Pisgah Stage Race- Stage 4- The Queen Stage

Written by Jen & Anthony Toops

Friday, April 15th, 2022

The Fox Factory’s Carl Schenck Route aka “The Queen Stage” was 31.5 miles long with 4113 feet of elevation gain. It included the most technical singletrack of all the stages plus a steep hike-a-bike. A cold 40 degree start gave way to sunny skies and temps in the 60’s.

Headed down Pilot Rock

Racers started at the The Cradle of Forestry-Birthplace of Forest Conservation in America inside Pisgah National forest. This stage is named after Dr. Carl Schenck who was brought to the area in 1895 by the Vanderbilt family to manage the forest. The race started on gravel and hit trails: Funnel Top, Squirrel Gap, Laurel Creek, FS5016, Laurel Mountain and Pilot Rock.

Watch the video recap!
2019PisgahStageRace-Online-Stage4

Women’s Open:

1st Kaysee Armstrong 3:15:31

2nd Kait Boyle 3:20:41

3rd Taylor Kuyk-White 3:23:33

Kaysee remains in the overall lead heading into stage 5. Taylor Kuyk-White in 2nd and Kait Boyle in 3rd. The women’s open class will be interesting to watch on stage five with Kait, Taylor and Jocelyn all about a minute and a half apart! Jocelyn unfortunately broke her frame heading down pilot rock so she will need to find a bike to ride for tomorrows stage.

Women’s open podium: 1st Kaysee Armstrong, 2nd Kait Boyle, 3rd Taylor Kuyk-White

Men’s Open:

1st Carson Beckett 2:38:10

2nd Kerry Werner 2:38:11

3rd Ian Blythe 2:46:19

Kerry Werner continues to lead the overall men heading into stage 5. Carson Beckett in 2nd and Cypress Gorry in 3rd.

Men’s open podium: 1st Carson Beckett, 2nd Kerry Werner, 3rd Ian Blythe
2015PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage4

Stage 4 Enduro- Pilot Rock

The Queen stage enduro was on the infamous Pilot Rock trail. The enduro was 2.25 miles long with a 1478 foot descent, plenty of rocks, tight technical switchbacks, roots, a creek crossing, hecklers, and a steep uphill pedal section at the end. A beast of a downhill to say the least.

Women’s Enduro:

1st Kait Boyle 12:24

2nd Annie Schwartz 13:30

3rd Kaysee Armstrong 13:31

In the overall women’s enduro, Kait Boyle remains in the lead going into the final stage. Kaysee Armstrong in 2nd and Taylor Kuyk-White in 3rd.

Women’s enduro podium: 1st Kait Boyle 12:24, 2nd Annie Schwartz 13:30, 3rd Kaysee Armstrong 13:31

Men’s Enduro:

1st Cypress Gorry 9:40

2nd Ian Blythe 10:45

3rd Nick Mackie 10:59

In the mens enduro, Cypress Gorry absolutely crushed the enduro segment and won by almost a minute. He leads the overall enduro heading into the final stage. Kerry Werner crashed heading down Pilot but remains in 2nd overall and Ian Blythe in 3rd.

Men’s enduro podium: 1st Cypress Gorry, 2nd Ian Blythe, 3rd Nick Mackie
2015PSR-STAGE-4

CLICK HERE for full results from each stage

Pisgah Stage Race- Stage 3

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Sycamore Cycles’ White Squirrel Route

Stage 3 is sponsored by Sycamore Cycles and is aptly named the White squirrel Route since Brevard is well known for white squirrels. The area was populated with white squirrels after a circus train carrying them tipped over quite a few years back. This stage offers 29.5 miles and 6000 feet of climbing. The forecasted rain held off and racers were welcomed with sunny skies later in the stage.

The race starts at the bottom of Black Mountain. Racers immediately funnel into double track up Grassy Rd and over to a rooty fast decent down Sycamore Cove. From there, they loop back around to Thrift cove and climb Black Mountain. Racers then climb up Clawhammer road and descend down Avery Creek which is a fun technical downhill. After some more gravel climbing racers head down Bennett Gap which is the Enduro for stage 3. One more gravel climb and racers headed down Black Mountain to the finish line.

2019-PisgahStageRace-Online-Stage3

Women’s Open

1st- Kaysee Armstrong 3:24

2nd- Taylor Kuyk-Whit 3:37

3rd- Jocelyn Stel 3:43

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) continues to add to her overall lead after her third stage win in a row with a cumulative time of 7 hours 38 minutes. Taylor Kuyk-Whit moves into 2nd overall with a cumulative time of 8 hours 7 minutes, Jocelyn Stel just a minute and a half back in 3rd. Kait Boyle moved into fourth overall but still in podium contention with a time of 8 hours 11 minutes.

1st Kaysee Armstrong, 2nd Taylor Kuyk-Whit, 3rd Jocelyn Stel

Men’s Open

1st- Carson Beckett 2:37:07.275

2nd-Kerry Werner 2:37:07.708

3rd- Nick Bragg 2:54:12

Kerry Werner holds onto the overall lead with a cumulative time of 6 hours 5 minutes. Carson Beckett in 2nd overall with a time of 6 hours 18 minutes and Cypress Gorry in third overall with a time of 6 hours 33 minutes. Nick Bragg is sitting in 4th overall just 5 minutes back.

Men’s open podium: 1st Carson Beckett, 2nd Kerry Werner, 3rd Nick Bragg
2019-PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage3

Stage 3 enduro was a 2.5 mile 1230 ft descent down Bennett Gap. This enduro had something for everyone with a hike-a-bike, pedal sections, rock drops, massive roots and plenty of Pisgah gnar.

Women’s Enduro:

1st- Kait Boyle 14:26

2nd- Kaysee Armstrong 15:14

3rd- Taylor Kuyk-Whit 15:17

Kait Boyle continues to lead the overall women’s enduro with a cumulative time of 29 minutes 55 seconds. Kaysee Armstrong in second with a time of 31 minutes 24 seconds. Taylor Kuyk-White is hot on Kaysee’s heels with a time of 31 minutes 35 seconds.

Women’s Enduro Podium: 1st Kait Boyle, 2nd Kaysee Armstrong, 3rd Taylor Kuyk-White

Men’s Enduro:

1st- Cypress Gorry 9:47

2nd- Kerry Werner 10:40

3rd- Carson Beckett 10:43

Cypress Gorry continues to lead the overall men’s enduro with a cumulative time of 23 minutes 9 seconds. Kerry Werner in 2nd with a time of 23 minutes 59 seconds. Ian Blythe holds down 3rd place with a time of 26 minutes 11 seconds. A very close race in the men’s overall enduro with Carson Beckett, Nick Bragg, and Nick Mackie just seconds from a podium position. How will tomorrow play out after the famous Pilot Rock enduro descent?

Men’s Enduro podium: 1st Cypress Gorry, 2nd Kerry Werner, 3rd Carson Beckett
2019-PSR-Stage3

Watch the video recap!

CLICK HERE for full results from each stage

Written by Jen & Anthony Toops

Photos by Icon Media Ashville

Pisgah Stage Race- Stage 2

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Athletic Brewing CO’s Promise Land Route

Stage 2: Todays stage started with a police escort out of the Black Mountain trail head on 6.2 miles of pavement leading racers to the Turkey Pen area where the race started full gas. From here stage 2 showcased that true “Pisgah” style with technical roots and rocks. This stage had the highest amount of single track and included popular trails such as Mullinex, Squirrel Gap and Buckhorn Gap. Racers endured a long hike-a-bike up to Buckhorn Gap but were rewarded with the full Black Mountain decent all the way to the finish line.

