True Grit Epic 100 Mile

A Day of Firsts for True Grit

This year’s True Grit Epic in Santa Clara, Utah, represented an exciting new chapter for the southern Utah race. 2019 was it’s first sellout year with an impressive 800+ riders taking the start. It also represented the first year of the True Grit gravel grinder.

Riders enter the Zen trail

As race morning broke it seemed to be following a now-familiar pattern, early forecasts of cold temperautres and rain turned into pleasant skies and ideal riding weather. Rain throughout the week had left some puddles on the trail but nothing a seasoned True Grit rider couldn’t handle.

The hundred milers start first just as the sun rose over the cliffs of Zion.

True Grit defending champion and endurance-veteran Taylor Lideen (DNA Cycling/Pivot) was a heavy favorite for the men’s category as fellow Arizona rider Chase Edwards (CZ Racing) was favored for the women who was determined to improve on her fourth place from last year.

As the riders rolled out a puddles and standing water from the previous rains splattered the field until they exited the opening wash and the climbing started. At the front Lideen moved to the front with Pete Karinen.

Karinen kept the heat on the defending champion ensuring he wouldn’t ride away for an easy win. The lead duo rode together throughout the opening 50-lap and the early climbs of lap two.

It wasn’t until the steepest climb of the day up to the dreaded waterfall descent that Lideen was able to open a gap. A small advantage was all Lideen would need as his riding skills took control on the highly challenging Barrel and Zen trails.

It certainly wasn’t an easy day for the defending champion. At the finish Lideen said, “some days you feel great and just ride away and other days it feels like you really have to work for it. Today was one of those days.”

But despite not feeling his best Taylor Lideen was able to control the day and finish the 100 miler in just over six and a half hours. Nine minutes in front of challenger Pete Karinen.

After the race the repeat race winner had this to say:

It was a blast riding with Pete throughout the day as he is a super talented and skilled rider. I was able to make my move on the longer climb up to the waterfall early into the second lap. You never know how the day will go on such a rough and technical course out there but I was fortunate enough to grab the win. I am always blown away by how awesome and friendly every racer is out there no matter the distance they are competing in. It’s always a pleasure to race in this event. Mary (Mrs. Lideen) of course was my everything with her aid in the pits. I am one lucky dude to have her in my corner. Big thanks to all of the volunteers out there as well! Races like this wouldn’t happen with great people like that!

Timon Fish (Sticky Racing) finished in third with a time of 7:00:12 after a close battle with Stefano Barberi (Serious Cycling).

Chris Alstrin (Carborocket) grabbed the final podium spot in fifth.

With the win Taylor Lideen takes the lead in the NUE series but will not likely feature in the final series picture as his goals for the season are outside the NUE leaving the door open for others to challenge for the NUE title.

The women’s race appeared to be starting as expected with Chase Edwards opening an early lead through the big climbs on the opening lap. She held the lead heading into the technical slickrock jungle of Zen trail but St. George local Shirley Leydsman (Team Redrock) closed things down in the rocks and pulled ahead.

Once out front Leydsman stayed focused on riding her own race and erasing the disappointment of crashing and badly injuring her wrist in last year’s True Grit.

Her motivation showed as she opened a big gap finally crossing the line over 30 minutes up on Edwards who had this to say after the finish.

True Grit is a brutal NUE season opener! Shirley, the local gal who won, caught me at Zen, took a line I was unfamiliar with, and dropped me on the first lap. It was a great warm-up to the season as the techy sections on the course forced me to keep my head in the game and to also acknowledge skill sets that got a little rusty over the winter. I’ll be chasing other NUE races this season while representing Construction Zone Racing. I’d also like to say thanks to Paragon Athletics for helping to keep my body strong and injury-free, to Coach Kata for continuing to work with me on this ongoing journey of balancing work stress and training, and Honey Stinger for fueling all the adventures. 

Julie Thumel (Race Pace Bicycles) finished in third place followed by Becky Edmiston (Steamboat Velo) in fourth.

In the singlespeed group, Mark Schafer improved on his bronze medal from 2018 with a race win at this year’s True Grit. Schafer dominated for most of the race finishing almost a half hours clear of runner up Johnathan Ciampa (DRT/Cycological).

Ciampa put together a strong race chasing down Nathan Whipple after the opening 50 miles and opening a gap in the second half of the race. Whipple started out strong but a tall gear and a long New England winter effected his performance. The third place rider had this to say about his day in Santa Clara:

Early season weather in New England didn’t let me get out on the SS as much as I’d have liked. Just days before the race, Boston got a fresh 18” of snow even.  Add in an optimistic gear choice for the race and I did a great job setting myself up for an Epic amount of hurt. It was hardly noticed though, what with the amazing trails and spectacular vistas constantly trying to one-up each other. 

The gear choice did help early positioning, but by the start of the 2nd lap the damage from the low cadence grinding started to show. I found myself forced off the bike to avoid having the wheels fall completely off. I had nothing to counter with when the second place finisher caught me and I watched him motor away from me up the first climb on Zen. I rode by myself for the majority of the second lap after that and soaked in the views and amazing trail. 

The men’s master group saw Cary Smith once again crushing the hopes of all competitors. Smith, who had the fifth fastest finishing time of all the 100 mile riders dominated from the starting gun leaving no doubt he was going to repeat as master’s champion short of major catastrophe.

But Smith avoided any complications to his race and finished a full 2 hours clear of runner up Gerry Hatcher (Santa Cruz).

Hatcher turned in a strong effort in his first True Grit experience and had this to say after the finish:

The Santa Clara/St George area has intrigued me for a while and I’ve never ridden in Utah so learning of the “True Grit Epic” race gave me the push I needed – Road Trip!  I brought my 2018 Santa Cruz Highball CC 29’r hardtail.

Having never ridden in the Santa Clara area before, and my introduction to it being the most gnarly sections of the True Grit rattled that confidence and made me immediately re-calibrate my race strategy. 

I dialed everything back from “go fast” to “just make damn sure I finish.”  Having fitted relatively thin walled & fast rolling tires thinking because I’m a small framed lightweight rider it was “probably worth the risk”, didn’t help with my anxiety. Sidewall tearing, rim & tire destroying geology was lurking everywhere! It wasn’t until I got through Zen Trail on my second lap that I relaxed a bit. Until then I had to constantly remind myself to stay focused, keep good lines, and to not take unnecessary chances.  I used my cyclo-cross skills to shoulder the bike and trot over, around, or down more sections than I’m proud of, but hey I finished! And, un-expected icing on the cake, with a respectable second place too!

Jim Miller finished third after enjoying his day and improving after a broken frame almost ended True Grit in 2018.

He had this to say at the end:

It was a great day, I love this race and plan to come back again and again.  The trails are nearly 100% sweet single-track, the race vibe is competitive but fun and friendly, the event is well run, the volunteers are great, and the setting is so very beautiful! Thanks to Joe’s Bike Shop in Baltimore for having my Trek Fuel EX in tip-top shape.

Click Here for full results from True Grit Epic 2019

Riders were treated to food a live music after the finish

True Grit Epic 50 Mile

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

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

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

Riders navigate the loved and hated rocks of the Zen trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riders wind through a wash in the early morning sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brent Cannon took fifth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here for full results from all categories

2019 National Ultra Endurance Series Released

Breckenridge Returns for 2019 with Big Bear, California

“Celebrating more than TEN YEARS as the nation’s premier XXC Race Series”

The 13th Annual National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series www.nuemtb.com announced the 2019 race schedules this week featuring a balanced schedule, east and west.

The NUE Epic Race Series Schedule is comprised of races at or near 100 miles in length. Big Bear Grizzly in California will again host the NUE Series Championship race where all ties are broken. The Breckenridge 100 returns for 2019 bringing the total number of Epic Series races to twelve in this best four of twelve series.

The NUE Marathon Race Series schedule is comprised of races at or near 50 miles to 100k in length. In 2019, The Breckenridge 100k returns bringing the total number of races to 11 in this best four of eleven series.

Photo by Ryan Stephens

“On behalf of The NUE Race Series, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, many who have been with us for up to a decade now, for believing in our vision and supporting NUE. We are proud to promote our NUE sponsors including Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport of Germany, Darn Tough Socks of Vermont, KMC Chain, Lauf Forks, Voler apparel, Squirt Lube, and Chris Eatough Coaching, for providing training plans for NUE Racers, many tailored to specific NUE race courses based on his success with NUE.” Ryan O’Dell, NUE Race Series Director.

Born in 2006 to fill a need for XXC racers, the NUE Series began with just six races before growing over the last eleven years to now include a total of twenty three races held within twelve different states.

The NUE Marathon Race Series will be made up of eleven well known races including the newest Iron Mountain 100k in Damascus, Virginia. Distances will vary ranging from 50 miles to 100k. Like the NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series, the NUE MARATHON Race Series will be governed by the same rules and will require the same number of races (BEST 4) to become eligible for series awards and recognition. It is important to note that the NUE Epic and NUE Marathon are two separate race series. Points will not transfer between the Epic 100 Mile and Marathon Race Series. Marathon Series finishers will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE finisher jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series Finishers.

To claim the NUE Race Series Epic 100 Mile title, racers best four finishes will count. NUE requires a minimum of four races to receive a national ranking. ALL racers who complete four of the NUE 100 Mile distance races will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE Finisher Jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series finishers.

Additional Travel awards for NUE Division leaders include an NUE Epic Series Champion travel package to compete in The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica recognized as one of the toughest races on the planet. Details will be announced publicly soon.

All Epic and Marathon series ties will be broken at the Big Bear Grizzly in California. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate. Everyone is welcome to compete on a level playing field alongside top Pro’s. ALL finishing racers receive a score based on their race finishes with a “lowest points wins” formula. The best possible score is 4.

Nearly ALL NUE Race Series events sold out again in 2018, some within mere minutes. The Marji Gesick 100, the first race to open registration has already sold out. True Grit, High Cascades and Mohican have recently opened registration and are also expected to sell out.

NUE is currently soliciting the support of additional partners interested in promoting products and services that racers can use. Potential sponsors can receive more information by contacting Ryan O’Dell at nolimit@mohican.net

 

What’s on tap for each event for 2019?

Both, the NUE Epic Series and Marathon Series will roll out on March 9 in the southwest at the True Grit Epic and True Grit Epic 50 in sunny Santa Clara, Utah.  According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, “The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first twenty miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on single track and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain. We are adding a 15 mile challenge ride this year to include those who may not have trained enough to take on a series course but would like to experience a little bit of True Grit. True Grit Registration is already open and nearing capacity.”

On April 27, NUE returns to Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 and Cohutta Big Frog 65 under the new direction of Lisa Randall at Mountain Goat Adventures, who also produces the Fool’s Gold 100. The course has reverted back to the original Cohutta 100 course from a decade ago, using the singletrack section of Brush Creek and the Tanasi trail systems, and an intense gravel loop known as “The Death March”.  Staging for the race takes place along the banks of the beautiful Ocoee River — site for the 1996 Olympic White Water Events.  The 100 miles of race course traverses the mountain terrain by world class single track and fire roads. The single track is fast and flowing, but can get tight and technical in spots. The fire roads are demanding but rewarding with long ascents, fast descents, and spectacular mountain views.

Out of the gate, the race makes about a three mile climb on pavement up highway 64.  This warm-up serves as a good field displacer and pole position before entering into the fast and flowy single track for the next twenty miles. Next is a challenging loop on beautiful mountain fire-roads.  Road texture alternates between hard-pack gravel and smooth moist dirt. Expect tenacious climbs (over 12,000’ of elevation gain overall), hundreds of curves, and peaceful mountain streams.  Upon return, racers will re-enter the single track for about nine final miles of the best trails in these mountains.

The weather in Southeastern Tennessee in late April ranges in expression. Expect a chilly morning for sure on race day, but a quick warming up in the early miles.  Six Aid Stations provide supplemental support throughout the course and a delicious meal and coveted “Finisher” mug await finishers at the Finish Line.

Next up is the 18th Annual Mohican 100 and Mohican 100k on June 1 that hosted nearly 600 racers in 2018. Like the Leadville 100, Mohican features a downtown start in Loudonville with plans to continue the neutral start that started in 2018. From there, the course covers several miles of double track before treating racers to a recently recognized IMBA Epic trail of pristine, flowing single track within the 5000 acre Mohican State Forest along a single loop spanning three of the counties that make up what is known as “Mohican Country”. Due to tremendous growth, The Mohican 100 mile and 100k imposed a limit of 600 racers. This race may sell out quickly so it is recommended to register soon. 100 Mile Race finishers receive a custom Mohican finisher growler to be filled and refilled with a truckload of microbrew provided by award winning Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland.

From the Buckeye State, racers will head north into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, on June 15. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, The Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series.  If you like fast flowing, mostly non-technical single track, and Founders Brewing, this is your race. Perhaps that is why this event always sells out early, sometimes within minutes.

One June 24, Iron Mountain 100k, located in Damascus, Virginia returns to the NUE Marathon Race Schedule. Damascus is called “Trail Town” because the Appalachian Trail and the Creeper Trail pass right through the historic downtown. Bicycle advocates are also creating a Great Eastern Trail Bicycle Route that passes through Damascus too. This route is under development and utilizes the Iron Mountain Trail and the Highlands Horse Trail in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. The GET Bicycle Route links to the New River Trail and onto Blacksburg where it gets back on singletrack and joins the existing GET at the southern end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail.

