Mohican 100 Mile

Course Records Broken at the 15th Annual Mohican Mountain Bike 100

Loudonville, OH

Written by: Ryan O’Dell & Shana Biese

Two race records were shattered at the 15th Annual Mohican 100!

Racers from across the fruited plains gathered in Loudonville located in North Central Ohio on June 3 at 7am. Prior to the start of the race, Pastor Robert Patterson of the New Hope Community Church offered a prayer for the safety of racers. New Hope Community Church was presented with a check to help launch a mentoring program designed to help lift local Loudonville area residents out of poverty.

Following the singing of the national anthem before the Loudonville war memorial in the town square where the race officially begins, and with sirens wailing, The Mohican 100 released 600+ racers out of Loudonville, up Maple Heights, and along some of the most popular single track trails Ohio has to offer on a grand single loop, 100 mile and 100k, that spans three of the four counties that make up what is locally known as “Mohican Country”. 2017 Mohican offered a cash purse of over $11,000, the largest single day cash purse in the NUE Race Series.

Mere blocks off the start of the race, a rider attempted an ill-advised pass, catching the handlebar of anther racer, going down onto the pavement, suffering a broken collar bone, abrasions to the face, and forcing both riders to drop out of the race. Both injured racers were taken for medical treatment but returned to enjoy post-race festivities at the finish line.

Jason Blodget, KTM Factory Racing, was the first racer to crest at the city limits before going on to finish second in the 100k Men’s Open. Blodget was awarded an additional $200 cash prime courtesy of the Loudonville Visitors Bureau.

As occasionally happens at Mohican throughout its fifteen year history, a course arrow sign was stolen before being reported and replaced by Mohican course proofers. In addition to signs, racers are instructed to pay close attention to orange confidence ribbons and large painted bright orange arrows on pavement sections for added direction in case signs are stolen.

About 25 miles in, a stolen sign located just before a left turn onto a bridge resulted in a second pack of race leaders along with several others who missed the left turn when they failed to notice, and consequently rolled right over, three large bright orange painted arrows on the paved road located well before and near the left turn. This would result in several lead changes, including an expanded gap for the eventual race winner and new Mohican course record holder, Jeremiah Bishop who recognized the alternate course markings, made the left turn, and increased what had been a narrow gap on the field.

Women’s Open

Williams keeps the winning streak alive scoring the second fastest time in Mohican MTB100 History!

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop, ESI grips, Maxxis tires, Ridge Supply, took first place with a time of 7:56:58. After a tough race at the Cohutta 100 in Ducktown, Tennessee, Carla recorded her second straight win. William’s time was the second fastest time ever recorded by a woman in Mohican’s 15 year history. The course record was set by NUE Series Champion, Amanda Carey, Kenda/Felt, in 2012 at 7:42:26. The closest before Williams was 7:59:34 in 2013 by NUE Series Champion, Cheryl Sornsen.

“My race went really well. I have finally found my 100 mile racing legs and instead of flying and dying like I did at Cohutta, I felt like I was able to fly for the entire race. The start at Mohican is always chaotic. There are about 700 racers in the 100 mile and 100k race starting at the same time down Main Street in Loudonville, OH. I saw a horrible crash in the first half mile that took out at least two racers on the asphalt. Then we hit the first hill and things started to spread out a little bit. I got into a good position leading the women’s field right before we entered the first singletrack section. It was so fun! The first 30ish miles are all singletrack riding through really flowy, fast trails. I had my full suspension bike with ESI grips and Maxxis Ikon tires and was just rolling through the trails behind a fast group of men.

I think there were a couple of things that made this race a lot better for me. The first was a workout my coach, Chris Beck, made me do last weekend. It was 4×45 minute intervals with 15 minutes rest. It was like doing four time trials in a row. It was hard, but it definitely gave me the confidence to keep the pace fast for the entire race without fear that I would blow up. I also brought music this time, which I don’t usually race with. I think it kept me more upbeat and I could more easily ignore how hard I was breathing/working. Lastly, Jeff and I watched some of the UCI World Cup MTB races on Redbull TV. It was pretty inspiring to see the women there racing their hearts out and, anytime I started to think about backing off the pace, I kept telling myself that none of those women would slow down and that motivated me to keep going.

Thanks so much to Ryan for organizing the race, all the volunteers at the aid stations (having pitchers of water made filling camel packs so much easier and faster!), to Back Alley Bikes for getting my bike completely repaired after I destroyed it at Pisgah, to ESI grips, Maxxis Tires, Ridge Supply Socks, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, and my coach, Chris Beck, who gives me sometimes impossible workouts but never stops challenging me to get faster and stronger.”

Rhonda Stickle, North Hub Bike Shop, was second at 8:48:12. “I started near the front to avoid crashes, and glad I did. I was riding in the same group with Carla off the start for a few kilometers until the first single track section, then I never saw her again. She was extremely strong and I’m sort of newer to 100miler MTB races and needed to focus on my own race plan.

A few kilometers before aid station #2, fellow Canadian and friend Linda Shin racing the 100km race, rode past me on a single track section and encouraged me to come along with her.
We rode together for approximately 20km sharing pulls when we could. We swapped positions several times, as we each had sections we excelled in. We worked together until shortly before our races went different ways at aid station 3.

I road alone for a good while after aid station 3 until a rail trail section where I was very lucky to earn a pull from another rider for a few kilometers, especially because I felt like I was bonking a tad. At aid station 4, I got a second wind and fueled well to have a good strong finish. I was climbing really well on many of the longer climbs in the final 1/4 of the race where many other riders seemed to be out of steam. I was happy to feel the second wind when I did and finish strong. The race plan my husband and I worked on for the 100 mile race worked really well for the day.

It was a very tough hilly race, but I enjoy climbing on my bike. A huge kudos to all the amazing volunteers! This race definitely has the most helpful volunteers! Top notch!
I’m grateful to my team “North Hub Bike Shop” out of Bolton, Ontario Canada and our team sponsors Global Precast, Greenbelt Property Management, Bolton Tire, AspenINC.ca, Ryders Eyewear, Garneau, Wolftooth Components, Giro Sports Design, ESI grips and Superfly Racing.”

Allison Arensmen, J.A. King Racing, finished third with a time of 9:10:44. Mohican was her NUE Series racing debut.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the Mohican as it was my first attempt at a 100 mile mountain bike race. I had done road and gravel races that numbered 70-100 miles before (plus a couple of 35-50 mile mountain bike races this year), but didn’t know how that would compare to the effort an ultra-endurance mountain bike race would take. It was one of the toughest mental challenges I’ve overcome yet, and the last 4 hours were full of deep soul searching, praying, and some hallucinations of small animals running down the trail. Such an epic day!

During the race I both loved it -beautiful singletrack, power-section dirt roads- and loathed it -hike a bike, not being able to fuel on extended single track sections. Towards the middle I was wondering how I was going to be able to keep sitting on the saddle for another fifty miles. The body didn’t feel 100% and I began to feel fatigue only twenty miles in, so I had to change my goals from going for a sub-8 hour day to pushing myself to not pull out of the event. I was amped (and thankful) to finish and, in just over nine hours, even make the podium! It’s great to know what I’m up against now as I prepare for my second and final NUE this season in Bailey, CO.”

Men’s Open

Bishop Wins and sets a new course record!

Jeremiah Bishop, Topeak Ergon, took the win with a time of 6:35:09 setting a new course record. Bishop’s last win at Mohican was in 2009 where he finished at 6:50:26. The previous course record was held by 2013 NUE Race Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, who won the 2012 Mohican MTB100 at 6:37:58.     

“Due to the 100k guys starting with us it made for a blazing fast start! After two hours of near cross country pace, a group of eight formed. I managed to ride a wall of climb (known to local MTBers as “Big Ass Hill”) and attacked over the top to get a gap. This test attack became a sixty mile solo time trial. I was running at my limit and fighting fatigue. The time splits to the chase group were falling making me nervous I might get caught.  I found a little left for the final four steep mile long climbs and I was digging deep but struggling to hold the pace. The Mohican 100 was a fun course with great trails, country scenery, and it is harder than anyone expects from Ohio. I was smashed at the finish but made it for a new course record for Team Topeak Ergon! I am glad to be back to the NUE series and will look forward to racing the next round in Michigan.”

Defending NUE Men’s Open Champion, Dylan Johnson, Cameron MTB, was able to come back from going off course to pull out a second place finish with a time of 6:35:09.

“The Mohican 100 is an NUE classic and one of my favorite races of the year. I knew the pace would be quick with the level of competition this year. Sure enough (OMBC Ohio Race Series Champion) Drew Purcell led the group through the opening single track at a blistering pace.

Towards the end of the single track, Jeremiah Bishop got to the front of the group and managed to ride the steep hike a bike section distancing him from the rest of us. Shortly after that the chasing group that I was with went off course and, by the time we found our way back, Bishop had put five minutes on us. Not long after that, I found myself in second place by myself with no one to share the work with to pull back Bishop.