Women’s Open:

1st- Kaysee Armstrong 2 hours 53 minutes

2nd-Kait Boyle 2 hours 59 minutes

3rd- Jocelyn Stel 3 hours 2 minutes.

Kaysee leads the overall women after stage 2 with Kait Boyle moving into 2nd and Jocelyn Stel 3rd.

Women’s Stage 2 Open Podium: 1st Kaysee Armstrong, 2nd Kait Boyle, 3rd Jocelyn Stel

Men’s Open:

1st- Carson Beckett 2 hours 18 mintues

2nd- Kerry Werner 2 hours 19 minutes

3rd- Tyler Clark 2 hours 20 minutes.

In the men’s open Kerry Werner takes the overall lead, followed by Tyler Clark 2nd and Cypress Gorry in third.

Men’s Stage 2 Open Podium: 1st Carson Beckett, 2nd Kerry Werner, 3rd Tyler Clark

Stage 2 Enduro was the Black Mountain descent. Black Mountain is one of the most popular trails in Pisgah with a mix of flow and technical riding losing 1320 feet over 2 miles.

2015PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage2

Women’s Open:

1st- Kait Boyle 9 minutes 12 seconds

2nd- Hannah Arensman 9 minutes thirty-five seconds

3rd- Kaysee Armstrong 9 minutes thirty-six seconds

Kait Boyle took the lead for the overall enduro going into stage 3. Hannah Arensman in second and Kaysee Armstrong in third.

Women’s Enduro: 1st Kait Boyle 9:12, 2nd Hannah Arensman, 3rd Kaysee Armstrong

Men’s Open:

1st- Tyler Clark 7 minutes thirty-seven seconds

2nd- Kerry Werner 7 minutes forty-three seconds

3rd- Cypress Gorry 7 minutes forty-six seconds.

Heading into stage 3, Tyler Clark is leading the overall enduro, Kerry Werner in second and Cypress Gorry in third.

Men’s Enduro: 1st Tyler Clark, 2nd Kerry Werner, 3rd Cypress Gorry
Cypress Gorry

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops

Photos by: Icon Media Ashville

CLICK HERE for full results from each stage

Pisgah Stage Race- Stage 1

Blue Ridge Adventures

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Squirts Looking Glass Route

For 2022, a new opening stage was unveiled, making it logistically easier on everyone. This allowed racers to start and finish in the same location for 3 days in a row. The new opening stage had a 5 mile warm up ride from the on the Brevard pathway. After arriving at the Railroad Depot park, the 15.5 mile adventure begins with a heart pumping climb up Bracken Mountain, a mix of machine built trails, showcasing the newest trail Stoney Knob, and a high speed Enduro down Joel Branch.

  • 15.5 miles / 25 km
  • 2,200 ft / 670 m  elevation gain
  • Named for Looking Glass Rock – a nearly 4,000′ tall piece of exposed whiteside granite

Women’s open:

Coming off racing the Cape Epic and the Lifetime Grand Prix, Kaysee Armstrong (Liv), from Knoxville, TN, took the win with a time of 1:20:30. Taking second with a time of 1:23:14 was, Jocelyn Stel (Liv), making the trek down from Canada to race. Rounding out the women’s open podium was, Taylor Kuyk-White (Philly Bike Expo, Industry Nine) with a time of 1:24:55

Women’s Open Podium-1st: Kaysee Armstrong, 2nd: Jocelyn Stel, 3rd: Taylor Kuyk-White

Men’s Open:

A very close race in the men’s open division. Local Cypress Gorry (Ride Kanuga Specialized), took the win on stage 1 finishing with a time of 1:08:09. Hot on his heels was another local, Tyler Clark (Brevard College), taking second with a time of 1:08:11.0. PSR veteran, Kerry Werner (Kona) from VA, rounded out the podium with a time of 1:08:11.04. This will be an exciting division to watch over the next few stages!

Men’s Open Podium- 1st: Cypress Gorry, 2nd: Tyler Clark, 3rd: Kerry Werner

Enduro: Within each stage of the Pisgah Stage Race there’s a timed Enduro segment. Racers are competing not only for bragging rights but also a cash purse given out to the overall top female and male riders at the end of the 5 stages.

Todays enduro was an all-out attack down the Joel Branch gravel forest road. Riders had to manage maintaining speed throughout the segment, with a lack of traction in the corners. The gravel definitly presented a new challenge for an enduro win.

Women’s Enduro:

1st: Hannah Arensman 6:16.4, 2nd: Kait Boyle 6:16.6, 3rd: Jocelyn Stel 6:22.3

Women’s Enduro podium-1st: Hannah Arensman, 2nd: Kait Boyle, 3rd: Jocelyn Stel

Men’s Enduro:

1st: Cypress Gorry 5:35.5, 2nd: Kerry Werner 5:35.5, 3rd: Tyler Clark 5:36

Men’s Enduro Podium: 1st: Cypress Gorry, 2nd: Kerry Werner, 3rd: Tyler Clark

CLICK HERE for full results from Stage 1

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops

Race Bikes For The Life Time Grand Prix

Riders are lining up in Monterey, California, for the Sea Otter Classic and round 1 of the Life Time Grand Prix.

Saturday’s Sea Otter course features two 40-kilometer laps on the super-fast, hard pack at the edges of Laguna Seca Raceway. Riders have chosen a wide variety of race set ups to get the most from their bikes in Saturday’s marathon event.

We got a sneak peak at some of the fastest rides that will be on course this weekend including top riders like: Rose Grant, Geoff Kabush, Melisa Rollins, Dylan Johnson, and many more.

Rose Grant: Juliana Wilder

Rose Grant’s Juliana Wilder

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Rockshox SID 100mm
  • Shock: Rockshox SID Luxe 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM AXS dropper
  • Wheels: Reserve 28 carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4 with Orange Seal sealant
  • Grips: Chunky ESI
  • Computer: Hammerhead

Melisa Rollins: Trek Supercaliber (Melisa is sponsored by Felt who do not currently produce a mountain bike)

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Shock: Fox/Trek ISO strut 65mm
  • Seat Post: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon fixed
  • Wheels: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4

Hannah Otto: Pivot Les SL

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with Stages Double Side Power Meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Step Cast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 carbon
  • Tires: Kenda Rush 2.2
  • Cockpit: Race Face Next SL
  • Grips: ESI Fit CR

Evelyn Dong: Custom Juliana SC Highball

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Rockshox SID ultimate 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM Explr AXS dropper 75mm
  • Wheels: Reserve carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado

Taylor Lideen: Pivot Les SL

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with 4iiii power meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Wheels: Boyd Trail Blazer
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4
  • Computer: Wahoo ELEMENT Bolt GPS

Dylan Johnson: Factor Lando

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast 120mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Black Inc Twenty Seven
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Cockpit: Black Inc bar/stem combo
  • Tires Inserts: Tubolight EVO SL

Stephan Davoust: Giant Anthem Advanced Pro

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast Live Valve 110mm
  • Shock: Fox Live Valve 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Wheels: Giant XCRO carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear

Geoff Kabush: Yeti SB115

Specs:

  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
  • Fork: Fox 34 Fit4 Step Cast
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Stan’s No Tubes Podium SRD
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25 EXO 120tpi
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Grips: Lizard Skins 32.2 DSP

You can follow Shannon Boffeli on Instagram @shan__solo

Moab Rocks – Stage 2- Katerina Nash Widens Her Lead While Geoff Kabush Moves Into 1st Place 

Early this morning racers shuttled to the Klondike Bluffs trail system 20 minutes north of Moab where they battled through 25 miles of vast rocky trail system racing with a combination of slickrock trails and fast flowy single track.

