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National UltraEndurance Series (NUE): High Cascade 100

Posted by: Jen Hanks |August 10, 2012 10:39 PM
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Presented by Hammer Nutrition

High Cascades 100 Race Report

By Ryan O’Dell

The fourth annual High Cascades 100 rolled out under sunny skies and mild temperatures creating an enjoyable atmosphere for a record number of racers and spectators alike. The race finish was located farther down the mountain this year at Bachelor Village where racers were treated to wood fired pizza’s cooked on site by Pisano’s Pizza and washed down by local brews that included Twilight Summer Ale and a White IPA courtesy of Deschutes brewing.  

Men’s Open

Wicks claims his second NUE Series Victory within a packed field of top Pro riders!

Barry Wicks (Kona), the hometown boy from Bend, claimed his second NUE Series win of the year since his win in Michigan at the Lumberjack 100, finishing at 7:22:15, just over four minutes ahead of Evan Plews (Ibis Cycles/Reall Racing) of Salem, OR 7:26:35 and three time defending HC100 winner Carey Smith (Team CF) 7:34:15 who both joined Wicks on the podium.

According to Wicks, "The Race was super fun. It was a pretty challenging course but so scenic that all you could think about was what was around the bend of the next mountain. The race went well for me. I did the log ride on the climb up to Wanoga and got a small gap to get the prime. Then I waited up for my team mate, Kris Sneddon, and just rode the sweet trails.

Eventually we started the big climb of the day and the race pretty much split up there. I was running a little light on water going through Dutchman, but was able to make it to Lava Lake with Josh Tostado, and, once I got a feed, got on the gas and just rode a solid tempo into the finish. Having local knowledge really helped as I knew how to meter my effort for what was coming and I had a rad day riding the amazing trails up in the high alpine. Next year I may try to do it on a single speed and win the $1000 bonus for taking the overall, but we will see. That sounds really hard.”

NUE Defending Champion, Christian Tanguy (Team CF) finished fifth 7:40:28, off the podium but his finish was good enough to take the series lead for the first time this season!

Tanguy reported, "I heard only praise for the trails in the Bend, OR area so, this year, I ventured there to check it out. I did not pre-ride so it was an entire discovery all day long. I now understand why this course is one of the favorite of the NUE Series.

Like most races now, many racers are quite nervous at the start in order to enter the single track well positioned. I was satisfied with my place without committing too much effort that early in the race. The five bikes in front of me were kicking a lot of dust in the air but I was following just fine. Just like at the Lumberjack, my rear tire developed a slow leak but this time it was only after fifteen minutes entering the trail. As soon as I stopped, trains of racers just passed by me while I was busy putting more air in my tire. It was getting inflated but I could hear the hissing noise of the leak. The tire had a bad cut on the side but the sealant seemed to do its part.

The nature of the trails made passing a difficult endeavor but there were also so many of them. I was passing racers non-stop but my bike started to feel a little sketchy again. For sure, the tire leaked again. Fortunately, I was closer to aid one so I reduced speed so I could properly repair my tire.

Once more, numerous positions were lost in the process but this time we were on double track and I made very good tempo. I was passing the same riders again but I knew it would take a long time before I could reel back some familiar faces. I was not overly concerned since there was still plenty of time. The trails were fantastic! Miles and miles of nice flowing trails and with proper pressure in both tires my Epic was performing admirably. About 2.5 hours in, I was riding by myself, caught in the no man's land between the lead group and the larger trains of pursuers. The trails and the scenery were really getting my attention and I was having a great time, all worth my time and expense to come from Michigan.

Four hours after the start, I was finally latching back to familiar racers. However, by then, I was quite tired and could only distance myself very slowly. Then, three hundred yards after climbing a double track, I thought I might have taken a wrong turn. I did not want to risk riding miles to figure out whether I went off course or not, so I turned back. I was, in fact, on the correct trail but I had lost an additional two minutes.

The lead group was still at large and I thought I would use my climbing ability to make up time on the trail leaving the Lava Lakes but it did not work out. I felt miserable and my legs were shutting down. I grabbed my Hammer bottle and just tried to be patient. By the end of the climb, I felt my legs re-energized.