I worked hard and managed to pull back some time but payed for it in the last hour of the race. At that point, I was no longer looking ahead to catch Bishop but looking back not to get caught by Brian Schworm. I managed to crawl to the finish line holding on to second place. I’m pleased with the result and, as always, the 2017 Mohican 100 was a stellar event with great people and an overall good time.”

Brian Schworm, Think Green-Bicycle Face p/b Sword, who finished second at Cohutta, fought back and forth with former NUE Series Champion and Mohican race winner, Christian Tanguy, during the race, but managed to achieve third place with a time of 6:59:09.

“My teammates and I went on a pre-ride on Friday evening and quickly discovered that the trails were in amazing condition. They were dry and fast! Sure enough on Saturday morning during the race we were flying through the initial singletrack due to the trail conditions and due to Drew Purcell (from the 100K) setting a blistering pace. Very quickly a lead group formed consisting of Drew, Jason Blodgett, and my teammate Drew Dillman all from the 100K, and Jeremiah Bishop, Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguy and his teammate Ron Caitlin, and myself from the 100 mile.

We rode together until the “hike-a-bike” section.  Apparently Jeremiah didn’t get the memo and rode the whole thing!  He established a gap of thirty seconds or so on the rest of us.  Unfortunately for us chasers, his gap grew after we inadvertently missed a turn. Undeterred, we continued chasing with Dylan being the primary pace setter. We continued together until aid station 2 where some racers were in and out quicker than others. This broke our group into two packs with Dylan, Christian, and Jason up front and both Drews (Dillman and Purcell), Ron, and me following soon behind. Somewhere before aid 3 the groups started to break apart; Dylan and Christian were off on their own, Dillman bridged up to Jason for a battle in the 100K, and I was left by myself with Ron and Drew Purcell close behind.

After aid station 3 and the 100K racers splitting off, I was riding in fourth position. Once we re-entered the Wilderness section, I caught Christian who was struggling with a flat tire. I was now in third with Jeremiah and Dylan many minutes in front. I hammered the rails-to-trails section but kept looking over my shoulder for Christian. He was riding strong before his flat and had me riding scared. I kept the pressure on through aid 4, the five tough climbs between aids 4 and 5, and the final singletrack section to hold on for 3rd place.

Overall I was very happy with the race and the weather turned out to be fantastic. Thanks to my team Think Green – Bicycle Face and my supportive wife Jennifer for being there for me the whole weekend. Up next is Lumberjack 100 in just a few days!”

 

 

Singlespeed

Haddock gets his second straight NUE Series WIN!

John Haddock, JA King MTB Team/Carborocket, was in full force for Mohican. He took first place with a time of 7:38:52.

“The Mohican 100 was a blast this year. I chose to run a 34/20 for my gearing for this race. The course was fast, the volunteers were awesome, and the stoke was high! I spent almost the entire day riding with friend and fellow SS competitor, Jim Litzinger at a brisk, but manageable pace.

After recovering from a wrong turn and catching a SS rider that passed us during our misadventure, we pushed on towards the finish in the company of Masters race winner, Jeff Clayton. I entered the last singletrack section first and turned it up a notch on some of the climbs. Luckily, I had enough energy left to pull away and take the win. Congrats to Jim and Matt on their awesome races and to everyone else, all the way to the last racer. The folks finishing 10+ hours after the start are just amazing. It takes a determined, tough, and dedicated person to be out on the bike for that long. Kudos to them.”

Finishing second, just a minute after Haddock was, 2016 NUE Marathon SS Champion, James Litzinger, Syndicate Cycling p/b Pro Bike + Run, with a time of 7:39:58.

“This definitely ranks as my favorite NUE 100 to date. This wasn’t my first 100 mile SS at Mohican but it was a race that included great trails, racing, and friends. The excitement of the NUE series is always high at the Mohican 100 with the 600 plus other racers lining up in downtown Loudonville. Making my way out of town I quickly found NUE series leader John Haddock. He and I spent a good amount of time together at the Cohutta race a few weeks earlier.  John is riding very well and having a great start to his season! We got out of the city limits and just tried to hold the wheels of some geared riders as they were chewing up pavement in their big gear. We weren’t trying to kill each other on the first section of road so it was a pretty nice pace continuing on the SS nightmare of a start on the gradual rolling hills.

Going into the woods I was only a few riders in front of John, so I was just trying to keep up with the mad dash of the early race adrenaline from other racers. I was pleasantly surprised to get to the short and steep campground climb with not much traffic around me. In years past this climb was clogged up and I had to get off and push. Now onto the good stuff, the 20ish miles of fast and fun single track!

I was able to keep a consistent and sustainable pace through this section of the course knowing that there was a lot of racing left. I was passed by a few anxious riders and I was able to pick off a few that were running out of gas. I was leading at this point with John still only a few riders behind. Shortly after the 1st aid station, John bridged up to me and we had a great time riding the rest of the trails leading into aid 2. At this point my strategy was to not get too aggressive, learning from my mistakes at Cohutta, and ride a more conservative approach for the finish. It seemed that John had a similar plan and it was great to have some company throughout the race. At about mile thirty we were in the early section of the roads and missed a left hand turn, going straight instead. We were soft pedaling thinking that we should have turned across the bridge but then noticed some riders were off in the distance behind us. That didn’t exactly build our confidence so we let them bridge up to us. After a short conference we all decided that we should turn back and make the left.  This turned out to be a good idea and we lost about six minutes in our detour.

After the crossing the bridge, there was a pretty big climb and John and I were able to pass a lot of the riders that made up time on us. John knew one of the riders that we passed and he asked if he noticed any SS’ers going by. He said that he only saw my friend and local SS competitor, Dahn Pahrs, who won the 100k SS and he is also from the Pittsburgh area.

One of my goals for the race was to be very consistent with my nutrition and hydration. Things were going smoothly until, at the top of a short, steep, and open gravel climb, I reached for my Hammer Electrolytes and fumbled them onto the ground spilling them in the gravel. I was faced with a tough decision at that point. If I stopped, John would surely put a gap on me and I would have to burn some matches trying to catch back up or, I can stop and try to find most of my Hammer electrolytes in the gravel. I ended up stopping and picking up each of my about 20 capsules in the gravel trying not to take too much time. I knew that if I wanted to finish the race without cramping, that the Hammer Electrolytes would be vital!  I also used the delicious and nutritious Apple, Almond, and chocolate chip hammer bars for fuel! This turned out to be a great recipe for the race and the best that I’ve ever felt in a 7+ hour race.

Now, I have to bridge back up to John! That’s hard to do on a SS alone on the roads and it’s going to take some work. I noticed my work wasn’t really paying off.  John is not visible in the rolling hills of central Ohio. Then I get to a relatively flat section of road and see Dahn Pahrs off in the distance. As I was fixed on catching up to him, I hear a freight train of geared riders coming up behind me, score! Craig Cozza Masters 100k winner, Dave Parsons, and a few others were putting in some big watts in their pulls and I was extremely excited to get onboard.  I was able do the same work and increase my speed greatly.  At this pace I thought it wouldn’t be long until I bridged back up to John.

Shortly after turning off the road and into the woods, I was able to catch back up to John again just before the split at aid station 3. From aid 3 until the rail to trail, John and I just picked distance off of the 100 mile day. It was great to have someone to ride and share stories with which makes that time and miles pass by much quicker. We were really hoping to have some geared help on the rail trail and that’s when the defending 2016 NUE 100 mile Masters series winner, Jeff Clayton caught up to us. John looked back and said, “Perfect timing!” I said, “Who is it?” When he told me it was Jeff, I knew that we would be in good shape. He really helped me out at the Lumberjack 100 last year and I knew that he was a super strong rider. Jeff pulled us the whole 10ish miles of rail trail. He pulled like one of the Clydesdale horses that we passed earlier on the course. What a monster I kept saying as John and I really had to work to hold his wheel.  Thank You Jeff Clayton and congratulations on another win!

On the rail trail, I noticed that my rear bottle cage was bouncing around a little too much because my bolts were both coming loose. I was able to hold one bottle and reach down to tighten the bolts up enough to not lose it all together. When I rolled into the aid station the amazing volunteers were asking what we needed and had water ready to go. I let them know that I needed a 4mm allen key and one of the volunteers was right on it. He saw that my cage was loose and he tightened it up for me as I got my bottles filled. I didn’t lose a second! As always, the Mohican 100 has the most helpful and best stocked aid stations in the whole series. Thank You!

Pulling out of the aid station John, Jeff, and I continued to work together.  Jeff would pull on the flats and John and I would pace the group on the hills. This worked out to be a great tactic for all of us as we separated from the rest of the competition. I knew that the race was going to be won or lost in the final four miles of single track. We both passed through the last aid station trying to get into the woods as quickly as possible. John increased the pace on the first climb and I followed.  We were now riding as hard as we did the whole race.  My breathing was good but legs were turning into cinder blocks as I tried to hold his wheel. After about three miles, John pulled out of sight and earned himself his second consecutive NUE SS win and I cruised into second place.

