Mohican 100-Mile

The 19th Annual KENDA 

Mohican Mountain Bike100

NUE Epic Race Series #2

June 10, 2020 Written by: Ryan O’Dell

Following two months of lockdown, racers were beyond ready to head outdoors and back to real, not just virtual, racing; many wondering whether the 2020 season would be a wash following Covid-19 lockdowns nationwide. On May 30, Mohican MTB100 became the first mountain bike race in the USA to re-open the mountain bike race season, picking up where the NUE Series left off in early March with the True Grit Epic season opener in Utah. The day after True Grit Epic, Utah and most of the nation were on lock down for the first time in our nation’s history. 

Start of the Mohican 100 Photo by: Butch Phillips

Following the latest federal and state guidelines, Mohican MTB100 put together a mitigation plan that was shared with ODNR, EMS, and the local health department requesting their input and suggestions. The plan included changing the typical mass start downtown in favor of a time trial format beginning and ending at Mohican Adventures. At least ten years ago, Mohican developed a well thought out rain route as an option to protect local trails in case of heavy rains leading up to the event. This plan had never been necessary until May 30.  

Just two weeks before race day, ODNR confirmed that it was opening campgrounds statewide but cancelling existing special use permits including the Forestry permit obtained by the Mohican MTB100. ODNR also confirmed that it would not be issuing any new special use permits for special events through July 15. 

After careful consideration, including the short time frame racers would have to change travel and lodging plans on such short notice and the impact on local businesses including restaurants, camp grounds, and motels that had just opened, Mohican opted to implement an optional rain route that would circumvent the top rated trail in Ohio, an IMBA epic trail system around the gorge located in the Mohican State Forest. The rain route removed 25 miles of pristine singletrack plus the five mile prolog from downtown Loudonville shortening the 100 mile race to just 65 miles with 6394’ elevation gain and the 100k to just 33 miles. Local businesses welcomed Mohican racers in a community largely driven by tourism and suffering from the extended lockdown period.  

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Although the race had the support of the State Highway Patrol, the rain route along SR3 is a posted bike route that did not require police support. To avoid putting any strain on local emergency services, Mohican organized its own volunteer medical team and employed a plan that racers and volunteers agreed made everyone feel safe.

After offering deferrals to 2021 for any reason, including international racers, racers from states still in lockdown, and racers whose flights had been cancelled, just 230 remained from what would have been a record turnout estimated at 600-700 before the pandemic arrived. Local landowners, Mohican captains and volunteers supported the decision. There were no injuries reported and for the first time in its 19 year history, every racer who started finished the race.       

Women’s Open

Sabin wins by a huge margin

Elizabeth Sabin, Honey Stinger, wins by a huge margin to finish at 6:16:31. Sabin is now tied for points with former NUE Series Champion, Carla Williams, who won the True Grit Series Opener in March. “Well, three weekends ago was a wild one for me – my first every NUE race – and my first every big race win! I raced in the Mohican 100 in Loudonville, Ohio it is one of the first races to actually happen nationwide due to Covid-19, but I felt the race director and his team did a great job making an effective mitigation plan! The race ended up being about 70miles instead of 100 due to permits and Covid-19. 

Photo by: Butch Phillips

It was a wild first NUE, but it was a blast overall and all my spring training as well as the awesome support and help of my boyfriend (fellow racer Jamison Sheppard) definitely contributed to a super successful race! The scenery was beautiful and we had perfect weather (a little cooler would have been nice)! Due to the virus they changed the start of the race from a mass start to a time trial format which made it very interesting as I was pretty much on the course alone or with men, I only saw two of my women competitors at the very beginning of the race so I had to just keep pushing myself and I didn’t really know what to expect as it was my first longer mileage race ever! 

It was muddy and wild, with some steep hills and super fun long descents, but I just kept pushing even after my body started to struggle a bit at about mile 55. At the second to last aid station they told me I was in first for women, but I didn’t really want to believe them, nor did I think it could be true I was like they don’t really know for sure with the time trial format, but thanks for the encouragement!  I just wanted to finish. Then, sure enough when I crossed the finish line 45 minutes ahead of the next woman, they told me I had done it – I could not believe it, not only had I finished (something I was honestly hoping I could do, but not sure of going in as prior to this race my longest race mileage wise was 40 miles with much less elevation gain!) and I had WON! Thank you again for such a fantastic race and opportunity!” 

Mindy Mitchell, Momentum Racing, was next getting a sub 7 at 6:57:19 with Paula Baake, Bike Pro Shop, taking third at 7:42:22. For all three women, this was their first time racing at Mohican and the first time in 19 years that the podium consisted of all first time Mohican racers. 

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Men’s Open  

Kasper wins BIG in come from behind fashion

Logan Kasper. Flow Formulas Starlight, ESI Grips, Hand up Gloves, took the win in the Men’s Open to finish 4:09:55

“First off, I want to start by saying thank you! I’m sure you guys have heard this a million times but it was a great to get back to normality. You guys went above and beyond on all the hoops you had to jump through. Hats off to you! I guess you wanted me to describe what led to the win? Well lots of hard work, simple as that! (Laughing) 

Just because the world stops doesn’t mean training has to. Since I had never done the race before, I was placed into the 19th wave. Some call that a disadvantage, I viewed it as I have eighteen waves ahead of me to chase and use as a carrot. Since I was on my own the majority of the race, I could pick the pace. I could really call the shots without any repercussions. If I wanted to hammer up a hill, I could without fear of not being fresh for an attack. I could ride pretty much any line I wanted without interrupted flow from others. Also, no one could use me for drafting. That being said I couldn’t use anyone either. 

On most of the long road stretches I just put my head down and cranked away keeping the pace comfortably uncomfortable. I viewed the race as a 100k plus because no one knew the actual mileage so I raced it at a 100k pace. (Actual mileage was 65 miles). At the last aid station I asked how far ahead the leaders were and they said a few minutes. At that point, I knew as long as I kept the pace steady and rode smart the race was mine. Coming across the line confirmed that! Once again I was super impressed on the whole event and can’t wait to do it again next year!

