July 18, 2014
Loop 1 was the toughest loop of the day and also the shortest at about 33 miles. Starting from town at 6 AM, the racer would climb up the numerous switchbacks of Black Bear Pass to over 13,000 ft before descending down the backside to then climb up to nearly 13,000 ft again going up and over Ophir Pass. From the start, Yuki Ikeda of Topeak-Ergon, would take to the front with a small group of riders in tow, including teammate Jeff Kerkove.
Yuki would get a gap of 3 minutes on the opening climb up Black Bear Pass. Jeff, who was pacing off the back of the 7 person lead group would work his way up to 2nd place by the top of the pass, followed closely by Travis Brown and Richie Trent.
Yuki would maintain his lead through Loop 1 into Loop 2. Jeff, riding in 2nd, would take a wrong turn due to a course marking issue and have to backtrack a few minutes. This would result in Jeff and 3 other riders coming back together for the beginning of Loop 2. Leading the charge on Loop 2, Yuki would ride solo off the front.
The start of the 65 mile Loop 2 would prove to be the separation point for the chase group. The steep climbing from the town of Telluride to mid-mountain on Telluride Ski resort would let eventual 2nd place finisher Stig Somme get away on a solo mission to try to catch Yuki. Jeff and Ricky Willis would ride together until late in Loop 2. Not far behind was Travis Brown of Trek. The final 65 miles would take the riders over 2 more high mountain passes as well as add 4-5 hours of racing time. In the end, Yuki Ikeda would stay solo off the front to win the inaugural Telluride 100. Jeff Kerkove, who was battling for 3rd would drop to 5th by the finish line after working through a nutritional miscalculation in the last 20 miles.
Yuki Ikeda following his victory, "My legs felt very good from the beginning, but I had some stomach issue towards the end. Sport drink and food didn't sit well in my stomach. I could only take was plain water. However my legs still worked and Stig Somme who finished second kept pushing me. I was super happy, honored and proud to take the win for the first year, and it was my first 100-miler win! However, it was not only about racing, I enjoyed the whole experience that Telluride offers!"
Jeff Kerkove, coming in 5th, had this to say after finishing, "I am destroyed! The course was brutal but also visually jaw dropping. I rode a smart pace, but made a crucial mistake in nutrition planning late in the race and ran out of liquids. Now that I know the course and the timing of the aid stations, I'm looking to come back to better the result. This event has everything to make it an iconic Colorado 100-mile race."
Podium (L to R): Travis Brown, Ricky Willis, Yuki Ikeda, Stig Somme, Jeff Kerkove
Yuki Ikeda, Pro Men, 1st
Jeff Kerkove, Pro Men, 5th
Strava file: http://www.strava.com/activities/168148413