Two flats but just one tube foiled National Ultra Endurance Series Race leader Jeff Schalk’s effort to stop Josh Tostado’s bid for a sixth-straight Breckenridge 100 win.
The much-anticipated repeat battle Saturday between local favorite and five-time Breckenridge 100 champion Tostado (Bach Builders) and Schalk (Trek MTN Co-Op) fell victim to mechanicals as Schalk’s double flat on loop one took him out of contention for a first-place finish.
With just one tube and two flats, Schalk ran several miles and picked up a tube at a nearby bike shop in Frisco, before blasting off in a desperate attempt to get back in contention. Despite his difficulties, Schalk, the reigning NUE Series Champion and current series leader with three wins under his wheels, stepped up to the challenge, and fought his way back to third place.
“Jeff and I were neck and neck,” said Tostado. “If he hadn’t flatted it would have been a battle; but that’s racing.”
In just 8:23:47 Josh Tostado completed the grueling 100 miles of high altitude race with 13,719 ft. of climbing, shaving 10 minutes off of last year’s finish time.
Despite having a reputation as the toughest 100 in the country, some first timers were up for the challenge including second place finisher Joey Thompson (Mountain Bike Specialists) from Durango, Colorado. He finished less than eight minutes behind Tostado.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Thompson, “I’ve never done a 100 miler before. I didn’t know how to pace myself I just tried to focus on eating and drinking. I tried to stay with the front guys but I never saw Josh again after the first climb. This is definitely his race.”
Women’s Open Race
Jari Kirkland (Team Alpine Orthopedic) finished in just under 10 hours, placing 17th overall. It was her first time competing in the Breckenridge 100.
Eszter Horanyi (Waltworks Space Cowgirls) of Crested Butte, took second in the women’s 100. 2008 Kenda NUE Series Champion, Cheryl finished in third. Equally as impressive was the showing by women’s singlespeed winner Andrea Wilson of Cordova. Wilson completed the 100 miler in just under 13 hours.
Singlespeed Open Race
Mark Thompson of Breckenridge (Wilderness Sports) took the singlespeed win for a second straight year. “It was hard but I felt good. With 17 tough contenders, “It was a good field for singlespeed, I felt like I had a target on my back since I won last year.” On loop 2 Mark hit the ground hard adding suffering on the next climb but he managed to push through, finishing with an impressive 10th place overall. 45 minutes behind Mark Thompson was Michael Melleny (Landis/Red Rock) of Chandler, Arizona followed closely by Gerry Pflug (Salsa/Spk/Pro Bikes), Reigning Kenda NUE Series Champion and current NUE Series singlespeed series point leader.
Master’s 50+ Race
The closest race among leaders was in the Master’s 50 Plus Division where the top three were separated by just minutes. After 11:35:57, it was Larry Dewitt (Pro-Cycling) of Colorado Springs that took top honors. Just 5 minutes behind the leader, NUE Series contender, David Grauer, (Orthopro) of Niwot crossed the line with Carl Gable (TeamSantaFe.org) of Santa Fe just 7 minutes behind Grauer.
Also impressive, was Master’s 50+ women’s racer Sharon McDowell-Larson, (Pro Cycling) of Colorado Springs who was the only finisher in her age division at 12:13:08.
From Colorado, the Kenda NUE Series heads to the hills of Pennsylvania where racers will take on the Wilderness 101 in State College on July 31.