When asked, who is Logan Kasper? Logan replied, “I have been getting that a lot the past few years. I’m not on people’s radar. In New England I am though. I’m from Massachusetts and have become dominant in the New England scene these past two years. Last year I smashed the Vermont 50 and the Freetown 50. I also was the elite series champion for the bubba burger race series. I was in the top ten of the 0z50 pro-race in Bentonville last year as well but a slashed sidewall landed me in 18th. I have done the Carrabasset several times all with top five results and I did the Shenandoah last year. My goal for this year was to take the NUE Marathon Series and then next year the NUE Epic 100 mile series. Obviously, a wrench got thrown into those gears but I will race as many as I can. I’m looking forward to what comes next! Shout out to the bike shop that helps me out as well, Tomten Biketown in Leominster, Mass. Hope you guys are enjoying the weather and able to get out on the trails!”

Three of the top five finishers this year hailed from Michigan, including the GIANT from Grayling, Michigan, Jorden Wakeley, GIANT Bicycles/Northbound, who took second at 4:22:03 leading the starting pack of Pro racers right out of the gate, attacking early, and setting the pace at the front. One minute behind Wakeley, Scotty Albaugh, Base Media/ Cycle Therapy, from Michigan, snatched third at 4:23:30.

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Three seconds later, Two-time USA Olympian and Hall of Fame racer, Tinker Juarez, Cannondale, at age 59, proved he still has what it takes to remain in the hunt with his younger Pro competitors as he took fourth at 4:23:33. “I was very happy to travel to Ohio to race the Mohican MTB100 with the world in panic mode. I felt happy and comfortable with the racers and felt nobody was in fear of touching or shaking your hand. This was a positive to all the races that are thinking of having their race!” 

Alexander TenElshof, Base Media Racing/Giant Bicycles, from Michigan placed fifth following a missed turn late in the race at 4:23:34. Although he finished just ahead of Juarez, the time trial format allowed the Hall of Famer to place ahead of TenElshof by one second. 

Photo by: Butch Phillips

From his interview with at the Dirty Chain Podcast, “Jordan was pushing the pace right away! The climbs were tough but the four of us stuck together most of the way. The real separation started on the infamous Valley Stream Road climb, the first climb after the suspension bridge at aid 4.5. Valley Stream had like a 7% grade and Jordan attacked! Two guys go with him but Tinker didn’t move. The grade then gets steeper and Jordan attacks out of the saddle and Scotty goes. All three of us separate but then I keep looking back and here comes Tinker. Jordan was thirty seconds ahead then Scotty, me and Tinker came back together. 

Tinker attacks on the last climb and Scotty is left behind. Then, I attacked Tinker knowing where I was and got some separation. One the last turn, I missed it and Scotty took the lead with Tinker behind him. What an experience it was just to ride with that guy! For a 59 year-year-old, man he’s strong! Overall, The race did a great job of getting you the plan and keeping you up to date.”  You can hear the full story from TenElshof in his interview on the Dirty Chain Podcast at  https://soundcloud.com/dirtychainpodcast/episode-30-katerina-nash-professional-cyclist Three young racers placed well including 17-year-old Joseph Urbanowitz, Chainbuster-Pactimo Race, who placed ninth in a strong field. 16-year-old Luke Gunnett, UPMC Pro Bike + Run placed 17th. The youngest finisher was 12-year-old Jared Smith at 5:47:36.   

Singlespeed

Paunovich wins his First SS, 11 Overall! 

Thad Paunovich earned victory with five minutes to spare at 4:55:12.

First off, I couldn’t have been more excited to race in this year’s Mohican MTB 100 Miler (modified version; 65 miles). It was an incredible feeling taking the starting line knowing that this race was the first race to be held nationwide since the Coronavirus outbreak and for most of us racers; this was our first race of 2020. The atmosphere was filled with excitement at the start line. I want to sincerely thank the race director, Ryan O’Dell and all of the awesome volunteers that helped put on this year’s Mohican 100! The extra effort and work that they put in to allow this event to happen safely is to be highly commended!

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Onto the race, due to this year’s circumstances, it did not end up being a 100 miler. The modified course excluded the 25 miles of Mohican singletrack but still included the 15 or so miles of single/doubletrack on private land and all of the other gravel/paved roads and the 10 miles of rail trail that usually make up the Mohican MTB 100 miler. 

With that being said, I thought bike choice was going to be critical for the race. Being that I knew there was going to be about 15 miles of singletrack and 50 miles of road/gravel, I decided to take a little bit of a gamble (especially for a bigger guy that flats often) and ride my flat bar Niner One Rigid SS setup more for gravel with 2.0 tires on the front and 45mm tires on the rear. I was geared 32×17 which is a bit lighter than I would typically run for gravel but definitely harder than the 34×20 gearing that I typically run for singletrack. While parts of the 15 miles of singletrack were very rocky (yes, I did some walking) and were slow on my Niner, for the other 50 miles of the course, my Niner felt like a rocket ship and climbed like a gazelle.  

At 7:05, off I went. The race started off on a little section of double track and soon turned into gravel/road for a while. I felt pretty good early on and knew I had to attack on all of the gravel/pavement sections with the bike setup I was running and that is what I did. I caught some people that went out before me and latched on for some miles until the rocky singletrack came. The rocky singletrack put me in the hurt locker riding slowly and sometimes walking my bike. 

SS legend from Pittsburgh and fellow UPMC Pro Bike & Run team rider, Dahn Pahrs, who I often ride with back home, was in attendance, but he decided to come out to heckle everybody through the rock gardens this year. After getting heckled by Pahrs, I made it through the rocky singletrack losing some time but without a flat or major crash which was a win in my book. 

I got back out on the gravel and made up some ground. I caught SS contender Simon Clark right before we hit the 10 mile rail trail around mile 32 (maybe). We worked together until hammer Ryan Johnson, Cannondale, caught us and basically pulled us the rest of the way down the rail trail along with two other SS contenders and another geared guy. The six of us got to an aid station and three of us, including myself and Ryan, took off. 

