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 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

 

NUE Wilderness 101

Written by: @JenToops

Photos by: Bryan Lewis

The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack.  This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph

Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day!  Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.

Open Men

Johnson gets third NUE win for 2018

Open Men: 1st Dylan Johnson, 2nd-Brian Schworm, 3rd-Christian Tanguy, 4th- Heath Thumel, 5th-John Wiygul, 6th-Andy Rhodes, 7th, Dan Atkins.

In the open men’s division a lead group of Johnson, Bishop, Tanguay and Schworm formed but after, Jeremiah Bishop (Caynon Topeak Factory Racing), had to stop several times for flat tires, Bishop was able to finish in ninth place. Taking the win by about seven minutes was the 2017 NUE race series champion, Dylan Johnson (Leska MTB), crossing the line in 6:39:50.

Finishing strong for second place, Brian Schworm (Think Green Bicycle), came in at 6:47:17.

“The recent weather with the record setting amounts of rain and consequential flooding had me a bit concerned about the condition of the course for the 2018 Wilderness 101; however, with a few reroutes by the race director and a nice break in the weather on race day, the conditions were completely agreeable.  The race started out of Coburn to cool temperatures and the excitement began although the pace was moderate at best for the first hour and half.  In between aid stations one and two the pace quickened on a few of the climbs and a lead group containing Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguay, Jeremiah Bishop, and myself formed.  We rode together for a while but either a piece of singletrack, or a climb, or mechanical problem would split our group into various combinations with some leading and others chasing but ultimately we would regroup.

I would say the first decisive section was the Sassafras/Pig Pile section of trail.  I was already 10-15 seconds behind the others entering the trail where Jeremiah and Dylan took off leaving a gap to Christian and another gap to me.  Unfortunately for Jeremiah, he suffered a flat towards the end of this section leaving Dylan on his own.  Jeremiah was able to continue but was now behind.  He quickly worked his way back up to me and then we rode back to Christian.  Us three worked together for a while trying to bridge back to Dylan but ultimately Jeremiah’s tire was still giving him problems.  He needed to stop again.  Christian and I forged on until the Stillhouse climb beyond aid station 4 (at least, where aid 4 was supposed to be; unfortunately, we beat the delivery leaving us without).  Anyway, on the Stillhouse climb I could see Dylan up the hill so I pressed on hard while Christian wisely held back to save some energy for later.

At the top of the climb just before entering the Sand Mountain section there was a “trail angel” with some water.  This unofficial aid station was perfect since aid 4 was missing and I was out of water.  Dylan was also in need and was taking his time refilling his bottles.  I filled up quickly and caught Dylan who was only a few seconds ahead at this point.  We rode together through Sand Mountain and the following climbs and descents.  I was feeling great at this point and sensed that Dylan was not.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  After a little back and forth, Dylan attacked with about 12 miles to go and I had no response.  I went from feeling great to feeling a bit sluggish.  Very quickly that deteriorated to feeling tired and hungry and then to feeling light-headed and shaky.  I was running scared; I had completely given up chasing Dylan and was more concerned about Christian gaining on me.  In the end Dylan put almost seven minutes on me and Christian was just 30 seconds back.  I was relieved to be finished and even more relieved that I held my second position.

Of course I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their support.  Also my other sponsors Sword Energy Drink, Specialized Bicycles, ESI Grips, Schwalbe Tires, and TruckerCo, but as usual, a special thanks to my extraordinary wife Jennifer for her undeniable support and understanding in these adventures of mine.  Now time for some recovery and then revamping of the training for my next NUE event, the Shenandoah 100 in about a month’s time.”

Just seconds back from second place, last years Wilderness 101 race winner, Christain Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team), finished in third place, 6:47:47.

Open Women

Barclay wins Open Women

Open Women: 1st- Vicki Barclay, 2nd-Lauren Cantwell, 3rd-Amelia Capuano, 4th-Julia Thurmel, 5th- Lindsey Carpenter

Local racer, Vicki Barclay (Cannondale, Kenda) took the top step in the women’s open, at 8:10:35.

“This was my first time racing the Wilderness 101 since 2015. After a few years of shorter, one-day races and stage races, plus a few weeks of little racing, I was excited to race this 100 miler to get in a good day of quality training and racing on home turf (I have a house in State College with my husband, Rich). Come race day, I was thrilled to see that the race had brought out some fast ladies; I knew I would have to ride a smart race to take the top step at the end. Lauren Cantwell and I rode mostly together until Aid 1; I let some small gaps open up at times, but wanted to ride conservatively for the first 20 miles (this was my seventh time racing Wilderness and I have made every mistake in the book in year’s past that has cost me significantly!). Once the pace settled a bit after the climb out of Aid #1, I put in some small efforts to gain a gap before a key piece of singletrack. The gap stuck and I managed to stay out in front for the rest of the race, trading places with some men on the course, and enjoying the special kind of pain that 100 mile racing induces. With the recent rain, a lot of singletrack had be replaced with fire roads, so I was happy I chose to run my Honey Badger XC pro 27.5 x 2.2 tires front and rear – excellent traction in the singletrack and fast rolling on the roads. I fueled the race with lots of my favorite race snack – GU Watermelon Chews! With the good feels at Wilderness 101, I am considering racing the Shenandoah 100 in a few weeks!