This race had many positives! I was able to ride with a friend and competitor, John Haddock.  My nutrition and hydration were on point. I was able to enjoy the beautiful trails and weather! I had amazing help throughout the race by the aid workers and racers! I was also surprised by my supportive wife and three boys at the finish line and we got to spend the rest of the evening eating pizza, ice cream, and S’mores around the camp fire. I even spent some time with friends around the camp fire down the road at the Mould’s cabin. We have a lot of great sponsors. My Schwalbe Thunderburts were the perfect tire on the day! They have a super-fast center tread with great side knobs that made the sweet trails beg you to go faster. The Wolftooth SS chain ring and cogs were rock solid. The Hammer products proved their weight in gold, again! Happy trails!”

Matt Crawford, UPMC/Pro Bike+ Run, finished third with a time of 7:55:05.

 

Masters 50+

Clayton leads NUE Series, raises the bar setting a Mohican course record!

Defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, showed up to Mohican ready to ride; seizing the win with a time of 7:41:56 and in the process setting a NEW COURSE RECORD set by 2012 NUE Series Champion, Ron Sanborn, Einstein Racing, of Michigan. The late Sanborn’s record held rock solid for five years at 7:43:56. In 2013, the late Alec Petro, Corner Cycle Bay Capital Management, presented the closest threat to Sanborn’s record when he won with a sub eight hour finish of 7:59:35. Interesting to note that Claytons finish was precisely two minutes faster.

“What a beautiful day for a bike ride it was! My Mohican adventure started with pre-riding the first twenty miles of singletrack on Friday; always good to see the good stuff before the race. After completely blowing up just before the start of the singletrack from going out too hard in 2015, I was very keen NOT to make that mistake again.

I’m not sure if the initial pace was slower this year or I just rode more efficiently, but I managed to enter the singletrack reasonably fresh in the lead group of 35 guys or so. I enjoyed the singletrack through aid station 1 as much as I did the previous day. The trail to aid 2 was mostly fun too, except hike a bike and horse mess mud.

Still feeling pretty good at aid 3, I decided it was time to push a little harder. I was riding with a couple other guys for a while until the trail pitched up pretty steep and I pushed hard to ride it all, getting a gap. A little while later, several miles before the rail-trail, I caught up with John Haddock and Jim Litzinger-they had passed me earlier, gone off course, and passed me again. I asked if they had switched to “social ride” mode, and Jim said “yes until you came along”. I did the geared rider thing and pulled them on the flats and gradual downhills….I was worried that a group of geared riders would pull me back on the rail trail, so I went hard in my top gear the whole way out and back. After that, John and Jim were an inspiration on the long grinding climbs and technical trails. Just before the last singletrack I waved them through…time for their showdown without my interference! The last trail section went quickly, but I was so happy to roll down the last steep hill to the Mohican campground and sprint to the finish. I don’t even ride with a watch, let alone gps, so it was a complete (pleasant) surprise when I saw 7:41 on the scoreboard! The Mohican 100 was a blast!”

Racing in just his second NUE Race Series for the 2017 season, Sten Hertsend, Carbo Rocket, took second place with a time of 8:17:48.

“The Mohican 100 was my Second NUE for the year. My first concern was the heat and humidity. Coming from Bozeman Montana where it had been snowing in town within two weeks of the race. The heat didn’t become a factor because there was plenty of shade. I lined up behind Jeff Clayton trying to give myself a chance and keep track of him. Well that lasted until we hit the dirt and he was gone. I lost track of him and didn’t see him again until I finished. I was in the second group on the road before the dirt. Some guy hit the deck from the first group and didn’t look to well as he tried to get up. I was feeling good in the first section of single track and trying to not go to hard.

After a bit I noticed Roger Masse coming up from behind. I was thinking he was in front of me. We stayed together for a while and then Roger got away, I believe it was the first hike a bike. Coming off some single track onto a road and going right, there was a left hand turn that wasn’t marked (left turn sign missing) and a group of us went straight. Just up the road one rider said he didn’t think this was the correct direction. Another rider checked his GPS and confirmed it was the wrong way; we turned back and got on course.

At this point, I was thinking Roger knew this course well and probably didn’t make the same mistake. I was wrong, Roger had missed the turn and went farther than I and now was behind me. I didn’t realize this until I saw him coming from behind. We talked about the missed turn and continued on. I was feeling OK and keeping up with my fuels and hydration. At one point I was following Roger a little to close and hit a big medium size box rock. I thought I would have had a flat but, I was fortunate and didn’t. Roger was able to pull away again at about mile 40ish.

I clipped a tree with my bar end and went down just before aid station 3. After that incident, I stopped at aid station 3 and refilled my pack and fuel. At that point, the 100 mile and 100k course split and I was on my own chasing. On the long flat section, I was able to keep a good pace while catching some riders and having one jump on and go for a ride.

Shortly after that, I noticed a rider in a black and green Jersey on a long climb. As I got closer I confirmed it was Roger. I was able to catch up and then get away.

This is my 7th NUE race and would say the best. The fact that I was racing closely against someone in my class in a race was exhilarating. In the Masters class, you are usually racing riders in another class. So this was really nice.

The finish couldn’t come quick enough. In the end I finished with-out any change in placement. This will be a race I remember for a long time. Thanks to all my fellow Masters racers for always making me ride hard and making me a better racer. Thanks to Ryan and all the Volunteers that make it happen. You all did a great job doing what you do. My next race is Tatanka, then Pierre’s Hole and Big Bear to finish off the Year. I look forward to see all the great people at these Races. Race On and Race Hard. Peace.”

Following up on a close second place finish behind the defending NUE Champion at the Cohutta 100, Two-time NUE Race Series Champion, Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling/Keswick Cycles, continues to show strength early and is clearly in the hunt that has just begun. He finishes third on the day, at 8:22:56.

WHATS NEXT?!

NUE Race Series EPIC and Marathon Series #4:

On June 17, The NUE Race Series features a double header with races in both Colorado and Michigan.

NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series #4: The (now sold out) Lumberjack 100 features a three lap all singletrack race in the Manistee Forest.

NUE Marathon Race Series #4: The (now sold out) Bailey Hundito, located in Bailey, Colorado is a 100% fundraiser for Trips for Kids and the Colorado High School Cycling League

For more information about both races, visit http://nuemtb.com/

Click Here for full results

12 Hours of Mesa Verde – Cortez, CO

The 12th Annual 12-Hours of Mesa Verde (Cortez, Colorado) welcomed perfect weather after two years of being cursed by the weather gods.  Approximately 850 racers from more than a dozen states traveled to the small town of Cortez, Colorado, on the race’s traditional Mother’s Day weekend to race the world renowned Phil’s World trail system.  Racing Mom’s were honored with a special ribbon on their bike.

Enduro racer Krista Rust was a last minute replacement for the top 3-person female team. It’s been years since she last raced XC luckily she had her 2010 26 inch Cannonade hardtail. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

For the past eleven years the race has used the same course, however this year the course was altered, and lengthened, due to some land ownership issues.  The new course eliminated some techy, rocky sections and added some fast, flowy sections that kept racers full throttle for the duration of the 18-mile course.

In the Men’s Solo race Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Shimano/Maxxis) led from start to finish, but not without some pressure from Christoph Heinrich (Kuhl).  In the end, Tostado completed 8 laps in a time of 11:29:06.  Heinrich also completed 8 laps with a time of 11:44:28.

Josh Tostado gets some air on his way to a solo win. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

The Women’s Solo race was dominated by Shirley Leydsman (Team Red Rock).  Leydsman, a former triathlete and road cyclist, changed her focus to mountain biking in 2016 at the age of 45.  Leydsman simple goal of enjoying riding her bike all day helped her capture a convincing win at her first attempt at 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  She completed 7 laps in 11:35:56.  Her closes competitior was Sara Sheets (Oskar Blues) who also completed 7 laps in 12:02:22.

Bettina Mills, racing in the 3-4 person Co-Ed category posted the fastest women’s lap with a 1:21:39 and Nick Gould (OG’s) put down the fastest men’s lap (1:12:39) helping his team secure 2nd place in the Men’s 3-4 person category.

Shirley Leydsman has been chewing up the competition this season. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

After the race, athletes were treated to a huge pasta dinner hosted by local restaurant, Lotsa Pasta and a free beer along with a raffle and awards for all categories.

Not only does 12 Hours of Mesa Verde offer up a great day of epic racing, proceeds of the event go to support Cortez’s at-risk youth.  In 2016 $55,100 was donated to this great cause.  The race board hopes that this years great turn out will increase that amount!

