NUE- Shenandoah 100k

The 23rd annual Shenandoah 100 is the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series held over Labor Day weekend in Stokesville, VA. Shenandoah now includes a 100k option of racing on Saturday and the classic 100 mile race on Sunday.

100k race start

Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just a few 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 which is included in registration.

Womens Open- Sheldon wins 100k

Women’s 100k podium: 1st Libbey Sheldon, 2nd Carla Williams, 3rd Laura Hamm, 4th Bryna Blanchard, 5th Lauren Zimmer

No one could match the pace of Libbey Sheldon (CSHairs Devo) in the women’s 100k race on Saturday and she took the win with a time of 5:29.

In her first mountain bike race after having a baby, previous NUE epic series winner, Carla Williams (CarboRocket) of Roanoke took second place in 5:38:25.

Just a couple minutes back from Williams, Laura Hamm (Moonstomper) took third place in 5:40:22. Hamm also went on to complete the 100 mile race on Sunday with a third place finish.

Making the trip from New York, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing) finished fourth 5:47:37. Taking the last podium spot went to Lauren Zimmer (Bingham Cyclery) in 5:57:15.

Mens Open- Petrylak second 2021 NUE marathon win

Men’s 100k podium: 1st John Petrylak, 2nd Anthony Grinnell, 3rd Will Pfeiffer, 4th Ben Ferguson, 5th Jarod Lawver

After a major setback with course markings, John Petrylak (CarboRocket) fights hard to take the Shenandoah 100k win with a time of 5:25. Petrylak had a previous NUE 100k win at Wilderness.

“After a typical start to the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series Shenandoah Mountain 100K we came to an intersection that I know very well. The course arrows should have pointed LEFT ; however they were pointing RIGHT. We got off course and after an extra 6 mile loop and 37 minutes waisted we climbed back to the original intersection in question and by this time someone came and realized that the arrows were wrong and fixed them.
Later in the day it was suspected that a person or persons maliciously changed the arrows. 
Now at this point I believe we were absolutely dead last or very close to it. Without much thought I just pressed on full gas and set out to pass every rider I could. After 5 and a half hours I managed to catch every rider except masters athlete George Ganoung and take the open men’s win.Also a huge amount of respect for Anthony, Will and Stew for rolling in literally a few minutes behind me as they had just as much additional pain and suffering to deal with and still rose to the occasion. Thanks to: CarboRocket, Molly’s Bikes, ESI Grips, Kenda Tires and Athlos Sports”

Just three minutes back, Anthony Grinnell (Syndicate Cycling) took second with a time of 5:28:32.

“The racing didn’t really start until we began climbing on the initial road sections, but even then, it was a manageable pace.  Shortly into gravel, the top 8 or so guys formed a pretty large gap to the rest of the field.  Heading up the first single track climb, we had a lead group of 4 and pulled a gap on the rest of the breakaway.  But as we got to the top of the climb, we encountered a problem.  GPS said go left, but the arrows pointed right and a tape banner blocked the trail to the left.  We all figured there was an issue with the GPS or a last minute course change since there was both tape and arrows telling us to go right.  Big mistake.  About 5 miles down that trail, we all realized there were no more arrows, too many downed trees, and we should have gone left.  At that point, it was easier to keep going and complete the 9 mile extra loop and re-peat that tough single track climb to make the correct left turn at the top.  37 minutes later, we were back on course and, as Will Pfeiffer so adequately stated “pedaling pissed off”.  The even bigger downside is, while we were adding our extra miles, someone corrected the course marking issue, which ended up putting the entire 100k class in front of us.  We literally had to pass hundreds of other riders as we worked our way up.  I’ve been a huge fan of Flow Formulas products, but wow did it make a difference in being able to maintain energy needed to make up all that lost time.  Big props to Pirelli tires too…they were bullet proof and with all of the sharp rocks on the course, that was a must.  I was shocked, and REALLY happy to see that John, Will, and I were all able to put our heads down and battle our way back up to sweep the podium.  We think a hunter likely changed the markings, but in the end, it didn’t keep John Petrylak from winning his first SMT 100K race, didn’t keep me from getting 2nd, and kept Will Pfeiffer’s title hopes alive for the series.  It was a great day for the Syndicate/Flow Formulas team with Jim Litzinger getting 1st in the 100K Single Speed Class and Joe Frass getting 5th in the 100 mile Single Speed Class. Huge thank you to Shorkey Auto Group and Pro Bike & Run for getting us to these races and keeping our equipment working.”

Will Pfeiffer (Flow Formulas) took third crossing the line in 5:31:37.

“The race started like any other, with a good push up the first climb.  Five of us got away and kept a good pace on Narrowback.  When we came to a T-intersection near the top, an unexpected right turn was marked.  We figured there was some issue with the normal trail and just followed the arrows and tape.  This proved unfortunate, because it turned out there were some people messing with signage on the course.  As we realized what had happened, I’ll be honest, I was not in a good place mentally.  I have been chasing the season standings this year, and I was watching all that effort go out the window in one fell swoop.  John Petrylak, Anthony Grinnel, and Stewart Gross were instrumental in keeping my head in the game and I am very thankful to have been with those guys.  So, one bonus loop later, the lost boys joined back up DFL and all sorts of motivated.

The rest of the race turned into a 50 mile TT trying to fight through the field.  My mom was a massive help, supporting me at each aid station.  Late in the race she told me I was 10th heading into the final climb of Hankey.  I was already deep in the effort and absolutely buried myself trying to catch riders.  Pulling a third in class was a mixture of some effort and a lot of luck.  But I will say this, I’ve had a handful of races over the years that presented some physically and mentally difficult obstacles.  It sounds cliche, but never once have I regretted refusing to give in.  The mindset, challenge, and camaraderie this weekend meant so much more to me than the result.  Huge thanks to Flow Formulas, The Black Bibs, Maxxis, Industry Nine, Kask, Koo, Handup, Ridge Supply, Chris of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, and my awesome teammates who let me be a part of their super inspiring rides on Sunday.  #flowformulasfamily”

Ben Ferguson finished fourth in 5:34:09 and Jarod Lawver fifth in 5:46:37.

Singlespeed– Litzinger leads NUE marathon SS

Singlespeed podium: 1st James Litzinger, 2nd Don Powers, 3rd Kenny Kocarek, 4th Larry Miller, 5th Kasey Clark

With a second place finish at Mohican and first place at Wilderness, James Litzinger (Syndicate Cycling) took the Shenandoah win with a time of 5:32:09. Litzinger now leads the NUE SS Marathon series.

“The backcountry racing at Shenandoah Mountain always is always a blast and this year was no different!  The start and preparation for the race was very smooth and thought out.  We were put in to starting corrals of 5 and I was lined up with some hammer in the corral 50-55, teammate Anthony Grinnell (2nd) and John Petrylak (1st) crushed the course!  Coming out of the campground it was very chill until it hit the road and everyone started to jockey for position.  Dahn Pahrs and I were the only 2 single speeders  spinning and tucking our way to the front with the geared guys.  We were comfortable with the brisk pace of the opening gravel climb and taking some pulls. The biggest deciding factor in the race came at the top of the first single track climb when 2 arrows pointed right and the GPS said to go left.  Decisions, decisions…we went right with the arrows which cost us about 4 miles and 13 minutes.  During the single track I noticed the screw on the top cap of my fork was coming loose so I used my thumb to push down on it and tighten it.  After getting back on course we were faced with the challenge of making our way through a lot of riders on the tight single track.  After getting back out on the road, Dahn and I worked together on our way to the next climb which was a lot of hike a biking.  At the bottom of the climb I noticed my fork was not responding as it should, it was stiff and in the down position.  I decided to put it in the lock position to prevent it from going down but made the descents very challenging.  After the race I noticed that I changed the rebound to SLOW when I was tightening the screw.  After the long, steep, rocky, and rooty climb. 

After the hike a bike we were rewarded with a super fun descent.  To my surprise, I was able to catch a few more riders before poking out onto the dirt road again.  After completing the descent, I looked back to join up with Dahn again and he came back out on the road a few seconds after me. I decided to sit up, get some nutrition, and wait for my buddy since these races are a lot more fun with some company.  After fueling up and spinning down the road a little I thought I heard a car coming so I moved off to the side of the road and looked back to see that it was not a car but John Petrylak.  As a single speeder we are often faced with the decision to burn some matches get dragged along by the strong geared guys or rider your own race and conserve your energy.  Well, I decided to burn some matches for a big increase in speed on the backcountry Virginia road.  I was able to make up some great time spinning and tucking behind John’s wheel.  When we pulled into aid 2, I had to fill my bottles, grab grub, and by that time John was already rolling and there was no catching him.  I continued rolling the course at my own pace until the ripping descent leading into aid 3 when teammate Anthony Grinnell caught me.  It was a blast shredding the descent and getting a big pull on the road with him until I had to let him go before burning up all my matches.  I was glad to be looking at the Hankey climb for the last time before working my way down the mountain to the finish.   Special shout out to the Syndicate Cycling support of Pro Bike+Run Shops, Shorkey Auto Group, Specialized bikes, Flow Formulas, Wolftooth Components, Extreme Nano Lubes, Esi Grips, Pirelli tires, KOO, Kask, Dr. Bryan Hooks Orthopedic, and last but not least my amazing family.”

Previously winning Mohican earlier this season, Don Powers, of Pennsylvania took second in 5:41:27. Don also raced the Shenandoah 100 mile race on Sunday.

Stopping the Pennsylvania podium sweep, Kenny Kocarek (Kobby Side Down) of Ohio finished in 6:12:53. Larry Miller (Team Bikenetic) took fourth in 6:47:32 and Kasey Clark (Velopigs) finished fifth in 7:10:30.

Masters Ganoung takes top step

Masters podium: 1st George Ganoung, 2nd Peter Schultz, 3rd Derek Dagostino, 4th ustin De Leo, 5th Roberts Moore

Winning the Masters category was George Ganoung (Otterhaus) with a finish time of 5:23:37.

” I have a long competitive road and gravel history but this was my first ever marathon mountain bike event. I won the Master 50+ and due to some strange circumstances, I came out the overall winner as well…with a big footnote though.About 9 miles into the race I was 8th in a group of 4 ~30 seconds behind the leaders and we had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field. We came across a major arrow marked intersection, but having pre ridden the course, and having the map on my GPS, they were not pointing in the expected direction. My compatriots followed the arrows so I went with them, about .5 mile in I just felt it was wrong, and told them I am turning around. They agreed and we flipped it, went the other way at the intersection and ran into course tape across the trail, it was broken, but seemed to indicate it’s a reroute. We flipped again and went back further, but with the trail getting significantly rougher and no other markers I told the other guys I think someone mucked it up and I am committing to the GPS track. By then the bulk of the race had caught up and the two way traffic on single track was chaotic and was forced to walk. I told the riders I ran into as I back tracked to make their own call but I am following GPS. It seemed like the majority turned around, and someone else had turned the arrows back by the time I got to the intersection. Fortunately it was the right call and the race markers had clearly been sabotaged. I ended up being about 30th out of the 1st single track after the confusion. Convinced the leaders went the right way and were long gone, and half the race was ahead, I just rode hard out of anger on the next fire road section catching as many folks as I could. It turned out the leaders had actually gone further off course before turning around and after the next big single track climb and descent, I was told I was in the overall lead…and somehow managed to hold on for ~40 miles to the finish. Massively impressive ride by 2nd place John Petrylak who went further off course and came back to win the open class and nearly caught me at the end. Big thanks to @shenandoahmountaintouring and all the volunteers for putting on such a cool event and hats off to the riders who do this stuff all the time, huge respect for the skill/fitness required.
In regards to NUE future, Shenandoah again and maybe Wilderness 101 next year are probably it for me because they are close. This is just a branch out as a new challenge.”

George Ganoung (Otterhaus) 5:23:37

About 10 minters back, Peter Schultz (Team Bikenetic) finished second with a time of 5:32:35. “As we charged up the first climb, I had my coach’s voice in my head to stay within myself. I was doing about 4 W/kg on the double-track climb and thought that’s about the power that would need to be sustained for 5 hours by the overall winner. So, I let about 30 people crank on past, pretty sure that they’d come back.The hitch in this plan came at the top of the first climb where the arrows were pointed in the wrong direction. When we finally got ourselves turned around, I got shuffled backward another 20 spots or so. So, I spent the entire descent in a conga line, as well as most of Lynn Trail. I tried to stay calm and stick to the plan.But things went further sideways on the Wolf Trail descent when I had a 5-minute mechanical due to a messed up jockey wheel. “The Plan” went even further in the crapper on the road to Hankey’s where I’d stashed my two bottles on little stands: someone stole one of my bottles. Whoever did that and whoever swapped the arrows on Narrowback is a complete butthead.“The Plan” started working in second half of the race where I passed dozens of people. I was able to keep my power relatively high (for me) at about 3.6W/kg. My times on the first and second Hankey’s climbs were within a second of each other. I was able to hold it all together on the descents and get back in one piece.I’d like to give a big shout-out to the OGs in this race, with the fastest overall times going to folks over 50. I had a front row seat watching Libby Sheldon (and Laura Hamm) from the rear as she nearly cleaned Lynn Trail. So impressive!I’d like to thank my sponsors — my wife, myself, and Bikenetic – and my coach, Jeremy Powers, for his attention to detail.”

Taking the third step, Derek Dagostino (Molly’s Bicycles) finished in 5:50:13. “While living and mountain biking in Richmond, Virginia, I had always heard about the Shenadoah Mountain 100 but never seriously considered participating in this race because of its difficulty. I participated in local XC races through the year in 2020 while working to improve my fitness. Going into 2021, I was looking for a challenge and made the SM 100 KM my “A” race for the year. New to endurance mountain bike racing I realized that I had a lot to learn before the race. I joined local marathon XC races for training and also to work my hydration and fueling plan. Admittedly I made some big mistakes along the way. 

3rd place Derek Dagostino

The SM was as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be! Race participants were lined up by bid numbers and in rows of five people. I started mid-pack and used the first 7 miles of fire road to move up while minding my pace. From the fire road you jump onto single track which starts the first significant climb of the day. A few miles into the climb, the riders leading the group of 15 or so stopped and mentioned that they thought we were off course. We turned around and back tracked to the proper course and I later found out that a prankster changed the course markings. The little detour added 3 miles to my race and I also found myself in heavy traffic until reaching the fire road at the end of Tilman single track. At this point I really had no idea where I was in the field because of the mix-up. The climb up the Lynn trail was as memorable as it was steep! Once back on the fire road, I was able to pace with some other riders including Eli Drooger who ended up taking 1st in U19 category. The climb up Hanky was tough but I was also able to pass other riders, make up some ground, and stay on track until the finish line! Special thanks to the SM race promoter and volunteers who pulled off the event this year. The event was well organized and not surprisingly will continue into its 24th year in 2022. Also I want to acknowledge my sponsor Molly’s Bicycle Shop and Blind Dog Brewery in Chester, Virginia. The team at the shop has played a pivotable role in supporting me with fantastic equipment (including my Norco Revolver FS1), topnotch service and an occasional beer!”

Fourth place went to Justin De Leo (Blue Ridge Cyclery) with a time of 5:55:46. Fifth place to Roberts Moore (Moore Velocity) crossing the line in 5:56:30.

Written by: @jentoops

Photos by: @Shenandoahmountaintouring

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE Marathon Series is the Marji Gesick in Ishpeming, MI on September 18, 2021. See you all there!

The Park City Point 2 Point Returns

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

After taking the 2020 season off due to Covid, Utah’s most-anticipated mountain bike race each year returned for its 13th edition. Taking in over 75 miles of Park City, Utah’s, world renowned singletrack and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing, the Point 2 Point is known as one of hardest single-day mountain bike races in the country. 

This year riders from across the country came to the destination town of Park City to be challenged by technical trails, grueling climbs, breakneck descents, and moose. 

Elite men start at the 2021 Park City Point 2 Point. Photo by Jay Dash

Rains on Friday helped clear out some of the smoke that has plagued the west throughout the summer and provided endless hero dirt for the riders to enjoy their P2P experience.

As the race kicked off just after sunrise it was clear both elite fields were ready to push the pace early. 

