Park City Point 2 Point

Keegan Swenson Takes Sprint Victory Over Todd Wells While Larissa Connors Dominates the Women’s Field

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Saturday morning, the backcountry mountain bike spectacle known as the Park City Point 2 Point sounded the start canon. The race that normally ushers in Utah’s colorful fall blasted off but none of the cool temps, changing foliage, or damp hero dirt that usually accompany the event were on hand. Instead, summer conditions were in full force in the Utah high country.

The forecasted temperatures in Park City were hotter than ever but so was the competition at the 9th annual Point 2 Point. With a $2,000 winners purse the Point 2 Point always draws some top talent but 2017 featured a faster-than-ever group of men vying for the top positions. Highlights of that group included former national champions Todd Wells (Scott/Troy Lee) and Geoff Kabush (Scott), defending P2P champion Keegan Swenson (Cannondale), who passed up a trip to the world championships for a shot at defending his title, as well as a host of ultra-endurance honchos like Construction Zone Racing/Scott Sports teammates Kyle Trudeau and Fernando Riveros-Paez, Ben Sonntag (Clif Bar), and Justin Lindine.

Todd Wells cuts through the early morning sunlight. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Right from the gun it was clear this year’s P2P was going to be like no other. An hour in, despite miles of singletrack, no fewer than a dozen riders still occupied the lead group, and they were rolling fast.

Another hour of climbing only managed to dislodge two riders as a pack of 10 powered through the Deer Valley feed led by ’15 P2P champ Robbie Squire. All the top riders were represented with Geoff Kabush biding his time a few bike lengths off the back.

Around the halfway point, Swenson attacked, pushing the pace into the long enduro segment on the Corvair trail. A move that worked for him in 2016, Swenson popped more riders from the lead group but couldn’t shake Wells. By the time he entered the aspen-rooted maze known as John’s Trail, Swenson and Wells established a gap of a few seconds over the rest of the lead group.

Geoff Kabush rode to third place in his inaugural P2P. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

The two leaders stayed wheel to wheel and Kabush rejoined the affair as they climbed up and around Shadow Lake, the high-point of the race. As they descended down the 20-minute Crescent Mine Grade trail Kabush would blow a tire before they reached Park City Resort (Support Station #3), dropping him back a little more than 5 minutes.

With just over 20 miles left the lead duo now had a 2-minute gap on Kyle Trudeau and Ben Sonntag and over 5 minutes on Canadian, Geoff Kabush.

Wells and Swenson continued their two-man battle over the final mix of climbs, rocky descents, and unbroken singletrack from Park City Resort to the new finish line outside Skullcandy headquarters.

An unregistered participant spotted on course. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

After 75 miles the race came down to a sprint finish. Wells took the early lead out on the slightly downhill paved bike path that made up the final 200 meters of the Point 2 Point course. Swenson tucked in behind as both riders built up speed all along the finishing stretch. In fact, they were coming so fast that race director Jay Burke had to clear all the spectators from the finishing venue and pull up stakes on the finishing chute to make room for the elbow-to-elbow battle.

Both riders powered out of the saddle in their biggest gears, surging toward the line with Swenson popping out of the draft in perfect slingshot position to nip Wells at the line and take his second Point 2 Point title.

Eric Porter manuals his way to the finish line. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Geoff Kabush made an impressive final surge, posting the fastest time over the final 20 miles, taking minutes out of the leaders but coming up just short only a minute and a half behind at the finish.

Ben Sonntag rolled in for fourth just in front of Kyle Trudeau.

The ladies of the 2017 Point 2 Point provided their own firepower for this ultra-endurance event.

Larissa Connors smiling her way through the 75-mile P2P course. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Past winner Evelyn Dong (Liv) made her return to Park City and the P2P. Hannah Bingham (Eriksen), winner of the Steamboat Stinger, made her debut at the race as did TransSylvania Epic winner Kaysee Armstrong (Liv). Recent Pierre’s Hole 100k champion Caedran Harvey (Fitzgerald’s) was also on hand along with Breck 100 and Lutsen 99er champion Larissa Connors (Twenty20/Felt).

From the start the pace was high as Connors and Armstrong jumped to the front opening gaps early on.

Kaysee Armstrong testing her legs out west. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Connors quickly established herself as the early leader though, pulling away from Armstrong and the rest of the field in the winding one-track of Round Valley. The early climbs certainly didn’t slow Connors either as she steadily opened a gap to the chasers while picking off riders in the open men’s field that started in front of her.

A battle for second was brewing behind the lone leader however, Firecracker 50 winner Marlee Dixon (Pivot/DNA Cycling) was riding just in front of Caedran Harvey as both riders climbed past Deer Valley and Shadow Lake over 50 miles into the race.

Dixon held about a minute lead until both riders entered the Park City feed together. Harvey left the feed just in front of Dixon and despite having several thousand feet of climbing in front of her, Harvey started to feel her best form of the day coming on.

Harvey made the best of it, putting almost 10 minutes into Dixon in the last 20 miles. Despite Caedran’s impressive surge Connors was too far-gone to even think about bringing back.

Larissa Connors had such a good day in fact that at the finish her time would have placed her in the top-20 of a stacked open men’s field.

After just over 7 hours of riding Connors crossed the line to claim another win in her long list of ultra-endurance triumphs this summer. In a surprise move Connors donated her entire $2,000 prize purse to the Summit Bike Club, a local youth mountain bike development team.

Connors took the win by almost 30 minutes over second-placed Caedran Harvey. Marlee Dixon held on for third over past P2P winner Evelyn Dong who finished fourth. Hannah Bingham took the final podium spot in fifth.

Once all the excitement, awards, and money had been dispersed the final finisher was still on course. Although the fastest finishers cross the line in just over 6 hours most riders in the Park City Point 2 Point take much longer to cross the line.

Josh Murphree collects the red lantern award after completing his first P2P. Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Each year the P2P saves a special prize package for the Red Lantern, the final racer on course, recognizing the incredible effort of the rider who spent the longest time on their bike and persevered to the finish. This year Josh Murphree took home the Red Lantern prize who in his second attempt at the Point 2 Point finished the 75-mile course in 12 hours 52 minutes and looked surprisingly fresh doing so.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

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

 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.

 

Wilderness 101

By Ryan O’Dell

A founding race in the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series, The W101 has become known for its fast gravel roads balanced with healthy doses of rocky, technical single track. Located near State College, Pennsylvania, W101 is hosted and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

Wilderness 101 Racers earned NUE Race Series points. To receive a ranking and series rewards in the NUE Epic 100 mile series, racers four best completed races count.

NUE division winners receive an official NUE Champions Jersey courtesy of Voler, a share of a combined US$16,000 series cash purse, complimentary entry into all NUE National Series races in 2018, plus an all-expense paid trip in November to represent the NUE Race Series at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica, from the Pacific to the Caribbean considered one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world.

Women’s Open

Williams gets her second straight W at W101!

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, earns her second straight victory at W101 to finish at 8:05:35, nearly ten minutes faster than her 2016 winning time of 8:15.

“I was super excited to be back racing at W101 this year. It’s always great to see Chris Scott and events put on by Shenandoah Mountain Touring never disappoint. We camped out in Coburn, PA at the start/finish the night before the race, and I lay awake in the tent listening as thunderstorm after thunderstorm rolled through. I was wondering how hard wet rock and muddy single track would be. Luckily, the rain stopped just before the start, and we were off up the first climb out of town.

I stayed with the group of lead men through aid station 1, around mile 18. I was working hard not to get dropped as Chris Beck, who also happens to be my coach, set a super-fast pace at the front. I didn’t see any other female riders in that group so, after aid 1, I settled into my pace and focused on strong climbing and staying upright on the rocks. I think this is the first year I have actually had fun riding the rocks, trying to find the best line through them and taking risks I have been too hesitant to do in years past.

At the fourth aid station, I caught up to Dan Kotwicki, and we rode together for a while. It’s always such a relief seeing the railroad tunnel, and this was the first year I rode through it cleanly! Then it was just a few more miles on the road back to the finish where there was great food, great friends, and a great river to cool off in! Thanks so much to my sponsors: Joe’s Bike Shop, ESI grips, Maxxis Tires, Ridge Supply Socks and Huma gel. Next race for me is Crotched Mountain 100 in New Hampshire.”

Libbey Sheldon was Stoked to finish the “101” in 2nd place after taking her age group National Championship jersey last weekend at Snowshoe WV.

Libbey Sheldon, Crosshairs Cycling, who finished fourth last year, moved up to  second place on the podium at 8:47:28, nearly an hour faster than her 9:35:52 finish last season.

“Listening to the thunder and driving rain outside the van all night before the race, I was pretty sure that I’d made a mistake signing up for the W101, but somehow Chris Scott always seems to pull things off.  Fortunately for the racers, the rain let up around dawn and the day of the event was spectacular, with really nice temperatures for the middle of summer, and only a few wet spots.

Carla was her usual super-strong self, and I didn’t see her after the first few miles. I did get to ride with new friends, and got some really helpful motivation on the road sections from hammering dudes Rob Campbell, Jeff Plassman, Rich Straub and Zane Wenzel.

In a total rookie move, I didn’t refuel at aid station three and felt pretty exhausted around mile 60. Luckily, I got a bit of an energy boost (thanks, CarboRocket!) and was able keep pushing the pedals. Fisherman’s trail was a bit of a jolt at the end, but finishing an NUE always puts a smile on your face.

The course changes that Chris and the promoting team put in place this year were a nice update to this classic race, the volunteers were awesome as always, and I’m glad I made it out to Coburn!

Fourteen minutes back, Britt Mason, The Bike Lane, was third at 9:01:00 with Amanda Barry just over two minutes back at 9:02:37 for fourth place.

Tanguy and Beck go full gas into and station 4 to keep the gap growing on the chasers. The rough and steep Stillhouse Hollow climb looms in the distance.

Men’s Open

Tanguy Wins by Eleven Seconds!

2011 and 2013 NUE Race Series Champion, Christian Tanguy, RBS Cycling Team, narrowly missed the mark last year at the W101, finishing second by just one minute to race winner, Brian Schworm.  This year, Tanguy found himself a precious few seconds on the upside earning his own narrow win just ahead of Chris Beck at 6:48:30.

Just eleven seconds back, Chris Beck, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, took the second spot on the podium at 6:48:41.

“The week prior I won the national championship at Snowshoe (Masters) and I wanted to wear the new jersey.  I had good fitness for XC but I was obviously taking a chance at the 100 mile distance. My longest ride was less than three hours in all of 2017, so I was going to need to rely on my experience.