As summer arrives, The NUE Race Series returns to the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota on July 6 for the Tatanka Epic and Tatanka Marathon. The Tatanka introduced a brand-new course and format in 2018. Starting and finishing on the legendary Sturgis Main Street, in the middle of downtown in the “City of Riders”, racers will duke it out as they race through town between unique loops in a clover-leaf format. The new course covers dozens of miles of newly constructed trail and keeps the best trail from past events. The Tatanka Marathon will share its main loop with the Epic and represents many hardcore locals favorite “BIG ride”.

One week later, on July 13, NUE Marathon Series heads northeast to Maine. The Carrabassett 100k located in the Carrabassett Valley adds some northeast flavor to the NUE Series. Carrabassett, located near Sugarloaf Ski Area, has spent approximately $500,000 building mountain bike trails in the Carrabassett Region.  The goal is to construct an iconic mountain bike trail network that is on everybody’s “must-ride” list.  To date there is approximately 100 miles of riding for all abilities.  This includes miles of super flowy, machine-built singletrack and old-school style trails that have been carved out with hand tools and sweat.  The Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge (CBCC) is your chance to experience some of this outstanding riding in a true point-to-point style race through the western mountains of Maine!  Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.

Also on July 13, The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k races return to the NUE Series Schedule. The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k in Colorado can take your breath away, literally, as it begins at an altitude of 9000 feet before crossing the continental divide three times, eliciting jaw dropping views throughout in a three loop Clover shaped race originating from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge.

2018 NUE series marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot)

On July 20, think Big Foot and Volcano’s as Mudslinger Events hosts The High Cascades 100 in Bend returning for its tenth year to represent the state of Oregon. The Trails around Mt. Bachelor are truly epic and racers are treated to quality craft brews from Deschutes Brewing. With just 350 spots available, racers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Also on July 20, The Wilderness 101 and the Wilderness 101k, directed by Chris Scott, is located in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If you enjoy technical backcountry single track and hair raising downhill thrills, nothing rocks quite like PA! W101 was one of just six races included in the inaugural NUE Race Series.

The final four races will occur within a two month period and, as usual, has a tendency to create some chaos in the series standings before the final tie breaking event.

First up is the 11th Annual Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k located near Alta, Wyoming on August 3. Pierre’s Hole, a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies. Today it is known as the strategic gathering place to ski unfathomable deep powder and ride some of the best known single track in the nation.

According to race director Andy Williams, “The Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k at Grand Targhee Resort  newest course layout adds even more new single track without the nasty climb down to the ranch from the early years of the race that many old timers may recall. The 2019 course will take racers through fields of wild flowers, aspen trees and old growth forest right in the shadows of the Tetons.”​ The “Grand Loop” which is all a part of the Pierre’s race course was recently named as an IMBA Epic trail!”

The next day, on September 1 over Labor Day Weekend in the USA, the 22nd Annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will send up to 650 racers into the George Washington National Forest. Shenandoah is the grand-daddy of them all, and the largest strictly 100 mile race in the NUE Race Series! Shenandoah not only has a great reputation for amazing trails but is also well known for the outstanding support of volunteers and aid stations that many racers would agree sets the bar for excellence.

One September 21, NUE shifts north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Ishpeming for the Marji Gesick 100 and 50 mile races.  100 miles and 13,000 vertical feet armored with rocks, roots, drops, jump lines, flow trails, grueling climbs, dangerous technical descents and a final fifteen miles designed to push riders to their mental and physical limits. This year’s Marji Gesick with a limit of 666 already sold out, in a single day!

Pierre’s Hole Alta, WY

Over its twelve year history, the NUE Race Series has alternated the Championship race from east to west several times in an effort to keep the playing field level for racers. In 2019, the final NUE race will break most ties and determine the new NUE Champions on the west coast of California at the Big Bear Grizzly 100 and Grizzly 75k in Big Bear Lake. Big Bear has attracted racers from nine countries and eighteen states!

Directed by Derek Hermon, racers familiar with the 100k Grand Fondo course will be treated to an extended portion of trail along a ridgeline with amazing views and an altitude beginning at 7000′ and reaching 8500′ with enough single track racers will beg for a fire road.

The NUE series schedule subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details. Stay tuned here for upcoming information about NUE Series Sponsors, Prize Money, Potential travel awards, and other race details. www.nuemtb.com.

 

2019 NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit Epic March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta 100 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100 June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Lumberjack 100 June 15 Wellston, MI 430 January 5
Tatanka 100 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Breckenridge 100 July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
High Cascades 100 July 20 Bend, OR 350 November 24
Wilderness 101 July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100 August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Shenandoah 100 September 1 Harrisonburg, VA 650 December 1
Marji Gesick September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 100 September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

2019 NUE Marathon Race Series

Race Date Location Limit Reg. Open
True Grit 50 March 9 Santa Clara, UT 700 November 11
Cohutta Big Frog 65 April 27 Ducktown, TN 275 December 1
Mohican 100k June 1 Loudonville, OH 700 November 15
Iron Mountain 100k June 23 Damascus, VA 250 December 1
Tatanka 50 July 6 Sturgis, SD 300 January 1
Carrabassett 100k July 13 Carrabassett, ME 600 February 1
Breckenridge 100k July 13 Breckenridge, CO 500 January 15
Wilderness 101k July 20 State College, PA 400 December 1
Pierre’s Hole 100k August 3 Alta, WY 550 February 1
Marji Gesick 50 September 21 Ishpeming, MI 666 October 13
Big Bear Grizzly 75k September 28 Big Bear Lake, CA 500 January 1

NUE Pierre’s Hole 100 Mile

Written by: @JenToops and Marlee Dixon @graciedaze

The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking.At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Open Men

Lewis gets second NUE win of the season

1st-Bryan Lewis, 2nd-Sam Sweetser, 3rd-David Krimstock, 4th-Stefano Barberi

East coaster, Bryan Lewis (Cutaway USA), proved he could handle the elevation and took the top step in a time of 8:00:01.

“The Tetons have always been one of my favorite places to visit and I was excited to meet up with a couple friends from the area and take on the PH100. With 3 distance options to choose from the 100 mile field was a lot smaller than other NUEs. It’s as if others knew something I didn’t. The race started with a long climb that set up the lead group fairly quickly. On the first descent of the day Sam Sweetser set the pace and quickly separated he and I from the rest of the lead group. That set the tempo for the remainder of the ride as he continued to pull me around the single track.

Sam was super smooth and fast on the switchback heavy course and it was fun to follow him along. He was riding strong and when he made a minor mistake in a corner I made my way around him and tested his legs a bit separating from him around mile 60 and never (and by never I mean always) looking back. He kept the gap tight but I was able to hold on and really felt good on the final lap in Rick’s Basin and had fun ripping on it.

Overall, Pierre’s Hole was an amazing race under the view of the Tetons, which is hard to beat. I will say when I was finished I didn’t want to see another switchback for a few weeks, but that’s just me. Thanks Andy and the crew for building great trails and putting on a fun race!

Sponsors: Flying solo, but appreciate the support of my employer Cutaway, USA as well as a good group of friends (Will, Steven, Tyler, Seth, AT, and Carlo) that consistently talk smack and give me a hard time as I chase fun events across the country. Also big thanks good friend Jansen Gunderson who hosted and helped me with feeds during the race. Also I’m really glad my girlfriend didn’t shoot me for stealing her drink mix out of the cooler while she also cruised through 100 miles under the Tetons. :/ Lessons learned and thanks a great vacation Lauren!”

Twelve minutes back, Sam Sweetser (Cole Sport), takes second at 8:12:01.

David Krimstock (Shimano/Pearl Izumi/Pivot) rounded out the podium taking third at 8:19:47.

“Pierres Hole was the 4th 100 mile race in 5 weeks for me, and even though I have done this type of schedule before the added travel and fatigue left me with some unknowns. Riding sections of the course before the race had me looking forward to giving it my all on race day. This years course was unique with a small handful of dirt road miles, it seems to me that the PH100 has the most single track of any 100 mile race Im aware of. Between 38 Special, Action Jackson, and the winding up and down of Ricks Basin, I had a feeling my body was going to be completely thrashed by the end.The race started with a reasonable pace, and I played it safe. Letting Brian, Sam, and Stefano get ahead then reeling them back in by the top of the climb. Leading into the 38 Special descent Sam and Brian pushed the pace to get onto the trail first, and I settled in behind Stefano. Feeling decent, I went ahead of him during the climb out of the canyon and tried to keep the leaders in sight. I was about 2 minutes back for the rest of lap 1, and was continuously trying to pull them back. I held onto faith that my strategy of fueling with EFS Pro and Gel and using a Camelbak to be able to drink while on the trail would pay off as it often does. However, the gap continued to grow and I found myself riding in 3rd for the majority of the day. I had a blast ripping the endless trail with my Pivot 429SL and seeing all the other folks out on the laps having the same experience. Even though it may not have been my best day out there, its hard to forget a day spent in that unique terrain.”

Open Women

Conners gets fourth NUE win on Kenda Tires!

Women’s Open: 1st-Larissa Connors, 2nd-Kaitlyn Boyle, 3rd-Jennifer Wolfrom, 4th-Lauren Cantwell, 5th-Ivy Pedersen

Taking the win in the women’s open division, racing on Kenda Saber Pro tires, Larissa Connors (Sho-Air CG), finishes in a time of  8:58:17. With this win Connors has a perfect score of four and now leads the overall NUE race series.

“Pierre’s Hole was a last minute addition to my race schedule. I Choose to head up to Alta because I’ve never been to WY and heard so many good things about it! The idea of a three lap race was exciting, as was the promise we would be racing under the Tetons all day on SO MUCH SINGLETRACK!

I tried to start easy, since the altitude meant pacing was going to be crucial. That didn’t last long though and by the top of the first climb I had been lured into riding super hard, and decided to just run with it. The 38 special descent was crazy fun on lap 1, and the flowers and scenery distracted me from any thoughts of how long the race was, or how much I was going to blow up if I kept going so hard.
By lap 2 I had to slow down a bit. I realized when my wrists started hurting on lap 1 that if I didn’t actively choose to recover on the dh then I was going to be in a world of pain by lap 3, since you COULD pedal every inch of the course if you wanted.
A volunteer told me that 2nd place was only 5 min back at the start of lap 3, which freaked me out since I was chillin’ on lap2, so I laid down the gas again on lap 3. Surprisingly it felt good to dig deep, so I pushed hard, had fun cheering on the racers doing the shorter distances, and ate all the BonkBreaker snacks I had on me over the course of the last 32 miles.
Crossing the line a minute under 9 hours was freaking rad, and winning my 4th NUE of the year was the icing on the scenic race cake!!”

Kaitlyn Boyle (Pivot Cycles/Industry Nine) finished second in a time of 10:06:59. Crossing the line third was Jennifer Wolfrom (Hoback Sports) at 10:49:59.

Singlespeed

Fischer gets the Singlespeed win

Singlespeed 1st-Henry Fischer, 2nd-Brent Cannon, 3rd-Adam Smith, 4th-Adam Miller, 5th-Warner Smith

Getting his first NUE win of the season, Henry Fischer of Wila’s Wheels, won singlespeed with a time of  9:23:15. Brent Cannon (Team Elevate), took second in 9:36:58. In a sprint for third place, Adam Smith finished just seconds before Adam Miller in a time of 10:32:05.

Adam Miller states, “I am a mtb coach for our local NICA racing teams, Teton Valley Composite, and Jackson Hole Composite, so a shout out to them!!! The younger kids were supporting at aid stations All day!  We had four of our athletes compete, and one of them podiumed in the 50K open!

I had only 2 rides over 4 hours prior to race, so the hundred miles was more of a challenge to say the least, and a good lesson of perseverance for our athletes’.

I chased another single-speed rider all day. He would DROP me on any hill handedly. I relied on my downhill skills any chance I could and would get him into view every once in a while. I got a glimpse of him in  the last 10 miles, so I gave-er everything I had. He did too! I finally caught up with him about 100 yds from the finish. Sprint finish, and I won by .3 seconds!

Looking back, I would have geared my single-speed at 32/21 instead of my usual 32/20. By the third lap, I was having a real hard time getting the cranks over, and the racer in front of me with 32/22 was still spinning along…NEXT YEAR!”

Masters

Smith leads NUE masters series

Masters: 1st-Cary Smith, 2nd-Matt Woodruff, 3rd-Mike Baughman, 4th-Dave Reynolds, 5ht-Alan Miner

With wins at True Grit, Tatanka and High Cascades, Cary Smith (The Hub) can now add Pierre’s Hole to the list and finished in 9:02:12. He now leads the NUE masters race series with a perfect score of four.

About ten minutes back was, Matt Woodruff (Kuhl) taking second in a time of 9:11:56.

Mike Baughman (Lost River Cycling) took third in a time of 9:57:52.

Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / jay@jaygoodrich.com / @jaygoodrich

Full results click here

What’s Next? Click Here for info on the next NUE Marathon series race: NUE Marji Gesick race in Michigan. Click Here for info on the next NUE Epic series race: Shenandoah 100 in Virginia.

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

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

 

Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge

Anthony and Daigle Conquer Carrabassett

Written by: Ryan O’Dell

Located in the beautiful Carrabassett Valley of Northern Maine at Sugar Loaf Ski Area, The eighth annual (CBCC) Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge 100k joined the NUE Marathon Series in 2017 witnessing tremendous growth. According to race director, Warren Gerow, “the event has evolved a lot since 2011 when the 100k was a two lap course that was stitched together with mostly old single-track and double track. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the past few years; 2015 187 people registered online, this year, the race has grown to about 500 racers.” In addition to the NUE 100k distance, CBCC also includes shorter distances of 50k and 25k plus kids races.