Before aid four, I passed Josh Tostado as he was pushing his bike following a mechanical. Right after the aid station I passed two other racers and this time they were on their bikes. That was just what I needed to get re-motivated! From that point to finish I was pushing the pace and the closer to the finish, the faster I was riding. Unfortunately, I was almost at the finish line. I think with an additional ten miles of trail, I could possibly have bettered my result by one or two spots, however, the trails were so much fun, I did not realize that I had spent almost eight hours in the saddle. Next on the agenda is the Wilderness 101 and, please, no mechanical this time?!”

One minute later, Ben Melt Swanepoel (Squirt Lube) 7:41:38 rolled in followed closely by forty nine year old Michael Tobin (G-Fit/Niner) 7:42:38 and Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) who placed eight 7:43:20 following a win at Syllamo’s Revenge and a fourth place finish at the Lumberjack 100 earlier in the season.

Edsall had this to say about the race, "I went into the High Cascades 100 with really high hopes. I thought my fitness was there, but sometimes your legs and lungs have other plans in mind. The race was held on some of the most fun singletrack I have hit. Hardpack conditions with big berms, dropoffs, and super-fast downhill singletrack. I was trying out Kenda's new 24Seven SCT tires. They ripped through the downhills and I was loving it! There was one point, early in the race, where I was able to pull back a two minute gap on the front group on the first major downhill. I was tearing things up with those tires and having an awesome time doing it!

The race stayed really tight for the first two hours. There was a ton of climbing and you had to have your climbing legs out to do well. Unfortunately, I hit the second half of major climbs with the front group including Barry Wicks, Kris Sneddon, Cary Smith, and Josh Tostado about two hours into the race and just didn't have it. My legs were dead and I wasn't able to respond to the higher pace they were holding.

I dug really deep and stuck with it, but no power ever showed up. Despite all this, the course was excellent, the marking was incredible, and I enjoyed my time at the race. Next move is on to the Pierre's Hole 100. I'll be doing everything possible to get my legs back and ready to tear up the climbs there.”

Clint Muhlfeld (Sportsman and Skihaus/Hammer Nutrition) 7:56:43 and Brett Nichols 7:58:09 rounded out the Men’s open riders who finished in under eight hours.                                           

Women’s Open

Pennington of Hood River rolls her way to the top of the podium!

Following her second place finish last year, Alice Pennington (Team S&M/Kona) from Hood River achieved victory this year in 8:51:32, just over a minute ahead of Serena Gordon (Sunnyside Sports/Silverado) of Bend 8:52:46 who finished third last year. 

Beth Ann Orton (Team S & M) finished third 9:18:01 and had this to say, "I road with Serena Bishop and Alice Pennington the first ten or so miles, seven of which were neutral roll out, until I decided their pace was much too fast for me at such an early point in the race.  I know these two well and hoped, based on previous efforts, that I could keep our gap small. 

I settled in at a brisk, but comfortable clip, and was soon joined and surpassed by Jana Repulski (Broken Spoke Cycling) of Boise, ID.  I tucked in 4-5 riders behind her on the first section of single track, wanting to go faster, but making myself settle and relax. We traded wheels a couple times before the short, pumpy, ascent below sector 16, where she was tackling the climbs much faster than I.  I eventually caught her at the top of Sector 16, rode with her down Upper Whoops, a super fun descent, and passed her on Skyline Connector, a section of trail I know well and love.  I opened up a gap then settled back into a comfortable pace for the rest of the race, seeing her just briefly at the first aid station.”

Repulski went on to finish fourth 9:30:27 with Alice Drobna (Webcyclery) finishing fifth at 9:47:15, rounding out the women who finished sub ten hours.


Single Speed Open

Linnell edges out the competition for his first NUE Series win of the year!


AJ Linnell (Fitzgerald's Bicycles/Misfit Psycles) of Victor, WY, made his way to the top spot on the podium in Bend, 8:16:12, following his second place finish at the Breckenridge 100 just five days earlier!

