On April 28, 2018 Roost Racing, LLC held the Cohutta 100 (NUE Epic Series), Big Frog 65 (NUE Marathon Series), and Old Copper 20 in Ducktown, TN. This was stop number two on the 2018 National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) race schedule. These races were held at the Ocoee Whitewater center, a venue that hosted the kayak/canoe slalom competitions at the 1996 Olympic games. Nestled within the Cherokee National Forest racers traversed through sections of Brush Creek, the Tanasi Trail Systems and miles of fire roads.
The Cohutta 100 had over 12,000 feet of climbing and included a huge gravel loop that was cut out last minute the previous year. Rain the previous day had some racers worried, but the trails were in prime condition. It was a little chilly at the start but the sun peaked out and warmed up to mid 60’s for most of the race. Couldn’t have asked for better racing weather!
Dylan Johnson makes it a Three-Peat at NUE Cohutta 100
Defending NUE Epic Champion Dylan Johnson (Leska MTB Racing) wins the Men’s Open with a time of 6:43:38.
“My goal for this year was to be as conservative as possible. I knew that I had the edge in the single track over the main players and the course finishes up with 10 miles of single track. If I could stay in the lead group until then I knew that my odds would be good. We finished the first single track with a decent sized group but it wasn’t long at all before Christian Tanguy pulled away. I quickly bridged the gap and the two of us rode together for the majority of the day. Tanguy was fine to do most of the pulling which was fine with me. When we got to the final single track I got to the front and pushed the pace enough to get a gap between me and Tanguy to take the win.”
Christian Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team) comes in second just three minutes back at 6:46:34.
Third place was Brian Schworm (Think Green-Bicycle Face p/b SWORD) coming in at 6:54:40.
“I arrived at the Ocoee Whitewater Center on Friday to beautiful weather. It can sometimes be a bit unpredictable down there with many past races taking place in downpours but this year things looked great. It had rained the previous day but my teammates and I found most of the course to be in primo condition during our preride with the exception of the Old Copper Trail which is always at least a little bit wet. Anyway, we had a great preride, checked in at registration, and parted with our drop bags for the next day’s festivities.
On race morning it was quite chilly but things heated up quickly once the race was underway. We rolled up the opening climb at a modest pace with a mad scramble to the beginning of the singletrack. I found myself in third position which was perfect for this beginning trail section. Once we raced for approximately 90 minutes we popped out at the first aid station and started the 68 mile “Death March” gravel loop. There were approximately 8 or 9 riders together as we started our journey around this loop including Christian Tanguay, Dylan Johnson, John Wiygul, Alex Hashem, Lee Hauber, single-speeder John Haddock, my teammate Nathaniel Cornelius, and myself.
During a “moment of inattention” the paced quickened and I found myself off the back of the group and scrambling to catch back up. I caught the main group but Christian and Dylan were gone. My teammate Nathaniel helped to pace me for a while but then I was on my own to chase them down. With all my might I chased but made no progress whatsoever. After a bit of discouragement and a “bad patch”, John and Alex joined me and we worked together through most of the remaining gravel loop section and we were hearing time gaps of nearly 20 minutes to the leading duo.
Once we joined the Big Froggers on their 65 mile journey I hammered the last couple of gravel climbs and the following singletrack to the finish. I was able to decrease the gap to the leaders somewhat but it was too little too late. I finished third with John and Alex not far behind finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Moving forward I am now looking ahead to Marathon Nationals in Arkansas this weekend and then a nice break until the Mohican 100 for another NUE battle. Thanks to my team Think Green – Bicycle Face and my sponsors SWORD, Native Eyewear, Specialized Bicycles, ESI Grips, Schwalbe Tires, and TruckerCo for making this all possible; and a special thanks to my wife Jennifer Schworm for her continued support and sacrifice in my pursuit of endurance MTB racing.”
Cantwell gets her first Cohutta 100 win!
Lauren Cantwell (Moonstompers/Stokesville Lodge) wins the Cohutta 100 women’s open with a time of 8:04:58.
“First time at Cohutta for me was a great one. First 18 miles of singletrack was a blast! Smooth, flowy, and the dawn mist made for a beautiful way to start the ride. The Death March became a grind towards the end but the views off of the high mountains into the valley were spectacular. I hadn’t examined the route very closely before and was surprised in the best way possible when I found myself on recognized terrain from a bikepacking trip I did last fall with a couple friends. Especially because race day was about 45 degrees warmer and no snow! Finishing the race on more miles of singletrack was an awesome end to the race!”
Second place was Britt Mason (The Bike Lane) 8:46:41.
Taking the third podium spot was Heidi Coulter (Paradise Garage Racing) 9:33:45.
“It was a beautiful day riding through the enchanted Cherokee National Forest. After getting DFL at True Grit in Utah, it felt great to finish strong and step up on the podium. Not too shabby for a grandma!”
Haddock repeats Cohutta singlespeed
Winning the singlespeed division by an astounding 35 minutes was John Haddock (J.A. King) coming in at 7:22:02.
Kenny Kocarek (Kobby Side Down) took the second step with a time of 7:57:31.
“At the start line I was so grateful for cooler temps compared to the heat wave of last year. The countdown to the start came and the neutral car rolled out and as I stood to sprint out of the gate and spin my singlespeed like a hamster through the parking lot then I nearly ran into the row in front of me! The start seemed very relaxed even some conversations were going on up the initial road ascent. I stuck with fellow Ohio SS’r Peyton Randolph and we creeped up toward the middle of the main group and then the first roller hit and we we’re stuck spinning and tucking and as the lead group revved their quads up they put us in our place at the back.
Third place was Joseph Stroz (Stroz Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab) 8:08:09.
Winning the Master’s 50+ Cohutta was Brad Cobb (Motor Mile Racing) 7:20:21.
Following a second place finish at Cohutta in 2017, Roger Masse (Stokesville/Shenandoah Mountain Touring) finished second again in 2018 in 7:51:48.
The third spot went to Russell Spaulding (TFM Racing) 8:05:04.
“What a beautiful day! Not your typical “Cohutta” weather of past years. This race flew by for me, and I enjoyed it a bit too much! I spent a good amount of the race riding with two talented riders. Lauren Cantwell (1st women’s open), and Joseph Stroz (3rd single speed). Congratulations to Bradd Cobb (1st masters), and Roger Massee (2nd masters). Brad really laid down a blistering pace during this race. I really appreciate Justin and Amy Mace of Roost Racing for putting on a great race. I know that last year’s foretry service approval process was really frustrating for them, and well beyond their control. I am so glad they didn’t give up and stuck with it! Also a special thanks to Josh at “Tried & True” for keeping my 2014 Superfly patched up this year. I’m pretty sure the bike has more miles on it than my old orange truck. Nex up, we”ll be heading to Ohio where it’s FLAT. Well….except for Loudonville!”
For full results click here
The next NUE race is Mohican MTB 100 on June 2, 2018 in Loudonville, Ohio. Hope to see you there!
Written by: Jen Toops