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.

Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge

Anthony and Daigle Conquer Carrabassett

Written by: Ryan O’Dell

Located in the beautiful Carrabassett Valley of Northern Maine at Sugar Loaf Ski Area, The eighth annual (CBCC) Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge 100k joined the NUE Marathon Series in 2017 witnessing tremendous growth. According to race director, Warren Gerow, “the event has evolved a lot since 2011 when the 100k was a two lap course that was stitched together with mostly old single-track and double track. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the past few years; 2015 187 people registered online, this year, the race has grown to about 500 racers.” In addition to the NUE 100k distance, CBCC also includes shorter distances of 50k and 25k plus kids races.

During the past seven years, approximately $750,000 has been spent 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 eighty 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. Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.

 

Women’s Open

Anthony Wins!

Crystal Anthony, Liv Cycling, won the Women’s race finishing in 5:44:59, her first NUE win of the season!

Following her second place finish at Cohutta and her first NUE win at the Mohican 100k this spring, Lara Richards, Little Fire Cycles, finishes second in 6:11:19. “This year has been a great year of racing for me. I have really enjoyed doing the NUE series. It seems that every race the weather has been wonderful and each location seems to be more beautiful than the last.

However, since having to DNF due to a mechanical at Damascus, I was definitely not going into the Carrabassett Challenge with much confidence.  And after the 20 hour drive from Georgia to Maine, I was contented with just enjoying my race, doing my best and finishing where I may.

Bacon with chocolate drizzle to power riders on course.

At the start of the race Kaitlyn and Crystal both took off fast and I thought I was sure not to see either of them again. I was not too far along when Bryna passed me strong on a climb of rocky switch backs putting me in 4th. I was able to keep her in my vision for the first 18 miles or so and was able to pass her, while charging down a steep downhill. But not for long, she passed me back soon after and this time I was not able to keep up.

At this point I found myself riding with the same group for several miles. I road chill and paced myself accordingly. I did not think I would make it onto the podium. But even still I was having a crazy fun time on the trails and the ever changing terrain. Even if I finished last, I would not have regretted this race at all.

The Carrabassett Maine trails offered a more challenging course than I expected and kept me engaged throughout. I enjoyed the twisty sections, moving in out of the rocks. I enjoyed getting to ride up the Widowmaker to and through the ski resort. There were longer and steeper climbs than I anticipated. The downhills were also a blast and so much of the single trek was fast, fun, and flowy.

I was picking up speed in a level area of single trek, just enjoying my ride, when I noticed a female rider ahead of me. I could not believe it!  I told the male rider just in front, “to the left”.  I was going to catch my competition. At that point, the race became a race to me again.  I was off and was able to catch and pass Kaitlyn before exiting that section of single track but I knew I had to keep pushing. I could tell she was a strong rider and knew if I slacked off at all she would be right on top of me. I think I was able to put a little distance between us after a long climb through a clearing.

After this came Birthday Hill which I bombed down fast as I could and it was here I unknowingly passed Bryna as well. She road in behind me from the aid station from on top of the hill. I only noticed her as we exited on to the gravel. She got in front of me at the u-turn and, from there, we road together for many miles passing each other now and then. I still, at this point, thought she would get away from me before the race was over and I would finish third but I was able to break from her after a short stretch of gravel and then the last climb of single track switchbacks. It was hard for me to keep a decent pace at this point, I was getting very tired and was waiting for her sneak behind me. I gained some speed on some fun downhill which was a nice break and helped push to finish the race and take the second spot.

I did not see Cathryn at all during the entire race and I am proud to finish second to someone so strong. I am also grateful to be able to race with such amazing female athletes as Bryna and Kaitlyn.

NEMBA and the volunteers did a terrific job setting up this race.  Many thanks to Little Fire Cycles and Adventure Cycles for making sure my bike and wheels are race worthy and Rhinohead for my awesome gloves. See everyone soon at the next NUE race!”

Four minutes later, last year’s race winner, Bryna Blanchard, BMB Racing, was third at 6:15:06. Blanchard is a top contender for the NUE Marathon Series title with second place finishes at both Mohican and Iron Mountain this year. “Another fantastic NUE race happened last Saturday, this time in the Carrabassett Valley wilderness of Maine. The weather and trail conditions were perfect, much different from last year’s mud and pouring rain on the start line. The level of competition had also taken a step up from last year.

Two very accomplished women from the west coast, Crystal Anthony and Kaitlyn Boyle, pushed the pace from the start. I love racing this course, the constantly changing terrain, long climbs and descents keep me engaged and distracts from the exhausting number of hours it takes to complete. I raced hard and felt good, passing Kaitlyn on the long exposed midpoint climb to move myself into second. Super strong Lara Richards and I rode together on and off, trading places back and forth for much of the race until she dropped me for good and rode away on the final long double track climb. The highlight of my race was riding with Lara, trying to capitalize on my strengths and minimize my weaknesses to stay ahead or in contact with her. Not sure if I went out too hard or didn’t fuel properly but the last five miles were absolute survival, suffering and going nowhere fast.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with finishing third in such a strong field of women. While my good friend and world class racer Crystal easily took the win, less than eight minutes separated 2nd through 4th place. At the end, I was spent, all my strength, mental focus, and strategizing was left out on the course. Every race is a learning experience and I have two weeks to makes some tweaks and prepare to the next one in PA. This was my most challenging day on the bike so far this year, and quite possibly the most fun!”

 

Men’s Open

2018 Marc-André Daigle wins, setting a new course record!

37-year-old Marc-André Daigle, Garneau/Pivot Cycles OTE Canada, was first overall, earning his first NUE win completing the 100k course in 4:54:15, setting a new course record, the first racer to finish sub five hours!

