2019 National Ultra Endurance Series Released

Breckenridge Returns for 2019 with Big Bear, California

“Celebrating more than TEN YEARS as the nation’s premier XXC Race Series”

The 13th Annual National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series www.nuemtb.com announced the 2019 race schedules this week featuring a balanced schedule, east and west.

The NUE Epic Race Series Schedule is comprised of races at or near 100 miles in length. Big Bear Grizzly in California will again host the NUE Series Championship race where all ties are broken. The Breckenridge 100 returns for 2019 bringing the total number of Epic Series races to twelve in this best four of twelve series.

The NUE Marathon Race Series schedule is comprised of races at or near 50 miles to 100k in length. In 2019, The Breckenridge 100k returns bringing the total number of races to 11 in this best four of eleven series.

Photo by Ryan Stephens

“On behalf of The NUE Race Series, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, many who have been with us for up to a decade now, for believing in our vision and supporting NUE. We are proud to promote our NUE sponsors including Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport of Germany, Darn Tough Socks of Vermont, KMC Chain, Lauf Forks, Voler apparel, Squirt Lube, and Chris Eatough Coaching, for providing training plans for NUE Racers, many tailored to specific NUE race courses based on his success with NUE.” Ryan O’Dell, NUE Race Series Director.

Born in 2006 to fill a need for XXC racers, the NUE Series began with just six races before growing over the last eleven years to now include a total of twenty three races held within twelve different states.

The NUE Marathon Race Series will be made up of eleven well known races including the newest Iron Mountain 100k in Damascus, Virginia. Distances will vary ranging from 50 miles to 100k. Like the NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series, the NUE MARATHON Race Series will be governed by the same rules and will require the same number of races (BEST 4) to become eligible for series awards and recognition. It is important to note that the NUE Epic and NUE Marathon are two separate race series. Points will not transfer between the Epic 100 Mile and Marathon Race Series. Marathon Series finishers will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE finisher jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series Finishers.

To claim the NUE Race Series Epic 100 Mile title, racers best four finishes will count. NUE requires a minimum of four races to receive a national ranking. ALL racers who complete four of the NUE 100 Mile distance races will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE Finisher Jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series finishers.

Additional Travel awards for NUE Division leaders include an NUE Epic Series Champion travel package to compete in The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica recognized as one of the toughest races on the planet. Details will be announced publicly soon.

All Epic and Marathon series ties will be broken at the Big Bear Grizzly in California. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate. Everyone is welcome to compete on a level playing field alongside top Pro’s. ALL finishing racers receive a score based on their race finishes with a “lowest points wins” formula. The best possible score is 4.

Nearly ALL NUE Race Series events sold out again in 2018, some within mere minutes. The Marji Gesick 100, the first race to open registration has already sold out. True Grit, High Cascades and Mohican have recently opened registration and are also expected to sell out.

NUE is currently soliciting the support of additional partners interested in promoting products and services that racers can use. Potential sponsors can receive more information by contacting Ryan O’Dell at nolimit@mohican.net

 

What’s on tap for each event for 2019?

Both, the NUE Epic Series and Marathon Series will roll out on March 9 in the southwest at the True Grit Epic and True Grit Epic 50 in sunny Santa Clara, Utah.  According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, “The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first twenty miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on single track and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain. We are adding a 15 mile challenge ride this year to include those who may not have trained enough to take on a series course but would like to experience a little bit of True Grit. True Grit Registration is already open and nearing capacity.”

On April 27, NUE returns to Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 and Cohutta Big Frog 65 under the new direction of Lisa Randall at Mountain Goat Adventures, who also produces the Fool’s Gold 100. The course has reverted back to the original Cohutta 100 course from a decade ago, using the singletrack section of Brush Creek and the Tanasi trail systems, and an intense gravel loop known as “The Death March”.  Staging for the race takes place along the banks of the beautiful Ocoee River — site for the 1996 Olympic White Water Events.  The 100 miles of race course traverses the mountain terrain by world class single track and fire roads. The single track is fast and flowing, but can get tight and technical in spots. The fire roads are demanding but rewarding with long ascents, fast descents, and spectacular mountain views.

Out of the gate, the race makes about a three mile climb on pavement up highway 64.  This warm-up serves as a good field displacer and pole position before entering into the fast and flowy single track for the next twenty miles. Next is a challenging loop on beautiful mountain fire-roads.  Road texture alternates between hard-pack gravel and smooth moist dirt. Expect tenacious climbs (over 12,000’ of elevation gain overall), hundreds of curves, and peaceful mountain streams.  Upon return, racers will re-enter the single track for about nine final miles of the best trails in these mountains.

The weather in Southeastern Tennessee in late April ranges in expression. Expect a chilly morning for sure on race day, but a quick warming up in the early miles.  Six Aid Stations provide supplemental support throughout the course and a delicious meal and coveted “Finisher” mug await finishers at the Finish Line.

Next up is the 18th Annual Mohican 100 and Mohican 100k on June 1 that hosted nearly 600 racers in 2018. Like the Leadville 100, Mohican features a downtown start in Loudonville with plans to continue the neutral start that started in 2018. From there, the course covers several miles of double track before treating racers to a recently recognized IMBA Epic trail of pristine, flowing single track within the 5000 acre Mohican State Forest along a single loop spanning three of the counties that make up what is known as “Mohican Country”. Due to tremendous growth, The Mohican 100 mile and 100k imposed a limit of 600 racers. This race may sell out quickly so it is recommended to register soon. 100 Mile Race finishers receive a custom Mohican finisher growler to be filled and refilled with a truckload of microbrew provided by award winning Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland.

From the Buckeye State, racers will head north into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, on June 15. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, The Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series.  If you like fast flowing, mostly non-technical single track, and Founders Brewing, this is your race. Perhaps that is why this event always sells out early, sometimes within minutes.

One June 24, Iron Mountain 100k, located in Damascus, Virginia returns to the NUE Marathon Race Schedule. Damascus is called “Trail Town” because the Appalachian Trail and the Creeper Trail pass right through the historic downtown. Bicycle advocates are also creating a Great Eastern Trail Bicycle Route that passes through Damascus too. This route is under development and utilizes the Iron Mountain Trail and the Highlands Horse Trail in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. The GET Bicycle Route links to the New River Trail and onto Blacksburg where it gets back on singletrack and joins the existing GET at the southern end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail.

As summer arrives, The NUE Race Series returns to the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota on July 6 for the Tatanka Epic and Tatanka Marathon. The Tatanka introduced a brand-new course and format in 2018. Starting and finishing on the legendary Sturgis Main Street, in the middle of downtown in the “City of Riders”, racers will duke it out as they race through town between unique loops in a clover-leaf format. The new course covers dozens of miles of newly constructed trail and keeps the best trail from past events. The Tatanka Marathon will share its main loop with the Epic and represents many hardcore locals favorite “BIG ride”.

One week later, on July 13, NUE Marathon Series heads northeast to Maine. The Carrabassett 100k located in the Carrabassett Valley adds some northeast flavor to the NUE Series. Carrabassett, located near Sugarloaf Ski Area, has spent approximately $500,000 building mountain bike trails in the Carrabassett Region.  The goal is to construct an iconic mountain bike trail network that is on everybody’s “must-ride” list.  To date there is approximately 100 miles of riding for all abilities.  This includes miles of super flowy, machine-built singletrack and old-school style trails that have been carved out with hand tools and sweat.  The Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge (CBCC) is your chance to experience some of this outstanding riding in a true point-to-point style race through the western mountains of Maine!  Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.

Also on July 13, The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k races return to the NUE Series Schedule. The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k in Colorado can take your breath away, literally, as it begins at an altitude of 9000 feet before crossing the continental divide three times, eliciting jaw dropping views throughout in a three loop Clover shaped race originating from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge.

2018 NUE series marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot)

On July 20, think Big Foot and Volcano’s as Mudslinger Events hosts The High Cascades 100 in Bend returning for its tenth year to represent the state of Oregon. The Trails around Mt. Bachelor are truly epic and racers are treated to quality craft brews from Deschutes Brewing. With just 350 spots available, racers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Also on July 20, The Wilderness 101 and the Wilderness 101k, directed by Chris Scott, is located in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If you enjoy technical backcountry single track and hair raising downhill thrills, nothing rocks quite like PA! W101 was one of just six races included in the inaugural NUE Race Series.

The final four races will occur within a two month period and, as usual, has a tendency to create some chaos in the series standings before the final tie breaking event.

First up is the 11th Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k located near Alta, Wyoming on August 3. Pierre’s Hole, a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies. Today it is known as the strategic gathering place to ski unfathomable deep powder and ride some of the best known single track in the nation.

According to race director Andy Williams, “The Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k at Grand Targhee Resort  newest course layout adds even more new single track without the nasty climb down to the ranch from the early years of the race that many old timers may recall. The 2019 course will take racers through fields of wild flowers, aspen trees and old growth forest right in the shadows of the Tetons.”​ The “Grand Loop” which is all a part of the Pierre’s race course was recently named as an IMBA Epic trail!”

The next day, on September 1 over Labor Day Weekend in the USA, the 22nd Annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will send up to 650 racers into the George Washington National Forest. Shenandoah is the grand-daddy of them all, and the largest strictly 100 mile race in the NUE Race Series! Shenandoah not only has a great reputation for amazing trails but is also well known for the outstanding support of volunteers and aid stations that many racers would agree sets the bar for excellence.

One September 21, NUE shifts north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Ishpeming for the Marji Gesick 100 and 50 mile races.  100 miles and 13,000 vertical feet armored with rocks, roots, drops, jump lines, flow trails, grueling climbs, dangerous technical descents and a final fifteen miles designed to push riders to their mental and physical limits. This year’s Marji Gesick with a limit of 666 already sold out, in a single day!

Pierre’s Hole Alta, WY

Over its twelve year history, the NUE Race Series has alternated the Championship race from east to west several times in an effort to keep the playing field level for racers. In 2019, the final NUE race will break most ties and determine the new NUE Champions on the west coast of California at the Big Bear Grizzly 100 and Grizzly 75k in Big Bear Lake. Big Bear has attracted racers from nine countries and eighteen states!

Directed by Derek Hermon, racers familiar with the 100k Grand Fondo course will be treated to an extended portion of trail along a ridgeline with amazing views and an altitude beginning at 7000′ and reaching 8500′ with enough single track racers will beg for a fire road.

The NUE series schedule subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details. Stay tuned here for upcoming information about NUE Series Sponsors, Prize Money, Potential travel awards, and other race details. www.nuemtb.com.

 

2019 NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit Epic March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta 100 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100 June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Lumberjack 100 June 15 Wellston, MI 430 January 5
Tatanka 100 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Breckenridge 100 July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
High Cascades 100 July 20 Bend, OR 350 November 24
Wilderness 101 July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100 August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Shenandoah 100 September 1 Harrisonburg, VA 650 December 1
Marji Gesick September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 100 September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

2019 NUE Marathon Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit 50 March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta Big Frog 65 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100k June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Iron Mountain 100k June 23 Damascus, VA 250 December 1
Tatanka 50 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Carrabassett 100k July 13 Carrabassett, ME 600 February 1
Breckenridge 100k July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
Wilderness 101k July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100k August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Marji Gesick 50 September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 75k September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

NUE Pierre’s Hole 100K

Written by: @JenToops & Marlee Dixon @graciedaze

The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking. At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area. The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Open Men

Brown takes the top step

1st-Josh Brown, 2nd-David Wiens, 3rd-Tanner Visnick, 4th-George Flynn, 5th-Davey Mitchell

Taking the top step in the Open Men’s division was, Josh Brown (Bountiful Bike) crossing the line in 5:18:47.

“Race day was an absolute blast. I entered not knowing what to expect or where my fitness was as it was my first race of the season.I quickly realized up the first long climb that I had the legs that day. When we rolled over the first climb I was sitting in second behind George Flynn, with a couple of seconds on third and fourth. We maintained those couple of seconds for the entirety of the first lap, which was a very fun. George was setting a great pace and it was fun to sit on his wheel.

Just as we finished lap number one, Dave Wiens closed the gap and there was now three of us. While climbing the first big climb of lap two I could feel George fading a bit and knew that I had more legs than he did. So at the top of the climb just as it turns into an ATV road, I put in a hard surge and put about 15 seconds on George and Dave.

Down the long decent I knew that I would have to put a good amount of time into Dave if I wanted to be able to hold him off. So I pushed my comfort zone a little down the decent. I could see Dave for most of lap two, he was pegged at about two minutes back. There were times on switch backs that I would try and duck/hide behind bushes and trees to keep out of his sight. (Out of sight out of mind ;)). I somehow managed to hold the gap and cross the finish line in first. It was a great day and an amazing course! Another fun day on the bike.”

David Wiens (Topeak Ergon IMBA), takes second in a time of 5:21:13.

“Racing Pierre’s Hole was a blast! A most stunning place to ride, friendly, laid back people, awesome trails that wouldn’t end, and top-notch race organization. On the first climb, five of us quickly separated from the field with Tanner Visnick and Josh Brown both looking strong. There was a ton of singletrack and while it was fairly smooth and fast, it required concentration as the vegetation, including awesome wildflowers, encroached from the sides and you were never quite sure what the trail was going to do around each corner: continue fast, switchback up hard to the right, switchback down to the left, you get the idea – lots of quick braking and shifting and getting back on the pedals accelerating.

I was dangling out alone in 5thearly in the first lap but steadily moved up into 3rdand caught the leaders as we hit the halfway point and embarked on lap 2. Josh rode a stellar race, marking the front and not charging until he hit the big descent on lap two. There, I jumped on his wheel and into second place but he put solid time on me on the descent. From that point on, I would get a glimpse of him now and then, but I could always tell he was feeling good and dancing on the pedals. Congrats to Josh and Tanner and everyone else that raced. I was happy with my race and also pretty stoked to not be riding another lap like the 100-mile riders. My hat is off to those men and women for sure.”

Rounding out the podium was, Tanner Visnick (Steamboat Velo) at 5:30:35.

Open Women

Harvey defends title on home turf

1st-Caedran Harvey, 2nd-Marlee Dixon, 3rd-Christy Olsen, 4th-Jen Toops, 5th-Jaime Brede

Winner of the 2017 Pierre’s Hole 100k, Caedran Harvey (Fitzgerald’s Bicycles), defends her title winning the 2018 Pierre’s Hole 100k at 6:09:12. Coming from Fairplay, CO, Marlee Dixon, Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles, takes second in 6:15:43. Taking third place was Christy Olsen, 1890 Cycling/Crazy Pedaler, crossing the line in 6:30:55.

Singlespeed

Toops gets four back-to-back NUE wins

1st-Anthony Toops, 2nd-Brad Keyes, 3rd-Weston Hutchinson, 4th-Jordan Radin, 5th-Michael Riley

Ohio racer, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage), gets his fourth NUE Marathon singlespeed win finishing with a time of 6:18:14.  This gives Toops a perfect score of four in the overall NUE series for singlespeed.

“Pierre’s Hole was a “bonus race” on the calendar this year since I wasn’t sure if I could make it… and it was a tough one! I had no expectations coming into this one but I did know the suffering would be high. Little did I know my low lander fitness would eventually show itself halfway through.

From the gun the race started off on a long cat-track climb where the positions sorted out before hitting the singletrack (95% singletrack on this course).  I immediately took note of my power and effort being held back by the high elevation so the strategy was to never go too hard; just hard enough.

I managed to cap off the first lap pretty much on pace with my plan, but that’s when the wall hit me in the face.  At around the 3:30 mark I was in survival mode.  I honestly don’t remember a ton of that lap as I was just head down trying to keep the pedals turning over.  I’m not sure if its all the recent racing catching up to me but the elevation certainly spares no one from its pain.  I did manage to get some motivating words from Greg Gollete as he motored past about 1/3 of the way through the lap. I just kept trying to tick the miles off, stay upright, and keep my competitors out of site.

Coming up the last kicker and seeing the finish line was such a relief!  After tons of rugged singletrack, brutal climbs, and fast switchbacks,  I was pretty much wrecked!
My gearing was 32×20, which was a little hard I think. I’ll probably go easier next time since it’s a climb-descend type of course.
Thank you to Andy for putting on an amazing race, all the volunteers for their hard work, and always Paradise Garage who keep me rolling!”

