Drew Purcell and Karen Potter Escape Hampshire Heat with 100k Wins
By Ryan O’Dell
In 1809, 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 tenth annual Hampshire 100, located in Greenfield, NH, decided to use a portion of this motto on their race logo “Live Free & Bike!”
Race Director, Randi Whitney, “The Hampshire 100 is a true community event, with many local civic and non-profit groups from the surrounding area putting a shoulder to the mountain of necessary tasks to put on an event of this nature. Whether it is a 4-H club, a Boy Scout troop, a rescue squad, a school PTO, a recreational trails group, or supporters of a local library, they all help to make it happen.”
Whitney also announced that she will be retiring as race director of the Hampshire 100 and as director of the EFTA, Eastern Fat Tire Association.
“As Event Director of the Hampshire 100, it has been a pleasure to bring a uniquely New Hampshire flavor to the world of endurance racing for the past ten years. The opportunity to see both pro level and first time racers on the same course together, and all levels reaching deep into their special abilities that they may not have known they had, has been an experience not to be forgotten.
Sadly, after ten years of dedicated efforts, it really is time for, not only myself, by also for so very many of the most generous of volunteers, to turn some of our attentions and time to other important life pursuits, such as family. Our wish is that many enduring memories of triumph, perseverance, joy, and great camaraderie with fellow athletes will fondly remain part of the Hampshire 100 legacy. May taking the long trail continue to be the right one!”
Potter gets her first NUE Series win of the season!
Karen Potter, Pivot/DNA Cycling, won the Women’s 100k finishing in 6:11:18 in her first NUE win this season. “This was my sixth time racing the Hampshire 100. Course knowledge helps a lot knowing where to use energy and where to save it. It has always been a challenging course despite not having a terrible amount of elevation gain for the amount of miles. The singletrack sections are super fun, gnarly, rocky, rough, but slow going. This year was the driest by far making the singletrack a bit easier since, even when it’s the least bit damp in the woods, the roots and rocks get greasy fast.
I wasn’t sure how well I would perform this year, as the week heading into the race, I felt like I was fighting the potential of getting sick and was not sleeping well. Early in the race, another competitor who I raced a good chunk of the race with the previous year, asked whether I was ‘going for the win’ or what, trying to decide whether he should pace himself off of me. I responded that I was just trying to see what my body was going to give me and work with that, as that’s the way to survive an endurance race.
Thankfully, my body cooperated to have a great race. I admit, coming into the end of the first lap, I was sort of dreading the second one. I started drinking more water since it was fairly warm out and ate a bit more. That did the trick and helped me to finish strong. My Pivot Mach 429SL was awesome for a course that has just about everything in it for terrain.”
Twelve minutes later, Stephanie Baker, DG Cycle Sports, placed second at 6:23:39. Rachel Brown, Bikeman.com, was next taking third at 7:52:12. Thirty seconds later, Robyn Duke, Lapdogs Race Team, was fourth at 7:52:42.
With three races remaining in the NUE Marathon Race Series, Karen Jachow, Team Topeak-Ergon, leads the series with four wins.
Purcell gets his second NUE win at Hampshire!
Ohio Mountain Bike Series Champion (www.ombc.net), Drew Purcell, Wooster Bikewerks/Y-Not Cycling, earned a hard fought second win of the season following his seventh place finish at Cohutta Big Frog 65 earlier in the season and his second straight win at the Mohican 100k. Purcell finished 5:10:19 challenging current NUE Marathon leader Alex Pond.
“Being my first time riding in New Hampshire, I didn’t know what to expect from the trails. The rocks and the steep climbing made the course pretty difficult for me. The 100k racers started one minute behind the 100 mile racers. Soon, as they said go, me and two other 100k racers bridged up to the 100 mile group before the double track began. The first half of the first lap was pretty fast. The group slowed a bit for the second half of the lap and a few racers joined the group.
I noticed both of my rivals in the 100k had joined up with us. At that point, I put in a small attack on the second lap and the beginning of the double track, just to see how they were feeling. Alex dropped off at that point and never rejoined. It was down to two 100k riders with the leading 100 milers. I stayed mid pack knowing my chance to win would come in the second half of the race in the single track. I was sure to enter the last ten miles of single track in the front and put my skills to work so I established a nice gap off the first real technical descent of the single track and rode to the finish on my own from there.”
Purcell will challenge the NUE Marathon leader once again on September 1 at the Volcano 100 in Costa Rica. A win there could set up a final showdown between Pond and Purcell at the Fool’s Gold 55 mile Championship race, where all ties are broken.
One minute later, Derek Treadwell, Dr. Naylor-Treadwell Training, rolled across the finish line second at 5:11:18. Five minutes later, NUE Marathon Series leader, Alex Pond, Sonoran Cycles, placed third at 5:16:20.
“Sunday morning, at five am, I was enjoying my breakfast of granola, eggs and coffee under already warm temps. That should have been a clear indication I was going to be dealing with heat during the race but I thought nothing of it. I have grown up in the humid conditions of the east coast and that day did not seem too bad. Lining up at the start, it’s very different being in a new region and out of the group of regulars you are accustomed to racing with. I was feeling very confident and also feeling in good condition to race hard, but my body was feeling otherwise.
The start went out pretty quick and the one minute lead the 100 mile racers had was soon brought together and a group of about ten came together going into the first ten miles of racing. Coming from altitude, my lungs weren’t feeling the pain but I could tell the pace was hard by the searing in my legs on every short and punchy climb. The racing was so unique with a combination of back country roads, old jeep roads, private driveways, and some of the most rooted and rocky singletrack I’ve ever experienced.
