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

12 Hours of Mesa Verde 2021

written by: Marlee Dixon

7:00am Le Mans Start at 12 Hours of Mesa Verde

Racing is back on in Colorado where the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde happened this past weekend.  After a year off, 2021 attracted over 750 racers! Located in Cortez, Colorado, the race course uses the popular and well-built Phil’s World trail system.  The course is 16.4 miles of fast flowy descents and technical climbs.  It is almost 100% single track and a classic Colorado race that attracts many local and non-local racers year over year. 

This year the weather was beautiful with warm sunny skies, a few dark clouds and wind gusts but over all very ideal temperatures.  Most competitors set up camp the night before the race, camping on the course, which creates a very inclusive event environment.  After a year of isolation, it was a great atmosphere to reconnect with friends and fellow racers!

Due to Covid the race started in one-minute waves this year with teams starting first, followed by duos and lastly solos.  At 7:00am the first racers began the run in the Le Mans start.  The first lap includes a longer road section at the start, allowing the fast duos and solos more time to pass the slower teams in front of them.

After a year of not racing for many people, this race brought out some very competitive racers in each category! A new course record lap was set for the fastest female time as well as a new QOM for Strava for the entire single-track race section of Phil’s world.  Melissa Rollins out of Salt Lake City had never ridden Phil’s World until the race weekend and is the fastest female Mesa Verde has seen! Even after hitting a tree and getting knocked off her bike she was able to crush the previous fastest lap time.  Rollins was part of a 3 person team and is looking forward to doing the race again next year. 

2021 Fastest Lap Time Winners

For the solo women Tam Donelson started out in the lead for the four laps followed by Chelsea Strate and Tami Taylor.  On lap 5 Strate moved into first place with Tami Taylor and Carly Bonwell behind her.  Strate continued in first for the rest of the race and commented, “After Lap 6 I was informed that I was now in 1st, and I had 10 minutes left to start a 7th lap, so I went for it, also not knowing where the next rider behind me was. I was stoked to smash my original goal of 6 laps with 7, and winning was the icing on the cake. I learned after I crossed the finish line that I did 2 laps more than 2nd place, but I don’t regret getting those extra laps on the sweet, sweet Phil’s World single-track because that course was a blast!” 

Chelsea Strate from Minneapolis, MN rode to the Women’s solo victory Photo: Courtesy naggan.com

For the solo men it was a very tight race between Josh Tostado, Truman Glasgow and Sam Vickery.  Glasgow came in first after the first lap but then broke his chain.  Tostado took the lead but Vickery caught up and passed Tostado in the next few laps.  Tostado and Vickery raced neck in neck for the rest of the day until Vickery crashed and damaged his deraileur.  Tostado took the lead in the 2nd to last lap and won the race.  Glasgow caught Vickery after his crash and finished 2nd, less then one minute ahead of Vickery (3rd place).  Tostado beat all his previous records on the course, finishing 8 laps in under 11 hours.  When asked how the race went, he commented, “I had to dig deep to keep up with the young guys!”

Men’s Solo Podium

Weekend Race Recap

Cactus Cup Phoenix, AZ March 12-14, 2021

The 2021 Race season was in full swing last weekend with The Cactus Cup stage race hosting most of the US’s 2021 Olympic hopefuls in Phoenix, AZ. The race format included a Time Trial, 40-mile XC race, and Enduro. Sofia Gomez Villafane (Clif Bar) who has spent the winter training in Tucson rode away with the overall after taking the lead in the 40-mile XC stage. The young Kelsey Urban had an impressive weekend with her consistency paying off for a 2nd overall. Erin Huck, Rose Grant, and Hannah Finchamp rounded out the women’s GC podium. The desert got the best of Savilla Blunk, winner of the TT, and Haley Batten, winner of the Enduro, who both ran into mechanical issues during the XC race costing them spots on the GC podium.

2021 Cactus cup women’s GC podium
  1. Sofia Gome Villafane 3:16:49
  2. Kelsey Urban 3:17:48
  3. Erin Huck 3:18:21
  4. Rose Grant 3:20:55
  5. Hannah Finchamp 3:20:58
  6. Ruth Holcomb 3:23:30
  7. Ruby Ryan 3:23:50
  8. Gwendalyn Gibson 3:27:09
  9. Amy Chandos 3:29:21
  10. Alisha Welsh 3:32:48
  11. Savilla Blunk
  12. Amanda Felder
  13. Haley Batten
  14. Lauren Lackman
  15. Caroline Mani
  16. Nikki Peterson

In the men’s race, Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz) took the overall by only 18 seconds over Riley Amos. Cole Paton, Kyle Trudeau, and Daxton Mock wrapped up the GC top 5 with less than two-minutes separating first through fifth.

2021 Cactus Cup Men’s GC podium
  1. Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz) 2:53:47
  2. Riley Amos 2:54:06
  3. Cole Paton 2:54:15
  4. Kyle Trudeau 2:55:30
  5. Daxton Mock 2:55:30
  6. Tobin Ortenblad 2:55:41
  7. Russell Finsterwald 2:56:02
  8. Alex Wild 2:57:07
  9. Tydeman Newman 2:59:49
  10. Paul Fabian 3:3494
  11. Bradyn Lange
  12. Pavel Nelson
  13. Matt Pike
  14. Todd Wells
  15. Cal Skilsky
  16. Jared Becker
  17. Tanner Thornton
  18. Lars Hallstrom
  19. Nicholas Taberes
  20. Keriran Eagen
  21. Troy Wells
  22. Guy Leshem
  23. Kellen Caldwell
  24. Brian Scarbrough
  25. Jimmy Smith
  26. Lance Abshire
  27. Andrew Clemence
  28. William Dowling
  29. Briand Gordon
  30. Justin Martin
  31. Eddie Anderson
  32. Zack Villars
  33. Vincent Davis
  34. Christopher Blevins
  35. Luke Lamperti
  36. Henry Nadell
  37. Jesus Vargas
  38. Scott Arnold

True Grit Epic St. George, UT

True Grit riders were met with epic conditions which ultimately resulted in the cancellation of the race

This weekend was supposed to be the True Grit Epic which includes racer’s choice of a gravel ride, gravel race, or 100 or 50-mile mountain bike race on classic Southern Utah trails. Racers could also choose to participate in the Extreme Grit Gravel/MTB stage race that combines all three stages over three days. Sadly the weather had a different plan. Unseasonal cold, snow, and rain forced race promoters to cancel the mountain bike portion of the race.