Two-time winner Evelyn Dong (Juliana/SRAM/No Tubes) took the early lead pushing what challenger, Melissa Rollins (Team Twenty24) described as, ‘cross-county Olympic speeds.’ Dong was joined early on by Caedran Harvey with Rollins not far behind. 

Riders wind through the trails in Park City. Photo by Jay Dash

The  punishing early pace broke up the women’s field and saw Evelyn Dong establish a solid gap that continued to grow throughout the day. The Juliana rider rode clear throughout the day and not even getting stung by a bee on the lip would slow the lone leader. 

At mile 55, Dong passed through the crowds at the Park City Mountain feed zone taking in the cheers from hundreds of local fans lifting her spirits to finish the final 20 miles showing strong form. 

Behind the leader Melisa Rollins had moved into second place after Harvey got off course in the mid-mountain section of the course. 

Evelyn Dong navigates Round Valley in the early morning sun. Photo by Jay Dash

Rollins was followed by the hard-charging Virginian Andrea Dvorak (Cutaway), who is battle-tested in all forms of endurance cycling.  

No one would be catching Evelyn Dong on the day as she finished the race with a smashing time of 7:30:18, well inside the top-20 of the 350 men and women in the race. 

Rollins final push to the finish was temporarily delayed as a mother and baby moose took up residence on the trail. The 25-year-old Rollins was forced to bushwhack her way around the pair before getting back on course and finishing her day at just over 8 hours. 

Despite encountering the late moose challenge, Rollins managed to stay over 20 minutes clear on third-place rider Dvorak who finished at 8:24:55.

The only way to get through the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash

Chelsea Bolton finished fourth in the open women’s field but took top honors for best quote of the day for her comment after finishing the punishing Steps trail climb exclaiming, “Before today, I’ve only ever gone up that trail by mistake!”

Courtney Boyd (Wattie Ink) rounded out the women’s podium in fifth place with a time of 8:47:14

Momma and baby Moose on course at the P2P.

The open men’s race got off to a similarly rapid pace with relative youngsters Truman Glasgow (Rouleur Devo) and Tanner Visnick (POC) pushing hard early accompanied briefly by Australian Lachlan Morton (EF Foundation) who was fresh off a podium finish at the 6-day Breck Epic and his Alt Tour De France effort where he rode the entire Tour De France course solo. 

Morton suffered an early flat before exciting the Round Valley section of the course. This left Glasgow and Visnick out front, a strategy that Visnick had envisioned. “Going out hard early is typically my move,” the 24-tear-old Visnick said. “Unless I’m marking another rider and don’t know the course well, I prefer to be in front setting my own pace on the climbs and descents.”

Never-ending single track is on tap every year at the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash

Despite throwing down early speed, Visnick was unable to shed Glasgow who worked his way into the lead by the top of Deer Valley resort. The 21-year-old Glasgow stayed clear on the following descents and through the tortuous John’s trail where a mother and baby moose forced some brief detours. 

At 50+ miles in both riders descended into the Park City Mountain feed zone just seconds apart. 

Morton was slowly working his way through the field jumping into 5th place by the Steps trail climb and taking over 4th before making his way into the feed zone. 

In front the racing was all out with less than a minute between the two leaders and Tanner Visnick now being out front, barely. 

Tanner Visnick goes for an early lead in the morning sun. Photo by Jay Dash

Despite being young, Visnick is no stranger to distance events having already won the Gunnison Growler, Emerald Epic, and Big Sky Biggie in 2021. After a quick stop at the final feed zone, Visnick used his endurance experience to hold onto a 20 second gap over his challenger needing to essentially sprint the final 5 miles of downhill to cross the line with just 39 seconds in hand. 

After almost six and a half hours of racing Truman Glasgow finished less than a minute behind the leader.

Riders get a well-deserved break after 75-miles of single track. Photo by Jay Dash

Lachlan Morton worked his way up to third place by the finish, passing another youngster, Cameron Larson (Summit Devo Team), in the final miles of the race.

Larson took fourth in what was his longest-ever mountain bike race effort.

Fifth went to Danny Van Wagoner with a time of 6:45:29. 

Race Notes

In a tradition unique to the Park City Point 2 Point, a special award is given to the final racer to finish each year’s event; in special recognition of their perseverance making it to the finish line. 

This year’s red lantern award went to Kristine Thompson, who finished, in the dark, with a time of 13:58:44. The longest-ever finishing time for the P2P.

Red lantern winner Kristine Thompson at the finish

For the first time three riders on the men’s podium were former NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) racers. Truman Glasgow and Cameron Larson both raced in the Utah league, while race winner Tanner Visnick raced in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 

Instead of tapering the weekend before the Park City Point 2 Point, race winner Tanner Visnick, was getting married in Bozeman, Montana. Congratulations Tanner!

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

Hitting the descents at the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash

NUE-Shenandoah 100Mile

The 23rd annual Shenandoah 100 is the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series held over Labor Day weekend in Stokesville, VA. Shenandoah now includes a 100k option of racing on Saturday and the classic 100 mile race on Sunday.

Early 630AM race start

Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just a few 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 which is included in registration.

Womens Open Toops with second NUE win

Women’s 100 M podium: 1st Jen Toops, 2nd Leila Husain, 3rd Laura Hamm, 4th Kaitlyn Maddox, 5th Lynn Faust

Making the trip down from Ohio, previous NUE marathon series winner Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/ Pivot Cycles), took the top step with a time of 9:17:59. Toops now leads the 21 NUE epic series with a win at Mohican and second at Wilderness earlier this year .

” I’ve been signed up for Shenandoah for the past couple years but couldn’t make it for various reasons. I was very excited to finally make it down to VA and see what Shenandoah was all about. My brother Shane Cusick came to cheer and is a Shenandoah veteran so we spent race eve going over the course. Game plan: the “death climb” is tough so save some matches and ride my own race. Some jerk on Saturday threw tacks out on the beginning of course and I got one in my front and rear tires. Luckily Stans sealant did the job and I was still able to run my Maxxis ikons with no issues.

Toops navigates one of many water crossing

All the women were lined up together for start of the race in about 100th position. Julia and I rode most of the beginning gravel together and then I lost sight of her (turns out she had some tire issues and had to DNF). When the race entered the first singletrack there was a lot of Congo lines and hike a bikes. I think this helped in the long run by not burning too many matches in the beginning of the day. I continued to ride a steady pace, keep up on nutrition, and save plenty for the “death climb”. Then the moment of truth…. the so called death climb. Turns out what I envisioned was way worse than it actually was. The 17 mile death climb is long but never super steep and you even get some breaks here and there. I kept looking back and asking at aids if anyone knew time gap and no one knew. I just kept pushing a tolerable pace and ended up taking the win! Super excited to celebrate with my brother and Ohio crew that made it to the event. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot cycles, Ergon, Fox, Maxxis, Stans, Scc, Honeystinger, Carborocket, Lazer. Next up in Marji Gesick in MI. ”

Putting in a lot of training this year for Shenandoah led to happy tears at the finish line for Leila Husain. She took second place with a time of 10:11:33.

An emotional finish for Leila Husain taking 2nd in the women’s 100 mile open

Laura Hamm made a weekend out of racing. She completed the 100k race on Saturday and also the 100 mile race on Sunday. Taking the Stan the woman award she finished the 100 mile in a time of 10:32:13.

Laura Hamm completed both the 100k and 100 mile races

Finishing fourth was, Kaityln Maddox with a time of 11:27:26 and Lynn Faust finished fifth in 13:03:03.

Mens Open- Johnson gets Shenandoah win

Previous NUE epic series and Shenandoah winner, Dylan Johnson took the overall 100 mile race with a finish time of 7:29:21.

Johnson leading 100 mile race

About 20 minutes back, Ian Schwing took second with a time of 7:50:34.

“My favorite race of all time had awaited me Sunday. The legs were fired up from the day before having my second collegiate race in UVA. 6:30am start is always majestic at sunrise with hundreds of people riding together in the woods. Fireworks and moves happened early and many people flatted. Worked my way through traffic until finally at the bottom of Tillman, found myself in the lead group, racing through almost 20 places. Dylan was already out of sight and put in what seemed like a death march of an attack for 90 miles, and nobody followed. Dropping into aid 3 only 3 of us were left in our group. On braileys decent, Jake got a flat and I rode passed him. A very very lonely death climb was ahead of me, and lonely it was. I shared a few miles with Bobby Lea before regaining the gap on Chestnut and hammered to the finish to ensure a second place.  Thank you to Flowformulas for all the support and fueling these massive efforts! Next big race on the calendar is a full collegiate season, collegiate nationals, and marathon nationals!”

Taking third place was Bobby Lea finishing about three minutes off second place with a time of 7:53:21. Fourth place went to Jimmy Klose crossing the line in 7:54:40. Hot on his heels was Heath Thumel just one minute back in 7:55:39. Bishop had mechanical issues and finished 14th.

Singlespeed- Holle with 3rd NUE SS win

Singlespeed 100M podium: 1st Justin Holle, 2nd Lance Byrd, 3rd Anthony Toops, 4th Patrick Blair, 5th Joe Fraas

The single speed division put on quite the show with the top three just four minutes apart. Making the trip from Colorado, Justin Holle, took the single speed win with a time of 8:07:51. With previous wins at High Cascades and Lumberjack he now leads the NUE epic singlespeed series.

Holle congratulating Toops after a close race

Just over a minute back, Lance Byrd took second in the singlespeed division with a time of 8:09:09.

“The Shenandoah 100 single speed division went full-dramatic in 2021.  The lineup contained multiple previous winners (Justin Holle and Patrick Blair) and 39 registered single speeders.  With a neutralized socially distanced mass start, the pace remained sane early, keeping every possibility alive.  Justin Holle (current NUE SS series leader) wouldn’t waste his premium starting position and led the entire field up the gravel climbs to the singletrack.  His confidence paid early dividends as Adventures for the Cure teammates Lance Byrd and Pat Blair were trapped behind a pileup that caused the first decisive split on mountain 1.
Furious chasing towards mountain 2 ensued.  Lance, Pat and Anthony Toops were hanging onto geared riders for dear life as those who were held up tried to bridge back to the leaders.  Pat Blair tried eating gravel at speed, with only a chipped tooth and the dust of his competitors to show for it.  He would fall further behind but wasn’t done!  Lance and Anothony attacked mountain 2.  Lance bridged to leader Justin Holle on mountain 2, ripping Wolfe descent.  The race was on.

Just a minute back, Bryd finishes second in SS. Look at those bars!

Lance and Justin joked that it would be a battle the rest of the day.  They marked each other over mountains 3 and 4.  They climbed similarly, Lance hiked and descended a little faster, Justin would repeatedly pedal him down and take control of the race.
Heading to The Death Climb of mountain 5 the stakes were raised… Anothony Toops bridged, Pat Blair (chipped tooth) bridged.  The top 4 single speeders entered The Death Climb together.  In slow motion they tested each other, some were faster on the steeps, others faster in the mud.  But, even another hour of brutal climbing couldn’t separate them by more than a few seconds.
Lance attacked the 5th and most epic descent.  It seemed to work.  There was no one in sight as he turned onto the gravel leading to the finale, mountain 6.  But Justin would not be denied.  He clawed Lance back on the roads, bridging just before the start of the climb.  The two were inseparable and they even discussed how this would play out.  They decided at the same time that Lance would attack near the top.  It seemed scripted, inevitable.  Justin responded to the final surge and then pulled away over the final kicker.  He ripped down the final descent, sealing his Shenandoah 100 and NUE SS series victory.”

Previous NUE marathon SS series winner, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage) of Ohio took the third spot with a time of 8:12:01.

“What a race this turned out to be!  This was my first SS race since 2019 and I really didn’t know what would happen out there.  I went into the day with no expectations and no pressure other than riding hard and NO CRASHES!
The race started pretty easy and I just focused on my own race.  Justin Holle went off the front going into the first singletrack section and I wasn’t sure if I would see him again.  After I think aid two, I started to see a group up the road and it turned out to be a few geared and SS racers.  I latched onto them on a road section and from then on it was 4 SS racers battling it out for most of the day.
The pace was quick but there weren’t any all out attacks yet, just steady efforts to wear everyone down.  We were all anticipating fireworks on the death climb and everyone was riding really strong. Justin dropped back a little going into  aid 5 (mile 75) at the top and it was Lance, Patrick, and I together in and out of the aid.  I was wondering if he had cracked… but Lance quickly replied “He’s not gone yet. He always comes back!”.  Wouldn’t you know it; by the time  we were almost to the longest downhill of the day, here comes Justin! 
Lance was in the lead by about 25 yards and I had a small slide out in some mud so Justin went by going into the downhill(Chestnut).  I quickly popped back up and caught his wheel.  Patrick was in 4th and taking it easier on the downhills after a crash earlier in the race.  Justin and Lance were absolutely flying on the downhills and keeping their wheel was difficult since I was having some pretty bad hand cramping issues.  The legs were feeling strong but the hands couldn’t safely hold on so I had to back off and would loose some time going into aid 6 (mile 88).
At aid 6 I quickly grabbed a can of coke and got pedaling again.  Justin and Lance were just up the road about 200 yards. I spun like crazy and was closing the gap going into the final climb.  I was all in and went as deep as I could and almost caught them, but they put in a big attack before I could close the gap.  They would again gain some time on the final downhill and at this point I was yelling at my hands they hurt so bad!  At the line we would finish just a few minutes apart. 
This is the best battle and the most fun I’ve had in a 100mi race and couldn’t have asked for better competition on the day. Looking forward to doing it again at the Marji Gesick 100! Sponsors: Paradise Garage. Bike setup:Frame – Pivot LES size largeGearing – oval 32x19Tires – front Maxxis Aspen 3c exo 29×2.25, rear Continental Race King protection 29×2.2″

Rounding out the podium was Patrick Blair finishing fourth in 8:30:58. Fifth place went to Joe Fraas in 8:52:56.

Masters- Weaver gets win

Masters podium: 1st Dave Weaver, 2nd Eric Magnuson, 3rd Amir Matityahu, 4th Keith Papanicolas, 5th Garth Prosser

Taking the win in the Masters division was Dave Weaver (Rapha/Canyon) with a time of 8:43:05.

“Last week my rear hub cracked and a replacement never made it by Friday. My mtb shoes and helmet were still lost in shipping from the Last Best Ride in Whitefish, MT. So I threw my mtb in the car without a rear wheel along with my roadbike, in case I couldn’t race, I was just going to ride Reddish and camp out with  friends. Fortunately, Jeremiah came through with a loaner rear wheel Saturday afternoon! 

I’ve only done one other 100 miler and it was the SM100 in ‘19. I wasn’t prepared for the attrition and pain it took…and my bike setup was all wrong. My goal for Sunday was not to go out too hard on the first two climbs and stay between 10-15th overall hanging close to  Pat, Lance, and Anthony. It’s easy to get caught up in fast starts. The masters guys at this level are all very strong and know how to ride bikes in the backcountry-I knew Amir is leading the NUE Series, kept an eye on him early, and was able to pull ahead on the technical Lynn Trail climb, only to lose time to Dan Atkins on the decent-he’s fast. 

On the flats going into the Death Climb I hear Nathan and Jeremiah charging back calling my name, and was motivated to jump on that train the entire climb as I was seeing some dark moments. It was great to be with two friends on the worst climb of the day. I pulled ahead of Dan again only for him to drop me on the descent again. After a season of flat tires, I took it easy on all the downhills making sure I didn’t flat, or crash. Both are likely at the SM100. Hats off to Chris Scott, who always works hard putting together the best bike racing experiences for everyone! We’re fortunate to have beautiful places to race bikes and volunteers who put in their time to help make the race possible. I’ll definitely be back next year!”

About twenty minutes back was Eric Magnuson finishing second and crossing the line in 9:02:51.