I set a steady pace early on to thin the group after noticing that the conversational pace was swelling the peloton. (2009 and 2010 NUE Race Series  Champion) Jeff Schalk would never let the group parade around for twenty miles, so I did my best imitation and tried to push hard all the way to three bridges where the breakaway usually forms.  Sure enough, a small group formed after the slippery wet sections and it was up to me to keep the pace high.

Eventually, Christian realized that I was climbing well and stayed close-by. I attacked the trail sections to make him work and that dropped everyone else. We charged ahead sharing the work until Aid 5 when I realized that I had to recover on his very fast wheel. His aerobars reminded me that he was there to win. I accepted second and we finished together.

Chris Beck, Conor Bell, Christian Tanguy and David Flaten lay it down on the 4th big climb of the day heading towards the Croyle Run descent.

He got away slightly when his bars fit through the bridge railings. It was a strange way to let him go, but that’s the beauty of these 100 mile races in my opinion. I was happy to wear the new jersey at the front of a NUE, even if I had to settle for second.

I’ll be training for CX for the rest of 2017 unless my buddies talk me into racing SM100. I think my fitness and the refresher I got at W101 might all allow for a good result in Stokesville.”

2016 W101 race winner, Brian Schworm, Think Green-Bicycle Face p/b SWORD, took third at 7:09:04. His narrow win here last year, by just one minute, launched Schworm into the lead for NUE Race Series Points that would ultimately come down to a showdown at the NUE Championship Race.

“2017 Wilderness 101 was not my best race but I’m happy with the final result. Rain the night before made parts of the course wet and slippery but race day weather conditions were great with cooler temperatures and a partly cloudy sky.

Things weren’t going my way for the first 65 but I finally started finding my groove in some rocky single track. I pushed my pace, perhaps too much, as I suffered a flat. I threw in a tube and continued on, moving up 10th overall to third by the end. It was a blast riding with friends Ian Spivack, Heath Thumel, and singlespeed extraordinaire Gordon Wadsworth for large portions of the race.

Congratulations to Christian Tanguy and Chris Beck who rode an extremely fast race battling for the top spot. Thanks again to my supportive wife Jennifer for all her help with my race, and to my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their amazing support.  Up next is the Crotched Mountain 100 in New Hampshire followed soon by the Shenandoah 100 to finish up the NUE series for me.”

Three minutes later, David Flaten, US Air Force, took third at 7:12:37. Heath Thumel, Race Pace Bicycles/I9, matched last year’s performance finishing fourth at 7:13:18.

Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery / Pivot Cycles) wasting no time blasting to another victory on his singlespeed at the Wilderness 101. Photo Bob Popovich

Singlespeed:

Wadsworth gets his first NUE SS win of the season!

Three-time defending NUE Series SS Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, freed himself from the geared world in his first win in defense of his title at 7:13:19, sixth place overall.

Twenty-three minutes back, winner of the Hilly Billy Roubaix, Patrick Blair, Adventures for the Cure, was second at 7:36:01, to finish eleventh overall!

“I was riding an Open ONE+ hardtail with 36×20 gearing and had some big Maxxis Ardent 2.4 tires to chew up the rocky trails. It was one of the most enjoyable NUE races I have ever done because I just kept my own pace and never went super hard… sometimes at the end of a 100mi race I am so tired I just want it to be over but this one I paced well and finished feeling strong. Now I am super excited to train for and race Shenandoah 100 next… it’s going to be a blast!”

Five minutes later, third place went to Donald Powers, UPMC Pro Bikes, at 7:41:05, good enough for 12th overall in his first NUE Race this season. However, this wasn’t Powers first rodeo at the W101.

“My 101 race plan has been the same over the last couple years…hold the lead group’s pace up the opening climb and then wheel suck to aid station 1 about 19 miles in.

On the opening climb I set the pace up the hill and, after we crested the first climb, our lead group was about 20-25 racers with six of them being SS’ers.  Having done this race six times before, I knew the climb out of aid station one is where the true contenders of the men’s open race would start setting the real pace and attack. I was able to hold on until the top of the climb but lost contact on the grassy top. Only two SS’ers were able to hold on, eventual winner Gordon Wadsworth and Patrick Blair, who won Hilly Billy this year.

I descended the long bumpy jeep road by myself and on next gravel climb local SS’er, Matt Ferrari, bridged up and we rode together all the way through aid station three. On the climb out of aid 3, about 50 miles into the race, I dropped him and bridged up to a geared friend in Dave Parsons and rode the next long section of rocky single track together. On the next climb I dropped Dave and worked my way through beautiful trail to the rocky nastiness that is “No Name Trail” descent.

On a section of gravel after the descent, I saw Patrick Blair riding back toward me. He thought he was lost but I got him to turn around and guided him though a non-marked road split. I was a bit surprised I was as close to him as I was. He was less than a half a mile ahead of me when he turned around. We rode into aid 4 together and he dropped me on the difficult climb out of aid 4.

On the rocky descent after that climb, I lost my full bottle. That put me in a dark place for the next 15+ miles, considering I drank most of my other bottle on that climb. So I only drank one bottle from mile 68 through 89. I battled through some legs cramps and was able to get to aid 5 without giving up any more spots.

Dave Parsons got into aid 5, about thirty seconds after me, and told me to grab his wheel on the next section of rail trail. No chance I was going to be able to hold his wheel with the leg cramps I was experiencing so I told him to go on and I’d ride my own pace. My legs came back to life for the last twelve miles of the race and I held onto third place SS and 12th overall.  Overall, I couldn’t be happier with that result.”

Fifteen minutes later, Mike Montalbano, Race 4 Rescues, took fourth at 7:56:05 with Matt Ferrari, Stans NoTubes/Freeze Thaw Cycles, just three minutes back at 7:59:37 for fifth place. Ferrari’s time was twenty-four minutes faster than 2016.

Short course specialist David Flaten (US Air Force) with a laser focus towards his podium trajectory in his first NUE. David was one of the few riders who could handle the tempo of the leaders eventually placing 4th. Photo Bob Popovich

Masters 50+

Spaulding gets his first win in a NUE series event

Russell Spaulding, TFM_BC, crossed the line in 8:24:56 for a solid victory in the men’s masters division. This win puts Spaulding in second place in the NUE Series Points Standings, just behind NUE defending Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute. Spaulding placed fourth at Cohutta, sixth at Mohican, and fifth at Lumberjack journeying toward his first NUE Race win.

“What a long, strange trip this has been! I bought my first mountain bike 82 days before the 2013 Shenandoah 100. That was my very first mountain bike race. It took me 14 ½ hours to cross the line, and I told my sister “Never again!” Then in December of that same year, I was looking over the NUE series rankings and noticed my name in the 1,183 position. “How cool is that!” I was hooked and started planning what four races I would do in 2014.

It’s taken three plus years to get some cycling legs on me and gain some experience to be able to compete at this level. I had only done Wilderness one other time, back in 2014. So I called up a good friend of mine Zane Wenzel, Horst Engineering Cycling Team, and we went over the race. Zane gave me some great advice, and from there I was able to come up with a good race plan.

I’m a lucky man, and I could never have reached this goal without the help and support of so many people. I wish there was room to thank them all individually. However, there is one individual that has been there day in, day out, and that’s my sister Gretta. I could not have done this without her. She has traveled, supported, and volunteered at almost every NUE series event I have raced. Love you, Gretta!

We’re heading back to where it all began for me, the Shenandoah 100 in September. Race director Chris Scott puts on a “most excellent adventure!”

Seventeen minutes later, Joe Johnston, took second at 8:41:53.

Terry Blanchet, NAV – North American Velo, was third to finish at 9:00:26.

“Given the long day ahead, I resisted any temptation to bury myself as would have been required to remain anywhere near the front of the pack as it took its left turn into the opening climb out of Coburn. Instead, I settled into a more sustainable pace and gathering together with a Masters-heavy group including Jim Matthews, Jeff Stickle, and Tony Papandrea, among others, including my frequent northeastern regional competitor friend Keith Button and his NH carpooling buddy Richard Brown.

This group remained tight through the descent down through Decker Valley and the initial portions of the gradual climb up Crowfield, when one of the younger Open riders drifted off the front of our group. At first, this didn’t seem to draw any interest from anyone within the rest of our group, but eventually Keith, Richard and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and bridged up forming a faster four-person effort off the front of that group that grew a sizable gap taking us all the way through Aid Station#1.

At that point, Keith and Richard pulled up to grab a bottle refill, but I directly kept on solo up the Thickhead Mountain climb not wanting to lose the gap on the group that we’d built up. Not being as fearless a descender though, Jim and Jeff both rocketed by me down the subsequent Detweiler Run, during which at speed, I also managed to smack my upper lip into some massive bee that also stung me in the process. Fortunately, no anaphylactic reaction followed and I didn’t have to use the epi pen I carry with me these days, and as we transitioned to the next climb up Bear Meadows. There was Keith, joining back up with me, as we passed Jeff and continued on in pursuit of Jim, working hard together through the Aid Station#3 at mile fifty, although still unable to catch any glimpse of him.

The rain that fell the night before ceased completely just before race time and left us with some lower temperatures and humidity as well as the cover of some clouds. With my own thirst level not high, as a result I still had one of my three bottles still full from the start and was able continue on directly through Aid#3 while Keith had to pull over again and fill both of his two bottles.

The earlier entry into the Sassafrass singletrack and the couple passes I put in on other racers soon thereafter provided me with a good buffer to keep Keith behind me for the balance of the race. At the bottom of the subsequent PigPile rocky descent, I passed by none other than Jim Matthews who was pulled over to the side having suffered a bummer of a flat. Looking after-the-fact at our GPS ‘FlyBys’, I saw that, upon airing back up, Jim was gaining back ground fast, though apparently suffering another flat on the NoName descent, ending any further attempt to catch up, and instead limping in to Aid Station#4 at Mile66 and ‘pulling the plug’ on his race.

After having finally pulled over at Aid #4 to refill my three bottles, the entire rest of my ride was in “no man’s land”, not seeing any of my master’s competitors.  I began looking forward to my first ‘clean’ W101 ride in my six trips there so far. My previous race was flats-filled and four others found me with my pain-cave cross eyes downward, completely missing sufficiently-obvious arrows as I headed off-course, losing time and backtracking.