On our first descent down crotched mountain, I discovered that I did not tighten my headset enough and my bars were coming loose. When I got off my bike, I discovered the zipper on the saddle bag had blown out and all my tools had vanished. Luckily, the aid at the bottom of the ski area had a toolbox and I was quickly on my bike chasing the lead group. After about five more miles, I was back with them and now we were down to about three 100k racers and five 100 mile racers.
I had to make a quick pit stop (thanks Mother Nature) and lost about thirty seconds. Once back through for the second lap, I was back in the group and was restocked with a fresh bottle and my camelback which I was sure would get me through the race and keep me hydrated. We kept the pace pretty civil along the road but, once we hit the next bit of off road, the climbs went hard and I started to lose pace. I decided to let off and see if I could come back but the group kept making gains and my legs began to get tight on the climb out of MT Crotched.
My last thought of getting back with the group was when we hit a self-serve aid. Everyone was getting on their bikes after a quick stop and I still had fluids so I led the chase going out but, once we hit the woods, I was off the back again and the group was quickly getting away. I even had my first bout of “off the bike cramps” at fletcher hill. Thankfully, there was a house stocked with Gatorade with a sign that said free drinks. That was the last thing I thought might get me through to the finish. The race proved to be incredibly challenging, fun, and brought out a great group of racers.”
Twenty-Four minutes later, Warren Gerow, Bikeman.com, took fourth at 5:40:45. One minute behind Gerow, Benjamin Coleman too fifth at 5:41:49.
Litzinger gets his fourth straight NUE Series win, now leads NUE Marathon Race Series!
James Litzinger, Napleton Elite Cycling, was the first across the line at 5:47:20 and now leads the NUE Marathon Series in the SS division with a total of four straight wins including the Big Frog 65, Mohican 100k and Tatanka 50k. “I had the pleasure of enjoying the Hampshire 100k with my friend and teammate Scott Williams.
The start of the race was not very SS friendly with the almost five miles of flat road. Scott and I were quickly swallowed up by the sounds of clicking shifters as the road opened up at the beginning of the race. We each took a guess at how many we would catch by the top of first climb as we spun down the road. Scott guessed thirty and I said five. He was definitely more accurate!
I really enjoyed the mix of wild single track and back country roads on my Pivot Les! There were some really cool bridges and rock features that kept me on my toes! Starting the second lap, we continued down the open road leading to the exciting gutter descent making our way toward the ski hill climb. I knew that climb would prove to be more challenging the second time through. After that climb, I rode through the rest of the New Hampshire Wilderness solo only catching up to some of the geared guys along the way toward the finish. I can’t thank my lovely wife and boys, Dirty Harry’s, and teammates enough for all of their support!”
Eleven minutes later, Litzinger’s teammate, Scott Williams, Napleton Elite Cycling, was second to finish at 5:58:41.
Yianni Pimenidis was third at 6:27:26. “I thought the race was very well organized with great energy. The trails were lots of fun, rocky, and I loved the hills on my 32×20 single-speed. Beautiful weather, scenery, and this was my first time riding on the east coast. My favorite thing was the fact that I was riding my bike for a good six hours, something that I love, and it is fun to do.”
Lang wins the Masters!
61-year-old Gilman Lang took the victory over his younger competitors in the Masters field finishing with a winning time of 6:27:16.
Ten minutes later, 55-year-old Mark Vojtko, Claremont Cycle Depot, finished second at 6:37:42. “My race went pretty good. I started off slow and found a good rhythm. Eat-drink-pedal-don’t burn any matches-save the bike-repeat. I ride my race, I pass people, and people pass me. The tea leaves fall where they’re going to fall in the end. I’ve had the great fortune of three podium finishes out of five consecutive NH-100 completions-not bad for someone who started racing mountain bikes at age 47. All races hurt, all races teach you to dig deep, and they’re all rewarding.
While the sportsmanship is amazing, we all really need to extend a huge thanks to the volunteers and race organizers who sacrifice countless hours of their time to make these events happen and that stranger stopping traffic telling you “good job”.”
Two minutes later, 56-year-old Geoff Waite, placed third at 6:39:27. “Taking up racing late in life, this was my second ever endurance race and my second third place finish, but I have been riding since we were all building or owned “tracker bikes” in the 70s! I raced on a more or less standard Santa Cruz tallboy carbon, which worked great for this course. At 28lbs, it could have been lighter, as always. WTB Nano tires were perfect for the course and conditions – fast rolling, robust and predictable in a drift.
While the first half of the circuit knocked off the miles and the bulk of the climbing, the sweet single track sections of the second half, getting more burly as it moved towards the finish, was great, and really favors a strong technical rider, as long as there’s still gas in tank to blast it. This is where I made up my time on both laps. While I did lose a couple of minutes to route confusion and errors, the course was generally excellently marked. Three liters of water per circuit was just right but, next time, I’m going to have to optimize my pit stop, which is where I dropped a place. I am looking forward to besting myself in the next race!”
58-year-old Thomas Sullivan, State Nine, was next finishing fourth at 7:08:18. Five minutes later, 55-year-old Jose Gonzalez, Gonzalez Framing, was next placing fifth at 7:13:57.
The Kenda NUE Marathon Race Series heads due south to the only race held outside of the USA. NUE #9, The Rincon Challenge 100k, now the Volcano 100k, will roll out on September 1 from Liberia, Costa Rica. www.nuemtb.com
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