Sponsors:  Kenda Cannondale Women’s Elite Team”

About eleven minutes back, Lauren Cantwell (Deschutes Brewing), took second place at 8:21:21. Finishing third was, Amelia Capuano (Rearden Steel) crossing the finish line at 8:47:03.

“The race was comfortable for me. It was beautiful outside and I really enjoyed the evolution of the day’s riding. I am appreciative of the smiling and joyful riders with whom I rode for portions of the day, they made it a blast. Also very glad that the flood waters receded from the park to make for fun camping. Thank you Chris Scott for taking on the challenge of running classic races.

Sponsors: Myself, My Family, and Great Friends, LLC.”

Singlespeed

Wadsworth gets second NUE win of the season

Singlespeed: 1st-Gordon Wadsworth, 2nd-Ross Anderson, 3rd-James Litzinger, 3rd-Don Powers, 5th- Peyton Randolph, 6th-Joel Nankman, 7th-Kenny Kocarek, 8th-Joe Worboy, 9th-Donovan Neal, 10th-Peter Bradshaw

Defending SS NUE Champion and last years Wilderness 101 singlespeed race winner, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, gets his second NUE win for the 2018 season finishing in 7:14:41.

“My day was pretty swell. We JUST finished relocating a little outside roanoke and so motivation wasn’t high to be honest. Nevertheless as soon as we kicked tires onto the sweet Pa dirt all the stoke came flooding back.

Our start was WILDLY casual for about the first two hours. A wild pack of singlespeed racers including Don Powers, Kenny Kocarek, Peyton Randolph, and myself seemed pretty comfortable controlling the pace from the front. And the group of maybe 30-50 riders seemed happy to let us!
In the downhill turns prior to aid 2 I made sure to be at the front and was joined by a purposeful Jeremiah Bishop. We’ve got a few W101s under our belts and both knew that the dirt climb out of Aid 2 was narrow and more difficult to navigate; often precipitating a break group or a bump in the pace. Jeremiah and I swapped recipes for a bit before charging down into the Detweiler descent. A firing Dylan Johnson shot past us and I knew if I could hold their wheels I could make the group I needed to be in.
Our group shrunk coming out of Detweiler, and again on3 bridges until it was the familiar company of Heath Thumel. Heath and I have similar strengths and after a long week of moving for me and a week away from home racing the High Cascades 100 for him we were both happy to keep things “fast casual.”
And we pretty much did. Working with two other riders until the descent down No-Name trail after which it was the two of us singing songs and dreaming for finish line.  Crossing 4th and 5th overall with me 1st SS
The Pivot Cycles LES was MONEY as always on the fast fire roads and gnarly rock knees of the PA Wilderness. Industry Nine system wheels custom laced to NOX rims wrapped in Maxxis Ikon rubber had heath and I both smiling and confident no matter our line choice.”

Fifteen minutes back, Ross Anderson (Elevation Zero), finished at 7:35:01. A couple minutes later, James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) and Don Powers (UPMC Pro Bikes), declared a tie for third place and finished together at 7:37:36.

Powers states, “Well this past Saturday was my 8th time racing the Wilderness 101.  I’ve had recent success at this race scoring podiums spots in 3 out of the last 4 years and was hoping for another similar result this year.  I knew it would be tough with some strong competition in Gordon Wadsworth, Jim Litzinger and Peyton Randolph all in the mix.  The race starts with a 3ish mile / 1000 foot gravel climb.  The pace was pretty chill and the big geared guns let us SS’ers set the pace.  What surprised me even more was that they let us SS’ers set the pace all the way to aid station 1, which is 19 miles into the race.  Normally on the climb out of aid station 1 the intensity picks up and the top geared guys start to flex their muscle.  But that was not the case.  As we crested the top of the climb I started shouting out to the likes of Jerimiah Bishop, Dylan Johnson, Brian Schworm, & Cristian Tanguey that I was confused by their tactics.  On the next rocky descent things started to shake out, Gordon got away and I tried to keep it close to Litzinger.  Jim was on his full suspension S-Works SS while I was on a rigid SS.  I was able to gap Jim on the next climb and then he proceeded to drop me on the next technical rocky descent.  I was able to catch back up on the next climb and then once again he got away on the next descent.  After that I did not see him again until later.  Going into aid station 4, I was caught by another strong SS’er Ross Anderson.  He got away on the big climb out of aid station 4 and I didn’t see him again.  So I knew I was sitting in 4th place with about 35ish miles to go.  As I rolled into aid station 5, I saw Litzinger refueling and filling bottles.  He got a little lost and had to back track a bit, he was off course about 1.5 miles (This is what happens when you climb with your head down and miss arrows).  We rolled down the first part of the rail trail together and he said his legs were pretty dead.  On the last climb with about 7 miles to go in the race I attacked him and put a decent size gap on him heading down to the technical final single track trail called Fisherman’s Trail.  Well my lead didn’t last long as Jim caught back up and then proceeded to attack me.  After we got out of Fisherman’s Trail I was able to close the gap on the last part of the rail trail, I was running a slightly bigger gear than him 32X18 vs 34X20.  We called a truce and rolled the last 3 or so miles into the finish together.  They scored us tied for 3rd SS & 12 overall with a time of 7:37 and change.  While Jim is without a doubt my biggest racing rival, he is also a good friend and it was nice to finish tied with him in such a hard race.”