Custom syrup bottles for race finishers!

Four minutes back, Mathieu Belanger-Barrette, Pivot Cycles OTE Canada, gets second at 4:58:03. “I wasn’t expecting such a fast start especially knowing that we were about to shred singletrack for 5+ hours. The pace was sustained and even exaggerated for a while and we finally got settled around km 60. Marc-André and I were in front and we couldn’t see the chase group. I was starting to see double when Marco pulled a big attack. It was way too much to handle. As I tried to catch him back, I clipped my pedal on a hidden rock and crashed quite hard on my ribs.

I was able to keep my second place untouched even though I slowed down quite seriously after the crash. The course was insanely good, not too much climbing but a lot of technical section to distance the riders.”

Two minutes later, 2017 Race Winner, Andy Scott, Riverside Racing, took third at 5:00:08, sixteen minutes faster than last year.

 

Singlespeed

2018 Kramer wins the SS Race!

Shane Kramer, Placid Planet/Barkeater Trail, won the Single Speed race to finish 5:35:29. “After hearing several of my friends talk about how great the riding was in Carrabassett Valley, I knew I had to add this race to my calendar. I’ve always been a slow starter and showing up to the line late didn’t help me any this past weekend. I was probably in 100th place leaving the start and maybe 80th by the time we hit the tight singletrack. Patience was the name of the game while I waited for every opportunity to pass. As we got to the condos on Sugarloaf I heard someone counting off riders as we went by “…48, 49, 50…” making up ground but still a long way to go. I finally caught up to a group with Peter Bradshaw and Matt Sousa just after the 1st aid station on the climb up Buckshot.

I was racing on a borrowed frame from Solace Cycles that I just built up on Wednesday before the race. The frame fit and rode great but didn’t have any water bottle mounts. I don’t like riding with a hydration pack so I only had one water bottle in a fanny pack. This meant I had to stop and fill bottles at every aid station. Not the best race tactic.

I yo-yoed for quite a while with Peter and Matt. Matt told me that Doug Thorp was still up ahead somewhere. I don’t know Doug but heard he was a strong racer and figured he had 1st place already wrapped up. So, after finally getting a gap from Matt and Peter, I was pretty surprised to come up behind Doug a couple of miles before the 3rd aid station. I made a pass but he passed me back as I stopped to fill my only water bottle. I caught and passed him again on the fast gravel out and back section. I think mainly because I was pushing a bigger gear, 34×19. This section also allowed me to see that Peter and Matt were still right there. So, although, my legs were showing signs of cramping I tried to keep the pace up and decided to skip the water refill at the last aid station and push through to the finish. I’m so stoked to come away with a win at such a great event.

Four minutes later, Peter Bradshaw, Mad Alchemy/Zanconato, took second at 5:39:28. “Start was quick into singletrack and super fun. Lots of people but it moved well. Weather was cool and just got a few sprinkles right as we got going. Doug seemed to have a great start and was well ahead. I was riding just behind Sousa for the open miles through all the fun stuff. Once the race opened up to the gravel climbs we were joined by Shane and a bunch of people from other categories. We kept a pretty large group until maybe halfway up the large climb in the middle of the race and Shane rode away.  Sousa and I rallied pretty well to the top but split. I connected with another rider and he pulled me along for a long way along a great river trail. I saw Doug and Shane riding together at the turn around, then later caught Doug and tried to chase down Shane but he was flying. Fun day, singletrack we rode looked great, monster climbs, sketchy skimobile descents, and a river crossing! Gearing was 30×18 and I was pretty happy with that.”

Three minutes later, Doug Thorp, Colonial Bicycle Company, finished third at 5:42:21. “To fully understand why I ended up on the podium you need to understand two things; I’m addicted to cycling and I’m broke. This was my second NUE single speed race, and truly my third SS marathon mountain bike race ever. My journey began in Pisgah in April where I was JRA and ended up bashing my carbon wheel and squishy bike just days before Big Frog for which my girlfriend was registered and I was still only toying with the idea. With my squishy bike in the emergency ward, I only had one option. I had to race my cobbled together SS which was an old On-One 456 26” setup like a dirt jumper. So with the option to race Open off the table I was more inclined to race but still unsure if I was up to the task of slogging for 65 miles in Tennessee. I did some reconnaissance the day before with a few friends who had flown in for the race and felt it was within my ability to finish. The race started slow and ended well with me getting stronger throughout and moving from 13th to 7th in the last 10 miles. I ended up losing a sprint for 6th, but was elated that my first marathon SS race went so well. The only question I had was could I do better? I was hooked.

Brimming with confidence I registered for my local race the Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge knowing full well that this race was full of both Backcountry and challenges. My race morning got a little thrown off since I had forgotten my 2toms chamois sheets; I was desperately searching for anything that would keep me from destroying my undercarriage. I found my Shimano bleed kit in my trunk and slathered on some green mineral oil and was hoping for the best. I rolled up to the starting line late and found a friend that let me squeeze in. He told me he just applied his own sheet, and was worried his hands were now too slippery to hold his bars. “5 minutes to start.” ~Announcer. I sprinted over to his car and went full sloppy seconds on his 2toms sheet, rolled back to the start line at peace and waited for the gun. Right there my race was saved.

“Bang” we were off! The first couple turns are important at every race but hitting that single track before the rest can save you minutes in the overall. I fell back to somewhere in the high 30s or low 40s before making it to the first real climb. After the first 10 miles I was only 6 minutes back on the open leaders. I was feeling great and kept just spinning up the climbs and letting her buck on the descents. I was sitting in the 20s overall and was really feeling the flow.

