2019 National Ultra Endurance Series Released

Breckenridge Returns for 2019 with Big Bear, California

“Celebrating more than TEN YEARS as the nation’s premier XXC Race Series”

The 13th Annual National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series www.nuemtb.com announced the 2019 race schedules this week featuring a balanced schedule, east and west.

The NUE Epic Race Series Schedule is comprised of races at or near 100 miles in length. Big Bear Grizzly in California will again host the NUE Series Championship race where all ties are broken. The Breckenridge 100 returns for 2019 bringing the total number of Epic Series races to twelve in this best four of twelve series.

The NUE Marathon Race Series schedule is comprised of races at or near 50 miles to 100k in length. In 2019, The Breckenridge 100k returns bringing the total number of races to 11 in this best four of eleven series.

Photo by Ryan Stephens

“On behalf of The NUE Race Series, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, many who have been with us for up to a decade now, for believing in our vision and supporting NUE. We are proud to promote our NUE sponsors including Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport of Germany, Darn Tough Socks of Vermont, KMC Chain, Lauf Forks, Voler apparel, Squirt Lube, and Chris Eatough Coaching, for providing training plans for NUE Racers, many tailored to specific NUE race courses based on his success with NUE.” Ryan O’Dell, NUE Race Series Director.

Born in 2006 to fill a need for XXC racers, the NUE Series began with just six races before growing over the last eleven years to now include a total of twenty three races held within twelve different states.

The NUE Marathon Race Series will be made up of eleven well known races including the newest Iron Mountain 100k in Damascus, Virginia. Distances will vary ranging from 50 miles to 100k. Like the NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series, the NUE MARATHON Race Series will be governed by the same rules and will require the same number of races (BEST 4) to become eligible for series awards and recognition. It is important to note that the NUE Epic and NUE Marathon are two separate race series. Points will not transfer between the Epic 100 Mile and Marathon Race Series. Marathon Series finishers will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE finisher jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series Finishers.

To claim the NUE Race Series Epic 100 Mile title, racers best four finishes will count. NUE requires a minimum of four races to receive a national ranking. ALL racers who complete four of the NUE 100 Mile distance races will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE Finisher Jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series finishers.

Additional Travel awards for NUE Division leaders include an NUE Epic Series Champion travel package to compete in The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica recognized as one of the toughest races on the planet. Details will be announced publicly soon.

All Epic and Marathon series ties will be broken at the Big Bear Grizzly in California. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate. Everyone is welcome to compete on a level playing field alongside top Pro’s. ALL finishing racers receive a score based on their race finishes with a “lowest points wins” formula. The best possible score is 4.

Nearly ALL NUE Race Series events sold out again in 2018, some within mere minutes. The Marji Gesick 100, the first race to open registration has already sold out. True Grit, High Cascades and Mohican have recently opened registration and are also expected to sell out.

NUE is currently soliciting the support of additional partners interested in promoting products and services that racers can use. Potential sponsors can receive more information by contacting Ryan O’Dell at nolimit@mohican.net

 

What’s on tap for each event for 2019?

Both, the NUE Epic Series and Marathon Series will roll out on March 9 in the southwest at the True Grit Epic and True Grit Epic 50 in sunny Santa Clara, Utah.  According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, “The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first twenty miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on single track and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain. We are adding a 15 mile challenge ride this year to include those who may not have trained enough to take on a series course but would like to experience a little bit of True Grit. True Grit Registration is already open and nearing capacity.”

On April 27, NUE returns to Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 and Cohutta Big Frog 65 under the new direction of Lisa Randall at Mountain Goat Adventures, who also produces the Fool’s Gold 100. The course has reverted back to the original Cohutta 100 course from a decade ago, using the singletrack section of Brush Creek and the Tanasi trail systems, and an intense gravel loop known as “The Death March”.  Staging for the race takes place along the banks of the beautiful Ocoee River — site for the 1996 Olympic White Water Events.  The 100 miles of race course traverses the mountain terrain by world class single track and fire roads. The single track is fast and flowing, but can get tight and technical in spots. The fire roads are demanding but rewarding with long ascents, fast descents, and spectacular mountain views.

Out of the gate, the race makes about a three mile climb on pavement up highway 64.  This warm-up serves as a good field displacer and pole position before entering into the fast and flowy single track for the next twenty miles. Next is a challenging loop on beautiful mountain fire-roads.  Road texture alternates between hard-pack gravel and smooth moist dirt. Expect tenacious climbs (over 12,000’ of elevation gain overall), hundreds of curves, and peaceful mountain streams.  Upon return, racers will re-enter the single track for about nine final miles of the best trails in these mountains.

The weather in Southeastern Tennessee in late April ranges in expression. Expect a chilly morning for sure on race day, but a quick warming up in the early miles.  Six Aid Stations provide supplemental support throughout the course and a delicious meal and coveted “Finisher” mug await finishers at the Finish Line.

Next up is the 18th Annual Mohican 100 and Mohican 100k on June 1 that hosted nearly 600 racers in 2018. Like the Leadville 100, Mohican features a downtown start in Loudonville with plans to continue the neutral start that started in 2018. From there, the course covers several miles of double track before treating racers to a recently recognized IMBA Epic trail of pristine, flowing single track within the 5000 acre Mohican State Forest along a single loop spanning three of the counties that make up what is known as “Mohican Country”. Due to tremendous growth, The Mohican 100 mile and 100k imposed a limit of 600 racers. This race may sell out quickly so it is recommended to register soon. 100 Mile Race finishers receive a custom Mohican finisher growler to be filled and refilled with a truckload of microbrew provided by award winning Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland.

From the Buckeye State, racers will head north into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, on June 15. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, The Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series.  If you like fast flowing, mostly non-technical single track, and Founders Brewing, this is your race. Perhaps that is why this event always sells out early, sometimes within minutes.

One June 24, Iron Mountain 100k, located in Damascus, Virginia returns to the NUE Marathon Race Schedule. Damascus is called “Trail Town” because the Appalachian Trail and the Creeper Trail pass right through the historic downtown. Bicycle advocates are also creating a Great Eastern Trail Bicycle Route that passes through Damascus too. This route is under development and utilizes the Iron Mountain Trail and the Highlands Horse Trail in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. The GET Bicycle Route links to the New River Trail and onto Blacksburg where it gets back on singletrack and joins the existing GET at the southern end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail.

As summer arrives, The NUE Race Series returns to the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota on July 6 for the Tatanka Epic and Tatanka Marathon. The Tatanka introduced a brand-new course and format in 2018. Starting and finishing on the legendary Sturgis Main Street, in the middle of downtown in the “City of Riders”, racers will duke it out as they race through town between unique loops in a clover-leaf format. The new course covers dozens of miles of newly constructed trail and keeps the best trail from past events. The Tatanka Marathon will share its main loop with the Epic and represents many hardcore locals favorite “BIG ride”.

One week later, on July 13, NUE Marathon Series heads northeast to Maine. The Carrabassett 100k located in the Carrabassett Valley adds some northeast flavor to the NUE Series. Carrabassett, located near Sugarloaf Ski Area, has spent approximately $500,000 building mountain bike trails in the Carrabassett Region.  The goal is to construct an iconic mountain bike trail network that is on everybody’s “must-ride” list.  To date there is approximately 100 miles of riding for all abilities.  This includes miles of super flowy, machine-built singletrack and old-school style trails that have been carved out with hand tools and sweat.  The Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge (CBCC) is your chance to experience some of this outstanding riding in a true point-to-point style race through the western mountains of Maine!  Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.

Also on July 13, The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k races return to the NUE Series Schedule. The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k in Colorado can take your breath away, literally, as it begins at an altitude of 9000 feet before crossing the continental divide three times, eliciting jaw dropping views throughout in a three loop Clover shaped race originating from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge.

2018 NUE series marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot)

On July 20, think Big Foot and Volcano’s as Mudslinger Events hosts The High Cascades 100 in Bend returning for its tenth year to represent the state of Oregon. The Trails around Mt. Bachelor are truly epic and racers are treated to quality craft brews from Deschutes Brewing. With just 350 spots available, racers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Also on July 20, The Wilderness 101 and the Wilderness 101k, directed by Chris Scott, is located in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If you enjoy technical backcountry single track and hair raising downhill thrills, nothing rocks quite like PA! W101 was one of just six races included in the inaugural NUE Race Series.

The final four races will occur within a two month period and, as usual, has a tendency to create some chaos in the series standings before the final tie breaking event.

First up is the 11th Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k located near Alta, Wyoming on August 3. Pierre’s Hole, a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies. Today it is known as the strategic gathering place to ski unfathomable deep powder and ride some of the best known single track in the nation.

According to race director Andy Williams, “The Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k at Grand Targhee Resort  newest course layout adds even more new single track without the nasty climb down to the ranch from the early years of the race that many old timers may recall. The 2019 course will take racers through fields of wild flowers, aspen trees and old growth forest right in the shadows of the Tetons.”​ The “Grand Loop” which is all a part of the Pierre’s race course was recently named as an IMBA Epic trail!”

The next day, on September 1 over Labor Day Weekend in the USA, the 22nd Annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will send up to 650 racers into the George Washington National Forest. Shenandoah is the grand-daddy of them all, and the largest strictly 100 mile race in the NUE Race Series! Shenandoah not only has a great reputation for amazing trails but is also well known for the outstanding support of volunteers and aid stations that many racers would agree sets the bar for excellence.

One September 21, NUE shifts north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Ishpeming for the Marji Gesick 100 and 50 mile races.  100 miles and 13,000 vertical feet armored with rocks, roots, drops, jump lines, flow trails, grueling climbs, dangerous technical descents and a final fifteen miles designed to push riders to their mental and physical limits. This year’s Marji Gesick with a limit of 666 already sold out, in a single day!

Pierre’s Hole Alta, WY

Over its twelve year history, the NUE Race Series has alternated the Championship race from east to west several times in an effort to keep the playing field level for racers. In 2019, the final NUE race will break most ties and determine the new NUE Champions on the west coast of California at the Big Bear Grizzly 100 and Grizzly 75k in Big Bear Lake. Big Bear has attracted racers from nine countries and eighteen states!

Directed by Derek Hermon, racers familiar with the 100k Grand Fondo course will be treated to an extended portion of trail along a ridgeline with amazing views and an altitude beginning at 7000′ and reaching 8500′ with enough single track racers will beg for a fire road.

The NUE series schedule subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details. Stay tuned here for upcoming information about NUE Series Sponsors, Prize Money, Potential travel awards, and other race details. www.nuemtb.com.

 

2019 NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit Epic March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta 100 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100 June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Lumberjack 100 June 15 Wellston, MI 430 January 5
Tatanka 100 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Breckenridge 100 July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
High Cascades 100 July 20 Bend, OR 350 November 24
Wilderness 101 July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100 August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Shenandoah 100 September 1 Harrisonburg, VA 650 December 1
Marji Gesick September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 100 September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

2019 NUE Marathon Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit 50 March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta Big Frog 65 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100k June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Iron Mountain 100k June 23 Damascus, VA 250 December 1
Tatanka 50 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Carrabassett 100k July 13 Carrabassett, ME 600 February 1
Breckenridge 100k July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
Wilderness 101k July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100k August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Marji Gesick 50 September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 75k September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

NUE Marji Gesick 50

NUE Series

Written by: @JenToops

September 22, 2018

The Marji Gesick is a point-to-point endurance race located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. It starts in Marquette and ends in downtown Ishpeming. The one-hundred mile and fifty mile mountain bike races are part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There is also a one-hundred mile and fifty mile run option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States. In 2018 it sold out in less than twenty-four hours with eight-hundred mountain bikers and seventy runners registered. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect poker chips at random checkpoints along the course.

The Marquette Ski Hill climb at the start of the 50 mile.

The course was designed to push riders to their absolute limits. The one-hundred milers having around twelve-thousand vertical feet of climbing, and the fifty milers around seven-thousand.  In both courses, racers have to navigate through sand, roots, rocks, off camber climbs, drops, jump lines and technical descents, all while saving enough energy to get through the grueling last fifteen miles.

Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, and under thirty hours for runners, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart. For 2018: three-hundred-thirty-one mountain bikers started the one-hundred mile course, two-hundred-eighteen finished and only nineteen claimed a buckle.  For the one-hundred mile runners: twenty-seven started, twelve finished, and only nine buckles were handed out.

Men’s Open

Tries takes the win and leads NUE series

Chris Tries takes the win in the Marji Gesick Marathon race, finishing with a time of 5:38:05. With this win Tries is now leading the NUE Marathon Series.  “I came into the Marji 50 not really knowing what to expect. I had seen the videos and heard the horror story’s of endless relenting single track. My only race plan was making the lead group and see how things shook out from their since I hadn’t ridden any of the course.  I went hard at the first climb and got a gap and never saw anyone the rest of the day. I felt that I was riding well and had good legs all day but still heard footsteps the whole time.  Lucky I had no mechanicals and was able to take the win. The Marji was my favorite race of the year and hope to make it back again.  Thank you to my sponsor Bike Shop for your support.Matt Myers takes second place finishing at 6:33:25. “Still in disbelief that I actually stood on the podium at Marji. Hands down toughest 50 miles I’ve ever endured. I was with Eli Orth most of the race, he won the SS division and finished second overall. Anyways my best story from the race was when Eli and I came up on two riders and we got stuck behind them for a while. Finally on a decent climb Eli went for the pass, moved slightly off the trail, told the guy he was gonna pass, he didnt move over, Eli ended up hitting a dead pine tree that fell over and nearly took the guy out, Eli made the pass and just crushed. I call him Paul Bunyon, that guy is strong! Eli and I came into the final aid station together, but I never saw him again. Those last 15 miles are as much of a mental grind as a physical one. But crossing the finish line never felt so good. Amazing race, Todd and Danny are sick cats.”

Claiming third, Scott Wolfson finished in 6:50:01. “Never had I gone over my handlebars three times during a race until I met Marji. The climbing was extensive and the start straight up a ski hill a little comical, but it was a beautiful day, the trails were dialed, and for the first 30 miles I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Then I got tied up between a couple trees and went OHB relatively slowly and uneventfully. A mile or so later I went flying over the handlebars on a fast descent after hitting a piece of fencing that was in the middle of the trail. I hit the ground very hard, but, other than a headache, I and the bike were okay. The fall a mile later sucked all the fun out of the day – it was a fast and technical descent but this time I flew onto a rock field and one squarely hit my right knee, gashing it and swelling it to the size of a softball. And my derailleur was bent two ways – I started riding again, but my chain came off four times until I figured out I could not use my two easiest gears. By that time, I got passed by at least five racers while I was repeatedly prying my chain out of my spokes. I pulled in to the 39 mile checkpoint a wreck, hoping and fully expecting my nurse wife Katie to suggest that I DNF — I planned to reluctantly agree. Instead she gave me some food and said, “Get going, you’re still in the top ten!”

