Breck Epic Stage 3: Guyot

GC margins grow during Queen Stage around 13,370-foot Mt. Guyot

Alexis Skarda takes in some views before starting the descent on stage 3. Photo by Devon Balet

Local riders making moves as race moves into second half

By Devon O’Neil

BRECKENRIDGE — Despite a bit of late-race drama Tuesday, the Breck Epic’s Queen Stage delivered one more reminder who the fastest racers in the field are. Keegan Swenson overcame a brief, unintended detour to pad his lead in the pro men’s field, while Alexis Skarda won the pro women’s race by her biggest margin this week.

Race leader Keegan Swenson powers off the front with Luis Mejia in tow. Photo by Devon Balet

Swenson rode off course just before the finish (the exact cause was unclear, but it required him to pedal about two additional miles), yet he still won by 53 seconds ahead of perennial runner-up Luis Mejia of Colombia. Swenson’s winning time of 3 hours 18 minutes leaves him almost eight minutes up in the overall standings. Lachlan Morton remains in third overall, 20 minutes back of Swenson.

Lachlan Morton climbs up to the Colorado trail on day 3. Photo by Devon Balet

“I’m not doing any more work than I have to,” said Swenson, whose Santa Cruz team put burlier tires on his Blur CC for Tuesday’s rugged descents. “I didn’t attack [Mejia], he just fell off after Aid 3. So I was like, I’ll turn the screws just a hair and snap the elastic.”

Lachlan Morton leads the chasers after surviving the climb. Photo by Eddie Clark

Skarda, meanwhile, further separated herself in the GC standings with a time of 3:56 and a 6-minute advantage over Evelyn Dong, who remains in second overall, 8:35 back. Rose Grant took third and moved onto the GC podium heading into the week’s longest stage, Aqueduct.

Evelyn Dong sits in second just minutes behind the leader in the GC. Photo by Devon Balet
Rose Grant putting herself solidly in a podium spot for the GC. Photo by Eddie Clark
Adriana Rojas grinds out the last slopes before the summit. Photo by Eddie Clark

LOCAL HUSTLAS

The circumnavigation of 13,370-foot Mount Guyot takes riders over the Continental Divide twice, through two counties, and down some of the area’s sweetest singletrack for a total of 40 miles. It is typically one of two stages, along with Wheeler, in which locals improve their overall ranking. That didn’t happen with Breck’s Jarad Christianson, because he was already in first place in the men’s 30-plus category; but he tripled his winning margin from Stage 1. Christianson, 31, works 8-5 for a construction company and rides after work. He started entering local races four years ago. On Tuesday, he finished 15th overall, pros included, in the 387-rider Breck Epic (3:53—30 minutes faster than his 2019 time).

The only local ahead of Christianson, 17-year-old phenom Lasse Konecny, suffered what you might call a mining-town-only mechanical. An ancient, heavily rusted, 4-inch-long rectangular nail pierced his sidewall and exited his tread like an arrow through a banana late in the race. Konecny ran to the finish pushing his bike and losing minutes, but still finished ninth (3:39). He sits in 11th place overall, four minutes out of eighth.

Close to a dozen other locals are toeing the line this week, and not everyone is taking time off from work to compete. John Rauen, a 22-year-old who finished in 4:54, clocks in at an escape room from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. every night between stages. The field is dotted with ski patrollers (Duke Barlow, Breck’s snow safety supervisor, finished in 4:51 on a recently replaced knee), massage therapists (Ro Mayberry took third in the Coed Duo division in 4:45), and government workers (Nicole Valentine, Summit County’s communications director, clinched the 3-day Open Women’s title in 5:27).

WHO NEEDS TWO GOOD ARMS?

One of the week’s most impressive sights was watching Robin Brown, a retired Las Vegas firefighter, navigate the high-speed technical descent from 12,000 feet with a prosthetic left arm. Brown and Mark Duncan, another Vegas firefighter, conquered the Queen in 6:07 and stand second in the Duo 100-plus class. Brown lost his forearm to a grain auger in Panhandle, Texas when he was 4, but he still played football, basketball, baseball, and golf growing up. He became a paramedic and captain in the Clark County Fire Department and has entered dozens of endurance races, but never the Breck Epic. Asked about riding the course with one hand, he said, “I don’t think anything of it.”

Robin Brown and Mark Duncan are currently in 2nd 100+ Duo

Another visiting racer, Sean Perry of Issiquah, Washington, has competed all week with a cast on his wrist. Perry suffered an intra articular fracture of his distal radius while training on the Miners Creek Trail three weeks ago—the most perilous descent in the race. It was his first ride in Colorado. “I thought there was no chance I would get to do the race,” he said. He finished the Guyot stage in 4:39.

Photo by Devon Balet
Keegan Swenson takes Skittles on board on his way up Mount Guyot. Photo by Devon Balet
Tobin Ortenblad grinding through the meadow with Skittles on his mind. Photo by Devon Balet
Chris Mehlman is sitting in the top-10 after day 3 of Breck Epic. Photo by Devon Balet
Benjamin Torvik feeling all the pain riding his singlespeed up the pass. Photo by Devon Balet
Alexis Skarda stays focused on another win at stage 3. Photo by Devon Balet
Support crew cheering on the riders and handing our Skittles. Photo by Devon Balet
Riders topping out at the Skittles feed. Photo by Devon Balet
Time to refuel. Photo by Devon Balet
One got away! Photo by Devon Balet
More Skittles! Photo by Devon Balet
Isaac Centeno rocking out in the thin air and Rocky Mountains. Photo by Devon Balet
Keegan Swenson starts the descent from Mount Guyot with Luis Mejia behind. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders enjoy the long single track descent back into town. Photo by Eddie Clark
Nash Dory putting in a top-notch performance at the 2021 Breck Epic. Photo by Eddie Clark
Starting the descent to home. Photo by Eddie Clark
Macky Franklin gets the payoff after climbing his singlespeed up Mount Guyot. Photo by Eddie Clark
Justin Desilets starts his descent. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders enjoying a well-deserved DH run. Photo by Eddie Clark
Rebecca Gross opens it up on the DH. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders enjoy the finish of stage 3. Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders attack the Colorado trail single track on day 3. Photo by Liam Doran
Photo by Eddie Clark
Riders have endless views every stage of the Breck Epic. Photo by Liam Doran
Race director rallying the troops on stage 3. Photo by Liam Doran
Lasse Konecny has another top-10 performance on stage 3. Photo by Liam Doran
Benjamin Torvik wraps up another second place in the singlespeed group. Photo by Liam Doran
Riders can’t get enough Breckenridge single track. Photo by Liam Doran
Photo by Liam Doran

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

We posed this question just below the summit of 12,046-foot French Pass, the Queen’s high point. As usual, sentiments varied.

“Fantastic, thanks.”

“I’m not sitting in an office, so pretty damn good.”

“Can’t. Too much altitude.”

“Got a tail wind—what more can you ask for?”

“Like I look.”

“Literally could not be better.”

“I’ve got 20 pieces of metal in my elbow from Dirty Kanza. This is nothing.”

“Blessed.”

“As can be expected.”

“Fucking awesome, man.”

“Really?”

“Well, it depends. Are there Skittles up there?” Yes. “Fuck yeah. Then I feel amazeballs.”

NUE Wilderness 101- Coburn, PA

Written by: @Jentoops

On July 24th, 2021, Shenandoah Mountain Tours held the Wilderness 101 ultra and marathon races in Coburn, PA. The Wilderness 101 is part of the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series. This east coast course takes you through the Bald Eagle and Rothrock state forests of Pennsylvania, and is know for pristine mountain streams, old growth forests and rocky backcountry single track.

101 Sunrise
Photo credit: Chris Merriam

Sunny skies and temps in the mid 80’s made for a near perfect race day. The gravel was fast, trails were dry, and racers put down some blazing fast times. After a hard days work, racers were greeted at the finish line with well deserved tacos and beer included with entry fee.

Post race tacos included with registration

Camping was also included with registration in Coburn Park. This is the staging area making for a trouble-free race morning and celebration at the finish line.

Thank you to the volunteers that came out to support the Wilderness ultra and marathon races!

Women’s OpenTSE winner Britt Mason gets 101 WIN

Coming off a win at the 2021 TSE, Britt Mason (Knobby by Nature) of Maryland, proves she can still navigate those PA rocks taking the win in 8:23:26.

Britt Mason fueling up at aid station 4 for the Stillhouse climb.

The 2019 Wilderness 101 women’s winner, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) finished 2nd with a time of 8:31:04.

“Coming into this race I felt tired after a week long family reunion full of activities and wondered how my legs would feel. I knew Britt would be tough one to beat, especially after just racing TSE and the powerhouse she is. There was also quite a few other fast lady shredders signed up I had my eye on. I decided to take it steady on the first climb and feel it out. I found myself in a manageable pace and holding Britt’s wheel, we settled into the 2nd peloton for the first LONG gravel section. The pace line entered the first grassy downhill and I made the mistake of being 4-5 riders behind her in the pace line. There was no room to safely pass and this is where we got separated. I was told all day it was only a 3 min gap but could never quite shut it down. Around mile 45 was my dark place and I wanted to pull the plug as I was quite a bit nauseated but I’m stubborn and battled on. Still wondering if my racing legs were ever going to show up, I tried to rally on Stillhouse and closed some time. My back and arms couldn’t handle the beating of the PA rocks anymore on the downs. After I clipped a pedal at one point, went sideways over the bars I luckily managed to somehow land on my feet in a bush. This is where I decided to pedal it on in for 2nd and I was more than happy with a 30min PR from 2019! Congrats to Britt on her well deserved win! It was fun chasing all day :) I plan on hitting up Shenandoah next on the NUE tour. Bike: Pivot Mach 4SL live valve. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot Cycles, Ergon, SCC, Honeystinger, Carborocket, Stans, Fox, Maxxis, Xpedo, MTBracenews.

The 2019 wilderness 101 winner Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/ Pivot MTB) gets the number one plate. Thanks Shenandoah Mountain Tours for supporting women’s racing and equal payout! Photo credit: Bryan Cusick

Taking third place, Libbey Sheldon finished in 8:50:27 “So great to get back to the Wilderness 101, especially with the great conditions. I was coming back from a hard landing on my tailbone a couple of weeks back, so I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do out there. Britt and Jen took off from the start on the road sections, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to keep up with them, so I settled in at what I hoped would be an all-day pace. The trails and double track were in great shape, and the temperature never got too high, so I mainly focused on enjoying my favorite sections and seeing friends out on course. Congrats to Britt and Jen for smashing it at the front, and to everyone out there—it’s so great to be back to racing!”

