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High Cascades 100 - Oregon

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |July 23, 2014 1:32 AM
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High Cascades 100 Race Report  Presented by Hammer Nutrition


By Ryan O’Dell

The Sixth Annual High Cascades 100 marked the midway point of the 13 race National Ultra Endurance MTB Race Series with yet another sold out NUE event. The HC100 begins at Bachelor Village, near Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. Bend has become a well-known mountain bike destination with hundreds of miles of singletrack trails connecting nearby towns. Held on the same weekend as the Cascades Classic road race, the town was packed with cyclists and fans.  Milder temps with a high in the low eighties contributed to a higher finish rate of 94% compared with 85% last year under much warmer conditions.

Deschutes Brewery, one of the top rated micro brewerys in the US, was onsite at the finish line serving up draft brews. Sagebrush Cycles of Bend, in addition to offering mechanical services on the race course, also offered racers a place to ship their bikes that included getting the bike race ready and inspected before the race. 

Women’s Open

Carey returns to the NUE Series and gets the win

Following a two-year hiatus from the NUE Race Series following back to back series wins in 2010-2011 NUE Race Series Champion, Amanda Carey, liv/Giant, returned to the High Cascades and proved that she still has what it takes by reaffirming her ultra-dominance, crushing the competition, and getting the win in 9:00:57. Carey now heads home with plans to compete on her home turf at the upcoming Pierre’s Hole 100 in Alta, WY on August 16.

Nineteen minutes later, Sue Butler, River City Bicycles, from Portland, OR finished 9:19:28 to place second. Four minutes behind Butler, Erika Krumpelman, Team REP, captured third at 9:23:06. Sixteen minutes later, Karoline Droege, 10 Barrell Brewing, from Ketchum, ID took fourth in 9:39:24 with Muffy Ritz, also from Ketchum, finishing 9:58:24, just seconds ahead of Julie Browning, CyclePath Racing, of Portland at 9:58:33, rounding out all of the women who finished sub nine hours.

Men’s Open

Smith gets his third HC100 Victory

Cary Smith, The Hub/Enve/Gu, earned his third HC100 win on Saturday finishing 7:29:07. "The race began in earnest after nine miles of paved and gravel roads, which were a nice way to warm up considering the 5:30am start time. Once the race hit the first rolling double track, the pack quickly thinned out, leaving a lead group of five that stayed together until the first feed zone at mile 26.

After the feed zone, Brett Nichols, World Cycles, slowed slightly while the remaining four stayed bunched up until Tinker Juarez, Sho-Air/Cannondale, pulled away to rapidly open a gap of over a minute. Josh Oppenheimer, TruWhip Cycling, faded on the same climb, leaving me and Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana, Champion System Adventure, working to close the gap to Juarez.

I was able to separate myself from Kiangchaipaiphana in the tight trees of Sector 16 as the Thai rider started feeling the effects of the altitude and dry conditions. At roughly 60 miles in to the race, I passed Juarez while he was adjusting his bike. Juarez jumped back on and we rode together for about ten minutes until I was able to break away in the beautiful Happy Valley, riding on everything from moon dust to mud to piles of snow still several feet thick on north-facing slopes.

The race was far from over, though, as almost thirty miles of road and singletrack remained after the fourth feed zone. On one of the straight road sections, I could see a lone rider on the move behind me. Assuming it was Juarez, I kept the pressure on, trying to avoid mistakes on the fast descents down Tiddlywinks and Storm King. Less than a minute after I finished, Brett Nichols rolled through the finish after regrouping and riding a tremendous second half of the race for his best NUE finish to date.”

Nichols closed the gap to less than a minute to finish 7:30:02. A two-time USA Olympian, 24 Hour Champion, and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee, David Tinker Juarez, held on to finish third despite suffering from blurriness in one of his eyes aggravated by the dust on the course. He finished fourteen minutes behind Nichols at 7:44:14. "I started off fine in the race, but I had an issue with my right eye. With so much focus on my right eye, I was worried about the course by the halfway mark and got passed by the second and third place rider. I had to dig deep to finish for third place. My eye feels better today and now it is time to return home and start resting up for the NUE Big Bear Grizzly 100 next weekend.”

Three minutes later, Clint Muhlfield rolled into fourth at7:47:44 with Josh Oppenheimer, TruWhip Cycling, finishing fifth just two minutes later at 7:49:08. Nine minutes later, Kevin Calhoun, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, took the six spot at 7:58:24. Less than a minute behind Calhoun, Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana, Champion System Adventure, a top level pro rider from Chang Mai, Thailand who competes primarily in Asia, rounded out the racers who finished sub eight at 7:59:19.