Brad Keyes (CarboRocket) excited to cross the finish line!

Taking second was, Brad Keyes (Carborocket) crossing the line at 6:46:26.  Just four minutes back was, Weston Hutchinson (Elevate) finishing at 6:50:00.

Masters

Local racer Llinares takes the top step

1st-Mark Llinares, 2nd-Greg Golet, 3rd-Michael Piker, 4th-Gardner Brown, 5th-Klaus Fleischmann

Local Mark Llinares (The Hub), proved his strength on his home course taking the win in 5:55:44.

2017 Epic Masters NUE champion, Greg Golet (Team Chico) took second at 6:06:06.

“Pierre’s Hole just keeps getting better! This year added a new section of trail that eliminated the pavement! Some complained that they no longer had the road to recover on, but I was glad to stay in the woods. The course was super fun and varied, and as always provided a true test of fitness—and cornering skills through endless sections of switchbacks. On race day the air was clear, and the Tetons were out!! Everyone’s spirits were high. Such a nice contrast to the ridiculously smoky California where I had come from, and where for the last few weeks we’ve been advised to stay indoors.

I set a fairly fast but comfortable pace and was first after lap 1, but only by a minute (although I didn’t know the differential at the time, of course). Then on the upper part of the biggest climb of the second lap, a courteous fellow with an Aussie(?) accent cruised passed me. All I could do was watch him go. I didn’t know who he was or if he was in my class, but guessed he might be. In any case, it didn’t take long until Mark Llinares from Jackson, was out of sight. My lack of recent training probably didn’t help, nor did being at 9,000’ for the first time since backcountry skiing in Lassen park last winter. But even though I had just been fully dropped, I was loving it! Being fully incapable of matching his pace, I just rode my own race to the finish savoring every moment. It’s hard to beat riding perfect singletrack that snakes endlessly through aspen groves and wildflower meadows. So thankful to have this time with such great people racing bikes in the mountains!!

Thanks #honeystinger, #carborocket, #kaliprotectives and #wolftoothcomponents for keeping me fueled, safe and shifting smoothly! Looking forward to Big Bear for the season finale (unless the smoke keeps me from riding leading up to it).”

Taking third place was, Michael Piker (Hoback Sports) at 6:37:24.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Full results click here

What’s Next? Click Here for info on the next NUE Marathon series race: NUE Marji Gesick race in Michigan. Click Here for info on the next NUE Epic series race: Shenandoah 100 in Virginia.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @graciedaze

 

NUE Pierre’s Hole 100 Mile

Written by: @JenToops and Marlee Dixon @graciedaze

The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking.At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Open Men

Lewis gets second NUE win of the season

1st-Bryan Lewis, 2nd-Sam Sweetser, 3rd-David Krimstock, 4th-Stefano Barberi

East coaster, Bryan Lewis (Cutaway USA), proved he could handle the elevation and took the top step in a time of 8:00:01.

“The Tetons have always been one of my favorite places to visit and I was excited to meet up with a couple friends from the area and take on the PH100. With 3 distance options to choose from the 100 mile field was a lot smaller than other NUEs. It’s as if others knew something I didn’t. The race started with a long climb that set up the lead group fairly quickly. On the first descent of the day Sam Sweetser set the pace and quickly separated he and I from the rest of the lead group. That set the tempo for the remainder of the ride as he continued to pull me around the single track.

Sam was super smooth and fast on the switchback heavy course and it was fun to follow him along. He was riding strong and when he made a minor mistake in a corner I made my way around him and tested his legs a bit separating from him around mile 60 and never (and by never I mean always) looking back. He kept the gap tight but I was able to hold on and really felt good on the final lap in Rick’s Basin and had fun ripping on it.

Overall, Pierre’s Hole was an amazing race under the view of the Tetons, which is hard to beat. I will say when I was finished I didn’t want to see another switchback for a few weeks, but that’s just me. Thanks Andy and the crew for building great trails and putting on a fun race!

Sponsors: Flying solo, but appreciate the support of my employer Cutaway, USA as well as a good group of friends (Will, Steven, Tyler, Seth, AT, and Carlo) that consistently talk smack and give me a hard time as I chase fun events across the country. Also big thanks good friend Jansen Gunderson who hosted and helped me with feeds during the race. Also I’m really glad my girlfriend didn’t shoot me for stealing her drink mix out of the cooler while she also cruised through 100 miles under the Tetons. :/ Lessons learned and thanks a great vacation Lauren!”

Twelve minutes back, Sam Sweetser (Cole Sport), takes second at 8:12:01.

David Krimstock (Shimano/Pearl Izumi/Pivot) rounded out the podium taking third at 8:19:47.

“Pierres Hole was the 4th 100 mile race in 5 weeks for me, and even though I have done this type of schedule before the added travel and fatigue left me with some unknowns. Riding sections of the course before the race had me looking forward to giving it my all on race day. This years course was unique with a small handful of dirt road miles, it seems to me that the PH100 has the most single track of any 100 mile race Im aware of. Between 38 Special, Action Jackson, and the winding up and down of Ricks Basin, I had a feeling my body was going to be completely thrashed by the end.The race started with a reasonable pace, and I played it safe. Letting Brian, Sam, and Stefano get ahead then reeling them back in by the top of the climb. Leading into the 38 Special descent Sam and Brian pushed the pace to get onto the trail first, and I settled in behind Stefano. Feeling decent, I went ahead of him during the climb out of the canyon and tried to keep the leaders in sight. I was about 2 minutes back for the rest of lap 1, and was continuously trying to pull them back. I held onto faith that my strategy of fueling with EFS Pro and Gel and using a Camelbak to be able to drink while on the trail would pay off as it often does. However, the gap continued to grow and I found myself riding in 3rd for the majority of the day. I had a blast ripping the endless trail with my Pivot 429SL and seeing all the other folks out on the laps having the same experience. Even though it may not have been my best day out there, its hard to forget a day spent in that unique terrain.”

Open Women

Conners gets fourth NUE win on Kenda Tires!

Women’s Open: 1st-Larissa Connors, 2nd-Kaitlyn Boyle, 3rd-Jennifer Wolfrom, 4th-Lauren Cantwell, 5th-Ivy Pedersen

Taking the win in the women’s open division, racing on Kenda Saber Pro tires, Larissa Connors (Sho-Air CG), finishes in a time of  8:58:17. With this win Connors has a perfect score of four and now leads the overall NUE race series.

“Pierre’s Hole was a last minute addition to my race schedule. I Choose to head up to Alta because I’ve never been to WY and heard so many good things about it! The idea of a three lap race was exciting, as was the promise we would be racing under the Tetons all day on SO MUCH SINGLETRACK!

I tried to start easy, since the altitude meant pacing was going to be crucial. That didn’t last long though and by the top of the first climb I had been lured into riding super hard, and decided to just run with it. The 38 special descent was crazy fun on lap 1, and the flowers and scenery distracted me from any thoughts of how long the race was, or how much I was going to blow up if I kept going so hard.
By lap 2 I had to slow down a bit. I realized when my wrists started hurting on lap 1 that if I didn’t actively choose to recover on the dh then I was going to be in a world of pain by lap 3, since you COULD pedal every inch of the course if you wanted.
A volunteer told me that 2nd place was only 5 min back at the start of lap 3, which freaked me out since I was chillin’ on lap2, so I laid down the gas again on lap 3. Surprisingly it felt good to dig deep, so I pushed hard, had fun cheering on the racers doing the shorter distances, and ate all the BonkBreaker snacks I had on me over the course of the last 32 miles.
Crossing the line a minute under 9 hours was freaking rad, and winning my 4th NUE of the year was the icing on the scenic race cake!!”

Kaitlyn Boyle (Pivot Cycles/Industry Nine) finished second in a time of 10:06:59. Crossing the line third was Jennifer Wolfrom (Hoback Sports) at 10:49:59.

Singlespeed

Fischer gets the Singlespeed win

Singlespeed 1st-Henry Fischer, 2nd-Brent Cannon, 3rd-Adam Smith, 4th-Adam Miller, 5th-Warner Smith

Getting his first NUE win of the season, Henry Fischer of Wila’s Wheels, won singlespeed with a time of  9:23:15. Brent Cannon (Team Elevate), took second in 9:36:58. In a sprint for third place, Adam Smith finished just seconds before Adam Miller in a time of 10:32:05.

Adam Miller states, “I am a mtb coach for our local NICA racing teams, Teton Valley Composite, and Jackson Hole Composite, so a shout out to them!!! The younger kids were supporting at aid stations All day!  We had four of our athletes compete, and one of them podiumed in the 50K open!

I had only 2 rides over 4 hours prior to race, so the hundred miles was more of a challenge to say the least, and a good lesson of perseverance for our athletes’.

I chased another single-speed rider all day. He would DROP me on any hill handedly. I relied on my downhill skills any chance I could and would get him into view every once in a while. I got a glimpse of him in  the last 10 miles, so I gave-er everything I had. He did too! I finally caught up with him about 100 yds from the finish. Sprint finish, and I won by .3 seconds!

Looking back, I would have geared my single-speed at 32/21 instead of my usual 32/20. By the third lap, I was having a real hard time getting the cranks over, and the racer in front of me with 32/22 was still spinning along…NEXT YEAR!”

Masters

Smith leads NUE masters series

Masters: 1st-Cary Smith, 2nd-Matt Woodruff, 3rd-Mike Baughman, 4th-Dave Reynolds, 5ht-Alan Miner

With wins at True Grit, Tatanka and High Cascades, Cary Smith (The Hub) can now add Pierre’s Hole to the list and finished in 9:02:12. He now leads the NUE masters race series with a perfect score of four.

About ten minutes back was, Matt Woodruff (Kuhl) taking second in a time of 9:11:56.

Mike Baughman (Lost River Cycling) took third in a time of 9:57:52.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Full results click here

What’s Next? Click Here for info on the next NUE Marathon series race: NUE Marji Gesick race in Michigan. Click Here for info on the next NUE Epic series race: Shenandoah 100 in Virginia.

Follow the Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles team adventures as we travel and report on cycling around the globe.

Instagram: @pearlizumi_pivotmtb_team, @JenToops, @HanksJen, @graciedaze

 

Crotched Mountain 100 Mile

By Ryan O’Dell

In 1809, 81 year old General John Stark, a Revolutionary War Soldier from New Hampshire, declined an invitation to a Battle of Bennington reunion because he was ill. Since he could not make the event, he sent a letter with the quote Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” that was to be read for the toast. New Hampshire later used part of this toast for their State motto: Live Free or Die. The Hampshire 100, now the NUE Crotched Mountain 100, lives on with the same ideals and the same rugged, rocky course racers have come to expect from the Granite State.

Following last year’s retirement of beloved NUE Hampshire 100 founder and race director Randy Whitney, who led the race successfully for a full decade, this year’s race was renamed “Crotched Mountain 100” and moved from Greenfield Park to its new location at Crotched Mountain Resort, formerly an aid station along the same race course.

Under the leadership of new race director, Andy Gendron, this year’s race maintained the same course and divisions but moved from Sunday to Saturday offering free camping at the resort, outdoor showers, BBQ, games, plus two great brews from Baxter Brewing including Stowaway IPA, a new Imperial Hefeweizen, and live music on both Friday and Saturday.

A nonstop soaking rain greeted riders all day on Friday with much conversation centered on what the nearly 2.5 inches of rain in a single day would mean to course conditions.

 

Carla Williams takes another NUE race. Photo by: David Smith

WOMENS OPEN

Williams makes it five in a row this season!

Defending NUE Epic Series Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing, was the first and only women’s finisher of the 100 mile race at 10:53:03. Following impressive wins at the Cohutta, Mohican, High Cascades and Wilderness 101, Williams has a commanding lead in the Open Women’s division with five straight wins in the NUE Epic Race Series!

“I think CM100 is one of the toughest NUE races out there, especially if it rains the night before. It down poured all day on the Friday before the race, and the trails were pretty muddy and slippery. The course is really fun, lots of technical singletrack riding, lots of punchy climbs, and there is never seems to be a time to recover on the course. I was feeling great for the first two laps, staying upright on all the slippery rocks and roots, and really happy with how I was riding the singletrack sections.

I pulled into the aid station at the start/finish after the second lap and felt completely drained, like the race should be over. Somehow, I managed to get my legs pedaling through the third and final lap but it was definitely a tough one to finish. It was really fun seeing Anne Pike, who won the mountain bike race last year, dominate the ultra-run and win the 100k run this year! Much thanks to HumaGel which powered me through the last lap of the course, Ridge Supply Socks, Joe’s Bike Shop, ESI grips and Maxxis Tires for the all support.”

Last year’s race winner and four-time Hampshire 100 MTB finisher, Anne Pike, Team DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, set out on foot this year winning the 100k Mile Run that was held alongside the MTB races. Pike finished the 100k course on foot in 13:20:00.  Earlier this season, Pike achieved an impressive eighth place finish at the Mohican MTB100 followed by an even more impressive third place podium finish at the 28th Annual Mohican Trail Run 100 mile race, fifth oldest ultra-run in the USA, home of the first ever USATF National Championship for the one hundred mile distance in 2005.

“For the last three years, I have been focusing on endurance mountain biking and raced predominantly in the NUE 100 mile series (finishing third in the series in 2014 and 2016) but I also maintained a fair amount of trail running throughout this time. I had thought that for 2017, I would stick with endurance mountain biking as my focus although was keen to do one or two trail races, a couple in our area early in the year really appealed to me.

With that in mind (along with recently adopting our Border Collie who, of course, became my running buddy) I found myself running more through the winter and early spring. So I raced the 50k in March and won then decided to go for a big jump up and do a 100k race in May which went really well, fourth place in a really competitive field. The plan was to do that and then pretty much shut my running down for the mountain bike season but I was having fun and some good success running and riding so why not combine both and see what might happen? So, knowing that the Mohican 100 mountain bike race is held two weeks before the Mohican 100 mile run I decided, why not go for it and really put myself to the test?

The mountain bike race was not the best for me this year but I didn’t really expect it to be anything special, I had been focusing more on running mileage after all. The run, two weeks later, was a huge undertaking for me especially considering the 100k in May was the furthest I had ever run and, prior to that, the furthest was 35 miles.

Normally, people focus on a 100 miler months out to really prepare; well, I kind of did it on a whim! It wasn’t pretty but I survived and finished third. Again, after that race, I hadn’t any other trail races planned, wanted to see how I recovered, and also, so I could race Crotched Mountain and Shenandoah 100 MTB. Another last minute decision in the week of the race, I decided that I was feeling more excited about the thought of running the New Hampshire trails rather than riding and, since this would be my fifth year of racing there, why not switch it up?! So I did and raced the 100k trail race instead of the 100mile MTB, and won! Next up, I have Shenandoah on the schedule and a trail race in October.

That is how it evolved for me and I really hope I can continue to be successful in both disciplines. I think it will be a test to be able to maintain a balance. Obviously, both are a test of endurance but to get stronger as a runner you need to run a lot and to be a stronger rider you need to ride a lot! Balance will be key long-term… One thing, I believe, will be key for me is the maintenance of my strength, conditioning, and mobility work. As long as I keep enjoying the thrill of the trail riding and fulfillment of trail running, I will be happy :-)”

With just four races remaining in the NUE “best four of fourteen” Epic Race Series, Defending Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing, appears to be invincible!

 

Tinker Juarez was on hand again for the 2017 Crotched Mountain event. Photo by: David Smith

MENS OPEN

Johnson earns his fourth win, leads NUE Race Series!

In a mirror of 2016, Defending NUE Epic Series Champion, Dylan “The Kid” Johnson, Cameron MTB, earned a narrow win in New Hampshire to finish 8:12:10 but, in doing so, now leads the NUE Race Series with a perfect score of four wins. Johnson, now 22 years old, has completed seven NUE races this season, so far, earning wins at Cohutta, Lumberjack, Tatanka, and Crotched Mountain in addition to second place finishes at True Grit, Mohican, and Pierre’s Hole.