Fourth place was, Tina Severson, from Connecticut with a time of 8:54:14 “No stranger to the endurance scene having done events such as Breck Epic, Dirty Kanza, Gravel Worlds and Maah Daah Hey, I was looking for something new and challenging on the mountain bike. Wilderness 101 was just that! This was my first time riding in this area and I didn’t know much about the course. It had a good amount of fast gravel sections, some chunky, rocky descents and even pitch black tunnels! At times it had a real adventure feel to it, which I loved! My goal was to charge hard and steady for the duration of the day, keep the nutrition and hydration in check and finish strong to land on the podium. I had a really great experience and look forward to trying other NUE events in the future. Sponsors: Orange Seal, Specialized, Schwalbe Tires, Voler Apparel, Pedro’s, Wolf Tooth Components, Julbo, DeFeet”

Taking the fifth step was, Julia Thumel, crossing the line in 9:07:09.

Photo credit: Bryan Cusick
Women’s 101 podium: 1st Britt Mason 8:23:26, 2nd Jen Toops 8:31:04, 3rd Libbey Sheldon 8:50:27, 4th, Tina Severson 8:54:14, 5th Julia Thumel 9:07:09

Men’s Open 101 mile- Inger gets back to back NUE wins

Coming off a NUE Carrabassett 100k win the previous weekend, Jake Inger (Ride the Whites) took home the 101 WIN with a time of 6:53:23.

Ian Schwing (Flow Formulas) rode to a second place finish, coming in at 7:06:07. “Saturday morning started off great and I was fully prepared on the starting line. As all 100 milers I’ve done, the race started up the first climb like we were full gas racing. But there was no dropping off the peloton since I knew there was still a lot of gravel and flat road before any singletrack where some big separations could happen. My good friend, Jimmy Klose and one other rider broke off the front and we lost sight of them before any singletrack. Going in 6th wheel on Lonberger trail, I wasn’t able to pass riders and front and was getting frustrated seeing riders ride away, so much so I wasn’t paying attention to the trail and hit a huge boulder, endo-ed and by some miracle pulled off the ninja move of my life and landed flat on my feet. Got back on my bike, and somehow nothing was broken, headed back up the gravel road to catch the group again. Riding into aid 2 our group of around 10 riders got split up pretty quickly with the technical trail right afterwards, to about 6 of us. Team mate, Will Lovener, didn’t stop at aid 4 and broke away from our group on the following climb. Decided to chase and Jake Inger followed and we caught him on the singletrack at the top of the climb. I would find out later his wrist was still bothering him from his insane effort at Unbound XL. Jake and I rode the next 2 hours together and caught the break of Jimmy and the other rider close to the 60 mile maker. Descending into aid 4 there was nobody to be seen but Jake. Jake dropped the hammer at a water station around the 75 miler marker and I couldn’t quite keep his pace. All I could do as a smaller guy the last hour was get as aero as I can, fight off the lingering cramps, and pray there wasn’t a strong group of riders working together to catch me. Once I hit the tunnel close to Coburn, I was stoked to know I would be crossing the line in second. Shenandoah 100 is definitely on the schedule and huge shout out to flow formulas for fueling and sponsoring me”

Men’s 101 Podium: 1st Jake Inger 6:53:23, 2nd Ian Schwing 7:06:07, 3rd Jimmy Klose 7:08, 4th Heath Thumel 7:16:10, 5th Will Loevner 7:17:15

Just two minutes back, Jimmy Klose, finished third with a time of 7:08. Fourth place was Heath Thumel 7:16:10 and fifth Will Loevner 7:17:15.

Not racing in 3 years, Ron Harding, finished 6th place with a time of 7:19. ” About 10 years ago, my wife (Kathleen Harding) and I focused (and by focused I mean raced enough races to qualify for the series, which at the time was four, I think…) on the NUE series for approximately two seasons.  Back then I rode and raced exclusively on a single speed.  I look back on those days wistfully and wish with all of my heart that someone with more age and experience had pulled me aside, explained to me how stupid I was being, and encouraged me to ghost ride my single speed off the nearest highway overpass.  Racing a single speed for 100 miles is akin to beating your head against a cement wall for 8 hours, only the wall never breaks and neither does your head.  As I sit here in 2021 with the benefit of 10 more years of life experience under my belt and the relative wisdom that comes with it, I offer this to all of the single speeders out there – there is a good reason that gears were invented.

Anyway, I’ve never raced a 100 miles on gears before and didn’t know what to expect.  I got roped into this race about 1-2 months ago by a long time buddy of mine who was going to be visiting from AK the weekend of the W101.  He asked me if I was interested in racing it.  In my head and my heart, I said “no”, but I heard myself tell him “yes.”  And I’m glad I did.  The weather was perfect (which was novel in itself as 9 of 10 previous NUEs I participated in suffered from rain the day before or the day of the event), the trails were in great shape, and the aid stations were operated by the kindest and most accommodating Pennsylvanians a guy could meet.  Chris Scott puts on a top-notch event.

Regarding the race, the lead group crushed the first climb to create separation and rocketed down the first descent at warp speed to the point where I feared for my life.  I spent the first ~33 miles of the race riding in the top 10 wondering what I was doing there.  I knew a handful of people in the race but only two other people in the group at that point, Stewart Gross (who is local to me in southeast PA and a semi-regular riding buddy), and  Christian Tanguay, (who needs no introduction).  On the climb up to Aid 2, the elastic snapped and I had to let the lead group go.  I defaulted to riding my own race.  Around mile 44 I pulled Stewart back and Christian caught us.  We rode together for a bit.  They stopped at Aid 3 and I kept going.  Riding largely by myself for the next 50 miles pulling in three more riders and finishing 6th.  I saw 5th at the bottom of Old Mingle, but was unable to pull him in.  Having since learned of the insanity that is his riding life, I understand why I saw only a glimpse of him.  Who the f*** voluntarily does three laps of the W101?  Aside from witnessing one of the Flow Formula racers go OTB, cartwheel off the trail two wheels in front of me, and land on this feet like El Gato, the race was largely uneventful. Lessons Learned – (1) you can brake all of the cardinal rules of endurance racing and still do well, (2) having no expectations is a huge asset to racing, (3) people tend to come back to you late in an NUE if you don’t overdo it early.Next Planned NUE Race – N/A – I didn’t really plan to do this one and at this point I don’t plan to do any others this year but you never know…stranger things have happened.Sponsors – Full-****ing-retail brought to you by gainful employment.  I’m 42 years old.  Who am I kidding seeking after sponsors?  Ain’t nobody got time or energy for that.  I don’t race for a team anymore, because I don’t really race anymore.  That said, shout out to Trestle Bridge Racing (if I raced for a team, they’d be it) and Twisted Cog and Shirk’s bike shops; two shops I frequent if I need something for my bicycles.”

Master’s 101 mile- Kogelmann wins

Newly minted 50+, Chip Kogelmann (Bikeflights.com) coming off a 50+ win in the EX2 Exterra off road triathlon, won the Masters race with a time of 8:03 (15th overall).  Multi-time Wilderness 101 winner Roger Masse who finished 8:07 (16th overall) lead the race for much of the day and was reeled in only in the last 10-miles after the final aid station.   Kogelmann lost touch with Masse in the Dutch Alvin section of single track about 45 miles in. Kogelmann, a State College local on his 12th Wilderness 100 struggled to stave of intermittent cramps which kicked in around the 55-mile mark.  Kogelmann recovered after some pickle juice at Aid 4 and made a late charge to catch Masse thanks in part to a few 101k riders who he was able to work with on the gravel sections.

The 2019 Master’s 101 winner, Roger Masse, took the 2nd step crossing the line in 8:07:36 “After a one year hiatus for this event due to Covid, I showed up this year to defend my Stokesville Team Masters win from 2019 without knowing too much about the now two new classes of “incoming freshmen” into Masters 50+. Early in the opening climb, led by Chip Kogelmann (BikeFlights), several of the top Masters guys started inching away. They were going hard. Chip was climbing strong and seemed like the early favorite. I lost sight of Chip until mile 15 or so when the chase group that I was in caught the larger group that he was in which was what remained of the peloton. Then at the bottom of Thickhead, Chip again just laid down some climbing power and opened up a sizable gap. Hours later, after emerging from New Laurel Run, I was again in a chase group that together closed the gap on Chip as he was riding solo. Together again.  I managed to climb up Bear Gap with the group that now included Chip which was encouraging. At the top of Bear Gap, out of the group of 5 or so, I dove into the Croyle single track first and tried to work some separation in the woods thinking the slower single track riders might delay his chase. The effort seemed to work as we started getting into more of that amazing Rothrock knar. Dutch Alvin, Chestnut Spring, Sassafras, Sassy Pig, Pigpile, Shiitake, Beautiful and No Name all went by with none of the original group containing Chip. Sweet! Riding solo up Stillhouse, Sand Mountain, Panther Run all the way to Poe Paddy and the last aid, I started to feel like I might be able to hold on despite being pretty tired… Alas, it wasn’t to be, Chip came rolling by me with authority on the rail trail with about 7 miles to go. He spoke some words of encouragement, but I didn’t have the legs to respond. In the end he had put 4 minutes into me and I settled for 2nd. But wow, great course and great racing! Congrats to Chip on the win and a hearty welcome to you and all the newcomers to the Masters family!”

Finishing twelve minutes back, Bruce Stauffer, grabbed third place, 8:19:44 “What a great weather day for Wilderness 101!  This was my 3rd race of the NUE series this year.  If I complete Shenandoah as planned it will be the first year that I will be eligible for series points, so I really wanted to do well but also to finish.  I figured there was probably a sharp rock out there somewhere with my name on it, so I packed two tubes and a pump instead of just the usual CO2 inflator.  Fortunately it all stayed in the saddle  bag.  I started conservative on the first big climb, but by the technical signal track descent right after the 2nd aid station I was in a pretty good rhythm.  I enjoyed the mix of gravel and single track.  Riding thru the final tunnel at the very end is super satisfying as it’s the last challenge before banging the gong and collecting the finishers pint.”

Fourth place went to Rob Campbell in 8:30:46 and fifth place Donovan Neal in 8:34:46.

