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Jerdon Mountain Challenge, NC, Report and Results

Posted by: Matt Williams |July 29, 2014 7:07 PM
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Nearly 200 racers rolled into Old Fort, NC this weekend for the third annual Jerdon Mountain Challenge. Though it's often seen as the little brother to tomorrow's Off Road Assualt On Mt. Mitchell, this year Jerdon featured a revised course that was universally acclaimed by racers. Clocking in at 26 miles with 3000 feet of climbing over the course of one big loop, it's race that could be defined lot's of ways: a mini endurance race, old school cross country, but mostly racers just said it was "fun. Given that the course included two classic area descents: Heartbreak Ridge and Kitsuma, as well as some challenging singletrack climbs, it was hard to argue with them.

Things kicked off with a bit of road leading to the first major climb of the day, Jerret Creek. There the race split up almost immediately, with last year's winner Brian Schworm (Pedal Power) and Matt Williams (Epic Brewing) rolling away from the rest of the field. A chase group formed behind them featuring Ian Baldwin (Chainheart Cycles), Seth Cooley, Eric Sjoerdsma and others. Though never particularly steep, the climb up Jerret Creek was steady enough to string out the leaders by the time they hit the day's first singletrack climb, Star Gap. By that point Schworm's relentless pressure on the climbs had distanced Williams, who sat solidly in second place, while Baldwin and Cooley had dropped the remainder of the chase group and were riding in third and both.

Though Williams was descending faster than Schworm, it was never enough to make it close, and in the end Schworm rolled through in a blistering time of 1:53:59, with Williams rolling through two and a half minutes later. Behind, Baldwin had gapped Cooley heading into the final descent on Kitsuma, but Cooley took some risks and brought it back together by the line, where Baldwin took the sprint for third. In doing so, Baldwin got himself the Master's win on the day, with Cooley slotting into third in the Open race.

The women's race also saw a heated battle up the Jerret Creek climb early in the race. There Jennifer Moos attacked early, gaining an initial gap on contenders Nina Otter (Warren Wilson College/Liberty Bikes) and Jordan Salman (The Hub Bicycle Shop). Otter didn't panic though, and maintained a steady pace, eventually catching and dropping Moos midway up the climb. By Star Gap, Otter had a gap on both Moos and Salman, but could feel the pressure of the chasers. A big effort on Star Gap, and a fast descent off Heartbreak Ridge saw her solidify her lead though. Otter had nearly 4 minutes on Moos by the bottom of Heartbreak, and advantage she built on by the finish. Behind, Moos settled into a rhythm, took some chances on the descents, and was able to hold of Salman to take second.

Also new for this year was a timed Enduro section down the lower section of Heartbreak Ridge Trail. Thanks to a new chip timing system, riders were able to simply roll through the start and finish. For the men, second place finisher Matt Williams took the Enduro win by nearly 26 seconds, while women's winner Nina Otter set the fastest women's time. The Enduro finishers were recognized on the day, and those finishes will also count towards the North Carolina Enduro Series.

Open Men Results:

  1. Brian Schworm (Pedal Power) 1:53:59

  2. Matt Williams (Epic Brewing) 1:56:41

  3. Seth Cooley 2:09:30

  4. Eric Sjoerdsma 2:13:54

  5. James Daubs 2:20:22

Open Women Results:

  1. Nina Otter (Liberty Bikes) 2:17:19

  2. Jennifer Moos 2:28:24

  3. Jordan Salman (The Hub) 2:29:30

  4. Elizabeth Glas (The Hub/Pisgah Tavern)   2:58:04

  5. Allison Jones (Warren Wilson) 3:17:06

Men Enduro Results:

  1. Matt Williams 5:30

  2. Nick Erhard 5:56

  3. Brian Schworm 6:20

  4. Alex Harrill 6:23

  5. Ian Baldwin 6:33

Women Enduro Results:

  1. Nina Otter 6:34

  2. Jennifer Moos 7:24

  3. Jordan Salman 8:40

  4. Jaime Johnsen 9:41

  5. Allison Jones 10:38

For full results click here.

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