUE Series rules allow racers to assist one another.
Sornson continued, “It was forty minutes time lost and I was dead last by this point. The second flat resulted from a rock that hit my nipple, tearing it off of my tube. I fixed that thanks to a teammate at aid station one who gave me her tube. I picked up more tubes at aid two, then I got a third flat when the patch on my sidewall from the first flat flipped off. ‘Psssssshhhh’ again. I didn’t even realize there was a tear on the other side as well that was ready to blow.
“Fortunately, I had a tube, but someone had to help me get air in it because it was a Wal-Mart 29″ tube that I had just bought last night and the nozzle was super short so I couldn’t get my CO2 on it. They helped me pump it up but it really didn’t have much air in it so at the next aid station they put some gorilla tape and another tube patch on it. They put a lot of air in it, like 30-40 pounds. I was bouncing everywhere but I felt more confident. I wanted to catch Brenda, knew I couldn’t catch Amanda, but felt strong and people were so nice, and friendly and helpful, so I’m psyched.”
Kathleen Harding completed her first ever NUE Series race, grabbing fourth place in 8:25:06. When asked what she attributed her win to she replied, “I have had some awesome training, awesome coaching, and great support by Team CF. I really tried to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration, watch the clock, making sure I was taking in the right amount, and mostly avoiding the briers (laughing).” Harding’s next race will be the Mohican MTB100 June 2.
Rounding out the top five — and on a singlespeed, no less — Andrea Wilson finished 8:51:18.
In the Women’s fifty mile race, Roxanne Fagen took the top spot.