I was hoping that this time, it might even be good enough to perhaps finally get me ‘on a box’ at W101 for the first time, especially given that Jeff Clayton was instead off to the Breck100 to go head-to-head with Greg Golet. There were Wilderness masters regulars, Roger Masse and Mike Ramponi, who were not ‘in’ this time around.

Connor Bell (Rocktown Bicycles – Harrisonburg, VA) took a big dig 30 miles in on Three Bridges Trail and the ensuring Laurel Run Road climb. His move was the springboard that launched Chris Beck and Christian Tanguy off the front. Bell dangled in 3rd for 50 miles before falling like a rock out of the top 10 in the closing 20 miles.

My New York State neighbor, Joe Johnston was further up the course as it has been five years or so since I last was able to really ‘compete’ with him in any way. However, the thing that really caught me off-guard, having not studied the ‘pre-reg’ list beforehand, was that this youngster is now 50 and newly in our Masters field in his first NUE Epic appearance of the season.

It was also neither surprising that another newly-50, Russell Spaulding, was further up the course, having beaten me by small margins already at both Mohican and Lumberjack. The thing that WAS surprising is that he was able to increase this, previously, small margin over me to such an extent that he was able to beat Joe as well which, to me, is really REALLY impressive … congrats Russell on your first NUE win!

In the end, I’m glad. As it turned out, the balance of our field allowed me the third small box to join Russell and Joe on the Masters podium with their great rides, and also thank Keith Button for all the teamwork over the first half of the course and congratulate him as well on his very fine fourth place finish among the 25 Masters who took the start line that morning.

As for me, my next NUE Epic appearance will be up in New Hampshire, checking out the transition from the previous Hampshire 100 into the Crotched Mountain 100.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

NEXT: The NUE Race Series heads to Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming for the Pierre’s Hole 100 on August 6. Pierre’s Hole will host both the NUE Epic Series and the NUE Marathon Series offering both 100 mile and 100k options. Stay tuned right here for the latest news and reports.

Breckenridge 100 & 68

100-Milers and Marathon Riders Conquer Brutal Conditions in Breck

By Ryan O’Dell

For racers not acclimated or accustomed to high altitude, hovering mostly above ten thousand feet, the Breckenridge 100, 68 and 32 mile races present a scenic challenge with three unique cloverleaf style loops nestled between three ski resorts that will bring you back to your friends and support staff after each loop to historic downtown Breckenridge. This phenomenal backcountry course comprises pristine high alpine singletrack, 11,000’passes, and multiple crossings of the Continental Divide. Many racers consider the B100/B68, one of the greatest challenges along the NUE Race Series circuit.

Breck 100 and B68 Racers earned NUE Race Series points, attracting racers from all over the USA. Racers also received points in the statewide Colorado RME, Rocky Mountain Series bringing together riders from all over Colorado.

To receive a ranking and series rewards in the NUE Epic 100 and NUE Marathon Race Series, racers four best completed races count. Division winners receive the official unique NUE Champions Jersey courtesy of Voler, a share of a combined US$16,000 series cash purse, complimentary entry into all NUE National Series races in 2018, plus an all-expense paid trip in November to represent the NUE Race Series at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica, from the Pacific to the Caribbean considered one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world.

 

100-mile open women’s winner Larissa Conners. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Women’s Open 100 Mile

Conners leaves no doubt!

Larissa Conners, Team Twenty20, crushed it at 10:10:19, the sixth fastest time on the day overall!

Chase Edwards, Flagstaff Bike Revolution, who finished fourth overall, last year in the NUE Race Series, was second at 11:37:50.

“This year’s Breckenridge 100 turned out to be the hardest 100-mile bike race I’ve ever done! I had two bummer moves early on that made it difficult for me to get my head back in the game. On the way up the first climb, my glasses fogged really badly.

I saw Marlee Dixon take a right-hand turn and switch back above me. I was only a couple seconds back but I knew I should be riding her wheel closer because this is her backyard. I cranked up the watts to close the gap and focused really hard on the wet rocks in front of me through my fogged glasses. I wondered why the road wasn’t turning to the right the way it seemed like it should when I was watching Marlee, but I could barely see and just kept throwing down watts.

I saw dots in the distance and told myself she must have made her move. It turns out those dots were hikers, and I eventually stopped and took off my fogged glasses. It was pretty obvious with my glasses off that I was not on course. I played around with my Garmin for a minute and then rode back down until I saw other racers turning onto the singletrack I had missed.

I was pretty frustrated after this and, part way down Wheeler (the singletrack I had missed), I clipped a pedal on a rock, flew over the handle bars, and over the edge of the exposed trail into a bramble of willows. It was like landing on a mattress! If the willows hadn’t been there, I would have gone for quite the tumble down the exposed side of the trail.

I crashed two more times on Wheeler after that and finally had to tell myself the singletrack was not my place to be making up time. Larissa Connors told me later that she rode with her eyes squinted and mud flying in her face the entire race without her glasses on because they were so fogged. Maybe I’ll try that next time!

As I came into Carter Park at the end of the first lap, two women were standing in the trail wondering which direction to go. They must have been part of the marathon or the 35-mile. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I rode down to the staging area and started refueling. Then I saw other racers – including Parker Tyler (3rd place woman) – ride under the banner. I was so confused! I started asking around and someone explained to me the way the finish of the laps were supposed to work.

It turned out the two confused women on the trail were blocking the way I was supposed to go so I rode back up, looped around on the singletrack the correct way, and back into the exchange area. I contemplated dropping at this point. My time was over a half-hour slower than I wanted it to be, I was freezing, and I had done a really bad job eating after taking my first wrong turn because I was so focused on making up time. But Parker was still in the exchange area, and I decided it was silly to drop this early on.

Part way through the second lap, I saw Marlee working on a flat alongside the trail. This made me really sad. She’s an awesome gal and riding with her during several big races last year was a highlight of my season. After that, I just went into survival mode and ate a lot of Honey Stinger waffles! Parker and I went back and forth the rest of the day.

I’m a strong climber and was okay with the race coming down to the climb out of Como for Parker and me; and that’s exactly what happened. I knew Larissa was way farther ahead of me than I wanted, and I pushed myself hard on the last climb to ensure my time to the top of the pass was at least faster than hers (this is some fun competition leftover from Telluride 100 last week). I just barely held Parker off on the singletrack descent into the finish. Overall, Breck 100 is one of the coolest – and most brutal – courses I have ever raced. I look forward to coming back next year!”

Five minutes later, Parker Tyler, Park City Bike Demos, finished third at 11:42:41. “We woke up to cold rain on race morning and I got excited that it was going to be a wet and muddy day. The trails held strong through the tough conditions and had some of the most amazing single track I have ever ridden. Knowing that there were epic descents after every climb was motivation to grind through some of the steepest climbs I have ever done in a 100 mile race. I started the race not feeling awesome as we climbed up Breck but I started to warm up quickly as we climbed up and over Wheeler Pass.

The first lap was definitely the hardest both physically and mentally through the cold rain, but, as soon as I went out on my second lap I started to feel strong and kept feeling stronger as the day went on. This was the first 100 mile race I finished with a smile on my face.  A combination of epic trails, an amazing race venue, and awesome volunteers made this one of the most fun days I have had on a bike.”

Open men’s 100-mile winner Sam Sweetser. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Men’s Open 100 Mile and 100k

Sweetser gets his first NUE Breck win!

Sam Sweetser, Cole Sport, who finished at the NUE Series Opener at True Grit, earned his first NUE win this season to finish 9:04:43.

Three minutes later, David Krimstock, Giant Co Factory, took second at 9:07:36. In March, Krimstock placed fourth at the NUE Series opener in Utah.

“The weather outlook for the 2017 Breck 100 was marginal at best.  It looked very likely we’d be getting rain at some point during the race but when the morning came, it appeared as though the worst case scenario was taking shape. As I rode down to the start in the rain, I was skeptical if the race could even take place.

I felt good on the first climb up the ski area to Wheeler Pass but the wet, slippery conditions on the single track made me cautious, and I was passed by Tostado and Ross. I regained composure at the start of loop 2 and chased back into third by the top of the Little French climb. Then, while riding the flume trail, I got a flat which was probably caused by an old nail used in the mining operations 100 years ago. I really wanted to quit at that point, as I started to shiver while fixing the flat, and got passed down into sixth place. Still undecided, I rode down to my crew at the aid station. They had gotten word that I had flatted, and had my aluminum training wheel ready to swap out.

After switching wheels, I pressed on, not sure if I could regain the ground I lost. After the Colorado Trail section, I found myself back in fourth and began to feel good again. At the start of loop 3, I was back in third position and knew that the home stretch was in sight.

Once the Illinois Gulch climb was over, I saw Munoz on Boreas Pass, and went past him into second. I knew Sweetser is a great descender/trail rider, so it would be hard for me to catch him, but pressed on. After the gold dust trail, I got word that I was three minutes back, and tried to pick it up, but the day began to catch up to me and my legs weren’t having it. I could see him as we crested Boreas Pass for the last time. Descending the Bakers Tank trail, I just wanted to get down to Carter Park safely.

This race was a huge learning experience for me, showing the extremes in which it is possible to ride and race. My remaining NUE races are the Pierres Hole 100 and the Big Bear Grizzly.”

The racer who has earned more Breck wins than any other, Josh Tostado, Santa Cruz, Shimano, Maxxis, came in at 9:30:17 to take the final spot on the podium. Having completed three of the required four NUE Races to qualify, Tostado currently stands 10th overall in the NUE Epic Point Series that includes a third place finish at True Grit and, more recently, a fourth place finish at the High Cascades 100 in Bend, OR.

Seven minutes later David Ross, Go4Graham, was fourth at 9:37:17. An early leader in the race, Daniel Munoz, BAGHOUSE, held on for fifth place, one of just five racers to finish sub 10 on the day at 9:41:19.

Open men’s marathon champ Kyle Trudeau. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Marathon Men’s Open, Breck 68:

Kyle Trudeau, CZ Racing, had a commanding win and the only sub six hour finish at 5:43:57.

“The Breck 68 was truly an epic day on the bike. Typically, a race that lasts about four hours is on the long side for me so I knew going into the race with an estimated finishing time of about five and a half hours would be a new challenge and gaining experience for Breck Epic was an added plus. I’m a desert kid so when I was sitting on the starting line, in the rain, I would be lying if I said I was filled with joy.

We set off on the roll out and, as the road pointed upward, there was a quick selection of about four of us (Alders, Dolzani, Rasmussen and me) about ten minutes into the race. The pace was set by Dolzani and soon it was just him and I on the first climb as it turned flowing stream/dirt road. Dolzani made a small mistake towards the top of the first climb that allowed me to get by him and then settle into my own pace.