Click Here for full results from all categories 

Jen Hanks enjoys some airtime on her way to a win in the 2-person female event. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

Tinker Classic – Beatty, NV

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Saturday morning, riders lined up to take on the Tinker Classic. The first-year event located two hours north of Las Vegas, in Beatty, Nevada, welcomed it’s first 100 racers brave enough to tackle the 60 or 100 kilometer distances.

Riders would be taking on the challenge of conquering the desert conditions while being treated to a tour of western history including the ghost town of Rhyolite, abandoned mines, narrow-gauge railroad tracts, and more wild burros than they could count.

Las Vegas rider Jake Billings crest the first major climb of the day. Photo by: Matt Ohran

The Tinker Classic is a point-to-point style event that starts in Beatty and ends at the desert oasis of Spicer Ranch where finishers would be treated to free music, beer, and tacos while reliving the challenges of the day.

Temperatures were already warm when the race started at 7:00 AM. As the leaders sprinted out of town on the day’s opening climb a herd of burros immediately buzzed the front group just as the sun broke over the hills.

Riders started on a long, 6-mile climb to the day’s highpoint of 4,600 feet.

Tinker Juarez prepares for the start. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

The race’s namesake, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), took up the lead, charging through a 20-30 mph headwind. Juarez was joined by Evan Plews (Ridge Cyclesport) and singlespeeder Steven Mills (New West Medical).

As the opening road kicked up Mills dropped off as his single gear became harder to turn over.

Juarez and Plews carried on, cresting the next steepest climb of the day and descending the rubble-strewn Silica Mine road. A steep, boulder-filled mining road, Silica Mine road is the most difficult section of the Tinker Classic and the one that prevents riders from choosing a cyclocross bike for the otherwise gravel-grinder-type course. Even with fat tires Silica Mine produced many flats and even more crashes as riders navigated through the jumble of loose rock.

The women’s race changed briefly on this descent as Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) worked her way into the lead past Anne Perry (Bingham’s Cyclery). Perry, a former road racing national champion, had opened a lead on the early climbs with Hanks closing it down on the rough descents but once the descending was over Perry wound it up again and surged back into the lead.

Bobby Monson and Shannon Boffeli leave the crumbling ghost town of Rhyolite. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Riders rolled back through Beatty and on to the turn-of-the-century ghost town of Rhyolite with it’s crumbling stone buildings and open air museum before crossing the border into California and Death Valley National Park. Despite the intimidating locale, temperatures remained in the mid-eighties with a cooling breeze keeping the racers comfortable.

A long grind on the old Tonopah narrow-gauge railroad grade was followed by 10-miles of steep rollers heading to the finish at Spicer Ranch.

At the front of the pack Evan Plews overtook race leader Tinker Juarez just miles from the finish line and appeared poised to take the win before missing a late-race turn and getting off course. Plews was well off course before realizing his mistake virtually ending his race.

Juarez moved back into the lead and rode uncontested over the final miles to the green oasis of Spicer Ranch and the win of his namesake race.

Wild burros take in the race action. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Second place went to Justin Thomas (Boulder Cyclesport) with singlespeeder Steven Mills finishing off an impressive day as the third person to cross the line. William Pease was the fourth rider to cross the line for third in the open men’s event. He was followed by another one-speeder Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling) putting two singlespeeders in the top-5 overall.

Anne Perry showed off her road legs tearing through the railroad grade and dirt roads opening up a hefty lead taking the win in 4 hours 53 minutes.

Amanda Felder (Bear Valley Bikes) overtook Hanks for the second spot and held on all the way to the line. Hanks came home in third.

Jen Hanks makes her way through the desert and old mining structures on the 100k course. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

At the finish riders enjoyed free tacos and beer while luxuriating in the cool green grass at Spicer Ranch sharing stories and collecting their awards that included a generous cash payout for the open men’s and women’s category.

The 60 kilometer race was won by 50-plus rider Tim Zandbergen (Velosport/RideBiker Alliance) with a time of 2 hours 41 minutes. Gina Rau was the fastest female finisher with a time of 3 hours 32 minutes. The 60k course followed much the same route as the 100k without crossing into Death Valley.

The overall Tinker Classic experience was overwhelmingly positive; a well-organized event, especially for a first-year race, highlighted by some of the friendliest race volunteers I’ve ever encountered and a local community truly excited to play host for this event. I can only imagine year two will be even better.

Steven Mills battles the wind atop the SS 100k podium. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

 

 

Cohutta Big Frog 65

Ryan O’Dell and Shana Biese

NUE Race Series #2 rolled out of the Ocoee Whitewater center on April 29 and into the Cherokee National Forest, located near Ducktown, TN. Races included the Big Frog 65 on the NUE Marathon circuit and the Cohutta 100, on the NUE Epic 100 mile Series. In addition, the Old Copper 20 mile offered new ultra-racers an abbreviated version of the big race.

The buzz at this year’s race centered around last minute course changes, the result of Forestry forbidding race organizers from using traditional gravel road routes that had been used for many years. Adding insult to injury, organizers were only given one day notice to make all of the necessary changes. The result was a shortening of the 100 mile race course to just over 80 miles. However, with race day temperatures that topped out at just over eighty degrees, many racers expressed relief that the course wasn’t the full advertised one hundred miles. Although the 100 mile course was shorter, Race Director Justin Mace, reported that it included added elevation this year.

Women’s Open

Toops gets her first NUE Big Frog 65 win!

The defending Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Race Series Champion, Jen Toops, Paradise Garage Racing/Pearl Izumi/Honey Stinger/100%, earned her first win in the NUE Race Series at The Big Frog 65! A novice level racer just two years ago, Toops finished 6:05:32, following an eight place finish at the True Grit series opener.

“I lined up on the start line toward the front group, started the long road climb ending up second going into the single track, and found myself in a group of about five guys. The leader was already out of sight and we were going at a comfortable pace so I settled in. When I hit the fire roads, I really pushed it on the downhill and felt like I was just surviving on the climbs. The heat was really getting to everyone and I stopped at most aid stations to dump water on myself to cool off.

When I hit the last single track, I pushed as hard as I could, still hoping I could catch the leader. With about five miles left I caught sight of her, making the pass on a rocky uphill, and kept pushing the pace until the finish. Big frog 65 was a tough one but sometimes the races that push your limits are the best ones! I will see everyone at the Mohican 100k!
Four minutes later, Annajean Dallaire, Papa John’s Racing Team, hung on for second place finishing with a time of 6:09:52. Seven minutes later, Sara Caylor, took third at 6:16:59.

 

Men’s Open

Baring wins Men’s Open!

Elliott Baring, Pivot Endurance MTB, won the Men’s Open with a time of 4:45:23.

Seven minutes later, last year’s race winner, Andrew Dillman, Think Green, took second in 4:52:09.

“Wow. That was harder than last year! A lot has changed in the past year, my fitness being one of them. A year ago I had been training hard for my last year of racing Collegiate Road Nationals for Marian University and was in pretty decent shape by the time Big Frog rolled around. Since graduating college, however, cycling has taken somewhat of a backseat, but I still decided to make the journey down to Big Frog since I’ve enjoyed the race so much over the last few years.

I was able to hang with the leaders pretty comfortably until about the fifty mile mark and that’s when my lack of endurance began to make itself known. That last portion of single track felt SO much longer than the years before, but it made me feel better when I found out that there were four miles added. Despite being attacked by a bear and dragged into the pain cave, I somehow managed to hang onto second place and secure a spot on the podium.

I am super glad my team, Think Green Toyota of Lexington, and the guys Nate Cornelius and Clay Green convinced me to make the trip down. I was reminded of how much I enjoy this race and its atmosphere. My favorite part of the whole event is the prayer right before the start. As I race my bike I want the cry of my heart to always be, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for man.” (Colossians 3:23). Thanks to the Big Frog event for hosting such a great race, can’t wait for next year!”

John Petrylak, Scott Pro MTB Team and Bike Factory, came in third with a time of 4:58:26.

“I arrived in Ducktown after dark and met up with most of Cameron race team at their cabin for the weekend. After I woke up Friday and got a glimpse of the AMAZING view out of the front door, I knew it was going to be an unforgettable weekend regardless of the race result.  I did my usual pre-ride of the first ten miles or so of the start and beginning single track on Friday to wake up the legs and stoke the fires. I slammed down a mug of coffee with breakfast after our 4:00am wake-up call on race day and headed to the start. I had the unusual experience of watching and cheering as my friends took off for the Cohutta100.
Before I knew it, we were lined up and ready to roll. Then it was go time. I had a really good feeling in my legs after the first couple of pedal strokes so I kept pushing and still felt great. Before I knew it I was leading my first NUE marathon race up the long road climb.
After about five minutes the lead group was down to only about 10 riders so I started to soft pedal a little and catch a quick breath before we hit the single track.