Southeast Gravel: Gravel Battle of Sumter Forest Clinton, SC

Gravel Battle of Sumter Forest is the first race of a six race gravel series promoted by the popular Southeast Gravel. Liv Factory racer, Kaysee Armstrong bested Laura King by a mere 12 seconds over 75 miles of racing. Armstrong’s winning time was 3:24:38. Tere Casas, Marjie Bemis, and Elizabeth Mccalley completed the top-5.

  1. Kaysee Armstrong 3:24:38
  2. Laura King 3:24:51
  3. Tere Casas 3:35:54
  4. Marjie Bemis 3:36:04
  5. Elizabeth Mccalley 3:36:07
  6. Annie Rambotham 3:36:08
  7. Ava Sykes 3:38:22
  8. Kim Pettit 3:41:58
  9. Simone Berger 3:41:58
  10. Rhylee Wittrock 3:45:23
  11. Sierra Sims 3:45:27
  12. Katy Sorrell
  13. Madeline Pearce
  14. Hannah Dickson
  15. Nicole Mertz
  16. Alexi Costa
  17. Marni Sumbal
  18. Madison Kelly
  19. Alyssa Barrick
  20. Carey Lowery
  21. Genevieve Plum
  22. Cara King
  23. Hayley Barrick
  24. Nina Machnowski

Scott McGill took the men’s race followed by a sprint finish among Drew Dillman, Issac Bryant, Tim Coffey, and Michael Bissette. Former ProTour road racer, Bobby Julich, who was also in the sprint, placed 7th.

  1. Scott McGill 3:11:54
  2. Drew Dillman 3:12:00
  3. Issac Bryant 3:12:03
  4. Tim Coffey 3:12:07
  5. Michael Bissette 3:12:08
  6. Heath Dotson 3:12:09
  7. Bobby Julich 3:12:10
  8. Matt Moosa 3:12:19
  9. John Croom 3:12:27
  10. Parker Kyzer 3:13:55
  11. Ted King
  12. Kyle Tiesler
  13. Dalton Collins
  14. Elijah Johnson
  15. Conley Wilhelm
  16. Jaden Grimes
  17. James Carney
  18. Tyler Miranda
  19. Nick Bragg
  20. Bryan Glover
  21. Jonathan Patterson
  22. Ryan Johnson
  23. Eric Fotd
  24. Chris Tries
  25. Tyler Clark
  26. Zeb Ramsbotham
  27. Blake Adams
  28. Andrew Blackstock
  29. Mile Root
  30. Same Rideout
  31. Osias Lozano
  32. Brody McDonald
  33. Giovanni Vasta
  34. Erik Castillo
  35. Gabriel Kenne
  36. Nick Zambeck
  37. Keith Mullaly
  38. George Hincapie
  39. Greg Junge

Stay tuned as MTBracenews.com continues to bring coverage of some of the most exciting events.

Mohican 100-Mile

The 19th Annual KENDA 

Mohican Mountain Bike100

NUE Epic Race Series #2

June 10, 2020 Written by: Ryan O’Dell

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

Start of the Mohican 100 Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

Women’s Open

Sabin wins by a huge margin

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Men’s Open  

Kasper wins BIG in come from behind fashion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

Singlespeed

Paunovich wins his First SS, 11 Overall! 

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

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters 50+

Card takes the Masters 50+

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

Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

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

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

Click Here for Full Results

Mohican 100k

The 19th Annual KENDA 

Mohican Mountain Bike 100

NUE Marathon Series #2

June 10, 2020 Written by: Ryan O’Dell

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

Start of the Mohican 100 Photo by: Butch Phillips

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s Open

Lowery takes the top step on the Mohican Podium

Following her fifth place finish at the True Grit NUE Series opener, Carey Lowery, Rescue Racing/Scott’s Bike, led all Women in the marathon women’s open finishing in 2:29:39

“Because of the time trial format, I had no idea where my competition was.  Therefore, I just made it a point to keep the hammer down the whole time.  Knowing that the course was shortened, I was able to burn quite a few matches on the short punchy climbs. I chose my hardtail as the course was gravel road heavy. I also ran a less beefy tire than usual and rode a bit more cautiously through the single track since I had “skinnies.”  

I drafted when I could to conserve some energy, but since I started towards the back, I was mostly on my own.  I kicked it up a notch as I entered the Mohican Adventures property and laid it all out in the final mile.  I surprisingly ended up winning the Open Women’s race against a small, but competitive field.  I am grateful to Ryan for making this happen as it was good to get back to some sense of normalcy. It was as much a mental benefit as a physical one.”

Four minutes behind Lowery, Janet Edwards, Road Apple Roubaix p/b Do, placed second at 2:33:29. Eight minutes later, Mary Penta, Think Green-Bicycle Face, took third at 2:41:31 with Lara Richards, Chainbuster Racing, a minute back at 2:42:53.   

Men’s Open

Messer wins the Men’s Open

Andrew Messer, Be Real Sports, took the W in the Men’s Open at 2:03:40. One minute later, OMBC Ohio Series Champion, Troy Chipka, Ashland Bike Company, placed second at 2:04:49.     

Perhaps the youngest ever podium finisher at 17 years old, Wyatt Rodgers, Syndicate Cycling Team, rolled in a minute later at 2:05:55. “Leading up to the Mohican 100 this year, there were a lot of doubts and concerns for me regarding the race. Because of Covid-19, although concerned, my Dad and I decided we were going to race it no matter what. It turned out that there were a ton of changes to the race format, the awesome mass start was no longer going to happen and the race distance was cut in half with more road than trails. With these major changes, I was concerned how this would affect my results because technical mountain biking is my strength, not gravel racing. I was pleased to find out that the race was still a ton of fun. 