Peter Stetina leads the pro men’s field onto the slickrock. Photo by: Noah Sears

Today’s course, on the Klondike Bluffs trail system, had over 2200’ of elevation gain in the most XC stage of the race.  Racers mentioned their favorite parts being the incredible views on Alaska Ridge and the awesome Moab experience of climbing and descending grippy slickrock!

For the pro women, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) increased her overall lead finishing 6 minutes ahead of the women’s pro field (2:12:56).  Jennifer Gersbach finished a strong race today in 2nd place (2:18:06) only 13 seconds ahead of Lauren Cantwell (Orbea/Velocio) (2:18:19).

Jen Gersbach crushed stage 2 moving up 3 spots in the GC. Photo by: Noah Sears

Nash took off from the start with Cantwell in 2nd place.  Cantwell was in 2nd place for most of the race but at the end of the last descent she made a technical miscue that let Gersbach flash by. She lost the group she was riding with and with a strong headwind heading to the finish, Cantwell wasn’t able to catch back on finishing 3rd.

 For the GC, Nash leads by 16 minutes while Gersbach moves from 5th into 2nd place. Karen Jarchow (Revel Bikes) rounds out the top three women’s podium only 1 minute 20 seconds back from 2nd place.   

Bradyn Lange looks to shake things up in stage 2. Photo by Noah Sears

For the pro men, Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis-Shimano-Fox) won today’s stage by over 40 seconds. Starting off the race Kabush was in a large lead group in the early slickrock sections.  Bradyn Lange (Cycle Progression) and Carter Nieuwesteeg (Santa Cruz) were leading on Baby Steps trail followed by Kabush then GC leader Stephan Davoust (Giant-Maxxis-Fox)  and Ivan Sippy (Team Durango). 

In the middle sectors of the race Kabush pushed ahead taking a huge lead and finishing solo in 1st place. A multi-time Moab Rocks winner, it’s not surprising to see Kabush on the top step of the podium as he holds off his younger challengers for the GC.  Lange finished close behind in 2nd place (1:54:08) with Stephan Davoust less than a minute back in third place (1:54:12).

Geoff Kabush going solo to win stage 2 and jump into the lead on GC. Photo by: Noah Sears

 Kabush moves into 1st overall leading the pro men’s field by 30 seconds (3:35:01).  Davoust is in 2nd (3:35:32) with Lange only 4 seconds back in 3rd place (3:35:36).

Tomorrow is the final day of Moab Rocks as racers compete on the Mag 7 trail system.  With shake ups in both the men’s and women’s field, it will be exciting final race.

Full results at: https://zone4.ca/event/2022/29F4F1AE/

Carter Nieuwesteeg rallies on the Klondike Bluffs trails. Photo by: Noah Sears

2022 Pisgah Stage Race Preview

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops

After getting postponed for several years due to the pandemic, the Pisgah Stage Race is officially ON for 2022. Presented by Blue Ridge Adventures, the Pisgah Stage Race takes place April 11th-16th, 2022 in Brevard, North Carolina. The PSR is officially sold out for 2022, but mark your calendars for mid May when registration opens for 2023.

This 5-stage race takes riders on a tour of Pisgah, through the temperate rain forest sampling some of the best singletrack Pisgah has to offer. The race traverses over 140 miles and climbs 20000+ feet with scenic views, waterfalls, creek crossings and is a mix of 76% singletrack, 19% dirt road, and 5% asphalt. As always, racers can also test themselves in the timed enduro section on each stage which has its own unique awards and overall crown.

NEW for 2022

A new opening stage has been unveiled for 2022 making it logistically easier on everyone. This allows racers to start and finish in the same location for 3 days in a row. The new opening stage has a 5 mile warm up ride on the Brevard pathway. After arriving at the Railroad Depot park, the 15.5 mile adventure begins with a mix of machine built trails, and as always a taste of that technical backcountry Pisgah singletrack.

PSR: 5 days, 140 miles, 20,000+ft of elevation gain. 76% Singletrack- 19% Dirt road – 5% Asphalt. 5 stellar MTB routes in Pisgah National forest.

2022 Pisgah Stage Race Amenities: included with entry

  • 5 well marked courses with enduro segment each day
  • Instant chip timed results
  • Daily leader’s jersey for all categories
  • Fully stocked rest stops including mechanical and medical assistance
  • Drop system
  • Recovery zone after each stage
  • Bike wash station
  • Breakfast each morning: Scones, coffee, granola, yogurt and fruit
  • 6 locally sourced dinners: Click Here for 2022 dinner menu
  • Finishers T-Shirt
  • PSR jersey for all participants registered by March 15th
  • Custom Crafted Prizes –  Awarded to top three in each category. $750, $500, $250 to top three overall men and women for the cross country. $150, $130, $120 to the top 3 overall enduro men and women.

Additional add on services that are still available for purchase: CLICK HERE to purchase

  • Mechanic service from Sycamore Cycles
  • Daily post race massage: 15 minutes for $30, 30 minutes for $60
  • Training plans from previous PSR winner Tristan Cowie
  • Nutrition plan by Emily Werner. Zoom presentation on 3/28/21
  • On site Cabins – single room weekly rental for $600

New for 2022- Stage 1: Squirts Looking Glass Route- Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Stage 2: Athletic Brewing Co’s Promised Land Route- Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

2015PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage2

Stage 3: Sycamore Cycles’ White Squirrel Route- Thursday, April 14th 2022

2019-PisgahStageRace-Online-Stage3
2019-PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage3
2019-PSR-Stage3

Stage 4: Fox Factory’s Carl Schenek Route- Friday, April 15th 2022

2019PisgahStageRace-Online-Stage4
2015PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage4
2015PSR-STAGE-4

Stage 5: Industry Nine’s The land of the Waterfalls Route- Saturday, April 16th, 2022

2019-PisgahStageRace-Online-Stage5
2019-PisgahStageRace-OnlineEnduro-Stage5

NUE- Marji Gesick 100 Mile

NUE Series 2021-Marji Gesick 100 mile

September 18, 2021

Written by: @Jentoops

The Marji Gesick is a point-to-point endurance race located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. It starts in Marquette and ends in downtown Ishpeming. The one-hundred mile and fifty mile mountain bike races are part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There is also a one-hundred mile run, fifty mile run and one-hundred mile duathlon option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States and sells out in less than twenty four hours. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect tokens at random checkpoints along the course.

Racers navigating the Top of the World. Photo credit: Ryan Stephens

The course was designed by Danny Hill and made to push riders to their absolute limits. The one-hundred milers having around twelve-thousand vertical feet of climbing, and the fifty milers around seven-thousand.  In both courses, racers have to navigate through sand, roots, rocks, off camber climbs, drops, jump lines and technical descents, all while saving enough energy to get through the grueling last fifteen miles.

Celebrating at the finish line. Photo credit: Rob Meendering

Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, under twenty-eight hours for runners and under twenty-two hours for duathlon, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart.

Women’s Open- Toops secures NUE overall win

Former NUE Marathon series winner, Jen Toops from Ohio, took the win in 12:58:22. With this win she secures the overall female Epic NUE title. ” I have a love/hate relationship with this race. How can a race so fun, hurt so bad? After completing the 50 mile Marji twice I decided it was time to conquer the 100. Although it would be awesome to get the buckle, I had one goal. To finish the race. As long as I finished I’d lock up the NUE epic overall win for the season. The start of the race was very busy and reminded me of the La Ruta de los conquistadors. Instead of a helicopter roll out we had an electric guitar national anthem, beautiful paint horse, lemans start and fire works. Just before the start, I got to meet fellow Pivot Cycles rider, Kaityln Boyle, who came all the way from ID for a chance at the buckle. After the lemans start I had no idea what place I was going into the woods. Did it matter? No. A very long day awaited. Even though I had my GPS, I still managed to blow by turns, start up the wrong trails and got turned around a lot at the beginning. Once we were on the single track I was having so much fun and was finding my rhythm. This is the part I love about Marji!