When the rain finally decided to stop the single track turned to Velcro and I tried to ride smooth and steady till the finish where I was completely boxed. My Scott Spark RC was bullet proof on the day, paired with some Maxxis Pace tires, and I couldn’t have grabbed the win without the support of Construction Zone Racing, GoTenac Coaching, BikeFlights.com, and Rouleur Carbon.

Twenty nine minutes later, Bryan Alders, TrainingPeaks/Yeti/Pactimo, took second at 6:12:03. Fifteen minutes later, Weston Rasmussen, Honey Stinger / Bontrager, claimed third at  6:27:27.

 

Men’s 100-mile SS runner-up Mark Nesline overcame a broken crank. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

 Singlespeed 100 mile

Fish Wins

Timon Fish, Sticky Racing, crushed the Single Speed field at 10:14:24.

Mark Nesline, Vail Jr Cycling, was next placing second in 12:06:46 using 32-21 gearing.  “This is my long race/climbing gear. I can pedal strong all the way from mile 1-100. “

Nesline would go on to experience both, the adversity and the joy that comes through persevering.

“The day started out with pouring rain when I woke up at 3 AM. Knowing the importance of positive thinking, I looked at the rain in a good light. Being local, I know it’s not often in Colorado that you get to experience a rainy day. I was excited. The race started at 6am as I just rolled up to the line right as we started.

I was feeling relaxed as we got into the climb up wheeler and tried to push to stay with the leaders but my legs were not having it. Knowing it’s a long race, I settled into my own pace up the climb. The rest of the first lap went by quickly. When I came into transition, I was told I was in second place. This was a surprise but I re-stocked my skratch and stinger and took off on my second lap.

This lap is brutal. Lots of up and down, and the Colorado trail is relentless with its roots. In the past I have struggled on this lap but, as I started lap two, my legs had come around and I was feeling strong.

All was going well, or so I thought, until mile 52. I had just come through the last aid station, ready to crank out the last nine miles. I hit the Singletrack climb and felt something weird in my pedal. I thought it was just a broken pedal so I kept riding, trying to ignore it. Then Snap! I looked down and see my crank arm had snapped off where the pedal connects.

This is unfixable, but I had one option, keep going. I just kept riding, I don’t like or think quitting is an option. Keep riding somehow, someway, was the only thought in my head. After a few miles, I made it a challenge to myself to see how fast I could maintain uphill one foot Stridering/pedaling so, in slightly over an hour, I covered nine miles in various sketchy methods, finishing lap 2.

As soon as I got into Carter Park, I went on a search to get a replacement crank to keep racing. I ended up running two blocks to Breck Bike Guides, got a new crank arm, and then headed out on third and final lap. It was thirty minutes from when I finished the second lap until I went back out on the third.

This course is just so fun it’s really hard, in my mind, to even consider quitting for any reason. When I finished my second lap, I love the backside of Boreas pass. It so fun and that’s what made me want to go back out.

As a coach of local high schoolers with Vail JR Cycling, I want my athletes to always finish their races – no matter what. I have to hold myself to that same standard. Through suffering and difficulty, we gain knowledge and the most useful things are learned about ourselves and life…. that shows we are capable of anything if we try hard enough. There’s nothing that we can’t accomplish.

The third lap proved to be incredible! The trails were tacky and the downhills were the best I have ever ridden it. Incredible fun! Not knowing if I was still in second or not, I hammered as hard as possible and kept telling myself “you’re never out of the fight.” Anything could happen.  I had my fastest time ever to complete lap 3 and my bike worked great all the way to the finish.

Men’s marathon SS winner Dan Durland. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

To finish this race this year was not an easy accomplishment but, it was such a rewarding feeling to finish a race in this way and then the podium on top of that is just cool. I don’t race with a goal of podiums. I race with goal to race 100%, and give it everything I have. That way, no matter what happens, I can be satisfied with the result knowing there was nothing else I could do. I definitely did that today.

If you are looking for a fun and difficult challenge, the Breck100 is it. I have finished this race five times, with two second place finishes, but it’s never gotten easier. Always fun.

After the race, I stayed after and helped the venue clean up and load up the truck. This was a blast! It takes a village to put on these races and it’s important to help out when you can.

As for future NUE races, this year, my focus and attention is towards Colorado High School League race season but, I will definitely be back for the Bailey HUNDO and Breck100 next year. Possibly even the lumberjack100.”

Nice guys finish last? Just under an hour later, Bernie Romero, Mr. Nice Guy, would finish last at 13:03:56. However, Romero’s finish was good enough to take the final spot on the podium due to a higher number of racers unable to finish in the more difficult conditions.

 

Master’s 50+ champ Greg Golet. Photo by: Ryan O’Dell

Masters 50+ 100 mile

Golet survives and earns a W in the mountains of Breckenridge

Greg Golet,Team Chico, earned a narrow win to finish 10:45:49, his third straight win in the NUE Race Series, following wins at both True Grit Epic in Utah and in the High Cascades 100 of Oregon.

“When I read Ryan’s pre-race email, I dismissed his suggestion that this race would be just about surviving, but really that’s what it came down to–in a war of attrition.

I was extremely thankful for the 5:30AM repair of my front brake by Eli (Carver bikes), but in my rush to get ready for the start I didn’t center the caliper, even though I knew I should have.

Before we headed off on the 3 loop course the announcer said “be ready for rain all day, and if you hear thunder <5 sec after seeing lightning, do the right thing”. Such comforting words as we prepared to ride up to over 12k elevation.

The first long climb was great despite the rain. Surprisingly, the altitude didn’t seem to bother me. At the top I stopped and put on a raincoat, which I noticed not all the other riders had. Even so, I got pretty drenched on the rest of the loop, though I know it held some heat in. At the end of it, I pulled my wool leg warmers on over my grit covered legs in hopes they’d help me warm up on loop 2.

Heading out I was psyched up to be climbing for the warmth it brought, but even so felt my core temp dropping. As I fought my way up one particularly steep rocky section, a blue-lipped guy heading back the way we came said, “good luck man, I’m bailing”.

Not long after, my rear tire lost some air, but I kept riding and eventually made it to the next aid station. I was glad not to have to use my CO2, and actually really enjoyed how well my bike cornered and rolled over all the roots and rocks with low psi. Thankfully, the rain mostly stopped near the end of this second loop. Coming into Carter Park, I thought about stopping to see if I could replace my front brake pads, which had by this time worn away from the rubbing and grit, but decided it’d be best to just keep going.

On loop 3, I rode pretty cautiously on the descents with no front brake and not wanting to flat. I also stopped at all the aid stations, and ate more and drank less than I ever have in a race this long.

Despite the horrendous weather in the first 2/3rds of this race, it was one of my all-time favorites. Phenomenal terrain and scenery in the high Rockies and, as usual for a NUE event, top-notch racer support!

My finish time was a lot further back from the first overall finisher than usual. Maybe it was the additive effect of a whole bunch of little things or maybe it was due to a loss in fitness. I guess I’ll find out soon. Pierre’s Hole is just a few days away. Another big long race–this time in the Tetons!! Who could ask for more?”

Just five minutes behind Golet, Willem Jewett, Team Vermont, finished second at 10:50:06.

”For the past couple years, I’ve been combining Leadville 100 with a “family vacation”; bringing first one daughter and then both to Colorado for a week of riding before the race. Last year, we got a taste of Breckenridge trails with my college friend, Ellen Hollinshed. So we put together a “Team Vermont” to take on a new challenge.

Our week of riding leading up to Breck 100 was unparalleled.  We were able to pre-ride most of the course and had a ball doing it. Around mid-week, The Weather Underground started giving warnings that this good run of weather might end but the radar at 4 AM on Saturday didn’t look too bad.

We had a brisk ride up the Mountain to the Wheeler trail. Turning onto the trail, I realized that race pace at 12,000 feet had created just a touch of dizziness; not the best thing on a narrow traverse. Dizzy and cold, I was a bit shocked by the speed with which a couple of riders passed me going down to Copper. I managed to descend with just a single (uneventful) fall and catch back up to those downhill streaks on the bike path.

I got pretty grooved on the peaks trail. OK, I might have pushed things a bit too far and done some trail grooming with my face and knee but, you know, you have to find the limits, right?

Out on the second loop, I did get a little worried as I heard tires rolling up on me at the bottom of the French Creek climb; whew, just some of the leaders in the shorter races. I may have made that French Creek climb a couple days earlier but it was just not happening. Still cold and a bit empty, I was eating through whatever I could dig out of my pockets as fast as possible.

American Gulch was great fun AND the dirtiest downhill I’ve ridden in years. Things dried out a bit on the way up the Colorado Trail. I didn’t have much going up but you can’t let a climb like that go to waste, so I had a good rip at the downhill to the dredge boat.

I wasn’t really loving the Gold Run stuff but was starting to feel like I might be able to get over Boreas a couple times and finish. I was even willing to believe the announcer at Carter when he said I was sitting in second.

Loop 3 was all about avoiding a collapse. After that long (and somewhat boring) Boreas Pass climb, I did have a bunch of fun on the Baker’s Tank and Aspen Ally Downhills ’cause you gotta race to the tape!

Look, Leadville is a great big fire road race but Breck 100 is a MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE of epic proportions. And, by the way, those youngsters I brought from the 802 – Ellie Curtis (18) was first in the 32 mile race and Abi Jewett (17) was second despite a flat tire out on American Gulch. Funny thing, I bought her a Co2 the night before and gave her a quick tutorial.  After the race I think she said something like “I’m never using a pump again”.

Thomas Barth took the third spot on the podium at 11:47:36. “I’m fifty years old, and started to renew my focus on racing XC a few years ago, but had not done long races or used to a structured training program for about twenty years. This year, I joined a training program through the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance (BMA). I raced the Full Growler in May, got fifth in my age group, and continued training though the spring and summer, averaging about twelve hours per week using a coached program. I used a Pivot Mach 4, perfect bike for this race.

On race day the weather was a concern, and I’ve never ridden a lot of the trails. The recent forest fire disrupted plans to pre-ride, but my strength has always been on tech and descending, so I concentrated on having fun and pushing myself. I kept my heart rate just below my threshold (or as hard as I was able to throughout the day) on the climbs and cautiously ripped the descents.

