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Bishop and Sornson win Fool's Gold 100

By:
Ryan O'Dell

Both riders lock up National Ultra Endurance Series titles

The men's podium: Christian Tanguy (Team CF), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), Ben Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube)

The men's podium: Christian Tanguy (Team CF), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), Ben Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube)

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Men: Bishop wins Fool's Gold and his first NUE Series title

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) won the Fool's Gold 100 and his first ever NUE Series title on Saturday. With the best overall time of 6:42:09, Bishop was one of just five racers to go sub seven hours on the day.

"It was a relief to cross the finish line in first today," said Bishop. "I had no room for error since Christian Tanguy and I were tied coming into Fool's Gold 100. Tanguy was so strong at the Shenandoah, and I was not feeling fully recovered in the first 50 miles of today's race, so I was nervous when my early efforts did not seem to phase him."

Ben Melt Swanepoel animated the front of the race by doing a 16-mile solo attack. Eventually he was caught. Bishop hatched a plan. "I planned to bridge up and work with him on the rolling section about 30 miles to go. Christian pulled at the front for several minutes and as soon as he got frustrated, I put in a full on attack."

Sam Koerber also bridged up. Then Swanepoel dropped off pace as they entered the Bull Run Mountain section. Bishop was going for it as he traded pulls with Koerber for 30 minutes.

The trail pitched up and then Koerber was gone. "I was gunning for as much time as I could get and figured my after-burn might fizzle so I kept on the gas," said Bishop. "I found I was able to hold the high pace for a while until I ran low on fuel from skipping the second to last aid station. I thought the rest of the 12 miles was just dirt road and figured it was best to just suck it up and keep on the hammer. Six miles of twisted hill singletrack ensued. I kept pushing but the pace, and lack of fuel, made my legs feel heavy."

Bishop liked the new course and its singletrack, but then disaster struck - his chain broke on a bad shift. "I was on the side of the trail trying to be calm imagining how I might lose the whole series when Christian passes me! My hands were shaking and luckily I was able to mend the chain with my quick link in a couple minutes and took off like a shot."

Please with his win, Bishop said, "It's exciting to see the NUE series grow and next year the competition is sure to get even tougher more tactical and the adventure even more wild."

Fifth place finisher Evan Plews said the Fool's Gold was another rough race for him. "Despite being lazy all week and trying to rest I found myself missing my usual strength as we rode the initial climb. I took the lead on the descent but mistook the corner marshal for a photographer as my glasses had been sprayed pretty bad so instead of leading into the singletrack, I was about 10 spots back."

"Unfortunately I never saw the front of the race again as I lost time following the slow folks and then lacked power to close." Plews eventually caught Drew Edsall and passed him, but he crashed heavily when he clipped a log that was poking out onto the trail under some bushes.

"Luckily I wasn't out of the race but my ribs are likely fractured. It took some time to get going and finally I re-passed Edsall about an hour later then a demoralized Tanguy after aid six. Christian was clearly better than me on the climbs but seemed uninterested in chasing. I took the initiative but he was able to rejoin me each time I slowed to pass lap riders and when the trail kicked up."

Tanguy and Plews then chased down Koerber on the way to the finish.

Women: Sornson wins race and reclaims NUE Series title

2008 NUE Series Champion Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) won the Fool's Gold 100 back in 2008, coming in at 8:53:22 before going on to claim her first NUE Series title. This year, with the NUE Series title on the line, she dropped it like it was hot, finishing 8:16:30, reclaiming the NUE Series title from Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) who has held it firmly within her grasp since 2009.

"I had not planned on Fool's Gold until I captured my third win of the NUE series in New Hampshire. I started the season with a great win at Cohutta, but then was plagued with bad luck flats in Arkansas," said Sornson. "Not wanting to let Arkansas define my season, I was ready to battle at Lumberjack, however I was sidelined with broken ribs. I thought my bid for a series title was over."

Sornson said the lead-up to the race was stressful. "Trying to keep the balance of rest, training, and health is tough. I had a little set back a few days prior to the race and even considered pulling the plug. Fortunately my husband convinced me that I could still put in a tough fight regardless."

The race started out with a neutral roll out which helped provide a bit of warm up and get a feel for how the day would go. Once the women were unleashed, Carey and Sornson picked up the pace. "I wanted to see how my legs felt, so I gladly took the lead. She ended up staying on my wheel for most of the climb," said Sornson. "Once it started to pitch down she would jump in front and try to get away. I was not right on her wheel but was able to get right back to her when the road leveled out or went up. At one down I did lose sight of her, but caught her again on the next climb. We stayed together until aid 2. During that time she would attempt some attacks, but I was always able to be right there. We got into the aid together, but I got a bit of a lead out and then never saw her again. I knew I was climbing stronger so I hammered out the climbs and stayed focused on the downs."

