Pierre’s Hole 100 – 2016

by Josh Tostado on August 11, 2016

The Pierre’s Hole 100 has become one of my favorite races of the season! If you’re looking for a bike race that covers all the bases this is the one. The location is really beautiful, I can’t think of a more incredible backdrop than Grand Targhee ski resort. With views of the back-side of the Grand Teton’s and surrounding mountains with their massive rock monoliths it really is amazing. You camp right in the parking lot of the ski area and there are showers available for all the racers, families show up in there various van, camper and whatever other cool setup you can think of. Dogs and kids running and riding bikes everywhere, it’s a cool little village of bike racers for the weekend.

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The course gets better every year, I started racing here 5 or 6 years ago and the amount of trail that they have added in that time has really made this race what it is today. It’s about 90% single track and all of it is purpose built super fun, more switchbacks than you can shake a stick at, and no shortage of climbing, about 13,000 feet to be exact.

This year there have been a lot of issues with course marking at other races, not with this race. Any spot where you could get lost there’s a course marshal siting there all day making sure no one goes the wrong way, they really have it dialed. After the race is a cool scene as well, everyone hanging out talking about close calls or how hard they were ripping on the great trails, and how hard it was because make no mistake, this a hard race.

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I definitely had my work cut out for me this year with a very strong field of riders showing up to race. Jeremiah Bishop, Taylor Lideen, Jamie Lamb, and Sam Sweetser were just some of the guys I would have to deal with. The start of the race played out like I expected, Jeremiah jumped out to an early lead with Taylor hot on his heels. Jaime and I were just behind them. By the middle of the first lap we were all together in a group of four and kind of just taking it easy on the 38 special decent. When we got to the bottom and started the climb back to the base of the ski area, Jeremiah just took off and started sprinting we all kind of looked at each other and were content to settle into our group of three. We worked together well trying to bridge the gap to Jeremiah through the second lap and the pace was pretty high, I was definitely feeling good and all of a sudden Jamie was gone. Taylor and I rode the rest of the race together, it was really nice to have someone to ride some supper fun trails with and we were really pushing each other to keep the pace high.

In the last hour of the race Taylor started to get little gaps on me and then I would reel him in, this happened two or three times and then in the last 10 minutes of the race he got a gap that I couldn’t bridge back to him. He ended up getting second and I came in just under a minute behind him in third. I am really happy with 3rd place, any time I can push hard all day and have a race I feel good about in the end result is really rewarding. What a great race this is I can’t say enough good things about it.

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If you want to know how to put a bike race on take a look at this one, they have the blue print for how it should be done.

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Tatanka 100 – 2016

by Josh Tostado on July 13, 2016

I had wanted to race the Tatanka 100 in Sturgis South Dakota last year and it didn’t work out with my schedule so it was a priority to get to the race this year. Sturgis is located in the far western part of the state near the Wyoming border, the town was much smaller than I had pictured after seeing the hundreds of thousands of bikers (the other kind with motors) descend on the town for the annual motorcycle rally. Sturgis actually has a nice little trail network right out of town and the Centennial Trail, which makes up the entire race course passes straight through Sturgis.

The race is a unique point-to-point, with a shuttle from Sturgis to the start at Mount Rushmore, The shuttle was an hour long and to me seemed like a huge undertaking but the race organization pulled it off pretty well. I have never been to Mount Rushmore and it was really cool just to see it never mind start a mountain bike race from the base of it. The race started out on pavement for about 3 miles then onto the Centennial Trail. The pace started out nice and easy but when the entire lead group missed a turn we had to double back and pass about 20 racers on the single track.

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Once everyone was back to the front and a couple of missed turns later a group of four had separated from the rest of the field. Dylan Johnson, Jamie Lamb, Taylor Lideen, and myself were all at the front and had settled into a very leisurely pace. The first section of the Centennial Trail was quite technical with multiple hike-a-bikes and steep fun descents, we were all having a pretty good time when Dylan comes racing up from behind taking about how Taylor had crashed and possibly broken his wrist, we later found out that it wasn’t broken but had cut his hand very. Needless to say he was out of the race… We continued on the Centennial Trail which now was turning into on and off double track, heavily overgrown single track, and open rolling hills. Coming down an overgrown section of trail I hear the sound of a puncture in my tire so I pull over and take a look. This is where I had to decide if the Stan’s is going to seal the hole or not. If I use my C02 and the hole doesn’t seal then you used your air and your screwed. I decided on putting a tube in and not risking it. By the time I got going again I had lost 5 or so minutes and my chances of catching back up were slim to none.

I continued on, alone now, and things were really heating up the forecast was calling for 95 degrees and it was getting hot! I just tried to stay steady and was taking it easy on the descents so I wouldn’t get another flat as I didn’t have another tube until the next aid were my drop bag was.

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Every aid station I came to I was filling my bottle and drenching myself trying to stay cool in the stifling heat. The middle of the course on the Centennial Trail was mostly double track ATV trail and there were quite a few ATV’s to deal with, on a particularly rocky section I got my second flat, luckily by this time I had another tube and put this one in unfortunately it was a 27.5 tube I was trying to put into a 29er wheel, not the easiest thing to do. I finally did get it fixed and was going again. With no more tubes I was in just finish mode going really easy on the descents but still trying push it on the climbs.

The last 30 miles of the race were really good trail riding with beautiful views of rock canyons and big climbs into big descents, with a final super fun purpose built descent back to Sturgis. I was able to hold on to 3rd place and although I had felt pretty good during the race now that it was over I was not feeling so good. The effects of racing my bike for almost 8 hours in the heat took a toll on me.

I was really impressed with the riding in the Tatanka, the course marking needs a bit of work. More than once out on the trail at intersections it took a while to figure out which way to go and I heard of many people getting lost. Overall I thought it was a great race with a good after party and fun riding I would definitely do it again hopefully without the heat next time!

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Bailey 100

June 22, 2016

The Bailey 100 was the fourth stop for the 2016 NUE series, situated less than an hour southwest of Denver on the Platte River, Bailey is in close proximity to the Buffalo Creek trail system and the Colorado Trail. The race serves as a fundraiser for several nonprofits including two youth biking initiatives, Colorado Trips […]

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The Growler – 2016

June 1, 2016

I decided to race the Gunnison Growler last minute this year not because I don’t like the race but I wasn’t really sure how I would feel after racing the Grand Junction Off Road the week before. The Growler is a proper mountain bike race: lots of fun hard riding and now that there is […]

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Grand Junction Off Road – 2016

May 25, 2016

I have been riding in Grand Junction for many years because of the close proximity to home with the almost year round riding potential of the area. It doesn’t hurt that the terrain in GJ is the type of rocky physical riding that I seek out… Because of that, I knew that the Grand Junction […]

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Whiskey Off Road – 2016

May 5, 2016

This year I made my second trip to Prescott AZ for the Whiskey 50, which is actually an entire weekend of racing. Starting with the pro crit on Friday night right in the town of Prescott, then the amateurs race on Saturday followed by the pro race on Sunday. The last time I came down […]

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