Two-time NUE singlespeed champion Gerald Pflug, SALSA/NoTubes/Top Gear, took his second straight NUE Series victory in 2012, completing the 125k race course in just 6:35:17, more than a half hour faster than last year (7:06:32), then capped it off by taking fourth place overall.
However, he may be looking over his shoulder more this season as NUE newcomer, Ron Harding, Trestle Bridge Racing, from Coatesville, PA proved he’s hard enough to hang with the Pflug.
Afterward, the “Pfluginator” had this to say. “Up into the first climb, Ron went into the singletrack first. I got by him a few miles in but he was on my wheel until maybe between checkpoints four and five, where there was this one climb in the sun. They had done some tree removal there and I was able to get a gap. Heading into the checkpoint five, I thought my gap was bigger than it was. I was just leaving checkpoint five when I saw Ron comin’ back in and I thought, ‘oh my gosh, we’re gonna be havin’ a drag race to the finish!’ so I just, like, stayed on the gas from checkpoint five to the finish and managed to keep the lead.”
When asked about what contributed to his improvement over last year, Pflug replied, “Awesome course compared to last year. It was completely different and for the better. Last year, on a singlespeed, you couldn’t ride a lot of it because the rocks were so slick. This year, I was able to ride a lot more of the second section that I couldn’t ride last year. I drank a lot of water today and I know that helped because I knew that heat was gonna be a factor.”
Relaxing under the cool shade of a huge tree nearby, 33-year-old NUE singlespeed newbie, Harding, who placed second less than three minutes behind Pflug, was asked about what he was doing before entering the NUE Series.
“I’ve raced mostly cross country up in the Mid-Atlantic Region. I’ve done a couple of endurance events but nothing in the NUE Series and this was definitely the hardest effort. It wasn’t as much climbing as I thought it would be. I heard it would be a lot more climbing, a lot more rocks, but it was definitely a lot of fun and it was great riding with someone. We were about halfway through and I was like, ‘It’s a good thing we’re not in no man’s land ‘cuz this could be brutal!'” he said, laughing. “Then, after aid five, I never saw him again.”
Evan Plews, Ibis Cycles/Real Racing, from Salem, OR, grabbed the third spot on the podium 6:40:33, just two minutes behind Harding. Duane Goscinski, Team Noah Foundation, 7:14:23 from Crystal City, MO and Jason Pruitt, LAS, 7:37:25, from Lafayette, IN rounded out fourth and fifth places. Goscinski commented, “I took two large flasks of Hammer Gel and about three bottles of Heed and three bottles of water, no food, and that was it. It works so I stick with it. Besides last year, I had done the fifty mile for the five previous years where I had ten flats, broke a frame, and destroyed a wheel.”
On June 2, the series shifts to the Buckeye State in Loudonville, Ohio for the ninth annual Kenda Mohican 100 mile and 100km races. Another record turnout of 600+ is expected this year along the remote single-loop course that spans the four counties collectively referred to as “Mohican Country.” Racers can register through Friday, June 1, however registration is filling up fast so racers are encouraged to register soon for best pricing. Visit mohican.net for more information.