Twenty-three seconds behind the Defending NUE Champion, Hall of Fame Mountain Biker and Two-Time US Olympian, Tinker Juarez, Cannondale Factory Team, took second at 8:12:33 following a hard fought battle that saw a lead pack that stayed together for most of the race. Juarez placed third at last year’s Hampshire 100. Now at age 56, Juarez continues to display amazing strength and stamina as an ultra-racer, often competing with racers young enough to be his grandkids. His passion for the sport he started in as a kid in the world of BMX has been an inspiration to NUE Racers and his many fans worldwide.

Ian Spivak, Cameron MTB, a team mate of Johnsons, took third at 9:24:57 in a near tie with his team mate Mathew Merkel, Cameron MTB, also 9:24:57. Spivak is currently fourth place overall in the NUE Epic Series with fifth place finishes at both Cohutta and Mohican, plus sixth place finishes at both High Cascades and Wilderness 101,

Team Cameron Mountain Bike Racing had three of its six team members participate in the Open Men 100 mile race. I led out the first prologue lap up the mountain with Dylan Johnson closely behind. After about forty minutes of racing, the field was split into a lead group of Dylan Johnson, Ian Spivack, Brian Schworm, Tinker Juarez, Matthew Kesecker (Pivot racer from Canada), and Gordon Wadsworth.

Around mile 15, right before the muddy technical single track, a group of the 100k leaders joined our group. I could not keep up with the lead group through the first lap of the muddy and slick, so I settled back into my own pace. At about this time, I noticed that my left foot cleat was coming lose, so I was careful throughout the rest of the lap so I would not break the cleat off. I got to the end of the 1st lap and swapped out my left shoe and refilled. At this time, my team mate- Matt Merkel caught up and we rode the rest of the second lap together.

At the start of the third lap, Matt was fading a bit so I kept going at a steady pace. About half way through the third lap, my right cleat came loose and I could not unclip easily, so I decided to take it easy throughout the rest of the lap. I got my shoe changed at the final aid stations and, while waiting, Matt caught back up to me. We then rode together to the finish line by keeping a steady pace.

I am glad I kept pushing to finish in third, my best NUE result ever despite having problems with my shoes.”

Mathew Merkel, Cameron MTB, finished 9:24:57 in fourth place. With this finish, Merkel is now fifth overall in the NUE Men’s Open point race.

“Coming off a good race at Pierre’s Hole 100, I was pumped for an NUE race here in New England, but knew I needed to ride smart. Rain the night before made for wet and slippery conditions creating slick roots and large mud holes. My plan was to go out at a comfortable pace dropping back from the leaders early on.

I was able to catch my teammate, Ian Spivack, on the single track where he was having shoe issues. We were in fifth and sixth at the end of our first lap and decided to work together going into lap two allowing us to keep a steady pace. Ian was climbing strong so I dropped back at the beginning of our third and final lap, but ended up bridging the gap rolling into the last aid station.

From there, after a long day, we decided to ride in together crossing the line in third and fourth place. It was awesome being on the podium with my teammates Dylan and Ian, and legend, Tinker Juarez, for my fourth NUE 100 mile race.”

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic Race Series, Defending Champion, Dylan Johnson leads with four wins with Brian Schworm in second and former NUE Champion, Christian Tanguy holding second in the point race.

 

Gordon Wadsworth took yet another win in the 100 mile event. Photo by: David Smith

SINGLESPEED

Wadworth does it again!

NUE Epic Series Defending Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot, earned his third straight win in New Hampshire, to finish 8:17:48, crushing his nearest SS competitor by more than an hour and a half, good enough to place third overall! This is the second NUE Epic Series SS win for the defending champion who also scored a win at the Wilderness 101.

“I had a super race; decided to come and do the CM100 last minute and was glad I did! Lots of rain put a damper on the camping but the pre-race atmosphere was still great. The new venue was super and the new start/finish for the course was welcome as it changed the rhythm of the race nicely.

I had a great start and was pushing the pedals on the Pivot Cycles LES smooth as could be. When we launched into the single rack, we were greeted with the expected muck and east coast snot that rain can bring. New Hampshire trail is quintessentially East Coast with its rocks, roots and tight twisting singletrack. Everything was slick! I was sitting really comfortably in the top five or so as I usually do when we were nearing the final stretches of singletrack in the first half of the course. We had all been cautious because all of the roots and bridges were extremely dangerous. Sure enough, on one of the last bridge crossings I slid out like Michelle Kwan rolling a triple sow-cow.

I sat up on the side of the bridge and took stock. Immediately I knew I had broken and dislocated my pinky finger on my right hand. Perhaps my only muncher when it comes to racing hundred mile events is “don’t stop, and don’t lose the wheel.” So I gave one good tug on my right pinky to reset the break, daintily walked across the rest of the bridge, and hopped back on to Chase the front pack.

We had, by then, joined the one hundred K leaders, three of them; So I knew that that would be affecting our hundred mile race more than a little bit. My biggest concern, at this point, was completing the event. I’ve committed pretty late to the NUE this season so I need finishes and wins whenever possible. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the bike as good as I normally do, but I expected I could be at least proficient and I raced past pretty quietly the rest of the day. As the one hundred mile participants dropped off and dwindled and the 100k finishers completed their journey, it was down to just me, Dylan Johnson, and Tinker Juarez.

We pitted briefly at the end of lap two, and immediately the duo dropped me heading up the ski climb. I tried to hang tight to their wheels but my broken finger was really killing and preventing me from climbing out of the saddle as well as I normally can. The two slight figures got even slighter and soon I was solo. I spent the rest of my lap suffering solo. I was thinking I might see my Canadian Pivot OTE teammate, Matheu, come up behind me but, nevertheless, stayed alone.

As the trails dried out, my handling on the twisty singletrack improved. My gap to Tinker and Dylan went from two minutes, out to four, and then back down to two as the singletrack concluded. I knew I would not have been able to catch the two of them on the open gravel roads of the second half of the course, so I just rode myself home, content with a third overall and an SS win.”

Peter Bradshaw, Mad Alchemy|Zancon, was second at 9:57:22.

Joseph Stroz, Stroz Physical Therapy, was third at 10:25:49. “I rode a 32:19 gearing for my ss this year, a bit taller than last year.

I was hoping for a drier course with this gear and took a chance before leaving for NH Thursday from PA.  After the hours after hours of rain Friday evening I knew that I was in for a long day. My gearing for this race was a bit tall for the conditions and with a calf injury from earlier in the week; I had to pace myself carefully from the start.

I pulled off from the front group after the second climb from the start. Peter (2nd SS) continued on to challenge Gordan Wadsworth and top open fellows in the front group. I figured Peter would burn out his legs during the first lap trying to keep up with their pace so I decided to pull back and pace myself with Carla Williams, always a sure strong finisher. I stayed with her for the first two laps hoping to catch up with Peter, but I was never able to catch up with his pace. At the end of the second lap, I passed Carla going into the self-support aid station and from there I was on my own.

Towards the last twelve miles of the last lap, I was able to hook up with third place masters racer, David Boyce. We road together drafting and pushing each other, as we both were riding to survive the final lap. I was trying to fight leg cramps and the heat. In the end, both David and I were able to capture third in our classes. I have done this race for four years in a row now, as I love the challenging trails up there. I like more technical riding and NH gives you more than your share. As much as I complain about how brutal this course is every year, I keep coming back; and next year will probably be no different.”

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic SS Series, defending NUE Marathon SS Champion, James Litzinger, is now leading the NUE Epic Series with 13 points. Matt Crawford is holding second with 17 points, and Peyton Randolph has 25 points and Joseph Stroz in fourth with 35 points. Three wild cards threaten to shake up the standings with Defending Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, John Haddock, and Ben Shaklee each with two wins this season.

 

MASTERS 50+

Blanchet Wins!

With a comfortable lead, 2015 Hampshire 100 Masters winner, 54 year old, Terry Blanchet, Nav-North American, took the top spot once again in the Masters to finish 10:04:00. Blanchet placed fifth at last year’s race that was won by the Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, who would go on to secure his first NUE Epic Masters Series title.

With this win, Blanchet completes his fourth NUE race that includes seventh place finishes at both Mohican and Lumberjack plus a more recent third place finish at the Wilderness 101 moving him up to fourth place overall in the NUE Epic Masters series with 18 points.

“Looking over the pre-registration list of eleven Masters my neighbor, David Boyce just 30 miles east over the MA border, was my most obvious concern, as last year on this same terrain, he beat me out by one position in the finale Hampshire100. Sure enough, early in the first lap, we went back and forth a few times though, after some side-by-side chitchat on the mid-lap Fletcher Farm climb, commiserating about one particularly grumpy runner refusing to cede the line on the preceding narrow section despite our three courteous requests, David decidedly took off over the top and disappeared through the next singletrack-heavy five miles.

I eventually caught sight of him again on the road-heavy section of the first lap beyond the Oak Park Aid Station next to the old Hampshire100 venue at Mile 21, but as he was already moving at a good pace with a Bikeman racer from another field to share the work with, I didn’t burn any matches at that early point trying to bridge up and, as the road gave way back to trail on the descent beyond Muzzey Hill, he again disappeared into the woods.

My next sighting of David wasn’t until this same stretch a whole lap later, with him just heading off from the Oak Park Aid Station as I was rolling in. This time on the road-heavy section to follow, as I was pulling towards him, he was sitting upright hands-off-bars stretching his back, and I passed by with little obvious response from him, only hearing of him again as I was climbing the ski slopes out onto the third lap while his name was being called over the PA during his descent at the close of his second lap.

Of the pre-registered Masters, there were a handful about which I really had no prior experience and, sure enough, wouldn’t it turn out that the racer in the Mathieu Performance jersey with whom I’d gone back and forth with over the first lap was Eric Truchon, one of the other Masters racers. In fact, we’d swapped positions so many times that, once I’d noticed that we’d finally stopped seeing one another midway through the second lap, I’d lost track of who was in front.

Having a suspicion that he might well indeed be another Masters competitor, it was with great relief upon my third-lap arrival at the Oak Park Aid Station to be greeted by a cheerful “Number 50, we’ve been waiting for you, you are the Masters leader!” Spirits buoyed and a couple Coke cups down the hatch, I was energized for one last trip across that road-heavy section, climbing up through the woods jeep trails to follow, and relishing the last roll down the ski hill singletrack to the finish.

It was great to share the podium with Eric and David, though all the while recognizing our opportunity to still hold out hopes for that masters Top Box during our race was but a consequence of our timeless contemporary, Tinker Juarez, remaining in the elite Open field, still so competitive as to come within seconds of challenging for the Open win. It was a great day of racing; many thanks to Andy Gendron and his staff for keeping the endurance MTB tradition going in southern New England, and for such a successful inaugural version of their Crotched Mountain 100!”

Seventeen minutes later, 50-year-old Eric Truchon, Club Mathieu Performance, took second at 10:21:15.

Four minutes later, 56-year-old, David Boyce, State 9 Racing, claimed third at 10:25:07. Boyce placed fourth at last year’s Hampshire 100.

“My race started out well keeping pace with the master’s group and then I settled into my own pace. I felt good and started to pull away from my group; but this was not the right thing to do because the damp trail took its toll early in the second lap.

On one of the dirt roads about midway through the second lap, Terry Blanchet flew by me and pulled away. That was the last time I saw him. Towards the end of lap two, I was feeling pretty gassed, did not stay hydrated or fuel right, and did not want to go back out for lap three. As I came down to the pit area, my State 9 racing team was cheering me on and my wife gave me my bottles and asked if I was ok. I said I no, but I feel better now.

On the third lap, I started up the ski slope. It was hot, humid, and the trail was like a sponge. When I got into the trees I got off, had some gel, drank a bottle, and started again. There was nobody; it was quiet, and I was feeling somewhat better. I got to the luau aid stop, ate some bananas, drank some coke, and continued on. I met up with Joe Stroz on his SS and we rode together in “survival mode”.

Towards the end of the race on a technical climb, Eric Truchon passed us and there was not a dam thing I could do about it but wave. I came down the hill to the finish line to nice applause in third place; It was AWESOME!  I will be doing the Shennandoah 100 in a few weeks and it will be new to me, I can’t wait.”

54 year old Alain Simard placed fourth in 11:17:52 gaining two points in the NUE Masters battle with 52 year old Alan Minor, Banks Bikes Falmouth, who placed sixth on the day.

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic Masters Series, the battle continues as Defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, with three wins and two second place finishes, sits second to Greg Golet, who has a perfect score with four points, potentially setting up a rematch of the 2016 showdown at the final Championship race that was won by Clayton. The battle for third continues with Russell Spaulding at 16 points, Terry Blanchet at 18 points, Alan Minor at 21 points, and Alain Simard at 25 points.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

What’s NEXT?!

One September 2, The NUE Race Series heads due south to the only NUE race held outside of the USA; NUE #11, the Volcano 100 on September 2 held in Liberia, Costa Rica. The very next day, NUE heads to Virginia for the granddaddy of them all; NUE#12, the Shenandoah 100 on September 3.  www.nuemtb.com

Breckenridge 100 & 68

100-Milers and Marathon Riders Conquer Brutal Conditions in Breck

By Ryan O’Dell

For racers not acclimated or accustomed to high altitude, hovering mostly above ten thousand feet, the Breckenridge 100, 68 and 32 mile races present a scenic challenge with three unique cloverleaf style loops nestled between three ski resorts that will bring you back to your friends and support staff after each loop to historic downtown Breckenridge. This phenomenal backcountry course comprises pristine high alpine singletrack, 11,000’passes, and multiple crossings of the Continental Divide. Many racers consider the B100/B68, one of the greatest challenges along the NUE Race Series circuit.

Breck 100 and B68 Racers earned NUE Race Series points, attracting racers from all over the USA. Racers also received points in the statewide Colorado RME, Rocky Mountain Series bringing together riders from all over Colorado.

To receive a ranking and series rewards in the NUE Epic 100 and NUE Marathon Race Series, racers four best completed races count. Division winners receive the official unique NUE Champions Jersey courtesy of Voler, a share of a combined US$16,000 series cash purse, complimentary entry into all NUE National Series races in 2018, plus an all-expense paid trip in November to represent the NUE Race Series at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica, from the Pacific to the Caribbean considered one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world.

 

100-mile open women’s winner Larissa Conners. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Women’s Open 100 Mile

Conners leaves no doubt!

Larissa Conners, Team Twenty20, crushed it at 10:10:19, the sixth fastest time on the day overall!

Chase Edwards, Flagstaff Bike Revolution, who finished fourth overall, last year in the NUE Race Series, was second at 11:37:50.

“This year’s Breckenridge 100 turned out to be the hardest 100-mile bike race I’ve ever done! I had two bummer moves early on that made it difficult for me to get my head back in the game. On the way up the first climb, my glasses fogged really badly.

I saw Marlee Dixon take a right-hand turn and switch back above me. I was only a couple seconds back but I knew I should be riding her wheel closer because this is her backyard. I cranked up the watts to close the gap and focused really hard on the wet rocks in front of me through my fogged glasses. I wondered why the road wasn’t turning to the right the way it seemed like it should when I was watching Marlee, but I could barely see and just kept throwing down watts.

I saw dots in the distance and told myself she must have made her move. It turns out those dots were hikers, and I eventually stopped and took off my fogged glasses. It was pretty obvious with my glasses off that I was not on course. I played around with my Garmin for a minute and then rode back down until I saw other racers turning onto the singletrack I had missed.

I was pretty frustrated after this and, part way down Wheeler (the singletrack I had missed), I clipped a pedal on a rock, flew over the handle bars, and over the edge of the exposed trail into a bramble of willows. It was like landing on a mattress! If the willows hadn’t been there, I would have gone for quite the tumble down the exposed side of the trail.

I crashed two more times on Wheeler after that and finally had to tell myself the singletrack was not my place to be making up time. Larissa Connors told me later that she rode with her eyes squinted and mud flying in her face the entire race without her glasses on because they were so fogged. Maybe I’ll try that next time!

As I came into Carter Park at the end of the first lap, two women were standing in the trail wondering which direction to go. They must have been part of the marathon or the 35-mile. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I rode down to the staging area and started refueling. Then I saw other racers – including Parker Tyler (3rd place woman) – ride under the banner. I was so confused! I started asking around and someone explained to me the way the finish of the laps were supposed to work.