Photo by: Butch Phillips

I was very happy with the mix of trails and road. With the time trial start, it was hard for me to tell what place I was in. Around mile 8 of 30, I was caught by a fellow racer, Troy Chipka that was in my class, the men’s 100k open. Troy and I decided to work together and put up the fastest time we could by working together on the road. We knew we were racing at a good pace and somewhere towards the front of the race. We played our cards right and were very pleased to find that when we finished, we placed second and third despite making a wrong turn that cost us about two minutes. Being just 17 years old and placing third at an National Ultra Endurance event, I am super happy with my result. I’m also very proud to say I was the youngest ever to podium at an NUE event after missing the podium last year by two places. Overall, I was very happy with how well the race was ran and directed. A huge thank you to Ryan O’Dell for putting on another amazing race!”

Dorel Stoia and Burgess Gow rounded out the top five at 2:09:31 and 2:12:10 respectively. 

Two young racers entered the competition and finished their first BIG race including 15-year-old Bryce Thompson, Ashland Bike Company and 14-year-old Alex Mesarchik, Shenanigans Cycling, who finished at 3:25:15. 

  

Singlespeed

Kunz gets the win defending his NUE Series title

Defending NUE Series Singlespeed and OMBC Ohio Series singlespeed Champion, Josh Kunz, Evolution Training Cycles, took another step toward defending his title following a second place finish at True Grit by getting his first win of the season at 2:14:06. “It was an all-out effort. Starting in wave # 2 with a relatively long flat roll out on a SS is tricky. I grabbed whatever geared racers wheel I could on the road and took off up every steep road. Then, once in Mohican Wilderness singletrack, I kicked it up knowing I can make time on the tech climbs and the rock garden. The time trial aspect was actually a lot of fun. I’d like to thank Jeff Rupnow from Evolution Training Cycles and CarboRocket for keeping me firing!” 

Nathan Grubbs was second at 2:26:14. 

Dan Fausey, Trailer Park Racing, placed third at 3:00:48. “As the stay-at-home order dragged on, I was starting to bounce off the walls. I had enough “family time,” and hadn’t raced since March. I missed seeing my bike friends! So, I was super stoked to learn that the Mohican 100 would still be happening. As I started to share this news with my friends, I learned that a few people were loudly criticizing the decision to conduct the Mohican 100 this year (on social media, natch). But, since none of the complainers were medical professionals, or government officials, I decided to go ahead and ride. Plus, Ryan O’Dell had put a thoughtful mitigation plan in place and made changes to the race. So, I was excited about it. 

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Hadn’t raced since March – seemed like all of our races seasons were sidelined by COVID! Race day showed up with perfect weather, sunny, but not too hot. I picked up my timing chip and race plate in a drive-through line, and got ready for my six-person start wave. I was racing singlespeed again – for the first time this year! On the course, I did nothing but smile. 

Around mile twelve I realized that there’s no substitute for a live race! There were folks heckling and cheering as usual on the rock gardens and at Valley Stream. And nothing is as motivating as chasing down that rider in front of you. After the race, the festival was a little subdued (with no food) but we enjoyed our free beers at social distance anyway. I’ll admit, it was weird having podiums six feet apart. But at least I couldn’t smell Josh’s (Kunz) sweaty pits! Overall, it was a great race and a thoughtful blueprint for race safety in the pandemic era!”

Once second behind Fausey, Scott Albaugh, Cycle Therapy, took fourth 3:00:49.  

Photo by: Butch Phillips

Masters 50+

Grimm victory in the Masters

In the Masters, 55-year-old Erik Grimm, Park Ave Bike Shop, led all men for the victory at 2:13:29. 53-year-old Tom Weaver, Summit Freewheelers, was next taking second at 2:21:00.

Four minutes later, Tom Arlinghaus, Crooked Creek, was third at 2:24:39. 

Among the Masters finishers this year were five 60+ racers including Ohio Series Masters 60+ Champion, 66-year-old Steve O’Bryan who placed fifth, 60-year-old Tim Shepherd, Knobby Side Down, 60-year-old Doug Fanta, Hudson Velo Club, 65-year-old Charles Patterson, Dirty Harry’s bike shop, and 61-year-old Tim Bonifant,  Orrville cycling club.

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

Click Here for Full Results

NUE Wilderness 101

Written by: Jen Toops

Photos by: Dave Seasholtz

On July 20th, 2019, Shenandoah Mountain Tours held the Wilderness 101 and Marathon races in Coburn, PA. The Wilderness 101 is part of the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its East coast rocky singletrack, and rolling gravel roads. It was a scorcher with sunny skies and temps reaching almost 100 degrees F. Camping was included with registration in Coburn Park which is also the race start making for an easy race morning and celebration at the finish line

Women’s Open

Toops gets Top Step

2018 NUE Marathon champion, Jen Toops, Pearl Izumi/Pivot MTB race team, takes the top step in a time of 9:13:12.

Women’s Open podium: 1st Jen Toops, 2nd Julia Thumel, 3rd Lindsey Carpenter, 4th Rebecca Lewandowski, 5th Karen Talley

“After an unexpected need to fly back to Ohio (literally booked the flight Wed and flew home Thursday), I found myself racing Wilderness 101 instead of High Cascades. My mom agreed to make the 5 hour journey to Coburn, PA and spend the weekend camping at the race start.

My plan was to keep a steady pace on the first climb knowing it was going to be a long hot day. Julia quickly passed me at the beginning of the climb. I was feeling good so I held her wheel for a bit. About halfway up I felt warmed up and ready to race, so I made my move. I worked hard to latch onto the group ahead by the top of the start climb. Working in a small group we watch some gravel miles tick by. The pace of this group was a wee bit too fast and I found myself off the back.

It soon turned to singletrack and I felt at home. Having raced TSE this spring I felt confident on the PA rocks and kept a steady pace. After a few updates from fellow racers I knew I had a little cushion and focused on pacing, hydration and nutrition. It’s hard to eat when it’s 90F so I stuck with CarboRocket, plain Water, Honey Stinger gels and bananas. I wore a pack for hydration and carried a bottle of water on my bike primarily used to spray on myself to cool down on the long exposed gravel climbs.