“Taking my son on a college-campus tour through PA, DC, and VA, I figured I’d take a slight detour to race the Shenandoah 100. Glad I did. The course mixes a range of surfaces (rocks, dirt, gravel, and pavement) with suffer-inflicting climbs and smile-inducing descents. The result: a stellar MTB race. I finished where I finished (second place Masters) by pedaling with some luck and sticking to a run-of-the-mill plan, which consisted of going hard at the start; settling down to an all-day pace; and avoiding direct conflict with trees, boulders, and other hazards. There’s a band of people to thank, including family, friends, racers, race organizers, and volunteers. Special shout out to Riverside Cycle for all they do to keep my “lightly used” bikes in working order. Next up: something on the NUE 2022 calendar—perhaps True Grit.”

Only a minute back from second was, Amir Matityahu took third place in 9:04:12. In what looks like a sprint finish fourth place went to Keith Papanicolas in 9:04:14. After a broke derailleur Garth Prosser ran the last few miles finishing in 9:05:53.

Written by: @jentoops

Photos by: @Shenandoahmountaintouring

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE Marathon Series is the Marji Gesick in Ishpeming, MI on September 18, 2021. See you all there!

Breck Epic 2021 Stage 6: Gold Dust

Alexis Skarda and Keegan Swenson seal their Breck Epic 2021 wins on the final stage.

Alexis Skarda sums up her week. Photo by Devin Balet
Keegan Swenson with the early lead on stage 6. Photo by Devin Balet

Often times in stage racing when the leader has a commanding lead, the final stage is more like a victory lap than a hard-fought battle for the stage win. This was not the case on the final day of the 2021 Breck Epic. Both the women’s and men’s race leaders ended the final stage in a sprint finish. Alexis Skarda took her sixth of six stage wins in a sprint over Rose Grant. Grant seemed to get stronger each day, or at least more recovered from her Leadville 100 win the day before the Breck Epic started.

Alexis Skarda takes an early lead on the final stage. Photo by Devin Balet
Rose Grant riding strong on day 6 just missing out on a stage win. Photo by Eddie Clark
Alexis Skarda leading Evelyn Dong on the final stage. Photo by Eddie Clark
Alexis Skarda takes the final stage win just in front of Rose Grant. Photo by Devin Balet
Rebecca Gross enjoying her final day on course. Photo by Eddie Clark

Keegan Swenson sprinted to the finish against race runner-up Luis Mejia. Mejia edged out Swenson in a photo finish. Full results here.

Riders start fast on the final stage of Breck Epic. Photo by Devin Balet
Keegan Swenson and Luis Mejia have a small gap on the chasers coming up Boreas Pass road. Photo by Eddie Clark
John Rauen on the final day of Breck Epic. Photo by Devin Balet
Amazing scenery welcomes riders each day of the Breck Epic. Photo by Devin Balet
Luis Mejia and Keegan Swenson open a lead on the chase group. Photo by Devin Balet
A flat right at the finish line! Photo by Devin Balet
Good times at the finish line. Photo by Devin Balet
Singlespeed race winner Macky Franklin on the final climb of the 6-day Breck Epic. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders crest Boreas Pass road before a final descent back to town. Photo by Eddie Clark
Photo by Eddie Clark
Amy Chandos putting the finishing touches on a podium finish at the 2021 Breck Epic. Photo by Eddie Clark
Mike McCormack at the final podium ceremony. Photo by Eddie Clark
Mike McCormack sits in front of his race team. Photo by Eddie Clark
The pro men’s podium. Photo by Eddie Clark
The pro women’s podium. Photo by Eddie Clark
???. Photo by Eddie Clark
Snow covers the peaks where riders were just yesterday. Photo by Eddie Clark
race director Mike McCormack at the end of a week of racing. Photo by Eddie Clark

Breck Epic 2021 Stage 4: Aqueduct

Longtime World Tour pro Lachlan Morton finding beauty in Breck Epic debut

Lachlan Morton enjoying his time in the mountains. Photo by Eddie Clark

Swenson and Skarda remain unbeaten this week

Alexis Skarda extends her lead on day 4. Photo by Eddie Clark
Keegan Swenson on his way to another stage win on day 4. Photo by Eddie Clark

By Devon O’Neil

BRECKENRIDGE — When Lachlan Morton rolled through the Stage 4 finish Wednesday afternoon, word already had reached those in attendance. He’d suffered another flat deep in the backcountry, his third in two days, and was left to get out on one wheel, hemorrhaging time. Placing eighth on the stage dropped him from third to fifth overall. Suddenly he had an eight-minute gap to close in the final two stages to claw back onto the overall podium.

Morton explained that his flat on West Ridge, high on the Colorado Trail after climbing from Keystone Gulch, had left little hope of repair. Yet he spent 10 minutes trying in vain on the side of the trail, before limping down to the final aid station and bumming a replacement wheel from the Santa Cruz team. “I tried to rim it as soft as I can,” he said, “because I need to ride this wheel tomorrow.” He’d also crashed during Stage 2, shredding his forearm, and generally had not been on lady luck’s good side since Sunday’s start—which, ahem, came one day after he finished second to Breck Epic leader Keegan Swenson in the Leadville 100.

Yet to understand Morton, one of cycling’s most meditative characters, is to understand he did not come here for the number next to his name at the end. “Focusing on results is in the past for me,” he said.

Morton, 29, has become a singular professional because of his refreshing approach to a sport that gobbles up talent and often spits it out. A member of the EF Education-Nippo team and a World Tour rider since 2012, Morton started mountain biking two years ago. During his career he has ridden the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España grand tours, finished the Colorado Trail in under four days, set a fastest known time on the Kokopelli Trail, and won the Tour of Utah. Earlier this summer, he made international waves by riding the entire Tour de France course, plus transfers, faster than the peloton. He averaged 190 miles a day for 18 days, sleeping outside sans support. “I just try to be genuine to things that motivate me and inspire me in a certain way,” he said.

The Breck Epic fit that mold long before he was given bib No. 2 behind Swenson’s No. 1. “It’s just a race I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. Morton’s parents first brought Lachlan, a native of New South Wales, Australia, to Breckenridge when he was 12, then every year thereafter until he was 16. The junior team that the Mortons ran, Real Aussie Kids, trained here each summer. “Breckenridge was the first place I ever visited in America. Well, that’s a lie. I went to Disney World first,” Morton chuckled. “It’s probably my favorite place in America. I would live here, but my wife [a graphic designer] would rather be in Boulder.”

Morton has no support this week. He’s racing a two-year-old Cannondale frame with gaping chips in the paint. After Stage 1, he sipped a Modelo at the finish while his competition sucked down recovery drinks. “I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got,” he said. Yet he’s found the race fulfilling, as he does with any adventure. “You’re basically getting shown around the best local rides for a week, and I get to mix it up with some of the fastest racers too.”

Morton’s approach is as rare as it is intentional. “When I started mountain biking, I said I would never do it competitively because I didn’t want to ruin it,” he said after finishing in 3 hours 32 minutes. “So when I’m on course, I’m having a good time and giving it a go, but if I were really serious about results, I’d go home today really disappointed. Instead, I’m going home to have a shower and then have a nice afternoon.”

GC TAKEAWAY

Keegan Swenson won his 10th Breck Epic stage in 10 tries Wednesday, crossing the line after riding 41 miles in 3 hours 10 minutes, a minute faster than his 2019 time. As he has for the entire week, Swenson waited until late in the stage to put time into his Colombian rival, Luis Mejia, who finished in 3:12. The victory was a nice salvage for Swenson, who clipped a stump in Keystone Gulch and bent his derailleur hanger, leaving him without the use of his easiest gears. “The stump caught me on a hard right turn and lifted me up,” Swenson said. Morton witnessed what happened and was shocked Swenson didn’t go down. “That was a nice save,” he told his friend at the finish. Swenson now leads Mejia by 9 ½ minutes overall. Costa Rica’s Carlos Herrera moved into third overall Wednesday, while Nash Dory enjoyed his best finish of the week in fourth.

Nash Dory on his way to a top-5 finish in stage 4. Photo by Eddie Clark
Keegan Swenson chases Luis Mejia on Henious Hill. Photo by Devon Balet
Luis Mejia leading Keegan Swenson early on stage 4. Photo by Devon Balet
Luis Mejia walks the tightrope to stay on. Photo by Devon Balet
Swenson and Mejia on Heinous Hill. Photo by Devon Balet

On the women’s side, Alexis Skarda won her fourth consecutive stage in 3:52. Rose Grant ended Evelyn Dong’s second-place run in 3:56, though Dong (4:02) remains comfortably second overall. Skarda leads by 19 minutes in the GC standings.

Evelyn Dong stays strong for another runner-up spot on day 4. Photo by Eddie Clark
Alexis Skarda regroups after another tough stage. Photo by Eddie Clark
Rose Grant eyes up a tight corner. Photo by Devon Balet
Alexis Skarda stays out front on stage 4. Photo by Devon Balet
Amy Chandos is having a good week riding near the top-5 all week. Photo by Devon Balet

FIELD NOTES

For those outside the field, it’s hard to comprehend just how fast even the midpack racers cover ground at the Breck Epic. But that’s especially true of the top third. Among this week’s standouts is Macky Franklin, a 34-year-old fat-tire chameleon from Taos, New Mexico. Franklin won the Singlespeed title at the Epic in 2012 and is the current Singlespeed national champion. He’s also competed in more than 20 Enduro World Series events, and makes a living as a pro racer and YouTube personality. This week he’s swept the Singlespeed division and finished 14th, 12th, 12th, and 13th overall, crossing in 3:42 Wednesday.

Singlespeed leader Macky Franklin is forced to push on Heinous Hill. Photo by Devon Balet

Franklin keeps more meat on his bones than the father-son duo of Chris and Justin Peck, who have run away with the usually tight Duo Open Men division. Chris, a 51-year-old engineer at Apple, and Justin, an 18-year-old college freshman-to-be (and one of at least a dozen teenagers in the race), hail from Los Gatos, California. Chris weighs 140 pounds and ski bummed in Breckenridge in his early 20s; Justin weighs 115 and can sometimes be heard hooting on the trail. They finished in 3:56 Wednesday and hold the 28th fastest GC time overall.

Christopher Peck and his teammate navigate the steeps in Breckenridge. Photo by Devon Balet
Matt Pike emerges from the trees. Photo by Eddie Clark
Justin Desilets starting his ride back to town on the Aqueduct stage. Photo by Eddie Clark
Photo by Eddie Clark
Evelyn Dong grinding her way up Heinous Hill. Photo by Devon Balet
Chris Mehlman charges through the water. Photo by Devon Balet
Photo by Devon Balet
Photo by Devon Balet
Jacob Miller gets low on stage 4. Photo by Devon Balet

Click Here for full results from all categories

Breck Epic 2021: Stage 2 Colorado Trail

Skarda overcomes midrace stop to win second straight stage

Alexis Skarda leaps toward another stage win on day 2. Photo by Devon Balet

Epic rookie leads Evelyn Dong by 2:30; Swenson dusts Mejia on Colorado Trail descent

Evelyn Dong giving it her all on day 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Racers ready for the start of day 2 of Breck Epic. Photo by Devon Balet

By Devon O’Neil

Race director Mike McCormack oversees the start on day 2. Photo by Devon Balet

BRECKENRIDGE — Shortly after starting Monday’s second stage of the Breck Epic, Alexis Skarda felt it. A familiar fluttering in her chest. As the pro women’s leader in her Epic debut, with a scant lead over former champion Evelyn Dong, Skarda knew she didn’t have time to spare. She also knew she had no choice but to stop.

So Skarda, a 31-year-old from Grand Junction in the midst of the best season of her pro career, pulled off the trail and dismounted her bike. She drank water and breathed. She watched other racers fly past her, agonizing at the time she was losing.

For much of her cycling career, Skarda has managed a rare congenital heart defect known as supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, an erratic heartbeat that comes from faulty electrical connections in her upper chambers. “It feels like a butterfly in your heart and lactic acid in your legs,” she said. She first felt it when she was 21. Ever since, it shows up periodically and unpredictably. It is caused by stress, but there’s no way to know exactly when or why certain moments trigger it, Skarda said. The first time it happened, her heartrate spiked to 260 beats per minute. On Monday morning, her rate rose into the 250s—an alarming number for someone who tries to stay around 170. “You have to relax to make it slow down, but it’s hard to relax when you see all these people passing you,” she said.

Since the episodes are random, Skarda often tries to build an early gap during races just in case it flares up. When asked if the condition—which is not dangerous in a mortality sense—has ever cost her a race, Skarda said, “It’s cost me a lot of races.” But she downplayed it being called a disadvantage. “I think everyone has something they deal with. This is just what I have to account for. I call it a body mechanical. It’s sort of like a flat tire.”

SVT didn’t cost her Monday’s race. Skarda got back on her bike once her heartrate slowed and rode strong to the finish, winning in 3:53:22. Dong finished second again, 56 seconds back, followed by Rose Grant in third. Skarda’s overall lead now stands at 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Evelyn Dong settles in for a long climb to start day 2. Photo by Eddie Clark

SWENSON BUILDS SIZABLE OVERALL LEAD

In Monday’s pro men’s race, reigning champion Keegan Swenson sent a message that echoed across Summit County—and perhaps down to South America. Swenson had narrowly beaten Colombia’s Luis Mejia in Sunday’s opener, winning by four seconds, and the two were tightly packed again until they began descending the Colorado Trail from West Ridge—one of the highlights of the week in terms of views and pure fun. Swenson sensed Mejia struggling to keep pace on the technical descent and rocketed away from his rival. Once out of sight, he built a seven-minute gap over the final 15 miles, winning in a time of 3:08:52. Lachlan Morton overcame a crash that bloodied his elbow to take third in 3:18:41.

Keegan Swenson sports the orange leaders jersey on stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Keegan Swenson and Mike McCormack enjoy a little pre-race chat. Photo by Devon Balet
Carlos Herrera on the hunt in stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Diyer Rincon gets low on the Colorado trail in stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Lone rider launching some roots on the Colorado trail. Photo by Devon Balet
Chad Barrentsen enjoying his time on stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Stage 2 is always a racer favorite descending the Colorado Trail. Photo by Devon Balet
Riders don’t have much time to take in the scenery on stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet
Rebecca Gross checks on her teammate Madelynn Gerritsen currently leading the duo women’s race. Photo by Devon Balet
Luis Mejia and Lachlan Morton lead Keegan Swenson in the early miles. Photo by Eddie Clark
Chris Mehlman gulps in air on his way up the early climbs. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders enjoy the finish line. Photo by Eddie Clark
Macky Franklin grinds his singlespeed out front on day 2. Photo by Eddie Clark
Shannon Warburg is all smiles in the Women’s 50+ leaders jersey. Photo by Eddie Clark
Keegan Swenson enjoys another day in orange after winning stage 2. Photo by Eddie Clark
Lachlan Morton was all in on day 2 of Breck Epic. Photo by Eddie Clark

BAD LUCK HAS NO GOOD TIMING

The Epic has exacted its share of bodily damage over 12 editions, and this week, although young, has been no exception. Monday a pair of unlucky racers sat next to each other at the Tiger Dredge aid station, commiserating over their mutual misfortune. Rich “Dicky” Dillen, one of the Epic’s most popular characters and familiar faces, had crashed earlier in the day, breaking his carbon-rail saddle, twisting his ankle, crunching an already injured right side, and realizing he had to withdraw from the race. His shoulder was bloodied and smeared with dirt. His morale was crushed. After finishing eight prior Epics, Dillen—a professional bike messenger from Charlotte, North Carolina and nationally known singlespeed racer who competes on rigid frames—struggled to accept he won’t be going home with a BMF belt buckle. “I bought a geared bike a month ago and I think God hates me until I sell it,” he joked. To his point, he’d broken a carbon rim, bruised his ribs and cracked his helmet, all before Monday’s crash. The 52-year-old sat beside the trail and cried when he realized he couldn’t continue the race.

Then Dicky found Bob Orlikowski, a 47-year-old nuclear regulator from Illinois, and plopped down next to him. Orlikowski had trained for the Epic for a year and a half—or, as his wife put it, “his whole life”—before arriving with two buddies to toe the line this week. Twelve miles into the first stage, while pushing his bike up Little French Gulch, Orlikowski heard what he described as two rocks hitting together. “I actually turned around to see if somebody was running up on me,” he said. “But I think the noise was just my Achilles tendon rupturing.”

