Two-time NUE Champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) made it two in a row in her bid to defend her title this year, finishing in 7:42:26. “Course conditions were far better than I thought they would be. The trails weren’t too muddy. Mostly the ground was just saturated, so at times it felt like your tires were really sticking to the ground. I felt good most of the day. Other than the vicious wind, the weather was ideal for a long day in the saddle.
“Looking at the times from last year, I knew it was possible to go sub-eight hours so I was focused on that goal. I tried to just stay on the gas all day, trying to chase down men ahead of me, sort of riding it like a personal time trial. I caught onto a few people here and there but never really had a group to work with for a long period of time, although I rode with 2 awesome singlespeeders for the entire rail trail.
“As much as I love singlespeeders, they are pretty useless in terms of taking pulls!” she said, laughing.
“However, that section was really key for me. Having their company was awesome during what I think is the hardest part of that entire race. If you crack during the rail trail section it can be very, very hard to get through it mentally, without being demoralized. They gave me the motivation to drill it off the front and ride for them and for myself as hard as I could.”
Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) took second, in 8:26:30, building on her strong finish at Syllamo’s Revenge, had this to say, “I felt that I had a solid race and once I was able to get a little gap, my focus was just on staying strong and holding onto second.”
Andrea Wilson, known for riding a rigid singlespeed, opted to change things up for one race by going geared. Wilson worshipers need not fear however, when asked about the change to gears, Wilson responded with a wink and a smile, confirming that she was not abandoning rigid singlespeed racing altogether. She took third at 8:44:28. “The course is tough to race on a singlespeed if you’re going up against geared riders,” she explained, “so, on a whim, I decided to ride my geared bike instead of my singlespeed.”
“I was sitting in second place early on, then Kathleen Harding and I were back and forth just before the first aid station. She stopped there, and I didn’t, and she chased me from there all day. Brenda Simril passed me soon after, and I never saw her again. I had some long stretches where I wondered what I was doing out there, but the competitive side of me kept thinking about Kathleen just behind me. The course was mostly in great shape, and the singletrack was awesome.”
Kathleen Harding (Team CF) rolled in just two minutes behind Wilson, 8:46:20, and Linda Shin (Blacksmith Cycle) 8:59:12 and Carmen Sweet (Reactivated) 9:26:38 rounded out the top six.