Photo credit: Ryan Odell

Just before the Jackson Park I caught up with Kaityln Boyle. We rode most of the sandy snowmobile trails and bike path together chatting it up! A welcomed mental break. The first loop out of the park I felt amazing and really was having fun on the tech singletrack. This loop went on forever! I was so focused on riding I didn’t eat enough on this loop. That was my downfall of the race and paid for it on the way to the finish. I stopped back at the park to get a back up charger and lights. This is when I saw Kaityln Boyle had DNF due to pain from a pre-ride crash. Kaityln and my support Heidi encouraged me I still might be a buckle contender. I had 15 miles to do a little over 2 hours. Feeling confident I continued to push the pace. After about an hour of riding I did the math in my head and realized a buckle was not in the cards today. My riding started to get sloppy, the fatigue had set in and I was in survival mode. I forgot how hard the last sections of trail were with non-stop punchy climbs, hike-a-bikes and just shenanigans. The last 30 minutes were torture, I wanted to lay down on the side of the trail. I wanted real food. I turned my lights on and navigated those roots and rocks walking what I normally could ride during the daylight. Jasper knob was such a rewarding sight to see on the GPS. The last hike a bike! I walked to the top collected my tokens and gave fake Todd a high five and headed in to the finish. My whole body hurt like it never has with any other race. I laid in the van post race for a couple hours before I could even function. Marji is by far the hardest hundred I have ever completed. I love it but hate it. I’m proud of my effort and learned a lot. Will I be back? You bet and next year I will have a different goal in mind! Calling all Ladies….lets go get this BUCKLE. Thank you Danny and Todd for an amazing event as always! Bike: Pivot Mach 4SL size XS. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot cycles, Ergon, Fox, Lazer, Honeystinger, Carborocket, SCC, Stans, Maxxis.” Special thanks to Heidi for the race support!

“That was hard.” Video by: Ryan Odell

Nicky Ruszkowski of New York, took second place with a time of 16:27:54. “Marji Gesick 2021 was my second attempt at this race. In 2019 I dropped out at around mile 85 and so I certainly came at this with unfinished business. I love riding the more technical trails and Marji certainly has plenty of those. The gnarly, rocky descents in this race play to my strengths and are so much fun to ride. I think the cooler temperatures on race day were actually a little deceiving and I don’t think I was alone in underestimating the amount of fluids needed to stay hydrated. Overall this is a phenomenal race and I was delighted to come in second behind Jen.”

About fourteen minutes back from second place, Jessica Nankman of Pennsylvania, finished third with a time of 16:42:44. “For years I have heard about this race with upwards to 70% non-finisher race called Marji Gesick and decided it was time to see what it is all about. I typically race ultra endurance events, 24 hour mountain bike races, thus was looking forward to another way to test my physical and mental fortitude. With my long-distance background I was confident in my ability to cover the miles and being that I live in Eastern Pennsylvania I felt strong about my technical skills, the thing I was most concerned about was the logistics of the race.  I was concerned about the self-supported aspect, it took extensive planning and contemplating on my part about how to carry the hydration, nutrition, and gear needed. Rumors about “trail angels”, volunteers who set-up aid stations along the course, were true and they helped immensely with rider needs .  Another part of the race that takes pre-planning is the point to point factor. Just being my husband (who was also racing) and myself making the trip to Marji, we had no outside help. We opted to stay in the campground located at race start, which made for a very relaxed pre-race morning but we wondered how to get back afterwards.  A friendly volunteer drove us from the finish back to our campsite post-finish.As for the course it’s self…it was a challenging and tough 105 miles.  There were many miles of smiles; fun single track, rewarding rock gardens, flowing berms, and air-time inducing jump lines. But there were even more miles of tough trail that caused much suffering.  Near vertical ups and downs, soul-sucking sand, and sketchy washouts induced a fair amount of walking.  To add to the physical and mental challenge many of the last few miles were ridden in the dark.  Thank goodness for the great cheering and support of the spectators and volunteers along with many friendly fellow racers that kept me going strong.I have never experienced a race like this. Marji Gesick truly is as advertised, it one tough event not to be taken lightly. But the achievement of reaching the finish line, and being on the podium, is an accomplishment that will never be forgotten.Sponsors to please be included in the review: Liv Cycling USA Ambassador, Lupine Lights, Saucon Valley Bikes.”

Nankman pre-riding part of the Marji Gesick course

Taking fourth place was Jenny Acker from Michigan with a time of 17:48:38. Finishing fifth was Christina Peek from Michigan crossing the line in 20:51:19.

Men’s Open Acker takes back-to-back Marji wins

Men’s open podium: 1st Matt Acker, 2nd Kurt Refsnider, 3rd Chad Cannon. Photo credit: Ryan Odell

The 2019 Marji Gesick winner, Matt Acker of Michigan, gets back-to-back Marji wins with a time of 10:36:55.

Just four minutes back, ultra endurance racer, Kurt Refsnider of Arizona, finished second in 10:41:38 “I made the decision to fly up from Arizona for the race just a few days before the race, so eveIrything was a very last-minute affair for me. But I had heard story after story about how technically challenging the Marji is, and that’s hands-down my favorite kind of riding. And I’m so glad I made the trip – it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a race course that was as difficult and fun as the Marji Gesick 100! I had the pleasure of riding with local legend Matt Acker for most of the race, and following his wheel for so many miles sure helped me ride efficiently (especially as I tried to keep him in sight on the longer descents). 100 milers are a bit on the short end of the races I typically do, and my legs started to fade in the final miles after trying to ride fast for 10,000+ feet of punchy climbing. Matt gradually disappeared ahead of me, and I just tried to hold it together after mile 90.I also am especially impressed by how the race organizers have created an incredibly demanding event in which riders openly embrace (and come for) that challenge. Most races with a course of this style would have relatively small fields, but the organizers have created a welcoming and empowering atmosphere around the race that’s truly one-of-a-kind.”

Photo credit: Ryan Odell

Taking third place, Chad Cannon of Wisconsin, finished in 11:34:32. Ryan Goemans of Wisconsin finished fourth in 11:39:28 and Ben Senkerik of Wisconsin took fifth place with a time of 11:43:37.

SinglespeedHolle takes overall NUE SS win

Singlespeed podium- 1st Justin Holle, 2nd Anthony Toops, 3rd Eli Orth. Photo credit: Ryan Odell