Master’s 101 podium: 1st- Chip Kogelmann 8:03:49, 2nd Roger Masse 8:07:36, 3rd Bruce Stauffer 8:19:44, 4th Rob Campbell 8:30:46, 5th Donovan Neal 8:34:46. Photo credit: Chris Merriam

Singlespeed 101 mile- PA’s Vorberger gets the W

Taking the single speed win, John Vorberger (Syndicate Cycling/Flow Formulas/Sweetwater Bikes,) from Pittsburg, PA finished in 7:35:27. “Friends told me the W101 normally starts off pretty mellow for the first 25-30 miles, but right from the start of the first climb this year, some open geared guys took off and hammered. I stayed with them and by the top of the first climb, I was in the lead group of only 10-15 or so riders, and the only SS’er in the group. A couple teammates on the Flow Formulas team were in the group with me – Will, Ian, and Caleb – so it made for fun riding as we cruised along the gravel roads. The second climb was also super hot, thanks to Will Loevner pushing the pace. I hung on for that climb also but got spun out on my singlespeed on the gradual downhill after it and lost the geared guys around mile 25-30. Oh well, I was hoping I put a lot of time on the other SS’ers, so my plan changed to just keep riding hard but smart to keep my lead. I rode the rest of the race mostly solo, but occasionally with a couple friends. Toward the end I got caught by a geared teammate and another geared friend doing the 100k race. I drafted them for a little on the rail-trail, but I got spun out and went solo again. Right near the end of the race I caught back up to my buddy Ryan Johnson, who got 3rd in the 100k open, and we crossed the line together. It was a fun way to end the race. The whole day and trip to State College was a lot of fun, it’s hard to beat heading out to a race with a friend and having a good day on the bike! I used 34×20 gearing, but next year I think I might switch to 34×19. Next up is the Shenandoah 100. Thanks to Flow Formulas for race-day nutrition, Syndicate cycling for the support, Sweetwater Bikes, and Extreme Nano lubricants for keeping my chain quiet and smooth the whole race. Also, thanks for Chris Scott for another great event!”

Coming in second was, David Taylor, with a time of 8:33:12. “Wilderness 101, I came in with a new outlook and it worked out this time. I have been racing the 101 since 2016 and love every bit of Chris Scott’s events. I had a bit of redemption for my poor performance at the Mohican 100 last month thanks to a nutrition mixup and the scorching heat. I dnf’d that race. I decided to focus on a couple things this race. Do an easy but consistent taper week, mix my nutrition properly and to go out easier. This worked exceptionally well. I paced with my buddy Jesse for most of the race and just let it come to me. I was back and forth with Joe Worboy but he went pretty hard up the third climb and I refused to chase. After aid station three I caught Thad and Joe again and managed to put a good gap on the long climb. I came up on Matt Ferrari in the new singletrack section and he didn’t seem to put up a fight. I just continued nice and steady and at the last aid station I came up on second place Stephen Schwarz. He quickly took off and I followed about a minute behind. I definitely had more gear than him and caught him about a mile later and never looked back.Despite some cramping on the final stretch I was happy to PR on Stillhouse and the final climbs. By the end I had gapped third place by about 12 minutes and gained a couple more positions on the geared guys. If you haven’t raced the W101 make sure to do so. It’s my favorite of all the courses I have raced. Thanks to The Peddler of Long Branch, Rescue Racing and Hilltop Bikes for all they do for me.”

Taking the third step, Steve Schwarz, crossed the line in 8:46:30. “The Wilderness 101 was really a phenomenal experience for me all around.  To give some background, I have been away from racing for probably 10 years, and this was my first race back with any real kind of training under my belt.  Coming into the race I knew I felt pretty good, but I didn’t know what to expect as far as results. I’m also not a regular on the single speed circuit, so I didn’t really know who was who as far as the competition goes. I know Chris Scott mentioned a few names on the pre-race report, like Thad, Ivan, and Matt Ferrari, but besides that I didn’t really know who to look for.
The race started out beautifully. I had a great nights sleep with a belly full of delicious food and yummy beers from Elk Creek brewing.  I knew once we turned on the first climb that I was going to ride well, but I didn’t know where my limits were, so I told myself I’d ride my own pace and let a number of the single speeders go by. Kept feeling well as the day went on, making sure to stay on top of my hydration and fueling, and things kept going great.  I kept wondering to myself when things were going to go sideways, but they never really did.
I passed a couple single speeders right before or after aid station two and noticed I was riding the trails pretty well.  Sometime around aid station three, I passed Thad Who is walking his bike on the technical single track and seem to be in a bit of distress. That was the first time I thought things might be going OK for me. Then I passed another couple single speeders coming into aid station four, I made it a point to bust a move out of there.  On the nasty climb out of aid station four, I came across Ivan Who was  now shirtless But hilarious as always. I chatted with him briefly, but wrote a way up the hill and he yelled out “looking strong,” which gave me a boost.  I ground myself a bit to make it up to the top of that nasty climb, and then settled in with a bunch of gearies who helped me pass the next 15 or so miles.  At that point I figured I was probably sitting in a pretty good spot. I didn’t know if I was in first third fifth or what, but I suspected things were going well and just road steady and hard to the finish. The finish line came a little sooner than I expected and I was glad to be done. I didn’t know where I had finished until about 45 minutes later when I decided to roll down to the keg for a beer and I saw Ivan standing up for the podium awards and I realized I better get my butt over there for the presentation. Really good to be back in the mix in some serious racing, and no place Better to do it then at one of Chris Scott’s events.  I’m thinking more NUE events are in my future for next year.”

Fourth place was Ivan Temnykh in 8:54:00 and fifth place Scott Rath in 9:04:39.

Photo credit: Chris Merriam
101 Singlespeed podium: 1st John Vorberger 7:35:27, 2nd David Taylor 8:33:12, 3rd Steve Schwarz 8:46:30, 4th Ivan Temnykh 8:54:00, 5th Scott Rath 9:04:39, 6th Joe Worboy 9:19

Women’s 100K- Laird’s 1st NUE win

After a 2nd place finish at both Mohican and Carrabassett 100k, Teresa Laird, from Richmond VA took the 100k win finishing in 6:36:45.

Taking second place was, Abigail Snyder, finishing in 7:16:36 “This was my first time at the Wilderness 101k, and only my second NUE or 100k race. I was both excited and nervous coming into race day, having never ridden in PA before, but having heard stories about how rocky the trails in the area could be. The mass start allowed me to settle into a moderate pace for the first climb. I soon realized that I really didn’t feel strong at all, but that being a 70+ mile race, I could still just diesel on. So I kept a steady pace and didn’t get too bothered by seeing riders pull away from me on the climbs. I approached the unknown singletrack cautiously, not wanting to risk a fall. I was pleasantly surprised by being able to ride the majority of the trails, only walking a few especially technical sections. As a whole, the gravel and trails were absolutely stunning—what a gorgeous course!! Many thanks to the amazing volunteers at each aid station who helped find my drop bags and fill water—that was a lifesaver! When I finished, I really had no idea where I had placed; it was such a fun surprise to realize that I was second! Sponsors: Ronin Velosport; AMP Human; OSMO Hydration; Cardinal Bicycle Next Race: Shenandoah Mountain 100k”

Tanya Campbell finishes in third place in the 100k

Taking the third step was, Tanya Campbell, with a time of 7:56:33. “HARD HARD HOT and HARD! In 2020 the Wilderness 101 race was cancelled. I still set a goal to see what The Wilderness was all about. I like pushing myself to try new challenges. That summer I rode the Wilderness 101 unsupported, with a little help from my friends Brad Fey, Mary Ann, Bri and Nikki. I also supported a fellow rider Will Lovner on his 300 mile tourture fest when he tackled  the Wilderness 101 three times in a row this past spring. Last weekend at an after party from Mid-State Gravel Mary K and I decided that we were going to race the 101. One week out all we basically had to do was rest and recover for our next race.. Chris Scott was more than generous to us. I volunteered with registration and picked up 50 liters of cokes from Wall-Mart for the aid stations. Then this past Saturday was my very first attempt at the Wilderness 101 Marathon 75 mile distance. My performance was not spectacular but I did manage to keep moving forward all day. I was not trained for the distance. At one point I pedaled by the course marshal, a Mom and her small daughter. Her daughter said look a girl. The Mom said look women are doing it too, see you can do this too! That kept me going out on the course all day. Mary and I found each other riding the single track together which was nice. At this point it was hard to tell who was doing the full or the sort course. Evan and Helena were amazing at the last Support Station! This was the only station I stopped at all day. I also had some coke and a pickle. (THANK YOU) I really wanted hot dogs, roasted avocado and whisky but, I know what not to do during a race from experience. I caught up to my friend Ryan and It was nice to chat and ride with him up Stillhouse. The rest of the ride I was suffering. My back hurt and my ankle were killing me. The tunnel was scary and the fishermans path sucks! If you want to know more about the 101 you should just go race it! I finished third on the podium of open women. My friend Mary was actually in front of me. She registered in the 50 and over so she ended up taking 1st in her class. “

Just a few minutes back Kat Brady took fourth 7:59:50. Paula Baake finished fifth in 8:42:36.

Women’s 100k Podium: 1st Teresa Laird 6:36:45, 2nd Abigail Snyder 7:16:36, 3rd Tanya Campbell 7:56:33, 4th Kat Brady 7:59:50

Men’s 100K- Petrylak takes 100k

Taking the men’s 100k win was, John Petrylak, (CarboRocket, Athlos, Kenda, Molly’s Bikes, Norco Bicycles) finishing in a blistering 5:28:35. “It was great to see Coburn park full of NUE racers! The W101K (which is closer 120k🥵) started on a bright beautiful Saturday Pennsylvania morning. Right away I could feel the energy as the peloton moved down the road towards the first big gravel climb of the day. The pace going up the climb quickly escalated until the elastic started to stretch and I found myself in a small group with Will Pfieffer and Ryan Johnson. We all equally shared time on the front and quickly established a lead over the chasing pack. For the first 25 miles we swiftly made our way through Rockrock State Forest towards the first piece of single track. I was first into the single track and proceeded to have an absolute blast!! After some twisting and flowing though the PA single track I got a little space on my breakaway friends; Ryan and Will.Almost immediately after the single track it was AS(1) and a quick refill of a few bottles of CarboRocket. As I began to climb up the gravel road away from the AS Ryan caught back on and reported Will had a little trouble in the single track. Ryan got on the front and both of us started up yet another Pennsylvania gravel road climb. This climb was a little different as it pitched pretty good at the top. Once we got to the steepest part I couldn’t hear Ryan tires crunching through the gravel so I threw caution to wind and just went for it. At the top I established a nice gap; this was mile 30. For the next 45 miles I proceeded alone and did a LONG TT; holding off the chasers to finish in first. Next up SM100K”

About six minutes back, Anthony Grinnell, finished second in 5:34:17. “The race started at a manageable pace and picked up a bit on the last 3rd of the opening climb.  I decided I didn’t want to push my power that early in the race so I maintained my power.  Three riders pulled a small gap by the top of the climb, but I made a very big mistake in thinking they’d slow down a bit or I could pull them back.  I spent the next 40 minutes solo’ing trying to bridge until I finally gave up and decided it would be wiser to slow down and work with the chase group behind me.  Even though I burned a few matches solo’ing, that decision to wait and work with the chase group paid off.  I saved enough energy to feel somewhat fresh heading into the single track.  I caught 3rd place half way through and caught my buddy in 2nd place, Ryan Johnson, on Sandy Mountain.  Ryan and I decided to ride together for the rest of the race, which was a lot more fun than riding the next 2.5 hours solo!  All in all, it was a fun day with some great single track and good friends.  I was happy to finish in 2nd place, considering the judgement error and resulting solo effort early on.  Huge shout out to Flow Formulas.  Their products have made a big difference for me this year in keeping fueled up and hydrated.  Big thanks to Shorkey Auto Group for financially helping the team get to the races and Pro Bike and Run for keeping our bikes going.  With a SS Marathon Win, a SS Epic Win, a top 5 in Men’s Epic Open, and a 2nd in Men’s Marathon Open, the Syndicate Cycling team had a great weekend.”