Five-Time NUE SS Champion, competing in Men’s Open this year, Gerry Pflug, Rare Disease Cycling, took a nasty spill put him back into ninth place. "I took a solo flyer a couple of miles into the race and stayed away for about seven miles until being caught by about six riders at the top of the first fire road climb in the woods. I stayed with this group for a few more miles, but the dust being kicked up and speed of this lead group was a bit too much for me to take, so I decided to slow my pace. I rode most of the race alone from that point, in the top ten. By checkpoint five, I had worked my way up to sixth place. Unfortunately, I crashed hard shortly after that checkpoint and ended up limping into the finish in ninth place. I had a great time doing the race and really enjoyed riding the incredible Bend, OR single track, even though I didn't finish as well as I wanted.” 


Single Speed Open

Ives gets his first NUE win at High Cascades!

30 year old Jace Ives, Bear Creek Bicycle/Syntace/SQ Lab, from Ashland, OR earned his first win at the HC100 with six minutes to spare, finishing 8:01:02.  "Soon after entering the dusty dirt road, I found myself right near AJ Linnell and Ben Shaklee. They dropped me a few miles later on the sandy roads as I tried to remain content with my slower pace early in the day.

As the soft and sandy roads continued, I became doubtful and disappointed with my gearing choice. "What were you thinking?" I thought to myself, "Just because it is Bend, you thought you could handle that gear for a hundred miles!" My quads were burning and my heart rate was uncomfortable but I reminded myself that I usually feel better further along in races.     

Near Aid three at Swampy, I felt better and quickened my pace enough to catch up and pass Ben Shaklee at about mile 45. We left Aid three and continued together up to Mrazek, but then I went around him at mile sixty. My legs and lungs seemed to open up and I felt fairly well while cruising up the steep pitches on Trail-99. Although I was feeling fresher, my pace seemed slow and I figured that, because of my stupid gear choice, AJ would be far ahead on this climb and only hoped to somehow catch him on the road to the finish. But to my surprise, across an open meadow, I spotted him near mile 65. 

I greeted him on one of the numerous snow mounds, chatted for a second, then decided to drop the hammer. I pedaled fast and pushed hard into the lovely packed duff. "What a perfect section to feel fast" I thought, as I flowed over the dustless predictable trail! Then I came upon another contender. It was Gerry Pflug. I safely went around Gerry without "stabbing" him this time. (Ives referring to last year’s race when, during a pass, Pflug was stabbed by a tree limb that tore a hole through his jersey as it broke the skin between his ribs.) 

At aid five, Gerry went by me as I was filling bottles, but, before the Tiddlywinks descent, I was able to advance ahead of him. Once I got onto the road, I stayed in the big ring and spun out all the way home, continually looking back for Gerry and AJ, but they never came within sight.” 

Following back to back victories at the HC100 in 2012 and 2013, AJ Linnell, Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Misfit Psycles, of Victor, WY, finished six minutes behind Ives at 8:07:17. "Fast, fun, and hard--that was the HC100 this year. A longer pavement "neutral spin" was great for warming up and getting a feel for who was where in the field, but, as usual, it all went to hell once we hit the dirt and the world was a dust cloud. I had a pretty good idea that Mark Shafer was ahead of me, gunning for the Aid 1 prime, but wasn't sure about anybody else. Ben Shaklee passed me just before the Duodenum switchbacks as well, and I rode much of the first leg with him.

I managed to nab the lead in the sandpit hike-a-bike after the highway underpass (it was a hike for me, anyway) and opened a comfortable gap before rolling through Aid 2. Riding Suede Ridge and Upper Whoops with Todd Meyer, Red Lantern Racing, was the best part of the day for me. Everything was flowing and keeping up with Todd's gears and full-squish made for some fun riding.

Somewhere, around Happy Valley, I started feeling optimistic about the day's outcome. I hadn't seen anybody in miles, other than passing a couple of geared riders, and had felt good on the big climb out of Aid 3.  I even saw that I was closing a gap forward to Gerry Pflug, newly running gears this year but I knew that my energy was starting to flag and I needed to keep pushing the pace. The on and off-the-bike through the snow patches up high was slowing me down a bunch and sapping my reserves and then, unexpectedly, Jace was on my tail. We chatted briefly, having not seen each other since the HC100 in 2012, and then he authoritatively left me in the dust. He was just gone.

I got word that he was thirty seconds ahead at Aid four and then everything came apart on the sandy double-tracks before the final Aid five. I hadn't consumed enough food or water on the big climb out of three and across Happy Valley and I was paying for it now. Hot sun, combined with frustrating loose sand (both uphill and down), really wore me down. By the time I hit Aid five at 86 miles, I was back three minutes on Jace. A fresh Camelbak and an ice sock on my neck improved my perspective dramatically. Once I entered Tiddlywinks, I decided to just enjoy one of my favorite trails on the planet and stop worrying about Jace. I would either catch him or not.

Tiddlywinks didn't disappoint and I didn't catch Jace, despite what I thought was a pretty good rally. What can I say? I had a good race but Jace had a better one. It was not the outcome I wanted, but that's racing. I was happy that I raced flat-free and without mechanicals and that’s been a while. The LES Singlespeed was the dreamy ripper that it always is, and my Lauf fork and American Classic wheels rocked. My 34x19 gearing hurt when it should have, but I can't imagine spinning the flatter sections of the course with anything lighter.