A nice guy on a climb offered a good piece of advice that I’ll share. “If you have to get off and walk, don’t get back on until you are sure you can ride.” I tried not to get too stressed watching a bunch of people go by when I picked up a shard of glass and flatted on loop 2. The mud made it tough to get the tubeless valve stem out.  I felt great through loop 3 and had a great time. The wonderful trails helped a lot.”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

NEXT NUE: The NUE Race Series heads to Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming for the Pierre’s Hole 100 on August 6. Pierre’s Hole will host both the NUE Epic Series and the NUE Marathon Series offering both 100 mile and 100k options. Stay tuned right here for the latest news and reports.

Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge

Carrabassett 100K

Written by: Shana Biese, Ryan O’Dell

Located in the beautiful Carrabassett Valley of Northern Maine at Sugar Loaf Ski Area, The seventh annual (CBCC) Carrabassett Backcountry Challenge 100k joined the NUE Marathon Series this year witnessing tremendous growth from three hundred last year to now more than four hundred racers in 2017. In addition to the NUE 100k distance, CBCC also included shorter distances of 50k and 25k plus kids races.

During the past five years, approximately $500,000 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

Blanchard gets the W!

Bryna Blanchard, BMB racing, took first place with a time of 6:24:40.

Eight minutes later, Karen Potter, Pivot/DNA Cycling, took second with a time of 6:32:17. “My race went pretty well considering I haven’t done a lot of endurance racing of late, nor in training. I didn’t expect to be up front much so going back and forth with Bryna for the first twenty miles was motivating. Although, Bryna was climbing much better than I was, we went back and forth a few times early on and then, when we hit some dirt road climbs, and she was gone, I knew I had to settle into a pace I felt more comfortable keeping for the next 40 miles.

There was more climbing than I had anticipated and certainly more than had been described. The muddy conditions made for some obvious challenges for everyone but there was lots of fun purpose built single track that was really fun and handled the water well. Mid-course there was some stream crossings that I was thankful for cleaning off my drive-train some. The crews at the aid stations were awesome. I had faded some mid-race but, around the five hour mark, my legs came back around and I started to feel better and stronger on the climbs. I had some aspirations of reeling in first again but Bryna had a great race and it was too little too late, but good enough to hold onto second.”

Following her 100k Marathon win at Mohican in June, Linda Shin, Blacksmith Cycle, took third at 6:44:20. “I’ve never been to Maine so I jumped at the chance to visit for a MTB race! I didn’t do my due diligence on researching what the trails were like before heading to Maine and opted to race with my Lauf fork setup on my hardtail Scapin Spektro 29er, which only has 60mm of travel. I should have known better with ‘backcountry’ in the race name that the course was going to be rugged and rough! The course was rocky but manageable and I knew I had to just stay loose when we pre-rode the day before the race.

I had a really bad first half of the race that started with wiping out within the first 12 seconds of the race and had to chase from the back of the pack. I knew I had some work cut out for me to try to catch Karen and Bryna. I worked my way up the field but then had a few mechanicals along the way and a couple more wipeouts! It was a fine balance of trying to stay really loose in the rocky sections and descents and not losing grip on the bars.

On one of the rough descents, my Garmin popped off. I stopped to look for it in the lush trail when my boyfriend rolled in behind me after a few minutes, told me to keep riding and that he’d stay back to look for it. The second half of the race was really tough too as I had no idea when to eat without my Garmin and was starting to feel the fatigue settle in. I knew I was sitting in third, likely way behind Karen and Bryna, so I just wanted to ride safe without any more mishaps to maintain a podium spot.

On the out and back section, I saw Karen and realized I wasn’t too far behind, and also saw Liz Allen who wasn’t’ too far behind me so my motivation picked up. When I arrived at aid 4, one of the volunteers had my Garmin which Craig had found and left for me at the aid station. I was so stoked!!! Thanks Craig and to all the amazing volunteers who catered to all the racers!

My luck was turning but my upper body was really starting to feel beat up from the lack of suspension and I was ready to get to the finish line. I was slowing down on the last big climb; the last descent couldn’t come sooner. I finally cruised into the finish line feeling pretty battered and muddy, but all smiles. Despite my bad luck, I still had so much fun. The course was so rad and the volunteers and aid stations were awesome. The Christmas aid station was the best! There were quite a few of us from Ontario racing so it was a really fun road trip with friends. I will definitely do this race again, but with a better bike setup! Next up, I’m headed to Shenandoah 100.”

Nine minutes behind Shin, Elizabeth Allen, took fourth at 6:53:37. Laura Dougherty was fifth at 7:16:41.

 

Men’s Open

Scott wins by eight minutes!

 Andy Scott, Riverside Racing, earned his first NUE race win with a time of 5:16:77.

Eight minutes later, John Petrylak, Scott Pro MTB Team/Bike Factory/EIS grips/Bishop, came in second place with a time of 5:24:22. “I got to Carrabassett a little earlier than I anticipated. This gave me an opportunity to do a pre-ride on both Thursday and Friday.

The first ten miles of the race is just the most absolute fun New England Single track you can imagine. On Friday, I rode the last five miles or so of the finish (which is an awesome five mile descent back into the valley). Since this was the first year the NUE was making a stop in Carrabassett, I wasn’t sure what to expect but, right away, you could tell this race was a well-oiled machine with folks directing parking for an easy, orderly morning and signage everywhere. The course also has good markings and the race description was right on. After a brief riders meeting, we lined up and then it was GO time!

The start is a nice field section that funnels into double track and then eventually single track. I was very motivated to get to the single track first since rain the night before and into race morning made for muddy conditions. I had a great start and was first wheel into the single track around the outdoor center. It was crazy fun with such amazing trails and fun obstacles. After the first six miles of single track, the race starts to get a little more serious.

A group of around eight riders started to get some distance as we climbed towards the top of the resort. The group was led by race favorite Dereck Treadwell, eventual winner Andy Scott, Brian Oickle, and myself. I followed Dereck’s wheel as he punished the steep pitches at the top; soon after that Dereck and I had gotten some daylight between us and the chase group! The gap didn’t stick as we descended down some of the XC skiing trails; they were pretty chucky and it was a big gamble to just let it rock down them.

After the descent, the group was down to four riders and another four in a chase group just a few seconds back. We climbed up a super fun piece of machine built single track and then popped out onto a fire road heading towards aid station 1. After the aid station, the group came back together as we descended this amazing piece of double track with tons of little bridges and small creek crossings. The group was rolling smooth along a pretty blown out fire road with monstrous mud puddles sprinkled around. I was about twenty seconds in front of the group with Andy and then a terrible crash caused Dereck to call it a day as his handle bars broke!

Right after the second aid station at mile thirty, it was Brian Oickle, Andy Scott and I heading up a loose, rocky, steep double track trying get away from the chase group. Our group was together all the way until around mile 45 when, after a long flat-ish section that Brian was flying on, we dismounted for a steep creek crossing and then Andy got a little separation from Brian and I going up the powerline. Right after the second to last aid station is a five mile gravel road that we started to work together on to close the gap on Andy. The road is an out and back so we could see Andy about 30 or 40 seconds in front of us.

Once we hit the check point and turned around to head towards the final climb, we did a nice, old school, New England piece of single track. While I was riding, I could feel my left foot starting to have a bunch of float in the pedal and then it started slapping against the pedal. UGH!!!  My cleat came loose. I got it tightened back up just before the bolt fell all the way out! Now I was in crisis control mode heading towards the final five mile climb before a nice rewarding descent back to the finish line.

I didn’t realize that we used the same piece of trail twice (listen to those announcements during riders meetings), so I panicked thinking I missed a turn and then rode backwards, when I found Bobby Nash and we both decided to head the way I was going originally. After a few nervous miles, we popped out at the last aid station signaling we were going the right way.

After I started to get rolling up the climb, I found Brian Oickle had some terrible luck and flatted. With third place on my wheel I kept the pace high, climbing up the final stretch and was able to put just a little daylight between Bobby and myself. I kept the gap all the way to the finish but I could never catch Andy as he was on fire! After a very exciting race for almost the entire day, I was so thrilled to land on the podium. Congrats to Andy Scott; he rode very strong all day.”

Just one minute behind Petrylak, Bobby Nash, Dr. Naylor-Treadwelltraining, finished in third place at 5:25:52. Five minutes later, Neal Burton, Team Errace p/b DSO Manufacturing, claimed fourth at 5:30:56. Four minutes behind Burton, Alan Starrett, took fifth at  5:34:08.

Singlespeed

Giroux wins on 32×20 gearing!

Dan Giroux, BSWC, was first across the line at 6:14:35.

Jesse Bell was second at 6:52:18. “The morning started out with a light rain, but warm weather. The start was not overly fast and, being on a low geared single speed, I did not make a big effort to get to the front of the pack before the single track, which ended up being my biggest mistake of the race.

As we approached the bottle neck to the single track, several riders shot in front of me who I didn’t think much of and figured they were probably fast. As it turns out, they were not overly skilled in the tight tech New England single track so the pace was slow to say the least. It took the whole first single track section to pick off all of those slower riders (at least 5 miles).

About 15-20 minutes into the race, the rain picked up pretty steady and eventually became a good hard rain for a bit. The trails became pretty soggy with all the rain and the volume of riders. The whole time I was dealing with the wet trails, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the people behind me and the 50K racers. For the most part, the trails handled the rain very well and 95% of them were rideable. There were a few places where, if you hit the wrong line through the mud, you would come to a complete stop. The wet also made flats a common problem. I saw several people on the side of the trails fixing flats. I just concentrated on riding clean and not doing anything stupid.

I was able to ride the whole race without a mechanical and was able to keep the rubber on the ground. The rains stopped about an hour in and the skies cleared for a very nice day. I raced an Ibis Tranny 29, with a 100mm Reba, Next cranks, and I9 Trail 24 wheels with Vittoria Mezcal G+ 2.25″ tires and was impressed with how the tires handled the wet and mud. I was geared out at a 32X20 and, after talking to the other single speed riders there, I was geared the lowest. It was a great day to do a great race in beautiful country.”

Masters 50+

Taylor with a commanding win!

Within a large master’s field of 38 racers, Scott Taylor, Blue Hill Cycling, took a commanding win at 6:06:21.

Seventeen minutes later, Scott Burrill, bikeman.com, rolled into second place at 6:23:10. Just one minute behind Burrill, John Burkhardt, HUP United, took third at 6:24:48. None of the masters responded to our request for a race report.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

WHATS NEXT: NUE Epic and Marathon Series Racers will travel to Breckenridge, Colorado on July 29 to brave the high mountain elevation of the Rockies. On the same day, many NUE Epic racers will choose the challenging hills and rocks at the Wilderness 101 in State College, Pennsylvania.