A short time later on the luge hill climb I started cramping, especially when I had to get off my bike to walk it on some of the insane rock climbs. I fought like heck to make every hill from then on. With a couple miles left, spectators kept yelling that a group of racers was only 30 seconds to a minute ahead of me. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to finish. I eventually caught them and passed them up the last few climbs to finish a grateful and unexpected third.

The next NUE race I plan on is the Lumberjack 100. Thank you to KLM Bike & Fitness, Cold Stone Creamery, and my Bike Babe Katie Wolfson!”

Women’s Open

Toops gets back-to-back wins at Marji Gesick

Women’s Podium: 1st-Jen Toops, 2nd: Lisa Randall, 3rd-Ronnie Wick

Defending NUE Marathon Champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles), wins Marji Gesick 50 with a time of 7:17:17. She now leads NUE Marathon Series going into the final race at Big Bear, CA next weekend.

“This was my second time racing the Marji Gesick 50 mile and I felt prepared.  I just finished a training block and had previous knowledge of the course. I was ready to race and chose to race my Pivot Mach 4 with Continental Cross Kings.

The race starts out on the Marquette ski hill and positions are sorted out early. It was much colder than last year and the conditions were perfect.  On the first downhill I dropped my 100% speedcraft glasses, but I wasn’t about to stop and get them.  I kept going and tried to stay on pace winding through the singletrack and at one point washing out on some loose sand.

Jen Toops crossing the finish line. Photo by Ryan Stephens

About an hour or two into the race a group of guys caught me and were going at a fast pace.  I tried my best to hang on for the ride up the bike path, knowing that any energy saved here would greatly benefit later in the race.  Eventually most of the guys took off and fellow Ohioan, Chuck Boyle and I decided to work together for a while.

Chuck and I rode over half the race together and helped each other navigate and keep each other sane.  The second half of the Marji 50 is by far the hardest. Any matches burned at the beginning of the race will catch up here.  I continued a moderate pace playing it safe on the downhills and pushing the pace on the uphills. The end of the race has a lot of climbing and I saved enough energy to move up a quite a few placings and ride into the finish taking the win in women’s open.

The Marji Gesick is a race not like any other.  The trails are fun, technical and challenging and that’s why I keep coming back.  It’s an adventure and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans Todd and Danny have waiting for next year.”

Photo by Ryan Stephens

Taking second, Lisa Randall crosses the line with a time of 7:54:02. “I did the 100 in 2016 when I was actually in pretty good shape but I’ve had a hard time the past 2 years with my health/personal life so haven’t been able to really train/race again, nor really get back to even what “normal” fitness was. I love this race though, and wanted to just come up and ride the trails because I really enjoy this type of riding. I didn’t want to push too hard for fear of melting down, however just keeping moving this year was tough for me. I’m hoping I can get my health in order so that I can come back and do the 100 again.”

Just a few minutes back from Randall, Ronnie Wick places third in 7:59:59.  “I’ve only been riding bike for 3 years but long enough to have heard about the Marji Gesick.  After checking out the website and watching a few videos, I wanted to ride it.  And I say ride it because other than what I’d seen on social media, I had no idea what to expect.  My goal was to finish  it – intact.

Ronnie Wick takes third place

I thought the 50mi was a great course.  I rode conservatively all day, unsure of what lay ahead.  I had heard a lot of different stories. I dig most terrains to ride and was happy the Marji had a bit of everything.

I’ll be back next year for sure! Being familiar with the course, I’ll be in race mode and leave it all out there! I’m sure, it being the 5th year anniversary, there’ll be some fun challenges!

I don’t have any sponsors.  I’m married with three kids.  I work shift work in an Emergency room as an RN.  I ride my bike whenever I’m able; it makes me smile.”

Master’s 50+

Lundsten takes the win in Master’s

Lundsten wins the Master’s race.

Roger Lundsten gets the top step in the Master’s category and finished with a time of 7:39:08.  Almost an hour back was Paul Tepp taking second in 8:22:39.  Rounding out the Master’s podium was Robert Zimmermann  with a time of 8:47:43.

Singlespeed

Orth takes the WIN and gets second overall!

Singlespeed Podium: 1st-Eli Orth, 2nd-Joshua Blum, 3rd-Yianni Pimenidis

Eli Orth gets back-to-back wins at the Marji 50 mile and takes second place overall with a time of 6:17:43.

“With Marji Gesick being my last NUE race of the season and one of my favorites i was really looking forward to race day. With cool temps i knew there was a good chance of improving on my time from last year. Up the first fire road climb i was surprised to find myself all alone up front with only Chris Tries catching up and passing me before the single track. During the race a wrong turn was made a few times but i quickly realized it and was able to catch those that had got in front of me.

During one of those passes a very memorable moment was when i was going for a pass on the right and my handlebars clipped a tree. I stayed up and kept going but the tree came crashing down next to us..narrowly missing me and at least one other rider!
The majority of the race i spent it just enjoying the trails and the perfect weather and staying consistent.
At the finish i was actually surprised i was 2nd overall on my single speed.. just like we started the race. My goal going in was sub 6:30 with last years time being a 6:50. I easily got it with a 6:17.
This is my last NUE race this year and this off season I’ll decide if I’m going to race the 100 milers or 100k’s next year. More than likely I’ll definitely be doing 100 mile at Marji Gesick next year no matter what.My bike in the race was a Pivot Les with 32×19 gearing using an Absolute Black oval. It was a little changeup from my normal gearing but it worked out good.

About twenty minutes back, Joshua Blum took second place with a time of 6:37:38.  “Ah the Marji Gesick, perhaps the most feared race in the galaxy, or at least the Upper Midwest. How the race took shape for the Half Marji. Metallica was playing at the start, the National Anthem was belted out via Electric Guitar, and we were off up a steep hill (which is fitting). Eli Orth sprinted his SS to the top of Marquette Mtn. We all then descended and settled in. Knowing the course from 2017, I was reluctant to do anything but ride my own pace in fear of the final 15 miles… (Note, staying redlined in the first 40 miles isn’t wise). Unlike 2017, the weather was perfect. Once stopping at the unofficial aid station (Jackson Park, around mile 40) I was greeted by an awesome group of volunteers, known as the “Suffer Crew” they helped refill water, and then I was off for the final 15. At this point I felt great, and knew I was in position to race the final 15 instead of survive the final 15. Upon leaving the Unofficial Aid Station, I was told that I was in 7th place overall for the Half Marji. Awesome! Time to pedal and push the bike. I was able to pass 3 more people in the final 15, and cross the finish line. Crossing the finish line at the Marji might be the best feeling one can have period. My goals for this race were a top 10 finish, and no mechanicals. Both were accomplished, the bonus was a 4th overall, and 2nd in SS. The gearing that was chosen for this race was a Wolftooth Oval 32 tooth ring, and Wolftooth Stainless 20 tooth cog.Thank You’s go out to my wife Rachel for taking care of our kids while I’m gone, Smith’s Bike Shop in La Crosse WI, NOX Composites for building very durable carbon hoops, and having an awesome crew from La Crosse to travel to this race with.

My next planned NUE race is likely the Marji Gesick in 2019. Time just doesn’t allow for more NUE races, as most of my free time away from my job is spent as a volunteer, building & maintaining local trails, and hanging out with my wife & 2 young daughters. At some point I would like to venture east to do another NUE race, as this style of racing is becoming more appealing than the standard XCO type of racing.”

Taking third was Yianni Pimenidis with a time of 7:24:03.

For full results: Click Here

Want to register for 2019 Marji Gesick? Registration opened Oct 13th and sold out in under a few hours. Don’t worry plenty of people back out so Click here to get on the wait list. Danny and Todd are looking to get more women racing. Any women on the wait list get moved into the race automatically! So get registered for 2019!

What’s NEXT?!

On September 29, the NUE Series heads to California for the NUE Championship race at the Grizzly 100k and 75k in Big Bear, California.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @shannonboffeli @graciedaze, 

 

NUE Marji Gesick 100

NUE Series

Written by: @JenToops

September 22, 2018

The Marji Gesick is a point-to-point endurance race located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. It starts in Marquette and ends in downtown Ishpeming. The one-hundred mile and fifty mile mountain bike races are part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There is also a one-hundred mile and fifty mile run option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States. In 2018 it sold out in less than twenty-four hours with eight-hundred mountain bikers and seventy runners registered. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect poker chips at random checkpoints along the course.

100 mile bikers starting the 1/2 mile run to their bikes. Photo Ryan Stephens

The course was designed to push riders to their absolute limits. The one-hundred milers having around twelve-thousand vertical feet of climbing, and the fifty milers around seven-thousand.  In both courses, racers have to navigate through sand, roots, rocks, off camber climbs, drops, jump lines and technical descents, all while saving enough energy to get through the grueling last fifteen miles.

Racers trying to stay warm at the cold race start. Photo by Ryan Stephens

Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, and under thirty hours for runners, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart. For 2018: three-hundred-thirty-one mountain bikers started the one-hundred mile course, two-hundred-eighteen finished and only nineteen claimed a buckle.  For the one-hundred mile runners: twenty-seven started, twelve finished, and only nine buckles were handed out.

 

Men’s Open

Jeremiah Bishop goes sub ten and takes the WIN!

Men’s 100 Podium: 1st: Jeremiah Bishop, 2nd: Matt Acker, 3rd: Tinker Juarez

The first racer go sub ten hours and take the win in the 100 mile was, Jeremiah Bishop,  coming in at an impressive time of 9:57:05.

“Marji ate my lunch last year, this year I came loaded for Bear.  I had a much smoother race and made all the selections early on, Matt Aker drove the pace. I put in a dig after clearing the most technical climb of the day and got clear. Legs ached but they answered the call. I nailed the last hour and took back my pride.
It was a honor to take down my last NUE 100 Win on Canyon Topeak Factory Racing.
It’s been a killer season.”

Photo by Ryan Stephens

Following second place finishes in 2016 and 2017, Matt Acker of Salsa Cycles, took second place coming in at 10:06:54.

“I’ve done Marji Gesick since the first year and have good knowledge of the trails so I used that to my advantage to stay on the front and keep the pace quick through the first 40 miles. Our group dwindled shortly after the first aid station and after a well placed attack there were only 4 of us going into the biggest climb of the day. Around mile 50 it was down to just myself, Jeremiah and Tinker. We rode together into mile 65 aid station where i stopped to refuel and the other two got out quickly. Chased them down and the three of us continued to roll until around mile 85 where Jeremiah made a move on a technical climb that Tinker and I got gapped on. We chased into the last aid station at mile 87 where he held about a minute gap. I was the last one out again, and all three of us rolled the last 15 miles solo until i caught Tinker with a mile or so to go at the last climb.  Great race with some fast guys, always a pleasure racing against some legends!”

Finishing less than a minute back was, Tinker Juarez, claming third in a time of 10:07:10.

Women’s Open

Williams gets her first win at Marji Gesick!

Defending NUE Series Champion, Carla Williams, takes the top step with a record time of 12:25:51.

“It was around mile 50 when I knew that my best effort was not going to be good enough. I asked the guy riding next to me through the sand what our chances were to break 12 hours and he shook his head. “Maybe if you gun it through the next 50 miles, you might have a chance.” I knew that it was going to be near impossible to “gun it” through the tight, twisty technical singletrack that lay ahead, and I also knew that the 2nd half of the race was going to be harder and only slower than the 1st half.

I had prepared as best I possibly could for this race. I had read about every blog post out there. I had talked to as many people as I could who had done this race before for advice. I knew that I had to go out hard at the start and hammer every easy trail because I needed to bank time for all the technical slow trail in between. My mom flew out from New Hampshire to spend the weekend with me and run support. She met me at miles 30, 50, 64 and 87 with food and water so I could minimize time stopping. I had the course loaded onto my wahoo, I had a back up charger for the wahoo, I had lights, I had food, I had tools and tubes for all the possible mechanicals that I knew how to fix. I guess it is fair to say that even the best preparation doesn’t really prepare you for this race.

Photo by Ryan Stephens

I didn’t reach my goal of 12 hours, but I am still really happy with my ride. I felt like I pushed the entire way, my legs felt strong, I never mentally broke down or entered a dark place, even when I got lost. I actually had a lot of fun working my way through the trails and was pretty happy with how I rode a lot of the technical stuff. It was awesome having my mom out there, and I kept looking forward to reaching the next spot out on course where I knew she would be. I think that if you accomplish all of your goals in a season, that means you are setting the bar too low. So I am ok with setting myself up for the challenge, giving it my best shot, but coming up 25 minutes short. It was an incredible backcountry adventure and a great end to my 2018 NUE season.

Taking second place, Chelsea Strate, finished in 15:07:30.

“Some of the recurring advice that I heard from past competitors that stuck with me was how it was very important not to get caught up in the fast start of the race, so I took it easy during the LeMans start, and even forgot where I put my bike. I just stood there for a few moments, wondering where the heck my bike was, when finally, my red grips caught my eye. I had actually forgotten I put red grips on, and thought my bike was all black. Oops! I hopped on, pushed myself a little bit, but I didn’t get caught up in where the other women were. There was still 100 miles of racing to go!

All day, I kept thinking to myself, “is killing this uphill or catching that person ahead of me worth burning a match over?” The answer most frequently was a solid “nope.” My matches are a precious commodity. I kept a solid pace, and just tried to keep moving. I hiked my bike up a lot of hills, and didn’t clear all of the technical sections that I probably could have on a shorter ride, but I was in a good headspace, and really enjoyed the constant challenges. By mile 40 I was probably in 5th or 6th place, but by the end I had secured 2nd. I was just a bike throw (2 1/2 hours) behind Carla, the 1st place finisher, with Heidi on my tail (45 min behind), so it sure was a close race! (But in all seriousness, this is why we need to work on getting more women out!) Thanks to Teravail Tires and my friends for the race support!

Rounding out the podium and taking third was, Heidi Coulter in 15:53:35.

“Last year I signed up for the Marji Gesick 50, I was in the running for placing 2nd overall in the NUE Marathon Series.  All I had to do was have a good race.  That slowly slipped away when I got lost, went without water for 3 hours, ate apples from a tree on a long lost farm and finally found my way back to the finish. It was the first and only DNF of my life.  It didn’t sit well with me, so much so that this year I put on my big girl pants and signed up for five 100 mile races!

