Pierre’s Hole 100K Race Report
by Dan Mahlum
On August 4, 2018 I participated in the Pierre’s Hole NUE series race held at the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. Pierre’s Hole offers a 50K, 100K and 100 mile option. The course was a 50K loop so the 100K was two laps and the 100 mile was three laps. The course was entirely narrow single track except for a 1.5 mile climb up a fire road to start lap 1 so I opted for the 100K distance with about 6 hours of expected riding time.
I was racing 40+ masters which started in the second wave alongside the Men’s 50+ and Women’s 40+. We started 5 minutes after the Open Men, Open Women and Singlespeed categories. I didn’t know any of the other racers I was starting with so as soon as we took off I decided to go to the front up the fireroad climb to try and pass as many of the 1st wave as possible before the singletrack and to test the other riders I was starting with. After about 12 minutes and 600 feet of elevation gain up fireroad I had passed about 25 of the riders from the 1st wave and entered the singletrack with 3 other riders on my wheel from my wave. The climb continued for another 500 ft of gain over a dozen or so switchbacks and our group of 4 passed as many more riders from the first wave as possible. This was challenging as I had to ask each rider to pass and wait until they could comfortably move to the side of the trail. By this point I was talking to the rider following closely on my wheel and learned he was from Bozeman, Montana and had raced this several times before and had just moved up to the 40+ category. After finishing the initial climb of 1,100 ft over 3.5 miles we were treated to a long, flowy switchback descent where I was able to drop all of the riders in our group with the exception of the rider from Bozeman. This felt like a good place to be with a lot of race remaining and someone who knew the course the ride with.
We continued a strong tempo pace and about 15 miles in another rider from our category blew by us at a ridiculous pace. I thought he was a slow starter that was caught up in traffic and was now riding away but with another 45+ miles to go I decided to let him go and continue riding my pace. After a couple of miles, we started to see him again and by mile 20 we had caught him and the course came close to the resort at which point he asked me if that was the end of lap 1. After looking at him to respond I could see he was already blown and the rider from Bozeman (Eric) and I went around him and after another mile we never saw him again. Back in the lead with Eric we settled back in and rode through the end of the first lap together, both stopping at the aid station at the end of lap 1. After grabbing two fresh bottles I started lap 2 which bypassed the fire road section from lap 1 up a single track that ended up connecting to the same single track climb from lap 1. Eric and I were together for the entire climb but as we crested the top we started to run into traffic from the 50K that started after us. I decided to push the pace hard on the descent with most of the traffic getting over quickly and making it easy to get around. By the end of the descent I realized that Eric was no longer on my wheel so I then pushed it into the next climb and started to see him further and further behind as we went up a switchback climb. I then caught up to a group of 3 strong riders from the Open Men field and stayed with them for the next 10-15 miles until about mile 45. After talking to one of the riders I learned he was also from Park City and we knew each other from Strava. I rode with him for the next 5 miles until I looked down the hill and saw another rider that started in my category gaining on me up the climb. This sent me into panic mode and I immediately dropped the other rider from Park City and stood up to push as hard as I could up the rest of the climb. Cresting the top both of my legs stated to cramp but I was on a mission. The last 10 miles I completely emptied my tank pushing through a couple more bouts of cramps, trying to drink as much water as possible and eating a couple more gel packs. I ended up crossing the finish line solo where I found my wife and kids screaming for me. It felt so good to have my kids jumping on me at the finish line!
I later learned that the rider I saw gaining on me was actually in the Masters 50+ but I had still managed to gain 4 minutes on him over the last 10 miles. I finished 1st in the Masters 40+, about 8 minutes ahead of Eric and good enough for 5th overall in the 100K.
Thanks to my family for their support and being at the finish line and thank you to UC Cyclery and the UC Cyclery/JW Floors team for their continued awesome support!