Only a minute back from second, Ryan Johnson, took the third step with a time of 5:35:28. Will Pfeiffer took fourth in 5:39:42 and Philip Maynard finished fifth 5:42:20.

Photo credit: Chris Merriam
Men’s Marathon podium: 1st John Petrylak 5:28:35, 2nd Anthony Grinnell 5:34:17, 3rd Ryan Johnson 5:35:28, 4th Will Pfeiffer, 5th Philip Maynard 5:42:20

Master’s 100K- Hagen gets master’s WIN

Mark Hagen (Charm City Cycling (C3 P/B Wagner Roofing) took the masters’s 100k win crossing the line in 6:16:57. “This was my first MTB 100k of the year, first time racing the W101 and my longest ride of the year thus far. Eyeing up the pre-reg I saw some familiar names including some of the mid-Atlantic legends such as the Thummels, D Atkins, Tanguy, Masse and Rob Campbell to name a few. Getting beta on the course was surprisingly tough but settled on my Yeti SB100, running Schwaby RaRa 2.5’s on a 34 tooth front with a 9-48 in the rear, running 2 bottles, couple of gels and 2 expired/very hard Shot Blocks I found in the bottom of my race bag. My strategy was going to be like any other MTB race and try and get a good start and hang as long as I could with the lead group. The 9am start was civil compared to our 101m compatriots (7am) and the temps were in the mid 70’s, which was welcomed as this race is notorious for being about 10 degrees hotter. My strategy worked on the first 4+ mile/1,100-virt. ft. climb until about ¾ of the way up the lead group of about 12 splintered off into a chaise group with myself the eventual single speed winner Litzinger, Josh Coffman, Sunny Gil, one other Bike Doctor guy and a smattering of others from the open podium. It was a friendly but focused group and we traded pulls leading up to the first single-track which I entered last and I never saw most of them again. The first 2 sectors of ST were pretty slow going and technical with sweaty PA rock in full effect. We met up with the 100m groups at around mile 35ish which gave me (and them) riders to trade pulls with. The two middle ST sectors were fun maybe not flowy but good singletrack and each gravel section was welcomed reprieve from the pounding PA rock gardens and used the gravel zones to refuel and lick my wounds. Eventually on the second-to-last long super fast fireraod DH I caught up with the Bike Doctor guys again and we met up at the last aid station, which I left first, and thought that they would me on the final climb but never did. On the final flat trail, through a rather dark and scary tunnel, I traded pulls with fast young-gun Chase Caughey and we both worked together in hopes to drop the BD guys on the final 3-mile climb. We hit the last ST sector at the which I knew from pre-riding the final 5-miles on Friday, so I just knew to get off, shoulder my Yeti and run much of it. Super happy with my first W in a while and huge thanks to the support from the volunteers at the aid-stations (well stocked) and Chris Scott at SMT for this and the other great MTB and Gravel events he throws down on. Also shout out and thanks to my team C3 PB Wagner Roofing and Charm City Cross…cross is coming people.Next up for me is the Breck Epic and can’t wait for the Shenandoah 100!”

Six minutes back and finishing second, Dorel Stoia, finished in 6:23:35. Ohio riders, Bob Sowga (PG racing), finished third in 6:51:51 and fourth went to, David Jolin (Rescue Racing) crossing the line in 6:54:06. Jeff Adamcik took fifth in 7:10.

Masters 100k Podium: 1st Mark Hagen 6:16:57 2nd Dorel Stoia 6:23:35 3rd Bob Sowga 6:51:51 4th David Jolin 6:54:06 5th Jeff Adamcik.
Photo credit: Jen Toops

Masters 100k Women

Mary Kowalski crossed the line in 7:44:50 taking the women’s masters win.

Women’s Masters podium: 1st Mary Kowalski 7:44

Singlespeed 100K

Pennsylvania’s very own James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) took the singlespeed win and sixth overall finishing in 5:44:01.”

Who would not like the Wilderness 101? Loads of the finest gravel in Pennsylvania with east coast rock gardens and beautiful single track. On the first climb after the neutral start the race heated up with about five riders separating themselves as the lead group.  I thought it would be a good race move to conserve some energy and continue the climb at my own pace. When I got to the flat section at the top of the climb, I jumped on the chase group of three riders who meant business.  They were putting in big pulls making it difficult to hold on with all the spinning on the flat roads. I was able to hang on for 6 miles or so before deciding it would be best for me to conserve some energy for the big climbs later in the race.  After all my spinning, I could not wait for another climb and that came were the 100-mile racers joined the course. This is the point in my race where I felt steady and strong. The race just kept getting better, at the top of the climb I was able to put my Specialized Epic to work on the Dutch Alvin trail. It was a blast! From here I started to build confidence as I began passing more 100 and 100k racers. As I worked my way through the field it was great to run into some old friends and make some new ones. 

I had a bunch of support that made this race possible to do my best. Excellent support and friendship from the team shop, Pro Bike + Run. I was using Extreme Nano Lubricants which kept my chain incredibly happy in the harsh conditions. My nutrition and hydration were on point with flow formulas. My Perelli tires were fast and durable. My Wolf tooth 34 x 20 gearing was strong and flawless. As always, I would like to give special thanks to my Syndicate family for always supporting me and pushing me to do my best.  Next up is Shenandoah!! “

Matthew Doyle took second with a time of 6:42:02.

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the Epic and Marathon NUE series Pierre’s Hole in WY on August 7th, 2021

NUE Mohican 100K

Written by: @jentoops

The 20th annual Mohican MTB 100k/100m kicked off on June 5th, 2021. Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to tackle this tough course. A new course for 2021 would eliminate gravel and add more private single track sections making it quite possibly the toughest course yet.

Start of Mohican race from Mohican Adventures campground. Photo: Butch Phillips

The 100k race took off at 9AM and started/finished at Mohican Adventures campground. It was a full sun, scorching hot, and humid day with temperatures reaching mid 80’s. Due to a short run out before the singletrack, a mass start wasn’t possible this year and race director, Ryan O’dell, sent racers off in 5 min waves by category.

The racers quickly jockey for position going into the 25 miles of fast flowing single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical sections and the newly added Mohaven single track. The famous Mohican Wilderness rock garden was included where racers are heckled as they try to maneuver this technical section. 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 and eventually climbed over 8000 feet.

What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers from New Hope Church that run the aid stations. Ryan O’dell stated, the church has been helping for 10 years now. The New Hope volunteers bring a unique excitement and enthusiasm to the event that makes racers feel welcome and appreciated. I can’t thank them enough.” No matter if you are leading the race or in the back the volunteers make signs, are out cheering racers on and have a “Nascar” style to get you in and out of aid stations quickly.

One of seven fully stocked aid stations. A huge thanks to volunteers from New Hope church for helping with the event! Photo: Butch Phillips

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 food from Grants Guac and Roll and beer from Great Lakes Brewing all while cheering racers on as they cross the finish line.

Men’s Open

Taking the men’s open 100k win and finishing fourth overall was local, Andrew Purcell (Purcell Construction), with a time of 5:55:12.

Andrew Purcell-Men’s open 100k winner. Photo: Butch Phillips

“I rolled off the start line and entered the single track about 6th place.  I live in the mohican area and know these trails really well.  After a few miles i decided to head to front to up the pace.  We split off into a group of three. Not going to hard but using the flow of the trail to our advantage.  100 yards from the first road section coming off the horse trails one of the riders went over the bars pretty hard and that left two of us to get after it.   We rode together to wilderness and i thought for sure he had the better legs on the day.  I let him go on back side of wilderness climb.  I knew we still had a good bit of riding left. Rode solo till heading back home out of mohaven when i came up on Ryan.  He said his legs were cramping and just wanted to get home.  I tried to encourage him and said this is the only way home.  We are so close. We rode together until climb up to back side of suspension bride where i pedaled on and basically crawled home to the finish. Home field advantage was a huge bonus.   Bike worked flawless all day. Lucky win– Sponsor is Purcell Construction”

Men’s open 100k podium: 1st Andrew Purcell, 2nd Ryan Johnson, 3rd Will Pfeiffer, 4th Christopher Cain, 5th Joseph Williams

Taking second place was, Ryan Johnson (Cannondale) of PA, finishing in 6:02:27. About seven minutes back, Will Pfeiffer (Flow Formulas), took third place in 6:09:31.

“During my Friday recon, I saw that a narrow, metal bridge led into the singletrack about half a mile after the start.  This looked like trouble so, as soon as the race began, I went to the front and made sure to lead across the bridge.  This turned out to be a good choice, as there was some chaos farther down in the field through that area.  I ended up staying on the front for about 5 miles, dragging a group of seven of us away.  At this point, I let eventual winner Andrew Purcell move through.  He was climbing harder than was reasonable for me and I quickly let the other five through as well to go chase him.  Then I just settled into my race.

Joe Williams bridged up and we rode together for around 40 miles, slowly catching guys who had popped off that front group.  I was focused on keeping some pace while not overextending the legs and staying well hydrated.  Coming out of the third (and what I thought was the final) rest area, we navigated the last significant portion of singletrack before the course opened up into a series of gravel and fire road climbs.  I was starting to increase the tempo and knew that Chris Cain was staying within about 20 seconds of me with third place on the line.  Given that I had unknowingly lost track of the course, when we crossed the plank bridge into a campground I thought we were about to hit the finish.  I was full gas, absolutely giving it the beans for half a mile, making sure to keep Chris behind me…just to realize that we were merely coming into the *actual* final rest area.  With another 12 miles to go.

This was a tough mental and physical blow.  My legs were cooked so I backed off and waited for Chris to see what kind of pace he was rolling at that point.  Neither of us were going super hard, so it was a good chance to recover for a bit.  Around eight miles to go, I started climbing to the power numbers again and hoping my legs wouldn’t completely crump after my mistimed effort.  I was able to pull away through a few of the steeper sections and really buried myself holding high tempo to the finish, securing the podium.  This was a great course.  Definitely challenging.  Lots of variety and far punchier than I thought it would be.  Glad I came to Ohio and fortunate to have linked up with some awesome riders throughout the day! Sponsors: Flow Formulas, The Black Bibs, Starlight Apparel, Industry Nine, Maxxis, Kask, Koo Eyewear, Handup Gloves, Ridge Supply”

Rounding out the podium was, Christopher Cain (Yellow Springs Dirt Syndicate) from OH finishing fourth in 6:13:20. Taking the last podium spot was, Joseph Williams (Blenman-Elm Racing), from AZ finishing in 6:15:09.