During the past seven years, approximately $750,000 has been spent building mountain bike trails in the Carrabassett Region. The goal is to construct an iconic mountain bike trail network that is on everybody’s “must-ride” list. To date, there is approximately eighty miles of riding for all abilities. This includes miles of super flowy, machine-built singletrack and old-school style trails that have been carved out with hand tools and sweat. Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.

 

Women’s Open

Anthony Wins!

Crystal Anthony, Liv Cycling, won the Women’s race finishing in 5:44:59, her first NUE win of the season!

Following her second place finish at Cohutta and her first NUE win at the Mohican 100k this spring, Lara Richards, Little Fire Cycles, finishes second in 6:11:19. “This year has been a great year of racing for me. I have really enjoyed doing the NUE series. It seems that every race the weather has been wonderful and each location seems to be more beautiful than the last.

However, since having to DNF due to a mechanical at Damascus, I was definitely not going into the Carrabassett Challenge with much confidence.  And after the 20 hour drive from Georgia to Maine, I was contented with just enjoying my race, doing my best and finishing where I may.

Bacon with chocolate drizzle to power riders on course.

At the start of the race Kaitlyn and Crystal both took off fast and I thought I was sure not to see either of them again. I was not too far along when Bryna passed me strong on a climb of rocky switch backs putting me in 4th. I was able to keep her in my vision for the first 18 miles or so and was able to pass her, while charging down a steep downhill. But not for long, she passed me back soon after and this time I was not able to keep up.

At this point I found myself riding with the same group for several miles. I road chill and paced myself accordingly. I did not think I would make it onto the podium. But even still I was having a crazy fun time on the trails and the ever changing terrain. Even if I finished last, I would not have regretted this race at all.

The Carrabassett Maine trails offered a more challenging course than I expected and kept me engaged throughout. I enjoyed the twisty sections, moving in out of the rocks. I enjoyed getting to ride up the Widowmaker to and through the ski resort. There were longer and steeper climbs than I anticipated. The downhills were also a blast and so much of the single trek was fast, fun, and flowy.

I was picking up speed in a level area of single trek, just enjoying my ride, when I noticed a female rider ahead of me. I could not believe it!  I told the male rider just in front, “to the left”.  I was going to catch my competition. At that point, the race became a race to me again.  I was off and was able to catch and pass Kaitlyn before exiting that section of single track but I knew I had to keep pushing. I could tell she was a strong rider and knew if I slacked off at all she would be right on top of me. I think I was able to put a little distance between us after a long climb through a clearing.

After this came Birthday Hill which I bombed down fast as I could and it was here I unknowingly passed Bryna as well. She road in behind me from the aid station from on top of the hill. I only noticed her as we exited on to the gravel. She got in front of me at the u-turn and, from there, we road together for many miles passing each other now and then. I still, at this point, thought she would get away from me before the race was over and I would finish third but I was able to break from her after a short stretch of gravel and then the last climb of single track switchbacks. It was hard for me to keep a decent pace at this point, I was getting very tired and was waiting for her sneak behind me. I gained some speed on some fun downhill which was a nice break and helped push to finish the race and take the second spot.

I did not see Cathryn at all during the entire race and I am proud to finish second to someone so strong. I am also grateful to be able to race with such amazing female athletes as Bryna and Kaitlyn.

NEMBA and the volunteers did a terrific job setting up this race.  Many thanks to Little Fire Cycles and Adventure Cycles for making sure my bike and wheels are race worthy and Rhinohead for my awesome gloves. See everyone soon at the next NUE race!”

Four minutes later, last year’s race winner, Bryna Blanchard, BMB Racing, was third at 6:15:06. Blanchard is a top contender for the NUE Marathon Series title with second place finishes at both Mohican and Iron Mountain this year. “Another fantastic NUE race happened last Saturday, this time in the Carrabassett Valley wilderness of Maine. The weather and trail conditions were perfect, much different from last year’s mud and pouring rain on the start line. The level of competition had also taken a step up from last year.

Two very accomplished women from the west coast, Crystal Anthony and Kaitlyn Boyle, pushed the pace from the start. I love racing this course, the constantly changing terrain, long climbs and descents keep me engaged and distracts from the exhausting number of hours it takes to complete. I raced hard and felt good, passing Kaitlyn on the long exposed midpoint climb to move myself into second. Super strong Lara Richards and I rode together on and off, trading places back and forth for much of the race until she dropped me for good and rode away on the final long double track climb. The highlight of my race was riding with Lara, trying to capitalize on my strengths and minimize my weaknesses to stay ahead or in contact with her. Not sure if I went out too hard or didn’t fuel properly but the last five miles were absolute survival, suffering and going nowhere fast.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with finishing third in such a strong field of women. While my good friend and world class racer Crystal easily took the win, less than eight minutes separated 2nd through 4th place. At the end, I was spent, all my strength, mental focus, and strategizing was left out on the course. Every race is a learning experience and I have two weeks to makes some tweaks and prepare to the next one in PA. This was my most challenging day on the bike so far this year, and quite possibly the most fun!”

 

Men’s Open

2018 Marc-André Daigle wins, setting a new course record!

37-year-old Marc-André Daigle, Garneau/Pivot Cycles OTE Canada, was first overall, earning his first NUE win completing the 100k course in 4:54:15, setting a new course record, the first racer to finish sub five hours!

Custom syrup bottles for race finishers!

Four minutes back, Mathieu Belanger-Barrette, Pivot Cycles OTE Canada, gets second at 4:58:03. “I wasn’t expecting such a fast start especially knowing that we were about to shred singletrack for 5+ hours. The pace was sustained and even exaggerated for a while and we finally got settled around km 60. Marc-André and I were in front and we couldn’t see the chase group. I was starting to see double when Marco pulled a big attack. It was way too much to handle. As I tried to catch him back, I clipped my pedal on a hidden rock and crashed quite hard on my ribs.

I was able to keep my second place untouched even though I slowed down quite seriously after the crash. The course was insanely good, not too much climbing but a lot of technical section to distance the riders.”

Two minutes later, 2017 Race Winner, Andy Scott, Riverside Racing, took third at 5:00:08, sixteen minutes faster than last year.

 

Singlespeed

2018 Kramer wins the SS Race!

Shane Kramer, Placid Planet/Barkeater Trail, won the Single Speed race to finish 5:35:29. “After hearing several of my friends talk about how great the riding was in Carrabassett Valley, I knew I had to add this race to my calendar. I’ve always been a slow starter and showing up to the line late didn’t help me any this past weekend. I was probably in 100th place leaving the start and maybe 80th by the time we hit the tight singletrack. Patience was the name of the game while I waited for every opportunity to pass. As we got to the condos on Sugarloaf I heard someone counting off riders as we went by “…48, 49, 50…” making up ground but still a long way to go. I finally caught up to a group with Peter Bradshaw and Matt Sousa just after the 1st aid station on the climb up Buckshot.

I was racing on a borrowed frame from Solace Cycles that I just built up on Wednesday before the race. The frame fit and rode great but didn’t have any water bottle mounts. I don’t like riding with a hydration pack so I only had one water bottle in a fanny pack. This meant I had to stop and fill bottles at every aid station. Not the best race tactic.

I yo-yoed for quite a while with Peter and Matt. Matt told me that Doug Thorp was still up ahead somewhere. I don’t know Doug but heard he was a strong racer and figured he had 1st place already wrapped up. So, after finally getting a gap from Matt and Peter, I was pretty surprised to come up behind Doug a couple of miles before the 3rd aid station. I made a pass but he passed me back as I stopped to fill my only water bottle. I caught and passed him again on the fast gravel out and back section. I think mainly because I was pushing a bigger gear, 34×19. This section also allowed me to see that Peter and Matt were still right there. So, although, my legs were showing signs of cramping I tried to keep the pace up and decided to skip the water refill at the last aid station and push through to the finish. I’m so stoked to come away with a win at such a great event.

Four minutes later, Peter Bradshaw, Mad Alchemy/Zanconato, took second at 5:39:28. “Start was quick into singletrack and super fun. Lots of people but it moved well. Weather was cool and just got a few sprinkles right as we got going. Doug seemed to have a great start and was well ahead. I was riding just behind Sousa for the open miles through all the fun stuff. Once the race opened up to the gravel climbs we were joined by Shane and a bunch of people from other categories. We kept a pretty large group until maybe halfway up the large climb in the middle of the race and Shane rode away.  Sousa and I rallied pretty well to the top but split. I connected with another rider and he pulled me along for a long way along a great river trail. I saw Doug and Shane riding together at the turn around, then later caught Doug and tried to chase down Shane but he was flying. Fun day, singletrack we rode looked great, monster climbs, sketchy skimobile descents, and a river crossing! Gearing was 30×18 and I was pretty happy with that.”

Three minutes later, Doug Thorp, Colonial Bicycle Company, finished third at 5:42:21. “To fully understand why I ended up on the podium you need to understand two things; I’m addicted to cycling and I’m broke. This was my second NUE single speed race, and truly my third SS marathon mountain bike race ever. My journey began in Pisgah in April where I was JRA and ended up bashing my carbon wheel and squishy bike just days before Big Frog for which my girlfriend was registered and I was still only toying with the idea. With my squishy bike in the emergency ward, I only had one option. I had to race my cobbled together SS which was an old On-One 456 26” setup like a dirt jumper. So with the option to race Open off the table I was more inclined to race but still unsure if I was up to the task of slogging for 65 miles in Tennessee. I did some reconnaissance the day before with a few friends who had flown in for the race and felt it was within my ability to finish. The race started slow and ended well with me getting stronger throughout and moving from 13th to 7th in the last 10 miles. I ended up losing a sprint for 6th, but was elated that my first marathon SS race went so well. The only question I had was could I do better? I was hooked.

Brimming with confidence I registered for my local race the Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge knowing full well that this race was full of both Backcountry and challenges. My race morning got a little thrown off since I had forgotten my 2toms chamois sheets; I was desperately searching for anything that would keep me from destroying my undercarriage. I found my Shimano bleed kit in my trunk and slathered on some green mineral oil and was hoping for the best. I rolled up to the starting line late and found a friend that let me squeeze in. He told me he just applied his own sheet, and was worried his hands were now too slippery to hold his bars. “5 minutes to start.” ~Announcer. I sprinted over to his car and went full sloppy seconds on his 2toms sheet, rolled back to the start line at peace and waited for the gun. Right there my race was saved.

“Bang” we were off! The first couple turns are important at every race but hitting that single track before the rest can save you minutes in the overall. I fell back to somewhere in the high 30s or low 40s before making it to the first real climb. After the first 10 miles I was only 6 minutes back on the open leaders. I was feeling great and kept just spinning up the climbs and letting her buck on the descents. I was sitting in the 20s overall and was really feeling the flow.

Across the 30k mark at the aid station I was told I was in the lead just before heading out on the 5 mile climb. I felt strong and was forcing myself to keep up on my nutrition. Greg Jancitis who was recovering from an early mechanical went by me on a power section like a freight train. I was baffled by his speed; he was kind enough to let me know I had a solid lead over the next single speeder. Little did he know I was four miles away from the “Lake Placid Kid” (aka Shane) from blowing my doors off.

The course had some great water crossings and the last one had an un-rideable log at the top of the bank which was about 4 feet wide. Looking back and watching four riders hurdle the log and seeing the absence of a rear derailleur on one was disheartening. It was now a race or so I thought at the time. Shane and I rode together for the next few miles until I went past him at the aid station. Shane quickly filled a bottle and gave chase. The best and worst part of this course is around mile 44. It’s an out and back power section on a dirt road, where you can see 5 minutes ahead and 5 minutes behind you. As I found out the hard way my cadence of 120 couldn’t match the gearing and legs of Shane. I then was doing damage control wondering if all these other hammerheads that saw me spinning my wee little legs could see how much I was hurting. Turns out one other did and also had the legs and will to do something about it. Bradshaw caught me after mile 50, somewhere in the willywacks on some OG single track. For the most part I kept up to him, until I didn’t.

I had one last trick up my sleeve, a trail called Crommet’s which is a half an hour climb at mile 60 (Yeah, 60! If you’re quick at math you’ll realize this was not as billed; a 100k.) I kept going the best I could with will and legs starting to fade I finally hit the last aid station just before the climb and started pushing my way by the masters racers up Crommet’s. At the top I was truly hurting with my stomach turning sour, my Garmin reading 65 and my legs all but spent. Heading down Oak Knoll, a heavily armored trail which I did my best to vibrate my way down, I didn’t manage to catch Bradshaw and believe he stayed strong. The last piece of this course has you cross the mighty Carrabassett River via a small footbridge. However this year’s big spring storms took it out and we were forced to ford the Carrabassett on foot. Running with my bike in knee deep cold river water was the highlight of the day. I finished better than I could have hoped and raced my hardest with limited mental mistakes.

If you’re not from around here and want to disprove the local colonialism “You can’t get there from here.” Mark your calendars for the hardest NUE in the Northeast.

 

Masters 50+

Golet gets his first NUE Win of the 2018 Season!  

NUE Epic Series Champion, Greg Golet, Team Chico, earned his first win of the season now competing in the NUE Marathon Series.  Golet completed the 100k course in 5:34:26. “This trip was a homecoming of sorts for me having spent many of my vacations as a kid alpine skiing at Sugarloaf and hiking in the Bigelows. And with my mom still living on nearby Eustis ridge, the race was the perfect excuse for a visit. The plan also made sense for my brother and best childhood friend who came from Alaska and Colorado.

I’m terrible at pack starts and group riding in general, and had a pretty bad start jamming a stick in my derailleur trying to pass in a brushy area, and otherwise wasting energy being spastic when I should have just been patient and waited for the course to open up. On the first sustained climb I got past my friend/rival Jeff who I’ve battled with the last couple years in the Epic series.