Masters

Spaulding repeats at Wilderness

Masters: 1st- Russell Spaulding, 2nd-Tom Stritzinger, 3rd- Roger Masse, 4th- Jim Matthews, 5th-Bruce Stauffer

Last years race winner, Russell Spaulding (TFM Racing), repeats again this year coming in at 8:09:12. Spaulding is currently in second for the overall series standings.

“I really didn’t know what to expect this time around at Wilderness. I have been racing hundreds every two or three weeks since Mohican in June. The “Double Hundred” (Miles & Heat) out in South Dakota really left me in a bit of a fog before this race.

After the neutral roll out I found myself stepping out in front of the lead pack on the initial climb. This ended up being my only real contribution to the pack behind me, because I ended up startling a family of deer that ended up crossing the road just ahead of the pack. So you see, that’s really why I was out front on the first part of the climb. Just trying to protect the deer / mountain biker relationship!

Halfway up the climb the lead pack caught me, and I just tucked myself right in behind one of the stronger riders and held on for the top. Once we hit the top the lead pack just cruised along like it was some Sunday ride. I’m tucked in behind a rider just cruising along, and I happen to notice that the entire pack was being led by two single speeders. It’s like all the geared riders are sitting on the couch eating chips, while someone else is doing all the vacuuming!

After aid two the master’s race was just starting to take shape. Johnston was within view up ahead of myself and Masse. The further we got into this race, I realized two things. One, the mountain bike Gods had selected me as part of their amusement during this race. I ended up on the ground a little bit more than I would have liked. Someday I hope to be a real mountain biker! Two, my legs were cramping way too early in this race.

Masse eventually ended up leaving us all behind to fend for ourselves. I was just trying to stay in the mix, and work through the cramping in my legs. By aid three I was hoping for some instant relief for my legs in the form of pickle juice or yellow mustard.  Neither were to be found, but fortunately there were some Endurolytes available.

At the bottom of the first downhill after aid three I ended up passing Masse. The rocks in Pennsylvania are just plain mean, and he was working on one of his tires. When I reached the off camber, rocky as hell “No Name” trail I ended up making another mistake and ended up on my back below the trail. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my legs had not immediately seized up. Man that’s painful! By the time I got back up on the trail Stritzinger comes screaming by me to take the lead before we reach aid four.

Aid four is grilling hot dogs! Can you believe it? Bottles of fancy mustard on the table! I pretty much drained one of those fancy mustard bottles before hitting the climb after aid four.

I would assume that most racers despise the climb after aid four, but for some reason I really start to come alive in the last third of a race. My legs were becoming less of an issue. The temperature was heating up, and the climb was taking me into my Zen zone.

Turns out I ended up catching Stritzinger just before the last climb of the race. I knew there were two major climbs after the aid four climb, but there are also a couple of smaller climbs within that mix so I wasn’t sure what lay ahead for both of us.

In the end I got to ride with some very talented riders. I’m grateful, and lucky to have had such an awesome experience. Congratulations to Tom Stritzinger and Roger Masse on their amazing finishes, and a special shout out to John Friel. Way to tough it out John!

Thanks to TFM Racing, G-Assist, Valor House, and Tried and True for sponsoring me this season.

Special thanks to Chris Scott, his crew, and all the volunteers that made the Wilderness 101 such an amazing experience. To the crew at aid four that decided to grill hot dogs. Thank you. That was a most excellent decision!”

Three minutes back, Tom Stritzinger finished strong for second place at 8:12:41.

” I was having a strong race until just before the last climb with about 5 miles to go.  Then Russell Spaulding catches me from behind.  He says “hello” then drops me like a bad habit.  If he used Strava, I am guessing that he would have been the KOM of the day for that last climb!  I really enjoyed the first 18 miles where it was like a Sunday morning ride with what seemed like the entire race field riding together, chatting and going at friendly pace.  I never see Jeremiah Bishop, Christian Tanguy, Brian Schworm and Dylan Johnson after the opening gun and until the finish.  It was unreal to still be riding with and chatting with these guys through the first 18 miles!  The course had everything:  gnarly single track, two track, gravel, long tough climbs, and a tunnel that was very dark and a bit scary as it was strewn with rocks!  Overall, a great venue, phenomenal volunteers, some serious mtn. bike riders and a fun time for all.  Wilderness 101 is one of my favorite races in the NUE series so far this year.  I hope to be back again next year.”

Rounding out the podium and taking third, Roger Masse (Stokesville, Shenandoah), finished in 8:17:38.

Click here for full results

Click here for event photos (by Bryan Lewis of Cutaway USA)

What’s next on the NUE Epic and Marathon Series? NUE Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY on August 4th, 2018. Click here for info on Pierre’s Hole.

Moab Rocks Stage Race Preview

Are you bummed on the lack of snow this year?  Have you already made the mental switch over to bike season?  If so, this is a great time to start training for one of the best cross-country stage races in the US!  Moab Rocks is a 3 day cross country mountain bike race in Moab, Utah, that takes some of the regions best classic and new routes including Klondike, Porcupine Rim and Mag 7 and combines them into a three-day xc masterpiece in a fully supported format.