High Cascades 100

NUE High Cascades 100

Bend, OR

Written by: Ryan O’Dell, Shana Biese

At 5:30AM, Racer’s gathered at Bachelor Village, near Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon in anticipation of one of the most popular races in the NUE Race Series. The town of Bend is a top destination for mountain bikers thanks to hundreds of miles of primo singletrack trails that can be accessed directly from downtown connecting to other nearby towns including the town of Sisters.

The Ninth Annual High Cascades 100 marked the midway point of the fourteen race National Ultra Endurance MTB Race Series where NUE series hopefuls had just one final opportunity to lead their respective divisions earning a mid-season comp entry to compete in the Volcano 100, the first NUE race held outside of the USA near Liberia, Costa Rica.

Deschutes Brewery, www.deschutesbrewery.com, one of the top rated craft breweries in the US, was on site at the finish line serving up draft brews. Sagebrush Cycles of Bend, www.sagebrushcycles.net, in addition to offering mechanical services on the race course at every aid station, also offered racers a place to ship their bikes that included getting the bikes race ready and inspected before the race.

Carla Williams on course. Photo by Ryan Wilkerson

Women’s Open

Williams wins her first HC100, leads NUE Race Series!

Defending NUE Race Series Champion, Carla Williams, Joes Bike Shop Racing Team, won her third straight NUE Series race taking the top spot on the podium at High Cascades with a time of 8:42:26. Williams is one race away from a perfect score following wins at both Cohutta 100 and Mohican MTB100.

“This was my first time racing High Cascades and I really had no idea what to expect. I kept things pretty conservative to start and pulled into the first aid station at 25 miles with Kaydee Raths. I skipped the aid station and, from there, rode the rest of the race in front of the women’s field trying to keep a consistent pace, but still keeping a little in reserve until the end, since I wasn’t sure how hard the last climbs or singletrack would be. The plan worked out pretty well!

The trails were super fun and flowy and very sandy and dusty if you happened to be riding behind someone. I forgot my sunglasses and vision out of my left eye was completely blurry for the last twenty miles from all the dust which made seeing and riding the last singletrack miles pretty challenging. The event overall was super well organized, great volunteers and aid stations, and overall a very fun event! My next race will be W101 in Pennsylvania.”

Thrity-three minutes later, Olivia Dillon, Velocio, racing her first NUE of 2017, came in second place with a time of 9:15:51. Sixteen minutes later, Liza Hartlaub, GU Energy Labs, came in third with a time of 9:41:18.

“High Cascades 100 for me was a sort of bucket list race. I have never raced anything close to 100 miles on a mountain bike so I had low expectations for myself. My goal was simply to “have fun” and complete the distance in good spirits.

My lovely boyfriend was at the aid stations providing support and letting me know that I was in fifth place- at mile 24 as well as mile 40. I hit a low point mentally around mile 55 right at the start of the big climb up Mrazek. I just kind of chugged along feeling very blah. I stopped to ask for water from some lovely volunteers and they told me fourth place was just ahead and they thought I could probably catch her. Suddenly, I found that extra gear in my legs and that’s when I started racing- around mile 70. I made the pass around mile 76. A few miles later- I saw third place! I made the pass and didn’t look back.”

Photo by Ryan Wilkerson

Men’s Open

Jones narrowly wins a tight race with defending NUE Series Champ!

Professional road racer, Christopher Jones, Healthcare United, came in first place with a time of 7:24:44 following an epic battle with the NUE defending Champion.

“High Cascades is about as much of a home race as one can get for me; the start is right out my door, we race on trails that I ride every time I going on a mountain bike ride and the finish is at the Athletic Club of Bend where my son is learning to swim this summer. This makes HC100 about as easy as a mountain bike race can get for a pro roadie such as myself, which is not easy at all!
This year’s edition of the HC100 had the deepest talent pool that I have seen in the past few years of the race and it showed at the front of the race with multiple lead changes. My personal race was saved when I stopped at mile 68 to ward off a bonk with some old fashion junk food that I had purchased at the gas station the night before. My win came as a surprise to many because roadies can’t ride the dirt, right?

Thank you to race director Mike Ripley, COTA, and all of the volunteers who continue to make this one of the most enjoyable races I compete in all season. I am already looking forward to next season and returning on my singlespeed.”

Three minutes later, NUE defending champion, Dylan Johnson, Cameron Mountain Bike Racing, finished second at 7:27:03. Johnson continues to dominate the Men’s Open category this year including three wins and three second place finishes, holding a solid lead overall in the NUE Men’s Open category.

“This year was my first time doing High Cascades so I didn’t know what to expect. After pre riding parts off the course, I was pleased with how fun and flowy the single track was and I was excited to race.

The race started out with a decent two track climb in which a small front group formed. As the race progressed I found myself at the front with Chris Jones. On the final long climb of the race I managed to distance myself from Chris but I misjudged the amount of fuel I would need between aid stations. I reached into my pocket and had nothing left. I got to the last aid station before the  bonk came on, shoveled gels and coke into my mouth but, at that point, it was too late. Shortly after, Chris caught me, and I held on for second.”

Twenty-one minutes later, Steven Mills, New West Medical, took third with a time of 7:48:13. Earlier this season, Mills won the NUE season opener at the True Grit Epic in the Single Speed category. Mills placed second overall last year in the NUE Series single speed division.

Legend and local resident, Marcel Russenburger, a three-time Tour de France rider and professional from 1982-1990, finished his first his first High Cascades 100 along with his daughter, Sophie Russenburger.

Ben Shaklee taking another win in the 100 mile SS category. Photo by Ryan Wilkerson

Singlespeed

Two in a row for Shaklee!

After winning first at Tatanka, Ben Shaklee, Jack’s Bicycle Center/ Homegrown Racing, won the HC100 Single Speed race with a time of 8:06:06. Shaklee moves up to fifth place overall in NUE Single Speed division.

“I rode with a small chase group of open riders on the opening fire roads, somewhere in the top 10-12 until about mile thirty. At that point, I began gradually dropping them primarily on the singletrack descents. At mile 52 aid, I was reported in eighth overall, about five minutes back from the leaders. From there, I rode solo to the finish, occasionally trading places with a couple Open riders through aid station.

At mile 52 aid I was reported in 8th overall, about 5 min back from leaders. From there I rode solo to the finish, occasionally trading places with a couple open riders through the aid station. I passed and dropped a couple more open riders shortly after Aid 5 and was able to open enough gap to hold them off on the five mile false flat paved downhill to the finish running a 34×19 gearing, same as second and third Singlespeed.”

Thirteen minutes later, NUE defending SS Champion, James Litzinger, Syndicate Cycling p/b Pro Bike + Run, took second with a time of 8:19:00. Litzinger is currently first place overall in the NUE Single Speed Standings.

“I don’t know where I start with this amazing race and adventure with family and friends.  There were four families that headed out to race the High Cascades 100 from the greater Pittsburgh area. We made plans to see what the west coast had to offer last summer and it surely didn’t disappoint! We enjoyed amazing hikes, riding, swimming, racing, and foods!

We headed to the start line for the early 5:30 a.m. start. It was a beautiful Oregon morning with very comfortable temperatures knowing that it would warm up quite a bit in the afternoon. My teammate and friend, Anthony Grinnell, was making his Single Speed debut at High Cascades.  Knowing that he is a super strong rider with consistent top 10 finishes in the men’s open, I wanted to ride the whole race with him. I knew that it would be awesome to have the company of a teammate throughout the race.

There was a mellow neutral start that happened to be quite refreshing for a single speeder. I didn’t need to spin my butt off and burn a bunch of matches trying to keep up with the geared riders. After about nine miles, we began our climb up the first sandy, dusty climb! I was informed of all of the dust from local PA rider, Rege Ricketts, who was out at the High Cascades last year so I was prepared with my handkerchief to keep the heavy dust out of my lungs. That was great advice!

Anthony caught up to me at the top of this climb with a reassuring, “Hey Brah!”  Instantly, I knew that this would be a great day on the bike and it sure was! We descended down through the banked turns, whoops, and amazing flow of the Tiddlywinks trail. Before I knew it, we were at aid station 1. I was all good on my wife’s delicious peanut butter ball and Hammer Electrolytes so I just stopped for a top off on one of my bottles. Anthony had a camelback so he just stopped for a little food and then we were on to the next long climb with a few rollers sprinkled in for fun. In no time at all, we were already at aid 2 then 3.

They say time flies when you’re having fun! This was one of those times. We decided to skip aid 3 and get water at the next water aid station shortly after the climb. There was a nice young lady chilling in the back of a truck who had us supplied with the water we needed. The aid stations were very well staffed and organized and I was very thankful!

After aid 3, I knew that there was really only going to be one more big climb then it was just going to be some super fun single track down to the finish. At this point, we thought we were sitting in 3rd and 4th SS and feeling pretty good. We decided to keep our steady pace up the final climb and then push out the single track. We caught up to the 2nd place Single speeder around mile 74. We were feeling really good at this point and kept on pushing the pace because it was so much fun!

Coming out of a shady fast turn I didn’t see a small rock garden until the last minute. My front tire cleared but my rear tire didn’t sending me airborne over the bars and hard onto my head and shoulder. I tried to hurry up and collect my bottles trying not to lose too much time. When I got back onto the bike, I first noticed that my saddle was on about a 45 degree angle from the fall.  Anthony kept asking if I could ride with it like that and I said yeah but after a half mile or so I knew that I would need to stop and fix it to have the strong finish we needed. Anthony and I stopped and I struggled to get my multitool out of my back pocket with my sore shoulder.  Eventually, I was able to get my saddle squared up but in the meantime the Singlespeeders and two geared guys that we passed early passed us.

We didn’t want that SS rider to get on the road finish with the geared guys and knew that if he could hang with them on the road he would be really difficult to catch. So, we put in a hard effort and managed to close the gap quickly then just rode their wheel to a spot where the trail came out near the road and they missed the sharp left hand turn to continue on the trail. Anthony and I were able to stay on our bikes and pass the trio at this point. We put in another good effort to finish out the trail knowing that we wanted to have as big of a lead as possible before hitting the road.