After traversing the resort we hit a section of steep narrow trail where a wrong line choice sent me flying over the bars. My bike cartwheeled, but somehow I landed on my feet. With no apparent bike issues or injuries I was able to ride on.

All day I was blown away by the varied terrain and trail conditions. Coming from dry California, it felt so good to ride in the moist forests.

On the out and back I saw Jeff was riding fast with a group just a few minutes back, and so kept pushing, skipping aid stops even though I was low on water and out of food, but then wondering if the little bits of time I saved would be lost from slowing down if my intermittent leg cramps worsened, which didn’t seem unlikely given how dehydrated I was.

But on the last long climb I felt good, and the oak knoll descent was pure joy. However, at the bottom I relaxed too soon and went off course. Luckily a guy not far behind me figured it out quickly and soon we were back on track.

Before the race started, the guy who set up the course welcomed us there “as family”. That resonated with me, and I felt lucky to have so many friends and family there to share the experience with. Maine rocks, and it’s awesome to see such a vibrant and quality mountain bike  scene developing in Carrabassett Valley.

Next up Pierre’s Hole!

Three minutes later, 2016 NUE Epic Series Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, now competing for the NUE Marathon Series title, finished second at 5:37:21. “My wife Jodi and I arrived at Carrabassett Valley on Thursday afternoon after several days of spirited hiking in Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia and Acadia NP. I was looking forward to riding some rugged trails, but unsure how my tired legs would do. My potent rival, Scott Burrill, graciously offered to share his slope side condo minutes from the race start….it is not at all unusual in mountain bike racing for the fiercest competitors to become great friends.

On Friday morning race director, Warren Gerow, gave Scott and me a riding tour of some of the course, which was very helpful because it covered some of the more technical single track and sketchy “rake and ride” sections. Race start was pretty typical sprint for the trail, with the usual silly risk taking for very little gain. Not wanting an early crash or quick burn out, I was content to settle in behind the large front pack.

About 15 minutes in, Greg Golet came cruising by and I got on his wheel. I managed to stay on his wheel for about 15 minutes while he passed several riders. Just after we passed Scott, Greg kicked the pace up, I fell off and Scott passed me back. For the next couple of hours I plugged away, my technical riding getting more comfortable and pushing a big gear on every road climb.

I finally caught Scott on the Esker trail but he was having none of that and gunned it dropping all but a few of a train on riders I’d brought up. Barely hanging on through the poplar stream trail, I knew I needed to drop him (and have any chance of catching Greg) on the road and/or Crommets trail after aid 4. I was never sure I had dropped him because I was passing many of the 50k racers and it was hard to see who was behind.

The lady who let me know five miles to go put a smile on my face, and I made sure to have fun but be cautious on the switchback descent to the narrow gauge trail. From there it was a nice cool river crossing and hammer up the final single track, never giving up hope of catching Greg. I really enjoyed the race and appreciate the effort and hospitality of the CRNEMBA crew and my new Mainiac friends.”

Seven minutes later, NUE Marathon Series defending champion, Scott Burrill, Bikeman.com, finished third in 5:44:25. “This was my fifth or sixth time riding the Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge and by far the best. The race organizers really nailed it this year and we were graced with perfect racing weather and trail conditions!

Coming into the race after two weeks of nursing a summer cold, my strategy was to go in slow and steady and to keep an eye on Jeff Clayton. The first 20 miles or so went well. I got ahead of Jeff after the first gnarly downhill from West Mountain. I knew, though, that he’s a steam roller and gets faster as the race goes along.

Through aid 2 I saw no sign of him and kept on trucking up the notorious 4 mile dirt road climb.  When I made the turn onto the Esker trail I was feeling good and maintained a fast steady pace toward aid 3 at “Birthday Hill”.  Looking over my shoulder on a long power line stretch, I saw no one behind and felt fairly secure; surely I had a big lead on him by now? Nevertheless, a couple miles later, a group caught me including Jeff; so much for the gap. We left aid 3 together and headed out.

The group worked together on the out and back and then into the “Sticky Trail”, a technical stretch of ST I know well. I led the group and we whittled it down to three quickly. Unfortunately, I blew a lot of energy in there and felt it climbing to the Poplar Hut. I followed Jeff and another racer into aid 4 feeling pretty blown and knowing I had the very long climb up “Crommets” to the Stratton Hut area. Sure enough, I had no gas going up and watched as the two rode away from me, so, another lesson in the never ending course of XXCM racing.

The race was blast with fantastic competition, amazing turnout, stellar management and killer conditions! The aid station crews were, as always, simply awesome. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!”

 

WHATS NEXT: NUE Epic Series heads to Bend, Oregon on July 21 for the High Cascades 100, a race around the volcano of Mount Bachelor. One week later, NUE Marathon and Epic Series racers will head for the challenging hills and rocks of State College, PA for the Wilderness 101.

True Grit Epic – Santa Clara, Utah

Fast Times Posted at NUE Series Opener in Southern Utah with Biggest Ever Field

Saturday’s True Grit Epic saw it’s biggest-ever field with over 600 racers taking on the treacherous, rock-strewn course tucked in the south west corner of Utah. The record-setting participants were rewarded with some of the best race conditions possible with calm winds, temperatures in the low 60s and overcast skies keeping the sun at bay.

All this allowed racers to post some of the fastest times around the notoriously techy True Grit course.

Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco) had some fun while destroying the marathon event. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

The NUE opener experienced a youth infusion with riders like Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco) and Hannah Finchamp (Clif Bar) who just recently left the junior ranks. 50 miles was not too much for these youngsters though as the powered away from the outset battling each other most of the day.

Gibson took the win with Finchamp just minutes back. It wasn’t all about the kids though as Jenni Smith (Kenda/Cannondale) who just turned 45 rallied all day and finished just behind in 3rd. Nicole Tittensor (Scott) and Liza Hartlaub (GU Energy Labs) finished off the podium in 4th and 5th.

Nicole Tittensor (Scott) leads Jen Hanks into the Waterfall. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

The men’s marathon was a showdown between Justin Lindine (Apex) and another youngster testing out the long distance scene, Zach Calton (Spry/ LPB Sotheby’s).

The two rode wheel-to-wheel through the most technical first half of the race before Lindine opened a gap and took the win after just missing it last year in a sprint finish.

Justin Lindine (Apex) showed his early-season form taking the men’s marathon title. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Former winner Alex Grant (Maybird/Cannondale) took third followed by Nic Beechan (Trek) and Clayton Otto (Giant).

The kids came out in force for the 2018 True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Dave Harris won the 50+ marathon event but had to leave part of his face on the course to do so proving that even living in St. George and riding these trails everyday doesn’t give you a free pass on the True Grit course.

Local speedster and 50+ marathon champ Dave Harris left some blood on course. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

100 Mile 

Taylor Lideen charges toward the finish. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

100-mile winner Taylor Lideen (Pivot/DNA Cycling) turned in one of the most impressive rides at the True Grit taking the win just three weeks after winning the solo race at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. When asked if he considered doing the 50 mile event instead he said, “Never, I don’t have that kind of fire in my legs right now – my goal was just to set my pace and see how it went.”

Lideen was challenged throughout the opening lap and a half by Pete Karinen (Broken Spoke Racing) before a flat, on the second pass through Zen trail, sent him back in the pack and Brazilian Stefano Barberi (Team Barberi) took up the chase. He couldn’t catch Lideen as he finally finished second followed by David Krimstock (Pearl Izumi/Pivot). Pete Karinen rallied after his flat to finish fourth with Coulton Hartrich in fifth.

2017 NUE marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) traveled out from Ohio the NUE opener. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Larissa Connors smashed the True Grit course winning by 30 minutes over Sparky Sears (First Hand MTB) and Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop). Connors was so fast she would have placed just off the podium in the open men’s category in 7th.

Chase Hansen (CZ Racing) finished 4th followed by Lauren Cantwell.

Hannah Finchamp (Clif Bar) making an impressive debut at True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/ MTB Race News

By far the most exciting part of the 2018 True Grit Epic despite the great weather, amazing views, brutally fun course, and fantastic volunteers and staff was the number of young racers on hand.

The number of participants under the age of 21 was truly impressive and a testament to the success of the NICA high school racing league in the southwest. Dozens and dozens of kids strapped on their helmets and conquered one of the toughest endurance events in the country with many even contending for race wins. It was an exciting development I hope we continue to see for years to come.

Riders have to decide between riding or taking in the incredible views at True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

 

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Crotched Mountain 100 Mile

By Ryan O’Dell

In 1809, 81 year old General John Stark, a Revolutionary War Soldier from New Hampshire, declined an invitation to a Battle of Bennington reunion because he was ill. Since he could not make the event, he sent a letter with the quote Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” that was to be read for the toast. New Hampshire later used part of this toast for their State motto: Live Free or Die. The Hampshire 100, now the NUE Crotched Mountain 100, lives on with the same ideals and the same rugged, rocky course racers have come to expect from the Granite State.

Following last year’s retirement of beloved NUE Hampshire 100 founder and race director Randy Whitney, who led the race successfully for a full decade, this year’s race was renamed “Crotched Mountain 100” and moved from Greenfield Park to its new location at Crotched Mountain Resort, formerly an aid station along the same race course.

Under the leadership of new race director, Andy Gendron, this year’s race maintained the same course and divisions but moved from Sunday to Saturday offering free camping at the resort, outdoor showers, BBQ, games, plus two great brews from Baxter Brewing including Stowaway IPA, a new Imperial Hefeweizen, and live music on both Friday and Saturday.

A nonstop soaking rain greeted riders all day on Friday with much conversation centered on what the nearly 2.5 inches of rain in a single day would mean to course conditions.

 

Carla Williams takes another NUE race. Photo by: David Smith

WOMENS OPEN

Williams makes it five in a row this season!

Defending NUE Epic Series Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing, was the first and only women’s finisher of the 100 mile race at 10:53:03. Following impressive wins at the Cohutta, Mohican, High Cascades and Wilderness 101, Williams has a commanding lead in the Open Women’s division with five straight wins in the NUE Epic Race Series!

“I think CM100 is one of the toughest NUE races out there, especially if it rains the night before. It down poured all day on the Friday before the race, and the trails were pretty muddy and slippery. The course is really fun, lots of technical singletrack riding, lots of punchy climbs, and there is never seems to be a time to recover on the course. I was feeling great for the first two laps, staying upright on all the slippery rocks and roots, and really happy with how I was riding the singletrack sections.

I pulled into the aid station at the start/finish after the second lap and felt completely drained, like the race should be over. Somehow, I managed to get my legs pedaling through the third and final lap but it was definitely a tough one to finish. It was really fun seeing Anne Pike, who won the mountain bike race last year, dominate the ultra-run and win the 100k run this year! Much thanks to HumaGel which powered me through the last lap of the course, Ridge Supply Socks, Joe’s Bike Shop, ESI grips and Maxxis Tires for the all support.”

Last year’s race winner and four-time Hampshire 100 MTB finisher, Anne Pike, Team DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, set out on foot this year winning the 100k Mile Run that was held alongside the MTB races. Pike finished the 100k course on foot in 13:20:00.  Earlier this season, Pike achieved an impressive eighth place finish at the Mohican MTB100 followed by an even more impressive third place podium finish at the 28th Annual Mohican Trail Run 100 mile race, fifth oldest ultra-run in the USA, home of the first ever USATF National Championship for the one hundred mile distance in 2005.

“For the last three years, I have been focusing on endurance mountain biking and raced predominantly in the NUE 100 mile series (finishing third in the series in 2014 and 2016) but I also maintained a fair amount of trail running throughout this time. I had thought that for 2017, I would stick with endurance mountain biking as my focus although was keen to do one or two trail races, a couple in our area early in the year really appealed to me.

With that in mind (along with recently adopting our Border Collie who, of course, became my running buddy) I found myself running more through the winter and early spring. So I raced the 50k in March and won then decided to go for a big jump up and do a 100k race in May which went really well, fourth place in a really competitive field. The plan was to do that and then pretty much shut my running down for the mountain bike season but I was having fun and some good success running and riding so why not combine both and see what might happen? So, knowing that the Mohican 100 mountain bike race is held two weeks before the Mohican 100 mile run I decided, why not go for it and really put myself to the test?

The mountain bike race was not the best for me this year but I didn’t really expect it to be anything special, I had been focusing more on running mileage after all. The run, two weeks later, was a huge undertaking for me especially considering the 100k in May was the furthest I had ever run and, prior to that, the furthest was 35 miles.

Normally, people focus on a 100 miler months out to really prepare; well, I kind of did it on a whim! It wasn’t pretty but I survived and finished third. Again, after that race, I hadn’t any other trail races planned, wanted to see how I recovered, and also, so I could race Crotched Mountain and Shenandoah 100 MTB. Another last minute decision in the week of the race, I decided that I was feeling more excited about the thought of running the New Hampshire trails rather than riding and, since this would be my fifth year of racing there, why not switch it up?! So I did and raced the 100k trail race instead of the 100mile MTB, and won! Next up, I have Shenandoah on the schedule and a trail race in October.

That is how it evolved for me and I really hope I can continue to be successful in both disciplines. I think it will be a test to be able to maintain a balance. Obviously, both are a test of endurance but to get stronger as a runner you need to run a lot and to be a stronger rider you need to ride a lot! Balance will be key long-term… One thing, I believe, will be key for me is the maintenance of my strength, conditioning, and mobility work. As long as I keep enjoying the thrill of the trail riding and fulfillment of trail running, I will be happy :-)”

With just four races remaining in the NUE “best four of fourteen” Epic Race Series, Defending Champion, Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing, appears to be invincible!