Across the 30k mark at the aid station I was told I was in the lead just before heading out on the 5 mile climb. I felt strong and was forcing myself to keep up on my nutrition. Greg Jancitis who was recovering from an early mechanical went by me on a power section like a freight train. I was baffled by his speed; he was kind enough to let me know I had a solid lead over the next single speeder. Little did he know I was four miles away from the “Lake Placid Kid” (aka Shane) from blowing my doors off.

The course had some great water crossings and the last one had an un-rideable log at the top of the bank which was about 4 feet wide. Looking back and watching four riders hurdle the log and seeing the absence of a rear derailleur on one was disheartening. It was now a race or so I thought at the time. Shane and I rode together for the next few miles until I went past him at the aid station. Shane quickly filled a bottle and gave chase. The best and worst part of this course is around mile 44. It’s an out and back power section on a dirt road, where you can see 5 minutes ahead and 5 minutes behind you. As I found out the hard way my cadence of 120 couldn’t match the gearing and legs of Shane. I then was doing damage control wondering if all these other hammerheads that saw me spinning my wee little legs could see how much I was hurting. Turns out one other did and also had the legs and will to do something about it. Bradshaw caught me after mile 50, somewhere in the willywacks on some OG single track. For the most part I kept up to him, until I didn’t.

I had one last trick up my sleeve, a trail called Crommet’s which is a half an hour climb at mile 60 (Yeah, 60! If you’re quick at math you’ll realize this was not as billed; a 100k.) I kept going the best I could with will and legs starting to fade I finally hit the last aid station just before the climb and started pushing my way by the masters racers up Crommet’s. At the top I was truly hurting with my stomach turning sour, my Garmin reading 65 and my legs all but spent. Heading down Oak Knoll, a heavily armored trail which I did my best to vibrate my way down, I didn’t manage to catch Bradshaw and believe he stayed strong. The last piece of this course has you cross the mighty Carrabassett River via a small footbridge. However this year’s big spring storms took it out and we were forced to ford the Carrabassett on foot. Running with my bike in knee deep cold river water was the highlight of the day. I finished better than I could have hoped and raced my hardest with limited mental mistakes.

If you’re not from around here and want to disprove the local colonialism “You can’t get there from here.” Mark your calendars for the hardest NUE in the Northeast.

 

Masters 50+

Golet gets his first NUE Win of the 2018 Season!  

NUE Epic Series Champion, Greg Golet, Team Chico, earned his first win of the season now competing in the NUE Marathon Series.  Golet completed the 100k course in 5:34:26. “This trip was a homecoming of sorts for me having spent many of my vacations as a kid alpine skiing at Sugarloaf and hiking in the Bigelows. And with my mom still living on nearby Eustis ridge, the race was the perfect excuse for a visit. The plan also made sense for my brother and best childhood friend who came from Alaska and Colorado.

I’m terrible at pack starts and group riding in general, and had a pretty bad start jamming a stick in my derailleur trying to pass in a brushy area, and otherwise wasting energy being spastic when I should have just been patient and waited for the course to open up. On the first sustained climb I got past my friend/rival Jeff who I’ve battled with the last couple years in the Epic series.

After traversing the resort we hit a section of steep narrow trail where a wrong line choice sent me flying over the bars. My bike cartwheeled, but somehow I landed on my feet. With no apparent bike issues or injuries I was able to ride on.

All day I was blown away by the varied terrain and trail conditions. Coming from dry California, it felt so good to ride in the moist forests.

On the out and back I saw Jeff was riding fast with a group just a few minutes back, and so kept pushing, skipping aid stops even though I was low on water and out of food, but then wondering if the little bits of time I saved would be lost from slowing down if my intermittent leg cramps worsened, which didn’t seem unlikely given how dehydrated I was.

But on the last long climb I felt good, and the oak knoll descent was pure joy. However, at the bottom I relaxed too soon and went off course. Luckily a guy not far behind me figured it out quickly and soon we were back on track.

Before the race started, the guy who set up the course welcomed us there “as family”. That resonated with me, and I felt lucky to have so many friends and family there to share the experience with. Maine rocks, and it’s awesome to see such a vibrant and quality mountain bike  scene developing in Carrabassett Valley.

Next up Pierre’s Hole!

Three minutes later, 2016 NUE Epic Series Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, now competing for the NUE Marathon Series title, finished second at 5:37:21. “My wife Jodi and I arrived at Carrabassett Valley on Thursday afternoon after several days of spirited hiking in Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia and Acadia NP. I was looking forward to riding some rugged trails, but unsure how my tired legs would do. My potent rival, Scott Burrill, graciously offered to share his slope side condo minutes from the race start….it is not at all unusual in mountain bike racing for the fiercest competitors to become great friends.

On Friday morning race director, Warren Gerow, gave Scott and me a riding tour of some of the course, which was very helpful because it covered some of the more technical single track and sketchy “rake and ride” sections. Race start was pretty typical sprint for the trail, with the usual silly risk taking for very little gain. Not wanting an early crash or quick burn out, I was content to settle in behind the large front pack.

About 15 minutes in, Greg Golet came cruising by and I got on his wheel. I managed to stay on his wheel for about 15 minutes while he passed several riders. Just after we passed Scott, Greg kicked the pace up, I fell off and Scott passed me back. For the next couple of hours I plugged away, my technical riding getting more comfortable and pushing a big gear on every road climb.

