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Stottlemeyer 30/60 - Port Gamble, Washington

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |June 5, 2013 2:50 AM
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Stottlemeyer 30/60: Dirt Surfin' by the 'Sound

 Written by: Evan Plews

On Mother's Day weekend I traveled north to Port Gamble, Washington for the first event of the NorthWest Epic Series. The promoter of these relatively new endurance mountain bike races contacted me about four years ago with questions regarding the key components of great MTB endurance events. I thought it was pretty awesome to have a would-be director actually ask riders' opinions, so this year I made it a point to go check out his races. 

This particular event, the Stottlemeyer 30/60 has been held each of the last four years. Since NW Epic took over this race three years ago it has grown from 50 to 450 finishers. and is now the second largest event in Washington! Port Gamble is a tiny, historic community that sits quaintly on a point of land just across the Puget Sound from Seattle. The race began a few hundred meters from the waters edge.

There is little in the way of mountains so local trail builders have carved beautiful ribbons of single track all over the little peninsula in direct cooperation with private land owners. The Stottlemeyer course navigates a 13-mile loop (two or four times) that ties multiple sections of trail together with very short bits of fire road. With only several hundred feet of elevation difference, these architects have made the most of the loamy soil and dense conifer forest creating a near mind-boggling maze of twisting, undulating track.

While none of the trails were particularly technical, the fitness and talent quotient required increased exponentially with speed. The dirt was like velcro and the woods pulsated with life awakened by summer-like weather. The Men's Open field was stacked with great regional competitors and it was awesome to briefly reconnect with many folks I haven't raced with for several years. Unfortunately for me, my body seemed intent on extending the eight-day family vacation I just returned from and the frenetic course was relentless in pushing me beyond my limits!

We started with a couple miles of rolling fire road before entering the labyrinth of trails. There was one short punchy climb and I immediately knew it would be a long day as I lost contact with the front of the group. Toby Swanson and Logan Wetzel seemed ready to take control with many others following closely behind. I struggled to find a rhythm as my brain wanted to race at my my normal level while my body desired to continue lounging by the pool. 

I was able to move up steadily in the woods, but quickly lost any advantage when more power was required by the pedals. Even so, I had moved up to fifth position by the second lap and felt like I could gain a couple more spots if I rode sensibly. However, as we started another go-round, we immediately encountered the tail end of the 30 mile racers who had started much later. This perpetual traffic jam would prove to be my undoing.

Despite the lack of significant climbing the course demanded full attention and all the energy I could muster. Passing the seemingly endless line of slower riders sapped what little strength I had and soon I was back in the red. Most folks were super cool and let us by quickly, but not necessarily without a slight disruption of pace or line selection--both of which increased the intensity. Near the end of the lap there was a fast, twisty, section of trail that I looked forward to in hope I could distance some of the riders nipping at my heels.

I passed a rider at speed and wasn't set up properly for the next tight bend, I hoped my right foot would simply scoot past a big stump but instead it wedged between rock and my crank and stopped me. My weight shifted forward to the right while my bike ricocheted and fell to the left eventually bull-dogging me like a rodeo steer over the bike and flogging me into the ground and an adjacent tree. My left foot was stuck in the pedal pinned to the rear triangle and it seemed to "adjust" every joint from my knee to the base of my skull as it wrenched me "high-side" over the bike and into the dirt.  

To make matters worse the bike jammed between another tree and the responsible stump pinning me underneath. While I sorted this predicament out, several of the riders behind passed me. I got going again and noticed that I had successfully bashed both knees into pointy parts of my steed. Both my ego and my body were bruised and bleeding as I twisted my brake levers back into position on the next gravel section while my competition left me behind.

Once we began the third lap, it became apparent that the damage done flailing around on the ground had slowed my pathetic pace even more. Several other riders passed and when I couldn't muster the acceleration to get around the slower 30 milers ahead, I could do nothing but accept defeat. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of races I've quit sans mechanical failure in the last 20 years. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I hope there will be a sweeter continuation to what has been relatively successful season so far. 

Logan won the race for the third year in a row and I caught up to him after the race when he had this to say:

"After the initial fireroad climb, the front of the race separated on the first section of single track. A four man group consisting of Garett Heitman (CLIF Bar), Toby Swanson (Ravenna Capitol Management), my Sho-Air NW teammate Gian Dalle and myself formed as we maintained an uncomfortably fast pace. The first two laps (of four) were really fast, putting the four of us on pace to go under 4 hours. Fatigue set in on the 3rd lap, however, and our group cracked under the pressure. Garett and Toby popped off the back and then it was just Gian and I leading the race. We worked together until about mile 55. Gian started to cramp on the final climb and I was free to ride away for the win knowing that our team would take 1st and 2nd in the race. It was a great result for Team NW Sho-Air / Raleigh presented by SET Coaching.

The Stottlemeyer 30/60 is always a great event. The course offers a unique quantity and variety of rolling pacific northwest single track, without any sustained climbs to speak of. The number of volunteers and level of support is increasingly impressive each year. At nearly 500 racers, this may be the most attended mtb race in Washington."

With a large donation of the race proceeds going to the North Kitsap Trail Association (NKTA) and glowing reviews like this all around, I expect the Stottlemeyer to continue to draw riders from all over the world to Port Gamble for years to come!

The series continues with the Echo Valley 30/60 in June and the Capitol Forest 60/100 in August. NW Epic plans to add another event to the series next year. Visit www.nwepicseries.com for more all the results and more details on the next races.


Results

Open Men 60 Mile

1,

Logan Wetzel

Sho-Air/Raleigh

 

2,

Gian Dalle Angellini

Sho-Air/Raleigh

 

3,

Toby Swanson

Ravenna Capital Management

 


Open Women 60 Mile

1,

Shannon Holden

Vanderkitten

 

2,

Marsa Daniel

Group Health

 

3,

Jennifer Burtner

Olympia Orthopedic

 


Open Men 30 Mile

1,

Kacey Campbell

PCP Racing

 

2,

Aaron Pass

Audi Cycling

 

3,

Jason Kettrick

Audi Cycling

 


Open Women 30 Mile

1,

Wendy Simms

Kona

 

2,

Lea Stralka

Ragnarok

 

3,

Andi Zolton

Jivelo Ambassadors

 

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