 

Tinker Juarez was on hand again for the 2017 Crotched Mountain event. Photo by: David Smith

MENS OPEN

Johnson earns his fourth win, leads NUE Race Series!

In a mirror of 2016, Defending NUE Epic Series Champion, Dylan “The Kid” Johnson, Cameron MTB, earned a narrow win in New Hampshire to finish 8:12:10 but, in doing so, now leads the NUE Race Series with a perfect score of four wins. Johnson, now 22 years old, has completed seven NUE races this season, so far, earning wins at Cohutta, Lumberjack, Tatanka, and Crotched Mountain in addition to second place finishes at True Grit, Mohican, and Pierre’s Hole.

Twenty-three seconds behind the Defending NUE Champion, Hall of Fame Mountain Biker and Two-Time US Olympian, Tinker Juarez, Cannondale Factory Team, took second at 8:12:33 following a hard fought battle that saw a lead pack that stayed together for most of the race. Juarez placed third at last year’s Hampshire 100. Now at age 56, Juarez continues to display amazing strength and stamina as an ultra-racer, often competing with racers young enough to be his grandkids. His passion for the sport he started in as a kid in the world of BMX has been an inspiration to NUE Racers and his many fans worldwide.

Ian Spivak, Cameron MTB, a team mate of Johnsons, took third at 9:24:57 in a near tie with his team mate Mathew Merkel, Cameron MTB, also 9:24:57. Spivak is currently fourth place overall in the NUE Epic Series with fifth place finishes at both Cohutta and Mohican, plus sixth place finishes at both High Cascades and Wilderness 101,

Team Cameron Mountain Bike Racing had three of its six team members participate in the Open Men 100 mile race. I led out the first prologue lap up the mountain with Dylan Johnson closely behind. After about forty minutes of racing, the field was split into a lead group of Dylan Johnson, Ian Spivack, Brian Schworm, Tinker Juarez, Matthew Kesecker (Pivot racer from Canada), and Gordon Wadsworth.

Around mile 15, right before the muddy technical single track, a group of the 100k leaders joined our group. I could not keep up with the lead group through the first lap of the muddy and slick, so I settled back into my own pace. At about this time, I noticed that my left foot cleat was coming lose, so I was careful throughout the rest of the lap so I would not break the cleat off. I got to the end of the 1st lap and swapped out my left shoe and refilled. At this time, my team mate- Matt Merkel caught up and we rode the rest of the second lap together.

At the start of the third lap, Matt was fading a bit so I kept going at a steady pace. About half way through the third lap, my right cleat came loose and I could not unclip easily, so I decided to take it easy throughout the rest of the lap. I got my shoe changed at the final aid stations and, while waiting, Matt caught back up to me. We then rode together to the finish line by keeping a steady pace.

I am glad I kept pushing to finish in third, my best NUE result ever despite having problems with my shoes.”

Mathew Merkel, Cameron MTB, finished 9:24:57 in fourth place. With this finish, Merkel is now fifth overall in the NUE Men’s Open point race.

“Coming off a good race at Pierre’s Hole 100, I was pumped for an NUE race here in New England, but knew I needed to ride smart. Rain the night before made for wet and slippery conditions creating slick roots and large mud holes. My plan was to go out at a comfortable pace dropping back from the leaders early on.

I was able to catch my teammate, Ian Spivack, on the single track where he was having shoe issues. We were in fifth and sixth at the end of our first lap and decided to work together going into lap two allowing us to keep a steady pace. Ian was climbing strong so I dropped back at the beginning of our third and final lap, but ended up bridging the gap rolling into the last aid station.

From there, after a long day, we decided to ride in together crossing the line in third and fourth place. It was awesome being on the podium with my teammates Dylan and Ian, and legend, Tinker Juarez, for my fourth NUE 100 mile race.”

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic Race Series, Defending Champion, Dylan Johnson leads with four wins with Brian Schworm in second and former NUE Champion, Christian Tanguy holding second in the point race.

 

Gordon Wadsworth took yet another win in the 100 mile event. Photo by: David Smith

SINGLESPEED

Wadworth does it again!

NUE Epic Series Defending Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot, earned his third straight win in New Hampshire, to finish 8:17:48, crushing his nearest SS competitor by more than an hour and a half, good enough to place third overall! This is the second NUE Epic Series SS win for the defending champion who also scored a win at the Wilderness 101.

“I had a super race; decided to come and do the CM100 last minute and was glad I did! Lots of rain put a damper on the camping but the pre-race atmosphere was still great. The new venue was super and the new start/finish for the course was welcome as it changed the rhythm of the race nicely.

I had a great start and was pushing the pedals on the Pivot Cycles LES smooth as could be. When we launched into the single rack, we were greeted with the expected muck and east coast snot that rain can bring. New Hampshire trail is quintessentially East Coast with its rocks, roots and tight twisting singletrack. Everything was slick! I was sitting really comfortably in the top five or so as I usually do when we were nearing the final stretches of singletrack in the first half of the course. We had all been cautious because all of the roots and bridges were extremely dangerous. Sure enough, on one of the last bridge crossings I slid out like Michelle Kwan rolling a triple sow-cow.

I sat up on the side of the bridge and took stock. Immediately I knew I had broken and dislocated my pinky finger on my right hand. Perhaps my only muncher when it comes to racing hundred mile events is “don’t stop, and don’t lose the wheel.” So I gave one good tug on my right pinky to reset the break, daintily walked across the rest of the bridge, and hopped back on to Chase the front pack.

We had, by then, joined the one hundred K leaders, three of them; So I knew that that would be affecting our hundred mile race more than a little bit. My biggest concern, at this point, was completing the event. I’ve committed pretty late to the NUE this season so I need finishes and wins whenever possible. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the bike as good as I normally do, but I expected I could be at least proficient and I raced past pretty quietly the rest of the day. As the one hundred mile participants dropped off and dwindled and the 100k finishers completed their journey, it was down to just me, Dylan Johnson, and Tinker Juarez.

We pitted briefly at the end of lap two, and immediately the duo dropped me heading up the ski climb. I tried to hang tight to their wheels but my broken finger was really killing and preventing me from climbing out of the saddle as well as I normally can. The two slight figures got even slighter and soon I was solo. I spent the rest of my lap suffering solo. I was thinking I might see my Canadian Pivot OTE teammate, Matheu, come up behind me but, nevertheless, stayed alone.

As the trails dried out, my handling on the twisty singletrack improved. My gap to Tinker and Dylan went from two minutes, out to four, and then back down to two as the singletrack concluded. I knew I would not have been able to catch the two of them on the open gravel roads of the second half of the course, so I just rode myself home, content with a third overall and an SS win.”

Peter Bradshaw, Mad Alchemy|Zancon, was second at 9:57:22.

Joseph Stroz, Stroz Physical Therapy, was third at 10:25:49. “I rode a 32:19 gearing for my ss this year, a bit taller than last year.

I was hoping for a drier course with this gear and took a chance before leaving for NH Thursday from PA.  After the hours after hours of rain Friday evening I knew that I was in for a long day. My gearing for this race was a bit tall for the conditions and with a calf injury from earlier in the week; I had to pace myself carefully from the start.

I pulled off from the front group after the second climb from the start. Peter (2nd SS) continued on to challenge Gordan Wadsworth and top open fellows in the front group. I figured Peter would burn out his legs during the first lap trying to keep up with their pace so I decided to pull back and pace myself with Carla Williams, always a sure strong finisher. I stayed with her for the first two laps hoping to catch up with Peter, but I was never able to catch up with his pace. At the end of the second lap, I passed Carla going into the self-support aid station and from there I was on my own.

Towards the last twelve miles of the last lap, I was able to hook up with third place masters racer, David Boyce. We road together drafting and pushing each other, as we both were riding to survive the final lap. I was trying to fight leg cramps and the heat. In the end, both David and I were able to capture third in our classes. I have done this race for four years in a row now, as I love the challenging trails up there. I like more technical riding and NH gives you more than your share. As much as I complain about how brutal this course is every year, I keep coming back; and next year will probably be no different.”

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic SS Series, defending NUE Marathon SS Champion, James Litzinger, is now leading the NUE Epic Series with 13 points. Matt Crawford is holding second with 17 points, and Peyton Randolph has 25 points and Joseph Stroz in fourth with 35 points. Three wild cards threaten to shake up the standings with Defending Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, John Haddock, and Ben Shaklee each with two wins this season.

 

MASTERS 50+

Blanchet Wins!

With a comfortable lead, 2015 Hampshire 100 Masters winner, 54 year old, Terry Blanchet, Nav-North American, took the top spot once again in the Masters to finish 10:04:00. Blanchet placed fifth at last year’s race that was won by the Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, who would go on to secure his first NUE Epic Masters Series title.

With this win, Blanchet completes his fourth NUE race that includes seventh place finishes at both Mohican and Lumberjack plus a more recent third place finish at the Wilderness 101 moving him up to fourth place overall in the NUE Epic Masters series with 18 points.

“Looking over the pre-registration list of eleven Masters my neighbor, David Boyce just 30 miles east over the MA border, was my most obvious concern, as last year on this same terrain, he beat me out by one position in the finale Hampshire100. Sure enough, early in the first lap, we went back and forth a few times though, after some side-by-side chitchat on the mid-lap Fletcher Farm climb, commiserating about one particularly grumpy runner refusing to cede the line on the preceding narrow section despite our three courteous requests, David decidedly took off over the top and disappeared through the next singletrack-heavy five miles.

I eventually caught sight of him again on the road-heavy section of the first lap beyond the Oak Park Aid Station next to the old Hampshire100 venue at Mile 21, but as he was already moving at a good pace with a Bikeman racer from another field to share the work with, I didn’t burn any matches at that early point trying to bridge up and, as the road gave way back to trail on the descent beyond Muzzey Hill, he again disappeared into the woods.

My next sighting of David wasn’t until this same stretch a whole lap later, with him just heading off from the Oak Park Aid Station as I was rolling in. This time on the road-heavy section to follow, as I was pulling towards him, he was sitting upright hands-off-bars stretching his back, and I passed by with little obvious response from him, only hearing of him again as I was climbing the ski slopes out onto the third lap while his name was being called over the PA during his descent at the close of his second lap.

Of the pre-registered Masters, there were a handful about which I really had no prior experience and, sure enough, wouldn’t it turn out that the racer in the Mathieu Performance jersey with whom I’d gone back and forth with over the first lap was Eric Truchon, one of the other Masters racers. In fact, we’d swapped positions so many times that, once I’d noticed that we’d finally stopped seeing one another midway through the second lap, I’d lost track of who was in front.

Having a suspicion that he might well indeed be another Masters competitor, it was with great relief upon my third-lap arrival at the Oak Park Aid Station to be greeted by a cheerful “Number 50, we’ve been waiting for you, you are the Masters leader!” Spirits buoyed and a couple Coke cups down the hatch, I was energized for one last trip across that road-heavy section, climbing up through the woods jeep trails to follow, and relishing the last roll down the ski hill singletrack to the finish.

It was great to share the podium with Eric and David, though all the while recognizing our opportunity to still hold out hopes for that masters Top Box during our race was but a consequence of our timeless contemporary, Tinker Juarez, remaining in the elite Open field, still so competitive as to come within seconds of challenging for the Open win. It was a great day of racing; many thanks to Andy Gendron and his staff for keeping the endurance MTB tradition going in southern New England, and for such a successful inaugural version of their Crotched Mountain 100!”

Seventeen minutes later, 50-year-old Eric Truchon, Club Mathieu Performance, took second at 10:21:15.

Four minutes later, 56-year-old, David Boyce, State 9 Racing, claimed third at 10:25:07. Boyce placed fourth at last year’s Hampshire 100.

“My race started out well keeping pace with the master’s group and then I settled into my own pace. I felt good and started to pull away from my group; but this was not the right thing to do because the damp trail took its toll early in the second lap.

On one of the dirt roads about midway through the second lap, Terry Blanchet flew by me and pulled away. That was the last time I saw him. Towards the end of lap two, I was feeling pretty gassed, did not stay hydrated or fuel right, and did not want to go back out for lap three. As I came down to the pit area, my State 9 racing team was cheering me on and my wife gave me my bottles and asked if I was ok. I said I no, but I feel better now.

On the third lap, I started up the ski slope. It was hot, humid, and the trail was like a sponge. When I got into the trees I got off, had some gel, drank a bottle, and started again. There was nobody; it was quiet, and I was feeling somewhat better. I got to the luau aid stop, ate some bananas, drank some coke, and continued on. I met up with Joe Stroz on his SS and we rode together in “survival mode”.

Towards the end of the race on a technical climb, Eric Truchon passed us and there was not a dam thing I could do about it but wave. I came down the hill to the finish line to nice applause in third place; It was AWESOME!  I will be doing the Shennandoah 100 in a few weeks and it will be new to me, I can’t wait.”

54 year old Alain Simard placed fourth in 11:17:52 gaining two points in the NUE Masters battle with 52 year old Alan Minor, Banks Bikes Falmouth, who placed sixth on the day.

With just four races remaining in the NUE Epic Masters Series, the battle continues as Defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, with three wins and two second place finishes, sits second to Greg Golet, who has a perfect score with four points, potentially setting up a rematch of the 2016 showdown at the final Championship race that was won by Clayton. The battle for third continues with Russell Spaulding at 16 points, Terry Blanchet at 18 points, Alan Minor at 21 points, and Alain Simard at 25 points.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

What’s NEXT?!