"Once we got onto the dirt and sorted ourselves out, I spent the opening singletrack leg riding with Gerry and Jace. Those guys are strong! We ripped through the forest in amazing early-morning light, waiting for things to warm up after a chilly morning. Somewhere around mile ten, I flubbed a remount after running through a rock stretch and rolled my left ankle, totally blowing it up. At the time I wanted to puke, but it subsided after a few minutes and I was able to close the gap back to Gerry and Jace.

We rode together until after aid one when we started the big double-track climb. I was feeling good and decided to crank it up a bit. That was the last I saw of either of them. I spent much of the remainder of the race riding solo going back and forth with a few geared riders but largely alone. My ankle swelled up huge and lost most of its ability to flex which made the rougher downhill riding after aid two interesting. In the end, I was surprised at how closely Jace finished behind me! I figured he was further back than four minutes given that I hadn't seen him at all!

Jace Ives crossed the finish line four minutes later 8:20:21, fourteen minutes ahead of the three time defending NUE Single Speed Champion, Gerry Pflug (Salsa/Pro Bikes) 8:34:06 who suffered puncture wounds to his arm and chest caused by a tree sticking into the course that nearly took him out of the race!

Later at the finish line, the Pfluginator explained that he thought, at the time, that he had punctured a lung but with the help of a bystander, who just happened to have first aid supplies on hand, he was able to tape up the puncture wounds to his arm and chest, soldiering on and, somehow, still managing to take the third spot on the podium!

Mike Shane (Club Ride Apparel/Sun Summit) of Ketchum arrived ten minutes later, 8:44:54, to finish fourth followed by Josh Armagost (Fat Cobra Video) of Portland taking fifth  9:06:19 and James Harmon (Benidorm/Createx Colors) of Litchfield 9:08:30 which rounded out the top six.                    

Masters 50+ Open

Bartels claims victory!

Fifty two year old Roger Bartels (Roger R. Bartels, D.D.S.) of Healdsburg claimed the top spot in a packed field of Masters that included a Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and his former master’s world’s teammate from the 1997 Switzerland race, Paul Thomasberg.

According to Bartels, "I decided to go for the 40+ prime of $100 at mile eighteen (which he won) so I made sure to be up near the front going into the fire road section five miles into it. Twenty or so of us gapped the main group as we bottlenecked into first eighty miles of singletrack of the day. I decided to lay back and entered last in our group. Barry Wicks led it out and was gone in a huge cloud of dust!

Riding with Aren Timmel (Team Chico) and another guy, we gradually started passing crash and flat casualties as we made it up through Steve Larson trail and Funner Trail. At the Prime spot there was a feed and realized I hadn't even touched the four pounds of water I was carrying! After that, Aren and I worked together on a few miles of fire road before crossing under the bridge and going up some steep single track leading to spectacular views of Mount Bachelor.

We dropped down towards swampy and Sector 16 which would have been more fun if it wasn't for the low sun in my eyes and the dust impairing my vision. I shut it down there a bit and Aren road away from me. He was working the gravity dropper seat post and was having way too much fun! Eventually, a group caught me, led by another gravity dropper guy. I got behind him and we were flying for a while until I had a front wheel wash out and did some dirt sampling. Luckily no damage was done and I caught back on.

After a huge climb out of the Swampy area, I just had to settle in to my own pace. The section of single track down to Lava Lakes was surreal with lots of great views and riding through snow patches. Everyone, so far, took the one line Barry Wicks cut. The Lava Lakes Trails were from another planet! Down by the lake I got by a guy and let him pass me then followed him until he dropped me on the Strava Challenge climb. At Edison rest stop, I was relieved to get a feed from my crew. The sandwich and coke they gave me there was like filet mignon!”

Fifty-four year old Marland Whaley (Red Barn Bicycles) placed second, twenty three minutes behind the leader at 8:46:34. Whaley was coming off a second place finish at the Breckenridge 100 just five days ago and had this to say, "After a slow start, there were a lot of pileups on the singletrack, a lot of bottlenecks, a few crashes, and I just had a really hard time finding the groove on a lot of the rock sections. The locals had it dialed! By the time I figured it out, it was too late, and I was off my bike and pushing.