Jen Toops trying to navigate the PA rocks

On the NoName descent I made a rookie mistake. I thought I heard someone bombing the descent behind me and I took a quick peek over my shoulder. There was no one there but my front wheel hit a rock weird and I found myself over the bars before I even knew what was happening. My left hand instantly throbbed as I landed on my left palm of my hand. It took everything to finish the last part of the descent holding tight with my right hand and hovering the bars with my left hand. I stopped took some Ibuprofen and thought about a DNF. Then I realized it would most likely take longer or be just as painful to find my way back rather than finishing the last 35 or so miles.

After riding with one hand for about an hour the Ibuprofen kicked in and I could at least hold the bars. On the Still house climb my shifting starting giving me fits and I had to stop and check it a few times but couldn’t find anything wrong. A little more down the trail I was standing and pedaling and my crank stopped completely. Turns out my thru axel was loose and had wiggled halfway out and my wheel was basically falling off. Must of came loose when I crashed. I’m lucky I got it fixed fairly quick and didn’t have a major mechanical or crash.With about 15 miles left I kept a steady/safe pace knowing the cool River was waiting at the finish line!”


Julia Thumel, Race Pace Bicycles, takes second crossing the finish in 9:55:59. With this race she is now in third in the NUE Epic series. Lindsey Carpenter, Salsa Cycles, takes the third spot on the podium 10:18:34.

Men’s Open

Bishop gets first NUE win for 2019

Men’s Open Podium: 1st Jeremiah Bishop, 2nd Dylan Johnson, 3rd Matt Acker, 4th Bobby Lea, 5th Gordon Wadsworth

It was a close race in the Men’s Open class. In the end it was Jeremiah Bishop, Canyon Bicycles/Ergon, who took the win in an impressive 7:08:53. This was Bishop’s first NUE win for 2019. Less than a minute back, the 2019 NUE series leader, Dylan Johnson, FBS Racing, finished second in 7:09:37. Only two second back, Matt Acker, Salsa Cycles finished in 7:09:39.

Singlespeed

Klose wins first W101

Singlespeed podium: 1st James Klose, 2nd Eli Orth, 3rd Scott Rath, 4th Matt Ferrari, 5th Donovan Neal

James Klose, SECT NEMBA/Wayfarer Bicycle gets first W101 win in a time of 7:50:03. Taking second and leading the NUE singlespeed division was, Eli Orth, Team Hungry crossing the line in 8:30:52.

“Wilderness 101 was my 4th NUE epic distance race of the year. Going in I knew it was going to be a tough race with the predicted temps and humidity. The heat index was upwards of 110 degrees! Keeping that in mind i set my own pace early and watched the lead group pull away which also included a couple of my competitors in the single speed class. I went into the day wanting to just stay hydrated and fueled and stay at a consistent good pace. After settling in I decided to pick up the pace a little after aid station 2. Not long after aid 2 I caught Dahn Pahrs. I was up to 2nd place and Dahn let me know first wasn’t too far ahead. While standing at aid 3 drinking coke and grabbing some snacks i turn around to see Dahn roll up. On the gravel climb and through single track Dahn and I were close together with Dahn pulling back ahead again in the single track temporarily until he got a flat. As i roll up and ask if he needs anything he lets me know he’s okay and I roll by picking up the pace even more hoping to gap him enough that i keep him from catching me again. After that I didn’t see Dahn again (later learned he dropped out somewhere after aid 4) and didn’t see any other single speeders the rest of the race. It was a brutal hot day where I felt like i was cooking from inside out. It was especially hard on climbs like Stillhouse where I was grinding up them struggling both physically and mentally. It was great once again to race with Michael Gottfried a good portion towards the end along with Roger Masse. We pushed each other and chatted keeping our sanity on this tough day.Overall I was very happy with the results as Wilderness always has a strong SS field. It was great racing on the rocks in Pa for the second time this year!My gearing of choice for the race was 34×20. Next up is Shenandoah and Marji Gesick. I’d like to thank everyone that has supported and motivated me this year. Especially my wife who has been very supportive to my busy schedule this year. Thanks to my team.. Team Hungry and Absolute Black. Also thanks to Nox Composites for quickly getting me everything i needed for my wheel build  in time for Wilderness on short notice.”

Scott Rath, Cadre Racing took the third podium spot in a time of 8:57:25.

“Heading into the Wilderness 101, my only goal was to hopefully take some of the fitness I picked up at The Trans-sylvania Epic and turn that into a sub 9 hour finish. Seeing the forecast, I wasn’t sure that would be possible. The first 30 miles had me burning matches on my 34X20 gearing trying to stay latched on to trains knowing that if I fell off the back, I’d be working twice as hard by myself. During the second half of the race, I started picking off fellow single speeders and when I passed Don Powers walking up the infamous Stillhouse Hollow Rd climb due to not being able to keep food down, he let me know that there were a few more single speeders just up ahead, and that was just the motivation I needed to keep the pedals mashing. Despite the debilitating heat, I worked my way past two single speeders up and over Stillhouse. I kept checking my Garmin and it seemed like a sub 9 hour wasn’t going to be possible but then a super long stretch of gravel had me descending and descending some more. I buzzed past a fresh off Lyme Disease, Matt Ferrari and closer to a possible sub 9 hour finish. I put my head down, grabbed my fork crowns, and pedaled the mostly flat finish always checking over my shoulder. I found my way back to Coburn Park and crossed the line at 8:57and found out I snagged 3rd place. I’m still in disbelief. I’m hoping to get to the Shenandoah 100 if my schedule allows it.”

Masters

Masse celebrates first 2019 NUE win

Masters podium: 1st Roger Masse, 2nd Hank McCullough, 3rd Jed Prentice, 4th Joe Johnston, 5th Tom Stritzinger

Roger Masse, Stokesville/SMT/Stans/TREK takes the Masters win with a time of 8:30:42. Second place was, Hank McCullough, Team Trappe Door, finishing in 8:52:07.