I finally caught Scott on the Esker trail but he was having none of that and gunned it dropping all but a few of a train on riders I’d brought up. Barely hanging on through the poplar stream trail, I knew I needed to drop him (and have any chance of catching Greg) on the road and/or Crommets trail after aid 4. I was never sure I had dropped him because I was passing many of the 50k racers and it was hard to see who was behind.

The lady who let me know five miles to go put a smile on my face, and I made sure to have fun but be cautious on the switchback descent to the narrow gauge trail. From there it was a nice cool river crossing and hammer up the final single track, never giving up hope of catching Greg. I really enjoyed the race and appreciate the effort and hospitality of the CRNEMBA crew and my new Mainiac friends.”

Seven minutes later, NUE Marathon Series defending champion, Scott Burrill, Bikeman.com, finished third in 5:44:25. “This was my fifth or sixth time riding the Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge and by far the best. The race organizers really nailed it this year and we were graced with perfect racing weather and trail conditions!

Coming into the race after two weeks of nursing a summer cold, my strategy was to go in slow and steady and to keep an eye on Jeff Clayton. The first 20 miles or so went well. I got ahead of Jeff after the first gnarly downhill from West Mountain. I knew, though, that he’s a steam roller and gets faster as the race goes along.

Through aid 2 I saw no sign of him and kept on trucking up the notorious 4 mile dirt road climb.  When I made the turn onto the Esker trail I was feeling good and maintained a fast steady pace toward aid 3 at “Birthday Hill”.  Looking over my shoulder on a long power line stretch, I saw no one behind and felt fairly secure; surely I had a big lead on him by now? Nevertheless, a couple miles later, a group caught me including Jeff; so much for the gap. We left aid 3 together and headed out.

The group worked together on the out and back and then into the “Sticky Trail”, a technical stretch of ST I know well. I led the group and we whittled it down to three quickly. Unfortunately, I blew a lot of energy in there and felt it climbing to the Poplar Hut. I followed Jeff and another racer into aid 4 feeling pretty blown and knowing I had the very long climb up “Crommets” to the Stratton Hut area. Sure enough, I had no gas going up and watched as the two rode away from me, so, another lesson in the never ending course of XXCM racing.

The race was blast with fantastic competition, amazing turnout, stellar management and killer conditions! The aid station crews were, as always, simply awesome. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!”

 

WHATS NEXT: NUE Epic Series heads to Bend, Oregon on July 21 for the High Cascades 100, a race around the volcano of Mount Bachelor. One week later, NUE Marathon and Epic Series racers will head for the challenging hills and rocks of State College, PA for the Wilderness 101.

NUE Tatanka Epic

Written by: Jen Toops

Tatanka Epic stop #5 on the 2018 NUE Race Series

On July 7, 2018, NUE racers headed to Sturgis, SD for the NUE Epic and Marathon races.  Previously a point-to-point race, the new 2018 course consisted of a loop format that started and finished in downtown Sturgis.

The start, finish and neutral aid station.  Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

The new course was made up of loops A, B, and C. Epic riders started at 7AM and completed all three loops, 90 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing. Marathon racers completed B and C loops, 40 miles and around 5,000 ft of climbing. There was also a Sprint loop that only completed the C loop.  The neutral aid station on Main Street also served as the start and finish for all races.  The volunteers helped make sure racers were safe and directed traffic at all intersections.

Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Sturgis is located in western South Dakota and is home of the world’s largest motorcycle rally.  This area is also quickly becoming popular with mountain bikers. Racers rode on parts of the Centennial trail, which is located in the Black Hills mountain range.

Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Trails winded through both prairies, cow pastures, and rocky forest single-track. Race day  conditions had temperatures pushing 100 degrees, exposed sunny climbs, fast flowing downhills, sand pits, steep switchbacks, and stunning mountainous views. Racers were also challenged with dodging the occasional fresh cow patty. There was a 50% DNF rate in the Epic race.

Men’s Open

David Krimstock WINS Epic men’s open

Men’s open podium: 1st David Krimstock, 2nd Josh Tostado, 3rd Dylan Johnson

After a long scorching hot day, David Krimstock takes the win in the men’s epic open with a time of 7:19:16.

“I was anxious and excited to race against Dylan and Josh at Tatanka. The two things on my mind going into the race were the high temps forecast and the foreign terrain. I usually get a solid preview of the course, but this time only managed to ride the final loop. I had confidence that my nutrition, namely First Endurance EFS Pro and my Pivot 429 SL would be advantages for me during the race.

Settling in as a group of two with Mark Kransz behind Dylan and Josh, we kept them in sight until we decided to work together to bring them back. Once we caught them, we rode as a group of 4 until Dylan and Josh missed a sharp left turn onto the Centennial trail. I yelled down to them, and when I saw Dylan register this, we waited for him to climb back up the road. He was unable to get Josh’s attention, so we decided to carry on.

On the single track, I felt really good following Dylan on the trail that he had ridden in the past versions of the race. After about 20 minutes, I decided I felt good enough to pick up the pace and took over the lead. Creating a gap, I felt good about my legs on the day, and my reading of the trail. As the day went on, the heat became overbearing and I was taking a refill of my 1.5 liter Camelbak vest and concentrated bottle of EFS pro, along with drinking a bottle or two of water at each aid. Climbing the pavement road at the start of lap 2, it must have been over 100 degrees. I started to unravel a bit, but carried on to the aid station at the top of a long descent. Refueling there, I started to feel the light at the end of the tunnel and the relief that always gives me in an NUE race. I focused on riding smooth, but as fast as possible- thinking mostly about the cold, air conditioned hotel room that awaited me after finishing. The final loop was an out of body experience of sorts- taking 20 minutes less than my pre ride the day before, but with the climbs seemingly dragging on forever. Crossing the finish line in first was a great feeling, but I still had a lot of concern for all the folks grinding out in the heat. It was certainly an epic day out there!