I knew there was one more SS contender to catch; defending NUE SS champion Eli Orth. We ended up catching him right before the big and steep Valley Stream climb, which at this point was less than ten miles to go I believe. Of course Dahn Pahrs shifted his heckling position to be at the top of that climb. As soon as I heard him, I kicked in the afterburner and turned it on for the rest of the race knowing that there was a solid chance I could win the race if I held on. I felt like I was climbing Valley Streams full of 93 octane fuel as former Olympian Tinker Juarez likes to say who also raced and was in attendance from California.   

To sum things up, the 93 octane fuel did not run out. I finished the race at exactly 12 noon, finishing in 4 hours and 55 minutes, which was good enough to put me on the top podium spot in 1st place for the SS class and was good enough for 11 O/A. Of course I had to rock my UPMC Pro Bike & Run cycling team shirt and jorts on top of the podium. 

My win at the Mohican MTB 100 was my first National Ultra Endurance (NUE) SS win and my first major win to date. I had a blast like I always do racing my bike amongst some of my favorite people, the cycling community. I saw the entire day as a win for our country and for the cycling community! It ended up being an awesome weekend spending time with the cycling community and racing bikes! Thank you again to race director Ryan O’Dell, all of the volunteers, and of course the racers that came out to race to make this event a success!”

Five minutes behind Paunovich, True Grit Epic SS race winner, Justin Holle, No Ride Around, placed second at 5:00:23. Holle now leads the NUE Epic SS Series with three points in this lowest point’s wins format. 

Seconds later, David Taylor, Team HB Hilltop, took third at 5:00:51. Following his second place finish at the True Grit Season Opener, The Defending NUE Series Epic SS Champion Eli Orth, Team Stages Cycling, was fourth at 5:01:31. Simon Clark, Sponch, rounded out the top five to finish 5:06:59.  

Masters 50+

Card takes the Masters 50+

56-year-old Jonathan Card, Mariner Cycling/Spoke Life, wins the Masters 50+ with the only sub five hour time at 4:59:05 and is now tied with defending NUE Series Masters Champion, Carey Smith with one point apiece. “I first want thank Ryan O’Dell for taking the lead and putting on the event under stressful circumstances. As a promoter myself, I know that it couldn’t have been easy. As far as my race, I felt that the race went well and I had no mechanicals or major dilemmas.  

Photo by: Butch Phillips

I went off in wave three with another rider and a teammate and we made good time during the early portions of the race. I hadn’t ridden some segments of the course, so I tried to remain conservative early in the event for fear that I would run into a part of the course that would be unmanageable.  My teammate and I rode with a group of 7 or 8 riders up until about mile 25 when we climbed to the trailhead which accessed the first major difficult section. This was the trail which encompassed the technical rock garden which then led into the difficult single track climb which was substantial in length and time.  I had been lucky to have ridden this section prior to race day and knew that being in the first or second place entering this section would be paramount.  My teammate took the lead and I followed him into the terrain.  

By the time we departed the single track the group had fallen apart and it was just us two.  He and I pretty much rode the remaining 35-40 miles trading pulls to keep our pace solid while focusing on our nutrition and safety. Our ride allowed us to finish together in 12-13 places overall with my taking the 50+ category. All in all, as good as day as I could have wanted being able to win and have a great time out with a good friend.”

Less than ten minutes behind Card, 51-year-old Jason Urckfitz, Full Moon Vista, took second at 5:09:43. 52-year-old Bruce Stauffer, Cycle Works/Performance Bicycle, was third at 5:26:17. Three minutes later, Ohio native Rodney Reed got fourth at 5:29:07 with Keith Papanicolas, del-ray, in fifth at 5:43:55   

 Next Stop for the NUE Epic Race Series: On July 18, The NUE Series heads to Bend Oregon for the High Cascades 100 that will be an entirely self-supportive race this year following all Federal and State guidelines for social distancing. For more information, visit http://nuemtb.com/

Click Here for Full Results

NUE Mohican 100 Mile

Written by Jen & Anthony Toops

Photos by Butch Phillips

Racers assembled at 7am in downtown Loudonville for the mass start.

The 17th annual Mohican MTB100 kicked off on June 1st at 7am sharp.  Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to take on the deceptively tough course.  Before the start riders were given some encouraging words from the Mayor of Loudonville, Steve Strickland, race director Ryan O’Dell, and a duo rendition of the National Anthem. 100mile and 100k racers then proceeded with a neutral rollout lead by the Ashland Sheriff’s Department to the steep paved climb out of town, where the race officially starts.

The first 7 miles are a fast paced paved section where racers jockey for position going into the 25 miles of single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical single and double track sections thrown in.  Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat.  What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance.  The 100k and 100m course splits after aid station 3, where the 100k turns left and completes the last sections of the course and the 100mile turns right to add in the extra miles (and tough climbs!).  

“New” rock garden added in Mohican Wilderness trails.

This year, a large technical rock garden located at Mohican Wilderness, was brought back thanks to some dedicated trail crew.  This section hasn’t been included since the first race, 17 years ago.  There are also Tree Frog canopy tours, zip lines, and platforms directly overhead enjoyed by racers families. Also added was a new “secret trail” that removed a notorious hike a bike that had become known as “Big A** Climb”. Only one racer in our 17 year history has ever ridden it during the race. That racer was Jeremiah Bishop, who went on to win in both 2017 and 2018.

The water bar downhill was extra sloppy this year.

Finishers cross the line and grab a pint glass(100k) or a growler(100m) and can enjoy the post race atmosphere.  Families and friends gather for food from Smokin’ Bros BBQ, beer from Great Lakes Brewing, and live music.

Race Director Ryan O’dell.

“The biggest improvement at this year’s race was added safety for Mohican racers. The Mohican100 formed a new partnership with University Hospital of Ashland that included a much more detailed medical plan, including a med-evac helicopter at the race, medical room and doctor on call at the finish line, medical staff and tents at each aid station, and quads permitted to go anywhere necessary for rescue of injured racers. The racers who were injured this year had great reports about the speed and helpfulness of our new UH team of professionals.” Race Director, Ryan O’Dell 

Part of the medical crew on hand.