The day started with the National Anthem played Jimi Hendrix style by the Grim Reaper, fireworks signaled the start of the race and then we were led out by a princess riding a unicorn.  Seriously how could the day get any better!?  I’ll tell you, it actually was incredible until it wasn’t and then it was amazing and then it was painful, gut wrenching and then It was the best day ever all over again.  The day went in waves like that and continued into the night.  The last 18 miles I ended up riding and sometimes walking like a zombie with my friend James Knott. I hadn’t seen him all day and by some sort of unicorn magic he saved the day with his spare light when mine died and helped keep me on course since my Garmin and phone had both been dead for about half the race. Finishing was a huge accomplishment and getting third was a great way to finish my season.  Will I be back? Yep. I’ve landed on my head a lot lately so it’s hard for me to think clearly! The Marji Gesick 100 is truly what dreams and nightmares are made of.”

Master’s 50+

McFadden takes the top step

Todd McFadden wins Master’s 50+

Winning the Master’s division was Todd McFadden with a time of 13:04:35. Taking second, Greg Gentle crossed the line at 13:27:47.

“In 2017 the heat kept me well off the buckle pace with a 14+ hour finish.  My friends that know me were confident I could buckle if I could keep a strong pace, follow a solid nutrition plan and keep the demons off.  Honestly this race isn’t so much about the terrain, but keeping your PMA and  mindset in-check.   I made some smart choices starting dropping 5 pounds off my ride by going with a Canyon Lux CF 9.0 instead of the Ibis Ripley I rode last year.  I was on pace and things were humming well until I left Ishpeming. I could feel the wheels start to come off at about mile 80.  Todd McFadden caught me just before we got back to Negaunee.  I was happy to see him doing well this year.  By the time I started the last section back to Negaunee I realized my buckle aspirations were gone so I decided to finish the race with my buddy Jason Kunisher.  Once I took the pressure off I could simply enjoy the ride and have fun.  Thanks to my bro Jay Henderson from Hollywood Cycles and my Team Hollywood Cycles (THC!) mates for the support throughout the year.  I look forward to crushing that 12 hour limit in 2019.  As for other NUE plans.  I raced the Tatanka in 2016 and plan a return to the Black Hills for an early season prep for the Marji. ”

Just a  minute back from second place, Tom Stritzinger finished third with a time of 13:28:22.

“Marji Gesick is one of my favorite races.  This year the conditions were perfect and I was hoping to have a shot at a belt buckle.  As fate would have it, around mile 48, my seat broke off on a rocky descent.  At first I thought my race was over, however, I was able to fix the seat back on but there was only 1 rail to hold it.  That lasted until mile 55 where the second rail broke off and I was left with no way to secure my seat to the seat post.  I began walking off the course with the seat in my hand, dreading the “quitter” text I would need to send to the race promoters.  A number of racers passed me, saw the seat in my hand, and expressed their encouragement and disappointment to me.  A racer named Justin Michels saw me carrying my seat, stopped and asked me if I wanted his seat so I could finish the race.  He said he really wasn’t feeling it.  We took his seat off and fixed it to my post.  It wasn’t perfect so we had to use some tape to make it fit better.  Finally, I had a seat, thanked Justin profusely and set off to finish the race.  The seat came loose about 10x over the last 45 miles but I was able to finish and somehow managed a 3rd place finish.  I feel like I still have unfinished business at Marji Gesick and will be back next year to take care of it. I did 8 NUE races this year and Marji Gesick is both the most fun and most difficult of them all.  I want to again thank Justin Michels for lending me his seat to finish the race!”

Singlespeed

Fuhrmann takes fifth overall and WINS Singlespeed

Brian Fuhrmann takes fifth overall and wins the Singlespeed division with a time of 10:49:21.

“After several years of not competing on bicycles I decided to drag my lazy carcass off the couch to try out a race called the Marji Gesick 100.  Since I was unfamiliar with the trails and the area I relied on past race results, reports, and word-of-mouth for how to plan my training and bicycle build.  The pre-race consensus was that the last 35 miles were not for the faint of heart and I would need to treat that as the true halfway point.  As such, I adopted the mantra “smooth & steady” for the race and routinely mouthed the words to myself to keep from going too hard early on.

Following the LeMans start, I was sitting around 10th place overall and stayed there for the first 25 miles before latching onto the wheel of Chris Lowry from LaCrosse, WI.  Chris and I were both riding smooth and we helped each other to keep an eye out for the trail markings. When we got to the trail magic station at mile 40, I realized we were already 30 minutes ahead of schedule for my goal of getting a belt buckle… decent!  Chris and I trucked on together until a few miles before the 65ish mile drop bag location when I stopped for some electrolytes and let him continue on with his gears and derailleur.  At mile 65 I reloaded my food reserves and got a quick bite to eat before learning about what the last 35 miles was going to deliver.Much to my surprise, these trails were very similar to my local stash of trails in Decorah.  Where other people were struggling, I found that I was able to thrive. The trails were tight and less flowy such that I had to be a scavenger of momentum.  Around mile 80, I once again met up with Chris along with another chap he was riding with at that time.  I think they both realized I was enjoying my time on these trails and let me by.  I pulled through Jackson Park for the last time at mile 85 and did a quick fill-and-go with the bottles.  The last 15 miles contained many climbs that forced me off the bike, but I continued to think about staying smooth and steady, especially since I was buckle-bound unless something catastrophic was to happen.  Somewhere in these trails, I passed a couple more MG100 racers before making my way to the finish line.

My bike setup was a Trek Stache Carbon 29+ singlespeed with rigid fork.  Gearing was 34:20 with a 29×3.0 tire.Thanks to Route 66 Bicycles in Rolla, MO for help with bike setup, Oneota River Cycles in Decorah, IA for 11th hour wheel building, and my wife Melissa for encouragement, race support, and keeping me from stepping in another racer’s vomit at Jackson Park.”

Joe Worboy finished second with a time of 13:07:48.

“The day started with a Unicorn and the National Anthem.  We started with a Lemans start which I paced myself, I was prepared to start the day at a slower pace than my usual NUE starts.  Marji is a long day and the last 30 miles of this race is tough.  The day started out with the perfect temperature and I quickly settled into a nice 10 mph pace, as planned.  The course is fun at this point and it is the perfect day to be on the bike.  The first 40 miles of the race has plenty of challenge but rewards you will some flow sections.  I split the day into small goals, this helped maintain a positive mental attitude versus thinking about the finish line.  Nutrition was spot on, I use infinite which always gets me through long days in the saddle.

Everything was going great, and then boom!  I hit the ground hard.   It was techy descend after the ski slope climb.  This is where I lost focus for a split second and I went straight over the bars in a techy downhill rock garden.  It felt like I just got hit by Connor McGregor.  This is for real, I am not sponsored in any way by Oakley.  The Oakley Jawbreakers saved the day, without that protection I am pretty sure my day would have been over.  They took the majority of the blow versus my face and cheek bones.  However, I did have some cuts around my eye from the frame impact that caused bleeding and my hand took a big hit, later to find out it is only a deep bruise.  I asked a passing rider if the cuts looked ok and if he thinks the bleeding will stop, he said, “Can’t see the bone so you should be good, but I am not a doctor.”  This was refreshing to hear….  So I kept going,  I must have looked like Rocky after fighting Apollo because there were a lot of comments.   I knew to complete the day I must stay focused and push through.  I was still riding but at a much slower pace trying to actively recover on the bike, this is not easy at the marji and hit the ground a few more times because I was not riding my usual speed.

Finally I made it to the Aide at mile 65 about one hour off my pace goal.  One of the volunteer nurses cleaned me up, thank God for her.  I am very appreciative of this because she confirmed my hand was ok and cleaned up my cuts.  Mentally I was back to 100% and feeling strong again.  I also saw my son, Mikey Worboy.  This was awesome!  We had a waffle, peanut butter, whip cream sandwich together.  Totally coincidental, he just happened to be coming through the same aid for the 2nd time to complete the 50 miler.  It was so cool to see him and knowing he is doing well was refreshing.

My energy was really good now, I was back on pace and caught up to single speeder, Joe Stroz, my NUE rival this year.  We chatted for a minute to compare battle stories then separated.  To his defense, he had some bike issues with  that caused him some time and riding on a broken saddle is not easy.  He would of never let me leave his sight otherwise.

I finished the day in 2nd overall in Men’s Open SS on my Pivot Les 34:21.  I will be back in 2019 for my third attempt for the Buckle.  I would like to thank friends and family that supported all the my training efforts. Especially my wife, Nicolette.  So hon, doing this one again!  She is so supportive, big thanks to her.  Warp Speed Training coach, Steve Clement, Wheelie Fun Bike Shop, Trailer Park Racing Team, North High Brewing, Grandview Pro Fitness, Hatfied RV that provided support.”

Taking third was, Regis Ricketts, finishing at 13:17:44.

For full results: Click Here

Want to register for 2019 Marji Gesick? Registration opened Oct 13th and sold out in under a few hours. Don’t worry plenty of people back out so Click here to get on the wait list. Danny and Todd are looking to get more women racing. Any women on the wait list get moved into the race automatically! So get registered for 2019!

What’s NEXT?!

On September 29, the NUE Series heads to California for the NUE Championship race at the Grizzly 100k and 75k in Big Bear, California.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @shannonboffeli @graciedaze, 

 

NUE 20th Anniversary Shenandoah Mountain 100

NUE Epic Series

The 20th Anniversary Shenandoah Mountain 100

By Ryan O’Dell

September 2, 2018

The Shenandoah 100 achieved a major milestone in the history of endurance racing celebrating its 20th Anniversary as the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series. Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just two races remaining that will determine this year’s champions. Shenandoah is a highly anticipated showdown showcasing top level talent in a festive atmosphere with most racers choosing to camp out at the Stokesville Lodge and campground. This year, rain leading up to race day made course conditions slick and treacherous at times although race day weather was warm and mostly sunny.

Women’s Open

Hamm posts a sub 10 for the win!

Women’s Open Podium

Following third place finishes in both 2016 and 2017, Laura Hamm, Moonstomper/Blacksburg Janglers, stepped up to the top of the podium with a winning time of 9:35:36. Shenandoah was Hamm’s first NUE win although she also posted a third place finish in the NUE Marathon Series at Iron Mountain 100 earlier this season. “Going into the race, my main strategy was to hang on to Lauren Cantwell’s wheel until I could no longer keep pace (likely around mile 20). I executed this plan expertly until mile 4, when Lauren’s sidewall was sliced by something mysterious, likely a trail gnome.

Laura Hamm- Photo credit: Jess Daddio

My only setback was getting stung by a stinging creature going up Lynn. Sam Lindblom was kind enough to stop and help me make sure that the stinger was out. I took a Benadryl to prevent a Michelin man-like reaction and carried on a bit sleepier than before. AJ Mooney pulled me through many of the road sections. I owe him a beer. The highlights of the race were my quick bathroom break with Victor “Little Wolf” Guevara, the costumed Charlottesvillle-ites, and beating Jon Rugh, my neighbor and nemesis. As always, Chris Scott put on a fantastic event on a course with endless smiles and world-class aid station volunteers.”

Amelia Capuano- 2nd Women’s Open

Following a third place finish at the NUE Series Wilderness 101, Amelia Capuano, Reardon Steel Fab, finished 10:00:02, taking second at Shenandoah. “I had a fun day and started off quickly, trying to stay towards the front. I settled in on the chill climb up Lynn trail and it was mostly steady going from there. I really loved the nice rip down Chestnut and lack of brakes to go with it after slopping through some WV-esque mud holes. Thanks to whoever made me eat a Sammy and chug some coke at aid 6!! Really, thanks to all the folks at aid stations – so helpful with chain lube, grabbing food, and making me laugh! I love these races and Chris Scott knows what is up!! Also, shout out to the legend, Cheryl Sornson, (former NUE Series Champion) for helping me learn the ropes of 100-mile racing.

Lauren Cantwell- 3rd Women’s open

Twelve minutes later, Lauren Cantwell, Deschutes Brewing/Stokesville Lodge, claimed third at 10:12:30. Cantwell is now ranked second with 10 points in the NUE Series behind series leader, Larissa Conners. In addition to her first win at Cohutta this spring, Cantwell also posted a second place finish at Wilderness 101 plus fourth at Pierre’s Hole 100 in Wyoming and fifth at the NUE Season Opener at True Grit in St. George Utah.

Men’s Open

Anderson goes sub Seven to get his first ever win at Shenandoah!

Newcomer, Eddie Anderson, Hagens Berman Axeon, surprised many taking first at 6:57:14 in a stacked field that included former and current NUE Series Champions.

Eddie Anderson-Photo credit: Jess Daddio

Coming off his first NUE win at Mohican in June, Two-time NUE Series Champion and Shenandoah course record holder, Jeremiah Bishop, Canyon Factory Racing, came in at 7:14:03 to claim second. “I would call it an off day. I can do some amazing things sometimes but I struggled to find my rhythm today. I felt lucky to pull myself back together and hold of Dylan for second.” 2017 Shenandoah race winner, Bishop, finished second overall in the NUE Series Men’s Open in 2017 and posted a ninth place finish at Wilderness 101this season.

Jeremiah Bishop- Photo credit: Jess Daddio

Eight minutes later, NUE Series Defending Champion, Dylan Johnson, Leska MTB, finished third at 7:22:46. Johnson leads the NUE Series with 6 points that include wins at the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee, Lumberjack 100 in Michigan and Wilderness 101 in Pennsylvania plus a third place finish at Tatanka in South Dakota. Johnson finished fifth last year and second in 2016 behind Jeremiah Bishop at Shenandoah.

“Shenandoah, as always, brought out some of the toughest competition in the series. Eddie’s pace up the second climb was too much for me and he and Jeremiah rode away. I rode hard to minimize my losses in hopes to catch up but I knew they would be a strong pair on the road sections. After that, Christian and I rode together to the base of the third climb after aid 2 and he dropped off there. The entire rest of the race I was by myself. It wasn’t a great position to be in given all the road and gravel that was still left but I had no choice. I was happy to hold off the group behind me to get third.”

Dylan Johnson finishes in 3rd place.  Photo credit: Jess Daddio

David Flaten, Otterhaus Racing/Coaching, was fourth at 7:41:08 with former NUE Series Champion, Keck Baker, Blue Ridge Cyclery Racing p/b Reynolds GM/Subaru, just two minutes back at 7:43:40 finished fifth.

2016 Shenandoah race winner and former NUE Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, RBS Cycling Team, was sixth in the Men’s Open at 7:45:46, just one second behind SS winner, Gordon Wadsworth. Tanguy is currently ranked second in the NUE Epic Series with a score of 11 that includes a second place finish at Cohutta plus third place finishes at Mohican, Lumberjack, and Wilderness 101. In 2017, Tanguy place second behind Jeremiah Bishop at Shenandoah.

Singlespeed

Wadsworth repeats at Shenandoah!