Josh Tostado. Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

Even after a wrong turn, Josh Tostado comes in second in the men’s epic open with a time of 7:41:56. After almost taking a DNF due to heat exhaustion, 2017 NUE epic champion, Dylan Johnson takes the third position with a time of 7:50:17.

Dylan Johnson. Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

Women’s Open

Conners takes second NUE win

Women’s Open podium: 1st Larissa Conners, 2nd Carey Lowery, 3rd Sonia Pond

Coming off a win at the Firecracker 50 just a couple days prior, Larissa Connors gets her second NUE win of the season coming in at 8:50:30. With this win it puts her in the lead for the series.

“That was one of the hardest days I’ve ever faced on the bike, just finishing felt like a huge victory. My body was still wrecked from racing the Firecracker 50 in Breck 2 days earlier, and the heat/humidity was a nice curve ball I did not expect even a little bit.

Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

For the first time in my ultra endurance career I let the men ride away right from the start and focused all my energy on pacing myself. Despite my best efforts to ride conservative, drink an absurd amount of GQ6 and water, and slam Clif gels every half hour I fell apart before the first lap was over and had serious doubts that I would even finish right around that strange and beautiful ravine filled with cows making birthing sounds.

On the B loop, after that damned road climb brought me to my knees, literally in that spring on the side of the road, there was a point where, convinced I had missed a turn, I stopped to play a solo game of Marco-Polo in hopes that someone would hear me and help me find the correct route. But like most of the race, my solitude rang loud and lonely in the black hills, forcing me to dig out my phone and pull up the map. Yep, all that lost elevation was correct, and just as I dreaded, I would have to climb out of this hole. Fortunately the descents on the second half of each lap were rippin’ fun, and the volunteers at the aid station on Veteran’s hill with the ice towels were like angels on both laps, taking care of my nutrition needs and helping me get my core temp back down to normal-ish.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

A front flat on the final descent of the B loop had me secretly stoked that I would get to drop out (from lack of carrying a tube, like an idiot), but with a shot of C02 the Orange Seal had me rolling again and I had no excuses to NOT start the C loop. It took literally every ounce of brainpower to get me through that last 13 miles, and I stopped more than once just to stand there in the shade of a glorious fir tree contemplating the meaning of life, if I was actually still living, and how I was going to get to the end of the race. Days later I’m still shocked I finished that race at all, but also kinda proud that despite the insane amount of pain in every corner of my body, the Felt Doctrine and I somehow stuck it out and made it to the finish, in first place of all things!”

With a time of 10:12:56, Carey Lowery rides away with second place in women’s epic.

“When I lined up at the start and the temperature was already 82 degrees, I knew I was going to be in for a beat down on the bike. After the neutral roll out, I let many a racer by on the first big climb of the day. “Slow is fast” is my mantra. Over the next 5 hours, I worked my way around the A loop. The Centennial Trail had just enough tech to keep me happy and with the beautiful vistas, I had a permagrin. After fishing out a rock that had wedged itself between my frame and chainring, I began the long arduous climb up to the BullDog aid station. At this point, I was holding second place and not knowing where third was, I did not stop to picnic. With a quick refill of my CamelBak, I was off for the blistering descent back into town. As I dropped in elevation, I felt the temperature rise; by the time I hit the hotter than Hades Gasline Trail climb, it was a real scorcher. I loved the rewarding descents of Peacekeeper and Main back into town. I stopped at my little mini oasis to wrap an ice filled pantyhose around my neck and down my jersey. I had sucked my CamelBak dry once again.

Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

The second lap, albeit shorter, was brutal. The exposed climb up Volnacker Canyon had me seeing stars. Had it not been for the melting ice in my pantyhose, I may have blown a gasket. Then onto more heinous climbing up Unnamed #1 and Unnamed #2 trails, which I quickly named Little Focker and Mother Focker. The Horse Trail was fresh 1/2 track and had it not been for the previous 60 miles, might have been a hoot to ride. Today was more like a death march: tight, off-camber, rocky, and pitchy, It took every ounce of my being to keep pushing forward. The climb up to BullDog the second time had me crying for my Mommy. I made it though, and repeated the process when I came through 3 1/2 hours ago. Heading down the steep rocky descent, I flatted. For once, I had a NASCAR-like fix and was back on the bike in 2 minutes. I went into autopilot for the remainder of this lap.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

Repeating my mini oasis stop, I was hoping that the race would be called after the second loop and I would not have to go out for the third loop. That was not the case. Having been in these low moments before, I knew it would soon pass. As I headed out for my final loop, I knew that I could not chase down Larissa; she is a beast! Not knowing where third was kept me pushing the pedals as hard as I could. As I was climbing up the Centennial Trail to the ridge, my driveside pedal was all wonky. Upon closer inspection, the aluminum insert into the carbon crankarm had come loose. Worried that I might completely lose the pedal, I babied it for the remainder of the 13 mile loop. Fortunately it held up under the stress and I was able to finish on the bike as opposed to running it in or go 1-legged.

With no expectations to finish on the podium, I was stoked with second! That was brutally fun!  Sponsors: Rescue Racing, Scott’s Bike Shop, Chamois Butt’r, Christopher Bean Coffee, Industry 9.

After winning the Tatanka Epic in 2017,  Sonia Pond comes in third place with a time of 11:12:27.

