Meyer and Sornson victorious in Tatanka

The Kenda NUE Series welcomed a new venue on Saturday in Sturgis, South Dakota. Under sunny skies and pleasantly mild temperatures, racers rolled out at 5:00 am on a backcountry loop nestled at the base of the northern Black Hills in extreme western South Dakota.

Sturgis is not only home to the world’s largest motorcycle rally but also harbors a growing community of endurance athletes seeking scenery and challenge. Featuring a single grand loop, the Tatanka 100 course provided a mixture of gnarly singletrack and fast, smooth cruising. The majority of the course covered sections of the three longest official Black Hills trails: the Centennial Trail, the Deerfield Trail, and the Mickelson Trail.

The Tatanka 100 is held in conjunction with the Black Hills 100 Ultra-Marathon, which, in its first two years, has earned a reputation as one of the toughest foot races in the western US. These races share the same course for the first 50 miles, but the riders start one hour earlier, allowing them to get out front and avoid any congestion on the trail.

Women: Sornson gets her sixth straight win

NUE Women’s Champion Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) made it six in a row as she smashed the women’s field by an hour to finish 8:52:54. Sornson has won every race she has entered this year and now holds a commanding lead toward her third NUE Series title.

“Tatanka 100 was a spectacular event. What a beautiful area with such pristine trails, a hidden treasure. I was super thrilled with my trophy that was an authentic painted buffalo skull," she said.

Following a second place finish at the True Grit Epic, Alice Drobna (Webcyclery) from Bend, Oregon finished second in 9:52:12.

Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) rolled in just six minutes later in 9:58:22 to take the third spot on the podium. Simril is currently in second place overall behind Sornson in the points having two other second place finishes and two third-place finishes this year.

"I had never been to South Dakota before, so I really had no idea what to expect. It was way more "alpine" than I expected, with gorgeous scenery. I was cursing the 5:00 am start the night before, but during the race, I was really grateful for it because we had nice cool temperatures and lots of shade for half the race. I loved the rugged single track and awesome downhills, and this race had the best hike-a-bike of the NUE series by far."

Fourth place went to Linda Shin (Crankskins/Blacksmith Cycles) in 10:16:39. The 34-year-old Shin is a contender this year with a third place finish at Cohutta and fifth place finish at the Wildcat 100. Denise Coppock (Titletown Flyer)  took fifth in 10:45:20. Coppock finished sixth at True Grit and fourth at Mohican this year.

Jim Meyer (Quarq/SRAM) from nearby Spearfish achieved his first NUE Series victory in just 8:08:53. Kip Biese  finished second in 8:26:58.

"I went into the trail third and got around Gerry and into second quickly. Around two hours in, A. J. passed me and I just tried to pace myself before Pilot Knob when Gerry caught me and we rode together on to Silver City," said Meyer.

"I took a long pit and then started really easing up. Paul Berry was just behind me on the hike, but I rode it up and over after the first wall. He caught me on the Mickleson trail as I was still saving up for the big climb that I learned wasn't there after all. We rode together to mile 77, where he pitted and I rolled on. I caught Gerry and just did what I had to in order to hold on for third place overall."

Paul Berry (Spoke Bike and Ski/Rocky Mountain Bikes) finished third in 8:37:49. "After the initial roll out, I found myself third wheel into the singletrack. However, this did not last long as Gerry Pflug flew by in his 55x11 (actually 32x18). At least that's what it looked like as I was pulling my lungs back into my chest."

One minute later, Christopher B Knoll finished 8:38:19 in fourth place. Ten minutes later, Ben Welnak took fifth in 8:48:43, followed a minute later by "The Billdozer" Bill Dozer Colson of nearby Rapid City  in 8:49:23.

Singlespeed men: Linnell claims his first NUE Series victory of the season

Following a second place finish to the Pfluginator at the True Grit Epic in March, A.J. Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles) powered up a loose climb and never looked back in route to his first NUE Series victory this season, second overall, to finish 8:16:13.

"I loved this race. Not every minute of it, but I loved this race," said Linnell. "The course featured loose, steep, rocky, gnarly, natural trail riding. I rode the first 12miles or so with Gerry until a steep, sustained bastard of a hill where I cranked past him. My heart rate was through the roof, but what was I going to do, get off and walk?! I was glad that I geared up to 34x18 for this race. It made the steep climbs hurt but felt just right for spinning up the Mick and was definitely helpful on all of the downhill forest roads in the last 25 miles."

Four-time reigning champion, Gerry Pflug (Team CF / Pro Bikes) finished second in 8:27:21. He chose a 32x18 gear for the race and despite finishing second, still firmly holds the reigns toward his fifth series title with four wins under his tires at True Grit, Cohutta, Syllamo's Revenge, and Mohican this year.

28-year-old Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six) took third in 8:55:33, following up on a second place finish at Syllamo's and fifth at Mohican. "I was feeling as little nervous going up the gravel as I was at my max heart rate already and it was only two miles into a 103 mile race! I kept going as the local from Quarq in Spearfish put the pedal down even further. I was eying Gerry and A.J. as I knew that they would be the ones to watch this entire race. Well, eying is all I was able to do because they were gone from my view not too far into the race."