It was stop, go, stop, go for a while but after check station four, things really started to kick in. I passed about a dozen riders who had passed me on the rougher sections. It was the rough stuff that was really giving me trouble around the backside of Mt. Bachelor. However, I am a late bloomer (laughing). I don’t start very well and it’s always the last twenty five miles that makes the difference.”

Finishing third was Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, CODA founding member and Vice Chairman, Paul Thomasberg (Shimano) in 8:55:13 who this to say about the race, "It went good today but I don’t think I had the preparation I really needed so I had to just stay in my little world mostly and not try to go out too hard but not lose too much time at the start. The first hour I probably went harder than I needed to but I just didn’t want to have that many people in front of me.

Basically, my strategy was to make a little time on the down hills but just enough so that I wasn’t using any more energy than anybody else because all of those guys were going to pass me back on the climb and that went on for a little more than half of the race.

However, the true story is that I got here five minutes before the call up (laughing). My alarm didn’t go off and my wife woke me up and said, "you know, its 4:47 (Race began at 5:30am)” and I was like ahhhh, so I had just enough time to throw my clothes on and, luckily, I had everything ready to go so I jumped in the van to get here and it just all worked out somehow.”

Race Director, Mike Ripley, presented a check for $5200 to the local trail organization COTA (Central Oregon Trail Alliance) which provides trail access and opportunity in partnership with the Deschutes National Forest. An additional donation of $1700 was also presented to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Oregon who helped out in a variety of positions at the race.                

Next up for the NUE Series: The Wilderness 101 in State College, PA.

Pro Men:


Barry Wicks




Evan Plews

Ibis Cycles/Reall Racing



Cary Smith

Team CF



Kris Sneddon




Christian Tanguy

Team CF



Ben Melt Swanepoel

Squirt Lube



Michael Tobin




Drew Edsall




Clint Muhlfeld

Sportsman and Skihaus



Brett Nichols




Chris Peariso




Josh Oppenheimer

Truwhip Cycling Team



Josh Tostado

Santa Cruz/Maxxis,Shimano



Marcus Benton

Team Dirt/Mudslinger



John Merrill

Sappo Hills Soapworks



Aren Timmel

Team  Chico



Matt Woodruff

Kuhl Rocky Mountain



Eric Zuber

Team Eastside Cycles



Ross Brody

Buy Local Cycling



Joe Santos

Cyclepath Racing



Jonathan Davis

Trek Bike Store Racing



Sam Young

Santa Cruz/



Josh Cady

Cynergy Cycles Racing



John Reuter

Chris Mallory Racing Team



Ryan McGlone

Boneyard Cycling Team



Joel Wilson




Chad Harris




Jason Berning

Fitzgeralds Bicycles



Justin DeMallie

Filth & Fury 3



Kris Lunning

Marc Pro-Strava



Mark Schafer

Eastside Cycles



Justin Berndt

Mafia Racing NW



Colin Reuter

B2C2 p/b Boloco



Cory Bolen

Eastside Cycles-Boise



Seth Barnard




Dave Rider

Aiki/Rubicon Racing



Steven Williams

GS Tenzing



Bryon Waite




Brian McCurdy




Ethan Black

Lost Coast Brewery



Ernesto Marenchin

Pivot Cycles



Rusty Dodge

Fanatik Bike Co



Alex Dove

Lynn Valley Bikes



Neal Richards




Aaron Johnson




Caleb Creagan




Jay Sturges



 Open Women:


Alice Pennington

Team S & M



Serena Gordon

Sunnyside Sports/Silverado



Beth Ann Orton

Team S & M



Jana Repulski

Broken Spoke Cycling




AJ Linnell

Fitzgeralds Bicycles/Misfit



Jace Ives




Gerry Pflug




Mike Shane

Club Ride Apparel/Sun Summit



Josh Armagost

Fat Cobra Video



James Harmon

Benidorm/Createx Colors



Doug Graver

Mafia NW



Tim Phillips

Broken Spoke Cycling



Gary Ballas




Derek Nelson




Aron Yevuta

Victory Velo Racing



Kyle Rafford




Loren Gard



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