It turned out the two confused women on the trail were blocking the way I was supposed to go so I rode back up, looped around on the singletrack the correct way, and back into the exchange area. I contemplated dropping at this point. My time was over a half-hour slower than I wanted it to be, I was freezing, and I had done a really bad job eating after taking my first wrong turn because I was so focused on making up time. But Parker was still in the exchange area, and I decided it was silly to drop this early on.

Part way through the second lap, I saw Marlee working on a flat alongside the trail. This made me really sad. She’s an awesome gal and riding with her during several big races last year was a highlight of my season. After that, I just went into survival mode and ate a lot of Honey Stinger waffles! Parker and I went back and forth the rest of the day.

I’m a strong climber and was okay with the race coming down to the climb out of Como for Parker and me; and that’s exactly what happened. I knew Larissa was way farther ahead of me than I wanted, and I pushed myself hard on the last climb to ensure my time to the top of the pass was at least faster than hers (this is some fun competition leftover from Telluride 100 last week). I just barely held Parker off on the singletrack descent into the finish. Overall, Breck 100 is one of the coolest – and most brutal – courses I have ever raced. I look forward to coming back next year!”

Five minutes later, Parker Tyler, Park City Bike Demos, finished third at 11:42:41. “We woke up to cold rain on race morning and I got excited that it was going to be a wet and muddy day. The trails held strong through the tough conditions and had some of the most amazing single track I have ever ridden. Knowing that there were epic descents after every climb was motivation to grind through some of the steepest climbs I have ever done in a 100 mile race. I started the race not feeling awesome as we climbed up Breck but I started to warm up quickly as we climbed up and over Wheeler Pass.

The first lap was definitely the hardest both physically and mentally through the cold rain, but, as soon as I went out on my second lap I started to feel strong and kept feeling stronger as the day went on. This was the first 100 mile race I finished with a smile on my face.  A combination of epic trails, an amazing race venue, and awesome volunteers made this one of the most fun days I have had on a bike.”

Open men’s 100-mile winner Sam Sweetser. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Men’s Open 100 Mile and 100k

Sweetser gets his first NUE Breck win!

Sam Sweetser, Cole Sport, who finished at the NUE Series Opener at True Grit, earned his first NUE win this season to finish 9:04:43.

Three minutes later, David Krimstock, Giant Co Factory, took second at 9:07:36. In March, Krimstock placed fourth at the NUE Series opener in Utah.

“The weather outlook for the 2017 Breck 100 was marginal at best.  It looked very likely we’d be getting rain at some point during the race but when the morning came, it appeared as though the worst case scenario was taking shape. As I rode down to the start in the rain, I was skeptical if the race could even take place.

I felt good on the first climb up the ski area to Wheeler Pass but the wet, slippery conditions on the single track made me cautious, and I was passed by Tostado and Ross. I regained composure at the start of loop 2 and chased back into third by the top of the Little French climb. Then, while riding the flume trail, I got a flat which was probably caused by an old nail used in the mining operations 100 years ago. I really wanted to quit at that point, as I started to shiver while fixing the flat, and got passed down into sixth place. Still undecided, I rode down to my crew at the aid station. They had gotten word that I had flatted, and had my aluminum training wheel ready to swap out.

After switching wheels, I pressed on, not sure if I could regain the ground I lost. After the Colorado Trail section, I found myself back in fourth and began to feel good again. At the start of loop 3, I was back in third position and knew that the home stretch was in sight.

Once the Illinois Gulch climb was over, I saw Munoz on Boreas Pass, and went past him into second. I knew Sweetser is a great descender/trail rider, so it would be hard for me to catch him, but pressed on. After the gold dust trail, I got word that I was three minutes back, and tried to pick it up, but the day began to catch up to me and my legs weren’t having it. I could see him as we crested Boreas Pass for the last time. Descending the Bakers Tank trail, I just wanted to get down to Carter Park safely.

This race was a huge learning experience for me, showing the extremes in which it is possible to ride and race. My remaining NUE races are the Pierres Hole 100 and the Big Bear Grizzly.”

The racer who has earned more Breck wins than any other, Josh Tostado, Santa Cruz, Shimano, Maxxis, came in at 9:30:17 to take the final spot on the podium. Having completed three of the required four NUE Races to qualify, Tostado currently stands 10th overall in the NUE Epic Point Series that includes a third place finish at True Grit and, more recently, a fourth place finish at the High Cascades 100 in Bend, OR.

Seven minutes later David Ross, Go4Graham, was fourth at 9:37:17. An early leader in the race, Daniel Munoz, BAGHOUSE, held on for fifth place, one of just five racers to finish sub 10 on the day at 9:41:19.

Open men’s marathon champ Kyle Trudeau. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Marathon Men’s Open, Breck 68:

Kyle Trudeau, CZ Racing, had a commanding win and the only sub six hour finish at 5:43:57.

“The Breck 68 was truly an epic day on the bike. Typically, a race that lasts about four hours is on the long side for me so I knew going into the race with an estimated finishing time of about five and a half hours would be a new challenge and gaining experience for Breck Epic was an added plus. I’m a desert kid so when I was sitting on the starting line, in the rain, I would be lying if I said I was filled with joy.

We set off on the roll out and, as the road pointed upward, there was a quick selection of about four of us (Alders, Dolzani, Rasmussen and me) about ten minutes into the race. The pace was set by Dolzani and soon it was just him and I on the first climb as it turned flowing stream/dirt road. Dolzani made a small mistake towards the top of the first climb that allowed me to get by him and then settle into my own pace.

When the rain finally decided to stop the single track turned to Velcro and I tried to ride smooth and steady till the finish where I was completely boxed. My Scott Spark RC was bullet proof on the day, paired with some Maxxis Pace tires, and I couldn’t have grabbed the win without the support of Construction Zone Racing, GoTenac Coaching, BikeFlights.com, and Rouleur Carbon.

Twenty nine minutes later, Bryan Alders, TrainingPeaks/Yeti/Pactimo, took second at 6:12:03. Fifteen minutes later, Weston Rasmussen, Honey Stinger / Bontrager, claimed third at  6:27:27.

 

Men’s 100-mile SS runner-up Mark Nesline overcame a broken crank. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

 Singlespeed 100 mile

Fish Wins

Timon Fish, Sticky Racing, crushed the Single Speed field at 10:14:24.

Mark Nesline, Vail Jr Cycling, was next placing second in 12:06:46 using 32-21 gearing.  “This is my long race/climbing gear. I can pedal strong all the way from mile 1-100. “

Nesline would go on to experience both, the adversity and the joy that comes through persevering.

“The day started out with pouring rain when I woke up at 3 AM. Knowing the importance of positive thinking, I looked at the rain in a good light. Being local, I know it’s not often in Colorado that you get to experience a rainy day. I was excited. The race started at 6am as I just rolled up to the line right as we started.

I was feeling relaxed as we got into the climb up wheeler and tried to push to stay with the leaders but my legs were not having it. Knowing it’s a long race, I settled into my own pace up the climb. The rest of the first lap went by quickly. When I came into transition, I was told I was in second place. This was a surprise but I re-stocked my skratch and stinger and took off on my second lap.

This lap is brutal. Lots of up and down, and the Colorado trail is relentless with its roots. In the past I have struggled on this lap but, as I started lap two, my legs had come around and I was feeling strong.

All was going well, or so I thought, until mile 52. I had just come through the last aid station, ready to crank out the last nine miles. I hit the Singletrack climb and felt something weird in my pedal. I thought it was just a broken pedal so I kept riding, trying to ignore it. Then Snap! I looked down and see my crank arm had snapped off where the pedal connects.

This is unfixable, but I had one option, keep going. I just kept riding, I don’t like or think quitting is an option. Keep riding somehow, someway, was the only thought in my head. After a few miles, I made it a challenge to myself to see how fast I could maintain uphill one foot Stridering/pedaling so, in slightly over an hour, I covered nine miles in various sketchy methods, finishing lap 2.

As soon as I got into Carter Park, I went on a search to get a replacement crank to keep racing. I ended up running two blocks to Breck Bike Guides, got a new crank arm, and then headed out on third and final lap. It was thirty minutes from when I finished the second lap until I went back out on the third.

This course is just so fun it’s really hard, in my mind, to even consider quitting for any reason. When I finished my second lap, I love the backside of Boreas pass. It so fun and that’s what made me want to go back out.

As a coach of local high schoolers with Vail JR Cycling, I want my athletes to always finish their races – no matter what. I have to hold myself to that same standard. Through suffering and difficulty, we gain knowledge and the most useful things are learned about ourselves and life…. that shows we are capable of anything if we try hard enough. There’s nothing that we can’t accomplish.

The third lap proved to be incredible! The trails were tacky and the downhills were the best I have ever ridden it. Incredible fun! Not knowing if I was still in second or not, I hammered as hard as possible and kept telling myself “you’re never out of the fight.” Anything could happen.  I had my fastest time ever to complete lap 3 and my bike worked great all the way to the finish.

Men’s marathon SS winner Dan Durland. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

To finish this race this year was not an easy accomplishment but, it was such a rewarding feeling to finish a race in this way and then the podium on top of that is just cool. I don’t race with a goal of podiums. I race with goal to race 100%, and give it everything I have. That way, no matter what happens, I can be satisfied with the result knowing there was nothing else I could do. I definitely did that today.

If you are looking for a fun and difficult challenge, the Breck100 is it. I have finished this race five times, with two second place finishes, but it’s never gotten easier. Always fun.

After the race, I stayed after and helped the venue clean up and load up the truck. This was a blast! It takes a village to put on these races and it’s important to help out when you can.

As for future NUE races, this year, my focus and attention is towards Colorado High School League race season but, I will definitely be back for the Bailey HUNDO and Breck100 next year. Possibly even the lumberjack100.”

Nice guys finish last? Just under an hour later, Bernie Romero, Mr. Nice Guy, would finish last at 13:03:56. However, Romero’s finish was good enough to take the final spot on the podium due to a higher number of racers unable to finish in the more difficult conditions.

 

Master’s 50+ champ Greg Golet. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Masters 50+ 100 mile

Golet survives and earns a W in the mountains of Breckenridge

Greg Golet,Team Chico, earned a narrow win to finish 10:45:49, his third straight win in the NUE Race Series, following wins at both True Grit Epic in Utah and in the High Cascades 100 of Oregon.

“When I read Ryan’s pre-race email, I dismissed his suggestion that this race would be just about surviving, but really that’s what it came down to–in a war of attrition.

I was extremely thankful for the 5:30AM repair of my front brake by Eli (Carver bikes), but in my rush to get ready for the start I didn’t center the caliper, even though I knew I should have.

Before we headed off on the 3 loop course the announcer said “be ready for rain all day, and if you hear thunder <5 sec after seeing lightning, do the right thing”. Such comforting words as we prepared to ride up to over 12k elevation.

The first long climb was great despite the rain. Surprisingly, the altitude didn’t seem to bother me. At the top I stopped and put on a raincoat, which I noticed not all the other riders had. Even so, I got pretty drenched on the rest of the loop, though I know it held some heat in. At the end of it, I pulled my wool leg warmers on over my grit covered legs in hopes they’d help me warm up on loop 2.

Heading out I was psyched up to be climbing for the warmth it brought, but even so felt my core temp dropping. As I fought my way up one particularly steep rocky section, a blue-lipped guy heading back the way we came said, “good luck man, I’m bailing”.

Not long after, my rear tire lost some air, but I kept riding and eventually made it to the next aid station. I was glad not to have to use my CO2, and actually really enjoyed how well my bike cornered and rolled over all the roots and rocks with low psi. Thankfully, the rain mostly stopped near the end of this second loop. Coming into Carter Park, I thought about stopping to see if I could replace my front brake pads, which had by this time worn away from the rubbing and grit, but decided it’d be best to just keep going.

On loop 3, I rode pretty cautiously on the descents with no front brake and not wanting to flat. I also stopped at all the aid stations, and ate more and drank less than I ever have in a race this long.

Despite the horrendous weather in the first 2/3rds of this race, it was one of my all-time favorites. Phenomenal terrain and scenery in the high Rockies and, as usual for a NUE event, top-notch racer support!

My finish time was a lot further back from the first overall finisher than usual. Maybe it was the additive effect of a whole bunch of little things or maybe it was due to a loss in fitness. I guess I’ll find out soon. Pierre’s Hole is just a few days away. Another big long race–this time in the Tetons!! Who could ask for more?”

Just five minutes behind Golet, Willem Jewett, Team Vermont, finished second at 10:50:06.

”For the past couple years, I’ve been combining Leadville 100 with a “family vacation”; bringing first one daughter and then both to Colorado for a week of riding before the race. Last year, we got a taste of Breckenridge trails with my college friend, Ellen Hollinshed. So we put together a “Team Vermont” to take on a new challenge.

Our week of riding leading up to Breck 100 was unparalleled.  We were able to pre-ride most of the course and had a ball doing it. Around mid-week, The Weather Underground started giving warnings that this good run of weather might end but the radar at 4 AM on Saturday didn’t look too bad.

We had a brisk ride up the Mountain to the Wheeler trail. Turning onto the trail, I realized that race pace at 12,000 feet had created just a touch of dizziness; not the best thing on a narrow traverse. Dizzy and cold, I was a bit shocked by the speed with which a couple of riders passed me going down to Copper. I managed to descend with just a single (uneventful) fall and catch back up to those downhill streaks on the bike path.

I got pretty grooved on the peaks trail. OK, I might have pushed things a bit too far and done some trail grooming with my face and knee but, you know, you have to find the limits, right?

Out on the second loop, I did get a little worried as I heard tires rolling up on me at the bottom of the French Creek climb; whew, just some of the leaders in the shorter races. I may have made that French Creek climb a couple days earlier but it was just not happening. Still cold and a bit empty, I was eating through whatever I could dig out of my pockets as fast as possible.

American Gulch was great fun AND the dirtiest downhill I’ve ridden in years. Things dried out a bit on the way up the Colorado Trail. I didn’t have much going up but you can’t let a climb like that go to waste, so I had a good rip at the downhill to the dredge boat.

I wasn’t really loving the Gold Run stuff but was starting to feel like I might be able to get over Boreas a couple times and finish. I was even willing to believe the announcer at Carter when he said I was sitting in second.

Loop 3 was all about avoiding a collapse. After that long (and somewhat boring) Boreas Pass climb, I did have a bunch of fun on the Baker’s Tank and Aspen Ally Downhills ’cause you gotta race to the tape!

Look, Leadville is a great big fire road race but Breck 100 is a MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE of epic proportions. And, by the way, those youngsters I brought from the 802 – Ellie Curtis (18) was first in the 32 mile race and Abi Jewett (17) was second despite a flat tire out on American Gulch. Funny thing, I bought her a Co2 the night before and gave her a quick tutorial.  After the race I think she said something like “I’m never using a pump again”.

Thomas Barth took the third spot on the podium at 11:47:36. “I’m fifty years old, and started to renew my focus on racing XC a few years ago, but had not done long races or used to a structured training program for about twenty years. This year, I joined a training program through the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance (BMA). I raced the Full Growler in May, got fifth in my age group, and continued training though the spring and summer, averaging about twelve hours per week using a coached program. I used a Pivot Mach 4, perfect bike for this race.

On race day the weather was a concern, and I’ve never ridden a lot of the trails. The recent forest fire disrupted plans to pre-ride, but my strength has always been on tech and descending, so I concentrated on having fun and pushing myself. I kept my heart rate just below my threshold (or as hard as I was able to throughout the day) on the climbs and cautiously ripped the descents.

A nice guy on a climb offered a good piece of advice that I’ll share. “If you have to get off and walk, don’t get back on until you are sure you can ride.” I tried not to get too stressed watching a bunch of people go by when I picked up a shard of glass and flatted on loop 2. The mud made it tough to get the tubeless valve stem out.  I felt great through loop 3 and had a great time. The wonderful trails helped a lot.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

NEXT NUE: The NUE Race Series heads to Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming for the Pierre’s Hole 100 on August 6. Pierre’s Hole will host both the NUE Epic Series and the NUE Marathon Series offering both 100 mile and 100k options. Stay tuned right here for the latest news and reports.