I remained in the top five or so for the first bit of single track trail. Gordon Wordsworth and Elliot started to get away so I surged down the short paved descent; Andrew Dillman quickly joined me and hit the next section of trail right in front of me. After a big long effort on the trail next to the river we could see the leader’s right in front of us.

Just after the long bridge over the river, I made contact with them and then I did something really counterproductive to effective racing. Up the short steep single track, I caught my pedal on a root that stuck out of the ground like a lasso. Now, any other time this would have been a minor inconvenience. However, at the exact perfect moment, I had just started my surge forward to catch on to the leaders just fifteen feet up the trail. All of the force trying to go up the hill sent me over the bars when my pedal hooked the root. When I landed, my second water bottle flew out of my jersey and down a cliff never to be seen again. And just like that, I was all alone.

I regrouped, remounted, and charged up and on, linking up with some 100 mile riders coming off the out and back after AS1. I kept climbing as hard as I could and descended like a mad man. Finally, after an hour of all out riding, I caught the lead group of Gordon, Elliot, Andrew and the first chase group doing the 100 mile race a few feet up the road after AS 3. Once I caught them, Mr. Wadsworth put out a few nice attacks that left me dangling off the group. Rats!!!

I had burned a few too many matches to counter the attacks, so I decided to settle into my manageable pace up the climbs in hopes of the lead group fading a little in the final miles. No fading what-so-ever happened from this elite group of riders so I continued on towards the finish, topped a bottle off at AS 5, and headed for home.

The last miles of single track lasted for what seemed like days; I knew this could be my first NUE podium and I just wanted to see that finish line banner. I rode carefully but as quickly as my worn out legs would allow me. Then, finally, there it was, the last section of pavement before the finish. I tucked in and headed to the finish; checking over my shoulder about every eight seconds to make sure I wasn’t going to be caught from behind. As I crossed the finish line, I was greeted with one on my favorite finisher prizes; a really nice quality coffee mug. After a really tough race at True Grit I was very pleased with a third at the Big Frog 65 and look to build on this for the rest of the series.”

 

Singlespeed

Wadsworth Crushes the Big Frog 65 first overall!

Following back to back series wins in the NUE Overall Epic Series Single speed division, the Defending NUE Series Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, made his 2017 NUE debut by crushing it, taking first place in Singlespeed AND with the overall best time at The Big Frog 65 in 4:45:38.

“My goals this season are all about the fun. After the course change was announced mid-week before the Cohutta this year Big Frog represented a fast paced good time on some of my favorite trails. My goals were to race hard at the front all day and I did that. I was lucky to race with one of my best friends and fellow Pivot Cycles athlete Elliot Baring. He and I are Pisgah Stage Race duo teammates and have a great relationship for trail shredding.

After he went early in the game, I chased on and helped put down some of the watts that got him the open win, and me the SS win. I love the East TN trails and my Pivot Cycles LES with Industry Nine wheels tuned by Blue Ridge Cyclery! It was perfect for it as is proven by the LES going 1,2 for the day!”

Jason Betz came in second with a time of 5:34:08.

Sixteen minutes later, Eli Orth, Queen City Wheels, finished third with a time of 5:50:19.

 

Masters 50+

First Race of the Season Proves to be a good one for Burrill

Scott Burrill, team Bikeman.com, came out with a strong start to his 2017 season getting his first win at 5:39:02.

“The Big Frog 65 was my first NUE race of the 2017 series and only my second NUE race ever.  This was also the first race I have ever traveled by plane to attend so I had a few things to learn about bike packing and transport but it all worked out just fine. I arrived two days before the race so I was able to scope the initial climb and single track out ahead of time.

I started the race at a manageable pace for the first climb watching the open guys tear away but being careful to space myself ahead of others before entering the singletrack. During the first fifteen miles or so of single track, I got log jammed behind some slower riders so I had to rely on them to allow me and some others to pass whenever possible. I ended up passing quite a bit over the course of the race which is how I like to roll.

Being a Master, I was on the lookout for the “M” on other racer’s calves; and did pass three or so others in the first twenty miles but I never saw another “M” after that. Not knowing whether there were other masters ahead, I raced the rest of the race with internal speed limits set trying to avoid the inevitable cramping which did crop its ugly head around mile 47.  From there on it became cramp management riding to the end.

I worked with a group of guys on a lot of the Forest Roads and met some great guys from South America. I traded positions with the lead Single Speed guys for a while too and picked up a 100 miler on the flat road on the backside. The last ten miles of single track was pretty much survival mode for me, defend position, don’t crash, don’t take a wrong turn. It all worked out and when I finally emerged at Thunder Rock Campground area, I knew I had made it. The climb back up to the Whitewater Center went fast and I had no one in sight in front or behind me, a great finish area to come back to for sure.

Overall, an amazing race with the incredibly smooth single track, challenging dirt road climbs, and overall a fantastic mix of terrain and conditions. The temps in the 80’s were a bit much for this Mainer coming from temps in the 40’s but it was nice. A dip in the Ocoee was a must afterward!  Sunday, I couldn’t help but go back and ride more of the killer Brush Creek single track before I flew out!”

Sixteen minutes later, Chris Ready, Velo Sports Racing team, came in second place with a time of 5:55:06. Eleven minutes later, Chris Steven Torrence, Racing Greyhounds, finished third with a time of 6:06:49.

WHATS NEXT: Join NUE Race Series for race #3 in Loudonville, Ohio on June 3rd for the 15th Annual Mohican MTB 100! Top series contenders have already committed to Mohican, now the largest attended race in the NUE Race Series limited to the first 700 racers along with the largest series cash purse at $10,000US.

 

Cohutta 100

Ducktown, TN

Ryan O’Dell and Shana Biese

NUE Race Series #2 rolled out of the Ocoee Whitewater center on April 29 and into the Cherokee National Forest, located near Ducktown, TN. Races included the Big Frog 65 on the NUE Marathon circuit and the Cohutta 100, on the NUE Epic 100 mile Series. In addition, the Copper 20 mile offered new ultra-racers an abbreviated version of the big race.

The buzz at this year’s race centered around last minute course changes, the result of Forestry forbidding race organizers from using traditional gravel road routes that had been used for many years. Adding insult to injury, organizers were only given one day notice to make all of the necessary changes. The result was a shortening of the 100 mile race course to just over 80 miles. However, with race day temperatures that topped out at just over eighty degrees, many racers expressed relief that the course wasn’t the full advertised one hundred miles. Although the 100 mile course was shorter, Race Director Justin Mace, reported that it included added elevation this year.

Women’s Open

Williams repeats at Cohutta!!

NUE Race Series Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bikes, returning to the Cherokee National Forest following her crushing win last year, nearly an hour ahead of her nearest competitor, appears to have had a rough go with the last stretches of this year’s race. She finished with a time of 6:50:52. Here are some excerpts from her blog:

“Sometimes races are not won on strong pedaling performances, but on pure grit, perseverance, and determination not to give up. That was certainly the case for me this past weekend at Cohutta. Maybe it was a crazy residency work schedule recently and constantly switching from working nights and days. Maybe it was not unloading enough from a tough training block prescribed by Coach Beck. Maybe it was simply the fact that I had an off day. Whatever the reason, Saturday’s race involved a lot of suffering, and I got lucky that I was able to pull off a win. If someone had challenged me especially late in the race, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to counter their attack. I’m not going to lie. I was feeling really tired on Friday night. But, Saturday morning rolled around and we biked over to the start line under the Kenda arch.

The start was fast, up the first road hill and into the first twenty miles of single track. It was also hot. Sweat was pouring off my face within the first twenty minutes of riding. I felt pretty good through the first single track and got a lead on the rest of the women’s field. Then, when we got to the 14 mile out and back jeep road, I was with a group of guys and decided to just sit in with them. I wanted to push, but my legs were already feeling too tired for only being 20-30 miles into the race.

The last twenty miles were a straight out suffer fest. The fatigue I was feeling at mile 20 felt it was doubling with every mile. I haven’t felt that bad in a bike race in a really long time. I wasn’t racing anymore. I was simply pedaling to finish, head down, slow spinning up the hills, just flat out focusing not to give up. There were parts of the last single-track section that were really fun, but then a steep kicker of a hill would pop around a corner and that brought all the misery back.

The result was a great one, but the racing was not, and I know I have way more to put out there on the course. I have another month of training, some technical racing at Pisgah, better tapering and then Mohican, where I am already looking forward to personal redemption!

Thanks so much to ESI grips, Maxxis Ties, Huma Gels, Ridge Supply Socks,  Back Alley Bikes for getting my hardtail ready, Chris Beck for all the coaching, and Joe’s Bike Shop for all the support.”

Jenna Blandford came in second place with a time of 7:20:14.

Mari Chandler, Team Adventure Medical Kits, finished out the top three women’s spots with a time of 7:31:36.

Men’s Open

Johnson Repeats!