One September 2, The NUE Race Series heads due south to the only NUE race held outside of the USA; NUE #11, the Volcano 100 on September 2 held in Liberia, Costa Rica. The very next day, NUE heads to Virginia for the granddaddy of them all; NUE#12, the Shenandoah 100 on September 3.  www.nuemtb.com

Crotched Mountain 100k Report

NUE Marathon Race Series #9 presented by Hammer Nutrition

By Ryan O’Dell

In 1809, 81 year old General John Stark, a Revolutionary War Soldier from New Hampshire, declined an invitation to a Battle of Bennington reunion because he was ill. Since he could not make the event, he sent a letter with the quote Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” that was to be read for the toast. New Hampshire later used part of this toast for their State motto: Live Free or Die. The Hampshire 100, now the NUE Crotched Mountain 100, lives on with the same ideals and the same rugged, rocky course racers have come to expect from the Granite State.

Following last year’s retirement of beloved NUE Hampshire 100 founder and race director Randy Whitney, who led the race successfully for a full decade, this year’s race was renamed “Crotched Mountain 100” and moved from Greenfield Park to its new location at Crotched Mountain Resort, formerly an aid station along the same race course.

Under the leadership of new race director, Andy Gendron, this year’s race maintained the same course and divisions but moved from Sunday to Saturday offering free camping at the resort, outdoor showers, BBQ, games, plus two great brews from Baxter Brewing including Stowaway IPA, a new Imperial Hefeweizen, and live music on both Friday and Saturday.

A nonstop soaking rain greeted riders all day on Friday with much conversation centered on what the nearly 2.5 inches of rain in a single day would mean to course conditions.

 

WOMENS OPEN

Toops wins! Leads NUE Marathon Race Series!

OMBC Ohio Race Series Defending Champion and NUE Marathon Race Series points’ leader, Jen Toops, Paradise Garage Racing, demonstrated her strength with a convincing win in 7:04:34. In a bid for the NUE 100k title, Toops has a near perfect score of 5, leading the NUE Marathon Women’s Race Series with wins at Big Frog 65 and Tatanka 100 along with her second place finish at the Mohican 100k in one of the largest women’s fields this season.

“My husband and I loaded up the transit and headed off to NH to ride some new terrain. I wasn’t sure how the race would go after going over the bars last week. My lock out lever punctured my thigh all the way to the muscle earning myself a few stitches.

It rained the whole twelve hour drive, while we set up camp, and while we went to bed. I woke up to a foggy morning which gave way to a beautiful sunny day!

A quick racers meeting at 6:30 and we were off racing. The race started out fast and I settled into my own pace making sure I was out front going into singletrack first for the ladies. I knew it was going to be a long day due to course conditions. This was my first time riding in the New England area. The singletrack was challenging: tight, twisty and rocky with lots of wet slippery roots and very little areas for recovery. I was glad I brought my Pivot Mach 4 instead of the hardtail!

I saw another 100k female at aid 2 as I was leaving, so I picked up the pace and really pushed it on the road. I finished the first lap, switched my pack out, and started the second lap. The soft wet grassy climb out of the ski resort was brutal. Really, all the climbing on lap two was rough. It seemed like it was getting slicker as I wrecked on a downhill and again on a long bridge. Luckily, I wrecked on the side opposite of my stitches and chatted with my new friend Tom for a while which made the miles go down a little quicker.

Then, I pushed a hard pace until the finish line was in sight, thankful I was done. I was very grateful the course was marked so well and I never got lost! My next race will be Marji in MI. See you all there!”

Forty one minutes later, Donna Winters, Cycle Solutions Canada, took second at 7:45:40 for her best NUE Race finish of the season! With this finish, Winters moves up to second place in the NUE Women’s Marathon Series with 29 points in a lowest points wins series. She was 13th at True Grit, fourth at the Big Frog 65, and tenth at Mohican 100k.

Sarah Brown, Honey Stinger, earned her best NUE finish this season at third in 9:11:19. Brown has improved her standing at each race significantly all season. With this podium finish, Brown moves up into third overall in the NUE Marathon Women’s Series standings.

“What a challenging year at the Crotched Mountain 100! I trained longer and harder this year than any other. I have been setting some good PRs at races, and was hoping to get a really good PR at Crotched Mountain. Well, course conditions didn’t allow for that, but I was very happy to get through! I slipped and slid around on the wet trails, got lost and did some extra miles, but I just hung in there, knowing how rewarding finishing would be.

I’ll be at Marji Gesick in September for my 5th NUE race of the season.”

Derek Treadwell leads Gordon Wadsworth. Photo by: David Smith

MENS OPEN

Lightning Strikes Twice! Scott makes it two in a row!

NUE Carrabassett 100k race winner, Andy Scott, Riverside Racing, earned his second straight NUE Marathon Race Series win taking the NUE Crotched 100k win in 5:19:35! With just three races remaining, will Scott take the national series title?

Just over two minutes later, Derek Treadwell, Dr. Naylor Treadwell Training/Kona, finished second in 5:21:58. At age 42, Treadwell is a top series contender this season including his fourth place finish at the Big Frog65 in Tennessee in March.

Three minutes later, NUE Marathon Men’s Open Series leader, John Petrylak, Scott Pro Mtb Team, took third at 5:24:36. Petrylak leads the NUE Series with 13 points including a second place finish at Carrabassett, third place finish at BigFrog 65 and a fifth place finish at Mohican 100k.

“Rain, Rain and just a little more Rain

 The Crotched Mountain 100K race course was getting a significant watering the day and night before the race; I was mentally preparing myself for what was sure to be a wet and muddy adventure in the morning.

Since the race changed venues (formally the NH100), I was curious how the new start/finish area would be. As soon as I walked in to sign up, I was immediately at ease; the new promoters did a great job with all things race related! Thanks for carrying on the tradition of this great race.

We had a 6:48am start time (three minutes) behind the 100 milers. After my usual warm up routine and the brief riders meeting, I lined up and found some familiar New England faces and a local Virginia face nervously waiting for the start of the race.

We all lined up and, after a few seconds went by, we were off! Locals Andy Scott, Derick Treadwell, Dylan McNicholas and myself were all hammering up the 1.5 mile start climb. At the top of the climb, we started catching 100mile riders right away. After the first couple of miles, the 100K group was down to four or five riders; we stayed together and began catching the chase groups of the 100 mile race.

Once we hit the double and single track, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the course handled the rain very well! We definitely had water and mud but nothing like I thought it would be.

The start was seriously fast, even for a 100K race; at around 8.5 miles we caught the lead group of the 100 mile race. The race leaders were Dylan, Tinker, Wadsworth, Brian, Mathieu, and the lead 100k group. This was an awesome group to ride with!

I started having some stomach distress about two hours into the first lap; I tried drinking and that made it worse, so then I tried eating and that made it really bad. So I decided to let the food in my stomach digest. I would resume my fueling shortly but that never happened so I started to dig myself into a bit of calorie deficit.

I was able to respond to constant pace upticks on the short steep climbs but the constant efforts began to take a toll on me. As we came through the start/finish area and started lap two, I grabbed another bottle and started off hoping for the best.

The lead 100k and 100mile group continued on through lap 2; we lost a few guys but mostly everyone was still riding strong through mile 35. As we came up to the first aid station on the second lap, I had to stop and get some Coke to try and get some calories in my stomach. It helped! Why does Coke fix you when you’re broken?

I motored on and started to see the lead group WAY up on the long straight road sections. I ratcheted up the pace in the single track and tried to minimize the damage on the fire roads. At around mile 52, I was two minutes behind the leaders but never could close the gap. The course finishes with a 2.5 mile climb back up to the ski resort and I was not in a good place to get back the time I had lost. I struggled a lot but it paid off and I managed to secure my 4th podium of the season by finishing 3rd.

The Crotched Mountain 100K was organized, well-marked and So much fun! The course has a perfect mix of classic New England single track, double track and just enough gravel roads. Thanks to Andy and Crotched Mountain for hosting an instant classic event!

Eleven minutes later, teammates, Andy Gould and Aaron Miller, State 9 Racing, took fourth and fifth respectively at 5:35:55 and 5:48:35.

With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon Men’s Open Series, John Petrylak leads with 24 points and Anthony Toops with 101 points is in second as the first two racers completing the four race minimum. Contenders include OMBC Ohio Series Champion, Drew Purcell, and Greg Kuhn, each with three finishes so far. Wild Cards include race winner Andy Scott with two wins, and Andrew Dillman with his second place finish at Big Frog 65 and a big win at Mohican.

 

SINGLESPEED

Giroux wins

Dan Giroux, The BSWC, won the SS division in 6:13:37.

“Having raced the New Hampshire 100 as a 100 miler in the past, it was easy for me to convince myself that with the new venue with the shorter 100k distance was a way better idea. That being said, the thoughts of more fun and less pain had me pretty stoked for Saturdays race. Then the rain came and with it, the realization that the course was gonna be a slop fest to start the day. Luckily, the rain let up and, although there was some mud out there, overall the course was in great shape.

I knew that the race was going to start with a good sized climb up the ski hill so I opted to take it easy and not burn that match right out the gate. This payed off for me and, by about mile 14, I was the lead single speeder. From there, the plan was to ride a steady pace and to keep the bike upright through all those NH rocks, roots, and mud holes. My gearing on the pivot les was 32×19 with some Maxxis ardent race 2.35’s and I was super happy with both. Next up for me, Shenandoah 100!”

Thirty one minutes later, Dominique Avoine, Mathieu Performance, secured second in 6:44:50 riding a 22Tx17 on his Exprezo T29 custom built. “The personal feelings of this race day were not that well. Those days exist and I had a too-short pre-race morning preparation. I went to the starting line without my usual stuff: Bike (SingleSpeed instead of a full suspension and full gearbox bike!), electrolyte (forgot them in the van!) and glasses (wrong pair!). Anyway, I followed the racers to set the pace.

At the quarter of the distance, I started having leg cramps, slowed down, and stopped at the aid station to make a refuel of electrolyte. It was too late, sadly. I managed it and finally found my legs after 70 km finishing strong after having a throttle pace race. This was my second SS race for an endurance distance and I felt okay with second place. I plan to go to Gaspesia100 for the 100 mile race on September 3rd.

With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon SS Series, no racers have completed the four race minimum. However Eli Orth leads with 12 points and Tim Winters has 22 points each completing three races. Wild Cards include Shannon Boffeli with a win at True Grit plus a third place finish at Pierre’s Hole. With a fourth place at True Grit and second at Mohican, Scott Williams could make a late season run for the title as well.

 

MASTERS 50+

Monroe wins!

57 year old Tyler Munroe, Riverside Racing, was the winner at 6:14:46.

“The race was a mass start as usual, so you never really know who is in front of you or how many. The sorting loop was just that as there was a bit of climbing in it and the Elites were ramping up.

I tried to stay in contact with the top 15 as I did not know who my competition was and thought it best to stay as far forward as I could. After the sorting circuit, I settled into a pace that was just above what I knew I could handle for the whole distance and passed a handful of riders, a few of which were in my class. I settled in to the HR and power I wanted to be at and just kept focused, making sure I made no mistakes.

I had a plan to go hard where it was hard and go easy on the road sections to recover while still carrying speed; this plan worked well all day and I had energy at the end. As for food, I planned to not stop at all as I had a Camel Back and a 20 oz bottle all with 60/40 Gatorade water mix. For food, I can do this distance on Gu alone and that is what I did, eight to be exact. I did have to stop with about ten miles to go for water and Coke.

The course was typical of the area and extremely well marked. The road crossings were well attended and all the volunteers did an exceptional job. Overall I give the race a 10 and I will be back in the future.”

Just two minutes later, team mate 51 year old Paul Richard, Riverside Racing, took second at 6:16:08.

Six minutes later, 50 year old Scott Burrill, Bikeman.com, was third at 6:22:35.

“Crotched Hundred was my fourth NUE of the season and the second time I’ve run this race. Last year, it was wonderfully dry conditions and this year was the opposite.  Friday night’s rain just drenched the woods. My primary strategy was conservative; I just wanted to finish the race with no technicals or crashes as this was my last chance to rank for the series.

The course was super-snotty requiring great focus and caution on the technical single-track of which there is abundance on this race course. The first lap went very well with overcast conditions and good temperatures. The sun came out for the second lap and it was like someone turned the oven on; things got real warm and humid with nary a breeze.

Aid stations were well placed, stocked and manned. The course was marked out extremely well; I was never wondering where to go. After the herd thinned out on lap one, I settled into my own race and just dieseled through, spending the last ten or so miles alone! Overall, I am psyched with my result and super-stoked on my series performance. Thanks NUE!”

With just three races remaining in the NUE Marathon Masters Series, Scott Burrill leads the series with eight points. Defending NUE Marathon Masters Champion, Anthony Hergert, holds second with 23 points, and Nate Cross from Ohio, sits in third with 55 points following his seventh place finish at Crotched Mountain. David Harris remains a wild card with wins at both True Grit and Pierre’s Hole this season.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

What’s NEXT?!

One September 2, The NUE Race Series heads due south to the only NUE race held outside of the USA; NUE #11, the Volcano 100 on September 2 held in Liberia, Costa Rica. The very next day, NUE heads to Virginia for the granddaddy of them all; NUE#12, the Shenandoah 100 on September 3.  www.nuemtb.com

Stay tuned here for the latest NUEz and information.

 

Pierre’s Hole 100k Report

NUE Marathon Race Series #8

Presented by Hammer Nutrition

Written By: Ryan O’Dell

Grand Targhee Resort has become a cool mountain destination resort for mountain bikers. This is the time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom and waist high in many places along the single-track.

