Skip to main content

Smith and Simril win Pierre's Hole 100

The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series visited the Targhee Resort in Alta, Idaho this weekend. This is the time of year there when the wildflowers are in full bloom and waist high in many places along the singletrack. Mild weather in the low 80s, along with gentle breezes, made for near perfect race day conditions.

The fifth annual Pierre's Hole 100 featured a challenging race course with amazing descents with jaw dropping views of the Tetons and surrounding mountains. Instead of the four-lap course with 16,000ft of vertical climbing which racers have struggled through in previous years, miles of new singletrack were added this year, reducing the number of laps to just three for the 100-mile race, two for the 50-mile and one for the 50k race. Plans are already underway to add even more singletrack, sharply reducing, or even eliminating what some refer to as, the "death climb" out of Pierre’s Hole, from next year's race.


After 36 NUE Series races, including nine second place finishes, Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) was elated to earn her first ever NUE Series win at the Pierre's Hole 100 coming in at 10:30:04. Simril is currently ranked second overall in the standings behind the seemingly unstoppable NUE Women’s Champion Cheryl Sornson (Team CF).

Alice Drobna (Webcyclery, CycleSoles) finished 11:12:47 to place second following second place finishes this season at the True Grit Epic and the Tatanka 100 plus a fourth place finish just three weeks ago at the High Cascades 100. Her finish on Saturday moves her into third place overall in the NUE standings. Niki Milleson placed third in 11:50:34.

Drobna had just these few words to sum up her race, "It was hard today."

After facing down a bear in route to her win in the 100-mile race last year, the four-time NUE Series Champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), who lives in nearby Victor, Idaho, won the 50-mile race this year, fortunately, without any bear interactions to report.


Following a third place finish last year behind Evan Plews (Ibis Cycles) and Ben Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube), 44-year-old Cary Smith (Team CF) crossed the line in 8:06:01, 40 minutes ahead of the field, moving him into fifth place overall in the NUE Series.

"The field for the 100-mile race was small this year. "I think that some racers are scared away from the race's reputation, altitude, and remoteness. This year's course was definitely more in line with other NUE races around the country. Yes, it is challenging, but [Race Director[ Andy Williams is planning to have even more trails built for next year's event, making it a flagship event for the Rocky Mountain region."

Travis Mullen, 29, claimed second in 8:48:23 with 44-year-old Dale Cook (Two Wheeler/Specialized) in third at 9:09:35. Cook also has a 17th place finish at the High Cascades 100 this season.

Fourth through eight place finishers, Gabe Klamer, Ross Delaplane, Dave Byers, Chris Phenicie and John Malloy finished in sub-ten hours and were among the select racers who were awarded the coveted Gold Pierre’s Hole Buckle.


Last year, AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles/American Classic), the local favorite from Victor, Idaho, was forced to drop out after experiencing stomach flu-like symptoms. This year, Linnell crushed the field by nearly an hour, good enough for second place overall, and the SS win in 8:28:58.

With three first place finishes this year, so far, that included the Tatanka 100 and High Cascades 100, plus a second place finish behind NUE Series Champion Gerry Pflug Team CF) at the True Grit Epic, Linnell needs just one more win before he can challenge the four-time reigning champion at the Fool's Gold 100 on September 7, when all ties will be broken.

To achieve that goal, Linnell is planning to compete at the upcoming Park City Point-to-Point on August 31, just one week before the tie breaker. He will need to win both races if he hopes to thwart Pflug's attempt at five straight NUE Series titles this year! In this best five of 14-race series, Pflug has already racked up five wins, but Linnell clearly made a statement by winning the Tatanka 100, 11 minutes ahead of Pflug making Tatanka is the ONLY race the champ has not won this season.

Linnell said, "This race rocked! Totally amazing, varied course that required technical riding skills, comfort with flat-out speed, lungs and legs for long climbs, and the ability to spin a high cadence on pavement, awesome!"

For a second straight year, Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) placed second, finishing 9:38:51 this year. Referring to Linnell, Rockwell said, "The guy is riding at another level here late in the season and is only getting better. Look for some fireworks if he can pull one more win to take on 'The Pluginator' in an epic battle at the tiebreaker."

Jason Brown took the third spot on the podium finishing in 9:58:46.

Masters 50+

Last year, just seven minutes separated Marland Whaley (Red Barn Bicycles) from race winner Mark Hershberger (Hoback Sports). This year, 55-year-old Whaley crushed the field by forty five minutes finishing in 9:31:04.
The NUE Master's division is in total disarray and remains up for grabs with no clear leadership. However, with this win, Whaley is emerging as an NUE Series leader following his win at the Tatanka 100 and second place finish to Tim Phillips, Broken Spoke, at the High Cascades 100. According to Whaley, "Pierre's Hole once again delivered on being a quality event run by quality organizers and volunteers."

51-year-old Gary Gardiner placed second in 10:16:05, 11 minutes ahead of 57-year-old John Lauk, who finished third in 10:27:50. Lauk summed it up this way, "I was feeling pretty good about my ride until Amanda Carey blew past me on her final lap on her way to an impressive win. It was like I was standing still! The addition of the Peaked Trail and 38 turns, along with the new three-lap format versus four created an awesome course resulting in new records. I was able to take three hours off last year's finish time as a result of the shortened course and better training. Now if they can just find a way to eliminate the death crawl out of the Pierre's Hole!"

54-year-old David Jolin (Stark Velo), who is currently second place overall in the NUE Standings, finished fourth in 10:32:55. He will be competing in the Leadville 100 next weekend. Fifth place went to 50-year-old Jesse Ferrer, who summed it up this way, "The beauty of the Tetons, the hospitality of Grand Targhee, and 13,000+ feet of climbing, Priceless!"

What's next?

The Kenda NUE Series shifts hard east to New England for the seventh annual Hampshire 100 on Sunday, August 18. The race benefits the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center and consists of a 100-kilometer and 100-mile course that winds through the beautiful and varied terrain of Southern New Hampshire.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cary Smith8:06:02
2Travis Mullen0:42:21
3Dale Cook1:03:34
4Gabe Klamer1:04:40
5Ross Delaplane1:16:31
6Dave Byers1:40:21
7Chris Phenicie1:42:47
8John Malloy1:46:30
9Yuri Cook2:24:43
10Robert Thomas2:28:10
11Alex Schultz2:36:09
12Lee Simril2:46:20
13Cooper Fowler3:15:58
14Darrell Finlayson3:35:02
15Michael Belser3:37:45
16Bradlee Herauf4:01:34
17Matthew Jennings4:35:39

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brenda Simril10:30:05
2Alice Drobna0:42:42
3Niki Milleson1:20:30

Singlespeed men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aj Linnell8:28:59
2Trevor Rockwell1:09:52
3Jason Brown1:29:47
4Tim Lucking1:48:03
5Loren Gard1:50:26
6Trevor Bain2:44:37

Masters men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marland Whaley9:31:04
2Gary Gardiner0:45:02
3John Lauck0:56:46
4David Jolin1:01:52
5Jesse Ferrer1:36:57
6Bob Grover2:13:39
7Robert Adams3:44:12

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1