Women’s Open

1st Chase Edwards, 2nd Jen Toops, 3rd Julia Thumel,
4th Becky Edmiston, 5th Heidi Coulter

Edwards Repeats at Mohican

Chase Edwards leading through the first single track section.

Taking the win in the women’s open with a time of 8:30:56 was Chase Edwards of Construction Zone Racing. This was her second Mohican 100 win after winning last year in 2018.

“I was nervous going into Mohican! My body had not been performing the way I’d wanted it to most of the spring, and I also find wet and muddy singletrack to be extremely challenging. At the start, I stayed focused on Jen Toops who is a really strong rider and also from the area. My plan was to ride behind her for most of the first singletrack section, however, I got knocked down by an overly aggressive rider during the neutral roll out. Adrenaline from the crash helped me catch back up to Jen, and then without thinking I got in front of her just before the singletrack. I rode the first 48 miles of singletrack as smooth as possible, and when I got to the dirt road section in the middle of the race I was feeling great and decided to turn it up and widen my gap. The green rolling hills of the Mohican State Park make for an awesome course! I crossed the finish line with juice still left in my legs, which makes me extra excited for the rest of the NUE season. Lumberjack 100 is up next! Thanks Construction Zone Racing, Tenac Coaching, and Paragon Athletics for the support this season.”

Jen Toops in 2nd, staying close through the Mohican singletrack.

On her first Mohican 100 Mile attempt, 2018 NUE Marathon Series Champion, Jen Toops of Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles, finished second with a time of 8:52:49.

“I lined up near the front to get a good position for the opening sprint to the single track and hopefully avoid any crashes. Having just finished racing the Trans-Sylvania Epic 5 day stage race only 4 days prior, I had no expectations for race day other than to enjoy some new trails. It’s funny living only an hour a way but I’ve never ridden most of wilderness.

Chase started strong and entered the state park single track a few positions ahead of me. It was hard to watch Chase disappear and not hold her wheel but I just didn’t have it today and decided to race my own race. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I felt like a yo-yo all day getting burst of energy and then just trying to keep the pedals turning. Mentally I wanted to go catch Chase but my body said, nope. I didn’t see any other women throughout the day but was happy to chat with some guys to pass the miles. To my understanding there was mostly gravel after the 100k split. Wow, was I surprised of the singletrack climb after aid 3. The second half of the race was beautiful and I had a blast riding some new trails in Ohio. I thankfully caught a pace line on the rail trail and we all worked together to knock that out. A few gravel roads and some more singletrack later and I crossed the finish under my goal of 9hrs.

Thanks to all the amazing volunteers this year! Especially aid 4.5 to give me something to read up that climb and the motivational stickers to get me to the finish! Big congrats to Chase for a strong race and Julia who finished 3rd after also taking on the Mohican 100 after the TSE stage race.”

Julia Thumel in the lead pack.

Also coming off the TSE stage race and taking the third step, Julia Thumel of Race Pace Bicycles, finished in 9:21:08.

Men’s Open

1st Dillon Johnson, 2nd Christian Tanguy, 3rd Jeffrey Pendlebury,
4th Heath Thumel, 5th Adam Hill

Johnson is TWO for TWO

Johnson picking his was through the new rock garden.

After coming off the NUE Cohutta win in April, Dylan Johnson, takes the NUE Mohican 100 mile win in a time of 6:49:22. He is now two-for-two and leads the 2019 NUE EPIC series. Christian Tanguy of RBS Cycling Team finished second in 7:03:11 and Jeffrey Pendlebury of RideOn Wooster took third place crossing the line in 7:09:42.

Christian Tanguy on his way down the water bars.
Jeffrey Pendlebury half way through the first singletrack

Singlespeed

1st Anthony Toops, 2nd Shane Kramer, 3rd Eli Orth,
4th Dahn Pahrs, 5th Adam Murack

TOOPS gets 1st NUE EPIC win

Anthony Toops dropping into the water bar downhill.

2018 NUE Marathon Singlespeed Champion, Anthony Toops of Paradise Garage, gets his first Mohican 100 Mile win finishing in 7:37:33.

“Going into this race I had no expectations after spending the previous week racing the Trans-Sylvania Epic stage race.  I wasn’t sure how my legs would be come race day.  Mohican has always been a tough race for me, even though it’s my home course.  I previously always hit a wall somewhere around the wilderness area either due to pacing or nutrition issues.  This was also my first race back on my Pivot LES hardtail; that bike rips!.  I ran 32×19 gearing which I thought was perfect.  There are some long flat sections in the course, but I think if you geared for those you would really struggle on all the steep punchy climbs, which there are a lot of.  
This year I had a different race plan approach.  Being my first Mohican 100 mile attempt I decided to ride my own race for the most part, making sure to keep my competitors in sight.  The race started off as usual with some jockeying for position going into the single track.  Pahrs was the first 100mi SS’r to get there and I was back about five geared riders and Peyton, a 100k SS’r.  For the most part the positions stayed the same throughout the park single track with a few passes here and there.  The pace was fast but sustainable. Just before the infamous water bar downhill I passed Pahrs and decided to ride the bars as fast as I could to open a small gap going onto the road.  Gotta say, the heckle section this year was the best I’ve ever seen!  
Once on the road, I concentrated on keeping my pace up because I knew Pahrs would be strong on the roads.  Going into aid 2 I had about a 30sec lead so I made sure to get in and out quick.  Heading up the Griffen Rd climb I was cresting over as Powers was hitting the bottom.  I knew I had to keep pushing it here since its a long road section before the Mohican Wilderness single track.  I have to give a big thanks to Josh Kunz, Ryan, and anyone else for all the work on the wilderness trails this year!  That section was a blast and definitely tough!
Going into Aid 3 I was out of sight of 2nd place and I had linked up with a top 10 geared rider.  We would end up working together until the end of the race and I traded pulls as best I could being a single speeder.  From Aid 4 on I made sure to keep the fluids/calories flowing and just concentrate on riding that fine line of going hard and not cracking.  This was a tough portion of the course.  The heat and humidity was getting higher and the legs were starting to feel it.  Aid 4.5 was ran by some great people from the shop I ride for, Paradise Garage in Columbus.  Tunnel vision was heavy at this point so I missed out on the all the fun they were having.  I grabbed fluids, chugged some M&M’s, and kept pedaling.  Going past aid 5 is always a good feeling because you know the only thing in your way is more fun single track.  The adrenaline kicks in here and you end up finding energy that you didn’t know you had.  Heading down the last road to the finish was a relief!  I crossed the line, grabbed my Mohican 100mi finishers growler, and finally got revenge on the race that has always kicked my butt!
Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for putting on an amazing race as always and thanks to Paradise Garage for all the support!”