Cohutta 100

Ducktown, TN

Ryan O’Dell and Shana Biese

NUE Race Series #2 rolled out of the Ocoee Whitewater center on April 29 and into the Cherokee National Forest, located near Ducktown, TN. Races included the Big Frog 65 on the NUE Marathon circuit and the Cohutta 100, on the NUE Epic 100 mile Series. In addition, the Copper 20 mile offered new ultra-racers an abbreviated version of the big race.

The buzz at this year’s race centered around last minute course changes, the result of Forestry forbidding race organizers from using traditional gravel road routes that had been used for many years. Adding insult to injury, organizers were only given one day notice to make all of the necessary changes. The result was a shortening of the 100 mile race course to just over 80 miles. However, with race day temperatures that topped out at just over eighty degrees, many racers expressed relief that the course wasn’t the full advertised one hundred miles. Although the 100 mile course was shorter, Race Director Justin Mace, reported that it included added elevation this year.

Women’s Open

Williams repeats at Cohutta!!

NUE Race Series Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bikes, returning to the Cherokee National Forest following her crushing win last year, nearly an hour ahead of her nearest competitor, appears to have had a rough go with the last stretches of this year’s race. She finished with a time of 6:50:52. Here are some excerpts from her blog:

“Sometimes races are not won on strong pedaling performances, but on pure grit, perseverance, and determination not to give up. That was certainly the case for me this past weekend at Cohutta. Maybe it was a crazy residency work schedule recently and constantly switching from working nights and days. Maybe it was not unloading enough from a tough training block prescribed by Coach Beck. Maybe it was simply the fact that I had an off day. Whatever the reason, Saturday’s race involved a lot of suffering, and I got lucky that I was able to pull off a win. If someone had challenged me especially late in the race, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to counter their attack. I’m not going to lie. I was feeling really tired on Friday night. But, Saturday morning rolled around and we biked over to the start line under the Kenda arch.

The start was fast, up the first road hill and into the first twenty miles of single track. It was also hot. Sweat was pouring off my face within the first twenty minutes of riding. I felt pretty good through the first single track and got a lead on the rest of the women’s field. Then, when we got to the 14 mile out and back jeep road, I was with a group of guys and decided to just sit in with them. I wanted to push, but my legs were already feeling too tired for only being 20-30 miles into the race.

The last twenty miles were a straight out suffer fest. The fatigue I was feeling at mile 20 felt it was doubling with every mile. I haven’t felt that bad in a bike race in a really long time. I wasn’t racing anymore. I was simply pedaling to finish, head down, slow spinning up the hills, just flat out focusing not to give up. There were parts of the last single-track section that were really fun, but then a steep kicker of a hill would pop around a corner and that brought all the misery back.

The result was a great one, but the racing was not, and I know I have way more to put out there on the course. I have another month of training, some technical racing at Pisgah, better tapering and then Mohican, where I am already looking forward to personal redemption!

Thanks so much to ESI grips, Maxxis Ties, Huma Gels, Ridge Supply Socks,  Back Alley Bikes for getting my hardtail ready, Chris Beck for all the coaching, and Joe’s Bike Shop for all the support.”

Jenna Blandford came in second place with a time of 7:20:14.

Mari Chandler, Team Adventure Medical Kits, finished out the top three women’s spots with a time of 7:31:36.

Men’s Open

Johnson Repeats!

Defending NUE Epic Open Champion, Dylan Johnson, Cameron MTB Racing, is off to a great start and leading the Men’s Open with a big repeat win at Cohutta! After finishing in second place at True Grit Epic, Johnson defended last year’s win with a time of 5:37:57.

“I suspected that the pace would be higher this year since the distance was shorter and this was indeed the case. I got into the first single track section in second and then, shortly after, I took the lead and tried to hold a high pace. Towards the end of the first single track, Schworm surged up one of the longer climbs leaving just me and Tanguy holding onto his wheel. The three of us continued onto the gravel, trading pulls until about twenty miles to go. I upped the pace a bit and managed to drop Tanguy. As we approached the final single track, I tried an attack on Schworm but couldn’t shake him. We entered the final single track together and I quickly took the lead and gave it everything I had. With only a couple of miles left, I had to fend off cramps but, luckily, I had a small gap at this point. I was probably lucky the race wasn’t a full 100 to be honest. I’m thrilled to be able to defend my Cohutta win from last year and am very pleased with my form right now. My next NUE races will likely be Mohican and Lumberjack.”

Brian Schworm, Think Green – Bicycle Face, who finished second overall in the NUE Epic Series and at Cohutta last year, is in great form and currently picking up where he left off last season, earning second at Cohutta finishing 5:41:26.

Cohutta is always one of my favorite races.  I love the fast, flowing trails and the long, steady climbs. I even came down during my spring break to check out the new section of trail and get a few days of good training under my belt. Well, as most know, the new section was not incorporated due to Forest Service regulations and the previous course from 2015-16 was also not permitted.  We ended up racing the Big Frog course with an extra gravel road out and back to give an 80-85 mile race.

The race started with the usual big paved climb to the initial single track. I wanted a good position in the trail so I jumped to the front. Once I crested the top, there was a mad dash for the trail where I settled in fourth position.  The pace was fast but manageable as we all rode together until Dylan Johnson opened a small gap. There was a small climb on the single track where I was able to move to second position and, with the following Sheep’s Hill Descent, bridge back to Dylan. The pace then slowed and we had pack of twelve or more headed down the Ocoee Old Copper Road trail.

Once we crossed the Ocoee and started up the Tanasi Bear Paw trail, the group started to break up. In fact, when we hit the Chestnut Trail, I pushed the pace again for the next upcoming single track and it was down to me, Dylan, and Christian Tanguy. We then rode together for the majority of the race, each taking turns pulling on the long gravel sections that followed.

Even though the race was shortened, it was still exhausting due to the relentless climbs and the unusually high temperatures. I was definitely feeling the effort and apparently it wasn’t just me.  On the Big Frog climb at approximately the 60 mile mark, Christian dropped back a bit. Dylan and I continued to work together until the final gravel climb before the last single track. It was there that Dylan attacked and gained a small advantage. I held my own pace and was able to bridge back up near the top. However, as soon as Dylan and I hit the single track section, he attacked again. I attempted to chase but this definitely put me over my limit and he was then able to ride away.

After I regained my composure, I tried to keep my pace high, maybe even close the gap, but I never saw Dylan again until the finish. I was able to secure a second place finish behind Dylan.  Overall it was a great race, it was awesome to see old friends at my first NUE Series race this season, and the new race director did a great job amid difficult circumstances. I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their continued support.  I especially need to thank my amazing and supportive wife, Jennifer Schworm, for all that she does to support me in these efforts.

Up next is the USA Cycling Marathon Nationals in Arkansas on May 7 followed by the Mohican 100 on June 4.  See you all there!”

2013 NUE Race Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, RBS Cycling team, was in great form early in the season with a finish time of 5:46:07.

Singlespeed

Haddock makes a BIG statement with a BIG Win!

John Haddock, J. A. King MTB Team/Carbo Rocket, took third overall in the 2016 NUE Race Series Single Speed division last season. Following an eleventh place finish at Cohutta last year, Haddock proved he is a force to be reckoned with this season, winning Cohutta with a rock solid twenty-five minute lead in 6:04:52.

“Cohutta was, once again, a great race and awesome opportunity to connect with friends both old and new. As usual, things escalated quickly at the start and the initial climb was over before I knew it. I had a hunch that Jim Litzinger and I would be neck and neck early and sure enough, we were together entering the singletrack and in good position overall. Jim was absolutely crushing the trails and built small gap by Aid 1. Eventually, I bridged back up to him on the out-and-back and we held a solid pace in the company of geared friends. Our group kept pushing the pace on the way out to Aid 3 and I was fortunately able to stay with the group. However, at some point I looked back and my SS friend was nowhere to be seen. Now being hunted for the rest of the day, my goal was to keep a solid pace and stay on nutrition/hydration given the heat.

Heading back towards the finish, Lee Hauber and I shared efforts and kept each other motivated. Back on the single track, I kept peering over my shoulder while keeping on the hammer. One last look behind on the pavement and I was finally able to relax as Lee and I crossed the line and immediately crushed some Cokes, which I had been looking forward to since the gun went off. Congrats to Matt and Jim for their awesome competition and strong races! Thank to my team (J. A. King Mountain Bike Team), team sponsors, and Carbo Rocket for your support and commitment to our sport.”

New to the NUE Series, Matt Crawford, UPMC/Pro Bike + Run, took second place with a time of 6:29: 22. This was just his second single speed ultra-endurance race.

“I drove in from Pittsburgh with a big group of other races. I chose to run a light gear (34×40) which turned out to be a prudent decision in the latter part for the race. My main goal was to place myself in the first group going in to the woods. This put me in a good position for the rest of the race. The temperatures were hot, but my legs stayed relatively fresh going into the last single track section and I passed 4-5 single speeds in the last 20 miles of the race. My plans for this year include Mohican 100 and High Cascades 100.”

NUE Marathon Race Series SS Champion and last year’s Big Frog 65 winner, James Litzinger, Dirty Harry’s Elite Cycling, stepped up his miles entering the Cohutta 100 and finishing third single speed with a time of 6:30:11.

“A very hot Cohutta 100 was the first stop of the 2017 NUE series for The Syndicate Cycling p/b Pro Bikes + Run team. We hadn’t experienced anything like the warm weather that we had in Tennessee on race day training in Pittsburgh, PA.  There is always a lot of excitement rolling into your first big race of the season and this one did not disappoint.  I’m always eager to see where my fitness is and to see if I did the right kind of winter training following the plan set by Mike Schultz at Highland Training.

The race got off to a fast start up the 2.5 mile climb, with the leaders starting to gather at the front wanting to get into the fast and fun stretch of single track in good position. I was working my way to the front with SS race winner, John Haddock.  I knew that if I could hang on his wheel that I would have a good chance of being up towards the front.  John and I managed to get into the single track in really good position and had a few geared riders in front of us setting a blazing pace through all the banking turns and short climbs.

When we started the big climb after crossing the river I was able to put a little gap on John and some of the geared riders.  To get this gap, I burnt a couple matches, which cost me later in the race.  When we popped out onto a short road section, John was back on my wheel.  I pulled away again in the single track, but knew the lead was minimal.

I stopped at aid station one to exchange a bottle and didn’t see John behind me. I was surprised and a little nervous that I went too hard again. I was cruising down the road and heard that SS hub come buzzing up behind me again and thought, “Damn, can’t shake him.” I tried to get away again on the first fire road climb and got excited when I caught up to my teammate, Anthony Grinnell, who was racing on a geared bike!  Anthony helped pull me along, and for a moment I thought John was riding by himself, which would have given me a major advantage.  Anthony and I made it to out and back for our wrist bands and on the way back saw John working with three geared riders. Advantage John!  I knew it wouldn’t be long before he was able to catch us with the extra help.

When the group caught us, Anthony and I jumped on board and set a screaming pace!  We continued to push the pace until aid station two where John stopped and we kept on rolling. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try to pull away again but John caught us by smashing the climb out of the aid station like a sledgehammer. At that point, I knew John was in serious shape and wanted to win this race just as bad as I did.

We rode together until about mile 45 or so where I decided to ease off and try to conserve some energy for the finish. I tried to keep a steady pace and ride my own race to the finish. The plan was working well when I caught up to a geared rider from our earlier group.  He said that he was having some hydration/nutrition issues but was still riding very well.  I felt pretty dialed in nutritionally at this point, using a few different Hammer products before and during the race. The Endurolytes really helped since it was about 85 and humid for the majority of the race.  We rode up the final fire road climb together and thought it would be great to have some company on the last stretch of single track at the end of the race.

Again, the plan was going well until I had heard the dreaded hissing sound of air leaving my tire after a puncture on the sharp rocks. I quickly pulled off to the side of trail and reached in my tool pack for the tire plug. In the meantime, Anthony caught back up and offered his support sacrificing his own race as a few riders passed us.  I put the plug in the tire as Anthony prepared the CO2 for a quick fill up.  He used the CO2 cartridge like he was on the pit crew of NASCAR racer, Jimmy Johnson. After he pulled off the CO2, I still heard the sound of air coming out and after further inspection I noticed that I also had a pinch near the rim.  So we put a tube in. This could have been on an episode of funniest home videos. Anthony aired up the tube and I started taking off the tire until I dropped the tire lever down the steep hill watching it roll as I tried to catch up to it. I ended up about twenty feet down and had to climb back up with tired legs.  I’m finally fixed up so Anthony takes off to secure 10th place in the men’s open. Thanks for the help, “Brah!” It means a lot that a friend/teammate will sacrifice some places in the standings to help me out.

When I finally get back on the bike, I am out of the groove I was in and catch my pedal on a rock that sends me over the bars and to the ground. Before I knew what happened, I rolled down the same steep hill but with my bike this time. The hill was so steep that I had to use my bike as a cane to try and get back up. When I started riding again, I noticed that my vision was kind of off now with everything being blurry and seeing some stars. I figured I hit harder than I thought, and just went into survival mode now. I just wanted to finish the race without another mishap. Doing this cost me another place as local rider, Matt Crawford, came blowing by me on the wheel of a geared guy on their way to a great finish. Congratulations to John and Matt on a solid ride! As always, I want to thank my family and teammates for their support and especially to our sponsors for providing some great gear and helping with the lodging for the weekend.”

 

Masters 50+

Clayton repeats with first W of the NUE season

Defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, enjoyed back to back wins at Cohutta finishing in 6:30:13. In 2016, Clayton launched his Series title win at Cohutta. Is history destined to repeat?!

I’ve been doing a fair amount of 2-5 hour races this year, mostly gravel grinders, instead of my usual diet of 6 and 12 hour races, so I wasn’t too bummed when I saw the news that the race would be 80 miles instead of 100. My teammate and buddy Van and I camped at Thunder Rock just a few minutes from the race start and enjoyed 20 miles of singletrack riding the day before the race….Always fun to enjoy the good stuff just going for a ride in case the race doesn’t go so great!

Roger Masse and a few other guys I know in the Master’s class were present at the start. My goal was to have a strong start and stay consistent. I was pleased to make the (rather large) front group into the singletrack. The out-and-back section of gravel road added this year was pretty tough and gave me the opportunity to gauge my progress against Roger. I looked to have about a five minute advantage after thirty or so miles. Because of the Cohutta course changes, the Big Frog racers were merging onto the rest of the course at about the same time. This made it easier to find people going the right pace to ride with. I was able to slightly increase my lead on Roger by the finish, but he rode well finishing just a few minutes back-I’m sure I haven’t seen the last of him yet!”

Two-time NUE Masters Champion (2014 and 2015), Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling/ Keswick, displayed his great form this season, with a close finish, just eight minutes back at 6:38:54 placing second.

Chris Abston, Racing Greyhounds, took third with a time of 7:05:23. Abston is new-ish to NUE. This was his first time racing Cohutta.

“Well, since this is only my fourth NUE race (completed three races last year) I am in uncharted territory. This is my first year doing this race. I am a converted Cat 2 roadie and this is my first year in a dedicated NUE series of races. I am from Michigan so the only way we get any elevation training is to travel down south. Since this was my first race of the year and I am not in peak season form, I just wanted to make sure I had enough energy to get through the race.

We pre-rode the course on Thursday and Friday so I knew about the big climb at the beginning. As the race started, I was with the lead group up the first climb. As we approached the top, I felt I may be going a bit harder than I would like so I dialed it back a bit and tried to settle in at my own pace. The rest was pretty much uneventful. Since I am a converted roadie, the gravel sections are my strength versus the single track so I obviously liked that part. I chose to ride my hardtail bike but when I hit the last eleven miles of single track, my body was looking for my full suspension. That last part of single track was pretty brutal and the cramps were creeping in causing quite a bit of discomfort. I was very pleased to see the dam and race off to the finish. I was very happy with my result and looking forward to the rest of the year. My next race will be the Mohican 100 followed by Lumberjack 100. I am still trying to figure out the fourth race at this point. I race for the RACING GREYHOUNDS and supported by Cycle to Fitness bike shop in Livonia Mi.”

WHATS NEXT: Join NUE Race Series for race #3 in Loudonville, Ohio on June 3rd for the 15th Annual Mohican MTB 100! Top series contenders have already committed to Mohican, now the largest attended race in the NUE Race Series limited to the first 700 racers along with the largest series cash purse at $10,000US.