Women’s Open 100k

100k Women’s podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Thirty-two racers showed up for the Mohican women’s 100K. It was UCI racer, Kelly Catale (Seven Cycles), making her first NUE appearance and winning the 100k with a time of 6:22:19. “The 2021 Mohican 100k was my first ever NUE race, and the longest marathon MTB race of my elite cycling career, so I truthfully had no idea what to expect. I started the morning with eggs, pancakes with real maple syrup, and coffee, and then we rolled out to the race venue. During my warmup, the sun was already blistering hot and the air was equivalent in thickness to chamois butter. For the first of what would become hundreds of times, I tried to convince myself that this weather was better than rain. 
When the race began, I took the lead into the campground singletrack. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so I decided to put some distance between me and the pack by crushing the first of what would be many climbs akin to a wall on this course. From there, we ventured into the Mohican State Park singletrack, which was a perfect combination of climbing and bumpy roots — so bumpy that I lost one of my bottles, which signaled the beginning of my inevitable dehydration saga. I reduced my pace slightly to avoid overheating too much and, thankfully, my amazing aid station crew (my husband) was prepared with plenty of fluids at aid station #1.   
The race progressed somewhat uneventfully for many miles of singletrack, horse trails, gravel roads, and hills. While trying to stay focused and hydrated, I kept myself company by singing songs out loud. The soundtrack for the day included some Queen, Van Halen, Justin Timberlake, and Bon Jovi (honestly, who doesn’t sing a little “Halfway there…WOOOAAAAHHH” when they pass halfway in a race?). I found myself drinking much more water than I expected (and I never cramped up, thanks to the Flow Formulas drink mix in my bottles!), and was passing many suffering, cramping competitors along the sunny and exposed gravel roads of doom. 
Throughout the entire race, I was most impressed by the positivity and energy of every volunteer, course marshal, and race staff that were positioned at the intersections, aid stations, and start/finish. These folks made the ride a bit more enjoyable and tolerable in the crazy heat. Overall, the course and competition did not disappoint!
My next NUE race will be the Carrabassett 100k in July. A huge thanks to my husband, Joe, for preparing my bike for race day and for being the world’s most organized aid station crew; my race success would be just a dream if it weren’t for you. Thanks to Seven Cycles for the amazing KellCat SL race machine, Industry Nine for the fancy and light wheels, Vittoria for the grippy and fast rolling rubber, and Verge Sport for the spiffy kit. Thanks also to Flow Formulas for keeping me fueled and cramp-free all day and Gold Medal CBD for helping me recover and sleep.”

Kelly Catale-Women’s open 100k winner- Photo: Butch Phillips

About twenty minutes back was, Teresa Laird (RVA Racing), finishing second with a time of 6:44:03.

“On our long drive from Richmond, Virginia nerves were setting in, the start list of 35 women was larger than any race I have done before. I’m relatively new to mountain biking and have been doing well locally but I was really questioning whether I was going to be competitive with this large field of women. And then I heard something on Leadville: The 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race Podcast, it was “You are better than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can”. Great, I had my race mantra!

The singletrack started within the first quarter mile and I knew I needed to be towards the front, I pushed harder than I normally would and I ended up going into the woods 3rd, Kelly in 1st and Julie in 2nd. Kelly immediately opened up a gap on Julie and me but I was working hard and knew it would be a long day if I tried to follow. I passed Julie around 3 miles in and then we were together for most of the first 20 miles. I pulled away from her just before getting out of the first section of singletrack. 

25 miles in coming out of the woods onto the road, I was ready to increase my pace, but that was short lived and we headed back in for some rocky trails. This was probably my favorite part of the race. I was still feeling great and I love some techy riding! 

About 4 hours in, it was starting to sink in that this race was going to take about an hour longer than I thought. I had looked at previous times on the course and hadn’t fully appreciated the changes made to the course when I was determining my race plan. Luckily, I had enough food in my drop bag. I went back to my mantra and kept on pushing.

The rest of the race went by slowly, the heat was starting to get to me and I probably pushed a little too hard in the beginning. One day I will get my pacing right, but luckily I was able to hold on to 2nd.

Mohican 100k was a well organized and challenging race. I am grateful for all the volunteers on the course. Aid station support was top notch! Also, my bike was having shifting problems right up until race week and Carytown Bikes in Richmond went above and beyond to get it right and it shifted flawlessly the whole race. I’m excited for the next race in the series. Next Race: Carrabassett 100k”

Taking the third spot was, Julie Medema (Founders Racing) traveling in from MI finishing with a time of 7:01:18.

“Mohican is my first nue series race besides Lumberjack100. I was excited to test the legs and ride some new trail. I asked some friends who’ve done the race in the past for advice and they said the first half is slow going/difficult trail but the second half is gravel/road and goes by quick. Needless to say about mile 45 I realized the fast miles weren’t coming.. I settled into a steady pace since I’d been on my own from about mile 20 and didn’t anticipate being able to work with anyone since the course was a constand climbing and descending pattern. 
Turned out the course was challenging the whole way through! First 25 miles of Mohican State Park trail were fast despite being rooty and had great flow. The remaining mix of trail/two track and small sections of gravel then the additional what I’d call ‘adventure trail’ were relentless steep climbs and descents that kept you on your toes between mud sucking puddles, washed out rutted descents, ravines and many creek crossings. Needless to say that was one of the biggest adventure races I’ve done and the scenery was spectacular throughout the entire course! 
I credit my 3rd place spot to sheer stubbornness to not wanting to walk my bike on the numerous climbs and having good technical skills through the roots, slippery rock gardens and fast descents. Also my husband was at aid stations with ice cold drinks which was a lifesaver due to the 90 degree temps and the fact that it was hard to eat with the heat and lack of easy miles to take in much nutrition. 
Thankful for the stability from my Velocity Blunt SS Wheels and Founders Racing teammates to always help me push the limits!”

Completing the podium was, Abigail Snyder (Ronin Velosport) from IN crossing the line fourth in 7:13:09, and Beth Desanzo from PA finishing fifth with a time of 7:17.

Singlespeed

100k single speed division podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

The singlespeed division was all business this weekend as the top three took the fastest times of all 100k racers including gears. Taking the overall 100k and singlespeed win was, Dahn Pahrs (UPMC Pro Bike Run) of PA finishing with a blistering fast time of 5:47:15.

“Due to changes in the course they were starting people in waves.  They were sending out the Pro / CAT 1 racers at 9am, then Open Women at 9:05 and then SS’ers at 9:15.  I was worried every open class racer was going to say he was CAT 1, but only about 30 of the 200+ open riders lined up.  Off they went and then about 30 women went off at 9:05. Then at about 9:17 the SS’ers went off.  I was able to ride with Jim Litzinger and Anthony Grinnell for about 3 or 4 miles until they dropped me.  I settled into a pace I could hold and worked my way through the women’s field.  They all let me pass with no major issue in the tight single track but this would allow Josh Kunz to keep it pretty close to me.  About 12 miles in we hit the covered bridge climb and I went at it hard to distance myself from Josh.  Pushed it a little too hard and puked on the climb but was able to keep riding.  Learned after the race that Josh backed off some because the pace to the covered bridge was too fast for a 100K race, he said we got to the bridge in the same time it takes him for the normal 25 mile XC race held there.  So for the next 25 miles I was pretty much riding alone and passing people who started in front of me.  Occasionally someone would tell me Jim was a minute or two ahead.  Coming into aid station 3 you passed the people coming out of the aid station and that is where I saw Jim and Anthony for the first time.  I could see they were less than 2 minutes up on me.  I made quick time getting out of the aid station and went on to chase them.  New this year, they had the 100K racers head to some new trails at a location called Camp Mohaven.  This new stuff made this year’s race 69 miles rather than the normal 60ish.  There was some tough climbing into the Mohican Wilderness part of the course and then a brutal climb up to Camp Mohaven.  At Camp Mohaven they had aid station 3.5 and that was when I caught up to Jim and Anthony.  We left the aid station and rode the entire 6 miles of trail there together still pacing other riders.  Then it was off on some gravel roads.  We chatted and I just sat on their wheels.  No way I was going out front against the two of them.  With about 12 miles to go I recognized a tough gravel climb was coming so I went to the front.  It started gradually and I was seated climbing it.  I would look over my shoulder every couple seconds and I could see a small gap forming, then it started to get steep and I basically said to myself “it’s go time” and stood up and just hammered it out.  The gap instantly grew and they just let me go.  I passed a very fast geared guy, Brian Schworm, on the climb.  He looked to be hurting but I was also worried he could pull Jim and Anthony back up to me.  So I just kept hammering.  I found out later that Brian had to DNF shortly after I passed him from dehydration and he was of no help to Jim and Anthony.  With a couple miles to go in the race I caught up to Ryan Johnson on a paved road and he told me he was in 2nd place in the Open Class and that 1st place was only a couple minutes ahead.  It was at that point I realized I was in 1st place overall.  I had no idea until then.  In the end I finished in 5:47 and won overall.  Jim and Anthony finished in 5:51 to finish 2nd and 3rd overall.  The top Open class rider finished in 5:55.  Definitely was not expecting to do that well after all that racing I did the 2 weeks prior, Whiskey Rebellion 200K & TSE.  I used 34X20 as my gear for the race.”

Crossing the line together and finishing second and third were teammates James Litzinger (Syndicate Cycling) and Anthony Grinnell (syndicate Cycling) both finishing in 5:51:33.

“The Pittsburgh Single Speeders showed the geared field how it’s done this past weekend at the NUE Mohican 100K by taking all 3 top spots on the overall podium.  Jim Litzinger and I had a strong start and pulled a few minute gap over multi-time Mohican winner Don Powers.  The course was in great shape with a few slick spots, but the Pirelli tires hooked up phenomenally.  At aid 3.5, Don pulled back the gap and the three of us rode together for the next 15 miles or so until he pulled away on one of the long grinder climbs.  With the heat and humidity, Jim and I should have watched our pace a little better in the first half of the race.  I remembered conditions being similar in 2016 and watching guys drop like flies in the later miles of the race and that certainly seemed to be the case this year as well.  Using Flow Formulas drink mix has been a huge help in those types of conditions.    Jim and I were happy to cross the finish line together for 2nd and 3rd and were even happier to find out the single speed guys swept the overall.   Overall, the Syndicate Cycling team had a great week with John Vorberger getting 2nd in the 100 mile SS class, Wyatt Rodgers winning the under 30 Open Men’s 100K, Jim and I getting 2nd and 3rd in the overall 100K, and Will Loevner getting 2nd in the 357 mile Unbound race in Kansas, even after suffering a broken hand and lacerated arm.  Big thanks to Jim Shorkey Auto Group and Pro Bike and Run for helping us get to the races.”

Josh Kunz (Trans-Sylvania Production) finished in fourth place with a time of 6:42:30. James Knott (Nocterra Trek MTB) took the fifth spot in 7:04:19.