Carey was about five minutes back at mile 40. Sornson didn't want to back off. By mile 60, she had a decent gap and looked likely to take the win. She stayed consistent, but did not take any chances to get through the course. "Once on the road back to the winery, with no one in sight, I let off the gas and let the good feeling of my 2012 season sink in."

Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) finished second at 8:46:44, earning second place overall in the NUE Series. She had yet another impressive season where she won six races plus two second place finishes, both to Sornson.

"I came down with a stomach flu the day after the Park City Point to Point," said Carey. "Full body ache, chills, vomiting, couldn't eat or drink even water for a solid 48 hrs. I somehow managed to pack my bike and stuff up in that state and got on a plane Wednesday morning to Georgia. Although I started to feel a little better, I knew I wouldn't be 100 percent for the race and that racing would probably make me worse. Even though I had a great season and had won six races already. I wanted to win the series title again, so I had no choice but to go."

"I felt pretty okay at the start. My head hurt and I was nauseous but my legs felt great. The pace was high and I was okay with it. But, when I took my first shot of gel 30 minutes in it came back up immediately, so I knew there was trouble brewing. We basically stayed together until aid 2 - I was opening gaps on the downhills and the singletrack, but Cheryl was setting the pace on all the road climbs and she would catch back on as soon as it pitched back up."

Carey shifted into damage control mode after aid 2 and rode to finish. "My headache was so bad that my vision was blurry in one eye and my day became one big mental test of finding different ways to motivate myself to find a way to finish safely and crash-free while running on empty. I certainly put my Master's degree in sports psychology to good use today!"

Carey said the only reason she did not quit was because she knew if Sornson had a major mechanical, she could still win the overall. "I can't hide it, it was was a very tough day and a disappointing way to end a very successful season. But, I don't regret trying. The only thing that could have been worse than a DNF was not trying at all."

Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) attended nine races this year, finishing all but the Breckenridge 100, where altitude took its toll. Throughout the season, Simril has protected her position, holding on to finish the Fool's Gold at 8:52:22, confirming her third place finish overall in the NUE Series.

Andrea Wilson (Outdoors, Inc), opted for gears for the championship race, finishing just nine minutes behind Simril at 9:01:03 to finish fourth, just what she needed to finish fifth overall in the NUE Series, behind Vicki Barclay (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) who finished the season fourth overall among women.

Singlespeed: Fourth straight NUE Series win for Pfluginator

For Gerry Pflug (Salsa/Notubes/TOP Gear), the series was already in the bag; however, he showed up for a 100-mile victory lap at the Fool's Gold, winning in just 7:20:50 using 41x25 gearing.

Patrick Blair used a 32x18. Dwayne Goscinski used a 32x17.

"At the beginning of the singlespeed race, Dwayne Goscinsky, Patrick Blair, and I were able to escape from the other SS racers on the long Cooper Gap climb," said Pflug. "We were riding in the lead group of geared riders and were flying up the hill. I chose to stop at aid 1, about 18 miles into the race, to grab a Camelbak. Nobody else in the lead group stopped, so Dwayne and Pat were able to put some time on me."

"To minimize my time loss, I bombed the 2.5-mile downhill to catch the two singlespeed riders in front of me. I must have been flying because I caught the pair before the bottom of the descent. As we entered the trails, I took the lead and was able to get a slight lead. But, shortly after checkpoint two, Patrick caught me before heading up the Bull Mountain Trail. The initial part of this trail is super steep and was covered with big slick roots. I was able to create a gap over Pat on this section by riding the climb, since he was force to run it. After getting away from Pat, I never saw another SS rider and pretty much rode the last 70 miles alone. It was a great way to end the season and to celebrate my fourth NUE title."

Masters 50+: Root wins the race; Sanborn gets his first series title

The winner of the Masters 50+ series said, "2012 NUE Masters Champion definitely has a nice ring to it! Quite honestly, I started planning this out while recovering from major rotator cuff surgery a year and half ago. So to finally have met this goal is very rewarding."

"What's also rewarding is being part of this series. There are so many great competitors I've met along the way and to toe the line and race with everybody is a honor. It's also been a riot to travel to some of these venues, each one seems to offer some their local flare of character, worthy of a story or two when we return home."

Mark Hershberger (Team Jackson Hole/Hoback Sports) finished third in the NUE Series points race. "A year ago, I decided to compete in the overall NUE Master's series knowing it would be the hardest series I had ever taken on. Mountain bike racing began for me at age 50 after being 'benched' from other sports with an injury and my learning curve has been steep - the training, nutrition, bike maintenance, etc. Damn, Ron you made it look so easy! I'm very happy with third overall considering the talent out there. I encourage others to take on the challenge of the overall NUE next year."