Big Bear Grizzly 100 Race Report

JULY 23, 2016

Kenda NUE Series #9

Presented by Hammer Nutrition 

By Ryan O’Dell

The third annual NUE Big Bear Grizzly 100 race course received its inspiration from the infamous Terrible 10,000, a ride the local endurance hammerheads have been doing for years. This year’s race included racers from seven different countries and twenty different states. It also rewarded racers in both the Grizzly 100k and 75k with NUE Race Series points.

The race kicked off a week-long cycling festival organized by Big Bear Valley Race Association teamed up with the Big Bear Cycling Association and the City of Big Bear Lake. Big Bear Cycling Association promotes the Tour de Big Bear this next weekend with an anticipated 2000 riders.

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Tinker Juarez

Located at 7000 feet above sea level, the charming tourist town of Big Bear has long had a solid reputation as a cycling destination, attracting visitors from the LA Valley and hosting some of the largest national events over many years. Nearby ski resorts offer lifts for cyclists during the summer months accessing the newly developed Skyliner Trail. New Belgium Brewing offered several variety’s of draft brews throughout the day in the beer garden welcoming weary racers and fans with malty, hoppy goodness.

 

 

 

Women’s Open – Edwards wins!

Following her fifth place finish last year, Chase Edwards moved up and across the finish line first in 2016 at 6:19:13.

Eight minutes later, Nikki Peterson, took second at 6:27:38 improving from a fourth place finish in 2015. “The Grizzly 100 is a unique event: with 8,000+ feet of climbing that is 75% singletrack, it is extremely challenging! However, at point in time when you are in excruciating pain all you need to do is look around and suddenly you are feeling better because the views are that AMAZING! I was recently signed to Team RideBiker, a professional mountain bike team, and this was my second race with them. Adam Pulford, the director of Team RideBiker and a coach for Carmicheal Training Systems, is my coach so, as of two weeks ago, I am training more than I ever have! I am so excited to have this opportunity, it is a dream come true!

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Chase Edwards

The Grizzly 100 is not a focus for me as I am focusing on XCO distances (1:30-2hr races) so we decided to not rest up for it and ride it in the middle of a large training block. With this is mind, we focused heavily on my nutrition throughout the race to ensure that I was fueled properly for the latter half, where I bonked hard last year!

I came into this year’s event as the fastest returning competitor from the 2015 event. However, I knew the field was stacked: Chase Edwards, who finished 5th last year only thirty seconds behind me and beat me by 21 minutes at the Whiskey 50 in April; Madeline Bemis, a high school Phenom who happens to be the U23 World Champion in the 24 Hour Solo; Lauren Mulwitz, a new Pro who won Cat 1 Nationals 2 weeks ago; and local endurance legend Rhonda Patterson-Geiszler, who is commonly found on the podium of endurance races.

The race started out fairly fast given the fact that we had 56 more miles to go! I knew it was important to get a good position for Seven Oaks so I went with the quick start, went back and forth with Chase, and had a good spot going into the sketchy downhill. I ended up passing three people going down and felt good about the descent. Shortly after we got onto the fire road Chase was there again. We played Cat and Mouse for a while but Chase ended up getting onto SART ahead of me. I paced myself on SART, feeling my heavy legs but not worrying as I knew there was a lot of racing ahead. I caught up with Chase towards the beginning of Radford. She turned around, saw me, and put in a huge attack! I ended up struggling up Radford, which is usually a strong point for me, and never saw Chase again.

I stopped at the Heaven aid station to fill up my pack and continued on. Skyline was slow going at times but unlike last year when I had to dab and even get off my bike often, I was able to clean everything this year! I kept up with the hydration, sugars, and electrolytes and didn’t even bonk- another success! The best part though? I felt amazing going up the five mile Pineknot climb at mile 50! Some of it had to do with my positive mindset, but most of it had to do with nutrition and training. I finished strong on the fire road and came across the finish line in second place, 25 minutes faster than last year! I ended up about 8 ½ minutes behind Chase, which is also an improvement over the Whiskey 50 results.

All in all, I am stoked on my race given the circumstances. The Grizzly 100 is a very well-organized event and will likely be my next NUE event as I am going to work on getting some UCI points to hopefully compete in World Cups in the next year or two!”

Lauren Mulwitz from Marina Del Ray, CA finished third at 6:50:03.

At the age of fifteen, she was the final finisher in 2014, not long after becoming the 2014 NICA California State Champion. Last year, Madeline Beamis, Bear Valley Bikes, moved up to sixth place. Beamis moved up again this year finishing fourth at 7:01:06. “I took off fast from the starting line to begin the long uphill climb, paying close attention to the women around me, and estimating who would be my toughest competitors. The 7 Oaks single-track is the first downhill, and is particularly challenging because of the sandy terrain being easily influenced by every tire that passed before mine. Large ruts were left in the ground, leaving me holding on tight to my handlebars while sliding around; trying to avoid falling down the steep sandy slopes beside me. I was relieved when I reached the end of the daunting 7 Oaks and a wide downhill fire road greeted me.

Next up was SART, which is a more stable singletrack complete with just the right amount of rocky and technical terrain. At the end of SART, I had moved up from 9th place to 6th, and was determined to continue powering through. Next on the agenda was the infamous Radford climb, which is a grueling six-mile uphill. 5th place was in sight at the beginning of Radford, and I was determined to make a move or, at the very least, keep her in my sights. She and I both stopped at the aid station midway up, so I took off while she continued fueling.

But, as soon as she started again, she began gaining on me. I considered giving up and letting her steal 5th place back, which is something I would have done in my first or second year of the race, but this year was different. I became the U23 24-hour solo world champion in New Zealand this past February, so now I stand for something. People know who I am, cheer me on by my name, and hope to see me succeed in endurance races like these. So I persevered and held on tight to 5th place.

I had paced myself well in the beginning, so I was able to stay strong for the remaining 30 miles. More mountain singletrack and fire roads followed, but nothing as challenging or exhausting as Seven Oaks Singletrack or Radford. Temperatures reached up into the 90’s mid-race, but by the finish it was pouring rain with crackling lightning and dark clouds shadowing the landscape. The scenery was breathtaking as always in Big Bear, and the spirit and energy of the whole event is always memorable. The SAG stations of the Grizzly 100 are what make this race truly special. About every ten miles, an EZ Up sheltering cheering supporters awaited hungry racers, ready to serve boiled potatoes, fresh fruit (the watermelon was especially refreshing), peanut butter pretzels, olives, beets, pickles, trial mix, and even smoothies!

I am grateful for the support of my parents, coaches of my high school mountain bike race team Corona Composite, Empire Bikes, Kenda Tire, and, most importantly, God for the opportunity and ability to race mountain bikes. I ended the race in 4th place for the 2016 Grizzly 100 NUE, and I’ll definitely be back next year to improve my time and fight for another podium finish.

Eight minutes later, Mary Dannelley took the final podium spot to place fifth at 7:09:57.

Men’s Open – Lideen gets his second NUE Win of the season!

Taylor Lideen, Pivot Cycles 92Fifty, from Phoenix, AZ earned his second NUE Series victory with a winning time of 5:05:16. Lideen won the NUE Season Opener at True Grit and was 8th at Bailey Hundo before suffering an injury to his wrist and hand at the Tatanka.

“Oh man! What a fun event the Grizzly 100 was! I was super nervous going in knowing I had to conserve a bit due to racing next weekend at Pierres Hole in Wyoming. I think trying to keep a lid on things was a real test of patience but a smart choice considering that I have heard Pierre’s Hole is a tough race!

A group of eight or so formed right away and it seemed like we were all having so much fun! The first long downhill was such a blast! About half way into our day it was Tinker, Steven and I. Up the long climb Steven kept pushing his single speed gear and pulled away from Tinker and me. It was super impressive to watch Steven crank out an amazing ride on his singlespeed, massive congrats to him! I wasn’t at all interested in chasing Steven down as I was worried about coming across some more bad luck if I pushed too hard. I was happy enough to come across the line with a clean race and no crashes or bad luck like the last few NUE’s for me. Everyone was so dang friendly in Big Bear and it is an event I would definitely go back to! Next up is Pierre’s Hole and the Hampshire 100! I can’t wait for those events!”

Two time US Olympian and Hall of Fame inductee, David “Tinker” Juarez was next, just four minutes behind Lideen to finish 5:09:09. “I was hoping for a better result, of course, but when it is not your day, just go with the flow and be happy with what you get. When you make the podium that is not so bad. The course was awesome with 80% single track and over 8,000ft of climbing. It takes a lot of concentration because of the single track and that makes it a different challenge to race.”

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Taylor Lideen

Three minutes behind Juarez, Ryan Steers was third at 5:12:10. “This is one of my favorite races of the year and one of the best courses you can ride in SoCal. To race here you have to be able to do everything well. Long, scorching, brutal fire road climb? Radford. Check. Elevation? Most of the race is at 6500-8k feet. Check. Technical single track? About 40 miles of it: Cabin Trail, Skyline, Santa Anna River Trail, Plumbers Trail. Check. Ridiculous loose descent with massive exposure? Seven Oaks. Check. Pavement? A few miles but still a check. To win this race you’ve got to be able to climb, descend, flow, spin, climb some more, shred it, and hammer….and ride a singlespeed?

We lined up at 6:45 for a 7am start. It was already getting warm in the sun, which was worrisome. The start was quick. You have a few hundred yards of gradual uphill pavement on Pineknot and then you hit 2N08 and the race is on. It’s only a few miles but just shy of 1000 feet of climbing and gets the heart pumping. The peloton blew apart quickly. I was in the front with Tinker, Steven Mills, Taylor Lideen, Stefano Barberi, Cameron Brenneman and Alfred Pacheco. I noticed Steven was on a single speed and thought to myself, “Wow, this guy is going to blow up.” Boy was I wrong.

After the climb you roll on the fire road a bit and the hit the singletrack and it’s right on to the Seven Oaks Descent: two miles and 1600 feet of descending a super narrow, exposed, sandy rut. No room for error. Every year I’ve been behind someone that’s taken a tumble- nothing serious but it’s easy to do some barrel rolling. Last year Munoz took a few spills and this year Barberi went toppled over. I play it a little too safe and it costs me a minute or two. Most the guys were out of sight by the time we were halfway down. Barberi and I were together and Alan Laframboise caught us and I let him by. Barberi and I hit the fire road at the bottom and played chase with poor single speed Alan spinning out on the rollers. I pulled ahead and caught sight of the leaders (after watching Tinker add some air to his tire and then speed away again). SART trail is always a blast and seems longer every year. They’ve done some work to it so there are no more walking sections and it’s all ridable. It’s a hard trail to rail because there are so many sweeping turns with exposure but you can get some speed. Lots of sharp rocks (I flatted here twice 2 years ago) so don’t run Schwalbes.

After the Santa Anna River Trail the real work begins. You roll along Seven Oaks road for a bit and then start to head up up up. Bit of advice- make sure you get aid here. Don’t hit Radford without full bottles. Sure there’s an aid station 3/4 of the way up but if you stop there you’ll have a really hard time moving again.

My plan all along was to chill the first 30 miles and then give Radford a good push. I saved the segment in my Garmin and gauged my effort against my time last year. On the way up I was able to pass Pacheco and Brenneman and catch sight of Tinker, and Tayler ahead. I also saw Steven throw the hammer down and take the lead on a single speed at the top of Radford! What a beast. This guy was not going to pop. I shaved over two minutes off my climb from last year but it wasn’t enough to catch the leaders.

The joy of Plumbers is immense. After a hot and brutal fire road you are rewarded with two miles of blissful single track….until you hit 2N10 and have to climb all the way back up to Skyline. Ouch. From there it’s about seven miles of rolling skyline but you’ve got to stay on top of your nutrition or it’s super easy to bonk or cramp here. You’re flowing and rolling along and suddenly you forget to drink and you’re out of water with twenty miles left to race. Miles of single track roll by.

I caught a glimpse of Barberi about two minutes behind me and kept the speed up. I kept getting time checks that Tinker was two minutes up but I was never able to spot him. Cabin trail is a blast but the climb back out to the fire road is brutal. Punchy and steep and your legs will be screaming. However, once you get back to 2N08 its easy street. The race ends with four miles of rollers and descending. Don’t crash. The descent into town (the same as the starting climb) is steep, fast, and loose. You probably won’t catch anyone but you can end your day in sight of the finish.

Big Bear is so much fun this time of year and every year we’ve been treated to a thunderstorm at the finish. The course is amazing and the talent is exceptional. I’m three for three on this race and I’ll be back again next year. So excited to finish fourth this year and win a little cash. Shooting for top three next year!”

Two minutes behind Steer, Stefano Barberi, took fourth at 5:14:29, two minutes ahead of Cameron Brenneman of Sante Fe, NM who took the final podium spot at 5:17:18.

Single Speed Open – Mills smokes the field!

Coming off his first NUE win at the High Cascades 100, Steven Mills dropped the hammer in his home state of California getting his second straight win at 5:01:04. Mills also placed third at True Grit and sixth at Bailey Hundo this season.

Allen“The Rasberry” LaFramboise, Don’s Bikes/Bike for Bender, was next at 5:35:37. The Rasberry achieved back to back wins in 2014 and 2015.

NUE Race Series SS leader, Kip Biese, KJBike Coaching/ Old Town Bike Shop, was next taking third at 6:02:15. Already, Biese has completed eight of the last nine races, including four second place finishes and two third place finishes. “I went in tired so I ran a little gear (32/20 on a 29er). On the very first hill I quickly saw I didn’t have it to keep up with Steven or Alan. So I just settled in and enjoyed my ride (except for the Radford climb).”

Ten minutes later, 50-year-old Rex Merritt, claimed fourth at 6:12:36. Three minutes later, Freddie Espinoza took the fifth spot at 6:15:42.

 Masters 50+ Open – Golet gets his fourth NUE Victory!

Greg Golet, Team Chico, moved UP to the top rung of the NUE Standings gaining his fourth straight win in the NUE Race Series this year. Golet’s time of 5:40:55 was four minutes faster than the blistering time put down by 2011 NUE Race Series Masters Champion, Doug Andrews, at the 2015 Grizzly 100.

“I spent an amazing day at Big Bear racing on fantastically varied trails that tested me in new and ever changing ways. I remember a crazy downhill on off-camber, thick coarse sand, where the only sign of the trail ahead was a transient rut carved by the previous rider, a sweet river trail with blind sandy and rocky corners flanked by steep drop offs, a fairly monstrous (HORS) climb that made me really wish for my hardtail, awesome rolling, flowy singletrack along a ridgeline with incredible views of the San Bernadino Mountains taking me up, around, and over cool sculpted granite towers, then a sweet bermed corner forested descent on relative hard pack leading to a nice late-in-the-game, pin-it-to-win-it singletrack climb up to the final fireroad downhill where the probability of a car appearing around each blind loose corner seemed to increase the closer I came to town (but where I got my only top 10 Strava segment on the day!)… All of that packed into one fantastic sub-six hour experience at a truly incredible place on the planet.

In terms of the actual racing, I spent most of the day chasing Doug Andrew’s ghost. He was registered, but didn’t show, although I didn’t know that until after the race ended. Doug was the 2011 NUE champ who has dominated the Master’s field here in the past, and I was worried about getting crushed by “the Hulk”, as he is sometimes called. So much so, I guess, that I taped a couple of his split times from his last year’s Strava record to my top tube. I thought that this might help me track where I was on the course relative to him. In the end, I finished a few minutes ahead of his last years’ time but, of course, that doesn’t really mean much. Just the idea that he might be out there was motivation enough to work hard until the end.

Thanks to Derek and his team for doing a fantastic job hosting all of us 317 riders from seven different countries and twenty US states! Next up Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica!”

Ken Winston from San Diego, CA was second finishing 6:03:55.

 

David Turner was third at 6:23:36. “I really hope that the fast guys in my class that whipped my ass this year share their secrets, as I would really like to go faster next year!

Yes, of course there will be a next year; there was never any doubt from the moment I finished. I was already looking forward to the Grizzly in 2017, maybe even try an out of state NUE like True Grit Epic or the High Cascades 100. The Grizzly race course was incredible, the numerous aid stations staffed with the most helpful people handing out a variety of snacks.  I really cannot thank everyone enough, hats off to Derrick Hermon and the dozens of staff scattered all over the mountain.

