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Shenandoah Mountain 100 - NE

Harrisonburg, VA, USA, Sep 3, 2006


Haywood and Bishop win SM100; Harrison and Price take Ultra 100 series

By Sue George

Jeremiah Bishop
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)

The Trek VW team dominated the eighth annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 on Sunday as Jeremiah Bishop and Sue Haywood won the men and women's races respectively and teammates Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk finished off a team sweep of the men's podium.

In series competition, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) and John Majors (Giffen Interiors), leaders all year in the Open Men and Master's 50+ categories respectively) locked up the overall series win. After Open Women series leaders Tricia Stevenson (Landrover/Cannondale) and Karen Masson (Litespeed) both fell out of contention due to injury, the series championship went to Washington State-based Hillary Harrison (Giant Bikes/Kenda) over Ruth Cunningham. Both finished three races out of four or more attempts. Dan Jansen (Founders Ale/Algers Racing), who had recently traded the lead in the singlespeed category with Matt Ferrari (Mount Nittany Wheelworks), was able to win the category at the race and the series.

Teammates Bishop and Eatough battle on familiar turf

Despite three previous days of rain, largely due to the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto, a record four hundred racers signed up to tackle the lush trails and roads through western Virginia's dense hardwood forests. As the series finale of the National MTB Ultra Endurance Series, the race drew riders from all over the United States. Fresh off his eighth-place finish at the 2006 mountain bike World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand, Jeremiah Bishop took the men's event on trails located just outside his Harrisonburg, Virginia hometown.

Experienced 100-mile veterans Bishop, Chris Eatough (Trek VW), Nick Waite (Kelley Benefits Strategies), and Harlan Price (Independent Fabrications) bided their time on the opening paved road and fireroad climb up Narrowback Mountain while a small group, including Jeff Schalk (Trek VW), set the pace off the front. Home for a just a few days between races, Bishop commented, "I have a World Cup race next Saturday, and I didn't want to push too early. Having focused on the shorter NORBA and World Cup cross country races, I wasn't sure what to expect of my fitness today."

After the first two climbs and descents, including a gnarly, slippery, rocky hike-a-bike section, about a dozen racers formed a group to lead a fast, furious fireroad section. Then, going up the third climb of the day, Hanky Mountain, this year's 24 Hour Solo National Champion Eatough shelled everyone but Bishop. The two flew down Dowell's draft into aid station #3.

Much to their surprise, Schalk, an up and coming member of the regional Trek squad, caught back on. Bishop was impressed, "I trained some with Schalk last winter. His fitness is amazing, and his mountain biking is really coming around, especially his descending." But Schalk didn't hang for long-he was dropped for good on the next climb up Bridge Hollow.

Atop the Braley's descent, Bishop lost air and stopped to add CO2. He chased back going into aid station #4, but had to stop for more fluids, and Eatough gapped him. Ten minutes later, Bishop had chased on again. Eatough set the duo's blistering pace up the infamous 17 mile fire road climb to Checkpoint #5, atop Shenandoah Mountain.

Here the racing got serious. Eatough started attacking Bishop on steep sections up to Little Bald Knob. Bishop counterattacked and got a gap that Eatough could not close. Eatough commented, "Jeremiah really dropped the hammer after aid station #5. It felt like the start of a World Cup race." Realizing he was on a record-setting pace and well aware of Eatough's tenacity from years of East Coast racing together, Bishop raced to the finish in 7:15:15 on the way to a new course record. Eatough followed eight minutes later, tying the old course record (set by Bishop in 2004).

Schalk hung within three minutes up until aid station #5, but eventually finished third, down almost 17 minutes.

Chris Beck (LSV/Kelley Benefits Strategies) slashed a sidewall just before aid station #4. While changing to a new tire, he lost several minutes to Nick Waite, but he eventually caught Waite, who'd had his own flat earlier in the day, and regained fourth place.

Haywood dominates women's race

Sue Haywood
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)

Recently crowned National Short-track champion, Sue Haywood (Trek VW) showed that she can go long, too. Finishing in 9:01:40, Haywood's time would have placed her 27th in the men's field.

It was Haywood's third SM100 victory in three attempts, but this year's start caught her by surprise. "Somebody false started by jumping the gun, and suddenly everybody went. I didn't start quite as well as usual-there were so many more racers this year, it was challenging to work your way up to the front."

Haywood assumed the lead early on and rode much of the race alone or with the men. "I only saw Hillary Harrison (Giant Bikes/Kenda) and Sue George (Team Lucky Green) early on-up until checkpoint #2. Considering the number of racers, I was relatively alone. A few guys nearby were good motivation for me, but my biggest motivation was just to get done as fast as I could." Haywood commented that although she had no mechanicals, she was hungry for the duration of the race. "I couldn't eat enough and my legs didn't feel as good as last year. I was about 20 minutes slower this year even though the course and weather were perfect."

