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True Grit Epic - National Ultra Endurance Series #1

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |April 17, 2013 3:24 PM
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True Grit Epic - St. George, Utah
National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) #1

Alex Grant Wins Season Opener: Defending Champ Cheryl Sornson Starts Off with Another Win

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

The National Ultra Endurance series kicked off this weekend a bit earlier than usual. In itís first year on the NUE circuit, True Grit Epic offered up an early season test for the nationís best ultra endurance athletes.

The desert climate of southern Utah did not disappoint as riders were treated with warm, sunny skies throughout the event.

The True Grit racecourse features a roughly 50-mile lap consisting of a very healthy dose of challenging technical riding and fast, flowing desert singletrack. The 100-mile event cuts out the rugged and demanding Zen Trail on lap 2 leaving racers with a total mileage around 90 at days end.

Despite the early season date, a strong field including most of the biggest names in NUE racing were on hand including previous NUE race winners Josh Tostado (Bach Builders/Santa Cruz), Alex Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale), Evan Plews (Ibis), and Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt).

Headlining the womenís field was last yearís series champion Cheryl Sornson who had made the long trip out from Pennsylvania.

Starting just before sunup riders charged out on course led, for awhile, by singlespeed superstar Gerry Pflug. 

Once on the singletrack the field quickly filtered out leaving the best of the best up front. 

Grant, Edsall, Tostado, and Cary Smith (Team CF) formed the early lead group as Evan Plews was forced to chase on after missing the start.

Once onto Zen Trail, easily the most technical riding of the day, Grant and Tostado began pulling away.

Not known for making early moves, Alex Grant started to open a gap in the Zen singletrack.

"Alex and I were together going through ZenĒ Tostado would later recount. "I made one little mistake, just a delay getting back on my bike, and he was gone.Ē

With Grant off the front it was Tostado, Cary Smith, Edsall, and Plews battling for spots. With less than a minute or two between each other the riders could all see each other and struggle to close the gaps.

Just after the start of lap two Drew Edsall ran out of water and in the hot, dry conditions quickly started feeling the effects of heatstroke. He was forced to abandon the race at the next feed zone.

With Grant still out front that battle was on for second and Team CF rider Cary Smith as up to the challenge. He caught and passed Tostado proving that heís got what it takes to challenge for a top spot in this yearís NUE series.

Tostado slotted into the third spot and did his best to hold off any late-race surge coming from Evan Plews. Plews is known for coming on strong at the end of races but his day was not following the usual script.

By the finish Alex Grant had built up a lead of over ten minutes and looked cool and collected snatching his first win of 2013 and the early lead in the NUE series.

Cary Smith crossed the line in second getting Team CF started on what would, in the end, be a very successful day. Josh Tostado rode in strong taking third with Evan Plews less than one minute back in fourth.

Fifth went to a very happy Jonathan Davis (Trek Colorado) who is just weeks off a solo 24 hour win at Old Pueblo.

The womenís event was mainly a one-woman show with Cheryl Sornson being the class of the field. 

After a slower-than-normal start and a brief wrong turn Sornson found herself in second place following Alice Drobna (Webcyclery). Once into the technical singletrack sections however Sornsonís bike handling skills started to shine and she quickly regained the top spot.

"This is my favorite kind of ridingĒ Sornson shared after the race. "Itís just like the riding we do back in Michaux Forest only there everything is green and covered with moss.Ē

Once out front Sornson felt no pressure from her competitors and handled the heat and dry conditions well crossing the line almost thirty minutes out front, the only woman to complete the 90-mile course in under 9 hours.

Alice Drobna put together a great showing for second place followed by NUE stalwart Brenda Simril who also made the trip out from the east coast.

Fourth place went to Susan Lynch of Union Velo.

The next round of the NUE series will be just over a month from now as the Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, Tennessee, plays host to the NUE riders.

To learn more about the NUE series visit http://www.nuemtb.com

 

Results

Open Men

1,

Alex Grant

Sho-Air/Cannondale

7.00.07

2,

Cary Smith

Team CF

7.13.10

3,

Josh Tostado

Santa Cruz

7.18.26

4,

Evan Plews

Ibis Cycles

7.19.09

5,

Jonathan Davis

Trek Colorado

7.25.25

6,

Michael Tobin

G-Fit

7.30.48

7,

Chris Peariso

Adventure 212

7.42.17

8,

Daniel Munoz

Cyclery USA

7.48.41

9,

Dana Weber

Stage21

7.59.58

10,

Matt Woodruff

Kuhl

8.17.26

11,

Michael Muhlstein

Rosterís/Bikerís Edge

8.18.10

12,

Gordon Smith

 

8.31.03

13,

Jeff Higham

Kuhl

8.31.41

14,

Brock Cannon

 

8.53.37

15,

Aaron Johnson

 

9.02.13

16,

Steven Kelly

Dedagoat Racing

9.18.52

17,

Joal Borggard

JB1

9.28.21

18,

Lee Simril

Motor Mile

9.43.07

19,

Eric Coomer

Pedal Pushers

10.29.48



Open Women

1,

Cheryl Sornson

Team CF

8.54.34

2,

Alice Drobna

Webcyclery

9.23.33

3,

Brenda Simril

Motor Mile Racing

9.38.45

4,

Susan Lynch

Union Velo

10.35.24



Singlespeed

1,

Gerry Pflug

Team CF

7.49.05

2,

AJ Linnell

Fitzgeraldís Bicycle

7.50.52

3,

Shannon Boffeli

Epic Brewing/MTBRaceNews.com

8.19.22

4,

Darrell Roundy

Roundy

8.46.59

5,

Jamon Whitehead

Cutthroat Racing

8.48.31

6,

Pat Doyle

Deadgoat Racing

8.59.04

7,

Kenny Jones

1x1

9.12.29

8,

Loren Gard

Cascade Courier

10.06.46


Master's 50+

1,

David Jolin

Stark Velo

8.58.38

2,

Jody Bailey

4Life

8.59.54

3,

Charles Buki

Team CF

9.20.38

4,

Brian Hobbs

Bills Cycle Racing

9.24.22

5,

Monte Hewett

 

9.57.43

6,

John Lauck

Bountiful Bikes

10.12.34

7,

Gary Gardiner

Bountiful Bikes

10.14.56

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