When Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) won the two final rounds of the National Ultra Endurance Series, the Shenandoah 100, in Virginia, on September 2 and the Fool’s Gold 100, in Georgia, on September 8, he did so on courses hit as recently as the previous day by Hurricane Isaac’s related storm fronts.
“They got a lot of rain early,” series director Ryan O’Dell told Singletrack.com the week after the Fool’s Gold 100.
In a week of uncharacteristic weather for the closing rounds of the NUE Series, which also included the Park City Point 2 Point in Park City, Nevada, on September 1, all three final races saw heavy pre-race rains.
“We were also affected a day earlier at the NUE race in Park City where we had thunderstorms that came through… and produced flooding in Las Vegas,” O’Dell said. “And Shenandoah the next day was getting hit by Isaac, so really two days in a row,” he explained, adding, “the Fool’s Gold got hit as well in the morning, but it actually improved the course there.”
Two primary ramifications of Isaac and its related storm fronts were on the nature of the course and, by extension, on safety procedures.
O’Dell said that the weather had actually improved the course for the Fool’s Gold 100. “It’s been so dry in Georgia, and all over really, but the racers said that the course really tacked up nice after that.”
The rains had the opposite effect on the Shenandoah 100. “In Shenandoah, [the rain] made the course a little more slick… and that definitely had an effect on the race.
“I don’t ever remember a storm at Shenandoah,” O’Dell added. “Since it’s been an NUE race, we’ve never had weather there.”
While the Shenandoah 100, raced over two 50-mile laps, ran without any weather-related injuries, the Fool’s Gold 100 saw a downed tree block the course, inhibiting the movements of safety workers.
“We had a racer that got injured, so it affected us getting to that racer,” O’Dell said. The injured rider, who sustained “a dislocated hip and some broken ribs,” was assisted after rescue workers cut through the fallen tree.
Bishop’s teammate, Alex Grant, won the Park City Point 2 Point men’s race. Sue Haywood (Stan’s NoTubes) won the women’s Shenandoah 100, Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) won the following week’s Fool’s Gold 100, and Amanda Carey, who O’Dell said was near the downed tree at Fool’s Gold, won the women’s Park City Point 2 Point.