Photo by: John Gibson

Each year Moab Rocks hosts some of the top names in North American mountain biking.  Top competitors looking for an early-season bump to their fitness and the experience of Moab’s best trail networks flock to southern Utah, riders like: Geoff Kabush, Payson McElveen, Chris Baddick, Kris Sneddon, and Rotem Ishay will be pushing that pace at the front of the pack in 2018. Vying for the top female rider will be former Moab Rocks winners Liz Carrington and KC Holley along with top contenders like Jenni Smith, Marlee Dixon, Sparky Sears, Ksenia Lepikhina, and Liza Hartlaub.

Day 1:  Starting in downtown Moab, racers will line up and head out of town amongst crowds of onlookers.  The first 10 miles is a climb up Sand Flats road – perfect for the climbing legs, this is your opportunity to push yourself and get into position for the downhill.  Once at the top of the road, it’s left onto one of the most famous Moab trails.  Porcupine rim is a an extremely challenging and technical downhill trail that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.  With over 12 miles of descending, you’ll finish day one having fallen in love with Moab.

Lea Davison (3rd on Stage 2) leads teammate Maghalie Rochette (2nd on Stage 2) Photo by: John Gibson

Day 2: After an epic day one, day two is a true cross country race. Klondike Bluffs is a new trail system that features a lot of punchy short ascents and descents, rock features, and moderately technical riding.  Today’s course will keep you sharp with almost the entire 25 miles of technical single track racing.

Day 3: After two days of racing, there’s no letting up on the last day of Moab Rocks. Today is your opportunity to race hard and finish strong.  Starting at Gemini Bridges road, today racers begin with a 4-wheel drive dirt road climb followed by a short dirt road descent and then everyone is hammering again on the next road climb before getting onto the singletrack.  Once on the dirt, racers continue in an upward trend on moderately technical trails.  Finally over the climbing, it’s yet another epic descent on Bull Run.  Physical and technical, this descent will again leave you grinning.  But leave some in the tank, as there’s still some uphill before you’re home.  Racers finish by climbing back up the Gemini bridges road and descending back to the start.

Geoff Kabush enroute to winning Stage 3 and the final general classification of Moab Rocks. Photo by: Jean McAllister

With three days of back to back xc racing, Moab Rocks is the perfect jumpstart to mountain biking season.  Long known as one of the world’s most iconic mountain biking destinations, Moab has played host to riders from far and wide.  Featuring technical, desert riding, it’s a mountain bikers’ paradise.  If you’ve never been to Moab before, this is the perfect opportunity to ride some of the best trails in the area.   If you have ridden in Moab, then you know you’re in for some of the best mountain bike riding in the country.  All this wrapped up in a fun and friendly atmosphere, combining camaraderie and competition.

 

Riders live on the edge racing on the Upper Porcupine Singletrack. Photo by: John Gibson

Register today and start training for Moab Rocks, April 14th-17th, 2018.  Get ready to push yourself to the limit as you race against 150 other pros and amateurs.  Then prepare to relax in the warm desert afternoons, soaking up the sun and experiencing the best in Moab culture, with beer from Moab Brewery, nightly slideshows and awards.

For more information and to register visit: transrockies.com/moab-rocks.

Giddy up and get ready to ride Moab!

Photo by: John Gibson

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12 Hours of Mesa Verde – Cortez, CO

The 12th Annual 12-Hours of Mesa Verde (Cortez, Colorado) welcomed perfect weather after two years of being cursed by the weather gods.  Approximately 850 racers from more than a dozen states traveled to the small town of Cortez, Colorado, on the race’s traditional Mother’s Day weekend to race the world renowned Phil’s World trail system.  Racing Mom’s were honored with a special ribbon on their bike.

Enduro racer Krista Rust was a last minute replacement for the top 3-person female team. It’s been years since she last raced XC luckily she had her 2010 26 inch Cannonade hardtail. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

For the past eleven years the race has used the same course, however this year the course was altered, and lengthened, due to some land ownership issues.  The new course eliminated some techy, rocky sections and added some fast, flowy sections that kept racers full throttle for the duration of the 18-mile course.

In the Men’s Solo race Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Shimano/Maxxis) led from start to finish, but not without some pressure from Christoph Heinrich (Kuhl).  In the end, Tostado completed 8 laps in a time of 11:29:06.  Heinrich also completed 8 laps with a time of 11:44:28.

Josh Tostado gets some air on his way to a solo win. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

The Women’s Solo race was dominated by Shirley Leydsman (Team Red Rock).  Leydsman, a former triathlete and road cyclist, changed her focus to mountain biking in 2016 at the age of 45.  Leydsman simple goal of enjoying riding her bike all day helped her capture a convincing win at her first attempt at 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  She completed 7 laps in 11:35:56.  Her closes competitior was Sara Sheets (Oskar Blues) who also completed 7 laps in 12:02:22.

Bettina Mills, racing in the 3-4 person Co-Ed category posted the fastest women’s lap with a 1:21:39 and Nick Gould (OG’s) put down the fastest men’s lap (1:12:39) helping his team secure 2nd place in the Men’s 3-4 person category.

Shirley Leydsman has been chewing up the competition this season. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

After the race, athletes were treated to a huge pasta dinner hosted by local restaurant, Lotsa Pasta and a free beer along with a raffle and awards for all categories.

