Lumberjack

The Lumberjack 100 stop #4 on the NUE Series of 100 mile mountain bike races is by far the NUE race with the most single track. After the first two miles of pavement, you dive into Michigan forest and don’t come out again until the finish.

I decided on the Superfly 100 since the course is a bit bumpy and the climbing is on the low side for a 100 mile mountain bike race.

Bang! I manage to hold decent position on the pavement as we complete the first two miles and dive into single track. Everyone’s fresh. I’m soon in the red zone as we begin a long gradual climb at high speed. After 5 or 6 miles I begin to settle down satisfied that I’ve managed a decent start. I’m pretty confident my biggest competitor, Crew Teammate and 2010 NUE Masters champion Robert Herriman is behind me.

It doesn’t take too long after I settle down and suddenly Robert is on my wheel. We’re on one of the few wide dirt road sections and he taps me as he goes by to come with him. I mean why not? We’ve got over ninety miles of racing to go. We may as well work together. I follow.

Robert seems to be riding quite strong and doesn’t seem to be trying too hard. I’m able to stay on his wheel and bridge little gaps while maintaining a tempo pace. I’m satisfied to be on his wheel.

Back into single track while descending this particularly messy section, a stick gets caught in my back wheel. I Hear it snap but still have to stop for a second to extract the remnants. I’m back on and Robert’s only slightly ahead. I’m still hearing something in my back wheel. I stop again to visually inspect it and see nothing. Again I start riding on the gas now to not get dropped by the reigning champion. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be for long…

At probably 15 MPH my drivetrain locks up. It takes awhile to figure out what has happened, but I had apparently broken a spoke with the first incident. The broken end of the spoke was bent somehow into a nice hook. The hook has perfectly snagged my chain and everything was locked up. I eventually had to resort to removing the rear wheel to unhook the chain. I wrapped the broken spoke around some others to keep it out of trouble. Fortunately nothing else seemed wrong. It’s amazing my derailleur hanger was still intact!

It seemed like forever, but I’m sure it was only a 3 or 4 minute delay so I started burning some matches to try and catch Robert. Things were going well for the rest of the first lap. I caught and passed back a bunch of people who rode by me while I was stopped, including Crew teammate Jason Pruitt, and two woman’s leaders Amanda Carey and my friend and travel companion Cheryl Sornson. So far so good.

I made it about 50 miles before I started feeling some chinks in my armor. It was getting hot and I felt like I was starting to get behind a bit in hydration. Half way through the lap is a short run-up. Amanda hikes by me and I don’t have the energy or motivation to hang.

By the time I start the 3rd and final lap of the 33 mile loop, I’m feeling pretty lame. I’m riding slower… quite a bit slower. Jason rolls past like I’m standing still. He’s riding great. I encourage him.

The remainder of the last lap was an internal struggle to just finish.  I was digging deep just to keep moving slowly. I crossed the line at 7:50, 20 minutes slower than my goal time, but good enough for 2nd. Robert finished in 7:25.  Awesome ride my friend. You crushed me today.

Hats off to Christian Tanguy of Team CF for the overall win in 6:30. My travel companion Jeff Schalk went back and forth for 2nd with 3rd place finisher Mike Simonson right to the line in what was probably the most painful and exciting battle of the day.

Open Men - Jeff Schalk, Christian Tanguy, Mike Simonson

Amanda Carey continued her winning streak with Karen Potter finishing 2nd passing Cheryl on the last lap.

Woman - Keren Potter, Amanda Carey, Cheryl Sornson

The single speed was also exciting with The Pflug actually having to battle for a change with the super-strong Mike Montalbano. Robert Spreng from PA took 3rd, Jordan Wakeley 4th and teammate Jason Pruitt rounding out the podium in 5th.

Single Speed - Jordan Wakeley, Mike Montalbano, Gerry Pflug, Robert Spreng, Jason Pruitt

Masters - John Williams, Roger Masse, Robert Herriman, Jim Jordan, Ray Fulkerson

Next up The Hilly Billy Roubaix on single speed. See you there!

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