Masters 50+

Masters 50+ podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling in from IN, Paul Arlinghaus (HMBA), took the masters win finishing in 6:32:45.

“With all the other age group waves starting in front of us, the first hour and a half of 50+ race was action packed.  We started catching riders 7 minutes into the race.  I think that later, we all paid the price for the extra effort required to pass so many riders.   Dorel Stoia and I were in 2nd and 3rd coming out of the Mohican State Forest and we worked together on the gravel roads to the Mohican Wilderness.  We were together until just before the double track climb in the Wilderness, this is where I got away from Dorel.  After Sag 3, I caught the lead rider just before top of the Wilderness climb.  

The addition more trails in the Wilderness and the new trails in Mohaven, made the 100k race harder than past years.  I was riding the technical single track well and felt that I was gaining time.

Paul Arlinghaus-Masters 100k winner

From Mohaven to the finish, it was just survival mode, I conserved on the flat and downhill sections and just focused on steady power on the climbs.  I sprinted up the climb back into the Park, mostly because I was ready to be done and was happy to be finished.

I think that one of the keys to winning was having sag support. Heather Arlinghaus was at Sag 1 and 3 to support me.  I left every sag station with 2 full water bottles.  With temperatures in the mid 80’s many riders paid the price for passing by sag stations early in the race.”

Second place went to, Dorel Stoia of OH, crossing the line in 6:55:17.

“This was my 4th Mohican 100k and my first time in Master’s class. Mohican is my absolute favorite trail and love everything about it. The race was very hard because of the tough competition,  the tough course, and the heat. I was in the lead before the Wilderness when I started to have cramps and had to slow down the pace. After that it was just holding up to maintain the second spot of which I am very pleased with. Thanks to the organizers for putting together such an amazing race. Now is time for recovery and  getting ready for the next NUE race, which is going to be Wilderness on July.”

Third place was, David Jolin (Rescue Racing), 6:59:08, fourth place, Robert Goetz, 7:10:47 and fifth place went to, Ali Arasta, with a time of 7:16:32.

For full results CLICK HERE

Mohican 100 photo album by Photographer Butch Phillips CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE series is the Lumberjack 100 mile June 19th, 2021 in Manistee, MI

NUE Mohican 100 Mile

Written by: @jentoops

The 20th annual Mohican MTB 100k/100m kicked off on June 5th, 2021. Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to tackle this tough course. A new course for 2021 would eliminate gravel and add more private single track sections making it quite possibly the toughest course yet.

Start of Mohican race from Mohican Adventures campground. Photo: Butch Phillips

The 100m race took off at 7AM and started/finished at Mohican Adventures campground. It was a full sun, scorching hot, and humid day with temperatures reaching mid 80’s. Due to a short run out before the singletrack, a mass start wasn’t possible this year and race director, Ryan O’dell, sent racers off in 5 min waves by category.

The racers quickly jockey for position going into the 25 miles of fast flowing single track in Mohican State Park.  After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical sections and the newly added Mohaven and Glenmont single track. The famous Mohican Wilderness rock garden was included where racers are heckled as they try to maneuver this technical section. 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 and eventually climbed over 11000 feet.

What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers from New Hope Church that run the aid stations. Ryan O’dell stated, the church has been helping for 10 years now. The New Hope volunteers bring a unique excitement and enthusiasm to the event that makes racers feel welcome and appreciated. I can’t thank them enough.” No matter if you are leading the race or in the back the volunteers make signs, are out cheering racers on and have a “Nascar” style to get you in and out of aid stations quickly.

One of seven fully stocked aid stations. A huge thanks to volunteers from New Hope church for helping with the event! Photo: Butch Phillips

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 food from Grants Guac and Roll and beer from Great Lakes Brewing all while cheering racers on as they cross the finish line.

Men’s Open

Men’s open 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling all the way from AZ, Kyle Trudeau (CZracing) takes the win in the men’s open 100 mile with a time of 7:31:10. This was Kyle’s first win at the Mohican 100.

Kyle Trudeau wins the 100 mile men’s open coming in from Tucson, AZ- Photo: Butch Phillips

“First off I would like to say thank you to the race promoters for putting on a well run event and having such a challenging and well marked course.  I also want to thank all the volunteers, especially at the aid stations because I relied on their help heavily since I did not have my own support crew at this race. 
The Mohican 100 this year was my first appearance at the race so there were many unknowns I was going to have to face on race day. My goal for the start of the race was to make the front selection and then start fueling and pacing for the remainder of the race. I was able to make the front group of three that split almost immediately in the first mile. I was happy to sit in the group since I did not have any experience with the course but was attentive to any move that might try and go up the trail. Our group grew to about six people and stayed that way until about mile 25 where I took the lead on a steep climb and created a split of three of us. I stopped at the mile 28 aid station and made a quick chase back to the front two where we rode together until some technical single track around mile 35. I was sitting second wheel and the leader made a mistake, I got around and rode a clean descent to get about a 30 second gap. After that I settled into a solid but manageable pace, focusing on my fueling and being smooth on the tricky single track sections. I watched my lead grow hoping I could sustain my pace to the finish. The heat and attrition of the race started to set in and I started downing soda at every aid knowing that it has helped me pull through some very deep fatigue late in a race. I always felt like I was going to get caught at some point and couldn’t believe I had managed the win until I was crossing the finish line with my arms raised. 
Huge thanks to Construction Zone Racing, BeSpoke Real Estate, GoTenac Coaching, Bicycle Haus and SockGuy for making my participation in these great events possible and Tucson Sports Recovery for keeping my body running strong.”

Taking the second spot was, Chris Mehlman (Bear National Team), traveling in from MA finishing the race in 7:56:46.

“This was my first 100-mile race. However, I have done other marathon events before and also raced Breck Epic in 2019, and I know that these events suit me much better than XC races. I was very excited to finally get a taste of the mental and physical battle that comes with such a long race! 

The start was more aggressive than I expected for such a long race, but I should have known that given my previous experience with overly antsy racers in 50-mile races!! I settled into the lead group and felt good except when one guy on a Pivot was on the front on descents and was pushing it hard.

Chris Mehlman finishes 2nd in 100mile open- Photo: Butch Phillips

Around mile 25, Kyle Trudeau went to the front and upped the pace on a climb. I was excited to see how long I could hang with him…. until I flatted. It was on a descent just before the first long road/gravel section, and with what was not my quickest fix, the lead group was long gone. At that point, my goal became reeling in everyone except for Kyle; I knew how strong he is and knew that catching him would be almost impossible. I put my trust in the Stan’s Dart (which held the rest of the race!!) and I turned my brain to chase mode. I might have gotten just a bit overzealous, though my chasing motivation waxed and waned as I caught a couple of people but was told a larger-than-expected time gap at each aid station. By mile 60, however, I had caught everyone else. I caught 2nd and 3rd just before the 1st Glenmont aid station on the rail trail, and it was a welcome sight during a dark moment. When I passed under the “Bridge of Dreams” on that trail, all I could think was how it was the “Bridge of Nightmares.” 

After that aid, I dropped the other guys and set off on my own in what became a lonely and brutal last 40 miles. My legs felt emptier and emptier, and all I wanted was to get home to the finish. I stayed on the grind (and on the fueling, luckily), and tried to avoid the temptation of constantly glancing at the mile counter on my Garmin. 

Just rolling across the finish line felt like a big accomplishment. I have never been so empty after a race. Finishing 2nd was awesome, but the most important thing for me was the learning experience. There was a lot that the race taught me about 100-mile events that I will take on board moving forward so I can finish one step higher next time!! 

The race had an incredible atmosphere and great trails, and I look forward to coming back! I’m not sure what my next NUE race will be, but I will be racing Nationals, Telluride 100, and then Breck Epic later in the summer! Follow me on Instagram @cmehlman34 to see where these adventures take me!”

After winning the Mohican 100k (2018) and 100m (2019) in the single speed division, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage), takes on his home course with gears in the open class. He took the third step in 8:08:33.

“This was my first race since True Grit in 2020 so I didn’t really know what to expect other than the typical tough day at the Mohican 100.  To my surprise this years course was the toughest yet!  I started the race at my own pace knowing that it’s really easy to blow up in the first 25 miles of this race.  That meant letting the front pack go and just settling in.  I had my chain drop twice at mile 7 and again around mile 15 so I burned a couple matches getting back up to speed and I was able to link up with fast French racer Theo Charney in the MSP single track.  At this point I’m guessing we are around 7th or 8th. We worked together trading turns and pushing the pace which would see us pick off riders one by one throughout the day.
We passed Tanguy around mile 50 and passed another racer in the Glenmont single track.  Not far into this section I had a stick jam in my derailleur pulleys and I lost my easiest gear.  I stopped a few times to try and tweak the hanger but it was too far gone.  The climbs here were super steep and wet and grinding up them I was riding the fine line of cramping.  After coming out of the woods we passed Pendlebury on the way back into Glenmont and passed a couple more racers coming out of the last aide station.  
Theo and I chose the final straight to lay down a sprint to decide placing. He opened it up and took a slight lead but I was able to reel him back just enough to grab 3rd.

The heat, humidity, and tough course always makes this race hard and today was no exception.  Luckily I seem to favor the heat so that plays to my advantage and keeping a steady pace always helps at Mohican.  Big shoutout to Theo because I don’t know if I would’ve kept that pace if I didn’t have that motivation.  Thanks to all the race staff and volunteers who run the best aide stations and course direction out there. Also, thanks to my sponsors Paradise Garage and Evolution Training Cycles for the support.”

Anthony Toops rides the suspension bridge- Photo: Butch Phillips

Rounding out the podium was, Theo Charnay (VC Laissac), from France taking the fourth spot, 8:08:33. Fifth place went to, Jeffery Pendlebury (Ride on Wooster), crossing the line in 8:25:58.

Women’s Open

Mohican 100 women’s podium

The previous 2017, 2018 NUE marathon champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot MTB race team) takes the Mohican 100m win in a time of 9:31:58.

” I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so excited for race day. I haven’t done a solo race since Sept of 2019. We just moved back from Boulder and this is my home course with friends and family that came to cheer us on so I was chomping at the bit to get going. My race turned out mostly un-eventful and I’m ok with that! I’ve blown up every year I’ve done this race in the past so I decided to try a different approach. I went hard on the opening mohican single track climb to get some distance and then settled in to a slower pace and focused on nutrution. On the opening climb it was more wet than expected and I actually fell over on some slick rocks. I normally run a little extra air pressure on hundo races so I’m sure this didn’t help. It was a good wake up call to chill out. I could see Hanna during the mohican singletrack loop so I knew she was still close by. After reaching the gravel, I continued to push the climbs and took it easy on the downhills and was able to keep the lead the whole race. I’m glad I saved some juice for the newly cut singletrack sections as they had some real steep muddy climbs. I rode my Pivot Mach 4SL live valve and was fortunate to have no issues with the bike all day! We rode through some real muddy sections and my SCC chain lube got me through the whole day.

