Harding manages to get past the Pfluginator for his first NUE Series win of the season!
Ron Harding (Trestle Bridge Racing) from Coatesville, PA came in second at Syllamo’s and Mohican earlier this season. Knowing that a win at Hampshire might be the only way to stay in contention for a late-season run at the series, Harding took on the defending singlespeed champion to capture his first NUE Series win in 8:20:19.
Defending NUE Single speed Champion, Gerry Pflug (Salsa/NoTubes/Pro Bikes) leads the series with three wins so far this year. Pflug rolled into second place 8:26:11, managing to stay ahead of his closest challenger this season, AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald’s Bicycles/Misfit Psycles), who captured third, just behind the Pfluginator, at 8:41:19.
“With a really stacked singlespeed field, including many of the top finishers from other NUE races this season, I knew the race was going to be difficult,” said Pflug. “Additionally, the slower 100K race times from previous years led me to believe that the Hampshire 100 course was going to one of the more difficult courses of the year. Both of these thoughts held true for my Hampshire 100 race.”
“I spent a lot of time alone during the race and was hoping that Harding and Blair were going to wear each other out with their fast riding and bigger gear choices,” he continued. “After pre-determining my anticipated race time, I chose to use an easier gear than many of the other SS racers, a 30×18. It was a nice gear throughout all of the the singletrack, but I know using it slowed me down on all the fast stuff. After doing the race, I think it might be better to use a larger gear because many of the climbs are too steep to ride in any SS gear choice.”
AJ Linnell, who killed it at the High Cascades 100 before dropping out at the Pierre’s Hole 100 with stomach flu like symptoms, finished third, fifteen minutes behind Pflug at 8:41:19. “I’m not sure what happened out there today. The race started and within a few miles I was off the back of the singlespeed pack, riding in a crew of slower racers. Somehow I just couldn’t close the gap forward to the SS crowd. It was like my legs forgot that they were supposed to be racing for the first 30 miles.”
Two minutes behind Linnell, Blair finished fourth 8:43:30. “I learned a valuable lesson today. Never go into the red zone (zone 5 heart rate/effort level) in a 100 mile mountain bike race unless you only have 10 or 20 miles left and you know you will make it to the finish. We hit a massive hill that would have been rideable except it was super sandy and loose. Harding and I ran while Pflug — superhuman king of the SS — inspired us all by riding it. He rode it as fast as Harding and I ran it so we reached the top together.”
Ten minutes later, James Harmon (Createx Colors-Benidorm-Cycle Matrix Coaching) of Litchfield, CT took fifth.