“I had big question marks going into this year’s W101 having not been to the race since 2015 and for that matter no NUE events since 2017, only participating in one.  The passing years have me moving to the “seasoned” end of the masters 50+ division with little intel on those who have just moved in from the open bracket.  Although I have been to W101 three times we just don’t have rocks like this down in SC and my trail work has been limited this year. Fortunately supporting Trappe Door’s road squad through the spring racing season combined with big miles at the Allegheny Mountain Loop 400 bikepacking race in late April had me ready for a long day…which it definitely was with a scorching heat wave upon us.  
To be honest my main reason for coming this year was to catch up with NUE masters regulars Mark Drogalis and W101 icon Jim Matthews, whom I have not seen for several year due to moves, and life’s changing priorities.  I intentionally set low expectations regarding the race itself with a focus on fun.   Ride sensibly and don’t get too far into the red zone and that is how it went.   I would like to say I could give a play by play but I can’t remember the names of all the climbs and trails.   A measured start had me alone after the first climb but I clawed at least a dozen back on the rolling fire roads including Jed Prentice who was in good form coming from a strong finish at the BC Bike Race.   Jed was climbing a bit stronger and definitely making it through the rough stuff quicker, but I sensed that he might be going a bit hard so I just stayed back 200m and settled into my own pace.  My strategy paid off after RS 3, as Jed admitted after that he blew before the ending two climbs.   I figured Roger Masse, a winner on numerous occasions, was well ahead but if I had pushed a little harder and avoided a few course miscues due to mental fatigue at the end perhaps his winning margin would have been smaller?   Cursing Fisherman’s, or really myself for having crappy skills through the boulders,  I sensed that a solid finish was at hand, my best NUE result to date and the satisfaction in knowing that even this old goat can still have a good day. ”

Jed Prentice, Team Bike Doctor crossed the finish line at 8:55:45.

“I was happy to make the podium. Let’s just say that 7 days of recovery after the BC Bike Race was not enough! (I finished third in the 50+ GC at BCBR). I thought the Wilderness 101 was a week later on 7/27, until I got the pre-race brief. My race bike was on its way back from BC so I had to prep my son’s bike (an old race bike of mine from a few years ago). I was tired and racing an old bike but hoping things would work out. 
I didn’t feel so great on the first climb and was dropped early by Roger and Joe Johnston. I resigned myself to maintaining a steady pace and hoping to catch them later if they cracked. I caught some riders and felt ok until about mile 50, then blew up at mile 60 or so, on the way up to Beautiful Trail. After aid 4, on the way up Stillhouse Hollow, the lights went out and I had to stop and collect myself for a minute while several riders passed me. After struggling up the climb, I passed Joe Johnston as he was cooling off in the creek at the bottom of the descent. Thinking I was maybe in second, I was motivated to salvage something so I suffered to the finish. It turned out that the guy who passed me before aid 5 was also in the Masters race; I could see him on the rail trail near the finish but couldn’t bring him back, so I ended up third. It wasn’t pretty but I survived it.”

Click here for full Wilderness 101 results

Next up on the 2019 NUE Epic series is Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY August 3rd, 2019

NUE Wilderness Marathon

Written by: Jen Toops

Photo credit: Dave Seasholtz

On July 20th, 2019, Shenandoah Mountain Tours held the Wilderness 101 and Marathon races in Coburn, PA. The Wilderness 101 is part of the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its East coast rocky singletrack, and rolling gravel roads. It was a scorcher with sunny skies and temps reaching almost 100 degrees F. Camping was included with registration in Coburn Park which is also the race start making for an easy race morning and celebration at the finish line.

Men’s Open

Schwarm Takes Wilderness Marathon win

Brian Schwarm, Think Green-Bicycle Face p/b Sword, wins the Men’s Open in a time of 5:40:48. With this win Schwarm leads the NUE Marathon series.

“The Wilderness 101K is one of my favorite races for many reasons. That area of Pennsylvania is breathtaking, the trip to get there (through Cumberland, Maryland) is extremely scenic, and of course the race course is marvelous with the big climbs and rocky singletrack. However, the main topic of discussion among all the racers was the heat. It was hot!

The race started as usual heading out of Coburn and up the Siglerville-Millheim gravel climb. Erik Neilson, Josh Kunz (on a singlespeed), and I rode mostly together until the ridge where Josh bid us farewell and Erik and I took off with our gears. We rode the following gravel sections together, often chatting, and enjoying the slight overcast before things started heating up (both figuratively and literally). 

Once Erik and I hit the trail sections the effort intensified. This was due to the trail itself but also we were catching some 101 mile racers once the courses linked back up. They provided extra motivation to keep going fast. So Erik and I were catching riders and railing the trails. We continued this until the Stillhouse Hollow Climb just past Aid Station 4 where I was able to slide away on the climb. From that point on I was riding by myself but I was running scared since Erik is such a strong racer. I kept an eye behind but was able to roll in for the win. 

Thanks to my amazing wife Jennifer for her continued support. I am very fortunate that she is often willing to travel with me, meet me at aid stations, and take care of me at the finish! In addition, thanks to my team Think Green – Bicycle Face and other sponsors SWORD, ESI grips, Native Eyewear, Maxxis Tires, and Specialized Bikes. Next on the agenda is the Shenandoah 100K over Labor Day weekend for my final stop in the NUE Marathon series.”

Marathon men’s open podium: 1st Brian Schworm, 2nd Erik Nielson, 3rd Thad Paunovich

Taking second place was, Erik Nielson, SouthPaw Cycles, Industry Nine/Giant, finishing in 5:56:54. In third place was, Thad Paunovich, coming in at 7:02:21

Women’s Open

Sheldon gets TOP STEP

Getting her first NUE win of 2019, Elizabeth Sheldon, Cxhairs Devo: Trek, wins the women’s marathon race in, 6:44:12.