Two SS’ers on the road can work together but it wouldn’t compare to the help of a strong geared rider. Once we got onto the road, we were spinning our butts off and taking turns pulling and constantly looking over our shoulder. After about three miles of strong work, we spun by a geared rider who was not pushing as hard as us and we saw a rider coming up strong behind us.  It was Giant racer, Erik Bee. He was amped for us! We said to him that we were hoping to hop on board to the finish. He gave us each a strong and confident fist bump then put on a killer pull to the finish!

It was great to be great be greeted by our cheering wives at the finish. This ranks up there as one of the greatest 100 milers that I’ve done being out in the beautiful country of the west coast and with my teammate, Anthony. My equipment performed perfectly!  The Schwalbe Racing Ralph tire was the perfect tire to rail the single track at High Cascades and my Wolftooth components drive train was solid as usual!”

Anthony Grinnell, Syndicate Cycling p/b Pro Bike + Run, came in third place with a time of 8:19:00. This was Grinnel’s second NUE race this year. He previously raced Cohutta 100 in the Men’s Open category where he placed tenth.

“It had been five years since I last rode the trails in Bend and I forgot how incredibly fun they are. Mike Ripley did an amazing job organizing the race, the weather was great, and the aid stations were well spaced with friendly volunteers, all of which made for one of the most fun NUE races I’ve done to date.

My teammate, Jim Litzinger, and I kept it dialed back for the first forty miles, knowing this would be an eight- plus hour race and the temps were going to creep into the 90 degree range. That plan worked out well as we passed racer after racer in the last 60 miles. I was running 34×20 gearing with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs. The Ralphs’ grip in those conditions was phenomenal and the gearing was perfect. Hammer Bars, water and bananas kept me fueled and feeling strong.

Jim and I passed the 2nd place SS rider, Mark Schafer, around mile 85. We were pulling away quickly until Jim had a really bad crash at mile 87, sending him over his bars at about 20mph. Jim is competing for points in the NUE series so it was important to get his bike straightened out and get him back up into the second spot. The three to four minutes we were stopped allowed Mark to pass us back. We were able to quickly catch back up around mile 90 and put a five minute gap back to fourth by the finish of the race.

Even with the crash, we were able to close the gap to the leader by about four minutes in the second half of the race. Overall, it was a great day.  100 milers are never easy, but this was one of the most enjoyable NUE races I’ve competed in.”

Masters 50+

Golet wins!!!

Greg Golet, Team Chico, upset NUE defending Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton’s, winning streak and came in first place with a time of 8:08:24. In 2016, the NUE Masters Title came down to the final race with Golet taking second place overall behind Clayton in the NUE Masters points race.

“I arrived in Bend motivated and ready to race. I did a long steep hike with my wife in Tahoe the weekend before, and finally wasn’t feeling sore anymore. The race had a mellow roll out for the first few miles which provided a chance to warm up and catch up with some friends, but this all changed as we approached the dirt.

I’m terrible at pack riding, and so ended up well back from the front, and breathing a lot of dust on the initial long climb. After a while, I passed my main competition that I knew about, Tonning, Clayton, and then my fellow Chico rider, Mike Castaldo, who I traveled to Bend with. This was my first NUE race with Mike, now 50, in my division. A couple of years back; he destroyed the course, beating me handily in the process. Also, at the start, I was told there was a new recruit to the Master’s class, a 50-year-old Bend champion triathlete that is “always first off the bike”. I had no idea where he was when I topped out on that first climb, but assumed he was well ahead.

I was glad when the pack thinned out a bit, and the dust wasn’t so heavy. I even found a group to work with on one of the dirt road sections. After a long pull leading up a mild incline, I moved to the back, but almost immediately the road veered left and down a steep loose hill. Duh! Suddenly I was choking on dust and fading off the back, but at least I didn’t crash. Tiddlywinks was also super dusty for me—and made more challenging by the alternating patches of sun and shade—but still fun.

After mile 40, I mostly rode on my own, only occasionally seeing other racers. I loved most of the course and was glad to ride terrain that was new to me. Favorite trails included Upper Whoops, Mrazek and Dinah Moo Humm. I also really enjoyed the South Fork climb with the tall forest, shade and flowing creek nearby. As I rode I kept thinking how I was so glad to be out there, a feeling made more intense by knowing that I not get the chance again.
After all the major climbs, it was time to be smooth and efficient. Blazing down the fire road to Aid C was sketchy with all the sand traps, but I arrived intact, quickly grabbed my small camelback and headed off. Then I realized just how thirsty I was. My pack was full of a concentrated mix of caffeinated sugary gels and electrolytes, but all I really wanted was water. I thought of those news stories about kids that drink too many energy drinks, and wondered what I was setting myself up for. But it turned all out fine.

The last climbs weren’t too bad. No dust on my second trip down Tiddlywinks, and all of Tyler’s bermed turns were really cool. However, by that time I was stiff and achy and so not able to pump through the turns the way I did earlier in the day (my arms are sore as I write this!). This worried me some because I knew I wasn’t going very fast, and feared I might be passed. But before long I hit the pavement and after riding it for a while looked back and saw I had no chasers. With no one in front of me that I could catch, I realized that my place was secured and just rode steadily finish. Once there, I was psyched for the wet towel, not so much the Coca-Cola.

Thanks to Mike and his crew for putting on a phenomenal event. This was my second win in the Series. I’m only doing four races before the finals, and the last two (Breck100 and Pierre’s Hole) are coming up fast. I can’t wait!!”
Twenty-two minutes later, defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, placed second at 8:30:36. Clayton leads the NUE Masters Division with three straight wins at Cohutta, Mohican, and Lumberjack to go along with his first second place finish this year.

“This was my first time racing the High Cascades 100. I knew that it would be a very different experience from the century races I’ve been doing, higher altitude, drier air, different trail surface. That said, I was looking forward to the challenge! Arriving in Bend Wednesday prior was good…a chance to do a little altitude acclimation, get used to the dry air, see the absolute devotion that Bend folk (Bend-ites?) have for the outdoors and cycling specifically.

I did a 30-ish mile pre-ride Thursday to have some fun and see what I was in for. Dust and sand mixed with sharp lava rock. The scenery was great as was the flow of the trails, but man is the dust bad for the lungs, eyes and losing the front wheel in turns…I knew the race would be even more so. The dust of Thursday’s pre-ride took its toll on my immune system and Friday I felt drained, deciding to skip another pre-ride.

5:30 am start on Saturday. That is a record early race start for me! After a very casual paved portion, the dust flew when we dumped onto the dirt road. I felt good for about a minute and then started to hit the wall…allergies, altitude, inadequate conditioning? I don’t know! I hadn’t pre-ridden this part and didn’t know how bad/long it would be…too long! After dozens and dozens of racers passed me, including several masters’ racers, I finally had a long enough section to recover.

From there on out I progressively got better and started passing back most of those racers. My trends was to pass on anything going up and then, get caught back on technical downhills or really anything with sand in the corners…not east coast tread I am familiar with! Having my lovely wife there to give me splits, food/drink hand ups, and encouragement was invaluable.

Greg Golet was flying and it became evident that, barring a mishap or meltdown on his part, he had the race in the bag. I kept on the gas, because that’s just the way I race, and it paid off. As I rolled into aid 3, Jodi let me know second place was only two minutes ahead. Game on! I hit every climb with all I could give and, after about ten minutes, had reeled Wayne Tonning in. He probably didn’t know I was his competitor as he graciously let me pass, and I tried to surreptitiously pull away.

On the first downhill, I realized he was on to me as he asked to pass in a whoops section and I graciously let him. This set the tone for the rest of the race-he would rip the downhills, leaving me in his dust and I would reel him in on the uphills. He put a good gap on me in an extended technical downhill and rock garden area, and I figured that might be enough to give him an insurmountable gap. I wasn’t about to give up though and I did my best to negotiate the trail, knowing my big gears (34-9 top ratio) and Diesel engine might do the trick on the final pavement section, especially if there were any climbs.

I gave it my all, and a few minutes after turning onto the Cascades lake highway I saw Wayne’s green jersey far ahead. I could see I was making up ground and, as I approached, I surreptitiously got in his draft for several seconds and then attacked. I flew around a guy out on a road bike that probably did a double take as he was going pretty fast too! I got a good gap on Wayne and held on to sprint into second place. It was really fun, and painful, to have a cross country pace the last two hours, and for it to pay off! I’m probably crazy, but next NUE race is Breckenridge 100 in less than two weeks which should be interesting and very painful.”

One minute behind the defending champ,Wayne Tonning, rounded out Master’s by coming in third with a time of 8:31:05.

“The competition really heated up in the 50+ category this year. The race started fast and I had to go out quicker than I wanted in order to keep up with all of the Masters. Greg Golet was off the front immediately and he rides at a different level than the rest of us. I worked very hard and was clear of the other Master competitors by mile 25.  Would I pay the price?  Yes probably did.

Jeff Clayton, the NUE series leader, caught me on a climb around mile 80 and I had nothing.  Fortunately, there was a technical single track descent over the next ten miles, on my home court, and I was able to gap Jeff by being more aggressive than I really wanted to. I was now again very motivated and worked the entire lower rolling single track section very hard to try and stay out of sight from Jeff.  I hit the road with only five miles to go and Jeff nowhere to be seen.  Just maybe I could hold him off.  But, at this point, I really had nothing and Jeff flew by me with only a half mile to go. Jeff was the stronger man and deserved second place.

Eight 50+ guys finished in under nine hours, Greg was 8th overall, and four of us were within ten minutes second thru fifth. Fourth place was only three minutes behind me. The old guys keep getting faster. I am going to have to pick up my game for next year.

A great race, well organized, phenomenal single track (although the dry conditions had made it very soft in places), and Bend OR rocks. Did I mention the Fresh Squeezed IPA at the finish?!”

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS

WHATS NEXT: The NUE Epic Race Series heads to Colorado and high elevation starting at 9000’ for the Breck 100 on July 29. On the same day, The Wilderness 101will test racers in State College, PA, home of the Nittany Lions.

Tatanka 100 Mile Race Report

Johnson and Pond Win in South Dakota

Sturgis, SD

Written by: Ryan O’Dell, Shana Biese

On July 8, The NUE Race Series headed to Sturgis, South Dakota, home of the world’s largest motorcycle rally, and now increasingly becoming known as a mountain bike destination.

Tatanka, the Lakota word for Buffalo, is the only point to point race in the NUE Series. At 6am, racers began gathering beneath the shadow of USA National Landmark Mount Rushmore.