He made it back to an aid station and found his wife, who drove him to the hospital. Monday his leg was splinted up to his knee; a pair of crutches rested against his shoulder. And yet, as he watched racers pedal by at the dredge, Orlikowski was smiling. “It’s sad, but to me it’s nothing I had control over,” he said. “It’s just bad luck.” Dicky, resting in the dirt a few feet away, added: “It helped to sit down next to Bob. It could be way worse.”

A MOMENT FOR BEN

Riders remember Breck Epic veteran Ben Sonntag before starting stage 2. Photo by Devon Balet

Shortly before Monday’s start in downtown Breckenridge, racers and staff held a moment of silence for 2012 Epic champion Ben Sonntag. Sonntag, a longtime pro cyclist and beloved member of the fat-tire community, was hit and killed by a pickup truck traveling at 69 mph in a 35-mph zone on March 4, 2020, during a training ride outside his hometown of Durango. He was 39.

RESULTS

Find ’em all here: Click Here for full results from all categories

NUE Wilderness 101- Coburn, PA

Written by: @Jentoops

On July 24th, 2021, Shenandoah Mountain Tours held the Wilderness 101 ultra and marathon races in Coburn, PA. The Wilderness 101 is part of the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series. This east coast course takes you through the Bald Eagle and Rothrock state forests of Pennsylvania, and is know for pristine mountain streams, old growth forests and rocky backcountry single track.

101 Sunrise
Photo credit: Chris Merriam

Sunny skies and temps in the mid 80’s made for a near perfect race day. The gravel was fast, trails were dry, and racers put down some blazing fast times. After a hard days work, racers were greeted at the finish line with well deserved tacos and beer included with entry fee.

Post race tacos included with registration

Camping was also included with registration in Coburn Park. This is the staging area making for a trouble-free race morning and celebration at the finish line.

Thank you to the volunteers that came out to support the Wilderness ultra and marathon races!

Women’s OpenTSE winner Britt Mason gets 101 WIN

Coming off a win at the 2021 TSE, Britt Mason (Knobby by Nature) of Maryland, proves she can still navigate those PA rocks taking the win in 8:23:26.

Britt Mason fueling up at aid station 4 for the Stillhouse climb.

The 2019 Wilderness 101 women’s winner, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) finished 2nd with a time of 8:31:04.

“Coming into this race I felt tired after a week long family reunion full of activities and wondered how my legs would feel. I knew Britt would be tough one to beat, especially after just racing TSE and the powerhouse she is. There was also quite a few other fast lady shredders signed up I had my eye on. I decided to take it steady on the first climb and feel it out. I found myself in a manageable pace and holding Britt’s wheel, we settled into the 2nd peloton for the first LONG gravel section. The pace line entered the first grassy downhill and I made the mistake of being 4-5 riders behind her in the pace line. There was no room to safely pass and this is where we got separated. I was told all day it was only a 3 min gap but could never quite shut it down. Around mile 45 was my dark place and I wanted to pull the plug as I was quite a bit nauseated but I’m stubborn and battled on. Still wondering if my racing legs were ever going to show up, I tried to rally on Stillhouse and closed some time. My back and arms couldn’t handle the beating of the PA rocks anymore on the downs. After I clipped a pedal at one point, went sideways over the bars I luckily managed to somehow land on my feet in a bush. This is where I decided to pedal it on in for 2nd and I was more than happy with a 30min PR from 2019! Congrats to Britt on her well deserved win! It was fun chasing all day :) I plan on hitting up Shenandoah next on the NUE tour. Bike: Pivot Mach 4SL live valve. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot Cycles, Ergon, SCC, Honeystinger, Carborocket, Stans, Fox, Maxxis, Xpedo, MTBracenews.

The 2019 wilderness 101 winner Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/ Pivot MTB) gets the number one plate. Thanks Shenandoah Mountain Tours for supporting women’s racing and equal payout! Photo credit: Bryan Cusick

Taking third place, Libbey Sheldon finished in 8:50:27 “So great to get back to the Wilderness 101, especially with the great conditions. I was coming back from a hard landing on my tailbone a couple of weeks back, so I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do out there. Britt and Jen took off from the start on the road sections, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to keep up with them, so I settled in at what I hoped would be an all-day pace. The trails and double track were in great shape, and the temperature never got too high, so I mainly focused on enjoying my favorite sections and seeing friends out on course. Congrats to Britt and Jen for smashing it at the front, and to everyone out there—it’s so great to be back to racing!”

Fourth place was, Tina Severson, from Connecticut with a time of 8:54:14 “No stranger to the endurance scene having done events such as Breck Epic, Dirty Kanza, Gravel Worlds and Maah Daah Hey, I was looking for something new and challenging on the mountain bike. Wilderness 101 was just that! This was my first time riding in this area and I didn’t know much about the course. It had a good amount of fast gravel sections, some chunky, rocky descents and even pitch black tunnels! At times it had a real adventure feel to it, which I loved! My goal was to charge hard and steady for the duration of the day, keep the nutrition and hydration in check and finish strong to land on the podium. I had a really great experience and look forward to trying other NUE events in the future. Sponsors: Orange Seal, Specialized, Schwalbe Tires, Voler Apparel, Pedro’s, Wolf Tooth Components, Julbo, DeFeet”

Taking the fifth step was, Julia Thumel, crossing the line in 9:07:09.

Photo credit: Bryan Cusick
Women’s 101 podium: 1st Britt Mason 8:23:26, 2nd Jen Toops 8:31:04, 3rd Libbey Sheldon 8:50:27, 4th, Tina Severson 8:54:14, 5th Julia Thumel 9:07:09

Men’s Open 101 mile- Inger gets back to back NUE wins

Coming off a NUE Carrabassett 100k win the previous weekend, Jake Inger (Ride the Whites) took home the 101 WIN with a time of 6:53:23.

Ian Schwing (Flow Formulas) rode to a second place finish, coming in at 7:06:07. “Saturday morning started off great and I was fully prepared on the starting line. As all 100 milers I’ve done, the race started up the first climb like we were full gas racing. But there was no dropping off the peloton since I knew there was still a lot of gravel and flat road before any singletrack where some big separations could happen. My good friend, Jimmy Klose and one other rider broke off the front and we lost sight of them before any singletrack. Going in 6th wheel on Lonberger trail, I wasn’t able to pass riders and front and was getting frustrated seeing riders ride away, so much so I wasn’t paying attention to the trail and hit a huge boulder, endo-ed and by some miracle pulled off the ninja move of my life and landed flat on my feet. Got back on my bike, and somehow nothing was broken, headed back up the gravel road to catch the group again. Riding into aid 2 our group of around 10 riders got split up pretty quickly with the technical trail right afterwards, to about 6 of us. Team mate, Will Lovener, didn’t stop at aid 4 and broke away from our group on the following climb. Decided to chase and Jake Inger followed and we caught him on the singletrack at the top of the climb. I would find out later his wrist was still bothering him from his insane effort at Unbound XL. Jake and I rode the next 2 hours together and caught the break of Jimmy and the other rider close to the 60 mile maker. Descending into aid 4 there was nobody to be seen but Jake. Jake dropped the hammer at a water station around the 75 miler marker and I couldn’t quite keep his pace. All I could do as a smaller guy the last hour was get as aero as I can, fight off the lingering cramps, and pray there wasn’t a strong group of riders working together to catch me. Once I hit the tunnel close to Coburn, I was stoked to know I would be crossing the line in second. Shenandoah 100 is definitely on the schedule and huge shout out to flow formulas for fueling and sponsoring me”

Men’s 101 Podium: 1st Jake Inger 6:53:23, 2nd Ian Schwing 7:06:07, 3rd Jimmy Klose 7:08, 4th Heath Thumel 7:16:10, 5th Will Loevner 7:17:15

Just two minutes back, Jimmy Klose, finished third with a time of 7:08. Fourth place was Heath Thumel 7:16:10 and fifth Will Loevner 7:17:15.

Not racing in 3 years, Ron Harding, finished 6th place with a time of 7:19. ” About 10 years ago, my wife (Kathleen Harding) and I focused (and by focused I mean raced enough races to qualify for the series, which at the time was four, I think…) on the NUE series for approximately two seasons.  Back then I rode and raced exclusively on a single speed.  I look back on those days wistfully and wish with all of my heart that someone with more age and experience had pulled me aside, explained to me how stupid I was being, and encouraged me to ghost ride my single speed off the nearest highway overpass.  Racing a single speed for 100 miles is akin to beating your head against a cement wall for 8 hours, only the wall never breaks and neither does your head.  As I sit here in 2021 with the benefit of 10 more years of life experience under my belt and the relative wisdom that comes with it, I offer this to all of the single speeders out there – there is a good reason that gears were invented.

Anyway, I’ve never raced a 100 miles on gears before and didn’t know what to expect.  I got roped into this race about 1-2 months ago by a long time buddy of mine who was going to be visiting from AK the weekend of the W101.  He asked me if I was interested in racing it.  In my head and my heart, I said “no”, but I heard myself tell him “yes.”  And I’m glad I did.  The weather was perfect (which was novel in itself as 9 of 10 previous NUEs I participated in suffered from rain the day before or the day of the event), the trails were in great shape, and the aid stations were operated by the kindest and most accommodating Pennsylvanians a guy could meet.  Chris Scott puts on a top-notch event.

Regarding the race, the lead group crushed the first climb to create separation and rocketed down the first descent at warp speed to the point where I feared for my life.  I spent the first ~33 miles of the race riding in the top 10 wondering what I was doing there.  I knew a handful of people in the race but only two other people in the group at that point, Stewart Gross (who is local to me in southeast PA and a semi-regular riding buddy), and  Christian Tanguay, (who needs no introduction).  On the climb up to Aid 2, the elastic snapped and I had to let the lead group go.  I defaulted to riding my own race.  Around mile 44 I pulled Stewart back and Christian caught us.  We rode together for a bit.  They stopped at Aid 3 and I kept going.  Riding largely by myself for the next 50 miles pulling in three more riders and finishing 6th.  I saw 5th at the bottom of Old Mingle, but was unable to pull him in.  Having since learned of the insanity that is his riding life, I understand why I saw only a glimpse of him.  Who the f*** voluntarily does three laps of the W101?  Aside from witnessing one of the Flow Formula racers go OTB, cartwheel off the trail two wheels in front of me, and land on this feet like El Gato, the race was largely uneventful. Lessons Learned – (1) you can brake all of the cardinal rules of endurance racing and still do well, (2) having no expectations is a huge asset to racing, (3) people tend to come back to you late in an NUE if you don’t overdo it early.Next Planned NUE Race – N/A – I didn’t really plan to do this one and at this point I don’t plan to do any others this year but you never know…stranger things have happened.Sponsors – Full-****ing-retail brought to you by gainful employment.  I’m 42 years old.  Who am I kidding seeking after sponsors?  Ain’t nobody got time or energy for that.  I don’t race for a team anymore, because I don’t really race anymore.  That said, shout out to Trestle Bridge Racing (if I raced for a team, they’d be it) and Twisted Cog and Shirk’s bike shops; two shops I frequent if I need something for my bicycles.”

Master’s 101 mile- Kogelmann wins

Newly minted 50+, Chip Kogelmann (Bikeflights.com) coming off a 50+ win in the EX2 Exterra off road triathlon, won the Masters race with a time of 8:03 (15th overall).  Multi-time Wilderness 101 winner Roger Masse who finished 8:07 (16th overall) lead the race for much of the day and was reeled in only in the last 10-miles after the final aid station.   Kogelmann lost touch with Masse in the Dutch Alvin section of single track about 45 miles in. Kogelmann, a State College local on his 12th Wilderness 100 struggled to stave of intermittent cramps which kicked in around the 55-mile mark.  Kogelmann recovered after some pickle juice at Aid 4 and made a late charge to catch Masse thanks in part to a few 101k riders who he was able to work with on the gravel sections.

The 2019 Master’s 101 winner, Roger Masse, took the 2nd step crossing the line in 8:07:36 “After a one year hiatus for this event due to Covid, I showed up this year to defend my Stokesville Team Masters win from 2019 without knowing too much about the now two new classes of “incoming freshmen” into Masters 50+. Early in the opening climb, led by Chip Kogelmann (BikeFlights), several of the top Masters guys started inching away. They were going hard. Chip was climbing strong and seemed like the early favorite. I lost sight of Chip until mile 15 or so when the chase group that I was in caught the larger group that he was in which was what remained of the peloton. Then at the bottom of Thickhead, Chip again just laid down some climbing power and opened up a sizable gap. Hours later, after emerging from New Laurel Run, I was again in a chase group that together closed the gap on Chip as he was riding solo. Together again.  I managed to climb up Bear Gap with the group that now included Chip which was encouraging. At the top of Bear Gap, out of the group of 5 or so, I dove into the Croyle single track first and tried to work some separation in the woods thinking the slower single track riders might delay his chase. The effort seemed to work as we started getting into more of that amazing Rothrock knar. Dutch Alvin, Chestnut Spring, Sassafras, Sassy Pig, Pigpile, Shiitake, Beautiful and No Name all went by with none of the original group containing Chip. Sweet! Riding solo up Stillhouse, Sand Mountain, Panther Run all the way to Poe Paddy and the last aid, I started to feel like I might be able to hold on despite being pretty tired… Alas, it wasn’t to be, Chip came rolling by me with authority on the rail trail with about 7 miles to go. He spoke some words of encouragement, but I didn’t have the legs to respond. In the end he had put 4 minutes into me and I settled for 2nd. But wow, great course and great racing! Congrats to Chip on the win and a hearty welcome to you and all the newcomers to the Masters family!”

Finishing twelve minutes back, Bruce Stauffer, grabbed third place, 8:19:44 “What a great weather day for Wilderness 101!  This was my 3rd race of the NUE series this year.  If I complete Shenandoah as planned it will be the first year that I will be eligible for series points, so I really wanted to do well but also to finish.  I figured there was probably a sharp rock out there somewhere with my name on it, so I packed two tubes and a pump instead of just the usual CO2 inflator.  Fortunately it all stayed in the saddle  bag.  I started conservative on the first big climb, but by the technical signal track descent right after the 2nd aid station I was in a pretty good rhythm.  I enjoyed the mix of gravel and single track.  Riding thru the final tunnel at the very end is super satisfying as it’s the last challenge before banging the gong and collecting the finishers pint.”

Fourth place went to Rob Campbell in 8:30:46 and fifth place Donovan Neal in 8:34:46.

Master’s 101 podium: 1st- Chip Kogelmann 8:03:49, 2nd Roger Masse 8:07:36, 3rd Bruce Stauffer 8:19:44, 4th Rob Campbell 8:30:46, 5th Donovan Neal 8:34:46. Photo credit: Chris Merriam

Singlespeed 101 mile- PA’s Vorberger gets the W

Taking the single speed win, John Vorberger (Syndicate Cycling/Flow Formulas/Sweetwater Bikes,) from Pittsburg, PA finished in 7:35:27. “Friends told me the W101 normally starts off pretty mellow for the first 25-30 miles, but right from the start of the first climb this year, some open geared guys took off and hammered. I stayed with them and by the top of the first climb, I was in the lead group of only 10-15 or so riders, and the only SS’er in the group. A couple teammates on the Flow Formulas team were in the group with me – Will, Ian, and Caleb – so it made for fun riding as we cruised along the gravel roads. The second climb was also super hot, thanks to Will Loevner pushing the pace. I hung on for that climb also but got spun out on my singlespeed on the gradual downhill after it and lost the geared guys around mile 25-30. Oh well, I was hoping I put a lot of time on the other SS’ers, so my plan changed to just keep riding hard but smart to keep my lead. I rode the rest of the race mostly solo, but occasionally with a couple friends. Toward the end I got caught by a geared teammate and another geared friend doing the 100k race. I drafted them for a little on the rail-trail, but I got spun out and went solo again. Right near the end of the race I caught back up to my buddy Ryan Johnson, who got 3rd in the 100k open, and we crossed the line together. It was a fun way to end the race. The whole day and trip to State College was a lot of fun, it’s hard to beat heading out to a race with a friend and having a good day on the bike! I used 34×20 gearing, but next year I think I might switch to 34×19. Next up is the Shenandoah 100. Thanks to Flow Formulas for race-day nutrition, Syndicate cycling for the support, Sweetwater Bikes, and Extreme Nano lubricants for keeping my chain quiet and smooth the whole race. Also, thanks for Chris Scott for another great event!”