“The Wilderness 101 marathon was a real challenge this year!  I’ve done the full distance a few times previously, but was hoping to spend a bit less time in the saddle (and a bit less time recovering after!). Race day started great, with cool-ish temperatures, a bit of overcast and even some breeze when the 100-milers started at 7 a.m.  The marathon racers roll out at 9, which makes sense for the logistics, but had us nervously waiting as the late-July temps started to creep up. Once we got underway, Bryna Blanchard and I were together for the early road climbing sections, but I was riding by myself or with small groups by the time we were at the first singletrack.  At the start of the singletrack, we were sharing the course with the 100-milers after their longer start loop, so there was more company. Aid Station 1 was up to Davidson standards (thanks!). 
After the aid station, the humidity went up and my recollection gets a bit foggier.  The rocks were much greasier, and the heat kicked up a notch, and by the time I got through the second aid station and on to the Stillhouse Hollow climb I was definitely feeling the effort. The kind souls handing out ice bags at Sand Mountain parking lot saved me and after more pedaling I was ecstatic to see the Stan’s finish arch in Coburn. Many good stories from the finish area (including from my husband, brother-in-law and nephew who all rode that day), but my favorite was from my son Jonah who broke his fork at the top of Stillhouse, rode back down, and then finished the full 100 mile course on a borrowed bike.
Thanks to Chris Scott and all the volunteers for a great day on the bike.”

1st Elizabeth Sheldon, 2nd Bryna Blanchard, 3rd Brittany Spangler

About 7 minutes back, Bryna Blanchard, BMB Racing, finished second in a time of 6:51:37. Brittany Spangler, Sacred Cycle, finished third, 7:34:34.

Singlespeed

In the single speed class, Josh Kunz, Knobby Side Down, takes the win in a time of 7:13:45. Jason Zollinger finished second crossing the line at 9:53:06.

Masters

Getting his first NUE win of the season, Carroll Thumel, LRC, wins the Masters division with a time of 9:13:34. Taking the second step, Dan Mock, finished in 9:29:06.

“The 2019 Wilderness 101k can be summarized in just one word, HOT! The prediction for 93 degree temps, prompted me to create a new, one of a kind, Garmin screen with just two stats, temp and mileage. I could feel my head exploding as I watched the degrees tick higher. The 80 plus mile course does have much needed relief, if you take advantage of a dip in one of the extremely cold creeks, well worth the time penalty. Special thanks to Chris Scott for supplying lots of ice at the aid stations. It may not sound like a big deal, but that ice and the many creeks along the way, kept me going.
My usual Tortoise (that’s me) and the Hare race strategy proved to find me on the podium for third place. I’ll take it! Chris has a way of making them tough, so congratulations to ALL who finished. Surviving the heat, extra distance and hours of climbing, is more than most 50/60 year old’s could ever dream of accomplishing. Next on the bucket list, good times at Shenandoah.”

Coming in third was, Richard Hultstrom, with a time of 9:55:47.

Click Here for full results

Next up on the NUE Marathon series is Pierre’s Hole August 3rd in Alta, WY

NUE Marji Gesick 100

NUE Series

Written by: @JenToops

September 22, 2018

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 and fifty mile run option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States. In 2018 it sold out in less than twenty-four hours with eight-hundred mountain bikers and seventy runners registered. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect poker chips at random checkpoints along the course.

100 mile bikers starting the 1/2 mile run to their bikes. Photo Ryan Stephens

The course was designed 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.

Racers trying to stay warm at the cold race start. Photo by Ryan Stephens

Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, and under thirty hours for runners, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart. For 2018: three-hundred-thirty-one mountain bikers started the one-hundred mile course, two-hundred-eighteen finished and only nineteen claimed a buckle.  For the one-hundred mile runners: twenty-seven started, twelve finished, and only nine buckles were handed out.

 

Men’s Open

Jeremiah Bishop goes sub ten and takes the WIN!

Men’s 100 Podium: 1st: Jeremiah Bishop, 2nd: Matt Acker, 3rd: Tinker Juarez

The first racer go sub ten hours and take the win in the 100 mile was, Jeremiah Bishop,  coming in at an impressive time of 9:57:05.

“Marji ate my lunch last year, this year I came loaded for Bear.  I had a much smoother race and made all the selections early on, Matt Aker drove the pace. I put in a dig after clearing the most technical climb of the day and got clear. Legs ached but they answered the call. I nailed the last hour and took back my pride.
It was a honor to take down my last NUE 100 Win on Canyon Topeak Factory Racing.
It’s been a killer season.”

Photo by Ryan Stephens

Following second place finishes in 2016 and 2017, Matt Acker of Salsa Cycles, took second place coming in at 10:06:54.

“I’ve done Marji Gesick since the first year and have good knowledge of the trails so I used that to my advantage to stay on the front and keep the pace quick through the first 40 miles. Our group dwindled shortly after the first aid station and after a well placed attack there were only 4 of us going into the biggest climb of the day. Around mile 50 it was down to just myself, Jeremiah and Tinker. We rode together into mile 65 aid station where i stopped to refuel and the other two got out quickly. Chased them down and the three of us continued to roll until around mile 85 where Jeremiah made a move on a technical climb that Tinker and I got gapped on. We chased into the last aid station at mile 87 where he held about a minute gap. I was the last one out again, and all three of us rolled the last 15 miles solo until i caught Tinker with a mile or so to go at the last climb.  Great race with some fast guys, always a pleasure racing against some legends!”

Finishing less than a minute back was, Tinker Juarez, claming third in a time of 10:07:10.

Women’s Open

Williams gets her first win at Marji Gesick!

Defending NUE Series Champion, Carla Williams, takes the top step with a record time of 12:25:51.

“It was around mile 50 when I knew that my best effort was not going to be good enough. I asked the guy riding next to me through the sand what our chances were to break 12 hours and he shook his head. “Maybe if you gun it through the next 50 miles, you might have a chance.” I knew that it was going to be near impossible to “gun it” through the tight, twisty technical singletrack that lay ahead, and I also knew that the 2nd half of the race was going to be harder and only slower than the 1st half.