Shane Kramer over the rocks in Mohican Wilderness.

Finishing about ten minutes later, Shane Kramer crossed the line second at 7:47:08. Taking third place was, Eli Orth of Team Hungry, finishing at 7:49:58.

3rd place, Eli Orth, hammering through the singletrack.

“Coming off of just finishing the 5 hard days of stage racing single speed at TSE on Monday it was a quick turnaround to racing Mohican on Saturday. The start seemed to be a really relaxed pace leading up the first climb. I worked my way to the front to try to get good position leading into the single track. Once to the single track i found myself in good position where i could ride hard without worrying about trying to pass a bunch of people. I kept a steady consistent pace like i had planned. I spent a lot of the day in the company of my friend Michael Gottfried. Having him there made the day go quicker and at times we helped push each other. He especially helped me once we hit the flat bike path! We caught the 2nd place ss and he latched onto our train.. then I saw good ol Dahn Pahrs up ahead just spinning away. I must say I was happy to see him, but he wasn’t so happy to see me haha. After a short chat i knew I had to keep the pace up as 2nd 3rd and 4th place single speeders were now all together. We all stayed together and stopped together at aid 4 (mile 72). Some of us were in and out quickly. After that aid stop i never saw Dahn again. I was still going back and forth with the 2nd place single speeder Shane Kramer though. Eventually he was able to put a little space on me and i was unable to pull him back in. Overall it was a great race especially on my not so fresh legs. Great to see Ohio take 2 of the top 3 spots in the Epic distance SS! Huge congrats to Anthony Toops on the win!My gearing was 34×20 which seemed to work well. 
Thanks to my team/sponsors Team Hungry and Absolute Black. My next race will be the Lumberjack 100 after two short weeks of rest and recovery.”

Masters

1st Joe Johnston, 2nd Devin Debower, 3rd Christian Butts,
4th Jeff Chalmers, 5th Ali Arasta

Johnston goes sub 8hrs 

Masters winner, Joe Johnston, dropping over the technical rocks.

Taking the win in the Masters class was, Joe Johnston going sub eight hours and finishing in 7:58:25. About six minutes later Devin Debower took the second position in 8:04:03 and Christian Butts finished third crossing the line in 8:41:28.

2nd place masters, Devin Debower.
3rd place masters, Christian Butts.

For full results CLICK HERE

Butch Phillips Photo Gallery CLICK HERE

Next up on the 100 Mile Epic NUE Series is the High Cascades in Bend, OR. CLICK HERE to register.

NUE Mohican 100K

Written by Jen & Anthony Toops

Photos by Butch Phillips

Racers assembled at 7am in downtown Loudonville for the mass start.

The 17th annual Mohican MTB100 kicked off on June 1st at 7am sharp.  Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to take on the deceptively tough course.  Before the start riders were given some encouraging words from the Mayor of Loudonville, Steve Strickland, race director Ryan O’Dell, and a duo rendition of the National Anthem. 100mile and 100k racers then proceeded with a neutral rollout lead by the Ashland Sheriff’s Department to the steep paved climb out of town, where the race officially starts.

The first 7 miles are a fast paced paved section where racers jockey for position going into the 25 miles of single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical single and double track sections thrown in.  Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat.  What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance.  The 100k and 100m course splits after aid station 3, where the 100k turns left and completes the last sections of the course and the 100mile turns right to add in the extra miles (and tough climbs!).  

100k SS podium finisher Josh Kunz, making easy work of the new rock garden.

This year, a large technical rock garden located at Mohican Wilderness, was brought back thanks to some dedicated trail crew.  This section hasn’t been included since the first race, 17 years ago.  There are also Tree Frog canopy tours, zip lines, and platforms directly overhead enjoyed by racers families. Also added was a new “secret trail” that removed a notorious hike a bike that had become known as “Big A** Climb”. Only one racer in our 17 year history has ever ridden it during the race. That racer was Jeremiah Bishop, who went on to win in both 2017 and 2018.

The water bar downhill was extra sloppy this year.

Finishers cross the line and grab a pint glass(100k) or a growler(100m) and can enjoy the post race atmosphere.  Families and friends gather for food from Smokin’ Bros BBQ, beer from Great Lakes Brewing, and live music.

Race Director Ryan O’dell.

“The biggest improvement at this year’s race was added safety for Mohican racers. The Mohican100 formed a new partnership with University Hospital of Ashland that included a much more detailed medical plan, including a med-evac helicopter at the race, medical room and doctor on call at the finish line, medical staff and tents at each aid station, and quads permitted to go anywhere necessary for rescue of injured racers. The racers who were injured this year had great reports about the speed and helpfulness of our new UH team of professionals.” Race Director, Ryan O’Dell 

Part of the medical crew on hand.

Men’s Open

1st Brian Schwarm, 2nd Eric Nielson, 3rd Jack Perry,
4th Jamie Babcock, 5th Ross Clark

Schwarm takes TOP STEP

Brian Schwarm tackling one of the many Wilderness area rock gardens.

Brian Schwarm of Think Green Bicycles took the Men’s 100k Win finishing in 4:39:28. After taking second place at the NUE Big Frog, Schwarm is now leading the 2019 Marathon Series.