Defending NUE Epic Open Champion, Dylan Johnson, Cameron MTB Racing, is off to a great start and leading the Men’s Open with a big repeat win at Cohutta! After finishing in second place at True Grit Epic, Johnson defended last year’s win with a time of 5:37:57.

“I suspected that the pace would be higher this year since the distance was shorter and this was indeed the case. I got into the first single track section in second and then, shortly after, I took the lead and tried to hold a high pace. Towards the end of the first single track, Schworm surged up one of the longer climbs leaving just me and Tanguy holding onto his wheel. The three of us continued onto the gravel, trading pulls until about twenty miles to go. I upped the pace a bit and managed to drop Tanguy. As we approached the final single track, I tried an attack on Schworm but couldn’t shake him. We entered the final single track together and I quickly took the lead and gave it everything I had. With only a couple of miles left, I had to fend off cramps but, luckily, I had a small gap at this point. I was probably lucky the race wasn’t a full 100 to be honest. I’m thrilled to be able to defend my Cohutta win from last year and am very pleased with my form right now. My next NUE races will likely be Mohican and Lumberjack.”

Brian Schworm, Think Green – Bicycle Face, who finished second overall in the NUE Epic Series and at Cohutta last year, is in great form and currently picking up where he left off last season, earning second at Cohutta finishing 5:41:26.

Cohutta is always one of my favorite races.  I love the fast, flowing trails and the long, steady climbs. I even came down during my spring break to check out the new section of trail and get a few days of good training under my belt. Well, as most know, the new section was not incorporated due to Forest Service regulations and the previous course from 2015-16 was also not permitted.  We ended up racing the Big Frog course with an extra gravel road out and back to give an 80-85 mile race.

The race started with the usual big paved climb to the initial single track. I wanted a good position in the trail so I jumped to the front. Once I crested the top, there was a mad dash for the trail where I settled in fourth position.  The pace was fast but manageable as we all rode together until Dylan Johnson opened a small gap. There was a small climb on the single track where I was able to move to second position and, with the following Sheep’s Hill Descent, bridge back to Dylan. The pace then slowed and we had pack of twelve or more headed down the Ocoee Old Copper Road trail.

Once we crossed the Ocoee and started up the Tanasi Bear Paw trail, the group started to break up. In fact, when we hit the Chestnut Trail, I pushed the pace again for the next upcoming single track and it was down to me, Dylan, and Christian Tanguy. We then rode together for the majority of the race, each taking turns pulling on the long gravel sections that followed.

Even though the race was shortened, it was still exhausting due to the relentless climbs and the unusually high temperatures. I was definitely feeling the effort and apparently it wasn’t just me.  On the Big Frog climb at approximately the 60 mile mark, Christian dropped back a bit. Dylan and I continued to work together until the final gravel climb before the last single track. It was there that Dylan attacked and gained a small advantage. I held my own pace and was able to bridge back up near the top. However, as soon as Dylan and I hit the single track section, he attacked again. I attempted to chase but this definitely put me over my limit and he was then able to ride away.

After I regained my composure, I tried to keep my pace high, maybe even close the gap, but I never saw Dylan again until the finish. I was able to secure a second place finish behind Dylan.  Overall it was a great race, it was awesome to see old friends at my first NUE Series race this season, and the new race director did a great job amid difficult circumstances. I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their continued support.  I especially need to thank my amazing and supportive wife, Jennifer Schworm, for all that she does to support me in these efforts.

Up next is the USA Cycling Marathon Nationals in Arkansas on May 7 followed by the Mohican 100 on June 4.  See you all there!”

2013 NUE Race Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, RBS Cycling team, was in great form early in the season with a finish time of 5:46:07.

Singlespeed

Haddock makes a BIG statement with a BIG Win!

John Haddock, J. A. King MTB Team/Carbo Rocket, took third overall in the 2016 NUE Race Series Single Speed division last season. Following an eleventh place finish at Cohutta last year, Haddock proved he is a force to be reckoned with this season, winning Cohutta with a rock solid twenty-five minute lead in 6:04:52.

“Cohutta was, once again, a great race and awesome opportunity to connect with friends both old and new. As usual, things escalated quickly at the start and the initial climb was over before I knew it. I had a hunch that Jim Litzinger and I would be neck and neck early and sure enough, we were together entering the singletrack and in good position overall. Jim was absolutely crushing the trails and built small gap by Aid 1. Eventually, I bridged back up to him on the out-and-back and we held a solid pace in the company of geared friends. Our group kept pushing the pace on the way out to Aid 3 and I was fortunately able to stay with the group. However, at some point I looked back and my SS friend was nowhere to be seen. Now being hunted for the rest of the day, my goal was to keep a solid pace and stay on nutrition/hydration given the heat.

Heading back towards the finish, Lee Hauber and I shared efforts and kept each other motivated. Back on the single track, I kept peering over my shoulder while keeping on the hammer. One last look behind on the pavement and I was finally able to relax as Lee and I crossed the line and immediately crushed some Cokes, which I had been looking forward to since the gun went off. Congrats to Matt and Jim for their awesome competition and strong races! Thank to my team (J. A. King Mountain Bike Team), team sponsors, and Carbo Rocket for your support and commitment to our sport.”

New to the NUE Series, Matt Crawford, UPMC/Pro Bike + Run, took second place with a time of 6:29: 22. This was just his second single speed ultra-endurance race.

“I drove in from Pittsburgh with a big group of other races. I chose to run a light gear (34×40) which turned out to be a prudent decision in the latter part for the race. My main goal was to place myself in the first group going in to the woods. This put me in a good position for the rest of the race. The temperatures were hot, but my legs stayed relatively fresh going into the last single track section and I passed 4-5 single speeds in the last 20 miles of the race. My plans for this year include Mohican 100 and High Cascades 100.”

NUE Marathon Race Series SS Champion and last year’s Big Frog 65 winner, James Litzinger, Dirty Harry’s Elite Cycling, stepped up his miles entering the Cohutta 100 and finishing third single speed with a time of 6:30:11.

“A very hot Cohutta 100 was the first stop of the 2017 NUE series for The Syndicate Cycling p/b Pro Bikes + Run team. We hadn’t experienced anything like the warm weather that we had in Tennessee on race day training in Pittsburgh, PA.  There is always a lot of excitement rolling into your first big race of the season and this one did not disappoint.  I’m always eager to see where my fitness is and to see if I did the right kind of winter training following the plan set by Mike Schultz at Highland Training.

The race got off to a fast start up the 2.5 mile climb, with the leaders starting to gather at the front wanting to get into the fast and fun stretch of single track in good position. I was working my way to the front with SS race winner, John Haddock.  I knew that if I could hang on his wheel that I would have a good chance of being up towards the front.  John and I managed to get into the single track in really good position and had a few geared riders in front of us setting a blazing pace through all the banking turns and short climbs.

When we started the big climb after crossing the river I was able to put a little gap on John and some of the geared riders.  To get this gap, I burnt a couple matches, which cost me later in the race.  When we popped out onto a short road section, John was back on my wheel.  I pulled away again in the single track, but knew the lead was minimal.

I stopped at aid station one to exchange a bottle and didn’t see John behind me. I was surprised and a little nervous that I went too hard again. I was cruising down the road and heard that SS hub come buzzing up behind me again and thought, “Damn, can’t shake him.” I tried to get away again on the first fire road climb and got excited when I caught up to my teammate, Anthony Grinnell, who was racing on a geared bike!  Anthony helped pull me along, and for a moment I thought John was riding by himself, which would have given me a major advantage.  Anthony and I made it to out and back for our wrist bands and on the way back saw John working with three geared riders. Advantage John!  I knew it wouldn’t be long before he was able to catch us with the extra help.

When the group caught us, Anthony and I jumped on board and set a screaming pace!  We continued to push the pace until aid station two where John stopped and we kept on rolling. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try to pull away again but John caught us by smashing the climb out of the aid station like a sledgehammer. At that point, I knew John was in serious shape and wanted to win this race just as bad as I did.

We rode together until about mile 45 or so where I decided to ease off and try to conserve some energy for the finish. I tried to keep a steady pace and ride my own race to the finish. The plan was working well when I caught up to a geared rider from our earlier group.  He said that he was having some hydration/nutrition issues but was still riding very well.  I felt pretty dialed in nutritionally at this point, using a few different Hammer products before and during the race. The Endurolytes really helped since it was about 85 and humid for the majority of the race.  We rode up the final fire road climb together and thought it would be great to have some company on the last stretch of single track at the end of the race.