Anyone that calls themselves a mountain bike racer should plan on doing an NUE event, this IS mountain bike racing! A long day on the bike away from it all makes the rest of our cluttered lives shut up and just let us be for a good long ride, a total mental and physical reset. I look forward to doing it again.”

Eight minutes later, Dan Bartlett, finished fourth at 6:31:40. David Jolin, Stark Velo, from Belleville, Ohio claimed the fifth and final spot on the podium to finish 6:53:56.

NEXT:

NUE Race Series #10, Pierre’s Hole 100 in Alta, Wyoming on August 6

 

 

 

Mohican 100 Results and Photos

Full report to come…

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Women's 100k winner Sally Price gets wet. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Women’s 100k winner Sally Price gets wet. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Mud and slippery conditions created some carnage on course. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Mud and slippery conditions created some carnage on course. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Slick conditions caused many falls during the Mohican 100 an conditions would get worse as rain started falling later in the day. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Slick conditions caused many falls during the Mohican 100 an conditions would get worse as rain started falling later in the day. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ben Michelis hammered out the 100k event on a rigid SS coming in 10th. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ben Michelis hammered out the 100k event on a rigid SS coming in 10th. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Dylan Johnson strikes a triumphant pose as he takes another NUE win for 2016. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Dylan Johnson strikes a triumphant pose as he takes another NUE win for 2016. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gaps were exceptionally tight at the 2016 Mohican 100. Here Federico Ramarez crosses the line just seconds in front of Christian Tanguy. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gaps were exceptionally tight at the 2016 Mohican 100. Here Federico Ramarez crosses the line just seconds in front of Christian Tanguy. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gregory Jancaitis celebrates his new growler and an 11th-place finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gregory Jancaitis celebrates his new growler and an 11th-place finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile women's podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile women’s podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile open men's podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile open men’s podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Click Here for full results from all categories

True Grit Epic (NUE #1) – Santa Clara, UT

Taylor Lideen and Angela Parra Take NUE Series Opener in Santa Clara

Written by: Jen Hanks

With the 2016 National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series set to kickoff Saturday morning things were not looking good in Santa Clara, Utah. Following a dry winter in southern Utah, rain began to fall just past midnight Saturday morning, the rain came down hard for several hours. Water ran down many of the same washes the True Grit Epic would be conquering just a few hours later.

The rains finally stopped about 90 minutes before race time and just before the 100-mile competitors were about to start they received news that the course was draining quickly and the muddiest sections should be clear by the time racers would arrive.

With good news fresh in their minds the more than 100 riders entered in the 100-mile True Grit Epic left the quaint, peaceful setting of Santa Clara for the rugged desert of the True Grit.

With the roads still damp and temperatures in the 40s riders hit the road out from Santa Clara and the leaders were soon stringing the pack out behind them.

As many as 15 Costa Rican riders traveled to Utah for the first race of the NUE series. The “Tico Invasion” served to drive the pace in the early stages as did Cary Smith (The Hub), Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz), and Taylor Lideen (Pivot/92 Fifty Cyclery), who finished second, third, and fourth respectively in 2015.

When the dust settled the lead group, included the three Americans and two Coast Rican riders Luis Anderson Mejia and Jonathan Carballo, teammates on the Coopenae Extralum Economy team.

Luis Anderson Mejia and Taylor Lideen. Photo by Ryan O'Dell

Luis Anderson Mejia and Taylor Lideen. Photo by Ryan O’Dell

These five riders stayed close throughout the entire first 50-mile lap. After the halfway mark the fireworks began as the Costa Rican duo broke away. What appeared to be the most significant move of the day was rather quickly neutralized as one of the leaders suffered an untimely flat and his teammate made a wrong turn getting him off course.

This put Lideen in the driver’s seat and the Pivot rider proved more than capable of steering his way to the finish. Lideen has a unique history of racing ultra-endurance events and enduro/downhill races. The technical skills he’s acquired in his downhill pursuits served him well in conquering the tough, technical terrain of the True Grit 100.

Taylor Lideen proved untouchable for the rest of the race and crossed the line in just under 7 hours to take a very emotional victory – his first at an NUE event.

Mejia and Carballo recovered from their unfortunate turn but it cost them a chance for a race win. Mejia rolled in to the finish in second place just in front of Cary Smith.

Carballo ultimately took fourth with Josh Tostado claiming the final podium position in fifth.

The women’s race provided some South American fireworks of their own with Angela Parra (Coopenae Extralum Economy) representing the Tico squad up front.

Parra appeared to have no concerns about the long mileage or technical terrain of the day as she set off with a fast pace right from the start. She got out front early and proved formidable on the early climbing sections of the course.

Christy Olsen (Crazy Pedaler Fast Fish) limited her losses in the early going occupying the second spot on course for the entire day.

Behind the lead duo a rotating group of Liz Carrington (Pale Goat), Chase Edwards (Flagstaff Bike Revolution), and Marlee Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) battled for who would occupy third spot on the podium.

Dixon opened up a lead toward the midway mark leaving the others behind on the Barrel Roll trail.

Just a few miles into lap two Carrington and Edwards got off course accompanied by several male racers. Edwards decided to backtrack to rejoin the course while Carrington searched around and after seeing some course markings returned to the course. In doing so Carrington had unwittingly cut out a significant climb and after finishing realized her mistake and was disqualified.

Despite all the action back in the pack Angela Parra continued to power her way through the course and ultimately took the win in just over 8 hours.

Angela Parra crosses the finish line. Photo by Ryan O'Dell

Angela Parra crosses the finish line. Photo by Ryan O’Dell

Christy Olsen proved up to the challenge riding steady in second and claiming a few hundred dollars for her efforts.

Marlee Dixon stayed strong for the second half of her race taking a satisfying third place after she had to DNF in 2015.

Chase Edwards’ decision to backtrack cost her some time but ultimately paid off as she claimed fourth on the day with NUE series champion Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) coming home in fifth.

Of all the days racing the 100-mile singlespeed event may have been the craziest. It started early as NUE series champion Gordon Wadsworth (Pivot/Blue Ridge Cyclery) and Steven Mills powered away in the lead group.

Wadsworth flatted early on, losing serious time to Mills and the large chase group that included Mike Montalbano (Ride 4 Rescue), Kip Biese (KJ Bike Coaching), Corey Larrabee (Kuhl/Fezzarri), John Haddock (JA King), and Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling).

Mills was well off the front and by the end of lap one had well over 10 minutes on the chase group who in turn had another 10 minutes on Wadsworth.

By this time the lead group had winnowed it’s way down to Montalbano, Boffeli, and Larrabee. But Wadsworth quickly spoiled the party by turning in an impressive surge of speed that saw him eat up those 10 minutes in no more than 15 miles.

The defending champ was now in second with Mills off the front and seemingly out of reach, which is when things really got out of hand.

Mills held off Wadsworth for the rest of lap two and cruised into the finish assuming he had won but he and race officials quickly discovered that he had inadvertently missed a section of the course about 10 miles from the finish. So Mills rode back out onto the circuit to complete the missed section of trail, backtracking many miles to do so.

This meant Gordon Wadsworth was now in the lead with clear sailing to the finish line. No mistakes or missed checkpoints would derail his day as he rolled into the finish taking another win at the True Grit Epic.

Corey Larrabee couldn’t hang with the race winner but stayed well clear of the other competitors to take a resounding second place on the day.

Corey Larrabee and Gordon Wadsworth congratulate each other at the finish. Photo by Ryan O'Dell

Corey Larrabee and Gordon Wadsworth congratulate each other at the finish. Photo by Ryan O’Dell

Meanwhile Mills rejoined the course on the Barrel Roll trail not far behind third place rider Shannon Boffeli. The almost-race-winner Mills had plenty of juice left in his legs to pass Boffeli and secure a third place finish despite the extra mileage.

Boffeli held on for fourth in front of North Carolina rider John Haddock.

The master’s 50+ proved to be a truly epic competition as the top spot wouldn’t be decided until a last final sprint to the finish line.

Eventual winner, Greg Golet (Team Chico), got off to a good start jumping in front of top competitors Roger Masse (Rare Disease Cycling) and Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neurosurgical Institute) early.

That is until he encountered a vicious clay bog that had claimed several riders in it’s deep, sticky goo. Golet, like other riders, diverted around the worst of the clay but confusion about some downed course markings led to him rejoining the course on a climb he had already completed.

After riding the climb for a few minutes he realized his error and backtracked again. By now he had lost several minutes and found himself chasing Clayton, Masse, and David Jolin (Stark Velo).

He caught Jolin first, followed by Masse but Jeff Clayton still stayed out front.

With just a few miles left in the 100-mile race Golet finally made contact with the leader and the two raced the last several miles wheel-to-wheel back to the finish.

As they approached the line it appeared Clayton would lead out the final sprint but he missed the turn onto the final chicane leading to the finish allowing Golet to slide through for the win.

Clayton ultimately crossed the line in second.

David Jolin overtook Roger Masse to claim third with Masse fourth. Sten Hertsens (Muleterro) took the final podium spot in fifth.

New to the NUE series for 2016 is the 50-mile classification. Several races on the NUE calendar will be offering a 50-mile option this year that will be part of the NUE overall series titles. True Grit is the first of these 50-mile events.

Since the True Grit 100 course consists of two 50-mile laps the 50 milers would simple complete one. And as the open groups left the start line it was obvious that one lap would be a fast one.

Endurance racing grandmaster Tinker Juarez (Cannondale/360Fly) and Justin Lindine (Hyperthreads) were the first to take off, getting a solid gap on the chase group until Drew Free (Kuhl) bridged up to Juarez in the technical rocks of the Zen trail.

Lindine was out of sight as Juarez sped away fro Free on the smoother trails following Zen. Another Kuhl rider, Chris Holley joined Free at this point and the teammates rode the second half of the race together but were never able to close the gap to Juraez or Lindine.

Justin Lindine was clearly the class of the field taking the win with a healthy margin of around 2 minutes. Never really being challenged for most of the day.

Juarez had no problems hanging onto second place while Chris Holley dropped his teammate on the final techy climb of the day to finish third.

Drew Free held on for fourth place with Roger Arnell (Endurance 360) finishing out the podium in fifth.

Jen Hanks and Karen Jarchow celebrate after the finish. Photo by Ryan O'Dell

Jen Hanks and Karen Jarchow celebrate after the finish. Photo by Ryan O’Dell

The women’s 50 included several strong contenders who got things going right from the start with Karen Jarchow (Topeak-Ergon) climbing away early with Jenny Smith (NoTubes) and Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) close behind.

Unfortunately for Smith, a fast downhill led to a flat tire and once that was fixed a malfunctioning dropper post would ultimately bring a premature end to her day.

While all this was going on Nicole Tittensor (Scott/Reynolds) moved into the second spot ahead of Hanks.

Once out front though Jarchow could not be stopped. Karen made several trips to St. George this winter to dial in the most challenging sections of the True Grit course and it showed. The Ergon rider breezed through the drops and slickrock on Zen and charged through the remaining miles of the lap taking a well-deserved win.

Nicole Tittensor finished second followed by Jen Hanks.

KC Holley (Kuhl) and Isnaraissa Moir (Juliana/MRP) took the final podium spots in fourth and fifth respectively.

Whether completing the 50 or 100 mile race the True Grit Epic again proved to be every bit the long, tough, and technical challenge it is advertised to be.

Next the NUE series heads east for the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee on April 30th. Be sure to follow MTB Race News for full reports and results from Cohutta and all the 2016 NUE series.

Click here for full results from 2016 True Grit Epic

Cohutta 100 Full Report

Cohutta 100 Race Report

Ryan O’Dell

The KENDA (NUE) National Ultra Endurance Race Series #2 rolled out Saturday from the Ocoee whitewater center near Ducktown, Tennessee, host of the 1996 Olympic whitewater competition. The race course features more than 14,000 feet of vertical elevation within the Cherokee National Forest, including much of the Tanasi trail system, recently rated best in the state of Tennessee by singletracks.com.

The buzz before Saturday’s race centered on the weather forecast calling for severe thunderstorms. As expected, the rains moved in after midnight with a drenching downpour in fifty degree temperatures just before the 7am race start. However, not long afterward, skies cleared with more comfortable temperatures, a gentle breeze, and pleasantly mild weather conditions.

NUE Women’s Open

Carey gets the “W” in a tight Women’s field

Following her second place finish the True Grit Epic, four-time NUE Series Champion, Amanda Carey, Luca Sunscreen, earned her first win of the season at Cohutta finishing 8:49:46.

Less than six minutes later, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, finished second at 8:55:24. “The first two hours were tough: muddy single track in pouring rain. I came out of the woods in third place but not too far behind Linda who was in second. We were right together at aid station 4 and we rode the entire loop from aid station 4 to 5 trading off who was in front and talking about all our past races and mountain biking stories. It was really awesome getting to know her!

At aid station 5, we heard that Amanda was only a few minutes ahead of us. We pulled out and decided to try to catch her. At least it would give us motivation for a strong finish. We blew through aid stations 6 and 7. Around mile 85, we saw Amanda ahead of us on one of the hills. We were excited we had her in sight. I was a little ways ahead of Linda on the climb and she told me to go catch her. So I rode up alongside Amanda and then rode past her for a few minutes. I knew I would never be able to match her speed in the last nine miles of single track before the finish so I figured if I wanted to catch her, this was my chance! It only took a few minutes before Amanda turned up the power and passed me back. I stayed with her for a bit but I didn’t have the energy to match hers, and she got a gap before entering the last single track. My main concern for the last nine miles was holding off Linda who I knew was right behind me and also stronger on the technical trails. It worked though and I finished second. It was awesome racing with Amanda and Linda and I am super excited to try out my new Lauf fork.”

Twenty-six seconds later, Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycle, rolled into third place at 8:56:00. “ After racing in the rain all day in 2013, I was excited to come back to Cohutta to ride in better conditions until the I saw the forecast calling for 20-30mm of rain! After driving 16 hours from Toronto, there was no way I wasn’t going to start. At least the temperatures were warmer than in 2013 so I wasn’t too dismayed about warm rain.

It was pouring driving to the start but let up a bit as the race started. Amanda cruised by me on the start road climb as did Carla but I jumped on the back of Carla’s wheel and we entered into the single track together. The trails were in great shape despite all the rain and the rain stopped an hour in. I wanted to just go into the single track and try to shake Carla off but I had to keep reminding myself that it’s a long day, don’t blow up and pace yourself.

We were riding with a couple of other guys and they set a good pace so we stuck with them for a bit. Once we got on the fire roads, Carla and I were going back and forth, cruising into the aid stations together. We were kind of testing each other out but also setting a great pace. I had never ridden with another girl during an NUE race before, so it was pretty awesome that we rode together all day, especially between aids 4 and 5 where it could have been a death march riding solo with 30 miles of fire roads.

We settled into a good pace and when we got to aid 6, we were told that Amanda had just left and she was really close so we were motivated to catch her! We worked together on the Big Frog loop to try to reel her in and it was so much fun passing other riders as a two-woman train! With about 13 miles to go, we saw her and were pretty stoked. I didn’t have that extra push but I told her to go and get her. She sped away and jumped on Amanda’s wheel and I could see that it was going to be a good battle for first.

As I came into the last single track section, I saw Brenda & Lee Simril. They told me that Carla was right there, so I kicked it up to try to reel her in for the last six miles. She was within sight with three miles to go and I put the hammer down. When we got out onto the road I just put my head down and hammered as fast as I could. I knew I didn’t have enough time but was super happy to have finished 35 seconds behind her and 7 minutes back from Amanda.

I was super happy to be able to ride and keep up with Carla, she is such a strong rider. This was my best NUE finish yet and probably the most fun I’ve had since the women’s race was so close. The new course was awesome, conditions were perfect, and Blacksmith Cycle provided me with the perfect race rig, 27.5 Scapin Murdock. I really want to commend the race organizers for putting on a top-notch event, amazing volunteers and support at the aid stations and it’s so great that there is equal payout and prizes are really awesome! I will definitely be back next year!”

