Michigan’s only 100 mile mountain bike race also played as the third stop of the National Ultra-Endurance Mountain Bike 100 Series, as well as included the Michigan Ultra Single Speed Championship. It is a very challenging course on 95% singletrack with over 13,000 feet of total elevation gain. Following is a report off www.lumberjack100.com and Manistee News:
By MATT WENZEL
Holding a first place trophy that consisted of a block of wood with a hand axe jammed in the top Jeff Schalk was in an unfamiliar place but exactly where he wants to be.
Schalk, a professional bicycle racer sponsored by Trek-Volkswagen, took first place overall in the Lumberjack 100 on Saturday. He did the grueling 100 mile race at Big M (Manistee National Forest) in a little over seven hours and seven minutes.
“I’m living the pro racer nomad lifestyle,” Schalk said. “It’s all about traveling to places you’ve never been.”
That path carried him to Big M where he won the race in his first appearance. Schalk’s reward for taking first was the rather unique trophy, $500, and a few beers during the awards ceremony at the Norman Township Hall which was packed with about 200 of the racers.
The Lumberjack 100 is one leg of the eight events of the National Ultra Endurance race series which has races across the United States. Schalk, who is originally from San Francisco but moved to Washington DC and now lives in Virginia, has won the first three races of the series.
“I’ve been having a good year,” he said. With a field of almost 250 riders the Lumberjack 100, which is in its fourth year, had its best turnout to date. While there were some nationally recognized riders in the field which featured participants from across the nation, the event is still fairly low key.
“It’s still a very grassroots campaign,” said race organizer Rick Plite, “it’s the fun nature of the awards party that makes it a laid back event.”
That atmosphere was evident on Saturday night as Plite handed out trophies and also tossed a number of prizes across the room. Although the awards ceremony was easy going the race is anything but.
Competitors have to pedal through four laps on the 25 mile course at Big M which offers little relief.
“One of the things that is so tough about our course and why some of the pro’s say its tougher than Colorado or West Virginia is that although we don’t have the elevation or the rocks or the nastiness they have, on the Big M course there is no recovery,” Plite said. You always have to pedal. You can’t coast on some fire road downhill for 10 minutes and rest. It’s constant steering and pedaling. It’s a brutal
While Schalk came out on top overall Cheryl Sornson, another Trek-VW sponsored racer won the women’s race with a time of 8:45:10 while Hugh Melling won the Masters division age 50 and older in 9:34:58.
Out of the 244 racers who started only about 58 percent finished the event which was made more difficult by the storms that came through the area on Thursday night.
“We had three sections about 300 yards long with 15 inches of water,”
Plite said. “We couldnt get around it so we just left it.”
That caused a fair amount of difficulty for the entire field. “The first lap it wasn’t so bad,” Schalk said. “But every subsequentlap the holes just got deeper and deeper. I actually endoed and fell over the front of his bike at one point because the hole was so deep. But I survived and won so it was a good day.”
LUMBERJACK 100 RESULTS
1. JEFF SCHALK (39)…OPEN…TREK-VW…7:07:47
2. EVAN PLEWS (31)…OPEN…SUBARU-SCOTT…7:08:50
3. HARLAN PRICE (32)…OPEN…IFRACING…7:11:36
4. CHRIS EATOUGH (33)…OPEN…TREK-VW…7:16:05
5. CHRISTIAN TANGUY (33)…OPEN…AM CYCLE & FITNS…7:28:41
6. GERRY PFLUG (4)…OPEN…SPEEDGOAT-SPK-SALSA…7:48:18
7. MICHAEL SIMONSON (28)…OPEN…TREK FACTORY…7:52:23
8. RONALD SANBORN (46)…SNG SPD…MCLAIN CYC&FIT…7:57:19
9. JOHN FUZZY MYLINE (33)…SNG SPD…SHOAIR/ROCKNROAD/NINER…7:58:17
10. GARTH PROSSER (38)…OPEN…SOBE CANNONDALE…8:05:10
14. NATE VERSLUIS (43)…SNG SPD…FOUNDERS ALES-ALGER RACING…8:17:36
15. DEJAY BIRTCH (0)…SNG SPD…8:20:30
18. CHIP MEEK (31)…SNG SPD…SPIN-DIERINGER…8:29:09
21. DAN JANSEN (35)…FIXED…NINER…8:39:26
26. JOHN SCHOTT (24)…SNG SPD…FUN BETWEEN LEGS…8:57:24
28. JOE KUCHARSKI (41)…SNG SPD…ACTIVE…8:58:44
31. ROBERT KRANZ (29)…SNG SPD…SPIN-RR DONNELLEY…9:01:42
34. JOCHEN FABER (43)…SNG SPD…9:05:55
42. HUGH MELLING (52)…50+…9:34:58
1. CHERYL SORNSON (39)…OPEN…TREK-VW EAST…8:45:10
2. KAREN POTTER (32)…OPEN…MTB-MIND…9:02:23
3. DANIELLE MUSTO (31)…OPEN…KENDA-TITUS-HAYES…9:43:19
4. ANEE GROFVERT (50)…50+…BICILIBRE-FOUNDERS…10:03:55
5. LAUREEN COFFELT (38)…OPEN…RB’S CYCLERY…10:19:31
6. TARA TASMA (26)…OPEN…GIANT…10:58:33
7. NOREEN GREENE (44)…SNG SPD…BLESSOCONSULTING…11:23:56
8. SHARI VERSLUIS (0)…OPEN…FOUNDERS ALE-ALGER…11:49:10
9. SHELLY WILSON (49)…OPEN…PEDAL & TOUR…11:58:32
10. CRICKET BUTLER (40)…OPEN…BICYCLE SPORT…12:30:33