Again, the plan was going well until I had heard the dreaded hissing sound of air leaving my tire after a puncture on the sharp rocks. I quickly pulled off to the side of trail and reached in my tool pack for the tire plug. In the meantime, Anthony caught back up and offered his support sacrificing his own race as a few riders passed us.  I put the plug in the tire as Anthony prepared the CO2 for a quick fill up.  He used the CO2 cartridge like he was on the pit crew of NASCAR racer, Jimmy Johnson. After he pulled off the CO2, I still heard the sound of air coming out and after further inspection I noticed that I also had a pinch near the rim.  So we put a tube in. This could have been on an episode of funniest home videos. Anthony aired up the tube and I started taking off the tire until I dropped the tire lever down the steep hill watching it roll as I tried to catch up to it. I ended up about twenty feet down and had to climb back up with tired legs.  I’m finally fixed up so Anthony takes off to secure 10th place in the men’s open. Thanks for the help, “Brah!” It means a lot that a friend/teammate will sacrifice some places in the standings to help me out.

When I finally get back on the bike, I am out of the groove I was in and catch my pedal on a rock that sends me over the bars and to the ground. Before I knew what happened, I rolled down the same steep hill but with my bike this time. The hill was so steep that I had to use my bike as a cane to try and get back up. When I started riding again, I noticed that my vision was kind of off now with everything being blurry and seeing some stars. I figured I hit harder than I thought, and just went into survival mode now. I just wanted to finish the race without another mishap. Doing this cost me another place as local rider, Matt Crawford, came blowing by me on the wheel of a geared guy on their way to a great finish. Congratulations to John and Matt on a solid ride! As always, I want to thank my family and teammates for their support and especially to our sponsors for providing some great gear and helping with the lodging for the weekend.”

 

Masters 50+

Clayton repeats with first W of the NUE season

Defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, enjoyed back to back wins at Cohutta finishing in 6:30:13. In 2016, Clayton launched his Series title win at Cohutta. Is history destined to repeat?!

I’ve been doing a fair amount of 2-5 hour races this year, mostly gravel grinders, instead of my usual diet of 6 and 12 hour races, so I wasn’t too bummed when I saw the news that the race would be 80 miles instead of 100. My teammate and buddy Van and I camped at Thunder Rock just a few minutes from the race start and enjoyed 20 miles of singletrack riding the day before the race….Always fun to enjoy the good stuff just going for a ride in case the race doesn’t go so great!

Roger Masse and a few other guys I know in the Master’s class were present at the start. My goal was to have a strong start and stay consistent. I was pleased to make the (rather large) front group into the singletrack. The out-and-back section of gravel road added this year was pretty tough and gave me the opportunity to gauge my progress against Roger. I looked to have about a five minute advantage after thirty or so miles. Because of the Cohutta course changes, the Big Frog racers were merging onto the rest of the course at about the same time. This made it easier to find people going the right pace to ride with. I was able to slightly increase my lead on Roger by the finish, but he rode well finishing just a few minutes back-I’m sure I haven’t seen the last of him yet!”

Two-time NUE Masters Champion (2014 and 2015), Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling/ Keswick, displayed his great form this season, with a close finish, just eight minutes back at 6:38:54 placing second.

Chris Abston, Racing Greyhounds, took third with a time of 7:05:23. Abston is new-ish to NUE. This was his first time racing Cohutta.

“Well, since this is only my fourth NUE race (completed three races last year) I am in uncharted territory. This is my first year doing this race. I am a converted Cat 2 roadie and this is my first year in a dedicated NUE series of races. I am from Michigan so the only way we get any elevation training is to travel down south. Since this was my first race of the year and I am not in peak season form, I just wanted to make sure I had enough energy to get through the race.

We pre-rode the course on Thursday and Friday so I knew about the big climb at the beginning. As the race started, I was with the lead group up the first climb. As we approached the top, I felt I may be going a bit harder than I would like so I dialed it back a bit and tried to settle in at my own pace. The rest was pretty much uneventful. Since I am a converted roadie, the gravel sections are my strength versus the single track so I obviously liked that part. I chose to ride my hardtail bike but when I hit the last eleven miles of single track, my body was looking for my full suspension. That last part of single track was pretty brutal and the cramps were creeping in causing quite a bit of discomfort. I was very pleased to see the dam and race off to the finish. I was very happy with my result and looking forward to the rest of the year. My next race will be the Mohican 100 followed by Lumberjack 100. I am still trying to figure out the fourth race at this point. I race for the RACING GREYHOUNDS and supported by Cycle to Fitness bike shop in Livonia Mi.”

WHATS NEXT: Join NUE Race Series for race #3 in Loudonville, Ohio on June 3rd for the 15th Annual Mohican MTB 100! Top series contenders have already committed to Mohican, now the largest attended race in the NUE Race Series limited to the first 700 racers along with the largest series cash purse at $10,000US.

Moab Rocks: Stage 3

Canadians Dominate the Final Stage in Moab with Maghalie Rochette and Geoff Kabush Taking the 2017 Titles

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

Cloudy and overcast skies with mild temperatures again greeted riders for the final stage of Moab Rocks. Starting at the Gemini Bridges parking lot. Riders attack a steep, Jeep road climb before entering the Magnificient 7 trail area. Moab Rocks promoters have connected a flowy loop to challenge riders including some of the best singletrack available including the Bull Run and Great Escape descents.

Geoff Kabush (#42) leads the first climb of Stage 3. He would go on to win the overall classification of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Open Men

With just seconds separating the top riders going into stage three the open men’s race was sure to produce some major excitement.

A leisurely pace to the base of the first climb quickly changed as the leaders wound it up looking to decide who would become 2017 Moab Rocks champion.

At the start of the day Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) was just 50 seconds out of first place and was looking to challenge Canadian superstar Geoff Kabush (Scott) for the lead. Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar) wasn’t far back either and the ever-aggressive Chris Baddick (Boulder Cyclesport) was looking to continue his climb up the leader board having moving into fifth with his efforts yesterday.

The lead group got away early in a stage that featured much more singletrack and tougher passing than the previous days.

Justine Lindine (2nd overall) leads Geoff Kabush who eventually won Stage 3 and the overall general classification at Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Lindine indeed gave it his all throwing everything he could at Kabush but the lanky Canadian would not be shaken. Kabush’s combination of incredible fitness and outstanding skills on the bike once again proved too tough for the competition.

Although Lindine kept it close, Geoff Kabush took his third stage win of the race and the overall title finishing just nine seconds in front and adding to his endless list of victories on American soil.

Ben Sonntag capped off a consistent weekend taking third place on the day and third in the final GC.

This left the race for fourth overall to be decided between Baddick and Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit). Lideen struggled mightily with his injured thumb making it difficult for him to grip the bar with his left hand.

Tokyo Joes rider feeling the flow in Mag 7. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Baddick did his best to take advantage, pushing hard and dropping the Pivot rider. In the end he picked up over 2 minutes on Lideen but needed one more to takeover fourth in the GC.

Lideen managed just enough to keep his spot secure as Baddick finished fourth on the day but fifth in the stage race. Lideen rolled across the line seventh in today’s final stage.

Maghalie Rochette of the Luna Team-1st on Stage 3 and 1st overall. Photo by: John Gibson

Open Women

Stage 3 of Moab Rocks was a mellow start with racers bunched together in a peloton for the first mile before hitting the steep loose dirt climb of Gemini Bridges Road.

From there Maghelie Rochette (Clif Bar) started to take the lead, pushing fast up the climb.

GC leader Jena Greaser was right behind with Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles/DNA) following closely.

Once over the opening road climb Greaser took off, blazing down the road followed by Rochette but once climbing started up the next steep climb of Gemini Bridges road Rochette made her intentions clear and started to put some space on her competitors.

Once the women hit singletrack, Lea Davison (Clif Bar) with Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joes) right on her wheel; passed Dixon.

Ksenia Lepikhina leads Lea Davison in the single track. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Davison put some time on Lepikhina and caught up to Greaser who was having trouble maintaining her power and speed from the past few days.

Rochette continued to put the hammer down looking to put time on Greaser and steal the GC title on the last stage. She rode aggressively all the way to the finish.

Davison stayed in second position and although Greaser crashed, she held on for third for the day.

Lepikhina and Dixon bunny hopped each other at one point with Lepikhina finishing fourth followed by Dixon in fifth.

Rochette, having her strongest stage of the race, finished a full 5 minutes ahead of Greaser, taking the overall win.

Jena Greaser-3rd on Stage 3 and 2nd overall. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Greaser dropped to second in the GC followed by Dixon in third, Davison in fourth and Lepikhina in fifth.

The women put on a great show at this year’s Moab Rocks. The extremely competitive group produced three different stage winners with a change in GC leader each day.

Although amazing scenery was all around riders had little time to enjoy the views on a fast stage through Mag 7. Photo by: Jean McAllister

By any measure the 2017 Moab Rocks was a huge success: a sold out event, stacked fields with national and world champions, incredible trails, hard racing, exceptional camaraderie, and organization like a finely-tuned Swiss watch. The folks at TransRockies events know how to put on a first-class event and all those on hand hope this event continues for a long time to come.