Justin Holle of Colorado wins the singlespeed division and takes 4th overall with at time of 11:39:15. With this win he has secured the overall Epic NUE singlespeed title and went undefeated this year. “Bike: 34×19 gearing on Norco Revolver HT. The overwhelming sentiment leading into Marji seemed the same from every source, ‘good luck’.  Having never quit a race I didn’t understand the high DNF rate or the fear expressed by such sources. And then…after missing my 4th turn only to see the arrow placement AFTER the turn did I realize these racers quit because, damn, that course just presses your buttons! I jumped out early with fellow Singlespeeders Mark Kransz and Scott Quiring, jockeying 1st to 3rd. Just as I passed the hilltop bagpiper I put in a gap and thought I’d race off the front. No sooner did I see myself careening over the handlebars into a pile of rocks, giving up my position. Through mile 39 we danced positions and at that Aid Station I made haste and passed through without support. Alone until mile 65 Aid at Jackson Park I learned this “race” was more an “adventure”. Staying on course demanded full awareness so race efforts sat second wheel.On the loop from Jackson Park that Singlespeed Monster: Anthony Toops closed in behind me. I guess this IS a race! More friend than foe, we chatted and grunted through the loop keeping tabs on our pace for that coveted sub-12 buckle. Back through the Jackson Park aid we knew we had enough time to finish under 12 barring any issues. We hung together, alternating position, riding, and power hiking the steeps. Near mile 94 I slowly pulled away and looking back didn’t see Toops in sight. The course became more intuitive, sign reading less challenging, and I stayed committed to ignoring my computer data. I relied on looking up to the sun to gauge my sub-7:30PM finish. With 50-milers becoming more frequent on trail I could tell we were close. Feeling confident I looked back and saw Toops! What?!?! He closed in on me AGAIN. Providing that final fire I needed! I drove my pedals, attacked the steep hill holding the precious tokens, and headed back down with enough of a gap. Passing Toops I hollered to my friend and turned onto tarmac to punch it home. I passed a final geared racer and came across the line in 4th overall position with the SS win. Marji is the hardest 100-mile MTB race course I’ve ever done. It attacks you mentally, physically, and, when you blow a turn, emotionally. Fortunately I had a good day and I attribute that to accepting MG as an adventure first, race second. Oh, and the guys making grilled cheese at mile 58, thank you sirs. Thanks to my support: Base Canp Cyclery, Norco, Shimano, Crankbrothers, ESI, and Carbo Rocket.”

Anthony Toops and Justin Holle celebrating at the finish line. Photo credit: Ryan Odell

Just a couple minutes back on Holle, Anthony Toops from Ohio, took second place in singlespeed and sixth overall, finishing in 11:41:13. “Marji Gesick is always the biggest test of the year.  This year, my goal was to go sub 12hr and get the coveted buckle on a single speed.  I was able to get a buckle on gears in 2018 but it was a true test for me at the time… so doing it on a single speed had me wondering if it would even happen.  The race started with the traditional 1/2 mile run and from the beginning I was on my own pace.  My goal was the buckle and if this turned into a “race” then so be it.  I could see a few ss racers up ahead but I stuck to my plan and didn’t chase.  I was in a good group with my teammate Jeff Rupnow, who has tons of experience at this race, and I knew he could carry me to a buckle… if I could hang!  At mile 13.5 the group was flying and unfortunately missed the left turn back to Forestville.  We were heading back up to the Top of the World!  Eventually we noticed the mistake but it cost us roughly 12min, which isn’t something you can easily claw back at this race.  This caused some high anxiety until I could get my time splits back on track. Going into Jackson Park I was still up 20min on my previous sub 12 race!  Now the stress was off some but I knew the two loops out of Jackson Park are no joke. This is where the race really starts.   At this point I’m still sticking to my plan and haven’t seen another ss’r in a while.  About 15min later I caught up with Justin Holle and we rode together pretty much the rest of the race, pushing each other to make sure that buckle was ours!  Half way into loop 2 out of Jackson, Justin started to get a gap on me.  I made a mistake with my nutrition on the first loop and ran out of calories and water for almost an hour (rookie!) so I started to fade.  I made sure to get some calories in and started to feel normal again with about 7mi to go.  I would guess Justin was only a couple minutes ahead but I was solely focused on that buckle!  The last 15mi of this race is the true test and every second counts.  It’s a weird experience because this is a race where you are in a battle with the trail and yourself; racing someone else is a bonus.  No matter how well you’re doing, you’re always wondering if you’ll make it.I put my head down and went as hard as I could for that last hour or so. I WASN’T coming up short!  When I could see the last climb to Jasper Knob on my screen, I knew I had it.  BUT where the heck were all the tokens!  Of course they were on the way up to Jasper Knob (blame Todd & Danny) so everyone had that stress all day.  In the end, I finished 2nd by just a couple minutes and the buckle was mine!Marji is one of those races where you always say you don’t need to do it again… but you always want to.  Now that I have a geared and ss buckle, next year will be a new challenge!  Thanks again to my wife Jen for her motivation, my team Evolution Training Cycles/Paradise Garage Racing, and especially Heidi for all her help!  See you in 2022?! Bike Setup:Frame – Pivot LES size large. Fork – Fox Step Cast 32 100mmGearing – oval 32x19Tires – Continental cross king protection 2.3 front and rear.”

Finishing in third place, Eli Orth of Ohio, crossing the line in 12:20:44. “Marji was my fourth NUE epic distance SS race. Going into the race my main goal was to have a clean race and finish with a decent overall time. I ended up finishing 3rd.The race started great getting into one of the lead groups. It took a little hit though when our group made a wrong turn at mile 15. We were repeating a section we had went through around mile 5. Luckily Jeff Rupnow and Anthony Toops realized it once we had climbed all way to Forestville Rd. We turned back and by the time we were back on track we had lost about 14 minutes… and we were battling through other riders that we were previously well in front of. Surprisingly time was made up and by the time hit Jackson Park I was still on track to get under 12 hours. On the first loop through Jackson I was still on pace. On the last trails through the last 15ish miles I was pushing the pace and had a small crash that set me back just a little and seemed to slow my momentum a little. I made it to the finish only to realize I dropped an orange token on my way in. Soooo I had to go back and get the orange token. My finish time was 12hrs 3 min 57 sec. A little frustrated getting so close to the under 12 but falling little short. Overall happy with the race though and finishing Marji without mechanical and any physical issues is always a win. Thank to my sponsors Dean Titanium Bikes, CarboRocket, Kenda, AbsoluteBLACK, ESI Grips.Also thankful for all my family that supported me to do this race from my wife staying and watching the kids to my step-dad that ran support for me!My gearing for the race was 34×20. This was my last NUE points race for the season. My next planned race is the Cruce Del Istmo in Panama to represent the NUE.”

Eli Orth ready for the Lemans run. Photo credit: Ryan Odell

Fourth went to, Nathan Lillie of WI, in 12:45:47. Brent Pontius of MI, took fifth place in 13:37:48.

Women’s Singlespeed-First woman to complete Marji on a Singlespeed

Kristen Wade of Illinois is the first woman to complete Marji on a singlespeed. She finished in 23 hours. ” I hardly feel like I should be writing a race report considering the top female racer crossed the finish line nearly 11 hours before me but this was no ordinary race and I was in no ordinary category. The 2021 NUE Marji Gesick was my first Marji and I competed on a single speed. I was the sole female in the single speed category and much to my surprise I was the first female to ever FINISH the Marji with one gear. I rode a titanium VooDoo Dambala 29er with a 30:22 gearing and my nutrition consisted of a lot of Snicker bars, PayDays, grilled cheese and beef sticks. The Marji Gesick is more than a Hard Day, for some, it is a hard night too. I have no sponsors to thank because I am not a sponsored athlete. However, I would like to thank my husband, Al, for his continued support riding with me and encouraging me when I struggled. Next year I would like to return to race another Marji, with one gear, but faster.”

Kristen Wade is the first women to complete Marji on a single speed!

