Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cohutta 100 - The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let’s start with the BAD. My Dad died the week before Cohutta from a ruptured brian aneurism. I still don’t think that has sunk in. Dad was such a cool guy. My Mom and Sister’s encouraged me to keep my plans to race Cohutta and even rescheduled my Dad’s funeral from the day of the race to the Thursday before and so with a ton of support from friends and family I made the trip to Tennessee.

The UGLY? That would be the race day’s weather, especially the last 30 miles worth of my race. The thunder and lightning was spooky and the cold pouring rain and resulting sloppy trail conditions were scary. I’m not super confidant on dry trails that I have never seen/ridden before and with the mud spray in my face I had to take off my prescription glasses, so now I can’t even see the trail I’ve never seen before. Yikes! I was so happy to finish and to have kept the rubber side down the whole day. Oh yeah, and I lost my prescription glasses at Cohutta. Who's got Herriman's glasses? Who's got Herriman's glasses?

The GOOD!! Well, the rest of the race and weekend. It was a fun road trip. Tim Finkel and I rolled the 10 hour drive down together and stayed with a bunch of new friends including none other than an Ultra legend Harlen Price (oh yeah, Harlen won the Cohutta singlespeed race on a GF Superfly SS). The pre-race pizza in the man cave was great! The race starts out on a long paved climb and I was happy that the pace was moderate for this climb so I was able to position myself about 15th as we entered the trail. From that point there was not much opportunity to pass until the 18 miles of single track was thru and we got to the start of the 70 miles worth of dirt roads. I found Tim about then and we rode the next 60 miles together which was pretty cool. I remember one long decent that lasted about 12 minutes with speeds in the mid 30s. We don’t get to do that in Michigan. Tim and I were in the top 15 until about mile 75 when the rain and ugliness arrived and I went backwards, but in the end I’d finished good enough for first place in the Masters! Awesome! Dad would have loved it.

Cohutta 100....

By: Cycling News

Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-op) and Amanda Carey (Kenda) won the Cohutta 100, the opening race of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series on a stormy Saturday in the south east.

Racers started in the dry at 7:00 am, but then thunderstorms rolled in around 40 miles into the race. The temperatures dropped, making what has typically been a warm race a cold one, especially as many racers were at the highest point in the mountains when the storms arrived.

Last year's Cohutta winner Schalk repeated this year, although his time was slower at 6:49:25 (vs. 6:23:06 in 2009). Schalk is also a two-time defending NUE series champion. He beat Chris Peariso (Adventure 212/Specialized) and Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher 29er Crew).

In the women's race, last year's winner Carey Lowery was absent, but another Carey took the win: Amanda Carey. Her time was 8:03:01, better than Carey Lowerey's 8:06:47 of 2009. 2008 NUE Overall Women's winner Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) was second ahead of Anna Ballaire.

2006 NUE men's overall champion Harlan Price (Team CF) won the singlespeed category while Robert Herriman (Gary Fisher 29er Crew/WSC/ took the Master's category.

Additional editorial assistance provided by Ryan O'Dell and Bridget Donovan.
Full report coming soon!

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