“This was my 3rd Tatanka Epic, though with the course change and heat I knew 2018 would be about finishing, ranking as my longest bike race of any discipline in addition to the massive course elevation.  The heat was already starting to build as I rolled up to the start.  The first climbs I forced myself to take it easy, allowing much of the field to pass and drop me, including many women.  I was thrilled when Chris and I settled into a rhythm together, making a few new friends during the gravel sections.  The temps were already sweltering and my mind was already wandering towards “will I be able to ride in this for 90 miles?”  A good moment to practice positive self-talk as I continued on.
Chris and I eventually parted ways around mile 35.  I saw a few MN friends again as I reached the Bulldog aide station!  The volunteers gave us encouraging words, cool drinks, and a chilled cloth for my neck.  I had been looking forward to ripping down Bulldog, and set off in pretty good spirits.  The next few hours were pretty uneventful, as I just kept moving, eating, and drinking.

Coming into town after the A-loop, I had a really hard time emotionally.  I was hot and my body was already hurting.  Perry Jewett and other friends gave me encouraging words as I cooled off, and I knew I had more in me despite wanting to stop.  Christina Spencer (a friend from MN who absolutely crushes all things bike, including a SS on this course!!) was setting off for the B-loop at the same time, so we were able to roll together.  I had no idea what was ahead.  As a part-time roadie in the summer, I thought “road section, oh yea, I can do that.”  The climb started just out of town, and did not let up for several miles.  My garmin blinked 107 degrees.  I tried to keep my heart rate in zone 3 as Christina moved ahead.  Several other cyclists had turned back and were flying back towards town, and I so wanted to join them.  My body and head felt like it had a fireball attached to it.  We finally made it to singletrack, but the sun, heat, and climbing continued.  Still no cramping so I just focused on breathing and positive self-talk.  If I could just make it to the Bulldog aide station…and I did!  The volunteers here were so, so uplifting (again!). I took the time to sit down and cool off in the shade.  This was the point when I knew I could finish.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

I set off for Bulldog #2, and clouds moved over to block the sun.  I leap-frogged with a few other racers once we crossed the highway.  A few cool raindrops fell and improved my spirits.  Rolling into town, all the volunteers clapped and smiled, and a huge party cheered as I came in!  They checked over my bike, filled up my water and food.  13 miles…I could do this.  I was set off with more cheers and an update that I had somehow moved up to 3rd place. I had serious doubts this was fact, but figured I better get moving just in case.  I saw a few more racers in here as the miles ticked by.  I resorted to pushing my bike up several climbs, but then the final 5 miles were surprisingly enjoyable.  My mind and body felt good, and I so looked forward to sharing a beer with Chris and friends!  Rolling across the finish was a thrill, perhaps my greatest cycling achievement yet.  All in all this event was top-notch.  The volunteers make Tatanka what it is, and even after all the suffering and tears, we will probably be back for more.  Next year looking forward to putting Lumberjack and Mohican on the calendar.”

Singlespeed

Shaklee repeats at Tatanka

Men’s Singlespeed: 1st Ben Shaklee, 2nd Trevor Rockwell, 3rd Kip Biese

Ben Shaklee wins the Tatanka single-speed epic for the second year in a row, coming in at 8:08:54.

“I lined up with only 2 other Single-Speeders in the Epic race; Kip Biese and Trevor Rockwell. I recognized Kip’s name from many past NUE top results, and knew this was Trevor’s home turf with a win in 2016. With the limited SS field I was also looking for good placement in the overall. Trevor and I were each on 34×20 gearing, while Kip was running 34×19.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

After the neutral roll out I settled into 5th place through the doubletrack climbing and was later passed by 2 geared riders on the flat & downhill gravel roads. At Aid 1 I was in 8th, with a quick stop to fill bottles. I blew the L hand turn into the singletrack, adding a couple minutes off course, at which point Trevor and a few other riders jumped ahead. I passed them back in the singletrack and creek crossings before making the climb to Aid 2. I passed a number of riders in the climb to Aid 2, but they were mostly Marathon racers. Trevor caught me at Aid 2 and we left together, but I dropped him in the long singletrack descent and never saw him (or Kip) again. I rode very conservatively the rest of the race to avoid overheating, not getting passed, and not really knowing who was ahead of me. I finished in just under 8:09, good for 1st SS and 5th O/A.

Next NUE race for me is High Cascades 100. Sponsors: Jack’s Bicycle (Bellingham, WA) p/b Pivot Cycles & Stan’s NoTubes.”

With a Tatanka singlespeed win in 2016, Trevor Rockwell takes second place, coming in at 8:51:53.

Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

“Overall the race was a scorcher. Temps hovered around 103.  First 20 Miles felt great climbing out of Sturgis on open roads with a breeze to keep you cool. Dropping into the Centennial Trail the heat really picked up and so did the climbing.  The first aid station saw about 10 of us trying to cool down in anyway possible. After the aid at the top of Veteren’s Peak it was a blast rocking the down the Three Sisters and Bulldog descents. The open section on the BLM land was very fast but also one of the hottest spots on course as we were exposed to the sun the entire day. I was able to ride with Ben Shaklee the eventual winner of the single speed class for most of the first lap. He open some space coming into town and I never saw him again.

Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

I suffered up the road climb with the eventual Women’s Champion, weaving all over the roadway from shoulder to shoulder just trying to get up and out of the heat!!  At this point in the race, I wrestled with the same demons that pretty much all of us did in trying to figure out weather to pull the plug of keep going. going through was seemed like the longest 13 or so miles I have ever ridden, I was able to fill my jersey with ice, bottles to and head back into town. By the time I hit town the second time, my legs had returned and off on lap 3 I went.  I was hoping to just finish at this point but coming up to the last climb, I saw Kip B. who had passed me earlier during the long Aid stop in the middle of lap 2.  I thought I might have a chance to catch him for 2nd so I rode as hard as I could up the last climb and once we hit the pavement I could see that Kip was right there. Immediately when I put a push to catch up he stood up and a boom cramps hit and it was game over for him less than a mile away from the finish. I was lucky enough to walk away with 2nd SS and 11th Overall. This course is never easy and always something to make it one of the hardest races on the NUE circuit.  Running the 34×20 gear ration was exactly right and only wished to have a little harder gear on the open fire road and gravel road sections.  Will always be back to the Black Hills for the awesome races put on out there, no matter what the forecast is, even the heat that is far to common.”

Kip Biese, gets the third podium position, missing second place by less than a minute, 8:52:48.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

Master’s 

Smith dominates the Master’s class

Master’s podium: 1st Carey Smith, 2nd Russell Spaulding, 3rd Tom Stritzinger

Cary Smith dominates the master’s class, winning with a time of 7:57:32, and taking the fourth overall position.

About an hour and a half back, Russell Spaulding takes second place, with a time of 9:27:12.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

Rounding out the master’s podium, Tom Stritzinger, came in third with a time of 9:58:54.

Photo Credit: Ryan O’dell

Final results click here

What’s next on the NUE series? Click here to register for the Epic series High Cascades 100 in Bend, OR.

NUE Tatanka Marathon

Written by: Jen Toops

Tatanka Marathon stop #5 on the 2018 NUE Race Series

On July 7, 2018, NUE racers headed to Sturgis, SD for the NUE Epic and Marathon races.  Previously a point-to-point race, the new 2018 course consisted of a loop format that started and finished in downtown Sturgis.

The start, finish and neutral aid station.  Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

The new course was made up of loops A, B, and C. Epic riders started at 7AM and completed all three loops, 90 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing. Marathon racers completed B and C loops, 40 miles and around 5,000 ft of climbing. There was also a Sprint loop that only completed the C loop.  The neutral aid station on Main Street also served as the start and finish for all races.  The volunteers helped make sure racers were safe and directed traffic at all intersections.

Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Sturgis is located in western South Dakota and is home of the world’s largest motorcycle rally.  This area is also quickly becoming popular with mountain bikers. Racers rode on parts of the Centennial trail, which is located in the Black Hills mountain range.

Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Trails winded through both prairies, cow pastures, and rocky forest single-track. Race day  conditions had temperatures pushing 100 degrees, exposed sunny climbs, fast flowy downhills, sand pits, steep switchbacks, and stunning mountainous views. Racers were also challenged with dodging the occasional fresh cow patty. There was a 50% DNF rate in the Epic race.

Men’s Open

Easton win’s men’s open

Men’s open podium: 1st Ian Easton, 2nd Ryan Aakre, 3rd Jasper Klein

Winning by only a couple minutes, Ian Easton takes the men’s open win in 3:45:34.

The crew in Sturgis really knows what they are doing. They pretty much have everything dialed from the new course to the volunteers. Who spent all day in the scorching heat stopping traffic at every intersection and getting riders whatever they needed.  Thanks to everyone who had a hand in putting on this killer event.

Sponsors: Burleigh County Bicycle Cult, Dakota Cyclery and Larsons Cyclery”

Ian Easton. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

In a close race, Ryan Aakre, hung on for second place with a time of 3:47:22. Another four minutes back, Jasper Klein came in third coming in at 3:51:22.

Jasper Klein. photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Women’s Open

Walter’s takes her first NUE win

Women’s open podium: 1st Erin Walter,  2nd Jen Toops, 3rd Michelle Stampe

Local rider, Erin Walter, won the women’s open race coming in at 4:04:14.

“First, I want to thank Cranky’s Bike Shop, located in downtown Rapid City. They always hook me up and make sure my bike is dialed and ready to go, even when I procrastinate and bring it in a half hour before they close the night before a race!

I love riding and racing in the Black Hills. We have a fun and supportive bike community, which was much needed this last weekend during the Tatanka race. With temperatures nearly 100 degrees, the conditions were brutal, but I fed off the energy of all our volunteers at aid stations and spectators along the course. THANK YOU, volunteers and race directors for the high-fives, cheering, and buckets of ice to keep us going!

Erin Walter. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

The first loop of the Marathon (loop B) follows some of my favorite sections of the Centennial Trail. I was smiling from ear to ear flying down Bulldog! Thanks to the Wednesday Night Series in Sturgis, put on by Xtreme Dakota Bicycles, I didn’t have any surprises for trail conditions or steep climbs on our second lap (Loop C). This lap was straight survival-mode for me, my goal was to keep my heart rate down and just keep pedaling! After finishing the last climb, I was just so stoked to stay on my bike and to finish the race!

Great job Epic riders! You’re all animals! Maybe I’ll join you someday…”

The 2017 NUE marathon champion, Jen Toops, came in just four minutes back at 4:08:06.

“This is my second year racing Tatanka but the race course was completely new this year. The temps were scorching again and I knew it was going to be a hot day. The marathon race started at 8 and it was already hot! A motorcycle escort took us out of town and then we were let loose on the canyon climb.
Erin and I stayed together for most of the 17 min climb out of town. Having pre-rode a bit, I knew there was more single-track climbing ahead and I slowed the pace so I didn’t burn all my matches on the first climb. On the first downhill the trail was extremely dry and loose. Before I knew it, my front end washed out on a downhill switchback and I lost sight of Erin.
Relieved when I came up on the first aid station, I filled some water and got some ice around my neck. I knew I shouldn’t be stopping at all but I needed to get my temp down. It was scorching and I didn’t dare run out of water here.