Coming in second was, David Taylor, with a time of 8:33:12. “Wilderness 101, I came in with a new outlook and it worked out this time. I have been racing the 101 since 2016 and love every bit of Chris Scott’s events. I had a bit of redemption for my poor performance at the Mohican 100 last month thanks to a nutrition mixup and the scorching heat. I dnf’d that race. I decided to focus on a couple things this race. Do an easy but consistent taper week, mix my nutrition properly and to go out easier. This worked exceptionally well. I paced with my buddy Jesse for most of the race and just let it come to me. I was back and forth with Joe Worboy but he went pretty hard up the third climb and I refused to chase. After aid station three I caught Thad and Joe again and managed to put a good gap on the long climb. I came up on Matt Ferrari in the new singletrack section and he didn’t seem to put up a fight. I just continued nice and steady and at the last aid station I came up on second place Stephen Schwarz. He quickly took off and I followed about a minute behind. I definitely had more gear than him and caught him about a mile later and never looked back.Despite some cramping on the final stretch I was happy to PR on Stillhouse and the final climbs. By the end I had gapped third place by about 12 minutes and gained a couple more positions on the geared guys. If you haven’t raced the W101 make sure to do so. It’s my favorite of all the courses I have raced. Thanks to The Peddler of Long Branch, Rescue Racing and Hilltop Bikes for all they do for me.”

Taking the third step, Steve Schwarz, crossed the line in 8:46:30. “The Wilderness 101 was really a phenomenal experience for me all around.  To give some background, I have been away from racing for probably 10 years, and this was my first race back with any real kind of training under my belt.  Coming into the race I knew I felt pretty good, but I didn’t know what to expect as far as results. I’m also not a regular on the single speed circuit, so I didn’t really know who was who as far as the competition goes. I know Chris Scott mentioned a few names on the pre-race report, like Thad, Ivan, and Matt Ferrari, but besides that I didn’t really know who to look for.
The race started out beautifully. I had a great nights sleep with a belly full of delicious food and yummy beers from Elk Creek brewing.  I knew once we turned on the first climb that I was going to ride well, but I didn’t know where my limits were, so I told myself I’d ride my own pace and let a number of the single speeders go by. Kept feeling well as the day went on, making sure to stay on top of my hydration and fueling, and things kept going great.  I kept wondering to myself when things were going to go sideways, but they never really did.
I passed a couple single speeders right before or after aid station two and noticed I was riding the trails pretty well.  Sometime around aid station three, I passed Thad Who is walking his bike on the technical single track and seem to be in a bit of distress. That was the first time I thought things might be going OK for me. Then I passed another couple single speeders coming into aid station four, I made it a point to bust a move out of there.  On the nasty climb out of aid station four, I came across Ivan Who was  now shirtless But hilarious as always. I chatted with him briefly, but wrote a way up the hill and he yelled out “looking strong,” which gave me a boost.  I ground myself a bit to make it up to the top of that nasty climb, and then settled in with a bunch of gearies who helped me pass the next 15 or so miles.  At that point I figured I was probably sitting in a pretty good spot. I didn’t know if I was in first third fifth or what, but I suspected things were going well and just road steady and hard to the finish. The finish line came a little sooner than I expected and I was glad to be done. I didn’t know where I had finished until about 45 minutes later when I decided to roll down to the keg for a beer and I saw Ivan standing up for the podium awards and I realized I better get my butt over there for the presentation. Really good to be back in the mix in some serious racing, and no place Better to do it then at one of Chris Scott’s events.  I’m thinking more NUE events are in my future for next year.”

Fourth place was Ivan Temnykh in 8:54:00 and fifth place Scott Rath in 9:04:39.

Photo credit: Chris Merriam
101 Singlespeed podium: 1st John Vorberger 7:35:27, 2nd David Taylor 8:33:12, 3rd Steve Schwarz 8:46:30, 4th Ivan Temnykh 8:54:00, 5th Scott Rath 9:04:39, 6th Joe Worboy 9:19

Women’s 100K- Laird’s 1st NUE win

After a 2nd place finish at both Mohican and Carrabassett 100k, Teresa Laird, from Richmond VA took the 100k win finishing in 6:36:45.

Taking second place was, Abigail Snyder, finishing in 7:16:36 “This was my first time at the Wilderness 101k, and only my second NUE or 100k race. I was both excited and nervous coming into race day, having never ridden in PA before, but having heard stories about how rocky the trails in the area could be. The mass start allowed me to settle into a moderate pace for the first climb. I soon realized that I really didn’t feel strong at all, but that being a 70+ mile race, I could still just diesel on. So I kept a steady pace and didn’t get too bothered by seeing riders pull away from me on the climbs. I approached the unknown singletrack cautiously, not wanting to risk a fall. I was pleasantly surprised by being able to ride the majority of the trails, only walking a few especially technical sections. As a whole, the gravel and trails were absolutely stunning—what a gorgeous course!! Many thanks to the amazing volunteers at each aid station who helped find my drop bags and fill water—that was a lifesaver! When I finished, I really had no idea where I had placed; it was such a fun surprise to realize that I was second! Sponsors: Ronin Velosport; AMP Human; OSMO Hydration; Cardinal Bicycle Next Race: Shenandoah Mountain 100k”

Tanya Campbell finishes in third place in the 100k

Taking the third step was, Tanya Campbell, with a time of 7:56:33. “HARD HARD HOT and HARD! In 2020 the Wilderness 101 race was cancelled. I still set a goal to see what The Wilderness was all about. I like pushing myself to try new challenges. That summer I rode the Wilderness 101 unsupported, with a little help from my friends Brad Fey, Mary Ann, Bri and Nikki. I also supported a fellow rider Will Lovner on his 300 mile tourture fest when he tackled  the Wilderness 101 three times in a row this past spring. Last weekend at an after party from Mid-State Gravel Mary K and I decided that we were going to race the 101. One week out all we basically had to do was rest and recover for our next race.. Chris Scott was more than generous to us. I volunteered with registration and picked up 50 liters of cokes from Wall-Mart for the aid stations. Then this past Saturday was my very first attempt at the Wilderness 101 Marathon 75 mile distance. My performance was not spectacular but I did manage to keep moving forward all day. I was not trained for the distance. At one point I pedaled by the course marshal, a Mom and her small daughter. Her daughter said look a girl. The Mom said look women are doing it too, see you can do this too! That kept me going out on the course all day. Mary and I found each other riding the single track together which was nice. At this point it was hard to tell who was doing the full or the sort course. Evan and Helena were amazing at the last Support Station! This was the only station I stopped at all day. I also had some coke and a pickle. (THANK YOU) I really wanted hot dogs, roasted avocado and whisky but, I know what not to do during a race from experience. I caught up to my friend Ryan and It was nice to chat and ride with him up Stillhouse. The rest of the ride I was suffering. My back hurt and my ankle were killing me. The tunnel was scary and the fishermans path sucks! If you want to know more about the 101 you should just go race it! I finished third on the podium of open women. My friend Mary was actually in front of me. She registered in the 50 and over so she ended up taking 1st in her class. “

Just a few minutes back Kat Brady took fourth 7:59:50. Paula Baake finished fifth in 8:42:36.

Women’s 100k Podium: 1st Teresa Laird 6:36:45, 2nd Abigail Snyder 7:16:36, 3rd Tanya Campbell 7:56:33, 4th Kat Brady 7:59:50

Men’s 100K- Petrylak takes 100k

Taking the men’s 100k win was, John Petrylak, (CarboRocket, Athlos, Kenda, Molly’s Bikes, Norco Bicycles) finishing in a blistering 5:28:35. “It was great to see Coburn park full of NUE racers! The W101K (which is closer 120k🥵) started on a bright beautiful Saturday Pennsylvania morning. Right away I could feel the energy as the peloton moved down the road towards the first big gravel climb of the day. The pace going up the climb quickly escalated until the elastic started to stretch and I found myself in a small group with Will Pfieffer and Ryan Johnson. We all equally shared time on the front and quickly established a lead over the chasing pack. For the first 25 miles we swiftly made our way through Rockrock State Forest towards the first piece of single track. I was first into the single track and proceeded to have an absolute blast!! After some twisting and flowing though the PA single track I got a little space on my breakaway friends; Ryan and Will.Almost immediately after the single track it was AS(1) and a quick refill of a few bottles of CarboRocket. As I began to climb up the gravel road away from the AS Ryan caught back on and reported Will had a little trouble in the single track. Ryan got on the front and both of us started up yet another Pennsylvania gravel road climb. This climb was a little different as it pitched pretty good at the top. Once we got to the steepest part I couldn’t hear Ryan tires crunching through the gravel so I threw caution to wind and just went for it. At the top I established a nice gap; this was mile 30. For the next 45 miles I proceeded alone and did a LONG TT; holding off the chasers to finish in first. Next up SM100K”

About six minutes back, Anthony Grinnell, finished second in 5:34:17. “The race started at a manageable pace and picked up a bit on the last 3rd of the opening climb.  I decided I didn’t want to push my power that early in the race so I maintained my power.  Three riders pulled a small gap by the top of the climb, but I made a very big mistake in thinking they’d slow down a bit or I could pull them back.  I spent the next 40 minutes solo’ing trying to bridge until I finally gave up and decided it would be wiser to slow down and work with the chase group behind me.  Even though I burned a few matches solo’ing, that decision to wait and work with the chase group paid off.  I saved enough energy to feel somewhat fresh heading into the single track.  I caught 3rd place half way through and caught my buddy in 2nd place, Ryan Johnson, on Sandy Mountain.  Ryan and I decided to ride together for the rest of the race, which was a lot more fun than riding the next 2.5 hours solo!  All in all, it was a fun day with some great single track and good friends.  I was happy to finish in 2nd place, considering the judgement error and resulting solo effort early on.  Huge shout out to Flow Formulas.  Their products have made a big difference for me this year in keeping fueled up and hydrated.  Big thanks to Shorkey Auto Group for financially helping the team get to the races and Pro Bike and Run for keeping our bikes going.  With a SS Marathon Win, a SS Epic Win, a top 5 in Men’s Epic Open, and a 2nd in Men’s Marathon Open, the Syndicate Cycling team had a great weekend.”

Only a minute back from second, Ryan Johnson, took the third step with a time of 5:35:28. Will Pfeiffer took fourth in 5:39:42 and Philip Maynard finished fifth 5:42:20.

Photo credit: Chris Merriam
Men’s Marathon podium: 1st John Petrylak 5:28:35, 2nd Anthony Grinnell 5:34:17, 3rd Ryan Johnson 5:35:28, 4th Will Pfeiffer, 5th Philip Maynard 5:42:20

Master’s 100K- Hagen gets master’s WIN

Mark Hagen (Charm City Cycling (C3 P/B Wagner Roofing) took the masters’s 100k win crossing the line in 6:16:57. “This was my first MTB 100k of the year, first time racing the W101 and my longest ride of the year thus far. Eyeing up the pre-reg I saw some familiar names including some of the mid-Atlantic legends such as the Thummels, D Atkins, Tanguy, Masse and Rob Campbell to name a few. Getting beta on the course was surprisingly tough but settled on my Yeti SB100, running Schwaby RaRa 2.5’s on a 34 tooth front with a 9-48 in the rear, running 2 bottles, couple of gels and 2 expired/very hard Shot Blocks I found in the bottom of my race bag. My strategy was going to be like any other MTB race and try and get a good start and hang as long as I could with the lead group. The 9am start was civil compared to our 101m compatriots (7am) and the temps were in the mid 70’s, which was welcomed as this race is notorious for being about 10 degrees hotter. My strategy worked on the first 4+ mile/1,100-virt. ft. climb until about ¾ of the way up the lead group of about 12 splintered off into a chaise group with myself the eventual single speed winner Litzinger, Josh Coffman, Sunny Gil, one other Bike Doctor guy and a smattering of others from the open podium. It was a friendly but focused group and we traded pulls leading up to the first single-track which I entered last and I never saw most of them again. The first 2 sectors of ST were pretty slow going and technical with sweaty PA rock in full effect. We met up with the 100m groups at around mile 35ish which gave me (and them) riders to trade pulls with. The two middle ST sectors were fun maybe not flowy but good singletrack and each gravel section was welcomed reprieve from the pounding PA rock gardens and used the gravel zones to refuel and lick my wounds. Eventually on the second-to-last long super fast fireraod DH I caught up with the Bike Doctor guys again and we met up at the last aid station, which I left first, and thought that they would me on the final climb but never did. On the final flat trail, through a rather dark and scary tunnel, I traded pulls with fast young-gun Chase Caughey and we both worked together in hopes to drop the BD guys on the final 3-mile climb. We hit the last ST sector at the which I knew from pre-riding the final 5-miles on Friday, so I just knew to get off, shoulder my Yeti and run much of it. Super happy with my first W in a while and huge thanks to the support from the volunteers at the aid-stations (well stocked) and Chris Scott at SMT for this and the other great MTB and Gravel events he throws down on. Also shout out and thanks to my team C3 PB Wagner Roofing and Charm City Cross…cross is coming people.Next up for me is the Breck Epic and can’t wait for the Shenandoah 100!”

Six minutes back and finishing second, Dorel Stoia, finished in 6:23:35. Ohio riders, Bob Sowga (PG racing), finished third in 6:51:51 and fourth went to, David Jolin (Rescue Racing) crossing the line in 6:54:06. Jeff Adamcik took fifth in 7:10.

Masters 100k Podium: 1st Mark Hagen 6:16:57 2nd Dorel Stoia 6:23:35 3rd Bob Sowga 6:51:51 4th David Jolin 6:54:06 5th Jeff Adamcik.
Photo credit: Jen Toops

Masters 100k Women

Mary Kowalski crossed the line in 7:44:50 taking the women’s masters win.

Women’s Masters podium: 1st Mary Kowalski 7:44

Singlespeed 100K

Pennsylvania’s very own James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) took the singlespeed win and sixth overall finishing in 5:44:01.”

Who would not like the Wilderness 101? Loads of the finest gravel in Pennsylvania with east coast rock gardens and beautiful single track. On the first climb after the neutral start the race heated up with about five riders separating themselves as the lead group.  I thought it would be a good race move to conserve some energy and continue the climb at my own pace. When I got to the flat section at the top of the climb, I jumped on the chase group of three riders who meant business.  They were putting in big pulls making it difficult to hold on with all the spinning on the flat roads. I was able to hang on for 6 miles or so before deciding it would be best for me to conserve some energy for the big climbs later in the race.  After all my spinning, I could not wait for another climb and that came were the 100-mile racers joined the course. This is the point in my race where I felt steady and strong. The race just kept getting better, at the top of the climb I was able to put my Specialized Epic to work on the Dutch Alvin trail. It was a blast! From here I started to build confidence as I began passing more 100 and 100k racers. As I worked my way through the field it was great to run into some old friends and make some new ones. 

I had a bunch of support that made this race possible to do my best. Excellent support and friendship from the team shop, Pro Bike + Run. I was using Extreme Nano Lubricants which kept my chain incredibly happy in the harsh conditions. My nutrition and hydration were on point with flow formulas. My Perelli tires were fast and durable. My Wolf tooth 34 x 20 gearing was strong and flawless. As always, I would like to give special thanks to my Syndicate family for always supporting me and pushing me to do my best.  Next up is Shenandoah!! “

Matthew Doyle took second with a time of 6:42:02.

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the Epic and Marathon NUE series Pierre’s Hole in WY on August 7th, 2021

Funk Bottoms Gravel 100k/200k

Funk Bottoms Gravel entered its 10th official race excluding last year’s pandemic virtual race.  Saturday morning started early as the field has grown from three entrants in the first year to a capped 250 entrants in 2021.   Volunteers and support staff on little sleep from marking the course the night before, start rolling in around 4am to prepare for registration, a 7am start for the 200k race, and the 100k race starting an hour later.  Many familiar faces return while plenty of new faces arrive for the self-proclaimed Ohio’s toughest gravel grinder. The 100k course this year featured 66 miles and 8200 feet of vertical climbing with less than 9 miles of the course paved.  If that’s not enough for you then you can register for the 200k which sends you out for two laps of the aforementioned terrain.