I had prepared as best I possibly could for this race. I had read about every blog post out there. I had talked to as many people as I could who had done this race before for advice. I knew that I had to go out hard at the start and hammer every easy trail because I needed to bank time for all the technical slow trail in between. My mom flew out from New Hampshire to spend the weekend with me and run support. She met me at miles 30, 50, 64 and 87 with food and water so I could minimize time stopping. I had the course loaded onto my wahoo, I had a back up charger for the wahoo, I had lights, I had food, I had tools and tubes for all the possible mechanicals that I knew how to fix. I guess it is fair to say that even the best preparation doesn’t really prepare you for this race.

Photo by Ryan Stephens

I didn’t reach my goal of 12 hours, but I am still really happy with my ride. I felt like I pushed the entire way, my legs felt strong, I never mentally broke down or entered a dark place, even when I got lost. I actually had a lot of fun working my way through the trails and was pretty happy with how I rode a lot of the technical stuff. It was awesome having my mom out there, and I kept looking forward to reaching the next spot out on course where I knew she would be. I think that if you accomplish all of your goals in a season, that means you are setting the bar too low. So I am ok with setting myself up for the challenge, giving it my best shot, but coming up 25 minutes short. It was an incredible backcountry adventure and a great end to my 2018 NUE season.

Taking second place, Chelsea Strate, finished in 15:07:30.

“Some of the recurring advice that I heard from past competitors that stuck with me was how it was very important not to get caught up in the fast start of the race, so I took it easy during the LeMans start, and even forgot where I put my bike. I just stood there for a few moments, wondering where the heck my bike was, when finally, my red grips caught my eye. I had actually forgotten I put red grips on, and thought my bike was all black. Oops! I hopped on, pushed myself a little bit, but I didn’t get caught up in where the other women were. There was still 100 miles of racing to go!

All day, I kept thinking to myself, “is killing this uphill or catching that person ahead of me worth burning a match over?” The answer most frequently was a solid “nope.” My matches are a precious commodity. I kept a solid pace, and just tried to keep moving. I hiked my bike up a lot of hills, and didn’t clear all of the technical sections that I probably could have on a shorter ride, but I was in a good headspace, and really enjoyed the constant challenges. By mile 40 I was probably in 5th or 6th place, but by the end I had secured 2nd. I was just a bike throw (2 1/2 hours) behind Carla, the 1st place finisher, with Heidi on my tail (45 min behind), so it sure was a close race! (But in all seriousness, this is why we need to work on getting more women out!) Thanks to Teravail Tires and my friends for the race support!

Rounding out the podium and taking third was, Heidi Coulter in 15:53:35.

“Last year I signed up for the Marji Gesick 50, I was in the running for placing 2nd overall in the NUE Marathon Series.  All I had to do was have a good race.  That slowly slipped away when I got lost, went without water for 3 hours, ate apples from a tree on a long lost farm and finally found my way back to the finish. It was the first and only DNF of my life.  It didn’t sit well with me, so much so that this year I put on my big girl pants and signed up for five 100 mile races!

The day started with the National Anthem played Jimi Hendrix style by the Grim Reaper, fireworks signaled the start of the race and then we were led out by a princess riding a unicorn.  Seriously how could the day get any better!?  I’ll tell you, it actually was incredible until it wasn’t and then it was amazing and then it was painful, gut wrenching and then It was the best day ever all over again.  The day went in waves like that and continued into the night.  The last 18 miles I ended up riding and sometimes walking like a zombie with my friend James Knott. I hadn’t seen him all day and by some sort of unicorn magic he saved the day with his spare light when mine died and helped keep me on course since my Garmin and phone had both been dead for about half the race. Finishing was a huge accomplishment and getting third was a great way to finish my season.  Will I be back? Yep. I’ve landed on my head a lot lately so it’s hard for me to think clearly! The Marji Gesick 100 is truly what dreams and nightmares are made of.”

Master’s 50+

McFadden takes the top step

Todd McFadden wins Master’s 50+

Winning the Master’s division was Todd McFadden with a time of 13:04:35. Taking second, Greg Gentle crossed the line at 13:27:47.

“In 2017 the heat kept me well off the buckle pace with a 14+ hour finish.  My friends that know me were confident I could buckle if I could keep a strong pace, follow a solid nutrition plan and keep the demons off.  Honestly this race isn’t so much about the terrain, but keeping your PMA and  mindset in-check.   I made some smart choices starting dropping 5 pounds off my ride by going with a Canyon Lux CF 9.0 instead of the Ibis Ripley I rode last year.  I was on pace and things were humming well until I left Ishpeming. I could feel the wheels start to come off at about mile 80.  Todd McFadden caught me just before we got back to Negaunee.  I was happy to see him doing well this year.  By the time I started the last section back to Negaunee I realized my buckle aspirations were gone so I decided to finish the race with my buddy Jason Kunisher.  Once I took the pressure off I could simply enjoy the ride and have fun.  Thanks to my bro Jay Henderson from Hollywood Cycles and my Team Hollywood Cycles (THC!) mates for the support throughout the year.  I look forward to crushing that 12 hour limit in 2019.  As for other NUE plans.  I raced the Tatanka in 2016 and plan a return to the Black Hills for an early season prep for the Marji. ”

Just a  minute back from second place, Tom Stritzinger finished third with a time of 13:28:22.

“Marji Gesick is one of my favorite races.  This year the conditions were perfect and I was hoping to have a shot at a belt buckle.  As fate would have it, around mile 48, my seat broke off on a rocky descent.  At first I thought my race was over, however, I was able to fix the seat back on but there was only 1 rail to hold it.  That lasted until mile 55 where the second rail broke off and I was left with no way to secure my seat to the seat post.  I began walking off the course with the seat in my hand, dreading the “quitter” text I would need to send to the race promoters.  A number of racers passed me, saw the seat in my hand, and expressed their encouragement and disappointment to me.  A racer named Justin Michels saw me carrying my seat, stopped and asked me if I wanted his seat so I could finish the race.  He said he really wasn’t feeling it.  We took his seat off and fixed it to my post.  It wasn’t perfect so we had to use some tape to make it fit better.  Finally, I had a seat, thanked Justin profusely and set off to finish the race.  The seat came loose about 10x over the last 45 miles but I was able to finish and somehow managed a 3rd place finish.  I feel like I still have unfinished business at Marji Gesick and will be back next year to take care of it. I did 8 NUE races this year and Marji Gesick is both the most fun and most difficult of them all.  I want to again thank Justin Michels for lending me his seat to finish the race!”