Seven minutes behind Linnell, Ben Shaklee, Jack's Bicycle Center/Homegrown Racing, finished third at 8:14:19. "I ran a 34×19 at the recommendation of last year's winner, AJ Linnell. I spotted AJ at the start and figured he was my rabbit. I also rolled out with Ernesto Marenchin, Pivot Cycles, Twin-6, WAS Labs, and figured he was one to watch. There was another SS rider from Ashland, OR (Jace Ives) on a sweet rigid bike who looked fast.

I went hard early to clear traffic (field 400+ mass start) and extreme dust. I was riding one/two SS with AJ after some other SS rider blew himself up in the first twenty miles. The rider from Ashland said a couple times "go hard early" and I didn't know whether he had intel I lacked or if he was just trying to blow me up.  I thought the Ashland guy may have flamed out early but, as it turned out, I would see him again. AJ and I got away from him and stayed together until about mile 40 when AJ lost me on a dusty downhill. The dusty conditions combined with super loose sandy sections required some tactful descending, even on fire roads.

I felt pretty good coming into aid three at 53 miles, after which the big climb started, four thousand feet in eighteen miles. The third SS caught me early into the climb and we rode the first half together. I started feeling lousy halfway through the segment and he came around me but throughout the race, I was able to grab a geared wheel here and there to help me along some of the fire road and paved sections.

In the last twenty miles, I glimpsed back and thought I saw Ernesto's jersey which lit a fire under me to spin harder. As it turned out, it wasn't him and he finished about ten minutes behind me. Later he commented that he felt the effects of elevation on his ride. This was my first time racing the HC100 and it is worth coming back! There was lots of amazing single track, great views, perfect organization and race support that one can expect from an NUE race.”

Eleven minutes later, NUE Contender, Ernesto Marenchin,Pivot Cycles, Twin 6, WAS Labs, finished fourth at 8:25:58. Eight minutes behind Marenchin, Local favorite, Jon Conway, Trinity bikes, of Bend, OR placed fifth in 8:33:11.0


Masters 50+ Open

Golet Crushes the Masters

51-year-old Greg Golet, Team Chico, from Chico, CA claimed victory with twenty-six minutes to spare at 8:10:38. "This was my first time riding any of Bend's trails. I rode the most technical section of the course (tiddlywinks/storm king) with my son the day before the race to learn some lines and get a feel for the surface I'd be racing on. It was not really that technical, but there were lots of cool features, soft corners, and a few scattered rocks. I remember thinking, "This should be fun and interesting at race speed”.

I felt good during the race but had some pretty intense cramping in the middle of the last long climb and lost a few spots when my pace slowed. Fortunately, I was able to ride through it, and started feeling better as I neared the top. Hiking and/or trying to ride over the snow patches psyched me up, as did the beauty of Happy Valley. Near the top I regained a couple of places but then came the scariest part of the race, bombing down the fire road toward and around Vista Butte.

What I expected to be an easy high speed cruise was instead a total white-knuckler. It was easy (and necessary) to go really fast, but the line of firm soil was wavering, narrow and punctuated with bottomless sand traps. I had a couple of close calls, but, fortunately, no wrecks.

On the last section of singletrack, I was feeling really good. The finish was not far off, it was mostly all downhill, and I had pre-ridden it all the day before. But then, as I neared the last rocky section on storm king, calamity struck. I braked too hard where everyone else does, and totally ate it amid the chatter marks. Expletives were sounded.

It was fun to overhear some spectators comment on my crash as I untangled myself from my bike and negotiated the rocks, "Check out his handlebar!" It was rotated 45 degrees to my wheel but I wasn't going to stop to fix it for fear someone would catch me. Fortunately the pavement was just ahead, and I was experiencing this great adrenalin surge! In the end, it all worked out great, and not stopping to fix my bike was the right choice as it allowed me to stay ahead of the lead guy in the 40-49 category who finished just one minute after me. What an awesome race! Mudslinger does it right.”

52-year-old Wayne Tonning, Multnomah Athletic Club, from Lake Oswego, OR place second at 8:36:14. Twelve minutes behind Tonning, 53-year-old Gary Gardiner, of Centerville, UT placed third in 8:48:45. Four minutes behind Gardiner, 52-year-old Tim Phillips, Broken Spoke Cycling, of Eagle, ID claimed fourth at 8:52:27. Two minutes later, 53-year-old Jeff Cummings, Homegrown Racing, from Bellingham, WA took fifth in 8:54:37 rounding out the Masters who finished sub nine.      

Click Here for full results from all categories

Next up for the NUE Series: Two unique races,

EAST:Rock Solid-The rocky goodness of the Wilderness 101 in State College, PA.

WEST:A new NUE race, The Big Bear Grizzly 100 in Big Bear, CA.

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