Schultz of Ohio takes the Masters win

Taking the Masters win, Brad Scholtz of Ohio, finished in 14:24:12. ” Having participated in other 906 events I knew it would be special and epic!   I had not raced Marji before, but I knew lots who had attempted, and a few who had completed the race-  and they made it REALLY clear that this would be the hardest thing you’ve ever done!  “Words can’t do it justice”! I started the race with two of my RBikes teammates as we knew that we should match up fairly well and to have some company at least for a while.   Not having any idea what I was in for, I would have been more conservative at the beginning, but my teammates were pushing a pretty spicy pace- I hung on and tried to settle in and stay on top of nutrition/hydration.  What a challenge it is pay attention to navigation, hydration, nutrition, physical effort and tackle the technical sections was crazy fun and challenging!   When I reached the bag drop(mi 65ish) I was feeling pretty good, but I also had a decent idea that the last 40 mi were the hardest!  And needless to say I was not disappointed!    The scenic views, stupid hard climbs and technical descents were my favorite- make no mistake, the constant punchy climbs really accumulate to break you down.   My secret is really to just “stay present” and enjoy/tackle the section that you’re currently doing.  Don’t even think about what’s yet to come.   The second most critical thing for me is to stay in a “positive“ place- giving and receiving positive energy from/to the other riders.   Positive engagement with everyone I can in contact with.  Thank you to my teammates(RBikes) for the pacing and to the amazing volunteers all over the course!!That was amazing!  I’m proud of my effort, but now I’m completely hooked, and already thinking about next year and how I can go faster!  I Was extremely pleased to take 1st place in the Men’s Master division.”

About fifteen minutes back, John Munger from MN, takes second place in 14:38:20. Vin Dog Mack of MI, takes third place with a time of 15:10:11. Fourth goes to, Scott Cole of WI, in 15:45:44 and fifth place to, Derrick Seys of IL, crossing the line in 16:21:30.

John Munger and Piotr Bednarski on their way to Marji

For full results CLICK HERE

Pictures from the race can be found here: Rob Meendering and Ryan Stephens

Mark your calendars. Registration for the 2022 Marji Gesick is October 15th.

NUE- Shenandoah 100k

The 23rd annual Shenandoah 100 is the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series held over Labor Day weekend in Stokesville, VA. Shenandoah now includes a 100k option of racing on Saturday and the classic 100 mile race on Sunday.

100k race start

Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just a few races remaining that will determine this year’s champions. Shenandoah is a highly anticipated showdown showcasing top level talent in a festive atmosphere with most racers choosing to camp out at the Stokesville Lodge and campground which is included in registration.

Womens Open- Sheldon wins 100k

Women’s 100k podium: 1st Libbey Sheldon, 2nd Carla Williams, 3rd Laura Hamm, 4th Bryna Blanchard, 5th Lauren Zimmer

No one could match the pace of Libbey Sheldon (CSHairs Devo) in the women’s 100k race on Saturday and she took the win with a time of 5:29.

In her first mountain bike race after having a baby, previous NUE epic series winner, Carla Williams (CarboRocket) of Roanoke took second place in 5:38:25.

Just a couple minutes back from Williams, Laura Hamm (Moonstomper) took third place in 5:40:22. Hamm also went on to complete the 100 mile race on Sunday with a third place finish.

Making the trip from New York, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing) finished fourth 5:47:37. Taking the last podium spot went to Lauren Zimmer (Bingham Cyclery) in 5:57:15.

Mens Open- Petrylak second 2021 NUE marathon win

Men’s 100k podium: 1st John Petrylak, 2nd Anthony Grinnell, 3rd Will Pfeiffer, 4th Ben Ferguson, 5th Jarod Lawver

After a major setback with course markings, John Petrylak (CarboRocket) fights hard to take the Shenandoah 100k win with a time of 5:25. Petrylak had a previous NUE 100k win at Wilderness.

“After a typical start to the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series Shenandoah Mountain 100K we came to an intersection that I know very well. The course arrows should have pointed LEFT ; however they were pointing RIGHT. We got off course and after an extra 6 mile loop and 37 minutes waisted we climbed back to the original intersection in question and by this time someone came and realized that the arrows were wrong and fixed them.
Later in the day it was suspected that a person or persons maliciously changed the arrows. 
Now at this point I believe we were absolutely dead last or very close to it. Without much thought I just pressed on full gas and set out to pass every rider I could. After 5 and a half hours I managed to catch every rider except masters athlete George Ganoung and take the open men’s win.Also a huge amount of respect for Anthony, Will and Stew for rolling in literally a few minutes behind me as they had just as much additional pain and suffering to deal with and still rose to the occasion. Thanks to: CarboRocket, Molly’s Bikes, ESI Grips, Kenda Tires and Athlos Sports”

Just three minutes back, Anthony Grinnell (Syndicate Cycling) took second with a time of 5:28:32.

“The racing didn’t really start until we began climbing on the initial road sections, but even then, it was a manageable pace.  Shortly into gravel, the top 8 or so guys formed a pretty large gap to the rest of the field.  Heading up the first single track climb, we had a lead group of 4 and pulled a gap on the rest of the breakaway.  But as we got to the top of the climb, we encountered a problem.  GPS said go left, but the arrows pointed right and a tape banner blocked the trail to the left.  We all figured there was an issue with the GPS or a last minute course change since there was both tape and arrows telling us to go right.  Big mistake.  About 5 miles down that trail, we all realized there were no more arrows, too many downed trees, and we should have gone left.  At that point, it was easier to keep going and complete the 9 mile extra loop and re-peat that tough single track climb to make the correct left turn at the top.  37 minutes later, we were back on course and, as Will Pfeiffer so adequately stated “pedaling pissed off”.  The even bigger downside is, while we were adding our extra miles, someone corrected the course marking issue, which ended up putting the entire 100k class in front of us.  We literally had to pass hundreds of other riders as we worked our way up.  I’ve been a huge fan of Flow Formulas products, but wow did it make a difference in being able to maintain energy needed to make up all that lost time.  Big props to Pirelli tires too…they were bullet proof and with all of the sharp rocks on the course, that was a must.  I was shocked, and REALLY happy to see that John, Will, and I were all able to put our heads down and battle our way back up to sweep the podium.  We think a hunter likely changed the markings, but in the end, it didn’t keep John Petrylak from winning his first SMT 100K race, didn’t keep me from getting 2nd, and kept Will Pfeiffer’s title hopes alive for the series.  It was a great day for the Syndicate/Flow Formulas team with Jim Litzinger getting 1st in the 100K Single Speed Class and Joe Frass getting 5th in the 100 mile Single Speed Class. Huge thank you to Shorkey Auto Group and Pro Bike & Run for getting us to these races and keeping our equipment working.”

Will Pfeiffer (Flow Formulas) took third crossing the line in 5:31:37.

“The race started like any other, with a good push up the first climb.  Five of us got away and kept a good pace on Narrowback.  When we came to a T-intersection near the top, an unexpected right turn was marked.  We figured there was some issue with the normal trail and just followed the arrows and tape.  This proved unfortunate, because it turned out there were some people messing with signage on the course.  As we realized what had happened, I’ll be honest, I was not in a good place mentally.  I have been chasing the season standings this year, and I was watching all that effort go out the window in one fell swoop.  John Petrylak, Anthony Grinnel, and Stewart Gross were instrumental in keeping my head in the game and I am very thankful to have been with those guys.  So, one bonus loop later, the lost boys joined back up DFL and all sorts of motivated.

The rest of the race turned into a 50 mile TT trying to fight through the field.  My mom was a massive help, supporting me at each aid station.  Late in the race she told me I was 10th heading into the final climb of Hankey.  I was already deep in the effort and absolutely buried myself trying to catch riders.  Pulling a third in class was a mixture of some effort and a lot of luck.  But I will say this, I’ve had a handful of races over the years that presented some physically and mentally difficult obstacles.  It sounds cliche, but never once have I regretted refusing to give in.  The mindset, challenge, and camaraderie this weekend meant so much more to me than the result.  Huge thanks to Flow Formulas, The Black Bibs, Maxxis, Industry Nine, Kask, Koo, Handup, Ridge Supply, Chris of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, and my awesome teammates who let me be a part of their super inspiring rides on Sunday.  #flowformulasfamily”

Ben Ferguson finished fourth in 5:34:09 and Jarod Lawver fifth in 5:46:37.