Click Here for Full Results From All Categories Including Final GC Standings 

Gallery

Moab Rocks: Stage 2

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

Lea Davison of the Luna Team-3rd on Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Geoff Kabush wins Stage 2 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

The leaders of the Mens race in a group in the early stages of Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Jena Greaser-1st on Stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Sparky Moir Sears hugs the rocks on stage 2. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Lea Davison (3rd on Stage 2) leads teammate Maghalie Rochette (2nd on Stage 2) Photo by: John Gibson

Rotem Ishay-6th Stage 2. Photo by: John Gibson

 

Moab Rocks: Stage 2

Kabush Takes Stage 2 While Jena Greaser Wins the Day and Leads the Women’s GC

 

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

Stage 2 of Moab Rocks is a stark contrast to day two. After a day filled with climbing, climbing, and more climbing, stage 2 offers up a fast, power course with no climbs lasting longer than 5 minutes.

The course encompasses the trails of the Klondike Bluffs riding area and packs in 2,700 feet of climbing in the form of unrelenting, short, power climbs. The climbs are followed by rugged slickrock descents with plenty of technical features to keep riders on their toes.

 

Open Men

With a 3-mile flat road section right off the start, stage 2 got off to a fast start with rider battling for the front before the singletrack started.

Up front it was Boulder Cyclesport rider Chris Baddick driving the pace early on. Baddick flatted on stage 1 and gave it everything he had to take back some spots he lost on the GC.

Baddick’s rapid pace quickly whittled the field down to a hand full of riders. Once again it was Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX), Geoff Kabush (Scott), Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit), and Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar).

“Baddick was really fast today,” Taylor Lideen shared after the finish. “Every climb he was out of the saddle sprinting. He made us work keeping up. I couldn’t even get a drink for the first hour.”

And he kept it going for most of the day.

The fast pace was taking a toll forcing the chasers to push their limits. Lindine went down briefly around the halfway point and Lideen caught a tree with his left hand, smashing his thumb and loosing contact with the lead group.

Lindine bridged back up to the lead group but Scott honcho, Geoff Kabush had no interest in letting it come down to a sprint finish again. On one of the longer climbing sections late in the race Kabush attack hard opening a gap that would continue to grow until the finish.

By the line he held a minute over runner-up Justin Lindine.

Ben Sonntag crossed the line in third followed by Chris Baddick and Taylor Lideen, who held on for fifth thanks to the large cushion he opened up early in the day.

For all his early effort Baddick did manage to pick up a spot in the GC jumping ahead of Rotem Ishay (Jamis) for fifth.

Kabush will be looking to protect his GC lead going into tomorrow’s final stage.

 

Open Women

 The leading women flew off the start of stage 2.  The first three miles of the course are a winding, rolling, dirt road and from the get go it was a sprint.

A sand trap right at the entrance to the first singletrack threw a few girls off and they were off their bikes running to get back in position.

Once on the singletrack, it’s a slick-rock climb and already the women were beginning to spread out with Jena Greaser leading the way.

In a strong position for the entire road, Jenny Smith (NoTubes) wrecked right at the start of the single track and lost position to Lea Davison (Clif Bar) and Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joes).

Maghalie Rochette (Clif Bar) rode strong and fast from the beginning maintaining her second place position for the entire day.

Today’s course was on Klondike Bluffs, a man-made trail system that includes a lot of punchy climbs, technical features and short descents.  It’s a great test of racers power, quick thinking and technical skills.

Greaser had all of those today as she led the women from the beginning, finishing a minute ahead of second place, Rochette.

Davison finished a minute behind her in third.   The overall GC changed today with Greaser moving into first, Rochelle in second and Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) in third.  Dixon struggled to match the speed and power of the top riders today with a lack of long climbs for her to get in a rhythm.

The third and final stage of Moab Rocks moves south to the Magnificent Seven trail area. The final day includes a nice mixed of both stages featuring some extended climbs, a healthy dose of slickrock, and technical descending.

Stage 3 will test riders with 3,600 feet of climbing over 30 miles.

Check back tomorrow for a full report and results from stage 3

Click Here for full results from all categories including GC after stage 2

 

 

Moab Rocks Stage 1 Photos

Photos from Day One of Moab Rocks 2017

Catharine Pendrel wins Stage 1 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Ksenia Lepikhina navigates the singletrack on UPS trail. Photo by: John Gibson

A line of riders negotiate the “Notch” on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

Spring conditions on Moab’s Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

A rider threads the needle on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: John Gibson

Geoff Kabush wins Stage 1 of Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Riders live on the edge racing on the Upper Porcupine Singletrack. Photo by: John Gibson

Classic Moab scenery on Porcupine Rim. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Sparky Moir Sears drops in toward the finish line. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Porcupine Rim claims another victim. Photo by: Jean McAllister

Jeff Kerkove takes the high line to the finish. Photo by: Jean McAllister

A talented field was on hand to compete at this year’s Moab Rocks. Photo by: John Gibson

Moab Rocks: Stage 1

Canadians Geoff Kabush and Catherine Pendrel Take Stage 1 at Moab Rocks

Written by: Shannon Boffeli and Marlee Dixon

After a year hiatus, the Moab Rocks stage race made a triumphant return to the race schedule. Organizers made the switch from the usual October date to March with great success. This year the fields ballooned from just 70 to 80 riders to a fully sold-out 150 riders.

The full field was a buzz on the start line rolling out from downtown Moab and heading out Sand Flats road past the famed Slickrock trail before cresting the climb up to the Upper Porcupine Singletrack and descending the way back down to the finish. Riders were challenged by about 4,200 feet of climbing, almost all of which was in the first hour-long climb, and 27 miles of riding on one of the most iconic trails in all of Moab.

Taylor Lideen descending Porcupine Rim.

Open Men

Racers started at 8:30am with a mass start rolling through town and out Sand Flats road. The first selection started early with about 30 riders staying together past Slickrock trail. Slowly the pack thinned as they passed Lower Porcupine hitting the steepest slopes just after. Nick Gould (Ska Brewing/Zia Tacoria) and Payson McElveen (RideBiker) started to dial it up, pulling Geoff Kabush (Scott), Taylor Lideen (Pivot/Industry Nine/Infinit), Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX),  Chris Baddick (Boulder Cyclesport), and Ben Sonntag (Team Clif Bar).

This group of four took control of things up front with Kabush eventually putting some sunlight between himself and the three chasers just before the singletrack started.

Now on the Upper Porcupine descent Lideen took up lead chasing duties finally bridging the gap to Kabush who had to stop for a dropped chain. Shortly after, Chris Baddick flatted, ending his shot at a race win.

Once again the group of four descended the hard-pounding drops of Lower Porcupine. Almost in sight of the finish it was Lideen’s chance to drop his chain producing the final selection of the day as the three leaders stayed wheel-to-wheel until the finish line.

In the end Kabush crossed first followed by Sonntag and Lindine. Lideen regrouped to finish fourth.

Almost without exception all riders enjoyed the day riding classic Moab trails. As usual Porcupine Rim produced enough carnage to end some rider’s day and pushing everyone to their limit.

Stage 1 winner Geoff Kabush

Open Women

There was a fast group of female racers at the start line for Moab Rocks this year including Canadian and American Olympians Catherine Pendrel (Luna) and Lea Davison (Luna).

Once past the neutral roll out the women started to spread out with Pendrel, and Jena Greaser taking the lead.

Not far behind were a handful of strong women all racing close to each other pushing hard up the 15-mile climb.

The road includes some rolling sections at the beginning and not too far into it Marlee Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) caught Pendrel and Greaser.

The three of them climbed together for most of the road with Dixon making a move to the front in the second half.  Pendrel caught up and rode with her and Jena right behind.

Once off the main road climb, Dixon tried to widen her gap on the singletrack, losing her chain twice, she was caught by Jena Greaser.

However, being unfamiliar with the course, Jena was off her bike and Dixon again moved into the lead.

Porcupine Rim is a technical, pedally descent going from smooth dirt to sand to gnarly rocks to drops.

Pendrel passed Jenna not too far into the descent and then five miles from the finish caught and passed Dixon as Dixon endo’ed over her bike.

Pendrel took the win; showing her strong technical skills and speed on the most technical stage of the race.

Stage 1 starts with a long road climb testing racers fitness then moves into a rocky, chundry descent where anything can happen.  For racers this is probably one of the most technical trails to race on.

For stage 1, Pendrel took the win, followed by Dixon and then Greaser.  For the 3 day overall, Pendrel is only racing one day so Dixon takes the overall followed by Jena Greaser and Maghalie Rochette (Luna) in 3rd.

Sparky Moir Sears (Pivot) finished fourth followed by Jenny Smith (Kenda/NoTubes) in fifth.

Tomorrow’s stage changes things up with more trail and a hefty dose of slickrock as riders tackle the Klondike Bluffs trail area with another 27 miles and just 2,800 feet of climbing.

Check in tomorrow for full coverage on MTB Race News.

Click Here for full results from all categories