The weather on this Saturday morning called for fairly mild temperatures in the 70s with possible pop-up strong thunderstorms throughout the day.   The course was in fantastic shape and some fast predictions were casually discussed among the race organizers.   The threat of storms kept quite a few riders away and there were around 60 DNS entrants in this year’s race.  However as 7am approached and the neutral roll out began, the largest field of 200k racers for FBG took to the course and an hour later the largest field of 100k racers took off after them.

Under mostly cloudy skies and mild conditions, the field looked enthusiastic and excited to tackle the course that was ahead.  The first 5.5 miles of the course are a gradual climb, which may give riders a false sense of security about what their day might look like.   After the first real descent is an almost immediate steep climb of nearly 500 feet in under ¾ of a mile, and it’s at this point you can really start to gauge what your day is going to look and feel like.   When you’re not climbing on this course, you’re descending steep gravel roads which leaves many riders white knuckled.  While it’s difficult to count the hills on the course as there is a frequent joke that FBG put’s hills on top of the hills, there are roughly 6 steep climbs in the first 25 miles before rolling into Killbuck for a much needed break at one of the local convenience stores to refill supplies on this self-supported race.

Every year the race coordinators vary the Funk Bottom course for new and interesting sights and challenges.  This year’s route included 1.5 miles of new gravel roads never ridden in previous years.  One of the favorite sections among the riders is “Bigfoot Road” where a 15-foot tall Bigfoot holding gun has been carved out of a tree.  To the surprise of the racers a few miles before the secret checkpoint, some Gravel Angels decided to set-up an oasis dressed as clowns.  This was a much-needed comical break from the relentless grueling hills.

A not so secret checkpoint this year was at mile 52 again in Killbuck where the first riders from the 200k managed to pull in just over 3 hours into the race.  With mild temperatures and a little bit of rain, most of the 200k racers opted to not stop at the only aid station provided by the race and continue to push through the final 15 miles of the first lap back into Glenmont.   A little less than an hour after the first 200k riders came through; the 100k field started rolling through the checkpoint.  The faces of the riders ranged from enthusiastic that they were nearing the end of the course, to agony and asking for the shortest bail out option to the finish line.   For the next few hours, the strung out field of 100k riders continued passing through the checkpoint.  As the last of the 100k riders made their way through the mile 52 checkpoint, the aggressive pace of the 200k riders on their second lap lapped some of them.

A group of about five 200k riders pulls in together back into Glenmont finishing the first lap.  Initially it appears that this group might stick together for the rest of the day and the race could be in for a close finish.  Shortly into that second lap however, a surge by the leader breaks that group up and by the second time through the mile 52 checkpoint, there was well over a 1-minute gap between each of the first five leaders.

Not to the surprise of the race organizers, past Funk Bottoms champion Ben Meer won the 100k in under 4 hours separated by less than 2 minutes by Paul Martin, with the 3rd place finisher just another few minutes behind.   A late entrant Julia Priet won the Women’s 100K and posted an amazing time.  For the next few hours, riders of all categories would continually be pushing across the finish line.

Jeff Pendlebury defending his title from the 2019 200K was the first 200k participant to cross the finish line set a new race record with a blazing time of 8h 32m 11s. Fresh off her win two weeks prior at the Mohican 100 Jen Toops won the Women’s 200K. All 200k participants are greeted at the finish line with a finishers award; this year being the Funk Bottoms Gravel pint glass (hopefully full of ice-cold Yuengling).

All in all, it was a fantastic day for racing for everyone involved.  Special thanks to everyone who participated in this race and makes the day what it is.   Funk Bottoms Gravel truly brings out the most determined riders for Ohio’s toughest gravel grinder

Mens 100k open podium

Mens 100K Open
1) Ben Meer* (Johnny Velo Racing) 3:55:41
2) Alex Lundbeck (Paul Martin) 3:57:36
3) Maxwell Matsanoff  (Audi) 4:03:41

women’s 100k open podium

Womens 100K Open
1) Julia Priet (Bicycle Face) 4:51:38
2) Emily Miller (VeloFemm p/b Litzler) 5:24:48
3) Christina Condon (West Coast Cycling) 6:10:02

100k SS podium

100K Single Speed 
1) Josh Kunz* (Trans-Sylvania Productions) 4:32:04
2) Nicholas Campbell 4:52:21
3) Tucker Cavanaugh 4:56:42

100k Masters men’s podium

100k Master Men
1) Nate Loman (Hammer Nutrition) 4:28:36 
2) Rudy Sroka (Lake Effect) 4:36:11 3) Tom Weaver (Summit Freewheelers) 4:42:29

100k Master Women podium

100K Master Women
1) Julie Sroka (Lake Effect) 5:28:54
2) Judy Porter* 6:09:37
3) Peggy Cook 6:10:16
4) Cynthia Berard 6:10:16

200k Mens podium

200K Men Open
1) Jeff Pendlebury* (Ride on Wooster) 8:32:11 (Race Record)
2) Andrew Boissiere (Headwins p/b Elevator Brewing) 8:41:54 
3) Brent Goetz (Think Green-Bicycle Face) 8:47:23

200k women’s open podium

200K Women’s Open
1) Jen Toops (Pearl-Izumi/ Pivot MTB race Team) 10:23:04
2) Maggie Livelsberger 11:53:02 3) Genna Brock (DNF)

200k SS podium

200K Single Speed

1)Scott Phillips* (Team Dayton-Reser Bicycle) 11:20:01

200k Masters podium

200K Master
1) Garth Prosser (Specialized) 10:18:04
2) Steve Curran (Ghisallo Cycling) 10:33:04
3) Jason Hall (Summit Freewheelers) 12:55:02 

Race report & pictures provided by: The funk masters (Chris, Marc, Paul)

Full results CLICK HERE

NUE Mohican 100K

Written by: @jentoops

The 20th annual Mohican MTB 100k/100m kicked off on June 5th, 2021. Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to tackle this tough course. A new course for 2021 would eliminate gravel and add more private single track sections making it quite possibly the toughest course yet.

Start of Mohican race from Mohican Adventures campground. Photo: Butch Phillips

The 100k race took off at 9AM and started/finished at Mohican Adventures campground. It was a full sun, scorching hot, and humid day with temperatures reaching mid 80’s. Due to a short run out before the singletrack, a mass start wasn’t possible this year and race director, Ryan O’dell, sent racers off in 5 min waves by category.

The racers quickly jockey for position going into the 25 miles of fast flowing single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical sections and the newly added Mohaven single track. The famous Mohican Wilderness rock garden was included where racers are heckled as they try to maneuver this technical section. Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat.  What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance and eventually climbed over 8000 feet.

What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers from New Hope Church that run the aid stations. Ryan O’dell stated, the church has been helping for 10 years now. The New Hope volunteers bring a unique excitement and enthusiasm to the event that makes racers feel welcome and appreciated. I can’t thank them enough.” No matter if you are leading the race or in the back the volunteers make signs, are out cheering racers on and have a “Nascar” style to get you in and out of aid stations quickly.

One of seven fully stocked aid stations. A huge thanks to volunteers from New Hope church for helping with the event! Photo: Butch Phillips

Finishers cross the line and grab a pint glass(100k) or a growler(100m) and can enjoy the post race atmosphere.  Families and friends gather food from Grants Guac and Roll and beer from Great Lakes Brewing all while cheering racers on as they cross the finish line.

Men’s Open

Taking the men’s open 100k win and finishing fourth overall was local, Andrew Purcell (Purcell Construction), with a time of 5:55:12.

Andrew Purcell-Men’s open 100k winner. Photo: Butch Phillips

“I rolled off the start line and entered the single track about 6th place.  I live in the mohican area and know these trails really well.  After a few miles i decided to head to front to up the pace.  We split off into a group of three. Not going to hard but using the flow of the trail to our advantage.  100 yards from the first road section coming off the horse trails one of the riders went over the bars pretty hard and that left two of us to get after it.   We rode together to wilderness and i thought for sure he had the better legs on the day.  I let him go on back side of wilderness climb.  I knew we still had a good bit of riding left. Rode solo till heading back home out of mohaven when i came up on Ryan.  He said his legs were cramping and just wanted to get home.  I tried to encourage him and said this is the only way home.  We are so close. We rode together until climb up to back side of suspension bride where i pedaled on and basically crawled home to the finish. Home field advantage was a huge bonus.   Bike worked flawless all day. Lucky win– Sponsor is Purcell Construction”

Men’s open 100k podium: 1st Andrew Purcell, 2nd Ryan Johnson, 3rd Will Pfeiffer, 4th Christopher Cain, 5th Joseph Williams

Taking second place was, Ryan Johnson (Cannondale) of PA, finishing in 6:02:27. About seven minutes back, Will Pfeiffer (Flow Formulas), took third place in 6:09:31.

“During my Friday recon, I saw that a narrow, metal bridge led into the singletrack about half a mile after the start.  This looked like trouble so, as soon as the race began, I went to the front and made sure to lead across the bridge.  This turned out to be a good choice, as there was some chaos farther down in the field through that area.  I ended up staying on the front for about 5 miles, dragging a group of seven of us away.  At this point, I let eventual winner Andrew Purcell move through.  He was climbing harder than was reasonable for me and I quickly let the other five through as well to go chase him.  Then I just settled into my race.

Joe Williams bridged up and we rode together for around 40 miles, slowly catching guys who had popped off that front group.  I was focused on keeping some pace while not overextending the legs and staying well hydrated.  Coming out of the third (and what I thought was the final) rest area, we navigated the last significant portion of singletrack before the course opened up into a series of gravel and fire road climbs.  I was starting to increase the tempo and knew that Chris Cain was staying within about 20 seconds of me with third place on the line.  Given that I had unknowingly lost track of the course, when we crossed the plank bridge into a campground I thought we were about to hit the finish.  I was full gas, absolutely giving it the beans for half a mile, making sure to keep Chris behind me…just to realize that we were merely coming into the *actual* final rest area.  With another 12 miles to go.

This was a tough mental and physical blow.  My legs were cooked so I backed off and waited for Chris to see what kind of pace he was rolling at that point.  Neither of us were going super hard, so it was a good chance to recover for a bit.  Around eight miles to go, I started climbing to the power numbers again and hoping my legs wouldn’t completely crump after my mistimed effort.  I was able to pull away through a few of the steeper sections and really buried myself holding high tempo to the finish, securing the podium.  This was a great course.  Definitely challenging.  Lots of variety and far punchier than I thought it would be.  Glad I came to Ohio and fortunate to have linked up with some awesome riders throughout the day! Sponsors: Flow Formulas, The Black Bibs, Starlight Apparel, Industry Nine, Maxxis, Kask, Koo Eyewear, Handup Gloves, Ridge Supply”

Rounding out the podium was, Christopher Cain (Yellow Springs Dirt Syndicate) from OH finishing fourth in 6:13:20. Taking the last podium spot was, Joseph Williams (Blenman-Elm Racing), from AZ finishing in 6:15:09.

Women’s Open 100k

100k Women’s podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Thirty-two racers showed up for the Mohican women’s 100K. It was UCI racer, Kelly Catale (Seven Cycles), making her first NUE appearance and winning the 100k with a time of 6:22:19. “The 2021 Mohican 100k was my first ever NUE race, and the longest marathon MTB race of my elite cycling career, so I truthfully had no idea what to expect. I started the morning with eggs, pancakes with real maple syrup, and coffee, and then we rolled out to the race venue. During my warmup, the sun was already blistering hot and the air was equivalent in thickness to chamois butter. For the first of what would become hundreds of times, I tried to convince myself that this weather was better than rain. 
When the race began, I took the lead into the campground singletrack. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so I decided to put some distance between me and the pack by crushing the first of what would be many climbs akin to a wall on this course. From there, we ventured into the Mohican State Park singletrack, which was a perfect combination of climbing and bumpy roots — so bumpy that I lost one of my bottles, which signaled the beginning of my inevitable dehydration saga. I reduced my pace slightly to avoid overheating too much and, thankfully, my amazing aid station crew (my husband) was prepared with plenty of fluids at aid station #1.   
The race progressed somewhat uneventfully for many miles of singletrack, horse trails, gravel roads, and hills. While trying to stay focused and hydrated, I kept myself company by singing songs out loud. The soundtrack for the day included some Queen, Van Halen, Justin Timberlake, and Bon Jovi (honestly, who doesn’t sing a little “Halfway there…WOOOAAAAHHH” when they pass halfway in a race?). I found myself drinking much more water than I expected (and I never cramped up, thanks to the Flow Formulas drink mix in my bottles!), and was passing many suffering, cramping competitors along the sunny and exposed gravel roads of doom. 
Throughout the entire race, I was most impressed by the positivity and energy of every volunteer, course marshal, and race staff that were positioned at the intersections, aid stations, and start/finish. These folks made the ride a bit more enjoyable and tolerable in the crazy heat. Overall, the course and competition did not disappoint!
My next NUE race will be the Carrabassett 100k in July. A huge thanks to my husband, Joe, for preparing my bike for race day and for being the world’s most organized aid station crew; my race success would be just a dream if it weren’t for you. Thanks to Seven Cycles for the amazing KellCat SL race machine, Industry Nine for the fancy and light wheels, Vittoria for the grippy and fast rolling rubber, and Verge Sport for the spiffy kit. Thanks also to Flow Formulas for keeping me fueled and cramp-free all day and Gold Medal CBD for helping me recover and sleep.”

Kelly Catale-Women’s open 100k winner- Photo: Butch Phillips

About twenty minutes back was, Teresa Laird (RVA Racing), finishing second with a time of 6:44:03.

“On our long drive from Richmond, Virginia nerves were setting in, the start list of 35 women was larger than any race I have done before. I’m relatively new to mountain biking and have been doing well locally but I was really questioning whether I was going to be competitive with this large field of women. And then I heard something on Leadville: The 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race Podcast, it was “You are better than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can”. Great, I had my race mantra!

The singletrack started within the first quarter mile and I knew I needed to be towards the front, I pushed harder than I normally would and I ended up going into the woods 3rd, Kelly in 1st and Julie in 2nd. Kelly immediately opened up a gap on Julie and me but I was working hard and knew it would be a long day if I tried to follow. I passed Julie around 3 miles in and then we were together for most of the first 20 miles. I pulled away from her just before getting out of the first section of singletrack. 

25 miles in coming out of the woods onto the road, I was ready to increase my pace, but that was short lived and we headed back in for some rocky trails. This was probably my favorite part of the race. I was still feeling great and I love some techy riding! 

About 4 hours in, it was starting to sink in that this race was going to take about an hour longer than I thought. I had looked at previous times on the course and hadn’t fully appreciated the changes made to the course when I was determining my race plan. Luckily, I had enough food in my drop bag. I went back to my mantra and kept on pushing.

The rest of the race went by slowly, the heat was starting to get to me and I probably pushed a little too hard in the beginning. One day I will get my pacing right, but luckily I was able to hold on to 2nd.

Mohican 100k was a well organized and challenging race. I am grateful for all the volunteers on the course. Aid station support was top notch! Also, my bike was having shifting problems right up until race week and Carytown Bikes in Richmond went above and beyond to get it right and it shifted flawlessly the whole race. I’m excited for the next race in the series. Next Race: Carrabassett 100k”

Taking the third spot was, Julie Medema (Founders Racing) traveling in from MI finishing with a time of 7:01:18.