” The weather leading up to the Mohican 100 was very wet with rain every day, which had me very concerned about the trail conditions.  In fact, it rained for most of the drive up to Ohio from Kentucky but as I got closer, the rain stopped and the sky cleared.  Very quickly upon my arrival, I heard the chatter that the trails were actually in great condition.  This relieved my anxiety and I was ready to roll.

The race started with the usual scramble out of Loudonville on some back roads to the singletrack.  I was sitting in a good position in the top ten once we hit the trail.  It was a brisk pace initially with everyone together except one brave soul who attacked from the beginning.  Soon, however, Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguay, and Jeff Pendlebury (all in the 100 mile race) left our group in pursuit of the lone rider out front.  I stayed with the others for about half of the singletrack and then I lifted the pace in hopes of catching the lead riders before the road section.  I chased hard and caught the lead group on the horse trails just before the road section.  Just as I caught the lead group, the initial pacesetter, who was in the 100k, dropped from the group so it left me with Dylan, Christian, and Jeff all from the 100 mile in the lead group.  Oh, and we put on quite a show at the water bar descent…someone slipped in front of me, I fell on him, then another fell on me.  With all the spectators (and hecklers) present it made for a “memorable” experience.

Anyway, we hit the road section together and shared the workload taking turns pulling and drafting.  I made sure I did more than my fair share since I actually had the most to gain being the only 100k racer in the group.  We were hearing time gaps of three to five minutes until we entered the Mohican Wilderness section just before aid station three.  Jeff attacked just before entering the trail and Dylan gave chase.  This broke up our group and left me to ride solo through the trail, into aid station 3, and the final gravel road and trail to the finish.

It was amazing to pull off the win at Mohican especially with my family (who live nearby) present to watch the race.  Thanks to them for their support and to my amazing wife Jennifer for her continued support.  In addition, thanks to my team Think Green – Bicycle Face and other sponsors SWORD, ESI grips, Native Eyewear, and Specialized Bikes.  Next on the agenda is the Wilderness 101k in Pennsylvania in late July.”

Eric Nielson keeping it upright on the tough water bar downhill.

About ten minutes back, Erik Nielson of South Paw Cycles took second place in 4:48:05.

“The Mohican 100k was my first venture into Ohio and it did not disappoint! I had no idea what the trails would be like or the number of people doing the event but both exceeded my expectations! We had what I would consider an early start for a 100k (not so much an early morning race person) but that was due in large to combining both the 100k and 100mile start times. 600 plus riders strong, we began the race and immediately hit what would be one of many wall like hills littering the race course. I was warned ahead of time to get a good position into the woods because that could make or break your day once on the singletrack, so up I punched it entering the trails in the top 10.

From here the pace was blistering whittling down the field to 4 riders off the front including Brian Schworm, the leader of my race. and my group of 5 in chase a few minutes back. After a few hours of some seriously fun singletrack we got to the business end of the race which included the water bars of doom, a rock garden not nearly as big as that one from Last of the Mohicans but infinitely more slippery, some hike a bike, gravel, pavement, and some more of those walls mentioned earlier. At the 100k/100mile split the riders went their separate ways with the 100 milers seemingly envying my left turn to the shorter distance and me being relieved I was not making a right turn for more hours of pain. 

I settled in with my new found friend, Jim Litzinger the winner of the SS 100k class and second overall, and knocked out the last gut busting gravel climb to the final singletrack. At this point Brian had checked out and was most likely showered and changed at the finish, and Jim was schooling me again on the art of standing up and laying down the hammer. I crested the last major climb for the day and enjoyed a smooth finish to 2nd place in Men’s Open 100k and 3rd overall. 

My next NUE race was going to be Iron Mtn. Unfortunately this race is no longer happening this year but instead they are adding a 100k to Shenandoah, so here I come! Thanks to Industry Nine for keeping those big wheels rolling, Giant Bicycles for making carbon sweetness for the those big wheels to roll under, Fox suspension for making my ass not hurt, and SouthPaw Cycles for keeping all those bits together!”

Jack Perry on the heels of 2nd place.

Finishing only about one and a half minutes back, Jack Perry of La Vie Alpo took the third step in 4:49:44.

“My experience at this year’s Mohican 100 was amazing. The energy invested by everyone involved was impressive and helps put this event into a class of it’s own. The bulk of my day was spent chasing by myself which allowed me to manage my effort without having to put tactics into the equation. It also gave me the opportunity to enjoy the incredible trails that Ohio has to offer. Do yourself a favor and put this one on the calendar. 
Team: La Vie Alpo Sponsors:Miles Perry CoachingMaple WheelsSan Pellegrino”

Open Women

1st Jen Nielson, 2nd Allison Arensman, 3rd Emily Payonk,
4th Sydney Wenger, 5th April Beard

Nielson gets first NUE marathon win

Getting her first 2019 Marathon win, Jen Nielson of South Paw Cycles finishes in 5:47:35.

Jen Nielson holding the lead through Mohican State Park.

“The lore of the Mohican 100 is not to be taken lightly. It is wrought with tales of a wall of pavement littered with carnage. Its survivors tell of impassible water bars so slick with slime that no racer can ride them. There are stories of horse trails so deep with mud, all are forced to tread by foot. Slick rock gardens and webs of roots taunt the brave souls who dare to pass, as do the steep wall-like gravel climbs. So with that, the long journey was made to Loudonville, Ohio in order to discover the truth…. 

The mass start was indeed massive, with somewhere around 600 racers lining up. The women’s open field was well over 30 deep. Impressive to say the least. Pre-race jitters hit me hard that morning. Harder than normal. I lined up off to the left side of the field within the first couple of rows. My goal was to try and stay safely away from the chaos that was about to ensue. 

A “neutral” start took us out of town where we were quickly greeted by, dare I say it, a wall of pavement. It was a steep climb and as the pace ramped up I felt myself getting pulled closer and closer to the center of the pack. I tried to ride smart and focus on myself. This was a long race and I didn’t need to burn all of my matches on the first climb or risk bumping rubber with another rider. A wreck off to my right claimed several racers. I pushed on. 

