Via the team PR piece.....
Kerkove does battles at Costa Rican 100-mile mountain bike race
August 23, 2013
Liberia, Costa Rica
The Rincon de La Vieja Challenge 100-Mile is the brainchild of Juan Carlos Villa. Making history this past Saturday, the Rincon de La Vieja Challenge 100-mile is the first 100-mile mountain bike event ever in Latin America. With the growing success of the 100-mile format in the USA, the Rincon de La Vieja saw a sold out field in 2013, with nearly 300 athletes toeing the start line.
The course is a single 100-mile loop circumnavigating 2 volcanoes, one of those being still active. Consisting of a mix of dirt roads and single track, the course traversed through 5 microclimates and would prove the ultimate course for the racers to do battle. Jeff Kerkove of Team Topeak-Ergon USA toed the start line of this inaugural event, just 8 days after finishing the Breck-Epic Stage Race.
“Going into this race, I was expecting a La Ruta like experience with jungle riding, mud, hike-a-bike, etc. Even though the course is road heavy, it will be very very tough” stated Jeff prior to start after training on the course the day prior.
The race began with a neutral roll out, prior to the UCI official yelling, “Go!” Once the race was underway, the field spread out quickly. Jeff found himself riding in the Top-20 in the opening miles prior to the short steep climbs. “The climbs here in Costa Rica are the steepest I have ever ridden. I had to ride my own pace and not dig too deep.” said Jeff. Jeff’s pace would prove to be successful, as he would work his way up to 8th place by the end of the event.
Jeff’s only drama would come after Checkpoint 2 early in the race, where he clipped a rock with his left foot racing through tall grass and crashed hard at 20 mph. He sustained a cut up knee and swollen shoulder and knee. While this killed some of his momentum, he continued on and finished strong under pouring rain.
In the end, Jeff would finish 8th overall. “The course was great! Even though a lot of dirt road, the roads were very very hard and rough. My legs feel like I climbed and rode twice as far as my GPS says. I am used to dry and dusty courses at altitude. Costa Rica was wet and slippery, it forced me to find my “jungle legs” for the event”
Jeff Kerkove, 8th
Strava GPS file: http://www.strava.com/activities/77916797
PR piece from the team.....
Topeak-Ergon sweeps the Duo Men category of the Breck-Epic
August 11-17, 2013
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
In 5 short years, the Breck-Epic has set its self up as one of the toughest backcountry mountain bike stage races in the World. Lasting 6-days, covering 240 miles, and climbing nearly 38,000 feet, the Breck-Epic traverses through the Colorado backcountry around Breckenridge, Colorado
In 2013, Topeak-Ergon athletes, Yuki Ikeda and Jeff Kerkove, entered the Duo Men category. For 6-days, Yuki and Jeff would race side by side against a handful of other teams. This was the first time that Yuki and Jeff have raced together, but it proved to be the perfect combo.
To make the week more interesting, Yuki and Jeff would have to race with Yuki’s lingering fatigue. The day prior to starting the Breck-Epic, Yuki raced the Leadville 100 finishing 20th. Fatigue would not be a limiter, as the team would win Stage 1 by 10 minutes over the 2nd place team. The rest of the week would be very successful. Having good fitness and no mechanicals all week, Yuki and Jeff would take the win on all 6 stages.
Yuki Ikeda after finishing the Leadville 100 and Breck-Epic back-to-back effort, “Breck Epic 6 Day was a big challenge to me because it started the day after racing Leadville Trail 100. I had hard time for the first three days, but surprisingly started feeling better and better in the last three days. I was able to finish strong thanks to my duo team mate, who pushed my limit and encouraged me for the 6 days.”
Jeff following the week of racing, “Yuki and I worked well together, the effort was streamlined. Yuki pushed me as hard as I could go both uphill and down, figured for sure Leadville would have slowed him down a bit, but it didn’t. Feeling fortunate to of had good legs, partner, and equipment to take the win!”
Next up for Yuki is the Grand Junction Off-Road in Colorado prior to heading back to Japan. Jeff has a very short recovery period as he heads to Costa Rica for the Rincon de La Vieja Challenge, Latin America’s first 100-mile mountain bike race.
Jeff Kerkove & Yuki Ikeda, 1st Place, Duo Pro Men
PR piece released from the team....
Topeak-Ergon takes 2 podium spots at the Breckenridge 100
July 14, 2013
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
You’ve tried the rest. Now take the test! Those are the words spoken by the Breck 100, arguably the hardest single day 100-mile mountain bike race in the USA. Consisting of 3 different loops in a clover lead pattern, racers ride the 3 distinctly different loops to cover 100 miles and climb nearly 13,000 ft. Not only is the course demanding, add in an average course elevation of 10,500 ft and the summer monsoon conditions, and you have all the elements to label this as the toughest mountain bike race in America.