Closing note

The top five NUE Division winners received a share of the $11,000 in cash prizes plus every NUE Series racer who completed the four-race minimum received prizes from each of the NUE Series sponsors. Division Winners also receive complimentary entry into all NUE events in 2013 as part of their reward, a value of nearly $2000

Full results

Men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) 6:42:09  
2 Ben Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube) 0:05:45  
3 Christian Tanguy (Team CF) 0:14:11  
4 Sam Koerber (Industry nine/ niner bikes) 0:14:12  
5 Evan Plews (MTBracenews) 0:16:00  
6 Drew Edsall (Kenda / Felt) 0:25:30  
7 Josh Fix (SGC p/b Breakaway Cycles) 0:28:36  
8 Chris Morgan (BMC USA) 0:50:13  
9 Jonathan Davis (Trek Bike Store Boulder Racing Team) 0:54:04  
10 Chris Peariso (Adventure 212/Specialized) 0:58:58  
11 Ryan Krayer (Adventure 212/Specialized) 0:59:09  
12 Zachary Morrey (Blue Ridge Cyclery/NoTubes/Magura/Schwalbe) 1:02:12  
13 Brian Toone (Tria Cycling p/b DonohooAuto.com) 1:03:06  
14 Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry's) 1:06:02  
15 Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works) 1:20:22  
16 Scott Schlapman (Bicycles Etc) 1:30:42  
17 Daniel Kotwicki (29ercrew.com) 1:32:01  
18 Wilhelm Ritter (Wilhelm Ritter) 1:39:19  
19 Luke Sagur (Carolina Bicycle Company \ Total Cyclist) 1:41:03  
20 Gavin Lansden (BBC p/b Wheelworx) 1:52:44  
21 Joe Hamner (Faster Mustache) 1:59:07  
22 James Prentice (Red Mountain Wheelmen) 2:07:03  
23 Travis Fowler (First Victory) 2:09:14  
24 Jason Bewley (Sunshine Cycles) 2:09:27  
25 Lee Simril (Motor mile racing) 2:10:15  
26 Lee Carmichael (Motor Mile Racing) 2:14:59  
27 Mike Simonson (RBS MTB Team) 2:18:07  
28 Chris Slack (Infinity Racing) 2:18:27  
29 Chris Adams (RTO National) 2:20:26  
30 Eddie Lindley (columbus bike racing, bikeshop of columbus) 2:28:36  
31 Jim Rivers (Team Ed) 2:30:06  
32 Michael Livingston (Wolverine Sport Club) 2:39:23  
33 Greg Witt (RBS MTN Bike Team) 2:57:19  
34 William Taylor (Melo Velo) 3:14:09  
35 Matthew Lee (Georgia Tech) 3:16:36  
36 Paul Brannon (Relentless) 3:22:07  
37 Matt Carroll (Carborocket) 3:30:46  
38 Will Seidel (CAC) 3:43:51  
39 Joseph Hoskins (C'ville Hash House Mashers) 3:51:50  
40 Tim House (C'ville Hash House Mashers) 3:52:07  
41 Trey Schwalb 3:53:50  
42 Mike Schultz (Highland Training/Dirty Harrys) 4:10:12  
43 Mark Dazevedo (Higher Ground) 4:14:26  
44 Russell Petts (RACING GREYHOUNDS) 4:21:40  
45 Rodney Reed (AOA) 4:23:33  
46 Stanley Lewis (Go away) 4:41:41  
47 Shawn Winsor 5:16:32  
48 Douglas Gibbs (skyhook) 5:17:21  
Women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) 8:16:30  
2 Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) 0:30:14  
3 Brenda Simril (Motor mile racing) 0:35:52  
4 Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) 0:44:33  
5 Rachel Millsop (University of West Georgia) 1:13:52  
6 Jana Morris (Giordana-Clif Bar) 2:28:20  
7 Marcey Rader-Rhodenbaugh (GoMarceyGo/GU Energy) 4:07:26  
Singlespeed men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gerry Pflug (Salsa / Notubes / TOP Gear) 7:20:50  
2 Dwayne Goscinski (Team Noah Foundation / DOGFISH) 0:32:28  
3 Shane Schreihart (Bikeman.com) 0:33:27  
4 Patrick Blair (Adventures For the Cure) 1:22:37  
5 Mark Farnsworth (FeBikes) 2:25:00  
6 Jeremy Morgan (Twin Six) 2:25:03  
7 Brian Gillies (PBJ) 2:42:40  
8 Michael Fitzgerald (Tieam On On!) 3:18:54  
Masters Men 50+
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Scott Root (dirtyharrys.net) 8:51:34  
2 Monte Hewett (Challenge Partner David Woodbery) 0:11:09  
3 Henry McCullough (POA Cycling) 0:16:22  
4 Mark Drogalis (Team CF) 0:19:38  
5 Hardwick Gregg (Mud, Guts and Glory) 0:20:44  
6 Chris Irving (Los Locos) 0:26:46  
7 John Wyrick (Team Brad/Biowheels) 0:51:43  
8 Stuart Rackley (YABA) 1:30:24  
9 James Wilson (Team CF) 1:58:56