Beautiful weather, perfect course conditions, and a talented field at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Virginia set the stage for course records to be broken in both the men's and the women's races last weekend. Jeff Schalk (Trek / VW) surprised many at the race with a solo win in 7:06:13, but Sue Haywood (Trek / VW) seemed to surprise no one but herself with a stellar ride that broke her old course record by a whopping 27 minutes. Haywood finished in 8:12:36.
"Where's Chris? Where's Floyd?" were the two most commonly asked questions as part-time Harrisonburg resident Schalk rolled through aid stations three, four, five and six solo, with no chasers in site. Schalk, won the BC Bike racer earlier this summer with his partner and Trek / VW team-mate Chris Eatough, but Schalk took this win on his own after Eatough suffered a catastrophic mechanical when his rear axle failed early in the race, on only the second climb. Eatough then withdrew from the race, but kept the series title he'd secured after the Endurance 100 last weekend.
In fact, Floyd Landis (Smith & Nephew) was never far behind the Schalk until the end, and at times, he rode with him and challenger Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication). Schalk gapped Landis and Price thanks to a speedy transition through aid station two, and he remained solo off the front for the remaining 70 miles of the race.
"I wanted to pull a Landis on Landis," smiled Schalk, referring to Landis' legendary solo, lengthy, and ultimately race-winning break-away in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France.
Landis and Price see-sawed the rest of the race, with Price leaving behind Landis on all the mostly-singletrack downhills and Landis catching and passing Price on lengthy flats or climbs. In the end, Price would leave Landis behind on the final singletrack descent and take second in the race and the series with a little over a minute's gap.
On the other hand, local favorite and full-time Harrisonburg resident Haywood assumed the lead in the women's race almost from the start, and she never looked back on her way to winning. Carolyn Popovic (Trek / VW) took second, but the real battle was behind them for the series title.
Carrie Lowrey (Outdoor Store) placed third, but by finishing two spots ahead of Daniele Musto (Slingshot), she assumed the final lead in the series, jumping ahead of Musto, who was technically tied. Lowrey's win in the Shenandoah was the tiebreaker.
For complete coverage of the event, click here.