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Iron Mountain 100k Report, VA

Posted by: Matt Williams |July 29, 2014 12:36 AM
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A stacked field rolled into the "trail town” of Damascus, VA last weekend for the 6th Annual Iron Mountain 100k. Home to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail, Damascus also has a fantastic network of backcountry mountain bike trails, many of which were featured on Sunday.

While trail conditions leading up the the race looked superb, a torrential downpour Saturday afternoon and evening left the trails decidedly slick and greasy by Sunday morning. Based on finish times though, racers barely noticed, as Sam Evans smashed the course record by nearly ten minutes.

The action opened with riders rolling out of town on the Virginia Creeper trail, and a large group hit the days first climb together. Sam Koerber (Industry Nine) and Dave Wood (Liberty Bikes) set a hard tempo up the greasy, technical climb, with several riders in hot pursuit. While the time gaps remained small, by aid station #2 the race had largely settled out. Koerber had a small gap on Sam Evans (Cysco Cycles) who was charging on his singlespeed. Wood was a close third.

It was on the prolonged gravel climbs on the second half of the course that Evans made his move. While Koerber was able to keep it close for a while, Evans was clearly climbing faster, and eventually the elastic snapped. Evans pushed ahead solo, convinced that Koeber was just behind him all the way to the line. In the end, it was anything but close though, and Evans crushed Koerber's previous course record by close to 10 minutes, and had an 11 minute gap on the day. Wood kept in close, but was never able to bridge back to Koerber, and took third. The tight trails and backcountry nature of the course definitely made chasing hard, as it was difficult to impossible to see riders, even when the gaps were only a minute or two. Perhaps as a result, the finish order more or less stayed the same from aid #2 to the finish, with Shawn Hall and Eric Schofield taking 4th and 5th respectively.

In the women's race it was a two-up battle between Nina Otter (Warren Wilson College/Liberty Bikes) and Trish Stevenson. The two went back and forth in the first half of the race. At one point, Otter thought Stevenson was gone for the day, and had resigned herself to second. But she was able to follow the wheels of the some of the men, and caught back to Stevenson on one of the course's many gravel climbs. Feeling like she was descending a little better, Otter attacked on the gravel, hoping to enter the woods with a small gap and extend it from there. The plan worked, and despite suffering two flats, Otter rolled through with the win 9 minutes up on Stevenson. Talked into the race at the last minute by Stevenson, Christine Rucker stomped the course, and came through in a solid third.

Though Sam Evans won overall on a singlespeed, he had registered for the Open class, so Robert Moss took the win in the Singlespeed class, while Bob Koerber rolled through in 13th overall to win the Masters Race.


Open Men:

1. Sam Evans 4:38:05

2. Sam Koerber 4:49:17

3. Dave Wood 4:51:39

4. Shawn Hall 4:53:45

5. Eric Schofield 4:57:35

6. Matt Williams 5:00:05

7. Jamie Pittman 5:09:29

8. Andy Rhodes 5:11:12

9. Nick Bragg 5:16:45

10. Bruce Meyer 5:19:25


Open Women:

1. Nina Otter 6:10:11

2. Trish Stevenson 6:19:56

3. Christine Putnum 7:07:17 

4. Francine Rapp  7:14:37

5. Bevin McGahey  7:21:15

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