2011 NUE Master's Champion, Doug Andrews ( arrived 10 minutes back at 9:05:17 with Dwayne Goscinski and Peat Henry (both from Team Noah Foundation/Free Awesome) each coming in at 9:25:47 for fifth and sixth place respectively.

Master's 50+ men: Whaley wails on the field by over an hour

Marland Whaley (Red Barn Bicycles) took a big lead to get the win in 9:22:30, as the only sub-ten hour finisher in the Master's field. NUE contender Monte Hewitt finished second in 10:29:54, in his best finish this year, following two fifth place finishes at True Grit and Cohutta.

David Jolin (Stark Velo) took third in 10:41:19 after getting his first NUE Series win at True Grit earlier this year, third at Cohutta and seventh at Lumberjack this season. With this finish, Jolin moves into first place in the NUE standings in what has become a very competitive masters field this season.

"My big mistake arrived at mile 78 when I wasn't paying enough attention to the race signs and missed the turnoff at Edgewood, adding a total of about seven extra miles just to return to the missed turnoff! Having no idea where the other contenders were now, I just went as hard as I could. With about 10 miles to go, Monte Hewitt passed me but by that point, I was running on fumes. Monte took advantage of the descents and kept me in his rear view mirror. I was just thankful to nab a podium spot. Hat's off to Kevin and the Tatanka team. This is a must do NUE race!"

The NUE Series heads next northwest to the High Cascades 100 near Bend, Oregon on Saturday, July 20. According to Race Director, Mike Ripley, just 35 spots remain before this race sells out again this year.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1James Meyer8:08:53
2Kip Biese (Joe's Bike Shop)0:18:05
3Paul Berry0:28:56
4Christopher Knoll0:29:26
5Ben Welnak0:39:50
6Billdozer Colson0:40:30
7Alexander Kurland (Bike Factory Charlottesville)0:44:01
8Andy Applegate1:04:47
9Ryan Heerschap (Cycle Craft/Bulldogs)1:16:53
10Shane Demars (Pedal Pushers Racing)1:44:46
11Michael Willig1:53:54
12Lee Simril (Motor Mile Racing)1:59:03
13Ryan Niesent2:20:15
14John EppenRow 13 - Cell 2
15Brett Heuring (Dogfish Racing/Team Noah)2:20:34
16Yuri Cook (Raintree Healthcare)2:21:22
17Lance Windey2:26:03
18Eric Coomer (Pedal Pushers Racing)2:26:41
19Matt Kretchmar (Athens Bicycle)2:31:50
20Clay Dykstra2:46:12
21Chance Burleson2:46:17
22TJ Loftus2:53:33
23Jon Conover3:07:25
24Jeremy Larsen (Rose Bike)3:10:08
25Scott Cleaver3:16:12
26David Kent3:17:56
27Gail Strom3:19:13
28Perry Jewett3:49:47
29Tad Costello3:54:21
30Mike Fitzgerald4:00:44
31Dean Rogers4:20:00
32Zach Stone4:47:53
33Jim Thacker (Reliable Oil Equipment Trek Store Cincinnati)4:53:06
34Pete Jaros5:01:20
35Robert Carrera (Pinnacle Iii/ Green Mountain Sports)5:08:37
36Josh Dailey5:16:39
37Christian Seeley5:44:55
38Craig Nadel (Groove Labs/Livemedium)5:51:31
39Michael Baum7:38:46
40Sam Loftus7:52:02
Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cheryl Sornson (Team Cf)8:52:54
2Alice Drobna (Webcyclery)0:59:18
3Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing)1:05:28
4Linda Shin (Crankskins/Blacksmith Cycles)1:23:45
5Denise Coppock (Titletown Flyer)1:52:26
6Niki Milleson (Rose Bike)2:26:07
7Julie Urlaub (Taiga Company)2:36:38
8Katie Anderson6:07:54
9Jeni Roosen (Bishops)6:25:10
10Lorinda Putter (Raintree Health)6:59:08
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Masters men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marland Whaley9:22:30
2Monte Hewett1:07:24
3David Jolin1:18:49
4Tim Burke2:01:29
5Paul Bosworth2:08:50
6William Pontious6:29:33
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Singlespeed men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Pivot Cycles)8:16:13
2Gerry Pflug (Team Cf / Pro Bikes)0:11:08
3Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah Foundation/Decorah Bicycles/Twin Six)0:39:20
4Doug Andrews0:49:04
5Dwayne Goscinski (Team Noah Foundation)1:09:34
6Peat Henry (Team Noah Foundation/Free Awesome)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Craig Fleetwood (Blacksmith Cycles)1:27:34
8Wayne Zantow1:32:57
9Ken Davis1:52:10
10Jordan Radin2:27:32
11Adam MillerRow 10 - Cell 2
12Adam Clarke2:48:46
13Dirk Gustin2:50:33
14Jeffrey M O'Hara3:02:58
15Phil Schneider3:18:13
16Craig Christopherson3:37:36
17Sonny Andrick3:44:23

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