Under the ideal weather conditions that over 400 racers experienced, the sixth annual Hampshire 100, with 100 mile and 100k options, lived up to expectations. The rocky race course was more difficult than many anticipated.
Some spoke of an amazing fiddler who was playing somewhere deep in the back country along the course. “The music could be heard for miles!”
Others told of a swampy bog that, according to Troy Barry (Hammer Nutrition/no Tubes), “was so deep, I couldn’t see my water bottle!”
For many NUE Series race leaders this weekend, the Hampshire 100 proved to be a pivotal race heading into the home stretch with just three races remaining. For the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, beneficiary of the proceeds of the race, the doubling of the size of the race will, no doubt, help to make a greater difference in the good work being done there.
NUE defending champion, Christian Tanguy (Team CF), leads the NUE series, however, with just one win in his quiver among a stacked field of competitors headed to New Hampshire, he must have felt the heat, knowing how important a win in New Hampshire would be if he had any hope of defending his title.
Race number nine, in this best four of twelve series, became even more critical for all contenders when Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) announced plans to build on his wins at Cohutta and the Wilderness 101 in an attempt at his first NUE Series title.
It was the defending champ that took it to the field on Sunday with a winning time of 7:35:44. According to the former US Olympian, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), who finished second in 7:41:50 after doing the Mt. Washington Hill climb a day earlier, “After Jeremiah flatted, Tanguy put the hammer down. I thought my legs were going to explode!”
Tanguy said, “With Jeremiah, Tinker and a great bunch of other riders who beat me
earlier this year, I was really wondering how I would fare. I started the race with one bottle and no gels figuring that the cool temperature would allow me to reach my drop bag at mile 25 with no problem.
“As I came in and announced my number to the volunteers, there was no action. I was wondering whether we had indeed arrived at the correct aid station or not. Jeremiah and I were ready to turn back but with the confusion we thought that there might be another aid just up the road… well, there wasn’t.
“We reached the Strava challenge section and I thought, could there be any better opportunity to test the legs? Jeremiah, Justin Lindin (Redline) and Tinker Juarez joined me at the front.
“Just a few miles later, the trail got extremely steep and only Jeremiah could go up without any dismount. He did not seem tired from his efforts last weekend at the Leadville 100 (where he came in third).”
Tanguy made his move when Bishop flatted, taking advantage of his own beefier tires. He took the win over Tinker Juarez.
Tanguy’s teammate, Brandon Draugelis (Team CF) finished third, 7:58:04 and was among the list of three that finished under eight hours.
Four minutes later, Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry’s) crossed the line in fourth. Spreng is currently holding fifth place overall in the NUE Series.
Fifth place went to Keck Baker (Carytown Bicycle Company/Cannondale) from New Kent, VA 8:09:26.
After a reported five flats in the granite rock of Hampshire, Jeremiah Bishop would go on to finish 16th.