Not only does 12 Hours of Mesa Verde offer up a great day of epic racing, proceeds of the event go to support Cortez’s at-risk youth.  In 2016 $55,100 was donated to this great cause.  The race board hopes that this years great turn out will increase that amount!

Click Here for full results from all categories 

Jen Hanks enjoys some airtime on her way to a win in the 2-person female event. Photo by: Barak Naggan High Desert Photography

Tinker Classic – Beatty, NV

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Saturday morning, riders lined up to take on the Tinker Classic. The first-year event located two hours north of Las Vegas, in Beatty, Nevada, welcomed it’s first 100 racers brave enough to tackle the 60 or 100 kilometer distances.

Riders would be taking on the challenge of conquering the desert conditions while being treated to a tour of western history including the ghost town of Rhyolite, abandoned mines, narrow-gauge railroad tracts, and more wild burros than they could count.

Las Vegas rider Jake Billings crest the first major climb of the day. Photo by: Matt Ohran

The Tinker Classic is a point-to-point style event that starts in Beatty and ends at the desert oasis of Spicer Ranch where finishers would be treated to free music, beer, and tacos while reliving the challenges of the day.

Temperatures were already warm when the race started at 7:00 AM. As the leaders sprinted out of town on the day’s opening climb a herd of burros immediately buzzed the front group just as the sun broke over the hills.

Riders started on a long, 6-mile climb to the day’s highpoint of 4,600 feet.

Tinker Juarez prepares for the start. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

The race’s namesake, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), took up the lead, charging through a 20-30 mph headwind. Juarez was joined by Evan Plews (Ridge Cyclesport) and singlespeeder Steven Mills (New West Medical).

As the opening road kicked up Mills dropped off as his single gear became harder to turn over.

Juarez and Plews carried on, cresting the next steepest climb of the day and descending the rubble-strewn Silica Mine road. A steep, boulder-filled mining road, Silica Mine road is the most difficult section of the Tinker Classic and the one that prevents riders from choosing a cyclocross bike for the otherwise gravel-grinder-type course. Even with fat tires Silica Mine produced many flats and even more crashes as riders navigated through the jumble of loose rock.

The women’s race changed briefly on this descent as Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) worked her way into the lead past Anne Perry (Bingham’s Cyclery). Perry, a former road racing national champion, had opened a lead on the early climbs with Hanks closing it down on the rough descents but once the descending was over Perry wound it up again and surged back into the lead.

Bobby Monson and Shannon Boffeli leave the crumbling ghost town of Rhyolite. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Riders rolled back through Beatty and on to the turn-of-the-century ghost town of Rhyolite with it’s crumbling stone buildings and open air museum before crossing the border into California and Death Valley National Park. Despite the intimidating locale, temperatures remained in the mid-eighties with a cooling breeze keeping the racers comfortable.

A long grind on the old Tonopah narrow-gauge railroad grade was followed by 10-miles of steep rollers heading to the finish at Spicer Ranch.

At the front of the pack Evan Plews overtook race leader Tinker Juarez just miles from the finish line and appeared poised to take the win before missing a late-race turn and getting off course. Plews was well off course before realizing his mistake virtually ending his race.

Juarez moved back into the lead and rode uncontested over the final miles to the green oasis of Spicer Ranch and the win of his namesake race.

Wild burros take in the race action. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Second place went to Justin Thomas (Boulder Cyclesport) with singlespeeder Steven Mills finishing off an impressive day as the third person to cross the line. William Pease was the fourth rider to cross the line for third in the open men’s event. He was followed by another one-speeder Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling) putting two singlespeeders in the top-5 overall.

Anne Perry showed off her road legs tearing through the railroad grade and dirt roads opening up a hefty lead taking the win in 4 hours 53 minutes.

Amanda Felder (Bear Valley Bikes) overtook Hanks for the second spot and held on all the way to the line. Hanks came home in third.

Jen Hanks makes her way through the desert and old mining structures on the 100k course. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

At the finish riders enjoyed free tacos and beer while luxuriating in the cool green grass at Spicer Ranch sharing stories and collecting their awards that included a generous cash payout for the open men’s and women’s category.

The 60 kilometer race was won by 50-plus rider Tim Zandbergen (Velosport/RideBiker Alliance) with a time of 2 hours 41 minutes. Gina Rau was the fastest female finisher with a time of 3 hours 32 minutes. The 60k course followed much the same route as the 100k without crossing into Death Valley.

The overall Tinker Classic experience was overwhelmingly positive; a well-organized event, especially for a first-year race, highlighted by some of the friendliest race volunteers I’ve ever encountered and a local community truly excited to play host for this event. I can only imagine year two will be even better.

Steven Mills battles the wind atop the SS 100k podium. Photo by: Crawling Spider Photography

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

 

 

Titan Tropic by GAES – Stage 4: Vinales to Vinales

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

We had been looking forward to stage 4 all week; 84 kilometers of dirt! The excitement was high going in and we felt like we would have fun and probably open up our lead a bit more doing it.

Unfortunately, that plan quickly went down the toilet as I woke up with a nasty stomach ache and some unfriendly diarrhea. I thought maybe I could power through but once I sat down for breakfast the mere sight of food made me want to barf.