Beneath the magnificence of mammoth rock sculptures representing four of our nation’s greatest presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, NUE Marathon racer’s rolled out at High Noon, down a short section of pavement connecting them to the Centennial Trail along an 50k course that includes gnarly single track and fast, smooth cruising trail winding all the way to Sturgis. The town of Sturgis is nestled at the base of the northern Black Hills in extreme western South Dakota.

Gabby the Goat keeps watch over the riders at Tatanka. Photo by: Jonathan Karol

For a second straight year, temperatures reached an unseasonable high of 97 degrees, tempered by low humidity and, at times and in places, cool breezes throughout the day. Tatanka also included an 85 mile race that is stop #5 in the NUE Epic Race Series and a fifteen mile Sprint distance for first timers that included many kids. Racers must complete at least four NUE races to qualify for series awards that includes cash, prizes and a mid-season travel award, complimentary entry into the Volcano 100 in Costa Rica on September 2.

Quarq offered race fans live online tracking again this year and Strider Bikes, located in nearby Rapid City, set up a skills park, offering kids as young as 2-3 years old an opportunity to test their bike skills. In addition to food and beverage stands, racers were treated to local craft brews courtesy of Crow Peak Brewing and The Knuckle Brewpub of Sturgis.

Photo by: Jonathan Karol

Women’s Open

Pond moves up for the WIN at Tatanka

Sonia Pond, Freewheel Bike, was first at 11:15:36 in her first NUE race this season following her sixth place finish at Tatanka last year.

“This was my second year back for the Tatanka Epic. Between the picturesque start line at Mt. Rushmore, the outstanding volunteers at each aide station, and the unreal scenery of the Black Hills, I seemed to have forgotten the physical and mental pain that comes with this race.

I hung with the peloton during the road section, staying close to my brother Joe and boyfriend Chris before we dove into the singletrack. I scanned the lead pack multiple times searching for another woman. When I didn’t see one, I knew I had to play this adventure on the safe side so I could reach my goal of a finish.

The rock fields of Samelius left me far behind my friends and family, but my smile returned once we returned to the miles of flowy singletrack and lush creek beds.  I stayed on top of my nutrition and hydration, and wouldn’t let myself get frustrated as I pushed my bike up what seemed like miles of hike-a-bike. As long as I was moving, I was racing. My wonderful SAG and the caring volunteers at each station kept me pushing through the pain. I was thrilled to cross the finish line under twelve hours and to find out I was the first place female…that feeling is unreal.

I am looking forward to trying the Lumberjack and Marji Gesick in the upcoming seasons. Thank you NUE for creating a series where mountain bikers can test their limits in true endurance trail riding!”

Heather Heynen, was second with a time of 12:07:52.

“My race went better than I expected. This race, with its length and its technical aspects, was unprecedented for me. I’ve never done anything like it. I did do the 110 mile Gold Rush Gravel Grinder Race last month which helped me figure out a little bit on how to fuel for long endurance races and I’ve done a handful of 50 mile mountain bike races. But obviously this race was much more time in the saddle, your whole body is beat up so much more, and it was so hot!

I knew the very technical and hike-a-bike section (Samelius about mile 9, I think) would at least be taken care of in the beginning of the race but that section is so tough even with really fresh legs. Hiking up Talus with my mountain bike over my shoulder was an interesting challenge.

I felt strong until about mile 36 (the third aid station) where my legs started to feel somewhat fatigued. I focused a lot on drinking enough water and fueling often. By the last aid station at Elk Creek, my legs were feeling very heavy. I was walking short steep sections but was still able to ride the longer, more gradual inclines. At this point, I found myself going slower than usual on the technical downhills as my core and upper body were fatiguing. I didn’t want to make any major mistakes!

I had no idea that there was still a big climb out of Alkali Creek (about 7 miles left to the finish). If I had known, I’m not sure what would have happened! Climbing those dusty switchbacks in the sun was tough and the idea of making me throw up so my stomach would feel better entered my mind often at this point. This was the section I was also praying a lot and maybe saw dancing jackalopes on the side of the trail. A couple of riders, Josh B. and Perry J., rode by me and sent some positive vibes and high fives to keep grinding it out. So I did. And somehow finished with a time I was very happy with!”

Dylan Johnson focuses on his win. Photo by: Jonathan Karol

Men’s Open

Johnson leads NUE Series with win at Tatanka!

NUE defending Champion, Dylan Johnson, Cameron MTB Racing, chalked up another victory in his bid to repeat as the undisputed NUE Series Champion. Johnson has raced every NUE Epic Series race this season and continues to lead the series with the win at Tatanka in 7:46:43.

Thirty-two minutes behind the NUE defending champion, Jonathon Modig, The Adrenalin Project, took second place with a time of, 8:18:06. This was his first NUE race this season.

Just two minutes later, Johnsons teammate, Michael Smart, Cameron Racing, took third place with a finish time of 8:20:41.

Singlespeed

Shaklee dominates the SS placing second place overall!

Ben Shaklee, Jacks Bicycle Center Homegrown Racing, won the Singlespeed division at 8:06:07, second overall and more than one hour ahead of his nearest competitor!

“I had a great time at NUE Tatanka Epic! I spotted Trevor Rockwell as the likely competition, looking to defend his 2016 win. Trevor and I were among the top 8-10 going into the first singletrack sections a couple miles in. I felt the pace was rather relaxed and could see Dylan out front in the lead. I gradually got around the other riders in the chase group and worked my way up to Dylan. John Modig was not too far behind me.

Dylan, John, and I pretty much rode with or in sight of one another through the first two aid stations; sans a couple minor off-course detours (it was hard to see trail markings with the morning sun in our eyes!). John pitted for a bit longer at aid two while Dylan and I rolled out together. I gradually lost contact with Dylan through the climbs between aids 2 and 3. I would see him in the high meadow switchbacks but lose time on the rocky climbs.

34×19 gearing would have been fine for the elevation profile were it not so loose and rocky on the climbs. By mid-race, I was starting to feel the heat and the 5000′ elevation, and worked to maintain a comfortable tempo to the finish at 8:06, good for 1st SS and 2nd O/A, about twenty minutes behind Dylan.  I had to pit a bit longer at aids than anticipated, both due to mechanical (loosening crank) and the heat (especially at aid 5).

As punishing as the loose climbs were on SS, I loved the rocky, rowdy descents. Later on, I spoke with Trevor, who said the heat got the best of him and he was lucky to finish. It was definitely a tough day on the bike! Next up for me is HC 100 in Bend, OR on July 15!”

Tyler Huber, Larson’ Cyclery, BCBC, took second with a time of 9:07:06. This was the first NUE race of the season for Huber.

2016 Tatanka SS winner, Trevor Rockwell, Central Plains Cycling/Two Wheeler Dealer Sioux Falls, finished third at 9:24:05. This was Rockwell’s first NUE race of the season.

Masters 50+

Hertsens commands the Masters for the W

Sten Hertsens, CarboRocket, took first place with a time of 9:59:49, nearly an hour ahead of his nearest competitor! Including his third place finish at True Grit and second place finish at Mohican, Hertsens victory moves him up to second overall in the NUE Series Masters Standings wedged between two formidable racers including defending NUE Masters Champion, Jeff Clayton, and Roger Masse, two-time NUE Masters Champion.

“What a place to start from; Mt. Rushmore! It was a beautifully peaceful morning that was going to turn into a day of battling crashes, routing and HEAT.

Shortly after the start, I had a slow moving spill of the trail, ending with my bike on top of me and a sore wrist. Thanks to the racer who pulled the bike off of me, allowing me to climb back to the trail. I was able to deal with the wrist issue and continue on but had a couple of routing issues. Luckily, there was a racer with GPS helping me both times.

At about the 40th mile, I went down on a corner that had some loose dirt on the outside corner. It hurt! While lying on the ground trying to get my foot unclipped, I was thinking my race was over. My wrist felt bad. I also hurt my ribs but, both issues weren’t bad enough to keep me from continuing. I stopped at aid station 4 and regrouped a little.

Then, off I went, only to miss a turn shortly after leaving. I was looking up the road on a left had curve and missed the trail on the right. I continued up the hill and, coming upon some Logging equipment, I went passed the equipment and then realized I was off course. I turned around and found the turn I missed.

Throughout the day, I was trying to hydrate (CarboRocket) and fuel (HoneyStinger) myself often. The HEAT was getting intense and hydration was needed. Coming upon the fast flowing section that was just before the Highway was a relief.

I was thinking I was almost there, and then, I was sent into more single track and climbs. My mind wasn’t ready for this, nor my body. This was a tough period in the race and the heat was beating down. I got through that and was relieved to see the bike path. I didn’t go through the tunnel and turn left, I turned right thinking I was correct. WRONG, I was heading in the wrong direction. I went for a good distance before getting back on track.

When I finally reached the finish, I was done. It was a great course that was a real challenge. This race was one that had me digging deep to finish. If you’re thinking of challenging yourself with a course that has great features throughout, try the Tatanka Epic. It will CHALLENGE! Thanks to everyone who made it happen. Good Job! Next stop, Pierre’s Hole. See you there.”

Alan Miner, Banks Bikes, was next, taking second at 10:45:19. “This is my third year doing Tatanka100 Point to Point so I had some idea on what the course offers in the way of terrain, heat, trails support, elements etc.

I decided this year to start off a little faster than in past years, letting the knowledge take over and hoping to find a comfort level that I could sustain. I knew that there would be faster riders who started out slower wanting to pass as the race progressed so that was ok but I was surprised to also found riders to pass as well as, I am sure, they took off to hard and succumbed to the heat and terrain of  The Centennial Trail #89.

I think I held a firm pace for me most of the race and played the old safe card of mountain bike endurance racing “Ride the Easy Parts Hard and the Hard Parts Easy”. It was nice to cross under the highway knowing the end was near but there were some course changes that spiced things up a bit. I was very happy to see the finish and to have a solid safe race.
A special thank you to all the aid station staff (children to mature adults and everyone in between), they were phenomenal, and they really went above and beyond what is expected. Pretty cool to see a group of what I assume was Boy Scouts offering encouragement and “High 5s” in a remote part of the course!

Next up for me, I think, will be Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire and then go west to Big Bear Grizzly in California

John Bulmane, took third with a time of 13:47:20.

 WHATS NEXT: Two great races, two outstanding venues!  July 15

NUE Marathon Race Series: Carrabassett 100 at beautiful Sugar Loaf Ski Area located in northern Maine.

NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series: Heads to Bend, Oregon, home of scenic Mount Bachelor and the High Cascades 100!

Click Here for Full Results