Breathing heavily, I crested the climb barely hanging onto the back of the lead group, which was still fairly large. Another steep, albeit shorter, climb left no room for recovery. The leaders were hammering and the group was starting to become strung out over the next flat to rolling sections. I looked around and caught sight of a guy coming up fast from behind. I tensed up ready to jump, and grabbed his wheel as soon as he came by. In no time at all I was safely nestled back in the front group. There was no recovering though. 

A gravel climb, then on into some slick grassy singletrack. There was bottlenecking as racers break checked to avoid boggy sections and back wheels fishtailed through the wet grass and mud. Gravel, a narrow metal bridge, and then a super steep short trail. With so many women, and most being unfamiliar to me, it was hard to know where anyone was in all of the chaos. I looked back in time to see one of them about 3 riders back. I pushed the pedals hard, not wanting to get caught before the next round of single track. Up and over, across gravel, and into a line of hikers up another short steep pitch. My slow awkward remount was proof that I am no cyclocrosser. 

I pushed across the open gravel, fighting to get a few more riders between myself and the next girl before ducking into the next stretch of flowing single track. I found myself in the middle of a train of guys. The trail was fast and fun, and I knew I was pushing harder than I probably realized. I sincerely hoped I wouldn’t pay for it later. This was an incredibly challenging section of the course to do any passing on, so I knew I had to make it count if I wanted to keep as much distance as I could between myself and the others. I stayed safely tucked into the train pushing harder up some climbs than I wanted to before getting caught by the slinky effect and hitting other climbs at an alarmingly slow pace. After a super fun descent, we hit some pavement and few antsy guys from the rear of the train made their move. I jumped on and was quickly dropped by them up the next single track climb leaving me in no man’s land. 

As I approached the first aide station, a male racer warned me that another lady was not too far back. I pulled in to grab a swig of Coke and an orange slice. She slid by me without my ever seeing her. Sneaky! I continued on getting periodic time checks letting me know I was anywhere from 1-3 minutes behind her and holding steady. 

Somewhere between the first and third aide stations I found the infamous water bars. The water bars themselves were fairly dry and unintimidating. It was the deep mud in between that made things tricky. I made it about half way through before being forced to dismount and fight having my shiny new shoes totally engulfed in mud. I eventually found the muddy horse path that was not only impossibly deep, but incredibly steep. Hike-a-bike it would be for this girl and the surrounding dudes. 

There was a lot of gravel and pavement mixed in there. I feared that those ahead of me and behind me might be bigger power houses than myself, so I dug deep and was pleasantly surprised to find more engine than I expected. I reeled in several guys creating my own train before two of us broke away. The gravel climbs were steep, but relatively short when compared to Pisgah riding and racing. 

I did find a slimy rock garden that forced me off the bike, choosing my steps wisely. They made our wet rocks at home seem grippy and tame in comparison. It was at the rock garden I learned that I was the leader of the lady pack. The woman in front of me was racing the 100 mile, while I was racing the 100k. 

Aide station three was filled with all the best treats, which would be much needed before the final significant gravel climb. I had a little chuckle to myself as I slowly reeled a dismounted single speeder hiking his bike up the climb, marveling at how it seemed to take forever to finally reach him and pass, even with the advantage of gears and being able to remain on my bike. 

I was caught by a power house of a guy on the last section of pavement and pulled to the final aide station. I thought a draft was what I needed until I jumped in it and realized just how much extra work it was taking to hang onto that wheel. He was hauling! I was most grateful for it though. The final aide station was at the bottom of a long single track climb that marked the last 4 miles or so in to the finish. I offered a pass to a guy on my rear wheel, but he insisted my lines were just fine. They didn’t feel fine. They felt awkward as the fatigue set in. I enjoyed having the company, commentaries, and laughs on the way in. 

Cruising in on the final stretch of the gravel and into the finish line was a relief. What a race and what a course! A total surprise in every way and all for the best. Without a doubt, this will not be the last Mohican. 

Perhaps one of the biggest surprise was the amount of support I had on and off the course. I felt like I was hearing my name and words of encouragement all through the woods! I don’t know who all was out there (a few familiar faces and a lot of faces/voices I didn’t have time to process), but I am incredibly thankful for the boost and support. It made this race feel like home! 

As always, I couldn’t do it without the support of the best mechanic and partner in crime a girl could ask for or without a brilliant coach who also has the patience of a saint. I absolutely couldn’t do it without the amazing gear and support provided by Industry Nine, Maxxis Tires, and Giant/Liv. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of those families. 

Allison Arensman eyes up through the first 20 mile singletrack section.
Emily Payonk in the hunt.

Allison Arensman of J.A. King finished second, 6:33:22 and Emily Payonk rounded out the podium finishing third, 6:36:56

Singlespeed

1st Jim Litzinger, 2nd Peyton Randolph, 3rd Scott Williams, 4th Aaron Grabor, 5th Josh Kunz (2nd and third had a podium mixup)

Litzinger goes sub 5 hours

Jim Litzinger having a blast through the new rock garden.

Taking the single speed win and finishing second overall was, James Litzinger of Syndicate Cycling, finishing in a time of 4:47:02.

