Race report by Shawn Lortie
(July 16, 2011) Breckenridge, Colo.-Reigning Breck 100 champ Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Shimano) finally met his match in Jeff Schalk (Trek) at this years National Ultra Endurance series race in Breckenridge Colorado. Tostado has won every year since the races inception six years ago. Schalk finished second last year after flatting twice on the first of three loops, and then having to fight back from a 17-minute deficit.
The last two years Schalk tried to attack early in the race, but seemed to feel this year called for a different approach. “My plan today was to shadow Josh, and since I am not fully acclimated, my main plan was to stay seated as much as possible, and conserve oxygen and energy. I never did hard attacks, I never stood, and I was never much of an instigator.” This seemed to work well, as Schalk’s steady pace was enough for a new course record of 8:08:53. Tostado also beat his previous course record with a time of 8:13:50.
Schalk and Tostado rode together with Kelly Magelky (Honey Stinger/Trek) until close to the 50-mile mark, while current NUE Series leader Christian Tanguy (Team CF) held a steady pace about 8 minutes behind. Eventually Schalk and Tostado rode off on their own. Incredibly, by the bottom of the Gold Dust trail before the last climb up and over Boreas pass into Breckenridge, Schalk was only two minutes ahead of a chasing Tostado. Schalk was able to hold off Tostado to take the win, while Tanguy got by Magelky to take the third spot on the podium.
Only a few women decided to attempt the full 100-mile race this year, as many opted for the shorter 68 and 32-mile options held on the same day. Of those who did give it a go, Jari Kirkland (Alpine Orthopedics) took the win with a time of 10:31:36. Her closest Competitor was Melissa Trainer (Trek Bicycle Store Boulder) with a time of 11:45:39. Very Impressive rides for both ladies on a course that has no mercy on any who attempt it.
Kirkland had this to say about the race, "I think this is an amazing race. People talk about 100 miles and Leadville, but in my opinion, I think this race is the best 100-mile race you could possibly do because Leadville is all road, but Breckenridge is 75 percent singletrack. It's so much more interesting, more fun, and harder.”
Overall it was a long day in the saddle for all those involved, with close to 13,000 feet of climbing and miles and miles of singletrack that demanded the riders’ attention and skill all day long. When asked what helps get him through endurance events like this, 12th place overall finisher Jonathan Davis (Trek Store Boulder) had this to say, “No matter what place I am in I am racing the race within the race…the guy behind me wants to catch me and the guy in front of me needs to be caught and when I push hard and catch him 3 miles out for that 12th place finish it can feel every bit as good as 1st.” It’s great attitudes like this that get these incredible athletes through all that pain and suffering and across the finish line.
For full results see Warriors Cycling