“Mohican is my first nue series race besides Lumberjack100. I was excited to test the legs and ride some new trail. I asked some friends who’ve done the race in the past for advice and they said the first half is slow going/difficult trail but the second half is gravel/road and goes by quick. Needless to say about mile 45 I realized the fast miles weren’t coming.. I settled into a steady pace since I’d been on my own from about mile 20 and didn’t anticipate being able to work with anyone since the course was a constand climbing and descending pattern. 
Turned out the course was challenging the whole way through! First 25 miles of Mohican State Park trail were fast despite being rooty and had great flow. The remaining mix of trail/two track and small sections of gravel then the additional what I’d call ‘adventure trail’ were relentless steep climbs and descents that kept you on your toes between mud sucking puddles, washed out rutted descents, ravines and many creek crossings. Needless to say that was one of the biggest adventure races I’ve done and the scenery was spectacular throughout the entire course! 
I credit my 3rd place spot to sheer stubbornness to not wanting to walk my bike on the numerous climbs and having good technical skills through the roots, slippery rock gardens and fast descents. Also my husband was at aid stations with ice cold drinks which was a lifesaver due to the 90 degree temps and the fact that it was hard to eat with the heat and lack of easy miles to take in much nutrition. 
Thankful for the stability from my Velocity Blunt SS Wheels and Founders Racing teammates to always help me push the limits!”

Completing the podium was, Abigail Snyder (Ronin Velosport) from IN crossing the line fourth in 7:13:09, and Beth Desanzo from PA finishing fifth with a time of 7:17.

Singlespeed

100k single speed division podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

The singlespeed division was all business this weekend as the top three took the fastest times of all 100k racers including gears. Taking the overall 100k and singlespeed win was, Dahn Pahrs (UPMC Pro Bike Run) of PA finishing with a blistering fast time of 5:47:15.

“Due to changes in the course they were starting people in waves.  They were sending out the Pro / CAT 1 racers at 9am, then Open Women at 9:05 and then SS’ers at 9:15.  I was worried every open class racer was going to say he was CAT 1, but only about 30 of the 200+ open riders lined up.  Off they went and then about 30 women went off at 9:05. Then at about 9:17 the SS’ers went off.  I was able to ride with Jim Litzinger and Anthony Grinnell for about 3 or 4 miles until they dropped me.  I settled into a pace I could hold and worked my way through the women’s field.  They all let me pass with no major issue in the tight single track but this would allow Josh Kunz to keep it pretty close to me.  About 12 miles in we hit the covered bridge climb and I went at it hard to distance myself from Josh.  Pushed it a little too hard and puked on the climb but was able to keep riding.  Learned after the race that Josh backed off some because the pace to the covered bridge was too fast for a 100K race, he said we got to the bridge in the same time it takes him for the normal 25 mile XC race held there.  So for the next 25 miles I was pretty much riding alone and passing people who started in front of me.  Occasionally someone would tell me Jim was a minute or two ahead.  Coming into aid station 3 you passed the people coming out of the aid station and that is where I saw Jim and Anthony for the first time.  I could see they were less than 2 minutes up on me.  I made quick time getting out of the aid station and went on to chase them.  New this year, they had the 100K racers head to some new trails at a location called Camp Mohaven.  This new stuff made this year’s race 69 miles rather than the normal 60ish.  There was some tough climbing into the Mohican Wilderness part of the course and then a brutal climb up to Camp Mohaven.  At Camp Mohaven they had aid station 3.5 and that was when I caught up to Jim and Anthony.  We left the aid station and rode the entire 6 miles of trail there together still pacing other riders.  Then it was off on some gravel roads.  We chatted and I just sat on their wheels.  No way I was going out front against the two of them.  With about 12 miles to go I recognized a tough gravel climb was coming so I went to the front.  It started gradually and I was seated climbing it.  I would look over my shoulder every couple seconds and I could see a small gap forming, then it started to get steep and I basically said to myself “it’s go time” and stood up and just hammered it out.  The gap instantly grew and they just let me go.  I passed a very fast geared guy, Brian Schworm, on the climb.  He looked to be hurting but I was also worried he could pull Jim and Anthony back up to me.  So I just kept hammering.  I found out later that Brian had to DNF shortly after I passed him from dehydration and he was of no help to Jim and Anthony.  With a couple miles to go in the race I caught up to Ryan Johnson on a paved road and he told me he was in 2nd place in the Open Class and that 1st place was only a couple minutes ahead.  It was at that point I realized I was in 1st place overall.  I had no idea until then.  In the end I finished in 5:47 and won overall.  Jim and Anthony finished in 5:51 to finish 2nd and 3rd overall.  The top Open class rider finished in 5:55.  Definitely was not expecting to do that well after all that racing I did the 2 weeks prior, Whiskey Rebellion 200K & TSE.  I used 34X20 as my gear for the race.”

Crossing the line together and finishing second and third were teammates James Litzinger (Syndicate Cycling) and Anthony Grinnell (syndicate Cycling) both finishing in 5:51:33.

“The Pittsburgh Single Speeders showed the geared field how it’s done this past weekend at the NUE Mohican 100K by taking all 3 top spots on the overall podium.  Jim Litzinger and I had a strong start and pulled a few minute gap over multi-time Mohican winner Don Powers.  The course was in great shape with a few slick spots, but the Pirelli tires hooked up phenomenally.  At aid 3.5, Don pulled back the gap and the three of us rode together for the next 15 miles or so until he pulled away on one of the long grinder climbs.  With the heat and humidity, Jim and I should have watched our pace a little better in the first half of the race.  I remembered conditions being similar in 2016 and watching guys drop like flies in the later miles of the race and that certainly seemed to be the case this year as well.  Using Flow Formulas drink mix has been a huge help in those types of conditions.    Jim and I were happy to cross the finish line together for 2nd and 3rd and were even happier to find out the single speed guys swept the overall.   Overall, the Syndicate Cycling team had a great week with John Vorberger getting 2nd in the 100 mile SS class, Wyatt Rodgers winning the under 30 Open Men’s 100K, Jim and I getting 2nd and 3rd in the overall 100K, and Will Loevner getting 2nd in the 357 mile Unbound race in Kansas, even after suffering a broken hand and lacerated arm.  Big thanks to Jim Shorkey Auto Group and Pro Bike and Run for helping us get to the races.”

Josh Kunz (Trans-Sylvania Production) finished in fourth place with a time of 6:42:30. James Knott (Nocterra Trek MTB) took the fifth spot in 7:04:19.

Masters 50+

Masters 50+ podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling in from IN, Paul Arlinghaus (HMBA), took the masters win finishing in 6:32:45.

“With all the other age group waves starting in front of us, the first hour and a half of 50+ race was action packed.  We started catching riders 7 minutes into the race.  I think that later, we all paid the price for the extra effort required to pass so many riders.   Dorel Stoia and I were in 2nd and 3rd coming out of the Mohican State Forest and we worked together on the gravel roads to the Mohican Wilderness.  We were together until just before the double track climb in the Wilderness, this is where I got away from Dorel.  After Sag 3, I caught the lead rider just before top of the Wilderness climb.  

The addition more trails in the Wilderness and the new trails in Mohaven, made the 100k race harder than past years.  I was riding the technical single track well and felt that I was gaining time.

Paul Arlinghaus-Masters 100k winner

From Mohaven to the finish, it was just survival mode, I conserved on the flat and downhill sections and just focused on steady power on the climbs.  I sprinted up the climb back into the Park, mostly because I was ready to be done and was happy to be finished.

I think that one of the keys to winning was having sag support. Heather Arlinghaus was at Sag 1 and 3 to support me.  I left every sag station with 2 full water bottles.  With temperatures in the mid 80’s many riders paid the price for passing by sag stations early in the race.”

Second place went to, Dorel Stoia of OH, crossing the line in 6:55:17.

“This was my 4th Mohican 100k and my first time in Master’s class. Mohican is my absolute favorite trail and love everything about it. The race was very hard because of the tough competition,  the tough course, and the heat. I was in the lead before the Wilderness when I started to have cramps and had to slow down the pace. After that it was just holding up to maintain the second spot of which I am very pleased with. Thanks to the organizers for putting together such an amazing race. Now is time for recovery and  getting ready for the next NUE race, which is going to be Wilderness on July.”

Third place was, David Jolin (Rescue Racing), 6:59:08, fourth place, Robert Goetz, 7:10:47 and fifth place went to, Ali Arasta, with a time of 7:16:32.

For full results CLICK HERE

Mohican 100 photo album by Photographer Butch Phillips CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE series is the Lumberjack 100 mile June 19th, 2021 in Manistee, MI

NUE Mohican 100 Mile

Written by: @jentoops

The 20th annual Mohican MTB 100k/100m kicked off on June 5th, 2021. Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to tackle this tough course. A new course for 2021 would eliminate gravel and add more private single track sections making it quite possibly the toughest course yet.

Start of Mohican race from Mohican Adventures campground. Photo: Butch Phillips

The 100m race took off at 7AM and started/finished at Mohican Adventures campground. It was a full sun, scorching hot, and humid day with temperatures reaching mid 80’s. Due to a short run out before the singletrack, a mass start wasn’t possible this year and race director, Ryan O’dell, sent racers off in 5 min waves by category.

The racers quickly jockey for position going into the 25 miles of fast flowing single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical sections and the newly added Mohaven and Glenmont single track. The famous Mohican Wilderness rock garden was included where racers are heckled as they try to maneuver this technical section. Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat.  What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance and eventually climbed over 11000 feet.

What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers from New Hope Church that run the aid stations. Ryan O’dell stated, the church has been helping for 10 years now. The New Hope volunteers bring a unique excitement and enthusiasm to the event that makes racers feel welcome and appreciated. I can’t thank them enough.” No matter if you are leading the race or in the back the volunteers make signs, are out cheering racers on and have a “Nascar” style to get you in and out of aid stations quickly.

One of seven fully stocked aid stations. A huge thanks to volunteers from New Hope church for helping with the event! Photo: Butch Phillips

Finishers cross the line and grab a pint glass(100k) or a growler(100m) and can enjoy the post race atmosphere.  Families and friends gather food from Grants Guac and Roll and beer from Great Lakes Brewing all while cheering racers on as they cross the finish line.

Men’s Open

Men’s open 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling all the way from AZ, Kyle Trudeau (CZracing) takes the win in the men’s open 100 mile with a time of 7:31:10. This was Kyle’s first win at the Mohican 100.

Kyle Trudeau wins the 100 mile men’s open coming in from Tucson, AZ- Photo: Butch Phillips

“First off I would like to say thank you to the race promoters for putting on a well run event and having such a challenging and well marked course.  I also want to thank all the volunteers, especially at the aid stations because I relied on their help heavily since I did not have my own support crew at this race. 
The Mohican 100 this year was my first appearance at the race so there were many unknowns I was going to have to face on race day. My goal for the start of the race was to make the front selection and then start fueling and pacing for the remainder of the race. I was able to make the front group of three that split almost immediately in the first mile. I was happy to sit in the group since I did not have any experience with the course but was attentive to any move that might try and go up the trail. Our group grew to about six people and stayed that way until about mile 25 where I took the lead on a steep climb and created a split of three of us. I stopped at the mile 28 aid station and made a quick chase back to the front two where we rode together until some technical single track around mile 35. I was sitting second wheel and the leader made a mistake, I got around and rode a clean descent to get about a 30 second gap. After that I settled into a solid but manageable pace, focusing on my fueling and being smooth on the tricky single track sections. I watched my lead grow hoping I could sustain my pace to the finish. The heat and attrition of the race started to set in and I started downing soda at every aid knowing that it has helped me pull through some very deep fatigue late in a race. I always felt like I was going to get caught at some point and couldn’t believe I had managed the win until I was crossing the finish line with my arms raised. 
Huge thanks to Construction Zone Racing, BeSpoke Real Estate, GoTenac Coaching, Bicycle Haus and SockGuy for making my participation in these great events possible and Tucson Sports Recovery for keeping my body running strong.”

Taking the second spot was, Chris Mehlman (Bear National Team), traveling in from MA finishing the race in 7:56:46.

“This was my first 100-mile race. However, I have done other marathon events before and also raced Breck Epic in 2019, and I know that these events suit me much better than XC races. I was very excited to finally get a taste of the mental and physical battle that comes with such a long race! 

The start was more aggressive than I expected for such a long race, but I should have known that given my previous experience with overly antsy racers in 50-mile races!! I settled into the lead group and felt good except when one guy on a Pivot was on the front on descents and was pushing it hard.

Chris Mehlman finishes 2nd in 100mile open- Photo: Butch Phillips

Around mile 25, Kyle Trudeau went to the front and upped the pace on a climb. I was excited to see how long I could hang with him…. until I flatted. It was on a descent just before the first long road/gravel section, and with what was not my quickest fix, the lead group was long gone. At that point, my goal became reeling in everyone except for Kyle; I knew how strong he is and knew that catching him would be almost impossible. I put my trust in the Stan’s Dart (which held the rest of the race!!) and I turned my brain to chase mode. I might have gotten just a bit overzealous, though my chasing motivation waxed and waned as I caught a couple of people but was told a larger-than-expected time gap at each aid station. By mile 60, however, I had caught everyone else. I caught 2nd and 3rd just before the 1st Glenmont aid station on the rail trail, and it was a welcome sight during a dark moment. When I passed under the “Bridge of Dreams” on that trail, all I could think was how it was the “Bridge of Nightmares.” 

After that aid, I dropped the other guys and set off on my own in what became a lonely and brutal last 40 miles. My legs felt emptier and emptier, and all I wanted was to get home to the finish. I stayed on the grind (and on the fueling, luckily), and tried to avoid the temptation of constantly glancing at the mile counter on my Garmin. 

Just rolling across the finish line felt like a big accomplishment. I have never been so empty after a race. Finishing 2nd was awesome, but the most important thing for me was the learning experience. There was a lot that the race taught me about 100-mile events that I will take on board moving forward so I can finish one step higher next time!! 

The race had an incredible atmosphere and great trails, and I look forward to coming back! I’m not sure what my next NUE race will be, but I will be racing Nationals, Telluride 100, and then Breck Epic later in the summer! Follow me on Instagram @cmehlman34 to see where these adventures take me!”

After winning the Mohican 100k (2018) and 100m (2019) in the single speed division, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage), takes on his home course with gears in the open class. He took the third step in 8:08:33.

“This was my first race since True Grit in 2020 so I didn’t really know what to expect other than the typical tough day at the Mohican 100.  To my surprise this years course was the toughest yet!  I started the race at my own pace knowing that it’s really easy to blow up in the first 25 miles of this race.  That meant letting the front pack go and just settling in.  I had my chain drop twice at mile 7 and again around mile 15 so I burned a couple matches getting back up to speed and I was able to link up with fast French racer Theo Charney in the MSP single track.  At this point I’m guessing we are around 7th or 8th. We worked together trading turns and pushing the pace which would see us pick off riders one by one throughout the day.
We passed Tanguy around mile 50 and passed another racer in the Glenmont single track.  Not far into this section I had a stick jam in my derailleur pulleys and I lost my easiest gear.  I stopped a few times to try and tweak the hanger but it was too far gone.  The climbs here were super steep and wet and grinding up them I was riding the fine line of cramping.  After coming out of the woods we passed Pendlebury on the way back into Glenmont and passed a couple more racers coming out of the last aide station.  
Theo and I chose the final straight to lay down a sprint to decide placing. He opened it up and took a slight lead but I was able to reel him back just enough to grab 3rd.

The heat, humidity, and tough course always makes this race hard and today was no exception.  Luckily I seem to favor the heat so that plays to my advantage and keeping a steady pace always helps at Mohican.  Big shoutout to Theo because I don’t know if I would’ve kept that pace if I didn’t have that motivation.  Thanks to all the race staff and volunteers who run the best aide stations and course direction out there. Also, thanks to my sponsors Paradise Garage and Evolution Training Cycles for the support.”

Anthony Toops rides the suspension bridge- Photo: Butch Phillips

Rounding out the podium was, Theo Charnay (VC Laissac), from France taking the fourth spot, 8:08:33. Fifth place went to, Jeffery Pendlebury (Ride on Wooster), crossing the line in 8:25:58.

Women’s Open

Mohican 100 women’s podium

The previous 2017, 2018 NUE marathon champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot MTB race team) takes the Mohican 100m win in a time of 9:31:58.