First placed mixed duo team of Jen Hanks and Shannon Boffeli on stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I nursed down a glass of orange juice and went back to the tent to get ready for the stage.

Yesterday had been long and hot with a humid night of sleep to follow so I wasn’t sure if I was suffering some dehydration or a stomach bug. Just in case I started taking an antibiotic I brought down.

I was excited to start the day because sitting on my bike was actually easier than trying to stand or walk. The first 10km went by mercifully quick but I had pretty much burned any matches I had at that point.

Race leader Diego Tamayo controls the front of the field from Vinales to Vinales. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I was walking all the climbs. Jen took my heavy pack with all the tools and let me carry her lighter one but that barely helped. The second-placed team quickly passed us and I could tell by their urgency they wanted to put some time into us.

When I could ride Jen would push and pull me the way I do for her most stages but I still couldn’t keep up with her. Finally, after about two hours of suffering and harboring serious doubts that I could finish the day I managed to get some Honey Stinger energy chews in, the first calories I had eaten all day. I followed that with a little water and things were looking brighter.

Racers power past a tobacco drying barn in the Vinales Valley. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

I could at least keep up with Jen on the flats. After a bit more time we actually passed a few people and were getting a good chuck of kilometers behind us.

At the third and final aid station I was feeling good enough to drink and force down a banana. We were off again. I gulped down one final drink and that put me right over the edge. Everything came back up. My mouth was like an uncontrolled fire hose ejecting every bit of water and food I had eaten the entire day all over my bike.

Shannon Boffeli rolling his way through stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

With nothing left in me I actually felt the best I had all day. The final 20 kilometers of the day weren’t fast but I could easily keep my legs moving unlike earilier in the day.

We crossed the line having lost just 18 minutes to our rivals. I immediately headed for the medical station.

Upon seeing me they put me on a stretcher and carried me into their makeshift clinic. My color was pale and skin was dry despite the 90-degree temperature and matching humidity. The team quickly placed an IV and started giving me fluids to replenish what I had lost.

Stage 4 offered up the most dirt of any stage in the 2016 Titan Tropic. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

It helped. A lot! After 2 hours, a liter of saline, and something to help with nausea I was feeling much better.

Today was a real struggle but also a great test of the mixed duo team category. Today it was the female partner pulling her teammate along. Doing everything possible to put in the fastest time and it worked. Without Jen’s help I very well may not have finished and definitely would have lost a lot more that 18 minutes.

Now I just need to get some food in me before tomorrow. It’s the shortest stage of the week but 68 kilometers could be impossible on two days without food.

IV fluids and oxygen after the finish. Photo by: Jen Hanks

Raul Hernandez and partner Laura Ortiz look to pick up time on stage 4. Photo courtesy of Titan Tropic by GAES

Josh Tostado’s Vapor Trail Set Up

Sneak a Peak at Josh Tostado’s Santa Cruz Tallboy and Vapor Trail 125 Set Up

This weekend Josh Tostado will take on the incredible challenge of the Vapor Trail 125. 125 mile of classic Colorado mountain biking with a twist.

As if a 125-mile race wasn’t tough enough the race starts the 10PM! Riders will race through the night and the following day to complete this epic endurance event.

Set up and preparation is critical for this race and Breckenridge citizen Josh Tostado has his bike ready to go. Let check it out as Josh walks us through his bike build for this race.

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I’ll be Racing the Vapor trail 125 in Salida Colorado, The course has lots of climbing(19,000 feet) and a lot of rugged trail riding. This is what my bike will look like for this very challenging race that takes place mostly at night starting at 10 PM.

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My race bike is a Santa Cruz carbon Tallboy, I run Stan’s Valor wheels with Maxxis Icon in the back and Ardent race in the front, for both tires I run tubeless ready with EXO protection.

20160905_160101My drivetrain  is 1X XTR with a 32 tooth ring in the front and the XTR 11-40 in the back, XTR brakes as well.

20160905_160040MY dropper post of choice is the 9point8 Fall Line, extremely reliable. Very crucial is light setup, I’ll be running the Niterider 1800 race on the bars and a Lumina 950 on my helmet. I can use the Lumina in walk mode (40 Lumins) for most climbing then switch on my 1800 for bright fast descending.

20160906_171423 For grips I  use the Ergon GS which I’ve been using for years along with the Ergon HE2 gloves to keep my hands nice and comfortable. For the longer races like this I have been running a small top tube feed bag for easy access to food.

Singletrack 6 – Stage 6 – Golden, BC

Matieu Belanger-Barette and Sonya Looney Take Overall Glory at Singletrack 6: Rotem Ishay and Kate Aardal take Tinhorn Creek final stage honors

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Today was the last day of Singletrack 6, the sixth stage and ‘Queen stage’ of the race. It’s the longest day on the bike, almost twice the distance of the shorter days, at 35 miles with 5400’ of elevation gain.

It was a tough day on the bike and an awesome course to end the race. The trails were beautiful, flowy, singletrack with nonstop great riding.   Even though the course has a lot of elevation gain, it doesn’t feel that much harder than previous days because of all the rolling ascents.  With each climb, racers were rewarded with a lot of fast descents, and fun riding. The course takes racers to the top of stunning, sheer cliffs with spectacular views, where it’s impossible not to look up for a second or two and take it in.