Defending NUE Series Singlespeed Champion and 2017 Shenandoah SS race winner, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles/Industry Nine, took the win at 7:45:45, including placing sixth overall! For 2018, the Defending NUE Series Champion now has three wins with wins at both True Grit Epic and Wilderness 101 this season.

“My SM went really well. The conditions were about average for VA in hurricane season, slick and snotty, with periods of good hot sunshine. The past two years at SM have been record breaking conditions and so it was nice to see a classic VA race shaping up. As always, I knew my mission was get into a fast group and STAY there!

A lot of flats early in the game on a bonier than average Narrowback trail precipitated a chase group early. The rain made the normally rocky but manageable Narrowback/Tillman trails full on carnage of riders with mechanicals and flat tires. My K2N Stage Race teammate Thomas Turner and I bottomed out on Tillman Rd to see Chris Michaels in the distance. We chased up to Chris and as a group got the lead quad in our sights; nearly joining them before Lynn trail. On Lynn, we each rode our own paces (mine with a dash of walking) as we bridged up to Keck Baker. Now four riders strong, this group rode well together until Baker attacked on Hankey Mtn. We dropped Chris Michaels and eventually bridged up to a flagging Christian Tanguy.

Wadsworth and Tanguy battle it out in a sprint finish. Photo credit: Jess Daddio

This new grupetto never set a chase worthy pace but stayed consistent in our effort to stay clear of any other riders. With Thomas barely sneaking away by a few seconds on the Braley’s Pond downhill, I led a pace back up to

Thomas and then we set out towards the Death Climb. On the approach into the climb, we were joined by our friend David Flaten. I asked Flaten if he had seen the always strong John Haddock recently and he replied that he had not. Flaten added a component of motivation to the mix and he and Baker attacked not long into the steepest part of the climb; separating Thomas and I from them and Christian farther off still.

Thomas and I rode together in our good old duo mix until nearly the top of the death climb up Reddish Knob. Near the top my SS pace dictated a little harder effort and I was sure he would join me on the Chestnut DH. A rider did but it wasn’t Thomas, it was Christian Tanguy. Christian and I have pedaled a few miles together over the years and I was glad for someone to share the line down a really grade A descent! Christian and I bottomed out together and then leapt out of aid 6 headed for the final ascent up Hankey Mtn.

On Hankey we climbed well together with Christian even offering to let me roll ahead. I had no interest in that as, at this point, I felt pretty comfortable in my lead. I got a little distance on Christian and then POW my chain derailed from my Pivot LES Singlespeed. Really unusual, but a chain stretched from 90 miles of VA steeps and gritty trail conditions made the unusual possible. As Christian passed I resigned myself to 7th overall. I re-set the chain and jumped aboard.

However, near the top of the Hankey climb, I saw Christian again and passed him just as we headed into the singletrack. I got a little more distance on him but, as we bottomed out on the gravel before the campground singletrack, I again heard Christian. He was clearly gunning for another position on the results sheet. He dove into the singletrack just ahead of me, doing a little blocking and, no doubt, aware of the charging that could happen at any moment. I let Christian lead all the way to the line before a hard corner and a half-hearted bike throw landed me that sixth position.

The Shenandoah Mtn 100 is a real deal mountain bike racers course. Full of everything that makes America great it’s my all-time favorite day on the bike and this year was no exception.”

John Haddock- 2nd Singlespeed

2016 SS Race Winner, John Haddock, J.A. King, finished second at 8:32:18, utilizing 34/19 Gearing. Haddock currently leads the NUE SS Epic Series with wins at Cohutta and Mohican plus a second place finish at True Grit Epic.

“As always, the much anticipated Shenandoah 100 was a blast this year. Conditions were tough, but that made finishing all the more rewarding. This would be the 4th race of the series for me and with school back in full swing, my plan was to ride my own race, hope for a good finish, and stay healthy. I got off to a good start and exited Narrowback with a group, but unfortunately they got away on Lynn as I went for an extended hike.

For the remainder of the race, I kept a steady effort, often time’s yo-yo-ing with some geared guys, but mostly by myself. The climbs rolled by and the descents were rejuvenating. I’m super happy with my race this year. Not my fastest time ever, but the course was slow and I felt great at the finish line. Congrats to everyone who raced and especially to my singlespeed amigos!”

Seven minutes later, Don Powers, UPMC Pro Bikes, took third at 8:39:13. Powers finished second at Mohican and third at Wilderness 101 this season. Powers also finished third at Shenandoah in 2017.

Don Powers- 3rd Singlespeed

Masters Men 50+

Cobb wins the Masters!

Bradley Cobb, Motor Mile Racing/SCV, was first in the Masters at 8:36:46. Cobb is currently ranked second in the NUE Epic Masters Series, behind Carey Smith, with a score of 8 that includes his win at Cohutta plus a second place finish at Lumberjack and fourth place finish at True Grit Epic.

Brad Cobb- 1st Masters

Former NUE Series Masters Champion, Roger Masse, Stokesville/Shenandoah Mountain Touring, took second at 9:01:51. Masse is currently ranked fourth in the NUE Epic Masters Series with a score of 11 including his second place finish at Cohutta, fourth place at Mohican and third at Wilderness 101.

Roger Masse- 2nd Masters

In his first NUE Series race this season, Jed Prentice, Team Bike Doctor, took third at 9:27:51.

For full results CLICK HERE

What’s NEXT?!

On September 22, the NUE Epic Series heads to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the Marji Gesick, one of the most difficult courses in the NUE Series.

From Michigan, The NUE Championship race at the Grizzly 100 in Big Bear, CA is slated for September 29, 2018. All four Division winners will receive complimentary entry into all NUE Series races in 2019, Custom Voler Champion Jersey Kits, plus a share of the $10,000 NUE Series cash purse.

As an added travel bonus, NUE division winners are invited to represent the NUE Series at The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica November 1-3, 2018. There is still time to register for anyone that would like to join NUE Champions on this incredible journey from the Pacific to the Caribbean.

ALL NUE Series finishers who do not qualify for prize money will receive prize packages courtesy of NUE Sponsors Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport, KMC Chain and Darn Tough Socks.

Stay tuned here for the latest news and information on the Marji Gesick and NUE Series Championship Race!

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @shannonboffeli @graciedaze, 

High Cascades 100 Report and Results

Larissa Connors Continues to Win at NUE High Cascades 100, Bryan Lewis Takes the Title for the Men

Bend, OR

Written by: Ryan O’Dell

Race Photos by: Ryan O’Dell and Frizz Studio

Race Director Mike Ripley

The 10th Annual High Cascades 100 marked the midway point of the eleven race National Ultra Endurance MTB Race Epic 100 Mile Series.  At 5:30AM sharp, 400+ racers departed from Bachelor Village, near Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon in what has become one of the most popular races in the NUE Race Series. The town of Bend is a top destination for mountain bikers thanks to hundreds of miles of primo singletrack trails that can be accessed directly from downtown connecting to other nearby towns including the town of Sisters.Deschutes Brewery, www.deschutesbrewery.com, one of the top rated craft breweries in the US, was on site at the finish line serving up draft brews. Sagebrush Cycles of Bend, www.sagebrushcycles.net, in addition to offering mechanical services on the race course at every aid station, also offered racers a place to ship their bikes that included getting the bikes race ready and inspected before the race. For riders not wishing to ship their bikes, Sagebrush offers a full line of high end ($6000+) demo bikes that includes popular brands like Pivot.Women’s Open

Conners makes it three in a row with NUE Series!

Women’s Open Podium

2017 Leadville 100 race winner, Larissa Conners, Davis Bike Club, finished in 8:15:49 making it three wins in a row in her NUE Epic Series debut. Following wins at NUE True Grit Epic and NUE Tatanka Epic, Conners needs just one more win to obtain a perfect score of 4 in this best 4 of 11 Epic 100 Mile Race Series.

“By the time our rowdy group of crazies turned right onto forest road 4130 to begin the first serious climb of the day, my nerves had finally subsided enough that I could breathe. The massive cloud of dust engulfing us was a hilarious distraction from the fear sitting heavy in my mind that the 2017 NUE overall winner (Carla Williams) was in the MASSIVE women’s field, and that I didn’t know if I had what it takes to beat her.

Pretty quickly the survival mode that usually settles in much later in these long races kicked in, shifting my mindset from ‘what’s the strategy to win?’ to ‘race your own race and survive this ridiculous dust trail’. I found a nice rhythm, focused on staying with the duders in front of me, and soon enough we were at the mile 38 aid station where my husband (who I hadn’t seen for a month) was waiting with a bottle and a smile. Seeing him was a huge boost in the joy factor, and I powered on up the second long climb knowing I would get to see hubs again at mile 82.

Somewhere on the climb to the high point of the course I ended up alone, very, very alone. I started understanding why people believe in Bigfoot as the trail wound its way through the massive trees, in a forest straight out of a fairy tale. After that climb I spent a LOT of time not sure if I was going the right way, so I waited a few times for the next dude to catch me and confirm I was on the course.A pretty severe side cramp prevented me from eating from mile 38- 85, less than ideal, but the pain made it impossible to reach in my pocket for food. I also crashed hard on the sandy fire road descent, which was funnier than it was painful. Why do I only crash on fire road?! During a quick stop at the hubby aid station, in which I inhaled a PB&J and an $8 whole foods energy bar (my husband doesn’t look at prices… it’s terrible) I was informed that Carla was only twenty minutes back the first time through. Knowing she finishes strong sent me into a panic, and I took off, hoping to stay in the lead just a little longer!

A few dudes passed me in the next 15 miles, all of which I was CONVINCED were chicks when I saw them from a distance coming up on me, but was SO relieved to find to be men when they got close enough to pass. I rode my little brains out on Tiddlywinks, which was SO FREAKING fun even when I was tired, and then cruised into the finish with two random dudes somehow still in first!This was one of those freak races where I still felt alive at the end, no laying on the ground this time! In comparison to some of the recent 100 milers I have done this one was WAY less painful. Although my Garmin still registered 10,400ft ascent it never felt like we were climbing (too much) and the weather was so freaking perfect. One of the things I tell myself when I get anxious about racing is that ‘I GET to ride my bike for 8+ hours today!’ and this race really felt like GETTING to ride fun trails with cool people in an awesome new place! Thanks Mudslinger Events for putting on such a rad race!

Huge shout out to Sagebrush Cycles who helped me swap brake pads the day before the race! Friendliest bike shop service I have EVER experienced! You guys are awesome, keep up the good work!!! I also plan to attend Grizzly100 and hopefully Pierre’s Hole (we’ll see if coach lets me)”

NUE Epic Series Defending Champion and 2017 HC100 race winner, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, placed second at 8:38:09, although her time was nearly four minutes faster than last year. “I might have failed at my goal of trying all new races in 2018, but when the stars all align easily and I can take a trip to Bend, it’s impossible to say no. Besides, since the High Cascades 100 course changes every year, technically I did race a new course, so maybe my 2018 MTB goal isn’t completely kaput.

I knew that Larissa Connors was registered for the race, so I figured that I would be racing for second place since she is way faster than me, and so that is what I set out to do.There is a fairly long neutral roll out at the start along the highway that leads to the trails. The first turn off of the main road takes you immediately onto a dirt road for the first of many climbs and the racing starts. The dirt road this year was not really dirt but deep sand and it took a while maneuvering past squirrely bikes to get into a good position on the climb for the 1st singletrack section.

I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks with mid-season physical fatigue and also just mental burnout from constantly trying to keep up with work and with training. There have been a lot of tears and questioning what exactly I am trying to accomplish on the bike. Since I still don’t have those answers, I decided to simply focus inward for this race. I decided to be happy that I was feeling strong again after some rest days last week, and that I was capable of riding 100 miles on my mountain bike, and that I was lucky enough to be able to ride in an amazing place with incredible scenery. Not exactly race mode mentality, but I did have a smile on my face for the entire day!After the 1st climb, there is a really fun descent on a trail called Tiddlywinks, which has fun rollers and tabletops and berms. With all the dust kicked up from racers in front and the morning sun squinting through the trees, it was nearly impossible to see the trail and I basically pointed my bike down and hoped for the best.

I stopped at aid 3 at mile 50 to fill up on water and then started up this incredible climb that slowly wound us up a mountain away from the sandy desert trails and onto real soil, past alpine meadows, and we even passed pockets of snow that hadn’t melted yet. It was definitely my favorite part of the course.

I made friends with Eric on the way up the climb and followed his wheel on the descent back down to sandy fire roads and singletrack with some punchy steep climbs thrown in for good measure. I stopped again at mile 82 for more water. Dan Atkins, who I know from Baltimore, and I played leapfrog on the last part of the course, he would pass me on the descents and I would catch back up on the climbs. The last 18 miles had more descents then climbs, and I couldn’t quite catch back up on the 5 mile road section back to the finishing line, and ended up finishing right behind him. It was a great day to be out on the bike, and I managed a second place finish in the women’s open field.

The race director, Mike, is one of the nicest people and puts on an incredible event. There are lots of pre-race emails that answer every possible question you could have, the course is super well marked and almost all singletrack, the aid stations are great, the volunteers are super nice, and there is Deschutes beer at the finish! It is a really quality race, and I would highly recommend this race to anyone thinking about going next year.”

Courtney Boyd, Cima Cycles, finished third at 9:30:16. “This was my first actual 100 mile race. I’ve raced over that amount in 12-18-24 hour events but never one that had a predetermined 100 mile finish. I was pretty nervous about the course and the stacked field.Without a doubt this was the most fun I’ve ever had racing a bike. The great singletrack climbs and descents more than made up for the sandy fire roads, which were challenging both mentally and physically. All the other racers were incredibly kind and supportive, and the volunteers were absolutely amazing.  I had a fantastic time and hope to be back again!”

 Men’s Open

Lewis gets his first NUE High Cascades Victory!

Men’s Open Podium

Following his second place finish to Jeremiah Bishop at the Mohican MTB100 in June, Bryan Lewis, BSlow Racing p/b Cutaway, earned the win finishing 7:16:07. “The High Cascade 100 started at 5:30 with a serious chill in the air. The initial road section made for a very chilly start but also made the first section of trail climbing hot. Stefano set a solid pace that saw us a bit off the front early. The group came back together on the gravel road before dropping down Tiddly Winks for the first fun descent of the day.

Ben Shaklee, riding a SS took the lead, until Stefano past him before the downhill, but Ben would get his revenge hitting a rowdy straight line double as Stefano went around a berm to take the lead.  Coolest pass I’ve seen in my life.