Singlespeed

Fuhrmann takes fifth overall and WINS Singlespeed

Brian Fuhrmann takes fifth overall and wins the Singlespeed division with a time of 10:49:21.

“After several years of not competing on bicycles I decided to drag my lazy carcass off the couch to try out a race called the Marji Gesick 100.  Since I was unfamiliar with the trails and the area I relied on past race results, reports, and word-of-mouth for how to plan my training and bicycle build.  The pre-race consensus was that the last 35 miles were not for the faint of heart and I would need to treat that as the true halfway point.  As such, I adopted the mantra “smooth & steady” for the race and routinely mouthed the words to myself to keep from going too hard early on.

Following the LeMans start, I was sitting around 10th place overall and stayed there for the first 25 miles before latching onto the wheel of Chris Lowry from LaCrosse, WI.  Chris and I were both riding smooth and we helped each other to keep an eye out for the trail markings. When we got to the trail magic station at mile 40, I realized we were already 30 minutes ahead of schedule for my goal of getting a belt buckle… decent!  Chris and I trucked on together until a few miles before the 65ish mile drop bag location when I stopped for some electrolytes and let him continue on with his gears and derailleur.  At mile 65 I reloaded my food reserves and got a quick bite to eat before learning about what the last 35 miles was going to deliver.Much to my surprise, these trails were very similar to my local stash of trails in Decorah.  Where other people were struggling, I found that I was able to thrive. The trails were tight and less flowy such that I had to be a scavenger of momentum.  Around mile 80, I once again met up with Chris along with another chap he was riding with at that time.  I think they both realized I was enjoying my time on these trails and let me by.  I pulled through Jackson Park for the last time at mile 85 and did a quick fill-and-go with the bottles.  The last 15 miles contained many climbs that forced me off the bike, but I continued to think about staying smooth and steady, especially since I was buckle-bound unless something catastrophic was to happen.  Somewhere in these trails, I passed a couple more MG100 racers before making my way to the finish line.

My bike setup was a Trek Stache Carbon 29+ singlespeed with rigid fork.  Gearing was 34:20 with a 29×3.0 tire.Thanks to Route 66 Bicycles in Rolla, MO for help with bike setup, Oneota River Cycles in Decorah, IA for 11th hour wheel building, and my wife Melissa for encouragement, race support, and keeping me from stepping in another racer’s vomit at Jackson Park.”

Joe Worboy finished second with a time of 13:07:48.

“The day started with a Unicorn and the National Anthem.  We started with a Lemans start which I paced myself, I was prepared to start the day at a slower pace than my usual NUE starts.  Marji is a long day and the last 30 miles of this race is tough.  The day started out with the perfect temperature and I quickly settled into a nice 10 mph pace, as planned.  The course is fun at this point and it is the perfect day to be on the bike.  The first 40 miles of the race has plenty of challenge but rewards you will some flow sections.  I split the day into small goals, this helped maintain a positive mental attitude versus thinking about the finish line.  Nutrition was spot on, I use infinite which always gets me through long days in the saddle.

Everything was going great, and then boom!  I hit the ground hard.   It was techy descend after the ski slope climb.  This is where I lost focus for a split second and I went straight over the bars in a techy downhill rock garden.  It felt like I just got hit by Connor McGregor.  This is for real, I am not sponsored in any way by Oakley.  The Oakley Jawbreakers saved the day, without that protection I am pretty sure my day would have been over.  They took the majority of the blow versus my face and cheek bones.  However, I did have some cuts around my eye from the frame impact that caused bleeding and my hand took a big hit, later to find out it is only a deep bruise.  I asked a passing rider if the cuts looked ok and if he thinks the bleeding will stop, he said, “Can’t see the bone so you should be good, but I am not a doctor.”  This was refreshing to hear….  So I kept going,  I must have looked like Rocky after fighting Apollo because there were a lot of comments.   I knew to complete the day I must stay focused and push through.  I was still riding but at a much slower pace trying to actively recover on the bike, this is not easy at the marji and hit the ground a few more times because I was not riding my usual speed.

Finally I made it to the Aide at mile 65 about one hour off my pace goal.  One of the volunteer nurses cleaned me up, thank God for her.  I am very appreciative of this because she confirmed my hand was ok and cleaned up my cuts.  Mentally I was back to 100% and feeling strong again.  I also saw my son, Mikey Worboy.  This was awesome!  We had a waffle, peanut butter, whip cream sandwich together.  Totally coincidental, he just happened to be coming through the same aid for the 2nd time to complete the 50 miler.  It was so cool to see him and knowing he is doing well was refreshing.

My energy was really good now, I was back on pace and caught up to single speeder, Joe Stroz, my NUE rival this year.  We chatted for a minute to compare battle stories then separated.  To his defense, he had some bike issues with  that caused him some time and riding on a broken saddle is not easy.  He would of never let me leave his sight otherwise.

I finished the day in 2nd overall in Men’s Open SS on my Pivot Les 34:21.  I will be back in 2019 for my third attempt for the Buckle.  I would like to thank friends and family that supported all the my training efforts. Especially my wife, Nicolette.  So hon, doing this one again!  She is so supportive, big thanks to her.  Warp Speed Training coach, Steve Clement, Wheelie Fun Bike Shop, Trailer Park Racing Team, North High Brewing, Grandview Pro Fitness, Hatfied RV that provided support.”

Taking third was, Regis Ricketts, finishing at 13:17:44.

For full results: Click Here

Want to register for 2019 Marji Gesick? Registration opened Oct 13th and sold out in under a few hours. Don’t worry plenty of people back out so Click here to get on the wait list. Danny and Todd are looking to get more women racing. Any women on the wait list get moved into the race automatically! So get registered for 2019!

What’s NEXT?!

On September 29, the NUE Series heads to California for the NUE Championship race at the Grizzly 100k and 75k in Big Bear, California.

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

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