Jen Toops focuses on those wet mossy rocks in Mohican Wilderness- Photo: Butch Phillips

I focused on staying on top of nutrition this race because of the heat and humidity. Aside from the first aid station I stopped at every aid and made sure I ate. Any time I could feel the cramping starting I took a CarboRocket RocketLyte and it took care of the cramping. In total: two 2L CarboRocket electrolyte mix, two 1.5L Gatorade, two shots Coke cola, 1 bottle water. 7 honey stinger gels, 2 honey stinger waffles, 1 bag mini HS waffles, 2 packs HS performance chews, several gummy candies, and 4 CR Rocketlytes. I also had an extra bottle on bike of water to use to cool down on the climbs.

I’m very impressed with the quality of staff at this event. The aid stations and volunteers were AMAZING. The new course was very well marked and I enjoyed more singletrack vs gravel this year. I downloaded the map on my element and was able to make sure I was on course all day. It’s always a bonus with you can camp at the start/finish line. Well done Mohican crew! Next NUE race: TBD. Sponsors: Pivot Cycles, Pearl Izumi, Lazer, Ergon, Fox, CarboRocket, Honeystinger, Maxxis, Stans, SCC chain lube, xpedo, and MTBracenews.”

Finishing 2nd place, Hanna Pauline Derby (Vangos Restaurant), of Marquette, MI finishes with a time of 11:14:05.

Hanna Pauline Derby finishes 2nd in women’s 100 mile coming down from Marquette, MI

A previous Mohican 100m winner from Ohio, Shannon Tenwalde (Paradise Garage Racing), takes the third spot with a time of 12:26:02.

Shannon Tenwalde navigating Mohican Wilderness-Photo: Butch Phillips

Rounding out the top five was, Annette Nowak, taking fourth place in 12:52:04 and Laureen Coffelt (Los Locos Pivot) finishing with place with a time of 13:34:02.

Singlespeed

Singlespeed 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Taking the win in singlespeed was, Shane Kramer, from NY crossing the line in 8:24:03.

“This was my first race in almost 2 years. I was second at Mohican in 2019 and really wanted to improve on that result. I came into the weekend ready to go but unsure of how my fitness would match up. Scanning the results from TSE I knew there would be some tough competition but that why I like racing the Mohican. On Friday I tried out a 19t cog but settled on 34×20 for the race. 
I’ve always been terrible at starts. However, since we started in waves it was a lot less hectic off the line. By the time we were thru the campground I was riding with Eli Orth and John Vorberger. Eli blew thru a turn which allowed John and I to move to the front. We quickly got a gap on a descent and worked together to keep it. John looked very strong on the climbs so I assumed I was racing for second place. To my surprise just after aid 3 maybe 40 miles in I looked over my shoulder and I had a gap. I upped the pace slightly but wasn’t ready to burn any matches. As I hit a road section I was able to jump on the wheel of a geared rider which helped me keep my advantage. From this point until the finish I tried to keep the pace up and drink as much as possible. Luckily I found a another geared buddy to help me make good time on the bike path. The gap to John swelled to 5 minutes but by the finish he had cut it down to 40 seconds. I was fortunate enough to hold on for the win. Overall it was just a super fun day on the bike.”

Just 44 seconds back, John Vorberges (Syndicate) of PA took second place in 8:24:47.

“This was my first 100-mile MTB race, so I was not sure what to expect. I was feeling pretty recovered even after doing the 5-day Transylvania Epic stage race the week before, so I was looking forward to going hard all day. The race started pretty mellow, and among the singlespeed group, I was second in the woods following Eli Orth. After a few miles of singletrack, Eli missed a turn (he just went a few feet past it) and I took the lead. After a few more miles, it was just me and Shane Kramer (the eventual SS winner) in the trails. I was keeping a pretty decent pace, but not killing it. Once we popped out onto gravel, I tried to push the pace on the climbs to test out Shane’s fitness. Turns out that was a bad move – I only tired myself out – he is very strong, and about 40 miles in, he dropped me. 

I rode solo for a while, but I caught a geared rider’s wheel for the rail-trail section. I dropped the geared rider on a climb after the rail-trail and continued on solo for a while. I was suffering a ton at this point, the heat was getting to me, and I felt like I was absolutely crawling. I kept pushing and eventually made it to some gravel. I was going up this steep climb, just about to get off and push (singlespeed Brah!) when Josh Kunz yelled some words of encouragement, so I grunted and cleaned the climb. I then caught up to my teammate, Wyatt Rodgers, and we rode together for a little. Then we got to Valley Streams Road (the WORST climb of the course), and Thom Parsons (Dirtwire) drove up beside me while I was climbing to interview me. I was hurting, but kept going until he turned the corner, then I got off and walked, haha. The rest of the race I just kept going at a sustainable pace, and eventually crossed the line about 40 seconds behind the winner, Shane Kramer. I never saw him, but he must’ve been just ahead of me on the final singletrack. My gearing for the day was 34×20, which I thought was a pretty good choice.

            I’m planning to do High Cascades, Wilderness 101, and the Shenandoah 100 this year (all in the 100 mile singlespeed class). I would like to thank the Syndicate cycling team, Flow Formulas, the wonderful Sweetwater Bike Shop in Ambridge, PA, and Extreme Nano Lubricants.”

Third place was, Eli Orth (Dean Titanium Bikes), from OH with a time of 8:53:51.

“I came into the Mohican 100 fresh off of finishing the TSE 5 day stage race. I was banged up with a hurt shoulder and a bike that I had to scramble to get parts for and get ready in time.  I knew I had to still give it a go with this being my home state NUE race. I knew going into the day that it would be hot. Not only was it hot and humid but the new course made it a very tough day on the bike. The new singletrack around Glenmont was soft and muddy in a lot of places with tough climbs. In the places that was the tough singletrack you found yourself fully exposed to beating down sun in open prairies or sandy quarry area. I originally planned to just make two aid station stops but that plan went away as I needed more hydration and fuel than what I put in the drop bags. I stopped 4 times but made them quick just to top off fluids.  The race started great.. leading through a good portion of the singletrack until I blew by a turn. That’s when Shane Kramer and John Vorberger went by and set the pace. In a couple spots Shane and John were able to make quick passes on riders we caught (staggered start by class) but myself and Joe Fraas found ourselves stuck while Shane and John rode out of site.  At that point I made the decision to just settle in and not try and chase them back down hoping I’d eventually pull them back in. I let Joe go by on singletrack also as he seemed to want to push harder to maybe recatch them. The rest of the race I just kept a consistent effort trying to stay fueled and have a clean race. I repassed Joe at Mohican Wilderness singletrack and didn’t see him again after that.The race went as good as it could’ve being that I was solo with no fast geared wheels to grab onto in any flat sections. Holmes paved trail is not a single speed friendly spot to be solo but I did what I could to get through it quickly. I stayed on the hardest pace I thought would be manageable knowing that there were a lot of fast SS guys behind me trying to reel me in. This was one of the hardest 100 milers I’ve done. Many strong riders struggled and dnf’ed. I was very happy to hang onto 3rd place and get 10th overall. My gearing of choice was 34×20 which worked well overall. My next races will be Woods Mountain in Pisgah then followed the next week with what will be my 2nd NUE race.. the Lumberjack 100”

Yianni Pimenidis took fourth place in 9:38:49 and about 10 min back was Joe Fraas (Syndicate Cycling) taking fifth place, 9:39:23.

Masters 50+

Masters 50+ 100 mile podium. Photo: Butch Phillips

Traveling all the way from CA was, Amir Matityahu (Trail Head Racing), taking the win in the masters division with a time of 9:26:37

“The Mohican 100-mile race was my first foray into ulta-endurance mountain biking. After working as an orthopedic trauma surgeon at a level one trauma center in the setting of the current COVID pandemic, getting out and racing was breath of fresh air. A way back to clean air, sunshine, and normalcy. 

In preparation for the race, I looked at the GPS file, watched videos, trained hard, regarded the weather, and thought I was “ready.” I’m lucky to have solid support at home from my wife and kids. My major concerns were finishing the race and of rain-soaked muddy trails that could wreck my drive train and breaks. 

A few days before the race, I packed my bike bag and flew to Akron from SFO. This was my first time in Ohio and at Mohican Adventures. I rented a cabin on the grounds. Even though it was raining hard, the setting was picturesque. A small but tranquil lake surrounded by bungalows. There was a mist rising from the water. Ducks, frogs, and birds created a concert of visual and sounds that gave feeling of being in nature. Friday, one day pre-race, the rain stopped. I went for an hour ride to evaluate the trailns. Amazingly, they had mostly drained, and the dirt was tacky. In the evening, there were barbeques, fire pits, and laughter. The local racers were friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. This relaxed setting was in contrast to the brutal race ahead.  

Amir Matityahu wins the 100m Masters 50+. Photo: Butch Phillips

The Mohican 100 race was a wave start by category that began at 7am. The race was 99.7 miles with 11,000 ft of mostly punchy short climbs. There was a ton of single track, apparently more than previous years. The weather was going to be hot 85-95 deg F. We had the option to drop two 1-gallon zip locked bags to aid stations in the morning before the race. I dropped a bag to the 2nd aid station with gels and snacks. The second bag went to the 4th aid station, with food, chain lube, C02, pickle juice, salt tabs, and Hotshot for cramping. I started with two bottles on the frame and bars and gels in my pocket. We were 30 masochistic masters on the start line. We were all nervous chit chat and introductions. The guy to my right was a cyclocrosser, Sam M, who came down from Mass to race. The guy to my left drove up in a sprinter van with his girlfriend, who was also going to race. It was the calm before the storm. The organizer gave the masters group blue ribbons so that we can identify each other in contradistinction to the open men’s group. Very helpful. 

The countdown started and we were off. The race started on a short fire road, then left on a narrow single-file bridge and to the first switchback climb of the day. Sam M had the hole shot to the bridge, as he predicted. I was third behind him pushing too hard in the first 10 min of a 100mi race. After about 20 minutes, there were four in our lead group with a small gap ahead. The next 20 miles were fun single track in the woods with roots, rocks, and berms through the Mohican State Park. Because of the previous rain, there was hero dirt all around, but the roots and rocks were slippery. About 21 miles into the race my chain broke, and I lost the lead group.  This is where you either suck it up or get out. Where your mind says, “it’s going to be hard; It’s going to be hot, you lost the lead group, is it worth it?” The difference between a casual ride and a race is the willingness to suffer through mental and physical pain and come out the other side stronger. In essence, Rule #5. I said to myself, “this is a long race, keep your mojo, fix and go.” I turned the bike upside down on a flat log at the side of this hilly single-track trail and fixed the chain with a quick link in about 5 minutes. I had no idea how many spots I lost and who was ahead or behind me. My mental state was, in part driven by the thought of how far I’ve traveled, how hard I trained, and a friend texted the night before “Go win that S**t.” A mantra I continued to have in the back of my mind. I got back into the race zone and worked to catch up without blowing up. 