On the following climb, Stefano set the pace and that was the last I saw of the rest of the group.  We made it through the 50-mile aid together and then began the big climb up to Bachelor.  Halfway up, I jumped into the lead for a descent and then looked back to see no one behind me.  I didn’t know, but Stefano had crashed, and that was the last I saw of Stefano for the remainder of the race. The net downhill finish made for a ripping fun last 40 miles. Dinah Moe Humm almost got me as I started really feeling the early pace set by Stefano but, after that, it was a good rip of a “downhill” home.

Overall a great race, with a ton of fun single track, and a great atmosphere. I look forward to going back for sure. Next NUE race: “Writing this from Jackson, Wyoming where I’m relaxing until Pierre’s Hole on August 4th.”

Sponsors: Flying solo, but appreciate the support of my employer Cutaway, USA as well as a good group of friends (Will, Steven, Tyler, Seth, AT, and Carlo) that consistently talk smack and give me a hard time as I chase fun events across the country.”

Following his second place finish at the NUE Series Opener, True Grit Epic, Stefano Barberi, Dryve Wheels/K/SA/TBB, placed second to finish in 7:29:16. “High Cascades was a great time, I did it last year but sort of a last minute thing as I had to be in Bend for Cascade Classic Road Stage race (which I have done 12 times). The reason I mention this is because it was at that race that I decided that maybe more endura MTB races were going to be my thing going forward after 15 years of racing road full time. Even though that day wasn’t supposed to be for me as I took a wrong turn around mile 75 after being in the lead group with Chris Jones and Dylan Johnson while racing on ALL borrowed equipment as none of my own stuff showed up at the airport when I landed the day before!

Back to this year, after the “neutral” startup Century, we hit the first trail and I knew right away the race was most likely going to be between myself and Bryan Lewis who I also knew from road racing. There were a few sections where I picked up the pace and there was a bit of separation. Bryan and I had a “gentlemen’s agreement” and decided to stay together for the early parts of the race, and even wait for one another through the aid stations and nature breaks along the way.

Once we hit the Mzarek climb, I picked it up a bit and the racing was on. He stayed with me over the top, then on a short DH right after there was a group of hikers and, as I was trying to go around them, I ended up going over the bars. Not a big crash by any means, and Bryan waited for me to get back on, but enough that it took a bit out of my concentration.

Less than five minutes later, while following Bryan, I had another crash, this time a bit more high speed and I landed much harder and it took me a minute gather myself. I hit my head so I checked my helmet to make sure it was ok and got back on the bike. I was back to pedaling but I needed a few minutes to shake off the crash before getting back into racing mode. At this point I had a pretty god idea that, short of Bryan having some bad luck of his own, it was going to be hard to pull back the time I lost.

Bryan had a great ride and was a deserving winner,  I’m happy with my second place especially since I’m coming back from a broken Tibia in another crash exactly two months ago to the day of the HC100. Next up for me is Pierre’s Hole, and I’ll for sure be at the Grizzly 100 as well as I was second there last year and would like to go one better this year!”Matthew Turner, Spry-Legacy Properties West, finished third in 7:40:35. “The High Cascade 100 was my first 100 mile mountain bike race. I have done the True Grit 50 and the Pierre’s Hole 100k. The race in Cascade started out relatively slow up the cold road start.

Once we hit the dirt, the race quickly separated with a small group of about 7 of us on the front. It took until about mile 28 where the first Feed zone was located until our lead group also started to split up. Between there and the second Feed zone, I was riding in 3rd and 4th with one of my good friends from Fort Lewis College. Unfortunately, he made a wrong turn and lost a lot of time, otherwise it would have been a great battle with him for the last half of the race. From about mile 50 to the finish, I rode all by myself with no one in sight to a third place overall finish.”

Singlespeed

Linn wins his first ever 100 mile race!

Singlespeed Podium

Gabriel Linn, Trusty Switchblade, finished in 7:52:35, earning his first NUE SS win in his FIRST ever 100 mile race!

HC100 was a blast and met my goals. This was my first 100 mile race and I ran a 2:1 gear ratio. It was what I had been training on and I realized its downfall early in the race. I had a hard time holding wheels on the double track climb. When I hit the Mrazek Trail and beyond happy valley, my legs were screaming at me. I basically walked my pedals up and over to Dutchman’s flat and recouped at the aid station.

Volunteers screamed that Ben was just ahead so I rode hard. This is where the gearing started paying off. I caught Ben at the water bars after he punctured a tire. I rode my way down and was 100yards or less from 6 and 7 at the road but when I came out on the road, they were gone! I spun my way in looking over my shoulder. Lessons learned and will be ready for next year!”Following his first NUE SS win of the season at Tatanka Epic, 2017 HC100 SS Race winner, Ben Shaklee, Jack’s Bicycle Center/Homegrown Racing, suffers a major mechanical but still manages to finish second in 8:01:12.

“After the neutral rollout, I went into the dusty double-track climb in the top 15 or so and gradually worked through traffic and into the top five. I passed Bend local, Cody Peterson, in the moto trail after the double-track. Back on fire roads, I stopped for a quick pee and watched about ten riders go by, now putting me in about 13th place overall. I passed some of those racers back on the fire road and a couple more on Duodenum climb but stuck in traffic. Once I was back on the fire roads, I caught some geared riders and assembled a group of 3-4 and we were able to catch back to the race leaders before the next singletrack. I made a pass on Tiddlywinks descent and emerged as race leader at mile 20, before tapering back for the climb up Funner to Aid Alpha and getting passed by Stefano and the Cutaway rider from VA (Bryan Lewis).

From there I settled into a rhythm with some geared riders, making good time, but got dropped at the climb out of the sandy underpass. I rode pretty much rode solo from there, seeing only David Krimstock as he came by me following Swampy water station, now in about 8th place overall. I fed on the road climbing up to Aid Bravo, hit my drop bag and refilled bottles there, before continuing on. I really paced myself up the climb at mile 50, as it is where I cracked about four years ago.A couple more geared guys caught me mid-climb, and we all stuck together with a quick pit at Aid Charlie. They left about 20-30 seconds ahead and I caught them back on the ripping descent, following their wheels on the flats and making good time. At about Mile 70, I badly punctured my rear tire on one of the erosion control logs at the descent into the sandy underpass. Stan’s sealant and plugs would not hold, and I ultimately spent about 10+ minutes to install a tire boot with tube to get rolling again, all while about 12 riders passed, including Gabe Linn on SS.

I caught back a few of those riders in the final thirty miles, with a quick pit at Aid Delta for a spare tube just in case. I crossed the line at about 8:01, good for second in the SS and 11th overall running 34×19 gearing.”

Mark Schafer, Team Eastside Cycles, was third in 8:32:18.Masters 50+

Smith gets the Masters WThree-time High Cascades 100 Race Winner, Cary Smith, The Hub Bikes, now in the Masters 50+ division, continued his winning way finishing in 7:53:07 to win the Masters this year.

“The race started at the insanely early time of 5:30, as it always has but it felt warm so it was only arm warmers for me, huge mistake. I was shivering the entire way up the highway and I couldn’t feel all my fingers until about 25 miles into the race. Luckily, the majority of that time is spent climbing so it didn’t matter that I couldn’t tell if my fingers were on my brakes! One thing that was a huge factor as soon as we hit the dirt was the dust. Even though I was in the top 20 of the 500 racers, visibility, breathing and chain lube all took a hit.

After settling into the race rhythm, I found myself in a group of four that worked pretty well together on the gravel roads that make up a good portion of the early race. I lost them when I crashed in a dusty rut but was able to regroup and get back on. It was nice to ride with people but every descent was a dusty crapshoot whether you would hit a stray rock or root.

This year’s course covered some of the best trails of the high country into Happy Valley. Although challenging, it is beautiful and feels very remote. I, unfortunately, cracked a little near the top and lost my group. From there to the finish, it was just me, my thoughts and my dusty eyes and lips.

Ten minutes later, Matt Woodruff, Kuhl MTB Team, came in at 8:03:22 taking second place.Nineteen minutes later, Mike Castaldo, Chico Cycling Team p/b Amain Cycling, took the third spot on the podium at 8:22:46.Full results click here

WHATS NEXT: The NUE Epic Race Series heads to The Wilderness 101 in State College, PA, that includes a new 100k option as part of the NUE Marathon Series. From there, racers will head due west to Wyoming on August 4 for the Pierre’s Hole 100 at beautiful Grand Targhee Resort.

Park City Point 2 Point

Larissa Connors Repeats and Alex Grant Makes Crushes in his Return to the Point 2 Point

Written by: Shannon Boffeli @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team

Saturday saw the 10th edition of the Park City Point 2 Point endurance mountain bike race in Park City, Utah.

In it’s tenth year, and ninth consecutive sellout, the Point 2 Point reached new heights in racer satisfaction and competition. With a field of 350 hearty souls and some the North America’s best mountain bike racers toeing the line, the Point 2 Point got rolling just as the sun crested the mountains; seventy-five miles of endless singletrack and over 10,000 feet of climbing lay ahead.

Riders come from all over to enjoy and suffer on the miles and miles of Park City’s gold certified mountain bike trails capping off the racing season and hopefully taking home some cash and prizes too.

The sun rises on the 10th edition of the PCP2P. Photo by: Jay Dash

Giving away almost $12,000 in cash for podium finishers and thousands more in prizes, the Point 2 Point gives riders everything they could imagine and more. And once they throw in unique prizes like the “I am Somebody Prize,” a free Scott bike that goes to a randomly selected race finisher and the Red Lantern prize package, every participant has a chance to come away with more than just an exceptional singletrack experience.

This year’s event saw top-notch riders like Geoff Kabush (Yeti/Maxxis), teammates Ben Sonntag and Russell Finsterwald (Clif), Aussie Ryan Standish (Orange Seal/Merida), 6-time P2P winner Alex Grant (Cannondale/Gear Rush), Jamey Driscoll (Pivot/Maxxis), and youngster Zach Calton (Spry/Legacy).

The leaders started off on what seemed a leisurely pace for the first hour before Jamey Driscoll heated things up getting off the front and creating the first selection of the day.

The chase group made contact with Driscoll around mile 30, with all the top talent still represented in the group. Rob Squire briefly gave it a go trying to break things up on the long Corvair and John’s trail descents but couldn’t shake the top talent.

Alex Grant rolls through the aspens on his way to a win. Photo by: Jay Dash

On the subsequent climb Finsterwald, Grant, and impressive 21-year-old Zach Calton began their rise to the top of the race.

At the Park City feedzone, mile-53 in the race, this trio attacked the final big climb of the day wheel to wheel. The climb up Armstrong trail is over 1,000 vertical feet of winding singletrack and unrelenting elevation gain. It has also been the location of the decisive attack in each of Alex Grant’s six previous P2P wins.

“We we’re rolling up Armstrong at a pretty good pace,” Grant shared after the finish. “Russell was leading and seemed to be feeling strong. I could feel Zach suffering a little bit and suddenly Russell said ‘I gotta stop’. I wasn’t sure what was up.”

After a few soft pedals to see if Finsterwald would continue on, Grant decided this was his time to go. The Cannondale rider flexed his climbing muscles and quickly opened a gap on his breakaway compatriots.

Behind the leader, Calton moved into the runner-up spot as Finsterwald was forced to dismount to negotiate a natural break of a secondary nature.

Sonntag, Standish, Driscoll, and Kabush were chasing hard behind.

Calton started to feel the first 55 miles in this final stretch and drifted back to the chasers with the Clif duo of Finsterwald and Sonntag shuffling Calton into the four spot.

In the end, no one could bring Alex Grant back. After missing several years because of injury and family life, Grant was back on the top step of the Park City Point 2 Point taking the win by over 4 minutes. This time greeted by his wife and daughters at the finish line.

Grant, the lone leader, was followed by Russell Finsterwald who was just seconds in front of his teammate Ben Sonntag.

Zach Calton looked poised to take the final podium spot. He put his head down sprinting toward what he thought was the line. In heartbreaking fashion however he missed the final turn into the finish. Calton was in sight of the finish line arch as dozens of spectators yelled, waived, jumped up and down and did anything they could to get his attention.

Sadly for the youngster, by the time he had corrected his route Jamey Driscoll and Geoff Kabush had snuck in to take the final step on the podium. Calton, recent winner of the Crusher in the Tushar, would have to settle for sixth.

Kabush had put in his familiar fast finish over the last 20 miles of the race. The former Canadaian national champion passed Standish on his way to the finish before disaster struck almost within sight of the line.

“I was on the final rocky descent and things were going really well until they weren’t.” said a bruised and battered Kabush at the finish. “I felt like I was downhilling really fast until I hooked a tree and ended up on the ground.”

Unfortunately for the Canadian, he went down on the Iron Bill descent which has almost no actual “ground’ as it is mostly just rocks piled on top of rocks. Kabush limped in for the final podium spot with torn up shorts, a bleeding hip, deep abrasions down his back, and a deep laceration on his left elbow that would require stitches to close.

One of the most talented women’s field ever assembled for the Park City Point 2 Point took the start Saturday morning. Defending champion Larissa Connors (Twenty20/Felt) would be challenged by previous P2P winner Evelyn Dong (Spry Cycles/NoTubes), Singletrack 6 winner and Canadian Jena Greaser (Gear Hub Sports/Rocky Mountain), Aspen Power of 4 winner Marlee Dixon (Pearl Izumi/Pivot), and 23-year-old Luna rider Hannah Finchamp.

As she did last year, Larrisa Connors got off to a fast start already opening up a big lead by the first feed zone at Deer Valley resort. Not far behind was Evelyn Dong and Marlee Dixon  who followed in third after getting past Greaser and Finchamp.

Larissa Connors flashes her characteristic smile on course. Photo by: Jay Dash

Connors appeared to be on a tear as she crested the first big climb before the Corvair descent. Dong continued to occupy the runner-up spot followed by Dixon with Finchamp closing in.

Dixon was able to hold off her challenger through the aspen-tree-maze of John’s trail but on the subsequent climb Finchamp’s climbing legs kicked in and she caught and passed Dixon opening up a several minute gap before the next descent where Dixon closed down the advantage to mere seconds before Finchamp dealt the final blow on the Armstrong climb.

All the action behind did nothing to bring back the sole leader as Larissa Connors’ lead continued to grow reaching just over 10 minutes by the finish.

Evelyn Dong rolled in second followed by Finchamp and Dixon in fourth.

The final podium spot of the day went to KC Holley (Kuhl) who is a veteran of the P2P and turned in one of her best rides overcoming Greaser, Meghan Sheridan (Bingham’s), and Nicole Tittensor (Scott) on her way to the podium.

Open women’s podium. Photo by: Jay Dash

As impressive a win as it was for Connors, what she did after the race was perhaps the highlight of her performance.