“I always get excited to head to the start line in downtown Loudonville with 600 plus riders all geared up to leave it all out there on an amazing course. I was sitting back in the 2nd or 3rd row of riders on the first time waiting for the rollers to start the chaos of wheel sucking trying to make it to the woods in good position. It was an unusually slow start for the mass of riders heading out of town. I expected the pace to pick up after the first climb like it has in the past but this year the pace just seemed to stay pretty calm until the last descent going into the gravel. I shot up the left side getting in a tucked position taking over the front of the lead group waiting for the rest of the riders to pass me. About 7 or 8 riders passed me going into the woods and I was very happy about that starting position. I was really stoked to ride with a lot of the annual winners in the 100/100k distance. I knew if I could keep their pace for a while I would in good position to win. Dylan went off the front and Bryan joined him and I knew that pace would be too fast for me to manage the rest of the race. I then joined the chase group for most of the single track. They had a pretty fast pace going too. I actually let them ride away for a little knowing that I did not want to push that hard. I wanted to ride my pace. To my surprise, I ended up catching back on to the chase group shortly after letting them ride away. I was super pumped to link up with this group of 4 and myself going into the gravel roads. After popping out onto the roads we all did a little inventory to see who all we were riding with. I was the only SS’er in the group and there was one other rider for the 100k, Erik Nielson. The rest of the riders were set up for the 100 miler. Adam Hill who came down to Ohio from Canada was a huge help! Adam and Erik were awesome to work with. Those guys would make some monster pulls on the rollers and I would pace us up the climbs and in the single track. It was a perfect storm for a fast and fun day on the bike! Going into the 100k/100 split I was riding alone after feeling pretty good about my fitness. When I rolled through aid station 3 I quickly grabbed some water and a piece of banana. Instead of rolling onto the finish alone I would it would be a good idea to spin the flat road along the river as Erik caught up. Great company really makes these races! Once Erik caught up we shared some positive comments about our positions and set a plan to finish the race strong. Valley Stream Road climb is bitter sweet. It’s a bear of a climb with the steep turn and the loose gravel which make it difficult on a single speed but once you clear it you are almost home. Since I could not down shift into an easier gear I put a small gap on Erik. Once rolling over the top he was not far behind so we quickly got back together. Erik continued his strong pulls on the road leading us to the final section of trail where I was able to set the pace. I always feel that I get an energy boost for the super fun finishing single track knowing that the finish is just over the hill. 

I was riding my Specialized Epic Full Suspension set up 30×17 and wow, did it fit the bill! It was so plush and sporty in the woods and light and responsive on the gravel climbs. Pair that bike up with my Schwalbe Racing Ralphs and it was the ultimate ride! My family, Syndicate Cycling, and PRO BIKE + RUN work just as hard to get me to the finish line!”

Peyton Randolph heading into the water bar downhill.

Peyton Randolph of Cyclist Connection finished second in 5:11:45.

“I knew it was going to be a good day when I entered the MSP single track behind 100m ss’er Dahn Pahrs. A few miles in, I felt fresh so I moseyed on by Dahn and tried to push the pace. Hearing Dahn cough, hack, and make all sorts of disgusting noises back there, I thought perhaps he was hurting a little? Unfortunately, I blew up on the covered bridge climb and Dahn blew right by before the first aid station. Fun while it lasted. Water bars this year were sloppy but so entertaining with the Ohio Knobby Side Down and Trailer Park hecklers present with mega phones and insults. Fun race made even better thanks to those guys and gals. Wilderness trails were once again in the best shape of the year. Rock garden was a sweet addition this year. Already looking forward to next year! A huge thank you to my wife Kayla, grandparents, and our puppy Nino who drove up to meet at certain points along the course to cheer us on! Thank you to Chumba USA who shipped me the sweetest USA-made titanium frame I’ve ever seen or ridden! Thank you to Ric at Cyclist Connection for ordering us up an endless list of parts/bikes and Ryan at Wheelie Fun bike shop for providing the best bike fit. 

Scott Williams in the Mohican Wilderness rocks.

Finishing in third, Scott Williams of Dirt Rag Magazine, crossed the line in 5:22:04.

Masters

1st Kevin Simms, 2nd Thomas Franek, 3rd Paul Cooney,
4th David Jolin, 5th Chris Torrance

Simms takes the Masters WIN

Kevin Simms in the lead early.

Kevin Simms of Sound Solution takes the Masters win with a time of 5:10:01.

“Thank You Mohican 100 for the epic race event! Travelling south from Canada to complete the race proved to be worth our while and then some! Glad to represent my sponsor ‘Sound Solutions – Architectural Products’ at this race! 

I lined up right behind the pace truck and loved the hilly road start to spread us out. Although there were a few tire taps and handle bar rubs, I think everybody stayed upright. I moved with the front group, dropping into the single track in top 15 riders to secure some good flow with quality riders. Lotza positive morale among the racers and the park Loop was amazing!”

After 40–45 km, I Hit the gravel section hard, knowing Lots of people would use it to try and recover. Unfortunately I didn’t have a soul to work with, spending lots of time in ghost bar position on the flats and steady on the climbs. Dropping back into the single track proved tough, especially the rock garden but amazing fans seems to keep you going! 

The final single track was a solo mental battle, hoping I had stayed on course and fighting the fatigue of a long day. Rolled across 5:10 and was welcomed with a super fun atmosphere including beer, music and awards! Love the plaques! A race to remember and highly recommend it to anybody.”

Thomas Franek flying through the Mohican singletrack.

Thomas Franek of Team Lake Effects finishes in second place, 5:15:34. Paul Cooney of Spoke Omotion gets the third spot in 5:28:05.

“This was my first time racing the Mohican. I talked a couple of other Ontario boys from the Toronto area into registering, and we drove down in my RV to check out the trails (hills !) around Loudonville.  Its one of my goals to get to all the races with the coolest names like “Mohican 100” ! 
We all get a bit stale racing local multi lap XC races on trails we have been memorizing for the last 30 years – so travelling and riding a big 100K loop on trails I’ve never seen before is exciting.  Flying around blind corner after corner and just trusting you can read, react and trust your skills to keep the bike upright is such a fun way to race.
I started Mohican a bit harder than I should have ….  but I was hoping that some fast wheels early on would help me get through the first couple hours with a good pace.  After hour 3, I was it was all about pace management.  Climbing steady, eating and drinking as much as I could to keep the cramps at bay.  Thanks to all the awesome volunteers for managing feed stations and helping me restock bottles and food in under a minute at each aid station.I had no idea what place I was in…I just kept pedaling, suffering, drooling and hallucinating until I crossed the finish and heard the announcer saying “3rd place”.  I had to go back and high 5 him !! Sponsors: Spoke O’Motion bicycle shopPeter Kraiker photography”

Paul Cooney excited to hear he finished third.

For full results CLICK HERE

Butch Phillips photo gallery CLICK HERE

Next up on the Marathon NUE Series is on July 13th in Carrabassett Valley, ME. CLICK HERE to register.