Riders enjoying some of that incredible Singletrack 6 one-track. Photo by Gibson Images

Riders enjoying some of that incredible Singletrack 6 one-track. Photo by Gibson Images

With 3 aid stations and a whiskey/ whipping cream stop, for racers just looking to have a fun day on some great trails, today had some of the best riding of the week.  For racers going hard, todays route made for a challenging, endurance test.

For the pro men, Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes) won the stage in a time of 2:47:28; followed by Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) in 2nd (2:50:01) and teammates Manuel Weissenbacher and Andreas Hartmann (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) tying for 3rd (2:51:02).

Teammates Weissenbacher and Andreas Hartmann took off in the front up the first road climb but not long after, Ishay took over the lead followed by Belanger-Barrette. From there Ishay, after having stomach issues the last few days was finally feeling good again, picked up the pace and pushed to stay in the lead.

For the overall competition, Belanger-Barrette wins in a time of 12:52:04 followed by Weissenbacher in 2nd (12:58:59)  and Hartmann in 3rd (13:00:16).

Marlee Dixon leads over a bridge. Photo by Gibson Images

Marlee Dixon leads over a bridge. Photo by Gibson Images

For the pro women, Kate Aardal (Ridley Cycles) was first, from the start today, and won in a time of 3:16:03.   Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) followed in right behind Aardal in 2nd (3:17:17) and Jodie Willett (For the People) came  in 3rd (3:18:03).

Aardal was in 1st for most of the race with Looney catching her a few times.  Willett and Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles) vied back and forth for 3rd place until Dixon dropped a chain after the timed descent and wasn’t able to catch her again.

For the overall, Looney wins in a time of 14:53:49,  Aardal comes in 2nd (15:03:51) and Willett gains 3rd (15:28:46) overtaking Marlee Dixon on the final stage.

Dropping in. Photo by Gibson Images

Dropping in. Photo by Gibson Images

Singletrack 6 ‘Ride the Rockies’ moved through 4 towns this year including Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Golden, British Columbia. Every day offered racers new trail systems with very different terrain, bringing out an experience unlike any other stage race. With the top finisher averaging a 10 mph speed most stages, each course was challenging with a lot of climbing but also well planned to offer epic descents and great singletrack riding. By changing locations each year, Singletrack 6, is constantly bringing racers to some of Canada’s best mountain biking trails. Next year hits the west Kootenays including the town of Rosslin and the world famous “Seven Summits” trail. The course is sure to be yet another awesome week of racing.

Click Here for full results from Stage 6

Click Here for final GC results following Stage 6 

Stage 5 Trans-Sylvania Epic

Werner and Armstrong win NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic titles

Broken handlebar sidelines former women’s leader and defending champion Barclay

 

The final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic brought thrills and spills on a tough, rocky course made more difficult with a downpour in the middle of the day. Battles for the overall general classification (GC) wins didn’t go quite as planned.

Elite men

Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling) soloed to win the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on his way to claiming the overall victory. A much anticipated battle up the final climb between Werner and defending champion and eventual runner-up Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) never materialized after Lindine flatted early in the day.

The peloton rolls out for the fifth and final time at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. The rain held off for the start, but a 45-minute deluge drenched racers and trails mid-stage, making the rocks even more challenging than usual.

The peloton rolls out for the fifth and final time at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. The rain held off for the start, but a 45-minute deluge drenched racers and trails mid-stage, making the rocks even more challenging than usual.

“It was unfortunate that Justin flatted. I’m not pumped to win that way, but at the same time that’s racing and I’ll take it,” said Werner. “This whole week has been great – it’s a super organized event with great volunteers. Growing up in another part of Pennsylvania, I always wanted to do this race, so it’s special to win. It’s my first time riding here, and I already want to come back and ride more of these trails.”

A motivated Lindine started the day within striking distance of Werner’s overall time and set a fast pace up the first climb, dropping everyone except his rival.

“I felt good today and was having fun on the trails,” said Lindine, “but I had some bad luck. I was keeping the pressure on Kerry and charged into the first enduro section, but flatted. When I went to install my spare tube, it had a hole… maybe from being under my seat for so long. I ran down the enduro segment trying to borrow a tube, but mostly everyone here in this race is on 29ers, and I’m on a 27.5”, so it took awhile to get one.”

State College, Pennsylvania local Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans- Sylvania Epic) cruises on his home trails at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

State College, Pennsylvania local Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans- Sylvania Epic) cruises on his home trails at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Racers started the day on trails with wet, slippery rocks, then just as they were starting to dry mid-stage, a thunderstorm dumped heavy rain for 45 minutes. The already damp trails became even slicker.

At the front alone, Werner alternated between struggling and finding his groove. On the final enduro section, he laid it over three times. “They weren’t serious crashes, but I put my bar into the bench cut side of the hill, and then those wooden bridges at the bottom were so sketchy. I came into the first bridge as straight as I could, not braking, and I still started to two-wheel drift, so I walked the second bridge. I didn’t want to take risks at that point.”

Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Cycling) chased on his own in second place until Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) caught him. In the midst of the cyclocross off-season, Timmerman rode himself into fine form during the course of the week and was feeling great by the final stage. However, Zamora was hungry to defend his third spot on the podium, and rode away from Timmerman on the final climb for second on the day and third overall.