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Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, finished fourth at 9:28:22 “This was my second year racing the Cohutta 100 and my first race of the 2015 NUE series. The new course was a welcome change as it eliminated one of the longest brutal climbs. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain at the start of the race so I decided to stay out of the rain as long as possible. I delayed lining up with a quick warm up ride and got to the start line five minutes before the count down and, as expected, the front was already full of racers so I lined up towards the back.

I rode a few fast wheels and made most of my passes along the first hill climb and settled into the first single track section. It was in surprisingly good shape given it had been raining all night. By the time we got to the first aid station, about 22 miles in, it had stopped raining and the clouds were clearing away bringing in the humidity. About half way through my race the sun started peeking out of the clouds and my legs were feeling good. Sometime between aid stations 4 or 5, I was able to catch up to Danielle Musto on the gravel road climbs moving into fourth place. The very last single track section was tough but I needed to HAMMER through since I knew Danielle was on my heels. I was super stoked to improve my time from last year by over an hour.

Since I raced it last year I had an idea about the terrain and conditions of the trails, so I decided to swap out my front suspension fork with my new Lauf Fork. This turned out to be a perfect choice since the course mostly offered gravel and fire roads with some smooth single track. The Lauf Fork performed great enabling a fast and smooth ride.”

Danielle Musto, Grand Rapids Bicycle Company/Salsa, finished fifth at 9:44:44 with the former Ohio OMBC Race Series Champion, Shannon Tenwalde, Paradise Garage Racing, coming in twelve minutes later at 9:56:00.

NUE defending Champion and last year’s Cohutta Race Winner, Brenda Simril, Motor Mile Racing, was at this year’s race cheering racers but withdrew from competition following a recent rollover accident that broke six of her ribs. Simril plans to return to defend her NUE Series title beginning with the Mohican MTB100 May 30.

NUE Men’s Open

Schworm earns his first NUE WIN at Cohutta!

Following up on an impressive third place finish behind Tinker Juarez and Jeremiah Bishop at last year’s Fool’s Gold NUE Championship race, Brian Schworm blew through the finish line right on the wheel of SS Winner Gordon Wadsworth, achieving his first NUE win to finish 6:55:53.

Before the race, I was sitting in the car dreading what was about to come. 100 miles in the rain with the possibility of serve storms did not sound very appealing.  Regardless, we all lined up and the race was off with a steady rain on our shoulders.  The pace was moderate up the first climb but things got a bit dicey when everyone juggled for position into the singletrack.  We all made it in safely and found a very wet, but solid, trail. The pace was again moderate and steady.

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Once we popped out onto the forest service roads, the lead group included eight racers.  Previous NUE race winners Christian Tanguy, Michael Simonson, and NUE #1 True Grit Epic winner, Keck Baker, singlespeed specialist Gordon Wadsworth, a couple of young fellows Dylan Johnson and my teammate Drew Dillman, and Wes Richards and I were in the group.  We rode together for most of the roads although Simonson was “puttin’ it down” on a few of the sections.  During the early part of this time I was extremely concerned since I could not stop shivering.  The rain had zapped all of my body heat, and even after it stopped raining, I could not warm up.  Fortunately, the sun popped out and I finally warmed up.

A decisive move came around 70 miles. Keck attacked hard at the base of a climb with Dylan and I chasing.  It was at this exact moment I realized I had a small leak in my rear tire.  It could not have happened at a more inopportune time!  I rode it for a minute but needed to stop and take care of the situation.  I stopped and noticed there was a small tear on the sidewall so I just aired up the tire with my co2, rotated the tire so the sealant could do its job, and was back riding.  I didn’t take more than a couple minutes but now I was behind the others with the stepped up pace from the attacks. I figured I could at least maintain my 8th position if I didn’t have any more tire trouble, but I chased hard! 

One by one I was able to catch riders and, just beyond aid station 5 and before a significant climb, I caught Gordon, Keck, and Wes.  I didn’t let up and hammered up that climb.  Gordon came with me and we were left with just one rider ahead, Dylan.  We worked hard and passed Dylan near the top of the climb.  After that we powered the ridge and following descent to try and open the gap.  I was so pumped with adrenaline at this time with the prospect of winning a NUE Series race that the miles were just ticking off.

Gordon and I hit the final singletrack section together.  We found the trail much different than earlier; it was now thick and slippery!  We held it upright and blasted the final descent, Thunder Rock Express, with just a two mile road section remaining.  We rode in steady and, basically, crossed the line together, Gordon winning the singlespeed and me the open division.  I was just elated!  I could not believe I just won a NUE Series race! 

Of course this would not have been possible without my incredible sponsor, Team Green – Pedal the Planet p/b Sword (we had three racers in the top ten, Andrew Dillman was sixth and Nathanial Cornelius was tenth) and my incredibly supportive wife, Jennifer!  Thanks guys!!!

About four minutes behind SS Wadsworth and Schworm, former NUE Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, Rare Disease Cycling, placed second in the Men’s Open at 7:00:19 in his first race of the 2015 NUE season.

Just over four minutes later, 20 year old Dylan Johnson, Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team, took third in 7:04:41. It was just two years ago at Cohutta when, at age 18, Johnson hung on with the lead pack of racers before suffering an early crash that sent him to the ER. Todays finish was a triumph for the young NUE Race Series hopeful. Four minutes later, Westley Richards, Clemmons Bicycle, claimed fourth place in 7:08:26.

Keck Baker, Cannondale/Carytown Bikes pb Battley Harley, who achieved his first win of the season at the True Grit Epic, took fifth at 7:10:44. “Dylan Johnson set the pace up the first climb out the gate and I jumped at the top and drilled it on the downside to ensure the holeshot into the woods. I had planned on racing conservatively but that changed when I woke up to the downpour and knew that getting into the woods first might be a good idea.  I lead for the first part of the single track. We were going fast but a “safe” fast.  When we exited the first portion of single track, someone jumped around to lead and did so until the root section beside the river.  I had more momentum so we traded spots again and I lead through the creek, over the bridge and going into the next portion of single track which seemed to climb more than anything.  After breaking through this section, the selection had been started pretty well.  I think, at first, it was about 8 of us and we started riding along pretty well together.  All but Brian Schworm and a few others were unwilling to put in any work. So, all in all, the group did a good job at moving forward to keep the gap established after exiting the single track.  Tanguy said that he had not been training much but he was more than willing to ride the front to keep the speed up. I can’t recall exactly when but I decided to attack simply because the race was becoming boring and this had me straying yet again from my pre-race strategy. However, I like racing my bike and it just seemed that we had been riding along casually for too long so I attacked and Dylan Johnson answered and bridged up to me as we started to roll up a climb. 

I looked back and saw the group had shattered and there was a group in chase.  I told Dylan I thought we had to far to go to try and keep this up and thought we should join the three behind us who were bridging up and all five of us worked together but, as I sat up, he kept moving forward.  I dropped back and now the group four just started rotating at a nice even pace.  I was wondering where Tanguy and Schworm were. Schworm had to shoot air in his tire and Tanguy appeared to be playing it smart, trying not to burn a match. 

As we were rolling, I started to feel worse and worse. I had not felt good all day after starting to cramp 20 miles into the race. I’m not sure whether it was the cold or the lack of riding for the past couple of weeks due to work, but I was starting to have difficulty keeping our pace. At this point Schworm had caught up and decided to peg it. Gordon followed and I just kept riding the pace I could hold which was not fast enough. Very soon after, Tanguy came by and Wes Richards tried to follow. I just kept riding my own pace.  I rode for a while and then, surprisingly, caught Wes and was able to pass him. Then I was able to catch Dylan who was paying now for his effort out front.  We rode together and hit the single track to bring it home. 

I could tell from the start that my tire was low since, in the first section, I was hitting my rim here and there. I was hoping that it would hold and I could manage it so I tried to ride away from Dylan in the upper section. I was able to get a nice gap and knew and I was hoping that the tire would hold out but it did not. After stopping and trying to shoot some air in it real quick, I could not get my co2 to work.  After getting help from a few of the 65 milers with no luck, I was walking down the trail at which point Dylan passed and there shortly after Wes passed. I finally was able to get air in my tire and make it down to the finish for 5th, thankful that I was able to get it fixed and at least hold onto something but extremely disappointed as I had really hoped to at least finish in the top three to remain the hunt for the early season prime, an all-expense paid trip to Costa Rica to compete in NUE #12, The Rincon Challenge. Oh well, that’s racing and note to self, when you purchase a new tire inflation product, test it out and learn how to use it.  Oh yes, and another thing, lightweight valve stems can be problematic.”

Seven minutes later, 21 year old, Andrew Dillman, Think Green Toyota of Lexington, took sixth place to finish in 7:17:30.53. 2013 Mohican MTB100 winner, Michael Simonson, finished seventh just three minutes later at 7:20:54.  

NUE Singlespeed Open

Wadsworth gets back to back wins at Cohutta!”

NUE Defending SS Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery p/b Reynolds GM Subaru, put the hammer down to finish in 6:55:53, the best overall time. This marks his second straight win at Cohutta and his second straight win of the 2015 race season in the NUE Series following his victory at the True Grit Epic.

Brian Patton, Eastern Panhandle Bicycles/Military Endurance Cycling, took second in 7:51:19. Three minutes later, Daniel Rapp, Team Noah Foundation, took third in 7:54:56.44 with teammate, Peat Henry, nine minutes back to finish 8:03:31.

Five minutes later, Ernesto Marenchin, Pivot Cycles, Twin 6, WAS Labs, took fifth in 8:07:13. “I ran a 34×19 gear, full rigid.

The race was a bit hot going up the first climb and I lost contact with the main group and got caught up in some traffic in the first single track.  I made it around traffic right before the single track ended and held off the geared riders on the downhill road before the next trail section before the creek crossing. 

I made it through that section pretty solid, passed quite a few geared riders, across the stream and onto the bridge and then made contact with the second and third placed single speed riders – Gordon was well away at that point.

I chased for about 5-10 miles about 20-30 feet between me and the next two single speed riders and then the elastic snapped and they got away from me. 

Brian Patton was behind me the whole time and went cruising by me running what looked to be a bigger gear.  From the looks of his efforts, he was all in very early in the race and putting forth a lot of effort.  I honestly didn’t think he would last, but still tried to catch him.  He eluded my efforts and surged on to end up second on the day.

I didn’t see another single speed rider for about 30 miles or so when I caught up to Peat, just as my second wind was kicking in.  I kept the power on and he kept up with my efforts.  What made it more impressive was the fact that he only had his rear brake working and was skidding around the corners faster than I was going with two brakes.

Around mile 75’ish, a climb came up and Peat lost contact with me.  I kept the pressure on as I was feeling good and I had hopes to catch a few more single speed riders.

Around mile 80 or so, I caught a glimpse of the third place single speed rider on the road, Dan Rapp.  I put my head down and dug deep and was soon about 15-20 feet off his rear wheel five miles later. Dan caught a glimpse of me and not five seconds later I heard a snap of some sort – two pedal strokes later and my chain had snapped. 

I made quick efforts to fix my chain, but my chain tool and efforts were failing – but I eventually got it fixed.  I lost approximately 7-10 minutes by my guess.

I proceeded to get back on and ride steady to the end – having been passed by Peat about five minutes before my successful chain fix, I was sitting in fifth where I would finish the race. Next race up is Mohican!”

NUE Masters 50+

Clayton Takes NUE #2

Jeff Clayton, Super Sport Athletic Wear, posted his first NUE win on Saturday at 8:11:46. “From what I’ve heard, this event is about 50/50 on beautiful weather/trail conditions or rainy weather/miserable trail conditions. I’ve raced the Big Frog three times and this year was my first Cohutta 100, and the 50/50 odds have been my experience, with a cold/wet 2013 race and then the rainy mess that greeted us this year. I was making clothing choices right up to five minutes before the start, and eventually went with a layering approach, figuring I’d be able to shed some stuff as the day wore on…but I didn’t realize how warm it would get.

The start was fast and furious, as I expected, and by the top of the first rise on the pavement climb I was gapped by the lead group. I was pretty sure last year’s masters NUE champion, Roger Masse, wasn’t in that group and I found a nice single speeder (I think it was Pete Henry) to pace me up the rest of the climb. The singletrack was messy but manageable. I think the fact that it was raining pretty hard kept the trail from becoming the energy sapping peanut butter mud. As would become a theme of my day, I ended up in a string of mostly single speeders. Most of the time we’d climb at about the same rate, the steeper stuff they would pull away, the shallower stuff I’d gear up (I like to grind too) and pull away. If there was pedaling involved on the descent I’d pull away there too.

I started to get hot as the rain stopped and the sun peaked out. Quickly shedding the arm warmers, vest and skull cap, but really couldn’t do anything about the wool base layer, tights and wool gloves—my hypothermic experience of 2013 made me dress too conservatively and I would pay for that later. I was still rolling along with my singlespeed buddies (hopefully keeping them happy by trying to do pulls on the descents) when reaching aid station 4…then things got real. Brian Patton scooted out of the feed without Dan Rapp and Peat Henry and the chase was on! I eventually settled in, although at a bit higher pace than really felt right, with Dan and another geared racer (maybe Zane Wenzel). I stuck with them until about mile 50 when the heat started to take its toll on me. I figured out that I’d better ease up or I’d run out of hydration and energy as this was a 33-ish mile leg between aid stations.

Several minutes later Ross Anderson rolled by me and I jumped on his wheel right as he started a descent. He’s a pretty big guy and was riding using a power meter, so he was a perfect pacer for me, keeping me from going too hard on the (seemingly endless) climbs, and powering down the descents in his draft. It helped that he was great at cornering on the gravel too. I didn’t do a lick of work for him, but he was really cool about me sticking with him.

Finally about mile 70, two singlespeeders caught us and Ross added a few more squirrels to the power output and I capitulated. From there on it was time to do the endurance racing survival thing. At 80 miles my rear shifter, which had already been giving me warning signs, seized up entirely, leaving me as a two-speed (thank goodness I haven’t made the swap to single ring). I figure that I am a closet singlespeeder at heart anyway, so what the heck. It sure did make some of the steeper pitches on the long road back a bear—I probably was down to 30 rpm cadence in places! I started to do a lot of checking over my shoulder (please don’t catch me Roger!). The singletrack was still nasty, surprisingly so I thought. My dreams of a sub-8 hour vanished as I slowly struggled through the quartz loop (again), quartz bypass (again) and chestnut trails. I decided to take the Thunder rock descent slowly…if Roger caught me there then I’d just try to duke it out on the last bit of pavement. My last foray with my single speed buddies flying down TR and I happily yielded the trail to them, and then one last pavement push to the finish. A tough day, but I was happy to finish first in the 50+ and looking forward to the rest of the series!”

Coming off a win at the True Grit Epic, NUE defending Champion, Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling, finished second at Cohutta coming in at 8:28:37, three minutes faster than last year. “Despite a solid warm-up the day before the race, I really felt weak at the start and pretty quickly started dropping behind the fairly large front group up the first climb. I latched onto the chasing group for a while but was really hurting and, as a result, my position in the single track was not so good.

I stuck to my slotted in position though the single track toward Aid 1, trying to regroup. I soon found myself riding in a small group that included fellow Masters rider, Tom Kruse. The group was passed by Blackwater Bikes rider Daniel McPeake and I latched on leaving Kruse behind. I rode with McPeake through Aid 4 until we encountered Andy Rhodes. They started attacking each other on the climbs. I didn’t want to and really couldn’t match those efforts for long so I let them go.

I crossed the line at 8:28 and was surprised to find that Super Sport Athletic Wear rider Jeff Clayton had won the category in an impressive 8:11.  Hat’s off to him. I admit not knowing who he was until after it was over or that there were any Masters racers in front of me, but that’s the beauty of Masters… new freshman every year can be a surprise. I certainly know who he is now!”

Four minutes later, Tom Kruse, took the third podium spot at 8:32:58. Twelve minutes later, David Jolin, Stark Velo, finished fourth at 8:44:38 with Alan Miner, Banks Bikes, rounding out the top five at 8:52:57.

NEXT UP: The KENDA NUE Race Series heads deep into the backcountry of the Mohican State Forest in Ohio for the 13th

 Annual Mohican Mountain Bike 100, a single loop 100 mile and 100k race spanning four counties. For more information or to register, visit www.mohican.net

Results Below:

 

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