Starting at 6 AM, racer would leave downtown Breckenridge to begin their ascent of Wheeler Pass, the high point of the race. Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove would represent the team on the day. This would be Sonya’s second time competing in the 100-mile event, and Jeff’s first. Both riders would have great starts, setting the tone for what would be a 9+ hour day on the bike.
Sonya would hold back her effort early in the race, planning for a strong finish. The effort would pay off, as she would work into 1st place about 40 miles in the race and hold on for the victory and a new female course record.
Sonya after her demanding victory, “I was excited to return this year with the idea that I might be able to set the course record. I had a pacing plan that worked perfectly and despite the pouring rain the last 20 miles, I was able to keep my focus and had good legs to finish strong. Breckenridge is my favorite place in the World to ride!
Jeff, would ride the day in the top part of the Pro Men’s field, having enough strength to finish in 5th place on the day. Jeff following his race, “I am super stoked with my ride, a lot of people struggle here with the Breck course. The course was super hard and the pouring rain late at 11,000 ft made for insane conditions! I found myself laughing late in the race, it was so ridiculous!”
Next up for Sonya is the Mongolia Bike Challenge and Jeff with team up with teammate Yuki Ikeda for the Breck-Epic Stage Race.
Sonya Looney, 1st, Pro Women (New course record)
Jeff Kerkove, 5th, Pro Men
Strava file: http://app.strava.com/activities/67180813
Photos by Eddie Clark Media and Mountain Moon Photography
Team PR release...
Topeak-Ergon celebrates July 4th at the Firecracker 50
July 4th, 2013
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
Every July 4th, America celebrates its independence. On this very same day every year, thousands of mountain bikers from across the western USA descend on Breckenridge, Colorado for the Firecracker 50. A long-standing and very popular marathon race, the 50-mile Firecracker 50 sends riders up to 11,300 feet above sea level twice as they traverse the two 25-mile loops that make up the Firecracker 50.
Toeing the start line in downtown Breckenridge, CO for Team Topeak-Ergon USA were Dave Wiens and Jeff Kerkove. This marks the return to racing for Dave after taking a small break from racing after the 2009 Leadville 100. With a 9:30 AM start, the Pro Men would lead out the 1,000+ field of racers into the Colorado backcountry. Dave, having a great start, would make the small lead group break. Jeff would follow shortly behind in group 2 as they chased early in the race.
Dave would ride a smart race, catching riders who would struggle with pacing and mechanicals. Finishing in 3rd place overall, Dave had this to say following his race, “My new Canyon 29er was awesome! So fast! My strategy was to go as hard as I could go but to not get in over my head. I fell off of the pace of the leaders but kept it at my red line. Was in the group of 5-7th at half way. I was strongest on the flats and less steep climbs like Boreas. Moved into 4th, then caught Jay….then Jay flatted and I knew if all went well, I rode smart was a little lucky, I could get third. Mission accomplished.”
Jeff would ride his best Firecracker 50 race to date, finishing 12th and riding his fastest time in this Colorado classic. “I felt good all day, and had a good race for me. Was happy to turn my fastest time on this course and achieve my highest placing here at the Firecracker, “ said Jeff upon finishing.
GPS data on Strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/64791182
Dave Wiens, 3rd, Pro Men
Jeff Kerkove, 12th, Pro Men
all photos by Devon Balet Photography
Via the team PR....
Kerkove has solid race in the Crested Butte Fat Tire 40
June 29, 2013
Crested Butte, Colorado, USA
The Fat Tire 40 is part of the Crested Butte Fat Tire Festival, claimed to be the longest running mountain bike festival in the USA. Planted at 9200 ft. above sea level, the Fat Tire 40 is a single 40-mile backcountry loop that traverses over some of the most breathtaking and organic mountain bike terrain the USA has to offer.
Beginning at 8 AM under clear sunny skies, the Fat Tire 40 rolled out of Crested Butte Mountain Resort under neutral control. After about 1.5 miles of neutral controlled pacing, the race was on as the field shot straight up the backside of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Jeff Kerkove of Team Topeak-Ergon pedaled his effort wisely as he sat around 10th place during the long slow grind to the top of the mountain. Opting to run the 28T SRAM XX1 front chainring, Jeff was able to gauge is effort early as the later half of the event throws lung busting climbs and technical terrain at the racers.
“I opted to ride my heavier full suspension 29er over my lighter hardtail 29er. This course is pretty brutal, so I want to conserve energy over the duration of the 40-mile, 3.5 hour race”, said Jeff Kerkove.
PHOTO: Chris Miller | Miller Perspectives
Over the 40-miles, Jeff would find himself racing around the same 5 or 6 competitors. “We battled back and forth all morning. The racing was really good, everyone is so fast and the competition is so tight here in Colorado”, Jeff Kerkove following the race. “I paced perfectly and improved a lot over last year, so I am happy with my result”
Jeff would place 15th overall, improving last years race time by 10 minutes. Next up for Jeff is the Firecracker 50 on July 4th.
Jeff Kerkove, 15th, Pro Men