For the second year in a row, Connors, a school teacher, donated her $2,000 winner’s check to the Summit Bike Club junior development program. And after 75 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing Connors took her turn on the podium, grabbed a bite to eat and went out to ride another 28 miles. Why? Because she wanted to get over 100 miles in for the day.

Congratulations aren’t hard to find for P2P finishers. Photo by: Jay Dash

With all the podiums done and most the riders on their way home one prize was left for Jay Burke and the Park City Point 2 Point staff to hand out: The Red Lantern Prize Pack. An annual recognition of the final rider to cross the finish line, the red lantern is a special acknowledgement of the rider who pushed themselves the most to earn the title of Point 2 Point finisher.

This year’s lantern went to open women’s rider Lucie Kayser-Bril. Kayser-Bril dug deep and persevered to finish with a time of 12 hours and 45 minutes. Crossing the finish line just before dark with her husband and children cheering her in.

Over six hours after race leader Alex Grant finished, Lucie Kayser-Bril marked a successful end to the tenth edition of Utah’s premier mountain bike event; the Park City Point 2 Point.

Click Here for full results from the Park City Point 2 Point 

Larissa Connors prepares to chow down on a well deserved post race meal. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

 

 

 

 

 

 

NUE Pierre’s Hole 100K

Written by: @JenToops & Marlee Dixon @graciedaze

The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking. At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area. The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Open Men

Brown takes the top step

1st-Josh Brown, 2nd-David Wiens, 3rd-Tanner Visnick, 4th-George Flynn, 5th-Davey Mitchell

Taking the top step in the Open Men’s division was, Josh Brown (Bountiful Bike) crossing the line in 5:18:47.

“Race day was an absolute blast. I entered not knowing what to expect or where my fitness was as it was my first race of the season.I quickly realized up the first long climb that I had the legs that day. When we rolled over the first climb I was sitting in second behind George Flynn, with a couple of seconds on third and fourth. We maintained those couple of seconds for the entirety of the first lap, which was a very fun. George was setting a great pace and it was fun to sit on his wheel.

Just as we finished lap number one, Dave Wiens closed the gap and there was now three of us. While climbing the first big climb of lap two I could feel George fading a bit and knew that I had more legs than he did. So at the top of the climb just as it turns into an ATV road, I put in a hard surge and put about 15 seconds on George and Dave.

Down the long decent I knew that I would have to put a good amount of time into Dave if I wanted to be able to hold him off. So I pushed my comfort zone a little down the decent. I could see Dave for most of lap two, he was pegged at about two minutes back. There were times on switch backs that I would try and duck/hide behind bushes and trees to keep out of his sight. (Out of sight out of mind ;)). I somehow managed to hold the gap and cross the finish line in first. It was a great day and an amazing course! Another fun day on the bike.”

David Wiens (Topeak Ergon IMBA), takes second in a time of 5:21:13.

“Racing Pierre’s Hole was a blast! A most stunning place to ride, friendly, laid back people, awesome trails that wouldn’t end, and top-notch race organization. On the first climb, five of us quickly separated from the field with Tanner Visnick and Josh Brown both looking strong. There was a ton of singletrack and while it was fairly smooth and fast, it required concentration as the vegetation, including awesome wildflowers, encroached from the sides and you were never quite sure what the trail was going to do around each corner: continue fast, switchback up hard to the right, switchback down to the left, you get the idea – lots of quick braking and shifting and getting back on the pedals accelerating.

I was dangling out alone in 5thearly in the first lap but steadily moved up into 3rdand caught the leaders as we hit the halfway point and embarked on lap 2. Josh rode a stellar race, marking the front and not charging until he hit the big descent on lap two. There, I jumped on his wheel and into second place but he put solid time on me on the descent. From that point on, I would get a glimpse of him now and then, but I could always tell he was feeling good and dancing on the pedals. Congrats to Josh and Tanner and everyone else that raced. I was happy with my race and also pretty stoked to not be riding another lap like the 100-mile riders. My hat is off to those men and women for sure.”

Rounding out the podium was, Tanner Visnick (Steamboat Velo) at 5:30:35.

Open Women

Harvey defends title on home turf

1st-Caedran Harvey, 2nd-Marlee Dixon, 3rd-Christy Olsen, 4th-Jen Toops, 5th-Jaime Brede

Winner of the 2017 Pierre’s Hole 100k, Caedran Harvey (Fitzgerald’s Bicycles), defends her title winning the 2018 Pierre’s Hole 100k at 6:09:12. Coming from Fairplay, CO, Marlee Dixon, Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles, takes second in 6:15:43. Taking third place was Christy Olsen, 1890 Cycling/Crazy Pedaler, crossing the line in 6:30:55.

Singlespeed

Toops gets four back-to-back NUE wins

1st-Anthony Toops, 2nd-Brad Keyes, 3rd-Weston Hutchinson, 4th-Jordan Radin, 5th-Michael Riley

Ohio racer, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage), gets his fourth NUE Marathon singlespeed win finishing with a time of 6:18:14.  This gives Toops a perfect score of four in the overall NUE series for singlespeed.

“Pierre’s Hole was a “bonus race” on the calendar this year since I wasn’t sure if I could make it… and it was a tough one! I had no expectations coming into this one but I did know the suffering would be high. Little did I know my low lander fitness would eventually show itself halfway through.

From the gun the race started off on a long cat-track climb where the positions sorted out before hitting the singletrack (95% singletrack on this course).  I immediately took note of my power and effort being held back by the high elevation so the strategy was to never go too hard; just hard enough.

I managed to cap off the first lap pretty much on pace with my plan, but that’s when the wall hit me in the face.  At around the 3:30 mark I was in survival mode.  I honestly don’t remember a ton of that lap as I was just head down trying to keep the pedals turning over.  I’m not sure if its all the recent racing catching up to me but the elevation certainly spares no one from its pain.  I did manage to get some motivating words from Greg Gollete as he motored past about 1/3 of the way through the lap. I just kept trying to tick the miles off, stay upright, and keep my competitors out of site.

Coming up the last kicker and seeing the finish line was such a relief!  After tons of rugged singletrack, brutal climbs, and fast switchbacks,  I was pretty much wrecked!
My gearing was 32×20, which was a little hard I think. I’ll probably go easier next time since it’s a climb-descend type of course.
Thank you to Andy for putting on an amazing race, all the volunteers for their hard work, and always Paradise Garage who keep me rolling!”

Brad Keyes (CarboRocket) excited to cross the finish line!

Taking second was, Brad Keyes (Carborocket) crossing the line at 6:46:26.  Just four minutes back was, Weston Hutchinson (Elevate) finishing at 6:50:00.

Masters

Local racer Llinares takes the top step

1st-Mark Llinares, 2nd-Greg Golet, 3rd-Michael Piker, 4th-Gardner Brown, 5th-Klaus Fleischmann

Local Mark Llinares (The Hub), proved his strength on his home course taking the win in 5:55:44.

2017 Epic Masters NUE champion, Greg Golet (Team Chico) took second at 6:06:06.

“Pierre’s Hole just keeps getting better! This year added a new section of trail that eliminated the pavement! Some complained that they no longer had the road to recover on, but I was glad to stay in the woods. The course was super fun and varied, and as always provided a true test of fitness—and cornering skills through endless sections of switchbacks. On race day the air was clear, and the Tetons were out!! Everyone’s spirits were high. Such a nice contrast to the ridiculously smoky California where I had come from, and where for the last few weeks we’ve been advised to stay indoors.

I set a fairly fast but comfortable pace and was first after lap 1, but only by a minute (although I didn’t know the differential at the time, of course). Then on the upper part of the biggest climb of the second lap, a courteous fellow with an Aussie(?) accent cruised passed me. All I could do was watch him go. I didn’t know who he was or if he was in my class, but guessed he might be. In any case, it didn’t take long until Mark Llinares from Jackson, was out of sight. My lack of recent training probably didn’t help, nor did being at 9,000’ for the first time since backcountry skiing in Lassen park last winter. But even though I had just been fully dropped, I was loving it! Being fully incapable of matching his pace, I just rode my own race to the finish savoring every moment. It’s hard to beat riding perfect singletrack that snakes endlessly through aspen groves and wildflower meadows. So thankful to have this time with such great people racing bikes in the mountains!!

Thanks #honeystinger, #carborocket, #kaliprotectives and #wolftoothcomponents for keeping me fueled, safe and shifting smoothly! Looking forward to Big Bear for the season finale (unless the smoke keeps me from riding leading up to it).”

Taking third place was, Michael Piker (Hoback Sports) at 6:37:24.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Full results click here

What’s Next? Click Here for info on the next NUE Marathon series race: NUE Marji Gesick race in Michigan. Click Here for info on the next NUE Epic series race: Shenandoah 100 in Virginia.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @graciedaze

 

NUE Pierre’s Hole 100 Mile

Written by: @JenToops and Marlee Dixon @graciedaze

The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking.At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Open Men

Lewis gets second NUE win of the season

1st-Bryan Lewis, 2nd-Sam Sweetser, 3rd-David Krimstock, 4th-Stefano Barberi

East coaster, Bryan Lewis (Cutaway USA), proved he could handle the elevation and took the top step in a time of 8:00:01.

“The Tetons have always been one of my favorite places to visit and I was excited to meet up with a couple friends from the area and take on the PH100. With 3 distance options to choose from the 100 mile field was a lot smaller than other NUEs. It’s as if others knew something I didn’t. The race started with a long climb that set up the lead group fairly quickly. On the first descent of the day Sam Sweetser set the pace and quickly separated he and I from the rest of the lead group. That set the tempo for the remainder of the ride as he continued to pull me around the single track.

Sam was super smooth and fast on the switchback heavy course and it was fun to follow him along. He was riding strong and when he made a minor mistake in a corner I made my way around him and tested his legs a bit separating from him around mile 60 and never (and by never I mean always) looking back. He kept the gap tight but I was able to hold on and really felt good on the final lap in Rick’s Basin and had fun ripping on it.

Overall, Pierre’s Hole was an amazing race under the view of the Tetons, which is hard to beat. I will say when I was finished I didn’t want to see another switchback for a few weeks, but that’s just me. Thanks Andy and the crew for building great trails and putting on a fun race!

Sponsors: Flying solo, but appreciate the support of my employer Cutaway, USA as well as a good group of friends (Will, Steven, Tyler, Seth, AT, and Carlo) that consistently talk smack and give me a hard time as I chase fun events across the country. Also big thanks good friend Jansen Gunderson who hosted and helped me with feeds during the race. Also I’m really glad my girlfriend didn’t shoot me for stealing her drink mix out of the cooler while she also cruised through 100 miles under the Tetons. :/ Lessons learned and thanks a great vacation Lauren!”

Twelve minutes back, Sam Sweetser (Cole Sport), takes second at 8:12:01.

David Krimstock (Shimano/Pearl Izumi/Pivot) rounded out the podium taking third at 8:19:47.

“Pierres Hole was the 4th 100 mile race in 5 weeks for me, and even though I have done this type of schedule before the added travel and fatigue left me with some unknowns. Riding sections of the course before the race had me looking forward to giving it my all on race day. This years course was unique with a small handful of dirt road miles, it seems to me that the PH100 has the most single track of any 100 mile race Im aware of. Between 38 Special, Action Jackson, and the winding up and down of Ricks Basin, I had a feeling my body was going to be completely thrashed by the end.The race started with a reasonable pace, and I played it safe. Letting Brian, Sam, and Stefano get ahead then reeling them back in by the top of the climb. Leading into the 38 Special descent Sam and Brian pushed the pace to get onto the trail first, and I settled in behind Stefano. Feeling decent, I went ahead of him during the climb out of the canyon and tried to keep the leaders in sight. I was about 2 minutes back for the rest of lap 1, and was continuously trying to pull them back. I held onto faith that my strategy of fueling with EFS Pro and Gel and using a Camelbak to be able to drink while on the trail would pay off as it often does. However, the gap continued to grow and I found myself riding in 3rd for the majority of the day. I had a blast ripping the endless trail with my Pivot 429SL and seeing all the other folks out on the laps having the same experience. Even though it may not have been my best day out there, its hard to forget a day spent in that unique terrain.”

Open Women

Conners gets fourth NUE win on Kenda Tires!

Women’s Open: 1st-Larissa Connors, 2nd-Kaitlyn Boyle, 3rd-Jennifer Wolfrom, 4th-Lauren Cantwell, 5th-Ivy Pedersen

Taking the win in the women’s open division, racing on Kenda Saber Pro tires, Larissa Connors (Sho-Air CG), finishes in a time of  8:58:17. With this win Connors has a perfect score of four and now leads the overall NUE race series.

“Pierre’s Hole was a last minute addition to my race schedule. I Choose to head up to Alta because I’ve never been to WY and heard so many good things about it! The idea of a three lap race was exciting, as was the promise we would be racing under the Tetons all day on SO MUCH SINGLETRACK!

I tried to start easy, since the altitude meant pacing was going to be crucial. That didn’t last long though and by the top of the first climb I had been lured into riding super hard, and decided to just run with it. The 38 special descent was crazy fun on lap 1, and the flowers and scenery distracted me from any thoughts of how long the race was, or how much I was going to blow up if I kept going so hard.
By lap 2 I had to slow down a bit. I realized when my wrists started hurting on lap 1 that if I didn’t actively choose to recover on the dh then I was going to be in a world of pain by lap 3, since you COULD pedal every inch of the course if you wanted.
A volunteer told me that 2nd place was only 5 min back at the start of lap 3, which freaked me out since I was chillin’ on lap2, so I laid down the gas again on lap 3. Surprisingly it felt good to dig deep, so I pushed hard, had fun cheering on the racers doing the shorter distances, and ate all the BonkBreaker snacks I had on me over the course of the last 32 miles.
Crossing the line a minute under 9 hours was freaking rad, and winning my 4th NUE of the year was the icing on the scenic race cake!!”

Kaitlyn Boyle (Pivot Cycles/Industry Nine) finished second in a time of 10:06:59. Crossing the line third was Jennifer Wolfrom (Hoback Sports) at 10:49:59.

Singlespeed

Fischer gets the Singlespeed win

Singlespeed 1st-Henry Fischer, 2nd-Brent Cannon, 3rd-Adam Smith, 4th-Adam Miller, 5th-Warner Smith

Getting his first NUE win of the season, Henry Fischer of Wila’s Wheels, won singlespeed with a time of  9:23:15. Brent Cannon (Team Elevate), took second in 9:36:58. In a sprint for third place, Adam Smith finished just seconds before Adam Miller in a time of 10:32:05.

Adam Miller states, “I am a mtb coach for our local NICA racing teams, Teton Valley Composite, and Jackson Hole Composite, so a shout out to them!!! The younger kids were supporting at aid stations All day!  We had four of our athletes compete, and one of them podiumed in the 50K open!