Singlespeed– Litzinger leads NUE marathon SS

Singlespeed podium: 1st James Litzinger, 2nd Don Powers, 3rd Kenny Kocarek, 4th Larry Miller, 5th Kasey Clark

With a second place finish at Mohican and first place at Wilderness, James Litzinger (Syndicate Cycling) took the Shenandoah win with a time of 5:32:09. Litzinger now leads the NUE SS Marathon series.

“The backcountry racing at Shenandoah Mountain always is always a blast and this year was no different!  The start and preparation for the race was very smooth and thought out.  We were put in to starting corrals of 5 and I was lined up with some hammer in the corral 50-55, teammate Anthony Grinnell (2nd) and John Petrylak (1st) crushed the course!  Coming out of the campground it was very chill until it hit the road and everyone started to jockey for position.  Dahn Pahrs and I were the only 2 single speeders  spinning and tucking our way to the front with the geared guys.  We were comfortable with the brisk pace of the opening gravel climb and taking some pulls. The biggest deciding factor in the race came at the top of the first single track climb when 2 arrows pointed right and the GPS said to go left.  Decisions, decisions…we went right with the arrows which cost us about 4 miles and 13 minutes.  During the single track I noticed the screw on the top cap of my fork was coming loose so I used my thumb to push down on it and tighten it.  After getting back on course we were faced with the challenge of making our way through a lot of riders on the tight single track.  After getting back out on the road, Dahn and I worked together on our way to the next climb which was a lot of hike a biking.  At the bottom of the climb I noticed my fork was not responding as it should, it was stiff and in the down position.  I decided to put it in the lock position to prevent it from going down but made the descents very challenging.  After the race I noticed that I changed the rebound to SLOW when I was tightening the screw.  After the long, steep, rocky, and rooty climb. 

After the hike a bike we were rewarded with a super fun descent.  To my surprise, I was able to catch a few more riders before poking out onto the dirt road again.  After completing the descent, I looked back to join up with Dahn again and he came back out on the road a few seconds after me. I decided to sit up, get some nutrition, and wait for my buddy since these races are a lot more fun with some company.  After fueling up and spinning down the road a little I thought I heard a car coming so I moved off to the side of the road and looked back to see that it was not a car but John Petrylak.  As a single speeder we are often faced with the decision to burn some matches get dragged along by the strong geared guys or rider your own race and conserve your energy.  Well, I decided to burn some matches for a big increase in speed on the backcountry Virginia road.  I was able to make up some great time spinning and tucking behind John’s wheel.  When we pulled into aid 2, I had to fill my bottles, grab grub, and by that time John was already rolling and there was no catching him.  I continued rolling the course at my own pace until the ripping descent leading into aid 3 when teammate Anthony Grinnell caught me.  It was a blast shredding the descent and getting a big pull on the road with him until I had to let him go before burning up all my matches.  I was glad to be looking at the Hankey climb for the last time before working my way down the mountain to the finish.   Special shout out to the Syndicate Cycling support of Pro Bike+Run Shops, Shorkey Auto Group, Specialized bikes, Flow Formulas, Wolftooth Components, Extreme Nano Lubes, Esi Grips, Pirelli tires, KOO, Kask, Dr. Bryan Hooks Orthopedic, and last but not least my amazing family.”

Previously winning Mohican earlier this season, Don Powers, of Pennsylvania took second in 5:41:27. Don also raced the Shenandoah 100 mile race on Sunday.

Stopping the Pennsylvania podium sweep, Kenny Kocarek (Kobby Side Down) of Ohio finished in 6:12:53. Larry Miller (Team Bikenetic) took fourth in 6:47:32 and Kasey Clark (Velopigs) finished fifth in 7:10:30.

Masters Ganoung takes top step

Masters podium: 1st George Ganoung, 2nd Peter Schultz, 3rd Derek Dagostino, 4th ustin De Leo, 5th Roberts Moore

Winning the Masters category was George Ganoung (Otterhaus) with a finish time of 5:23:37.

” I have a long competitive road and gravel history but this was my first ever marathon mountain bike event. I won the Master 50+ and due to some strange circumstances, I came out the overall winner as well…with a big footnote though.About 9 miles into the race I was 8th in a group of 4 ~30 seconds behind the leaders and we had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field. We came across a major arrow marked intersection, but having pre ridden the course, and having the map on my GPS, they were not pointing in the expected direction. My compatriots followed the arrows so I went with them, about .5 mile in I just felt it was wrong, and told them I am turning around. They agreed and we flipped it, went the other way at the intersection and ran into course tape across the trail, it was broken, but seemed to indicate it’s a reroute. We flipped again and went back further, but with the trail getting significantly rougher and no other markers I told the other guys I think someone mucked it up and I am committing to the GPS track. By then the bulk of the race had caught up and the two way traffic on single track was chaotic and was forced to walk. I told the riders I ran into as I back tracked to make their own call but I am following GPS. It seemed like the majority turned around, and someone else had turned the arrows back by the time I got to the intersection. Fortunately it was the right call and the race markers had clearly been sabotaged. I ended up being about 30th out of the 1st single track after the confusion. Convinced the leaders went the right way and were long gone, and half the race was ahead, I just rode hard out of anger on the next fire road section catching as many folks as I could. It turned out the leaders had actually gone further off course before turning around and after the next big single track climb and descent, I was told I was in the overall lead…and somehow managed to hold on for ~40 miles to the finish. Massively impressive ride by 2nd place John Petrylak who went further off course and came back to win the open class and nearly caught me at the end. Big thanks to @shenandoahmountaintouring and all the volunteers for putting on such a cool event and hats off to the riders who do this stuff all the time, huge respect for the skill/fitness required.
In regards to NUE future, Shenandoah again and maybe Wilderness 101 next year are probably it for me because they are close. This is just a branch out as a new challenge.”

George Ganoung (Otterhaus) 5:23:37

About 10 minters back, Peter Schultz (Team Bikenetic) finished second with a time of 5:32:35. “As we charged up the first climb, I had my coach’s voice in my head to stay within myself. I was doing about 4 W/kg on the double-track climb and thought that’s about the power that would need to be sustained for 5 hours by the overall winner. So, I let about 30 people crank on past, pretty sure that they’d come back.The hitch in this plan came at the top of the first climb where the arrows were pointed in the wrong direction. When we finally got ourselves turned around, I got shuffled backward another 20 spots or so. So, I spent the entire descent in a conga line, as well as most of Lynn Trail. I tried to stay calm and stick to the plan.But things went further sideways on the Wolf Trail descent when I had a 5-minute mechanical due to a messed up jockey wheel. “The Plan” went even further in the crapper on the road to Hankey’s where I’d stashed my two bottles on little stands: someone stole one of my bottles. Whoever did that and whoever swapped the arrows on Narrowback is a complete butthead.“The Plan” started working in second half of the race where I passed dozens of people. I was able to keep my power relatively high (for me) at about 3.6W/kg. My times on the first and second Hankey’s climbs were within a second of each other. I was able to hold it all together on the descents and get back in one piece.I’d like to give a big shout-out to the OGs in this race, with the fastest overall times going to folks over 50. I had a front row seat watching Libby Sheldon (and Laura Hamm) from the rear as she nearly cleaned Lynn Trail. So impressive!I’d like to thank my sponsors — my wife, myself, and Bikenetic – and my coach, Jeremy Powers, for his attention to detail.”

