Extreme MTB Racin’ in North Georgia: Fools Gold 100

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Brenda Simril (Motor Mile) and Sue Haywood caked in Georgia red clay and loving it.

This past weekend the annual Fool’s Gold 100 took place in the north Georgia mountains near Dahlonega with some of the most extreme weather conditions we’ve heard of in a mountain bike race. A dirty century mountain bike ride is tough on any day and the course through the Bull /Jake Mountain trail system is a killer with nearly 14,000 of feet of climbing (at least that’s what we heard). The Fool’s Gold 100 is part of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series so it attracts some of the country’s best XXC mountain bikers.

Overnight rains lingered into the morning and the race started off under a flood watch issued for the area. Jeff Schaulk was the fastest around the first 50 mile lap in 4:15:26 and reported his brake pads had been completely ground down from the gritty, wet conditions. Christian Tanguy finished just minutes behind Schaulk and both riders asked race director Eddie O’Dea to cancel the race (and the second 50 mile lap) for the safety of the other riders.

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NUE series leader, Jeff Schalk (Trek Mtn Coop), in the lead pack

Singlespeed rider Harlan Price ran into similar brake problems during the race:

After Aid four, there was a straight, nasty, steep descent. I was fully into it before realizing that I had
NO BRAKES. I decided to try to ride it out, reaching speeds up to 30-40mph, scard sh**less, and jus
holdin on! It was then that I realized I wouldnt make the upcoming turns and had to dump it. The
bike was in the trees and I slid thirty feet downhill suffering bruised ribs and requiring eight stitches.

Tanguy asked if I was ok and then went on. In the process I lost the bead on my tire but quickly made
the repair and moved on. After crossing the finish line, I pretty much broke down upon learning about
the 50 mile cut. I was gonna do it but it wouldnt have been good.

Out of 300 riders who started the day, only 180 finished. The last rider crossed the 50-mile finish line after 9 hours, 56 minutes on the bike. Talk about dedication!

If you’re looking for a challenge on the mountain bike (and a good time, I swear!) mark your calendar for next year’s Fools Gold 100 – this is a race that will not disappoint.

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