This year’s race was the largest turn out for Grand Targhee Resort with close to 400 athletes. The morning started at 7:00am for the 100 mile racers and progressed with a staggered start for 100km and 50km racers. The 100 mile race included NUE Epic Series points; the 100k was included in the NUE Marathon Race Series.

“This event continues to grow year after year. It is exciting to see the same racers, as well as new racers. The resort continues to add miles of single-track trails, which makes for a slightly different course each year.” Andy Williams, events manager for Grand Targhee Resort.

Many racers recalled 2016 when world road champion Peter Sagan, who had recently won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour de France, made an unexpected appearance, winning the 50k race and, to the delight of many, sticking around for photos and autographs following the awards presentation.

 

100k women’s winner Caedran Harvey. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Women’s Open

Harvey wins with a sub six finish!

Caedron Harvey, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, was the first and only sub-six hour finish in the Women’s division at 5:57:59.

“Theme of the day: Even if I don’t want to, I Can

Over the days leading up to the race, I had contemplated many forms of mild self-mutilation. I could convincingly twist my ankle in that pothole, come down with the flu the night before, or even poison myself with some substance that would wear off by 9am on Saturday morning; all very valid options. But alas, Saturday morning came, and I was healthy and fit. I guess I am racing.

My mindset going into Pierre’s Hole was different than it had been for any of my prior races in my short career; I had finally come to accept that I can only ride as fast and as well as I can ride, and I need to be proud of whatever that means for me. That may sound obvious, but, as an extremely competitive individual with an unbelievable aversion to individual sports, it was a monumental recognition. That clarity of mind helped me approach Saturday’s race calmly, although the reality that 60+ miles and 7000+ feet of climbing was in my immediate future loomed large.

I had known that I’d face some stiff competition ahead of time, but, it wasn’t until I was standing on my bike at the start line that I realized just how much talent there really was. I enjoyed a brief moment of panic and heightened pulse, but I forced myself to remember my newly-developed mantra: ride your own best race. So, one deep breath and I was ready to roll.

From the get-go, I was out to test myself. In the 90 seconds between recognizing the competition and the start, I had resolved to stick with the wheel of the reigning champ (Karen Jarchow) as well as I could. Within a few hundred yards, I noticed everyone around me dumping gears and spinning at a high cadence, and I was faced with a decision: I could pace myself to the experienced women around me, or I could ride the way that I know best and turn a harder gear. I went for it. I revised my objective, then, to be the first to the top of 38 Special, and try to gain some time on the descent.

With that objective achieved, I enjoyed the long descent down 38 and Mill Creek, as I found greater comfort descending than climbing that day; my legs had felt pretty junky from the beginning, but I figured that the only way out of that pain was to push it. I was going to race regardless of my how my legs felt, so it wasn’t worth succumbing to my body’s whimpiness.

Halfway through the first lap, however, I started to realize what I had done: I had sprinted out of the gates at a marathon, and placed the target on my own back. “Caedran, you are SUCH an idiot,” I thought to myself. I was convinced (for an entire lap and a half) that my competition was more disciplined than I was, and that they were conserving just enough to throw down the gauntlet on the second lap. With that thought on repeat, I rode to defend my position. I had no concept of the time gap, or how spread out the field was, so I just assumed that they would sneak up on me at some point.

Jen Hanks gets a taste of the fine Grand Targhee singeltrack. Photo by: Michael Darter

So, then, there’s that second lap. A real mental sucker-punch, not just because you’re setting out to what you just did again, but that there is more of it. So you ride through the start gate, end of lap 1, and your race is STILL not even halfway over. Hooray.

I was feeling decent heading onto AJ’s trail, but was starting to worry a bit about my stamina. My legs were still giving me grief, but I wasn’t about to let them get the better of me. When I wanted to shift into an easier gear, I stood up instead. For the rest of the race, that was my tactic; since the first climb up Peaked, I had no idea how far ahead of Karen and Megan I was, but I wasn’t really interested in finding out.

Heading up Peaked, I knew that something had to give. I had 30 miles left to ride, and I could not destroy myself on a long climb so far from the finish. Scoping the meadow below and seeing no one, I weighed the options, and decided that I could afford to conserve energy climbing Peaked, thinking that any time that I lost getting up there I could probably make up on the descent. Whether or not that’s true, it was definitely the right decision. Had I emptied myself on Peaked, I’m not sure that I would have been able to maintain a reasonable pace for the rest of the race.

The second Rick’s Basin lap was tough; I knew my nutrition was waning, and was resolved not to lose my position in the final 45 minutes of the 6-hour race. I knew that, the harder I pushed, the less likely that was to happen. So, again, I pushed myself. I stood when I didn’t want to, and powered up the little punches that Rick’s throws at you. After finishing Northwoods, though, I started to feel a little weaker and a little less focused, so I managed to sneak some gummies in on the climb, while squeezing the rest in my grasp on the handlebar during the descents. With a few more calories in me, I just needed to be smart and safe for the remaining 20-or-so remaining minutes. I could almost start counting down the number of times I’d have to pedal uphill, which gave me so much joy and quite literally propelled me through Snowdrift and onto the home stretch.

Before Pierre’s Hole, I had competed in the Pocatello Pedalfest in June, but crashed out and needed stitches in the eye – not super confidence inspiring. Later in June, I competed in and won our local Cache Creek Race, which is just 10.5 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing. Even for that race, I had thought hard about various minor injuries I could sustain the day before (or of…).  Last year, I competed in Grand Junction and Pierre’s Hole, neither of which went particularly well. I finished third and fourth, respectively, but was so new to mountain biking that I didn’t really understand how to ride efficiently (or well), let alone race that way.

One of the biggest differentiating factors between this season and last, for me, is my ability and willingness to hurt. Whereas before, I hadn’t really wanted to tap into the depths of that dark place, I have since embraced it as part of the game and, in some sick way, have actually started to enjoy it.”

Ten minutes later, Meghan Sheridan, Bingham Cyclery Peak Fasteners, was second at 6:07:40. “This was my first time racing at Pierre’s Hole and I believe my first NUE race.

I have done other long races in the past, including Leadville and the Point to Point in Park, City Utah multiple times as I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I mostly only race locally and places within a short drive. Only twenty women lined up to race and I wasn’t even sure who my competition was. I was feeling good on the first climb and didn’t want to blow up as I passed Karen Jarchow (defending NUE Race Series champ) near the top.

I then started to close the gap on who I thought was the only woman left out front (Caedran Harvey). I followed her close to 38 Special, where her skills surpassed mine and she gained some time on the downhill. I never saw her again. I just stayed steady and tried not to let any men pass me on the downhills for the rest of the first lap – which I succeeded at. I had so much fun on the first lap riding all of the trails, especially More Cow Bell and Perma Grin. Rick’s Basin was beautiful. One guy was following me close the whole time but he never got by.

Coming out of the North Woods, on the last push in Rick’s Basin over Snow Drift, I saw Karen Jarchow creeping up on me. As we came through the start/finish, the announcer commented on how strong I was riding, and then realized Karen was right behind me! I quickly grabbed my other camel back and jumped on the single track right in front of Karen to head out on the second lap. She stayed close for a while, and I pushed where I could up the mountain to try to gain a gap.

Peaked trail was TOUGH that second time. I stayed steady to the top though and didn’t see Karen by the time I got up there, continued to keep my cool on the descents, and push where I could through the rest of the race. One guy finally passed me on the road, a few others tried, but I stayed ahead of them to the finish.

I was feeling decent and wanted to push harder, but just wanted to get the race over with since my right brake hadn’t been working great the whole race and I was having some vision/contact issues out of my left eye. Incredible course, race, aid, organization, finish line fun! Thanks Grand Targhee!”

Twelve minutes later, NUE defending Marathon Series Champion, Karen Jarchow, Team Topeak Ergon, took third at 6:19:07. Jarchow is also the reigning Fat Tire Champion.

 

Rider on course. Photo by: Michael Darter

Men’s Open

Pond defends last year’s win!

Defending NUE Marathon Series Champion and 2016 Pierre’s Hole race winner, Alex Pond, Steamboat Velo, earned his second straight win at Targhee to finish 5:26:17. This was Pond’s first win of the NUE Race season since his fifteenth place finish at the season opening True Grit Epic in March.

“From the start, I found myself watching a handful of riders pull the front of the group up the first road section until I got my legs spinning and, just like last year, went for the solo lead out over peaked and into 38 special. I definitely paid for the hard effort over the climb because slowly going through Perma Grin and Quackie Ridge, two riders were reeling me in pretty quick so I made the decision to let off a little, get fueled up, and battle it out over the second lap.

The three of us made a quick pit stop before the climb back up and Matt Turner of Competitive Cyclist got the lead out, so I settled into his pace and waited out the climb with a local Jackson rider, Davey Mitchell, on my tail. Before we reached the top though, the race started to get interesting.

The local from Jackson made a hard attack over Peaked Trail while Matthew started to fade and I was stuck in the middle, knowing if I went any harder over the climb I would blow up, so I let him go and saved it for the last 16 miles. I made contact with Davey on ski hill road and could tell he was paying for the hard effort at 9000 feet.

Before we hit the next section of singletrack, I made an attack and, the next time I looked back, Davey had dropped off. I rolled past my bag drop, grabbed a fresh bottle, and headed out to Perma Grin for the last time. The climb felt slow and I was sure that I would start seeing other racers making gains, so I kept my focus forward, didn’t go over the top, and rolled in with a comfortable lead over the next competitors.

The race was a clean ride this year with no broken saddles. The Trek Top Fuel was the perfect race bike with a solid lockout on the front and rear suspension, Bontrager XR1 in the front and XR2 in the rear, Stans race sealant, three bottles of CarboRocket (2 of 333 full strength, 1 of Elecrolytes), five Honey Stinger Mango Gels, and two Honey Stinger chews (mixed up flavors) was the winning package.”

Twelve minutes later, Matthew Turner, Competitive Cyclist MTB TEAM, was second at 5:38:37. Ten minutes later, Justin Raynes, Owenhouse Cycling, was third at 5:48:06.

Twenty-Four minutes later, Nathan Collier, Pedal Pushers KIND Racing, finished fourth at 6:12:54.

“The Pierre’s Hole 100km has been on my bucket list for years. Due to the race location’s distance from my home, I never thought I could make it happen. It wasn’t until a last minute family trip, planned in early June, that I could get off work, and luckily there were still spots open.

I showed up on race day with one goal — finish. I knew the race would start with a big climb, so I made sure to extend my race warm up so I was ready to go. This paid off since the race started out fast.

The first half of the race, I pushed harder than what I knew I should, but I just couldn’t help myself with the abundance of outstanding trail the Pierre’s Hole had to offer. I paid for it late in the first lap but, as an experienced endurance athlete, I knew that if I kept up with my fueling it would pass. By the time I finished the first lap, I was ready to attack the climb to start the second lap. It hurt, but I was able to push up the climb while still maintaining some clarity for a big descent down to Ski Hill Road. More amazedly, I still some gas left for the road climb as well.

The last hour of the race was brutal. The mind became foggy. It took everything in me to concentrate on picking good lines on the descents and giving it everything I had on the climbs. When I crossed the line, I had left every ounce of energy on the course —which, to me, defines a successful endurance race!”

 

Single speed

Larrabee earns the W and gets second overall!

Cory Larrabee, Kuhl, earned his first NUE SS win this season at 5:33:44 using 32×20 gearing, second overall behind Men’s Open winner, Alex Pond.

“Pierre’s Hole 100 has now become somewhat of a tradition with me and my support crew of five kids and my wife Amber. This year I decided that the third lap on the 100 miler kinda ruined the fun factor so the 100K was for me. I knew the competition would be great with George Flynn in the mix in the single speed category.

At the start, George was climbing strong and was twenty seconds up on me and a couple other ss riders. At the road climb, George continued to hammer and I was not able to get on his wheel. Eric Melson went up and rode with George and I was again 15 seconds back. On the loop out on the north of the resort, I passed Eric and set my sights on George. I would see him a switch back up from me but could never close the gap. At the aid station, I stopped to get bottles and fuel from my amazing crew and rode through the start/finish.

Going up the hill toward the single track, George was there refueling. We rode together for almost the entire peaked climb and I kept thinking that this could get interesting if neither of us fades. At the road climb, we both refueled and were heckled by the Fitzgerald Cycling crew at the aid station.

At the top of the road climb, we passed another geared rider. Then, going into aid 2, I looked back and didn’t see George. At this point, I thought I had better do what I could to maintain the gap. Just after the aid, I passed another geared rider and was curious where I was in the field. No reason to worry about it I continued, knowing that I had approximately 10-15 miles left.

I pushed as hard as I could and was cheered into the finish by my great wife and kids. I am extremely grateful to my sponsor KUHL Clothing, ESI Grips, Wolf Tooth Components, and Carborocket. I know that I couldn’t race or train without their help. Also, I want to give a big shout to my wife and kids. Thank you for your cheers and support.”

 

Five minutes later, George Flynn, finished second at 5:38:28.

Sixteen minutes behind Flynn, Shannon Boffeli, MTBRaceNews, was third at 5:54:11.

“My race started off a little slower than I would have liked as Corey, George, and Eric took off as we headed up Peaked Mountain the first time. I was riding 34 x 21 Rotor elliptical gearing, which I felt was the right gear for me but may have made the first climb a bit tougher.

By the time we hit the descent, I couldn’t see the three leaders but I was feeling pretty good and having a great time making my way through the singletrack at Pierre’s. This race has such a great collection of trails it’s always one of the highlights of my season.