I got to the second aid station and had barely caught up to the guy in 3rd position and eventually passed him. At every aid station I was amazed by the volunteers’ efficiency. About 50 yards before the station, there was a person with a walkie talkie that radioed ahead to get my drop bag. When I got there, they had it out, asking if I need water or Heed. They filled my bottles and I loaded up on gels and bars. Then, off I went. It was like having your own crew. It took about a minute in and out.  

The race continued through forest, rock gardens, private property, and some gravel. The heat was beginning to take it’s toll. I was in no man’s land. Could not share the load on flat sections and had no idea where I was relative to the other racers. There was lots of time on my own, riding with no soul in site. Luckily, the organizers did a great job of marking the trails with arrows or orange ribbons. Even when it seemed like a random ride through the woods, at least I didn’t feel lost. At the 4th aid station, they were ready with my bag. Volunteers lubed the chain, filled my bottles, and I had a shot of pickle juice and coke. At mile 65, I was starting to hit the wall. A combination of 95 deg heat, working too hard at the start of the race, and not drinking/eating enough. I was feeling the twinges of adductor and hamstrings cramps. I was trying to hydrate but did not feel like eating. Then at about mile 70, my hamstring cramped. Drank a hotshot, which, was like a brain reorganization potion. It snapped me out of the cramps. I continued to focus on pushing on the pedals and changing saddle position to cycle muscles. I was standing more and more. I found a place in my mind that I had not visited before. A place of painful calm and continued drive to finish.  

Somehow, the last 6 miles, I was re-energized even with on-and-off adductor cramping.  And, after 9 hours and 16 minutes, crossed the finish line with intense relief. Then, there was great beer and food, as befitting an amazing mountain biking day. I would summarize the day as a tough, hot, long single-track day where the mind overcame the body and turtles won over hares. A day to be proud of for all those who persevered.

Bike: Full Suspension Specialized Epic, Tires: S-Works Fast Tracks 2.1, Tire pressure 22psi, Team Sponsors: Trailhead Cyclery, Specialized, Nuun, SRAM, Beyond Fistula, Fox. Next NUE race: Cascades 100, Bend, Oregon.”

Taking the second step was, Samuel Morse (Corner Cycle) from MA with a finish time of 9:32:40.

“Wow,  what a a brutal course for my first 100 mile mountain bike race!  I managed to finish 2nd in the 50+ group, but felt like I had ridden twice that distance.   The Mohican 100 seemed like it would be a great adventure back in February when I decided to give it a try.   With a good start, I was loving the fun and flowing single track, but things gradually turned into a brutal challenge as the hours passed on a hot, slick and extremely hilly and challenging course.   I set my effort off of the pace from prior few years results and estimated about 7.5 hrs goal,  however when I got to 7.5 hours, I still had roughly 20 amazingly hilly miles to yet to go and was cramping from head to toe!  I was crawling to the finish line from that point forward and was passed by the eventual winner, Amir Matityahu, with only 3 miles to go.    This was a great learning experience for me and perhaps I’ll give it a go again next year with a better understanding of the requirements. Hearty thank you to all involved in putting together this event.  It was so well organized and the course was marked exceptionally well from start to finish.  Lastly, I’d highlight the amazing volunteers that manned the aid stations!”

About ten minutes back was, Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works) of NC finishing in 9:42:28.

“This was my 3rd Mohican 100 mile MTB race, and my second as a 50+ master.  Each one has been markedly different.  The first was the “traditional course” (maybe 2014?), then last years COVID-shortened race and now the new “long” course – not that it’s longer than 100 miles, just that it took me longer to complete than any other 100 mile NUE race I had ever done.  It was a proper hard day!  I liked the wave starts.  The Masters racers started last, which meant there was always a carrot to chase – I was always catching someone.  The hi-light of my race was catching two racers in my division just before the final hike-a-bike in the final mile.  I think that was the fastest climb I ran all day!  I managed to hang on for a 3rd place finish.  The hardest part of the day was the new section of single track.   The rock sections were technical enough that I could barely ride them (well,  mostly…) and there were so many steep climbs and muddy sections that took all of my effort to pedal up and thru.  Speaking of mud, I need to get my bike back to Robert Marion at Cycle Works Performance Bike Shop in Mt. Airy, NC for some much needed maintenance before Lumberjack 100.  A big shout out to all the volunteers – they were amazing, and plentiful!  Well Done Mohican crew!”

Taking fourth place was, Keith Papanicolas (Badass Coaching), with a time of 10:00:01. The fifth spot went to Dan Kotwicki (Wheels in motion) crossing the line in 10:36:04.

For full results CLICK HERE

Mohican 100 photo album by Photographer Butch Phillips CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE series is the Lumberjack 100 mile June 19th, 2021 in Manistee, MI

True Grit Epic 50 Mile

This year’s True Grit 50 miler started an hour after the 100 milers allowing the trail a bit more time to soak up the previous day’s rain and the 100 milers to disperse some of the standing water.

The trip out of Santa Clara was warmer than the last several years and the racing heated up quickly too.

Utah powerhouse Evelyn Dong (Pivot/Stan’s Notubes) surged into the lead of the women’s open race early on. Being known as one of the most talented technical riders in the US Dong was near unstoppable in the rocks and ledges of the True Grit course.

Riders navigate the loved and hated rocks of the Zen trail

After sailing through burly sections like the Waterfall and Zen trail Dong spent the day challenging many of the top open male riders out on course. Even a crash out on course couldn’t stop Evelyn Dong from taking a win in the NUE series opener. After the race she had this to say about her first True Grit experience.

“2019 was my first time racing True Grit, which is a bit shameful having lived in Utah for years now. The Green Valley and Santa Clara trails are some of my favorite trails to ride so I figured I had no excuses not to race this year.

I was pretty excited to race and just to ride on dirt because the winter has been pretty brutal this year. My race experience included going back and forth with a few men for the entire race which made it fun, and one crash which fortunately bang me or my bike up too much. Favorite part? Zen is always a sweet spot and going down Barrel Roll is a good reward near the end.”

After the lone leader it was local legend Lynda Wallenfels (LW Coaching) putting together a stellar effort on her home course proving she’s back on form after a few years away from racing. Her second place finish was a welcomed upgrade from her 2018 True Grit experience which saw her suffer a catastrophic mechanical. Ride back to her house for a fix and then return to complete the 50-mile course.

Behind Wallenfels, Nicole Tittensor (Scott) and Jen Hanks (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) battled for third with Tittensor opening a lead on the early climbs and holding pace for the first 30-plus miles of the race.

Hanks stayed close and late in the race closed the gap on the Rim Reaper trail and moved into third before the final singletrack on Barrel Roll.

Ami Stuart (Upcycle) took the final podium spot in fifth.

Riders wind through a wash in the early morning sun

The men charged off the start line with Cannondale rider Alex Grant looking to improve on his third place finish the last two years.

Defending champion Justin Lindine wasn’t on hand to defend his title as a water leak at his home forced him to return home instead of riding the trails in Santa Clara.

Grant got off to a good start joined by local contenders Drew Free (Kuhl), Chris Holley (Kuhl), Bryson Perry (Rouleur Devo), and Clayton Otto (Pivot, TRP, Rotor).

Grant shed his competition once and for all in the red rock maze of Zen trail and powered solo to the finish line. He had this to say after the race.

“I was able to break away from the front group on the climb up to the waterfall descent, and then hold the gap in to Zen where I increased it to a couple minutes. 

From there is was steady eddy all the way and I rode solo for the rest of the race.  I rode the Cannondale Scalpel-Si with the Lefty Ocho and it was the perfect setup for the course. 

I was really happy to take the win and want to say thanks to the promoters, volunteers and city of Santa Clara for putting on another awesome event!”

Chris Holley stayed close to the loan leader but not close enough to challenge. A gifted rider in the rocks, Holley used his skills to hold off a strong challenge from Clayton Otto.

Drew Free crossed the line in fourth barely a minute in front of Bryson Perry.

The two closest races of the day came from the singlespeed  and 50-plus riders. Both coming down to sprint finishes deciding the race winners.

In singlespeed, Preston Edwards (Zone Five Racing) took the early lead cresting the opening climbs in first place. But after being forced to dismount on the Waterfall drop he lost his spot to Shannon Boffeli (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) and defending champion Christopher Heinrich (The Path Bike Shop).

Boffeli took the lead into Zen and holding Heinrich off throughout the remaining course. The gap never reached more than a handful of seconds with Boffeli pulling away on the climbs and Heinrich closing it down on descents.

“I did everything I could to drop Chris once I knew he was back there,” Boffeli said after the finish. “I thought I had gotten clear but as soon as we popped back onto the road just a mile from the finish he was right there.”

“I hit the pavement with maybe 10 seconds in hand and I felt pretty confident. I lowered my dropper post a tiny bit to make it easier to spin on the flats back to the finish and right when I did that both legs completely cramped.”

“I was lucky enough to get my legs moving again but by that time Chris was right on my wheel and he timed his sprint perfectly to pip me just before the line. It was a great race on an exceptional course and Chris fought hard for the win.”

Both riders collapsed at the finish with a very happy defending champion in Christopher Heinrich.

Past race winner Corey Larrabee finished in third in front of early leader Preston Edwards.

Brent Cannon took fifth.

The 50-plus men’s group saw Jeff Jacobson (UCC/JW Floors) taking an early lead pulling away through the Waterfall drop and Zen trail before Matt Crowley (LW Coaching) bridged up to the leader around the halfway point.

From Stucki Springs on, the lead duo matched each other move for move surging back and forth through the Rim Reaper and Barrel Roll trails before entering the final stretch into Santa Clara wheel to wheel.

Just feet from the line both riders unleashed their sprint with Crowley only just getting the better of Jacobson at the line.

Andy Compas (VeloLove) was thrilled with his third place finish after crashing on his face over the Waterfall drop in 2018. His sub-4 hour time was a big improvement over the previous year.

Mike Hileman navigated his way through a successful True Grit finishing fourth in front of fellow Nevada racer Richard DeYoung.

The 2019 True Grit Epic saw the addition of a completely new category to the NUE series. The women’s 50-plus category put forward a strong showing in their first event as an official NUE category with seven riders taking the start and all but one completing the gnarly 50-mile course.

Joanne LaBelle (Peaked Sports) was the winner in the inaugural True Grit for 50-plus women. The Driggs, Idaho, rider logged a time of just over five hours.

Gayle Olpin took second as Laura Shaw and Jennifer Kruleski duked it out for third with Shaw crossing the line just seconds in front of Kruleski.

Danita Ritter (WomenMTB) took the final podium spot in fifth.

Next the NUE series moves east to the traditional east coast opener, the Cohutta Classic in Ducktown, Tennessee on April 27th.

Click Here for full results from all categories