Taking the third step, Derek Dagostino (Molly’s Bicycles) finished in 5:50:13. “While living and mountain biking in Richmond, Virginia, I had always heard about the Shenadoah Mountain 100 but never seriously considered participating in this race because of its difficulty. I participated in local XC races through the year in 2020 while working to improve my fitness. Going into 2021, I was looking for a challenge and made the SM 100 KM my “A” race for the year. New to endurance mountain bike racing I realized that I had a lot to learn before the race. I joined local marathon XC races for training and also to work my hydration and fueling plan. Admittedly I made some big mistakes along the way. 

3rd place Derek Dagostino

The SM was as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be! Race participants were lined up by bid numbers and in rows of five people. I started mid-pack and used the first 7 miles of fire road to move up while minding my pace. From the fire road you jump onto single track which starts the first significant climb of the day. A few miles into the climb, the riders leading the group of 15 or so stopped and mentioned that they thought we were off course. We turned around and back tracked to the proper course and I later found out that a prankster changed the course markings. The little detour added 3 miles to my race and I also found myself in heavy traffic until reaching the fire road at the end of Tilman single track. At this point I really had no idea where I was in the field because of the mix-up. The climb up the Lynn trail was as memorable as it was steep! Once back on the fire road, I was able to pace with some other riders including Eli Drooger who ended up taking 1st in U19 category. The climb up Hanky was tough but I was also able to pass other riders, make up some ground, and stay on track until the finish line! Special thanks to the SM race promoter and volunteers who pulled off the event this year. The event was well organized and not surprisingly will continue into its 24th year in 2022. Also I want to acknowledge my sponsor Molly’s Bicycle Shop and Blind Dog Brewery in Chester, Virginia. The team at the shop has played a pivotable role in supporting me with fantastic equipment (including my Norco Revolver FS1), topnotch service and an occasional beer!”

Fourth place went to Justin De Leo (Blue Ridge Cyclery) with a time of 5:55:46. Fifth place to Roberts Moore (Moore Velocity) crossing the line in 5:56:30.

Written by: @jentoops

Photos by: @Shenandoahmountaintouring

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE Marathon Series is the Marji Gesick in Ishpeming, MI on September 18, 2021. See you all there!

The Park City Point 2 Point Returns

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

After taking the 2020 season off due to Covid, Utah’s most-anticipated mountain bike race each year returned for its 13th edition. Taking in over 75 miles of Park City, Utah’s, world renowned singletrack and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing, the Point 2 Point is known as one of hardest single-day mountain bike races in the country. 

This year riders from across the country came to the destination town of Park City to be challenged by technical trails, grueling climbs, breakneck descents, and moose. 

Elite men start at the 2021 Park City Point 2 Point. Photo by Jay Dash

Rains on Friday helped clear out some of the smoke that has plagued the west throughout the summer and provided endless hero dirt for the riders to enjoy their P2P experience.

As the race kicked off just after sunrise it was clear both elite fields were ready to push the pace early. 

Two-time winner Evelyn Dong (Juliana/SRAM/No Tubes) took the early lead pushing what challenger, Melissa Rollins (Team Twenty24) described as, ‘cross-county Olympic speeds.’ Dong was joined early on by Caedran Harvey with Rollins not far behind. 

Riders wind through the trails in Park City. Photo by Jay Dash

The  punishing early pace broke up the women’s field and saw Evelyn Dong establish a solid gap that continued to grow throughout the day. The Juliana rider rode clear throughout the day and not even getting stung by a bee on the lip would slow the lone leader. 

At mile 55, Dong passed through the crowds at the Park City Mountain feed zone taking in the cheers from hundreds of local fans lifting her spirits to finish the final 20 miles showing strong form. 

Behind the leader Melisa Rollins had moved into second place after Harvey got off course in the mid-mountain section of the course. 

Evelyn Dong navigates Round Valley in the early morning sun. Photo by Jay Dash

Rollins was followed by the hard-charging Virginian Andrea Dvorak (Cutaway), who is battle-tested in all forms of endurance cycling.  

No one would be catching Evelyn Dong on the day as she finished the race with a smashing time of 7:30:18, well inside the top-20 of the 350 men and women in the race. 

Rollins final push to the finish was temporarily delayed as a mother and baby moose took up residence on the trail. The 25-year-old Rollins was forced to bushwhack her way around the pair before getting back on course and finishing her day at just over 8 hours. 

Despite encountering the late moose challenge, Rollins managed to stay over 20 minutes clear on third-place rider Dvorak who finished at 8:24:55.

The only way to get through the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash

Chelsea Bolton finished fourth in the open women’s field but took top honors for best quote of the day for her comment after finishing the punishing Steps trail climb exclaiming, “Before today, I’ve only ever gone up that trail by mistake!”

Courtney Boyd (Wattie Ink) rounded out the women’s podium in fifth place with a time of 8:47:14

Momma and baby Moose on course at the P2P.

The open men’s race got off to a similarly rapid pace with relative youngsters Truman Glasgow (Rouleur Devo) and Tanner Visnick (POC) pushing hard early accompanied briefly by Australian Lachlan Morton (EF Foundation) who was fresh off a podium finish at the 6-day Breck Epic and his Alt Tour De France effort where he rode the entire Tour De France course solo. 

Morton suffered an early flat before exciting the Round Valley section of the course. This left Glasgow and Visnick out front, a strategy that Visnick had envisioned. “Going out hard early is typically my move,” the 24-tear-old Visnick said. “Unless I’m marking another rider and don’t know the course well, I prefer to be in front setting my own pace on the climbs and descents.”

Never-ending single track is on tap every year at the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash

Despite throwing down early speed, Visnick was unable to shed Glasgow who worked his way into the lead by the top of Deer Valley resort. The 21-year-old Glasgow stayed clear on the following descents and through the tortuous John’s trail where a mother and baby moose forced some brief detours. 

At 50+ miles in both riders descended into the Park City Mountain feed zone just seconds apart. 

Morton was slowly working his way through the field jumping into 5th place by the Steps trail climb and taking over 4th before making his way into the feed zone. 

In front the racing was all out with less than a minute between the two leaders and Tanner Visnick now being out front, barely. 

Tanner Visnick goes for an early lead in the morning sun. Photo by Jay Dash

Despite being young, Visnick is no stranger to distance events having already won the Gunnison Growler, Emerald Epic, and Big Sky Biggie in 2021. After a quick stop at the final feed zone, Visnick used his endurance experience to hold onto a 20 second gap over his challenger needing to essentially sprint the final 5 miles of downhill to cross the line with just 39 seconds in hand. 

After almost six and a half hours of racing Truman Glasgow finished less than a minute behind the leader.

Riders get a well-deserved break after 75-miles of single track. Photo by Jay Dash

Lachlan Morton worked his way up to third place by the finish, passing another youngster, Cameron Larson (Summit Devo Team), in the final miles of the race.

Larson took fourth in what was his longest-ever mountain bike race effort.

Fifth went to Danny Van Wagoner with a time of 6:45:29. 

Race Notes

In a tradition unique to the Park City Point 2 Point, a special award is given to the final racer to finish each year’s event; in special recognition of their perseverance making it to the finish line. 

This year’s red lantern award went to Kristine Thompson, who finished, in the dark, with a time of 13:58:44. The longest-ever finishing time for the P2P.

Red lantern winner Kristine Thompson at the finish

For the first time three riders on the men’s podium were former NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) racers. Truman Glasgow and Cameron Larson both raced in the Utah league, while race winner Tanner Visnick raced in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 

Instead of tapering the weekend before the Park City Point 2 Point, race winner Tanner Visnick, was getting married in Bozeman, Montana. Congratulations Tanner!

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

Hitting the descents at the P2P. Photo by Jay Dash