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Meyer and Simril win Tatanka 100

By:
Ryan O'Dell

Linnell and Gardiner top singlespeed, masters categories

On Saturday, The NUE Series shifted gears to Sturgis, South Dakota, home to the world’s largest motorcycle rally. At 5am, racers made their way along a 100-mile backcountry loop nestled at the base of the northern Black Hills in extreme western South Dakota along a mix of gnarly singletrack and fast, smooth cruising.

Unlike last year's ideal weather conditions, this year's race began with a torrential downpour followed by pop up storms throughout the day. Out of nearly 80 registered racers, only about 35 brave souls dared to start the race narrowing even further to just 23 who somehow managed to finish as the unusually wet conditions wreaked havoc on racers and their bikes. Finish times for those who were able to survive and triumph were nearly two hours longer than last year.

Women

Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) notched her third NUE Race Series win with a hard fought finish at the Tatanka 100. Simril completed the course in 11:57:00, far from her 9:58:22 finish last year. "Last year one of my favorite races and experiences was Tatanka. I had never been to South Dakota before and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Black Hills. The course had everything I like, lots of singletrack, hard climbs, technical down hills and even an absurd hike a bike that looked impossible to climb."

Simril woke up to cold, wet darkness and knew the day would just be about finishing. "Fortunately I only had a few minor tumbles and the bike held up amazingly well. I'm absolutely thrilled to get the win here and to find a place to put the awesome buffalo skull trophy at home!"

Eighteen minutes behind Simril was Amy Chiuchiolo (GAS/Intrinsik), who was the only other woman to complete the course finishing 12:15:50. "The Tatanka 100 surely was an experience! More like an adventure race actually. My race started out rough with a flat tire at about mile eight, but then it got interesting!"

"The mud and water made it extra exciting climbing back out of the thigh deep flooded stream crossings, holding onto a rope so you wouldn't get washed away in the rapids. It made the 'mandatory hike-a-bike' section quite the challenge, straight up a hill with a muddy river running down it and it wreaked all sorts of havoc on everyone's bikes. There was bike carnage everywhere! Derailleurs hanging off, broken chains, broken cranks, brakes unable to stop people, chain suck, you name it."

Men

James Meyer (Quark/SRAM), also known among cyclists for co-founding Quark, a producer of power meters, achieved his second straight win at his home course in just 9:53:50. Meyer is also an elite age-group triathlete, representing the United States in short and long course age-group world championships. He is a three-time Ironman finisher, including the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in 2004. Since 2007, Jim has focused on road racing and endurance mountain biking.

He started out with Drew Edsall and Tinker Juarez. Edsall got away for a bit, then Meyer caught him. The eventual winner spent lots of time off the front alone.

"The next five hours was spent trying to hold a nice pace and not make any errors. Then, around mile 83, seven+ hours into the race, I realized I was off course. After considerable hunting around, the first five of us who placed grouped together. We determined there was an erroneous course marker, fixed the marker, then made a gentleman's agreement to ride in together and finish in the order we left the course. For such a long, wet day, it was a pretty easy choice."

Five-Time NUE singlespeed champion, riding geared this year, Gerry Pflug (Rare Disease Cycling) placed second at 9:53:56. "The pace being set at the front by Drew Edsall and Tinker Jaurez, once we hit the trails, was a bit too much for me that early in the race. My legs were still feeling tired from doing the Lumberjack 100 the weekend prior and I thought maintaining a more consistent pace would be better than pushing my limit early in the race."

Leading the race early, Drew Edsall (Pro's Closet/Stan's No Tubes) managed to hang on to third place finishing 9:54:05.

Two-time US Olympian and NUE contender, David Tinker Juarez (Team Sho-Air) coming off a second place finish at the Mohican MTB100, was forced to withdraw at Dalton Lake, aid two, when his brakes failed entirely. "My race started at 5 am and it was raining, a tough way to start but I was here, ready to race, and the rain wasn't going to stop me! I felt that I had a really good chance to win today but now I have to wait for my next race."

Singlespeed

A.J. Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles) made it two in a row at Tatanka, getting his second NUE win following up on an impressive win at the Bailey Hundo. Linnell crossed the finish line at 10:05:13.  Twenty-six minutes later, Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head Racing) placed second in 10:31:23. Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) finished third at 10:56:27.

Master’s 50+

Gary Gardiner (Bountiful Bike P/B Mountain America Credit Union), 52, was the first to cross the line at 10:42:43, more than two hours ahead of his nearest competitors. David Grauer (Orthopro) was next and one of just three masters to finish crossing the line at 13:05:43. The final finisher, getting third in the process, was Jeff Johnston (The Bike Way) just making the cutoff to finish 15:01:43.

Next round

The NUE Series heads northwest to the High Cascades 100 near Bend, Oregon on Saturday, July 19.

Results

Men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 James Meyer 9:53:50  
2 Gerry Pflug (Team Rare Disease) 0:00:06  
3 Drew Edsall (Pro's Closet / Stan's No Tubes) 0:00:15  
4 Matt Woodruff (Kuhl/Rocky Mountain) 0:00:16  
5 Clint Muhlfeld (Sportsman & Ski Haus) 0:03:55  
6 Ross Delaplane (Brookfield Residential) 0:04:39  
7 Ross Toelcke (Great Northern Cycles) 0:41:24  
8 Jeff Mandell (Finkraft Cycling Team) 1:27:01  
9 Neil Popovich 1:57:46  
10 Lee Simril (Motor Mile Racing) 2:03:11  
11 Chris Peterson (Wild Hares Racing) 2:42:54  
12 Jon Conover 3:12:29  
13 Casey Bergstrom (Strider) 4:32:24  
14 Michael Curtes (Twin Six/Milwaukee Bicycle Co) 6:40:39  
15 Craig Nadel (groove labs/LiveMedium) 6:57:07  
16 Martin Knoll 6:57:09  
17 Dean Rogers 6:57:12  
Women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) 11:57:00  
2 Amy Chiuchiolo (GAS/Intrinsik) 0:18:50  
Singlespeed
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles/American Classic) 10:05:13  
2 Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head Racing) 0:26:10  
3 Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) 0:51:14  
4 Hamilton Smith (Team Jackson Hole) 2:24:20  
Masters
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gary Gardiner (Bountiful Bike P/B Mountain America Credit Union) 10:42:43  
2 David Grauer (orthopro) 2:23:00  
3 Jeff Johnston (The Bike Way) 4:19:00