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Pierre's Hole 2012 Race Recap

Overview

The fourth annual Pierre's Hole 100, held at Grand Targhee in Alta, Wyoming, showcased the host resort's trailbuilding acumen with a challenging race course that included 16,000+ feet of vertical combined with amazing descents and jaw-dropping views of the Tetons and surrounding mountains.  Pierre's Hole is considered by some racers as the hardest of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series races, and this year's version lived up to that reputation.  

Grand Targhee Resort is well known for its powdery conditions in the winter, but with the continued addition of singletrack and lift service, it is also becoming known for its mountain biking.

The wildflowers were in full bloom and waist high in many places along the singletrack. The weather was near perfect under blue skies, billowy clouds and mild temperatures. A gentle breeze on race day and local brews helped to keep racers and spectators cool throughout the day.

Fitzgerald's Bicycles was stoked to provide neutral mechanical support at the base area this year.  Jay P and Sarah had a ton of fun helping folks with their chains, flats and at least one broken derailleur.  Tracey, Evan and Kim donned their Fitzy kits to help at the water station right next store so it felt like a bike team party, particularly when Team Fitzy racers rolled through.  Congrats to all the racers. 


Dave Byers at the Start of PH100

Race Results

We've gotten the complete results for both the 100 and 50 mile races at Pierre's Hole.

Team Fitzy had a great showing:

  • Gabe Klamer took 8th in the Men's Open 100
  • Dave Byers took 2nd in Men's Over 40 100
  • Jason Berning took 8th in the Men's Open 50.
  • Dave Saurman took 4th in the Men's Over 40 in the 50 mile race.
  • AJ Linnell had a strong 2 laps in the Singlespeed division of the 100, but fell ill during the 3rd lap and did not finish.

Gabe shared with us a brief race report:

Ohh, my sweet baby Jesus, I would like to thank my sponsors KFC, Taco Bell and Powerade.  This write up is not be reproduced without the written authorization of Ricky Bobby, Inc.  (ed. note: fortunately we do have permission).

Pierre’s was a hard day on the bike.  103 miles and 17,000 feet of climbing.  I have never had a good race at this event.  3 years ago I crashed at mile 1 and damaged my pelvis and last year I was out of shape.  This year I am riding well and I had the family in town to feed me.  When you have the family fly in from the Midwest to watch you race it puts a little pressure on you.  I often do well when the race is hard as heck so I thought I may have a shot at a top 10.

I rode the first 2 laps really monitoring my heart rate.  The 3rd lap I started to punch it a little on the climbs.  Once I stopped passing 100 milers I knew I was riding with the leaders.  Like most 100 milers I had a few low moments but I dealt with them while moving forward.  My last lap I knew it was time to “thug up” Fiddie Cent style and let beat run.  I wasn’t able to catch anyone else but I held off 9th place from catching me and came in about two minutes under the belt buckle time cutoff.  I noticed last year they gave out about 15 or more buckles.  This year with the harder course they only gave out 8.  A lot can go wrong in a ten hour race so I feel lucky to have gone home with the buckle.


Dave Byers also shared this report from his Blog:

I think they should consider renaming this race “The Cramp 100”.  I have cramped every year I have done this race and every 100-mile finisher I talked to this year had issues with cramping or was on the verge of cramping.  Pierre’s Hole must be the perfect storm of altitude, dry air, and steep climbs to promote cramping.

When you are only an hour into a hard endurance race, the end seems so far away. In fact, I have to consciously not think about how much longer I have to ride or my brain will start pumping out negative thoughts. As I sit here several days later, my 11 1/2 hour race at Pierre’s Hole is just a blur. I typically have my best races when I focus on the process and not the end result and that was certainly the case in this race. I focused on my plan and executed a solid race with no mistakes. There are a handful of memorable moments from my race that are still very fresh in my mind:

Lap #1 – The Crash

As I was maching down the Bustle Creek descent on Lap #1, I drifted too far outside on a sweeping corner and slid off into the “death rut” that runs parallel to the crowned center track.  I tried to ride it out and stay in the rut until it ran out but I couldn’t avoid a big log lying in the rut.  Whack!  As I was flying over my handlebars and through the air, I had time to think, “Fuck, is my race really going to end this early?”  My bike cart wheeled and came to rest upside down beside me on the trail.  There was no blood, no scrapes, no broken derailleur, and no broken brake levers…unbelievable...I dented my helmet and the impact rang my bell a little.  Sweet!  I have a race to get back to.

Lap #2 – Travis & Marco

What is best part about racing on a home course?  Racing with and/or against your friends and friendly rivals!  I have tons of respect for Travis Ward and Mark Llinares and both of them have handed me more ass whuppins on the bike than I can count.  Those two have pummeled me in every type of event from the Tues Night World Championships in Jackson to the WYDAHO XC races to the Cream Puff 100.  It looked like this race would be more of the same as both of them pedaled by me with ease on Lap #2 after I had slipped ahead of them by making a quick pit stop.  I rode quite a bit of Lap #3 with Marco as Travis rode ahead of us by 2’.  It took a perfect race by me to come out on top this time and knowing that they were both right behind me pushed me the entire fourth lap.  Thanks guys!     

Lap #3 – The Climber 

One of the racers in the Men’s 50+ category and I seemed to be destined to battle each other all day.  During the race, I had no idea what category he was in so I had to assume I was competing with him.  He was a machine the climbs but on the descents…not so much.  Each of the last three laps went something like this:
  • I would pass him near the top of the Mill Creek descent
  • He would catch and pass me on the pavement climb
  • I would gain ground through the Rick’s Basin singletrack
  • I would pass him near the end of the singletrack
  • And then he would pass me on the climb to begin the next lap
I swear we repeated this scenario three times until I changed it up at the very end.  Just as we were beginning the singletrack in Rick’s Basin, he was right there again so the next time the Earth pointed down I absolutely sent it.  I took risks that I hadn’t taken all day and then I pushed as hard as my cramping legs would allow.  I got him by two minutes and he made the podium in the 50+.  Nice!  I love the little races within' the race.

Lap #4 – Boo Boo Bear

About halfway down Mill Creek, in a dark forested section, a good sized black bear darted across the trail 20 yards in front of me.  How cool is that?!  I got a nice little shot of adrenaline and rode the rest of the descent with a big smile.  You don’t see that in every mtn bike race.  Amanda had her own bear encounter in Mill Creek and we think it was probably the same bear.  Thanks for teaching that bear to get off the trail Amanda!

Photos

Between helping with mechanicals and feeding hungry racers, we had time to snap a few shots of our favorite racers.  Check them out.

 

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20 Cedron Rd Victor, ID 83455    |    info@fitzgeraldsbicycles.com    |    208-787-2453