Nonetheless, Haywood still finished 45 minutes in front of second-place Harrison. Coming off a fourth place finish in the mixed category at the TransRockies race, Harrison noted, "I felt super good today. After the TransRockies, my legs really came around."

Hillary Hansen
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)

After Ultra 100 Series' riders Trish Stevenson and Karen Masson forfeited the race due to a broken neck and collarbone respectively, only a couple of overall series contenders wre left in the race; Eventual series winner Hillary Harrison (Giant Bikes/Kenda) only decided to race five days ago. She left a best friend's wedding two nights ago, immediately after giving the toast, to catch a plane to Virginia from her home in Washington State."

Harrison made the switch this year to 100 milers after signing up last minute for the series. "I never did a 100 mile race until this year, but I like the longer ones, especially not racing multiple laps. The people are more interesting, and you see so much more of the area where you are racing." Harrison remarked how the SM100 course reminded her of Costa Rica.

Greenville, South Carolina-based Cass Perkins (Bear Naked/Cannondale) traded leads with Harrison until Aid Station #4. Perkins had a rough start after actually getting pushed into the lead motorcycle during the initial chaos. "I tried to go out as hard as I could after the start. Hillary and I traded leads back and forth for the first half although we were both alone much of the time." Eventually Harrison assumed the lead for good and finished almost 25 minutes in front of Perkins. Mandy Riddle (Vicious Cycles and adventure racer Kristin Eddy (Team Clean) rounded out the top five in the race.

Series Champions Crowed

Series winner
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)

Series leader Harlan Price dropped off on the second climb up Lynn Trail and then flatted on the next descent down Wolfe Ridge, but he climbed back up to seventh for the day and retained his overall lead in the ultra series. Philadelphia-based Price completed an impressive five of the six 100 milers, two of which he won. Brad Cole, Justin Pokrivka, and organizer Garth Prosser took second through fourth.

With Masson and Stevenson out for injuries, Harrison won the series as the only woman to compete in four 100's. She finished three of those four.

John Majors (Founders Ale/Alger Racing) won the Master's series, and Dan Jansen overtook Matt Ferrari (Mt. Nittany Wheelworks) for victory in the single speed series. For his efforts, he won a Cannondale 1FG frame.

Race Notes:

  • Riders were amazed at the good condition of the course despite the race occurring just over 24 hours after Ernesto. Fortunately, the course absorbed most of it with little effect after a season-long drought. Some trails remained slick the morning of the race, and most trails were covered with freshly downed leaves, but only low-lying spots or jeep trails with motorized vehicle tracks could be counted as muddy.
  • Bishop donated half of his prize money to the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club to support their ongoing volunteer work maintaining the race's trails in the George Washington National Forest. Commenting on SMBC's efforts, Bishop remarked, "I was really impressed by all the work they'd done recently on Dowell's Draft trail and just yesterday, they'd cleared the blowdowns from Hurricane Ernesto."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Joe Gore

Images by Bill McCarrick/www.buffalo2step.com


1 Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW)                             7.15.50
2 Chris Eatough (Trek/VW)                                  8.00
3 Jeff Schalk (Trek.VW East Coast Regional)               16.57
4 Chris Beck (LSV/Kelley Benefits Strategies)             38.16
5 Nick Waite (Kelley Benefits Strategies)                 41.05
6 Brandon Draugelis (Bear Naked/Cannondale)               50.34
7 Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication)                  55.18
8 Ernesto Marenchin (Asylum Cycles/Hammergel/Tifosi)    1.01.51
9 Ray Adams (VisitPA.com)                               1.06.01
10 David Wood (Bear Naked/Cannondale)                   1.09.59
1 Sue Haywood (Trek/VW)                                 9.01.40
2 Hillary Harrison (Giant Bikes/Kenda)                    45.17
3 Cassandra Perkins (Bear Naked/Cannondale)             1.09.19
4 Mandy Riddle (Vicious Cycles)                         2.01.09
5 Kristin Eddy (Team Clean)                             2.18.23
6 Cheryl Sorenson (Gettysburg Cupcake)                  2.22.27
7 Sue George (Team Lucky Green)                         2.31.35
8 Meredith Erlewine (Athens Bicycles/SMT Chicks)        2.33.31
Masters 50+
1 Greg Turner (RBM / Velo Voodoo)                       8.25.03
2 John Majors (Giffin Interior and Fixture, Inc)        2.04.32
3 Terry Campbell (Sierra Nevada Brewing)                2.09.35
1 Dan Jansen (Founders Ale/Alger Racing)                8.37.32
2 Thom Parsons (Independent Fabrication)                  30.05
3 Matt Ferrari (Mount Nittany Wheelworks)                 42.41