I had only 2 rides over 4 hours prior to race, so the hundred miles was more of a challenge to say the least, and a good lesson of perseverance for our athletes’.

I chased another single-speed rider all day. He would DROP me on any hill handedly. I relied on my downhill skills any chance I could and would get him into view every once in a while. I got a glimpse of him in  the last 10 miles, so I gave-er everything I had. He did too! I finally caught up with him about 100 yds from the finish. Sprint finish, and I won by .3 seconds!

Looking back, I would have geared my single-speed at 32/21 instead of my usual 32/20. By the third lap, I was having a real hard time getting the cranks over, and the racer in front of me with 32/22 was still spinning along…NEXT YEAR!”

Masters

Smith leads NUE masters series

Masters: 1st-Cary Smith, 2nd-Matt Woodruff, 3rd-Mike Baughman, 4th-Dave Reynolds, 5ht-Alan Miner

With wins at True Grit, Tatanka and High Cascades, Cary Smith (The Hub) can now add Pierre’s Hole to the list and finished in 9:02:12. He now leads the NUE masters race series with a perfect score of four.

About ten minutes back was, Matt Woodruff (Kuhl) taking second in a time of 9:11:56.

Mike Baughman (Lost River Cycling) took third in a time of 9:57:52.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Full results click here

What’s Next? Click Here for info on the next NUE Marathon series race: NUE Marji Gesick race in Michigan. Click Here for info on the next NUE Epic series race: Shenandoah 100 in Virginia.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @graciedaze

 

NUE Wilderness 101

Written by: @JenToops

Photos by: Bryan Lewis

The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack.  This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph

Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day!  Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.

Open Men

Johnson gets third NUE win for 2018

Open Men: 1st Dylan Johnson, 2nd-Brian Schworm, 3rd-Christian Tanguy, 4th- Heath Thumel, 5th-John Wiygul, 6th-Andy Rhodes, 7th, Dan Atkins.

In the open men’s division a lead group of Johnson, Bishop, Tanguay and Schworm formed but after, Jeremiah Bishop (Caynon Topeak Factory Racing), had to stop several times for flat tires, Bishop was able to finish in ninth place. Taking the win by about seven minutes was the 2017 NUE race series champion, Dylan Johnson (Leska MTB), crossing the line in 6:39:50.

Finishing strong for second place, Brian Schworm (Think Green Bicycle), came in at 6:47:17.

“The recent weather with the record setting amounts of rain and consequential flooding had me a bit concerned about the condition of the course for the 2018 Wilderness 101; however, with a few reroutes by the race director and a nice break in the weather on race day, the conditions were completely agreeable.  The race started out of Coburn to cool temperatures and the excitement began although the pace was moderate at best for the first hour and half.  In between aid stations one and two the pace quickened on a few of the climbs and a lead group containing Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguay, Jeremiah Bishop, and myself formed.  We rode together for a while but either a piece of singletrack, or a climb, or mechanical problem would split our group into various combinations with some leading and others chasing but ultimately we would regroup.

I would say the first decisive section was the Sassafras/Pig Pile section of trail.  I was already 10-15 seconds behind the others entering the trail where Jeremiah and Dylan took off leaving a gap to Christian and another gap to me.  Unfortunately for Jeremiah, he suffered a flat towards the end of this section leaving Dylan on his own.  Jeremiah was able to continue but was now behind.  He quickly worked his way back up to me and then we rode back to Christian.  Us three worked together for a while trying to bridge back to Dylan but ultimately Jeremiah’s tire was still giving him problems.  He needed to stop again.  Christian and I forged on until the Stillhouse climb beyond aid station 4 (at least, where aid 4 was supposed to be; unfortunately, we beat the delivery leaving us without).  Anyway, on the Stillhouse climb I could see Dylan up the hill so I pressed on hard while Christian wisely held back to save some energy for later.

At the top of the climb just before entering the Sand Mountain section there was a “trail angel” with some water.  This unofficial aid station was perfect since aid 4 was missing and I was out of water.  Dylan was also in need and was taking his time refilling his bottles.  I filled up quickly and caught Dylan who was only a few seconds ahead at this point.  We rode together through Sand Mountain and the following climbs and descents.  I was feeling great at this point and sensed that Dylan was not.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  After a little back and forth, Dylan attacked with about 12 miles to go and I had no response.  I went from feeling great to feeling a bit sluggish.  Very quickly that deteriorated to feeling tired and hungry and then to feeling light-headed and shaky.  I was running scared; I had completely given up chasing Dylan and was more concerned about Christian gaining on me.  In the end Dylan put almost seven minutes on me and Christian was just 30 seconds back.  I was relieved to be finished and even more relieved that I held my second position.

Of course I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their support.  Also my other sponsors Sword Energy Drink, Specialized Bicycles, ESI Grips, Schwalbe Tires, and TruckerCo, but as usual, a special thanks to my extraordinary wife Jennifer for her undeniable support and understanding in these adventures of mine.  Now time for some recovery and then revamping of the training for my next NUE event, the Shenandoah 100 in about a month’s time.”

Just seconds back from second place, last years Wilderness 101 race winner, Christain Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team), finished in third place, 6:47:47.

Open Women

Barclay wins Open Women

Open Women: 1st- Vicki Barclay, 2nd-Lauren Cantwell, 3rd-Amelia Capuano, 4th-Julia Thurmel, 5th- Lindsey Carpenter

Local racer, Vicki Barclay (Cannondale, Kenda) took the top step in the women’s open, at 8:10:35.

“This was my first time racing the Wilderness 101 since 2015. After a few years of shorter, one-day races and stage races, plus a few weeks of little racing, I was excited to race this 100 miler to get in a good day of quality training and racing on home turf (I have a house in State College with my husband, Rich). Come race day, I was thrilled to see that the race had brought out some fast ladies; I knew I would have to ride a smart race to take the top step at the end. Lauren Cantwell and I rode mostly together until Aid 1; I let some small gaps open up at times, but wanted to ride conservatively for the first 20 miles (this was my seventh time racing Wilderness and I have made every mistake in the book in year’s past that has cost me significantly!). Once the pace settled a bit after the climb out of Aid #1, I put in some small efforts to gain a gap before a key piece of singletrack. The gap stuck and I managed to stay out in front for the rest of the race, trading places with some men on the course, and enjoying the special kind of pain that 100 mile racing induces. With the recent rain, a lot of singletrack had be replaced with fire roads, so I was happy I chose to run my Honey Badger XC pro 27.5 x 2.2 tires front and rear – excellent traction in the singletrack and fast rolling on the roads. I fueled the race with lots of my favorite race snack – GU Watermelon Chews! With the good feels at Wilderness 101, I am considering racing the Shenandoah 100 in a few weeks!

Sponsors:  Kenda Cannondale Women’s Elite Team”

About eleven minutes back, Lauren Cantwell (Deschutes Brewing), took second place at 8:21:21. Finishing third was, Amelia Capuano (Rearden Steel) crossing the finish line at 8:47:03.

“The race was comfortable for me. It was beautiful outside and I really enjoyed the evolution of the day’s riding. I am appreciative of the smiling and joyful riders with whom I rode for portions of the day, they made it a blast. Also very glad that the flood waters receded from the park to make for fun camping. Thank you Chris Scott for taking on the challenge of running classic races.

Sponsors: Myself, My Family, and Great Friends, LLC.”

Singlespeed

Wadsworth gets second NUE win of the season

Singlespeed: 1st-Gordon Wadsworth, 2nd-Ross Anderson, 3rd-James Litzinger, 3rd-Don Powers, 5th- Peyton Randolph, 6th-Joel Nankman, 7th-Kenny Kocarek, 8th-Joe Worboy, 9th-Donovan Neal, 10th-Peter Bradshaw

Defending SS NUE Champion and last years Wilderness 101 singlespeed race winner, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, gets his second NUE win for the 2018 season finishing in 7:14:41.

“My day was pretty swell. We JUST finished relocating a little outside roanoke and so motivation wasn’t high to be honest. Nevertheless as soon as we kicked tires onto the sweet Pa dirt all the stoke came flooding back.

Our start was WILDLY casual for about the first two hours. A wild pack of singlespeed racers including Don Powers, Kenny Kocarek, Peyton Randolph, and myself seemed pretty comfortable controlling the pace from the front. And the group of maybe 30-50 riders seemed happy to let us!
In the downhill turns prior to aid 2 I made sure to be at the front and was joined by a purposeful Jeremiah Bishop. We’ve got a few W101s under our belts and both knew that the dirt climb out of Aid 2 was narrow and more difficult to navigate; often precipitating a break group or a bump in the pace. Jeremiah and I swapped recipes for a bit before charging down into the Detweiler descent. A firing Dylan Johnson shot past us and I knew if I could hold their wheels I could make the group I needed to be in.
Our group shrunk coming out of Detweiler, and again on3 bridges until it was the familiar company of Heath Thumel. Heath and I have similar strengths and after a long week of moving for me and a week away from home racing the High Cascades 100 for him we were both happy to keep things “fast casual.”
And we pretty much did. Working with two other riders until the descent down No-Name trail after which it was the two of us singing songs and dreaming for finish line.  Crossing 4th and 5th overall with me 1st SS
The Pivot Cycles LES was MONEY as always on the fast fire roads and gnarly rock knees of the PA Wilderness. Industry Nine system wheels custom laced to NOX rims wrapped in Maxxis Ikon rubber had heath and I both smiling and confident no matter our line choice.”

Fifteen minutes back, Ross Anderson (Elevation Zero), finished at 7:35:01. A couple minutes later, James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) and Don Powers (UPMC Pro Bikes), declared a tie for third place and finished together at 7:37:36.

Powers states, “Well this past Saturday was my 8th time racing the Wilderness 101.  I’ve had recent success at this race scoring podiums spots in 3 out of the last 4 years and was hoping for another similar result this year.  I knew it would be tough with some strong competition in Gordon Wadsworth, Jim Litzinger and Peyton Randolph all in the mix.  The race starts with a 3ish mile / 1000 foot gravel climb.  The pace was pretty chill and the big geared guns let us SS’ers set the pace.  What surprised me even more was that they let us SS’ers set the pace all the way to aid station 1, which is 19 miles into the race.  Normally on the climb out of aid station 1 the intensity picks up and the top geared guys start to flex their muscle.  But that was not the case.  As we crested the top of the climb I started shouting out to the likes of Jerimiah Bishop, Dylan Johnson, Brian Schworm, & Cristian Tanguey that I was confused by their tactics.  On the next rocky descent things started to shake out, Gordon got away and I tried to keep it close to Litzinger.  Jim was on his full suspension S-Works SS while I was on a rigid SS.  I was able to gap Jim on the next climb and then he proceeded to drop me on the next technical rocky descent.  I was able to catch back up on the next climb and then once again he got away on the next descent.  After that I did not see him again until later.  Going into aid station 4, I was caught by another strong SS’er Ross Anderson.  He got away on the big climb out of aid station 4 and I didn’t see him again.  So I knew I was sitting in 4th place with about 35ish miles to go.  As I rolled into aid station 5, I saw Litzinger refueling and filling bottles.  He got a little lost and had to back track a bit, he was off course about 1.5 miles (This is what happens when you climb with your head down and miss arrows).  We rolled down the first part of the rail trail together and he said his legs were pretty dead.  On the last climb with about 7 miles to go in the race I attacked him and put a decent size gap on him heading down to the technical final single track trail called Fisherman’s Trail.  Well my lead didn’t last long as Jim caught back up and then proceeded to attack me.  After we got out of Fisherman’s Trail I was able to close the gap on the last part of the rail trail, I was running a slightly bigger gear than him 32X18 vs 34X20.  We called a truce and rolled the last 3 or so miles into the finish together.  They scored us tied for 3rd SS & 12 overall with a time of 7:37 and change.  While Jim is without a doubt my biggest racing rival, he is also a good friend and it was nice to finish tied with him in such a hard race.”

Masters

Spaulding repeats at Wilderness

Masters: 1st- Russell Spaulding, 2nd-Tom Stritzinger, 3rd- Roger Masse, 4th- Jim Matthews, 5th-Bruce Stauffer

Last years race winner, Russell Spaulding (TFM Racing), repeats again this year coming in at 8:09:12. Spaulding is currently in second for the overall series standings.

“I really didn’t know what to expect this time around at Wilderness. I have been racing hundreds every two or three weeks since Mohican in June. The “Double Hundred” (Miles & Heat) out in South Dakota really left me in a bit of a fog before this race.

After the neutral roll out I found myself stepping out in front of the lead pack on the initial climb. This ended up being my only real contribution to the pack behind me, because I ended up startling a family of deer that ended up crossing the road just ahead of the pack. So you see, that’s really why I was out front on the first part of the climb. Just trying to protect the deer / mountain biker relationship!

Halfway up the climb the lead pack caught me, and I just tucked myself right in behind one of the stronger riders and held on for the top. Once we hit the top the lead pack just cruised along like it was some Sunday ride. I’m tucked in behind a rider just cruising along, and I happen to notice that the entire pack was being led by two single speeders. It’s like all the geared riders are sitting on the couch eating chips, while someone else is doing all the vacuuming!

After aid two the master’s race was just starting to take shape. Johnston was within view up ahead of myself and Masse. The further we got into this race, I realized two things. One, the mountain bike Gods had selected me as part of their amusement during this race. I ended up on the ground a little bit more than I would have liked. Someday I hope to be a real mountain biker! Two, my legs were cramping way too early in this race.

Masse eventually ended up leaving us all behind to fend for ourselves. I was just trying to stay in the mix, and work through the cramping in my legs. By aid three I was hoping for some instant relief for my legs in the form of pickle juice or yellow mustard.  Neither were to be found, but fortunately there were some Endurolytes available.

At the bottom of the first downhill after aid three I ended up passing Masse. The rocks in Pennsylvania are just plain mean, and he was working on one of his tires. When I reached the off camber, rocky as hell “No Name” trail I ended up making another mistake and ended up on my back below the trail. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my legs had not immediately seized up. Man that’s painful! By the time I got back up on the trail Stritzinger comes screaming by me to take the lead before we reach aid four.

Aid four is grilling hot dogs! Can you believe it? Bottles of fancy mustard on the table! I pretty much drained one of those fancy mustard bottles before hitting the climb after aid four.

I would assume that most racers despise the climb after aid four, but for some reason I really start to come alive in the last third of a race. My legs were becoming less of an issue. The temperature was heating up, and the climb was taking me into my Zen zone.

Turns out I ended up catching Stritzinger just before the last climb of the race. I knew there were two major climbs after the aid four climb, but there are also a couple of smaller climbs within that mix so I wasn’t sure what lay ahead for both of us.