The second time up Peaked I could see Eric again just a couple minutes in front of me and, by the top, I moved into third but he quickly passed me back on the 38 Special descent. I stayed close and, by the time we started climbing again, I was close enough I could move past and open up a solid gap.

I finished third but, more importantly, had a great time riding the incredible array of purpose-built one-track that Grand Targhee has to offer all the while battling it out with some of my best friends on the race circuit. I’m already looking forward to next season!”

 

Masters 50+

Harris wins Big!

David Harris, LW Coaching, wins the Masters division at 6:03:27, more than a half hour ahead of his nearest competitors.

Thirty-five minutes later, Ben Alexander, Team Rockford, was second at 6:38:34.

Six minutes later, Tim Walker, Non Stop/Sierra Cyclesmith, was third at 6:44:26.

“After pre-riding the course on Thursday, I thought this course and elevation suited me perfectly. At the start, I was eyeing who my fellow 50+ races were. I started out pretty fast but kept within my zone. About ten riders went super hard and I figured they were all 40+ racers.

Going onto Peaked trail, I was behind one guy with gray hair (definitely in my class). He was going really fast but I was wondering if he could keep that pace. He didn’t. Starting down 38 special, I kept my speed up with pushing too hard. Went right by the first aid station and started up the paved road. I didn’t know what place I was in but figured I was at least top three. One 50+ rider passed me up the hill and I went by one also. As I hit the section in Rick’s Basin, I was still going strong.

At the start of the second lap, I picked up my camelback (the first time in 30 years of racing I used one). Just as I left, I heard the announcer say that fourth place was right on my tail. It was time to get going! Going up Action Jackson and Buffalo Soilder, I kept the pace as high as I could and kept a gap to fourth. I rode steadily up to the top of the course and down 38 Special.

On Mill Creek, fourth place caught me and put a few seconds into me by the aid station. I lubed up my chain, asked a volunteer to pour water down my neck, and I was ready to go. Fourth place was still there and I joked to him that he could take as long as he needed eating. I was beginning to feel the effects of the race and needed as much time on him as possible as he was riding really strong. By the top of the road going into Jolly Green Giant, he had caught me and slowly pulled away. I never saw him again.

So I’m thinking now, I’m in fourth and just have to keep the legs turning to stay on the podium. I was riding a little bit slower than on the first lap but kept sipping on the CarboRocket and kept pushing towards the finish. About a mile from the finish, Jeremiah Bishop blasted by me leading the 100-mile race. I was happy to finish in fourth until, about thirty minutes after I finished, I saw that I was actually third. The guy that passed me going up the road on the first lap was vaporized on the second lap and carded a dnf. Overall a great race course and organization. Put this race on your “Must Do” list. My first Marathon podium and I am looking forward to the Grizzly 100k race in Big Bear.

Just one minute behind Walker, Brian Ressa, Utah Mountainbiking.com, was fourth at 6:45:40.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

What’s NEXT?!

The NUE Race Series heads east to New Hampshire for the Crotched Mountain 100, formerly known as the Hampshire 100, on Saturday, August 19. Visit www.nuemtb.com for more information and stay tuned her for the latest news, photos and results.

Pierre’s Hole 100-Mile

The Pierre’s Hole 100

Presented by Hammer Nutrition

By Ryan O’Dell

Grand Targhee Resort has become a cool mountain destination resort for mountain bikers. This is the time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom and waist high in many places along the single-track.

This year’s race was the largest turn out for Grand Targhee Resort with close to 400 athletes. The morning started at 7:00am for the 100 mile racers and progressed with a staggered start for 100km and 50km racers. The 100 mile race included NUE Epic Series points; the 100k was included in the NUE Marathon Race Series.

“This event continues to grow year after year. It is exciting to see the same racers, as well as new racers. The resort continues to add miles of single-track trails, which makes for a slightly different course each year.” Andy Williams, events manager for Grand Targhee Resort.

Many racers recalled 2016 when world road champion Peter Sagan, who had recently won the green sprinters jersey in the Tour de France, made an unexpected appearance, winning the 50k race and, to the delight of many, sticking around for photos and autographs following the awards presentation.

 

Jen Hanks gets a taste of the fine Grand Targhee singeltrack. Photo by: Michael Darter

Women’s Open                                                                 

Carrington with a commanding win!

Liz Carrington, Honey Stinger/Bontrager, demonstrated her strength from start to finish winning the Pierre’s Hole 100 at 10:32:10.

Thirty-Seven minutes later, Julie Kelly, Specialized Canada/Infinit Nutrition Canada, was second at 11:09:19.

“My race started off well with good pacing on the first loop. When I came through the start/finish for the second loop, a bunch of people were calling out that I was second and only a few minutes off first. I tried not to get too focused on that as it was still early in the race. I saw Liz soon into the loop but she was setting a pretty fast pace and I lost sight of her.

I just tried to race my race and set a reasonable pace remembering the third loop last year really hurt! I finished off the second loop still feeling pretty good. The third loop still hurt but I managed to push the pace a little bit on the back end of the course to make the cut off for the buckle and take second.
I am not sure I will make it to any more of the NUE races this year but hope to get out to a few more next year.

Niki Milleson, Fitzgeralds bicycles, was third at 12:18:40.

Jeremiah Bishop focuses on a second Pierre’s Hole title. Photo by: Michael Darter

Men’s Open

Bishop gets second straight Peirre’s Hole 100 victory!

Jeremiah Bishop, Team Topeak Ergon, crushed it this year to finish 7:57:33, just under three minutes faster than last year’s blistering 8:00:22.  Bishop, the 2011 and 2013 NUE Race Series Men’s Open Champion, is coming off his first big NUE win at the Mohican MTB100 in Ohio in June in pursuit of the 2017 NUE title. More recently, he also became the first American to podium at the Trans-Alps where his team finished third.

“With so much trail, it was a blast but it also hurt bad and punished the upper body as much as the legs. The Canyon lux was the weapon of choice. Bryan Dillon and I got off the front and gapped the field early. David Krimstock worked his way back to us at the end of lap one but flatted. We settled our race on the biggest climb up to tree line and I finally found a gap on Bryan. From there, was a lot of suffering and focus to wrap the last 20 solo miles up!”

Seven minutes later, team mate Bryan Dillon, Team Topeak/Ergon, took second at 8:04:16.

Nineteen minutes later, David Krimstock, Giant Co Factory off Road, was in for third place at 8:23:21.

“Being the third hundred mile race in a row, I wasn’t sure how my body would respond but the race was, unfortunately, somewhat defined by flats. I had a front flat while warming up, and changed to a spare wheel, which happened to be dry on sealant. During the first lap, I felt good and eventually moved my way through the front until I was riding with Bryan Dylan and Jeremiah Bishop. I rode with them for a bit and then passed them to try to get a gap before I went into the aid station to change to a wheel which had sealant.

During the second lap, I was staying between 1:30 and 3 minutes behind the leaders. Right after aid 2, as I was starting to reel them in and was feeling good, I slashed my rear sidewall. I put a tube in and carried on as a teammate, who had dropped from the race due to a torn tendon in his elbow, went off to grab my rear spare wheel. Sweetser had come into view and I was trying to put some time into him before I changed wheels again. On the third lap, the heat and a bit of a bad stomach caught up to me, and there were some pretty tough stretches, but I was able to carry on and secure third.
This was an amazing event, very well organized, great trails, and a unique course. There was hardly any chance for recovery, even on the downhills I was sprinting out of every corner, and there were a lot of corners! I was stoked with how I felt at the end of a long three weeks, but after Pierre’s, definitely starting to feel pretty worked. That said, can’t wait for the next NUE! The next NUE I’m planning on is the Big Bear Grizzly.”

Coming off his first big win at the NUE Breck 100 just one week ago, Sam Sweetser, Cole Sport, finished fourth, eleven minutes behind Krimstock, at 8:34:57.

Six minutes later, Jon Rose, 4Life / MadDog Cycles, was fifth at 8:40:59.

Rider on course. Photo by: Michael Darter

Singlespeed

Smith gets his second straight SS victory at Targhee!

Two-time Men’s Open winner of the Pierre’s Hole 100, 2013 and 2014, Cary Smith, The Hub Bikes, a local favorite from nearby Jackson, WY, demolished the field by over an hour to finish 8:52:48.

 Ian Noak was next placing second at 9:58:36. “I raced in the SS category, running a 32×20.

Being from Boise, I am pretty used to getting a lot of elevation gain over shorter distances, so my climbing was my saving grace. However, being from Boise, I don’t get much time on snaking switchback descents, so it didn’t take long heading down 38 special before I lost sight of racers just in front of me, as well as people passing on the way down. Luckily I was able to bridge back up on the climbs.

As I try to do in all long races, my plan was to try and keep a steady pace that would hold strong until the end. Lap 1, I was able to do just that. I didn’t get into the chase early, starting in fourth and gaining one position during lap 1. Lap 2 was similar to lap 1. Keep the pedals moving and don’t blow up…….success. I had gained another position during the second lap, now in 2nd.

Lap 3 is where the fatigue really hit, not only the legs, but the upper body as well. I knew I was nowhere close to Cary, so the goal was to not lose second. I knew I didn’t have much of a lead and was moving pretty slow for the third lap, but was able to keep the pedals turning and minimize stopped time. The pain paid off, just as it always does. This was my first time racing Pierre’s Hole, loved it. I learned a lot about what it takes and hope to return next year smarter and stronger.”

 

Thirteen minutes later, Hunter Karnedy, Sublette Ravens, came in to take third at 10:11:52.

 

Masters 50+

Golet leads The NUE Race Series with win at Pierre’s Hole!

Greg Golet, Team Chico/Honey Stinger, coming off a big win at the Breck100 just one week earlier, dug deep to get the W at Pierre’s Hole finishing 9:28:25. Prior to this win, he also won the Pierre’s Hole Masters race in 2015. Coming into the PH100, Golet recorded wins at the NUE season opener, True Grit, with more recent wins this season at both the High Cascades 100 and Breck100. Earning his fourth win gives Golet a perfect score of four points and the lead in NUE Masters point race.

“After a rainy Breck100 I had to bleed my brakes, change the pads, and repack my hub bearings but by race day, a week later, my bike and I were ready to go again. I went out pretty hard on the first lap, and thought I established a pretty good lead, but really wasn’t sure.

I was feeling pretty comfortable on the trails but the repetitive accelerating out of the corners on the long decent down 38 Special wasn’t something I was used to and, on lap 2, it caused me to cramp and back off quite a bit, which worried me. And sure enough, not much later, I saw Jeff–pedaling out of the saddle with arms bent, hunched low over the bars–riding like a man on a mission…Yikes!

Meanwhile, I’m seated and spinning, just trying to keep some forward momentum. It was a pivotal moment about halfway through the race, and I knew I needed to ramp up my pace if I was going to keep the lead. Riding a rush of adrenaline, I accelerated into the gorgeous aspen grove before me, and tried to ride as fast and cleanly as I could through the winding singletrack. Amazingly, my legs started to feel better and, by the end of the second lap, I was able to gain back a bit of the time I had lost.

On lap 3, I didn’t see Jeff when I looked behind me across the open switchback section above tree line. Not long after, I decided I had better stop looking over my shoulder. Doing so felt self-defeating, and anyway, I needed to focus on my own riding. I worked on being smooth and not making mistakes, and stole moments when I could to gaze upon the unbelievable scenery that surrounded me.

It was an intense experience, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to do the race. Grand Targhee has incredible trails, and the coolest low-key vibe. Having my wife and three boys there with me made it extra special. Four wins in four races feels pretty good but, most likely, I will have to win one more at Big Bear to take the title. Looking forward to giving it my all!”

Just over five minutes later, defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, took second at 9:33:58. In a tight race for the title that mirrors the 2016 season, Clayton has wins at Cohutta, Mohican, and Lumberjack in the Midwest where he has dominated. Clayton remains just one win away from a perfect score which would set up a repeat of the championship showdown, this year, at Big Bear. In 2016, it was Clayton who won the tie breaking race to take the Masters title.

After suffering hypothermia and a bruised ego a week before at the Breckenridge 100, I came to Grand Targhee rested and eager to race. I pre-rode much of the course, but not the big climb or descent, choosing to save my legs. Most of the trails were well ridden, and reminded me of a big cross country course…flowing, undulating singletrack.

Since the race started with a long dirt road climb, I knew I’d have to be patient and pace myself. It was hard to watch a couple of my master’s category competitions ride away so early, as well as a good chunk of the field, but that’s what I did. Once at the top, the long downhill switchbacks were a blast. I held my own and started passing racers along the national forest trail back to the paved road back to the ski area.

Passing by my wife at the camping area, she gave me a gap to the two master’s racers ahead….not too far behind Greg and close to second. I pushed up the pace and by the end of lap two had passed Sten and was within three minutes of Greg. Lap 3 was tough! I had really pushed my limits already, and knew Greg was close. I finally got him in sight about halfway up the long climb….unfortunately, he also saw me!

When I passed my wife again at the campground, she gave me a lot of encouragement again and let me know it was still three minutes. I had been fighting off cramps and huge fatigue and knew I needed to back off a bit to make it to the finish still some 15 miles distant. My hope was that Greg was suffering even more. Alas, it was not to be and, even with a last ditch effort the last thirty minutes, I rolled in about five minutes back. It was a great battle nonetheless, and I enjoyed the beautiful day and fun course….it’s been great to experience some of the western NUE races!”

Brian Brothers took third at 10:57:05

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What’s NEXT?!

The NUE Race Series heads east to New Hampshire for the Crotched Mountain 100, formerly known as the Hampshire 100, on Saturday, August 19. Visit www.nuemtb.com for more information and stay tuned her for the latest news, photos and results.