Jen Toops. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

I spent the next few hours trying to ride smooth on my Pivot Les and make up some time. Around 2.5 hrs in I started feeling great, hot, but my legs felt good. At the end of B loop I grabbed my pack from the cooler filled with ice cold CarboRocket and a few Honey Stinger gels and set out for C loop.
The beginning of C loop was exposed prairie. I focused on reeling in the next rider I could see across the prairie grass in hopes of catching the Erin. I pushed the pace on the climbs and had fun dodging cow patties and trying to stay upright in the sand mines.  The last climb was unexpectedly steep. The finish line finally came and was rewarded with a ice cold misting machine to cool down.

Thanks to my sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot cycles, Rotor, Xpedo, Ergon, Stans, Continental, Honey Stinger, Carborocket, Kasks helmets.”

About forty minutes back, Michelle Stampe, finished third in 4:48:59.

“Sponsors: Two Wheeler Dealer Cycle and Fitness in Spearfish, SD, and am a Black Hills Ridge Rider.

It was my first time riding the Centennial trail and it was ripping good fun! It’s one of the most sustained downhills in the area, and it doesn’t disappoint. I’m pretty sure race director Kevin Forrester designed and built most of the trail we rode on Saturday, and he seriously knows how to build flow trail. The Centennial takes riders up high for some amazing views and gravel/sand/dirt riding, and then descents through classic Black Hills pine forests with fast turns and well designed water bars to give riders a little lift;). Loop C took us through the prairie, and boasted an incredible view of Bear Butte. The riding on this loop was a little more technical, but the entire course was 100% ridable, which makes for an outstanding 40 miler course. I was really impressed by the riding in Sturgis.
The aid stations were staffed with amazing volunteers–everyone was quick to offer up some ice and fill up bottles. Their was even a mister at the aid station in downtown Sturgis, which was ohhhhhhsogooood. I will absolutely be back to ride the Tatanka next year, despite the weather.”

Michelle Stampe. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Singlespeed

Toops makes it two in a row

Singlespeed podium: 1st Anthony Toops, 2nd Josh Kunz, 3rd Bob Callaway

Coming off a win at the NUE Iron Mountain, Anthony Toops takes another NUE win with a time of 3:54:43. With this win, Toops and Kunz are tied for the NUE overall singlespeed division.

“Tatanka has proven to be one of the toughest races on the calendar for me and this year wasn’t any different!  The extreme temperatures made for a tough day.

Again it was an Ohio single speed showdown! On the initial road climb Josh took the front and set a tough to follow pace. I decided to go at my own pace and was about 30sec or so back going into the first single track.  Josh and I came back together on the climb up before the first major downhill and we ended up riding together into the B loop aid.  On the downhill out of the aid station I got a rear flat and had to pull over to do some repairs. Josh kept going and was out of sight. I managed to pump a little air into the tire and get back on the trail (Initially I thought the tire burped but after the race I found a cut in the tread)

Anthony Toops. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

At this point I was worried I’d never see his wheel again but I decided to squash the negative talk and push on as hard as I could. On the downhill to I90 I made contact with him again which was a huge relief.  We rode together again until the climbing started at the FT Meade trails.  Josh stopped for some water just before the climb but I didn’t need to so I went on. This was where the race started to break up a little although I never let my guard down.

Across the finish line of loop B I grabbed two bottles and asked about a pump. My tire was really low (13psi confirmed post race) and I was worried it would de-bead in some of the fast corners.  No pump was convenient so I made the call to risk it and ride on. I knew Josh wasn’t too far behind because I saw him on my way out as he was coming in to the aid station.  At this point it was all or nothing; ride fast and don’t blow that tire!  Luck was on my side and I was able to cross the line first!
Sponsors: Paradise Garage in Columbus, Ohio

Josh Kunz. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

Finishing about ten minutes back, Josh Kunz took second in 4:05:38. Bob Callaway took the third step in 4:28:25.

Master’s 

Llinares takes the top step

Master’s Podium: 1st Mark Llinares, 2nd Mike Young, 3rd Eddy Reimer

In a close race in the master’s division, Mark Llinares beats Mike Young by about three minutes, coming in at 3:50:05. Mike Young took second at 3:53:16.

“I am from Denmark, and we were visiting our family in Denver, Colorado. I wanted to do the Tatanka race, as it looked like a challenge and fitted our plans for the holiday.
From Denmark, I am used to doing mountain bike races in forests. But we have no mountains, and no rocky descents, so I was a bit apprehensive. We also never have it as hot as over here!
So the strategy was: Take it easy, drink a lot and survive! As it happens I found a good group at the front on the first climb, and managed the first descent pretty well. But towards the end of the first loop I was really feeling the heat and started losing time, especially on the descents. The second loop I went into survival mode. And what’s this with the last climb? I didn’t expect that, and I had to ride in my ‘granny’ gear.
Mentally I had this mantra going in my head on the last scorcher of a climb: “Stay on the bike, and don’t even think about walking”.
Brilliant race! I am heading back to Denmark now, where my focus is the local Hot Cup mountain bike series near Copenhagen, Denmark. Thanks to the organizers, and all you good people here in the US for this race experience!
Sponsors: Holte Mountainbike Klub, Denmark”

Eddy Reimer, rounded out the podium and took third with a time of 4:14:10.

Final results click here

What’s next on the NUE Marathon series? click here to register for the Wilderness 101k in Coburn, PA