In the end I got to ride with some very talented riders. I’m grateful, and lucky to have had such an awesome experience. Congratulations to Tom Stritzinger and Roger Masse on their amazing finishes, and a special shout out to John Friel. Way to tough it out John!

Thanks to TFM Racing, G-Assist, Valor House, and Tried and True for sponsoring me this season.

Special thanks to Chris Scott, his crew, and all the volunteers that made the Wilderness 101 such an amazing experience. To the crew at aid four that decided to grill hot dogs. Thank you. That was a most excellent decision!”

Three minutes back, Tom Stritzinger finished strong for second place at 8:12:41.

” I was having a strong race until just before the last climb with about 5 miles to go.  Then Russell Spaulding catches me from behind.  He says “hello” then drops me like a bad habit.  If he used Strava, I am guessing that he would have been the KOM of the day for that last climb!  I really enjoyed the first 18 miles where it was like a Sunday morning ride with what seemed like the entire race field riding together, chatting and going at friendly pace.  I never see Jeremiah Bishop, Christian Tanguy, Brian Schworm and Dylan Johnson after the opening gun and until the finish.  It was unreal to still be riding with and chatting with these guys through the first 18 miles!  The course had everything:  gnarly single track, two track, gravel, long tough climbs, and a tunnel that was very dark and a bit scary as it was strewn with rocks!  Overall, a great venue, phenomenal volunteers, some serious mtn. bike riders and a fun time for all.  Wilderness 101 is one of my favorite races in the NUE series so far this year.  I hope to be back again next year.”

Rounding out the podium and taking third, Roger Masse (Stokesville, Shenandoah), finished in 8:17:38.

Click here for full results

Click here for event photos (by Bryan Lewis of Cutaway USA)

What’s next on the NUE Epic and Marathon Series? NUE Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY on August 4th, 2018. Click here for info on Pierre’s Hole.

NUE Wilderness 101 Marathon

Written by: @JenToops

Photos by: Bryan Lewis

The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack.  This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph

Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day!  Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.

Men’s Open

Petrylak gets FIRST NUE marathon win

Men’s Open- 1st-John Petrylak, 2nd-Dereck Treadwell, 3rd-Chris Shannon, 4th-Tyler Weston, 5th-Chris Tries

Taking the top step in the open men’s marathon race was, John Petrylak (Bike Factory/Norco Bicycles/Esi Grips), with a winning time of 5:01:38.  With this win, Petrylak now leads the NUE marathon open men’s division.

“After several days of heavy rain the clouds parted and the sun came out for race day at the Wilderness 101/101K!

On the first climb less than 5 minutes into the race Chris Shannon went mid-evil on the opening climb! This quickly dissolved the front group down from 6 riders down to 4 and eventually to just Dereck Treadwell and I chasing Chris to close the gap. Chris had a significant gap as he went over the top of the climb.
Dereck and I put in some big efforts and took some chances on the descent to close the gap. At last we all came back together at the bottom of the mountain; we were now a group of 3!
We worked very well together on the 27 miles of gravel through AS1 (27 miles in). After the aid station a long climb began to test out our group; Dereck Treadwell started up the climb at a serious pace. The elastic began to stretch and eventually it was just Dereck and I as we crest the top of long gravel ascent. We shortly entered the first piece of typical rocky single track together.
I was very comfortable in the technical stretches of trail and got around Dereck and just started having fun!
I was having so much fun I was able to get a little gap between myself and Dereck. Still feeling well I went for it solo for the last 35 miles. My risky plan worked as I was able to hold a few minutes on Dereck and Chris Shannon. At just a few seconds past 5 hours I was able to get my first NUE marathon series win!!!!!
Thanks to; Bike Factory Charlottesville, Norco Bikes, Athlos Sports, ESI grips, Carbo Rocket and Ride100%. “

About seven minutes back, Dereck Treadwell (Dr. Naylor, Treadwell Training, Kona), took second place in a time of 5:08:41.

Chris Shannon (Think Green, Bicycle Face), who set a blistering pace on the opening climb, claimed third place with a time of 5:19:25.

Women’s Open

Blanchard gets the top step

Women’s Open: 1st-Bryna Blanchard, 2nd-Jen Toops, 3rd-Olivia Shannon, 4th-Marilyn Rayner, 5th-Kayla Randolph

After finishing second at NUE Iron Mountain and NUE Mohican, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing), claims the top step in a time of 6:17:09.

“I finally got to put 2 hands in the air standing on the box this past weekend at the Wilderness 101 NUE marathon race. Every race is a learning experience and I tried to apply some new strategies based on past mistakes. Apparently the marathon distance is a bit subjective and open to race promotor’s interpretation. The Wilderness 101 inaugural “short” course was the longest single day mountain bike race I have completed. The distance concerned me based on my past two NUE performances, or lack there of, loosing a position in the final miles of racing. This time a few small changes in nutrition and pacing may have made a difference, by less than 1 minute over Jennifer Toops after 6+ hours of racing. The competition was tight as Jen attacked and disappeared up the first climb. With heavy legs I had to let her go, I needed to pace myself and hope my legs would open up. I rode next to Lara Richardson up the initial road climb and settled into my own pace, reminding myself of my goal to avoid the big slow down at the end. I knew I felt a bit overtrained going into this race and I had no idea how my body would react to another long hard day on the bike. During the first 20+ miles of dirt roads I found myself riding mostly alone, testing my legs and spinning out the lead at my own pace. Once I hit the first section of rocky slippery single track I felt good and happy to be riding the sweet familiar trails of central PA. At the end of each single track section I found myself wishing for more, even after sliding off the edge of No Name and landing 20 feet down the steep left bank. Luckily my bike landed on me instead of rocks and a very kind racer who witnessed the crash from behind offered to help me climb back up onto the trail. I’ve been down that trail many times with never a clean run, maybe next time. Despite the crash I felt my confidence increasing on the downhills and I was somehow able to stay ahead of Jen who is a mad descender. A few small mistakes at the end cost me some time, including an unnecessary water stop at the final aid station as a drank none of that bottle, missing a turn, and hitting a rock in the second less dark tunnel. Once again, live and learn, and improve for next time which may have to be the final NUE race at Big Bear Lake. Originally I was planning on completing just 4 races in the series but this is too much fun and I don’t feel like I’m done. I’m feeling very happy and satisfied with this win. Thanks again to the promotors, volunteers, fellow racers and friends for making these experiences possible and awesome. Thanks as always to Barker Mountain Bikes, team BMB, for the support and encouragement. Also thank you to Thierry Blanchet, my partner in life and riding, for always supporting me, putting up with my weird food and training schedule, organizing travel, driving me around, and being genuinely more excited for my results than I am.”

Finishing only under a minute back from Blanchard, 2017 NUE Marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles), finished in 6:18:03.

“Going into wilderness I didn’t know what to expect. Word was it was mostly gravel except for about 10 miles of super rocky singletrack. I opted to ride my Pivot Les and put a little extra air pressure in my Continental cross kings for smooth sailing on those gravel roads.

The past month I spent some time out West and was feeling mentally refreshed. I was ready to race. We had a lead out car and were let loose on the first climb. I hung on to Lara’s wheel briefly but was feeling really good. I decided to “go” for it.

After being out of view, I worked with Scott Burrill for a bit on the gravel. Knowing Bryna was a powerhouse on road I tried to keep working hard. It was the first singletrack section  that I caught sight of Bryna’s pink helmet lingering behind me. I bombed the singletrack down hill opening up another gap. Bryna again fired back and ended up passing me on a double track climb.

I tried my best to keep her in sight, but she was slowly pulling away after the second aid station.  For some reason I was having terrible heartburn. It was unbearable. I got off my bike and found some CarboRocket Rocket Lytes, praying they would help knowing they had ginger in them.

Within a half hour, I found my second wind and the hunt was on! I pushed and pushed and pushed all the way to the finish, even setting some new power records along the way. I never saw her again in the race but ended up being less than a minute back on Bryna! Congrats to Bryna on a super strong race!

Next race: Pierre’s hole in Wyoming.

Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot Cycles, CarboRocket, Ergon, Rotor, Stans, Continental, Xpedo, Honeystinger, Kasks Helmets, 100%”

Getting her first NUE podium spot, Olivia Shannon (Against the Grain Brewery), took third with a time of 6:39:31.

This race was different for me. I had raced two other NUE races and knew the competition was on a very high level. I chose to race my own race. Once I found out I was racing 75 miles instead of 63, I decided I was going to stick to my plan and focus on pacing and nutrition. That first climb quickly separated the pack. This was the toughest part of the race for me because I had to hold back so I could finish the strong. I tried to hold on to 4th place on the gravel section but was soon overtaken by three women. Knocked down and starting to get an upset stomach I came into the 1st aid station at a low point. My race changed when I finally reached the singletrack. I caught Marilyn Rayner in the first bit and soon caught up to Kayla Randolph on the next rocky section. I was shocked to see them on the trail. It lit my torch and my low point turned up quickly. After the second aid station (mile 45), I eventually passed the last female I would see the rest of the race. I crossed the finish line in third place in open women and was ecstatic. I accomplished my yearly goal of getting on the podium in an NUE series race. Thanks so much to my sponsors Against the Grain Brewery, Goose Creek Cycles, and Sword. Also a huge thanks to my husband and coach Chris Shannon of Progressive Endurance. Excited to see these ladies at Marji Gesick for the 50 miler in September!”

Singlespeed

Toops makes in three in a row

Singlespeed- 1st-Anthony Toops, 2nd-Eli Orth, 3rd-Yianni Pimenidis, 4th-Josh Kunz

Getting his third consecutive NUE singlespeed marathon win,  Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage Racing), finishing in a time of 5:36:07. With this win Toops now leads the NUE marathon singlespeed division.

“This was my first time racing wilderness and going into it I didn’t really know what to expect. I was told it was mostly gravel and some technical single-track with great climbs and fast descents. It turns out that was pretty accurate!

The race started off fairly relaxed until Josh started pushing the pace on the long first climb. My plan was to keep him in site and monitor my power so I didn’t push too hard at the start. I was able to tag on to a couple of geared racers and get pulled along, eventually catching up to Josh on the descent.

We all rode together for a while until the first singletrack section. I managed to get into there first so I upped the pace in an attempt to give myself some breathing room. The plan worked and I exited that section out of site. Eventually I was caught again by the geared racers from earlier which was a blessing! This race you definitely can benefit from a buddy, especially if you only have one gear!

The rest of the race I just tried to keep the pace high and stick with the small group. Eventually I managed to catch up to some of the 100mi single speed crew which was some much need motivation to get up those final climbs. After some rail trail soul searching and a couple dark tunnels I rolled across the line in first only a few minutes ahead of Eli Orth who was had been hunting me down.

This course can really beat you up with the rocky terrain and punishing climbs (stillhouse climb🤯). I may have to copy Jim’s ss setup for next season.  I used 32×19 gearing which worked well.

Race day was fun and the event was really well organized. Thanks to all the volunteers which were awesome and Paradise Garage for the continued support!

Next race is Pierre’s Hole in Wyoming.

Four minuts back was,  Eli Orth (Team Hungry) taking second with a time of 5:40:32.

“Wilderness was my 4th NUE marathon race of the season. Going into the race I had no idea what to expect. The marathon distance was new for Wilderness and was longer than the usual distance at 76 miles.

With the first looong climb Josh Kunz attacked it pretty hard while Anthony Toops and I hung back. Anthony then started to pull away from me on that same long fire road climb.

After the first 20 miles I settled in and started to turn it up a little more. I ended up catching up to Josh and passing him around mile 35 on a single track section. I felt like Josh would be back on my wheel at any time, so I continued to push hard hoping to also catch up to Anthony at some point, but I never did.

Overall it was a fun race with some tough climbing and some technical rocky sections. I was happy to get 2nd and improve on my 3rd place finish at Iron Mountain, and have a clean race with no mechanicals.

I ran a 34×20 gearing which I felt worked well. I was able to climb everything and still spin up and keep good speed on some flat sections.

My next NUE races will be Shenandoah and then Marji Gesick.

Sponsors/team: Team Hungry, Absolute Black”

Rounding out the podium in third place, Yianni Pimenidis finished in 6:22:04.

Masters

Clayton gets his fourth win

Masters: 1st-Jeff Clayton, 2nd- Scott Burrill, 3rd-Chris Torrance, 4th-Bruce Moore, 5th-Nate Cross

Getting his fourth NUE masters marathon win, Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neurosurgical Institute) finished in 5:44:58. Clayton now leads the series with a perfect score of 4!

“I had hoped there would be a sizable masters turnout for the marathon Wilderness race, but a few days before the race only 10 had signed up. I was glad to see Scott Burrill was one of them since he has been a great competitor. Despite the creeks and low lying areas being inundated by runoff from the recent heavy rain most of the trails and roads I was able to preride were in pretty good condition. I expected a pretty tame first hour or so of racing based on my last time at wilderness in 2016, but an immediate solo attack and subsequent response by a few of the fastest guys made for a quick splitting of the group. I stayed in contact with the leaders for awhile but had to back off when the road kicked up even more. A short while later the usual single speeders came cruising by, led by Anthony Toops. The good news was Scott was not tagging along with them. I settled into my anaerobic threshold pace and enjoyed the scenery, especially on the descents. Sooner than I expected the course merged with the epic course and I immediately started passing riders…a nice morale booster! Even though I’m not a great rock garden rider, I enjoyed the challenge of the sass and sasspig trails and did my best to stay on the wheel of Scott Mormon and another guy when they passed me. The subsequent road climb and climb/descent of beautiful/no name trails went well enough and I anticipated picking off more riders on the long climb up  still house hollow rd. It shouldn’t have surprised me to see Eli Orth grinding up the road right behind me…he is a singlespeeder who I usually end up riding with a bunch in races. We passed Chris Tries near the top and Eli pulled away never to be seen again. I gapped Chris for awhile, but on the flat rail trail section he motored up to me even though I was hammering in my 34-9 gear. We chatted a bit and he slowly pulled away on the last significant road climb of the day. From there it was awful hike a bike, lots of muddy puddles, pedestrian avoidance, scary tunnels and on to the finish. I enjoyed racing the marathon distance this year, especially since it meant doing a couple of really fun marathon distance only races. Thanks to the race promoters, volunteers, fellow competitors, and especially my wife Jodi, who is so supportive of my racing escapades.”

Scott Burrill (Bikeman.com) took second with a time of 6:45:07 and Chris Torrance rounded out the podium in third finishing in 7:04:18.

Click here for full results.

Click here for event photos (by Bryan Lewis of Cutaway USA)

What’s next on the NUE Epic and Marathon Series? NUE Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY on August 4th, 2018. Click here for info on Pierre’s Hole.