” I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so excited for race day. I haven’t done a solo race since Sept of 2019. We just moved back from Boulder and this is my home course with friends and family that came to cheer us on so I was chomping at the bit to get going. My race turned out mostly un-eventful and I’m ok with that! I’ve blown up every year I’ve done this race in the past so I decided to try a different approach. I went hard on the opening mohican single track climb to get some distance and then settled in to a slower pace and focused on nutrution. On the opening climb it was more wet than expected and I actually fell over on some slick rocks. I normally run a little extra air pressure on hundo races so I’m sure this didn’t help. It was a good wake up call to chill out. I could see Hanna during the mohican singletrack loop so I knew she was still close by. After reaching the gravel, I continued to push the climbs and took it easy on the downhills and was able to keep the lead the whole race. I’m glad I saved some juice for the newly cut singletrack sections as they had some real steep muddy climbs. I rode my Pivot Mach 4SL live valve and was fortunate to have no issues with the bike all day! We rode through some real muddy sections and my SCC chain lube got me through the whole day.

Jen Toops focuses on those wet mossy rocks in Mohican Wilderness- Photo: Butch Phillips

I focused on staying on top of nutrition this race because of the heat and humidity. Aside from the first aid station I stopped at every aid and made sure I ate. Any time I could feel the cramping starting I took a CarboRocket RocketLyte and it took care of the cramping. In total: two 2L CarboRocket electrolyte mix, two 1.5L Gatorade, two shots Coke cola, 1 bottle water. 7 honey stinger gels, 2 honey stinger waffles, 1 bag mini HS waffles, 2 packs HS performance chews, several gummy candies, and 4 CR Rocketlytes. I also had an extra bottle on bike of water to use to cool down on the climbs.

I’m very impressed with the quality of staff at this event. The aid stations and volunteers were AMAZING. The new course was very well marked and I enjoyed more singletrack vs gravel this year. I downloaded the map on my element and was able to make sure I was on course all day. It’s always a bonus with you can camp at the start/finish line. Well done Mohican crew! Next NUE race: TBD. Sponsors: Pivot Cycles, Pearl Izumi, Lazer, Ergon, Fox, CarboRocket, Honeystinger, Maxxis, Stans, SCC chain lube, xpedo, and MTBracenews.”

Finishing 2nd place, Hanna Pauline Derby (Vangos Restaurant), of Marquette, MI finishes with a time of 11:14:05.

Hanna Pauline Derby finishes 2nd in women’s 100 mile coming down from Marquette, MI

A previous Mohican 100m winner from Ohio, Shannon Tenwalde (Paradise Garage Racing), takes the third spot with a time of 12:26:02.

Shannon Tenwalde navigating Mohican Wilderness-Photo: Butch Phillips

Rounding out the top five was, Annette Nowak, taking fourth place in 12:52:04 and Laureen Coffelt (Los Locos Pivot) finishing with place with a time of 13:34:02.

Singlespeed

Singlespeed 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Taking the win in singlespeed was, Shane Kramer, from NY crossing the line in 8:24:03.

“This was my first race in almost 2 years. I was second at Mohican in 2019 and really wanted to improve on that result. I came into the weekend ready to go but unsure of how my fitness would match up. Scanning the results from TSE I knew there would be some tough competition but that why I like racing the Mohican. On Friday I tried out a 19t cog but settled on 34×20 for the race. 
I’ve always been terrible at starts. However, since we started in waves it was a lot less hectic off the line. By the time we were thru the campground I was riding with Eli Orth and John Vorberger. Eli blew thru a turn which allowed John and I to move to the front. We quickly got a gap on a descent and worked together to keep it. John looked very strong on the climbs so I assumed I was racing for second place. To my surprise just after aid 3 maybe 40 miles in I looked over my shoulder and I had a gap. I upped the pace slightly but wasn’t ready to burn any matches. As I hit a road section I was able to jump on the wheel of a geared rider which helped me keep my advantage. From this point until the finish I tried to keep the pace up and drink as much as possible. Luckily I found a another geared buddy to help me make good time on the bike path. The gap to John swelled to 5 minutes but by the finish he had cut it down to 40 seconds. I was fortunate enough to hold on for the win. Overall it was just a super fun day on the bike.”

Just 44 seconds back, John Vorberges (Syndicate) of PA took second place in 8:24:47.

“This was my first 100-mile MTB race, so I was not sure what to expect. I was feeling pretty recovered even after doing the 5-day Transylvania Epic stage race the week before, so I was looking forward to going hard all day. The race started pretty mellow, and among the singlespeed group, I was second in the woods following Eli Orth. After a few miles of singletrack, Eli missed a turn (he just went a few feet past it) and I took the lead. After a few more miles, it was just me and Shane Kramer (the eventual SS winner) in the trails. I was keeping a pretty decent pace, but not killing it. Once we popped out onto gravel, I tried to push the pace on the climbs to test out Shane’s fitness. Turns out that was a bad move – I only tired myself out – he is very strong, and about 40 miles in, he dropped me. 

I rode solo for a while, but I caught a geared rider’s wheel for the rail-trail section. I dropped the geared rider on a climb after the rail-trail and continued on solo for a while. I was suffering a ton at this point, the heat was getting to me, and I felt like I was absolutely crawling. I kept pushing and eventually made it to some gravel. I was going up this steep climb, just about to get off and push (singlespeed Brah!) when Josh Kunz yelled some words of encouragement, so I grunted and cleaned the climb. I then caught up to my teammate, Wyatt Rodgers, and we rode together for a little. Then we got to Valley Streams Road (the WORST climb of the course), and Thom Parsons (Dirtwire) drove up beside me while I was climbing to interview me. I was hurting, but kept going until he turned the corner, then I got off and walked, haha. The rest of the race I just kept going at a sustainable pace, and eventually crossed the line about 40 seconds behind the winner, Shane Kramer. I never saw him, but he must’ve been just ahead of me on the final singletrack. My gearing for the day was 34×20, which I thought was a pretty good choice.

            I’m planning to do High Cascades, Wilderness 101, and the Shenandoah 100 this year (all in the 100 mile singlespeed class). I would like to thank the Syndicate cycling team, Flow Formulas, the wonderful Sweetwater Bike Shop in Ambridge, PA, and Extreme Nano Lubricants.”

Third place was, Eli Orth (Dean Titanium Bikes), from OH with a time of 8:53:51.

“I came into the Mohican 100 fresh off of finishing the TSE 5 day stage race. I was banged up with a hurt shoulder and a bike that I had to scramble to get parts for and get ready in time.  I knew I had to still give it a go with this being my home state NUE race. I knew going into the day that it would be hot. Not only was it hot and humid but the new course made it a very tough day on the bike. The new singletrack around Glenmont was soft and muddy in a lot of places with tough climbs. In the places that was the tough singletrack you found yourself fully exposed to beating down sun in open prairies or sandy quarry area. I originally planned to just make two aid station stops but that plan went away as I needed more hydration and fuel than what I put in the drop bags. I stopped 4 times but made them quick just to top off fluids.  The race started great.. leading through a good portion of the singletrack until I blew by a turn. That’s when Shane Kramer and John Vorberger went by and set the pace. In a couple spots Shane and John were able to make quick passes on riders we caught (staggered start by class) but myself and Joe Fraas found ourselves stuck while Shane and John rode out of site.  At that point I made the decision to just settle in and not try and chase them back down hoping I’d eventually pull them back in. I let Joe go by on singletrack also as he seemed to want to push harder to maybe recatch them. The rest of the race I just kept a consistent effort trying to stay fueled and have a clean race. I repassed Joe at Mohican Wilderness singletrack and didn’t see him again after that.The race went as good as it could’ve being that I was solo with no fast geared wheels to grab onto in any flat sections. Holmes paved trail is not a single speed friendly spot to be solo but I did what I could to get through it quickly. I stayed on the hardest pace I thought would be manageable knowing that there were a lot of fast SS guys behind me trying to reel me in. This was one of the hardest 100 milers I’ve done. Many strong riders struggled and dnf’ed. I was very happy to hang onto 3rd place and get 10th overall. My gearing of choice was 34×20 which worked well overall. My next races will be Woods Mountain in Pisgah then followed the next week with what will be my 2nd NUE race.. the Lumberjack 100”

Yianni Pimenidis took fourth place in 9:38:49 and about 10 min back was Joe Fraas (Syndicate Cycling) taking fifth place, 9:39:23.

Masters 50+

Masters 50+ 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling all the way from CA was, Amir Matityahu (Trail Head Racing), taking the win in the masters division with a time of 9:26:37

“The Mohican 100-mile race was my first foray into ulta-endurance mountain biking. After working as an orthopedic trauma surgeon at a level one trauma center in the setting of the current COVID pandemic, getting out and racing was breath of fresh air. A way back to clean air, sunshine, and normalcy. 

In preparation for the race, I looked at the GPS file, watched videos, trained hard, regarded the weather, and thought I was “ready.” I’m lucky to have solid support at home from my wife and kids. My major concerns were finishing the race and of rain-soaked muddy trails that could wreck my drive train and breaks. 

A few days before the race, I packed my bike bag and flew to Akron from SFO. This was my first time in Ohio and at Mohican Adventures. I rented a cabin on the grounds. Even though it was raining hard, the setting was picturesque. A small but tranquil lake surrounded by bungalows. There was a mist rising from the water. Ducks, frogs, and birds created a concert of visual and sounds that gave feeling of being in nature. Friday, one day pre-race, the rain stopped. I went for an hour ride to evaluate the trailns. Amazingly, they had mostly drained, and the dirt was tacky. In the evening, there were barbeques, fire pits, and laughter. The local racers were friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. This relaxed setting was in contrast to the brutal race ahead.  

Amir Matityahu wins the 100m Masters 50+. Photo: Butch Phillips

The Mohican 100 race was a wave start by category that began at 7am. The race was 99.7 miles with 11,000 ft of mostly punchy short climbs. There was a ton of single track, apparently more than previous years. The weather was going to be hot 85-95 deg F. We had the option to drop two 1-gallon zip locked bags to aid stations in the morning before the race. I dropped a bag to the 2nd aid station with gels and snacks. The second bag went to the 4th aid station, with food, chain lube, C02, pickle juice, salt tabs, and Hotshot for cramping. I started with two bottles on the frame and bars and gels in my pocket. We were 30 masochistic masters on the start line. We were all nervous chit chat and introductions. The guy to my right was a cyclocrosser, Sam M, who came down from Mass to race. The guy to my left drove up in a sprinter van with his girlfriend, who was also going to race. It was the calm before the storm. The organizer gave the masters group blue ribbons so that we can identify each other in contradistinction to the open men’s group. Very helpful. 

The countdown started and we were off. The race started on a short fire road, then left on a narrow single-file bridge and to the first switchback climb of the day. Sam M had the hole shot to the bridge, as he predicted. I was third behind him pushing too hard in the first 10 min of a 100mi race. After about 20 minutes, there were four in our lead group with a small gap ahead. The next 20 miles were fun single track in the woods with roots, rocks, and berms through the Mohican State Park. Because of the previous rain, there was hero dirt all around, but the roots and rocks were slippery. About 21 miles into the race my chain broke, and I lost the lead group.  This is where you either suck it up or get out. Where your mind says, “it’s going to be hard; It’s going to be hot, you lost the lead group, is it worth it?” The difference between a casual ride and a race is the willingness to suffer through mental and physical pain and come out the other side stronger. In essence, Rule #5. I said to myself, “this is a long race, keep your mojo, fix and go.” I turned the bike upside down on a flat log at the side of this hilly single-track trail and fixed the chain with a quick link in about 5 minutes. I had no idea how many spots I lost and who was ahead or behind me. My mental state was, in part driven by the thought of how far I’ve traveled, how hard I trained, and a friend texted the night before “Go win that S**t.” A mantra I continued to have in the back of my mind. I got back into the race zone and worked to catch up without blowing up. 

I got to the second aid station and had barely caught up to the guy in 3rd position and eventually passed him. At every aid station I was amazed by the volunteers’ efficiency. About 50 yards before the station, there was a person with a walkie talkie that radioed ahead to get my drop bag. When I got there, they had it out, asking if I need water or Heed. They filled my bottles and I loaded up on gels and bars. Then, off I went. It was like having your own crew. It took about a minute in and out.  

The race continued through forest, rock gardens, private property, and some gravel. The heat was beginning to take it’s toll. I was in no man’s land. Could not share the load on flat sections and had no idea where I was relative to the other racers. There was lots of time on my own, riding with no soul in site. Luckily, the organizers did a great job of marking the trails with arrows or orange ribbons. Even when it seemed like a random ride through the woods, at least I didn’t feel lost. At the 4th aid station, they were ready with my bag. Volunteers lubed the chain, filled my bottles, and I had a shot of pickle juice and coke. At mile 65, I was starting to hit the wall. A combination of 95 deg heat, working too hard at the start of the race, and not drinking/eating enough. I was feeling the twinges of adductor and hamstrings cramps. I was trying to hydrate but did not feel like eating. Then at about mile 70, my hamstring cramped. Drank a hotshot, which, was like a brain reorganization potion. It snapped me out of the cramps. I continued to focus on pushing on the pedals and changing saddle position to cycle muscles. I was standing more and more. I found a place in my mind that I had not visited before. A place of painful calm and continued drive to finish.  

Somehow, the last 6 miles, I was re-energized even with on-and-off adductor cramping.  And, after 9 hours and 16 minutes, crossed the finish line with intense relief. Then, there was great beer and food, as befitting an amazing mountain biking day. I would summarize the day as a tough, hot, long single-track day where the mind overcame the body and turtles won over hares. A day to be proud of for all those who persevered.

Bike: Full Suspension Specialized Epic, Tires: S-Works Fast Tracks 2.1, Tire pressure 22psi, Team Sponsors: Trailhead Cyclery, Specialized, Nuun, SRAM, Beyond Fistula, Fox. Next NUE race: Cascades 100, Bend, Oregon.”

Taking the second step was, Samuel Morse (Corner Cycle) from MA with a finish time of 9:32:40.

“Wow,  what a a brutal course for my first 100 mile mountain bike race!  I managed to finish 2nd in the 50+ group, but felt like I had ridden twice that distance.   The Mohican 100 seemed like it would be a great adventure back in February when I decided to give it a try.   With a good start, I was loving the fun and flowing single track, but things gradually turned into a brutal challenge as the hours passed on a hot, slick and extremely hilly and challenging course.   I set my effort off of the pace from prior few years results and estimated about 7.5 hrs goal,  however when I got to 7.5 hours, I still had roughly 20 amazingly hilly miles to yet to go and was cramping from head to toe!  I was crawling to the finish line from that point forward and was passed by the eventual winner, Amir Matityahu, with only 3 miles to go.    This was a great learning experience for me and perhaps I’ll give it a go again next year with a better understanding of the requirements. Hearty thank you to all involved in putting together this event.  It was so well organized and the course was marked exceptionally well from start to finish.  Lastly, I’d highlight the amazing volunteers that manned the aid stations!”

About ten minutes back was, Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works) of NC finishing in 9:42:28.

“This was my 3rd Mohican 100 mile MTB race, and my second as a 50+ master.  Each one has been markedly different.  The first was the “traditional course” (maybe 2014?), then last years COVID-shortened race and now the new “long” course – not that it’s longer than 100 miles, just that it took me longer to complete than any other 100 mile NUE race I had ever done.  It was a proper hard day!  I liked the wave starts.  The Masters racers started last, which meant there was always a carrot to chase – I was always catching someone.  The hi-light of my race was catching two racers in my division just before the final hike-a-bike in the final mile.  I think that was the fastest climb I ran all day!  I managed to hang on for a 3rd place finish.  The hardest part of the day was the new section of single track.   The rock sections were technical enough that I could barely ride them (well,  mostly…) and there were so many steep climbs and muddy sections that took all of my effort to pedal up and thru.  Speaking of mud, I need to get my bike back to Robert Marion at Cycle Works Performance Bike Shop in Mt. Airy, NC for some much needed maintenance before Lumberjack 100.  A big shout out to all the volunteers – they were amazing, and plentiful!  Well Done Mohican crew!”

Taking fourth place was, Keith Papanicolas (Badass Coaching), with a time of 10:00:01. The fifth spot went to Dan Kotwicki (Wheels in motion) crossing the line in 10:36:04.

For full results CLICK HERE

Mohican 100 photo album by Photographer Butch Phillips CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE series is the Lumberjack 100 mile June 19th, 2021 in Manistee, MI