Lindine chased his way back up into fourth place on the day, managing to save his second spot in the GC.

“I think some of those trails ride better when they’re wet,” said Lindine. “I made it a game to catch as many people as I could. I’d roll into the technical sections but would stay loose, so I’d just ride into wherever I was supposed to go. You have to be in the right zone, and I was enjoying today.”

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) again proved himself to be the best enduro rider on the day and secured the overall enduro win. “I lost the enduro classification last year on the final stage, but this time I had two years of experience and came knowing what I needed to do. I also got lucky as this race will cause some issues for everyone – no matter what their experience.”

Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) pops over a log in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) pops over a log in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Phillips spent the day riding in short shorts and a cut-off T-shirt with an American flag after having successfully challenged his followers to raise a certain amount of money for the new Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League. “I was part of a group raising money PA high school cycling, and I wasn’t doing very well,” said Phillips. “I’m a competitive person and was pissed that I was getting beat by the others, so I came up with some schemes to get people to donate more money. I raised at least $1,300. I’m not good at math on day 5 and haven’t added it all up yet, but it was cool to raise the money for the kids. I wouldn’t be where I am today without high school cycling.”

Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Cycling)
  3. Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing)

Final General Classification

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
  3. Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Cycling)

 

Enduro Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic)
  3. Damian Gonzalez (Michael David Winery)

Final Enduro Classification

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) was still smiling at this point in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic; however, that would change later in the day. She broke her handlebar just after the second aid station and dropped out of the race.

Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) was still smiling at this point in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic; however, that would change later in the day. She broke her handlebar just after the second aid station and dropped out of the race.

Elite women

The battle for the top podium spot came down to the last day, but not in the expected way. Last year’s winner and this year’s favorite, Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team), suffered a devastating mechanical and had to drop out of the race.

Selene Yeager (Emmaus Bad Decisions), a past GC winner racing on a team this year, saw Barclay stranded in the rocks along the way. “Vicki jumped into a train of guys, and I thought, ‘There she goes.’ Then I went into a rocky section and she was just standing there. It was bad – her handlebar had snapped off in her hand. But at least she didn’t crash.”

That left Kaysee Armstrong (Liv), who was sitting in second place overall after yesterday’s stage 4, to take the win if she could. But this was not a foregone conclusion. “I felt tired,” said Armstrong. “Bryna [Blanchard, Windham Mountain Sports] was climbing so fast. I was feeling the fatigue through the rocks. But the enduros were fun, and I tried to be happy through them. Today was about surviving.” Armstrong managed to not only do that, but also to claim her second stage win of the week, the overall race title and second place in the enduro classification.

Blanchard, too, was feeling the cumulative effects of the week’s racing. “I did not feel good,” she said. “Yesterday was like a cross country race – it was so fast, and I didn’t recover. My heart rate was in the toilet, and I was tired. It was survival: keep moving, don’t stop pedaling. I wasn’t climbing nearly as well as I had been. I was happy I got through it.” Blanchard persevered to earn second on the day and in the general classification.

Yeager had an unexpectedly good day and was the first woman across the line. “I felt good on the climbs. I went into a little bit of a cave on all the chunky stuff, but I drew on all the stage races I’ve done, and kept thinking, ‘Just pedal your bike.’ It’s been a bittersweet week because I raced on a team, but I have such good fitness right now. I wish I had raced solo, but to know that you can perform well without all the pressure that you put on yourself is enlightening.”

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) crushed the women’s enduro all week long at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, winning the enduro classification.

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) crushed the women’s enduro all week long at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, winning the enduro classification.

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) ripped down some of the scariest enduro sections yet to take the win and secure victory in the enduro classification. She had begun the week as a GC contender, but quickly changed tactics. “I gave stage racing a go on the first day, and I rode a hardtail, but I got completely beat up on it,” she said. “So I swapped over to the enduro bike and focused on enduro. I can’t go for the GC on that bike because it weighs a ton.”

Bichard typically races enduro, but enjoyed the different take on it and may come back for a crack at the GC next year. “I loved the course with so much singletrack – really techy, super rocky. We don’t often do such big days in enduro racing, but I like the long cross country loop, and I love a big day out. Maybe I’ll come back on a smaller travel bike and do a bit more focused training.”

Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  2. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)
  3. Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling)

Final General Classification

  1. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  2. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)
  3. Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling)

Enduro Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
  2. Kimberley Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)
  3. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)

Final Enduro Classification

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Kimberley Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

The Trails

Always a favorite among singletrack lovers, the Cooper’s Gap stage was plenty long at 34.5 miles and chock full of singletrack and climbing (5,466 feet). New for 2016, the stage started remotely from Greenwood Furnace State Park and finished back at the Boy Scout Camp that serves as race headquarters. The stage had four separate Julbo/EVOC enduro segments of tight, technical Pennsylvania singletrack. The route finished with the climb up Stillhouse Hollow, a notoriously steep ascent also featured in the Wilderness 101.

Thanks to our sponsors

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic is made possible with the generous support of great partners like Julbo, Central PA Tourism, Lupine, Purple Lizard, SRAM, Kona, NUUN, Freeze Thaw Cycles, EVOC and more!