NUE Wilderness 101

Written by: @JenToops

Photos by: Bryan Lewis

The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack.  This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph

Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day!  Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.

Open Men

Johnson gets third NUE win for 2018

Open Men: 1st Dylan Johnson, 2nd-Brian Schworm, 3rd-Christian Tanguy, 4th- Heath Thumel, 5th-John Wiygul, 6th-Andy Rhodes, 7th, Dan Atkins.

In the open men’s division a lead group of Johnson, Bishop, Tanguay and Schworm formed but after, Jeremiah Bishop (Caynon Topeak Factory Racing), had to stop several times for flat tires, Bishop was able to finish in ninth place. Taking the win by about seven minutes was the 2017 NUE race series champion, Dylan Johnson (Leska MTB), crossing the line in 6:39:50.

Finishing strong for second place, Brian Schworm (Think Green Bicycle), came in at 6:47:17.

“The recent weather with the record setting amounts of rain and consequential flooding had me a bit concerned about the condition of the course for the 2018 Wilderness 101; however, with a few reroutes by the race director and a nice break in the weather on race day, the conditions were completely agreeable.  The race started out of Coburn to cool temperatures and the excitement began although the pace was moderate at best for the first hour and half.  In between aid stations one and two the pace quickened on a few of the climbs and a lead group containing Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguay, Jeremiah Bishop, and myself formed.  We rode together for a while but either a piece of singletrack, or a climb, or mechanical problem would split our group into various combinations with some leading and others chasing but ultimately we would regroup.

I would say the first decisive section was the Sassafras/Pig Pile section of trail.  I was already 10-15 seconds behind the others entering the trail where Jeremiah and Dylan took off leaving a gap to Christian and another gap to me.  Unfortunately for Jeremiah, he suffered a flat towards the end of this section leaving Dylan on his own.  Jeremiah was able to continue but was now behind.  He quickly worked his way back up to me and then we rode back to Christian.  Us three worked together for a while trying to bridge back to Dylan but ultimately Jeremiah’s tire was still giving him problems.  He needed to stop again.  Christian and I forged on until the Stillhouse climb beyond aid station 4 (at least, where aid 4 was supposed to be; unfortunately, we beat the delivery leaving us without).  Anyway, on the Stillhouse climb I could see Dylan up the hill so I pressed on hard while Christian wisely held back to save some energy for later.

At the top of the climb just before entering the Sand Mountain section there was a “trail angel” with some water.  This unofficial aid station was perfect since aid 4 was missing and I was out of water.  Dylan was also in need and was taking his time refilling his bottles.  I filled up quickly and caught Dylan who was only a few seconds ahead at this point.  We rode together through Sand Mountain and the following climbs and descents.  I was feeling great at this point and sensed that Dylan was not.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  After a little back and forth, Dylan attacked with about 12 miles to go and I had no response.  I went from feeling great to feeling a bit sluggish.  Very quickly that deteriorated to feeling tired and hungry and then to feeling light-headed and shaky.  I was running scared; I had completely given up chasing Dylan and was more concerned about Christian gaining on me.  In the end Dylan put almost seven minutes on me and Christian was just 30 seconds back.  I was relieved to be finished and even more relieved that I held my second position.

Of course I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their support.  Also my other sponsors Sword Energy Drink, Specialized Bicycles, ESI Grips, Schwalbe Tires, and TruckerCo, but as usual, a special thanks to my extraordinary wife Jennifer for her undeniable support and understanding in these adventures of mine.  Now time for some recovery and then revamping of the training for my next NUE event, the Shenandoah 100 in about a month’s time.”

Just seconds back from second place, last years Wilderness 101 race winner, Christain Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team), finished in third place, 6:47:47.

Open Women

Barclay wins Open Women

Open Women: 1st- Vicki Barclay, 2nd-Lauren Cantwell, 3rd-Amelia Capuano, 4th-Julia Thurmel, 5th- Lindsey Carpenter

Local racer, Vicki Barclay (Cannondale, Kenda) took the top step in the women’s open, at 8:10:35.

“This was my first time racing the Wilderness 101 since 2015. After a few years of shorter, one-day races and stage races, plus a few weeks of little racing, I was excited to race this 100 miler to get in a good day of quality training and racing on home turf (I have a house in State College with my husband, Rich). Come race day, I was thrilled to see that the race had brought out some fast ladies; I knew I would have to ride a smart race to take the top step at the end. Lauren Cantwell and I rode mostly together until Aid 1; I let some small gaps open up at times, but wanted to ride conservatively for the first 20 miles (this was my seventh time racing Wilderness and I have made every mistake in the book in year’s past that has cost me significantly!). Once the pace settled a bit after the climb out of Aid #1, I put in some small efforts to gain a gap before a key piece of singletrack. The gap stuck and I managed to stay out in front for the rest of the race, trading places with some men on the course, and enjoying the special kind of pain that 100 mile racing induces. With the recent rain, a lot of singletrack had be replaced with fire roads, so I was happy I chose to run my Honey Badger XC pro 27.5 x 2.2 tires front and rear – excellent traction in the singletrack and fast rolling on the roads. I fueled the race with lots of my favorite race snack – GU Watermelon Chews! With the good feels at Wilderness 101, I am considering racing the Shenandoah 100 in a few weeks!

Sponsors:  Kenda Cannondale Women’s Elite Team”

About eleven minutes back, Lauren Cantwell (Deschutes Brewing), took second place at 8:21:21. Finishing third was, Amelia Capuano (Rearden Steel) crossing the finish line at 8:47:03.

“The race was comfortable for me. It was beautiful outside and I really enjoyed the evolution of the day’s riding. I am appreciative of the smiling and joyful riders with whom I rode for portions of the day, they made it a blast. Also very glad that the flood waters receded from the park to make for fun camping. Thank you Chris Scott for taking on the challenge of running classic races.

Sponsors: Myself, My Family, and Great Friends, LLC.”

Singlespeed

Wadsworth gets second NUE win of the season

Singlespeed: 1st-Gordon Wadsworth, 2nd-Ross Anderson, 3rd-James Litzinger, 3rd-Don Powers, 5th- Peyton Randolph, 6th-Joel Nankman, 7th-Kenny Kocarek, 8th-Joe Worboy, 9th-Donovan Neal, 10th-Peter Bradshaw

Defending SS NUE Champion and last years Wilderness 101 singlespeed race winner, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, gets his second NUE win for the 2018 season finishing in 7:14:41.

“My day was pretty swell. We JUST finished relocating a little outside roanoke and so motivation wasn’t high to be honest. Nevertheless as soon as we kicked tires onto the sweet Pa dirt all the stoke came flooding back.

Our start was WILDLY casual for about the first two hours. A wild pack of singlespeed racers including Don Powers, Kenny Kocarek, Peyton Randolph, and myself seemed pretty comfortable controlling the pace from the front. And the group of maybe 30-50 riders seemed happy to let us!
In the downhill turns prior to aid 2 I made sure to be at the front and was joined by a purposeful Jeremiah Bishop. We’ve got a few W101s under our belts and both knew that the dirt climb out of Aid 2 was narrow and more difficult to navigate; often precipitating a break group or a bump in the pace. Jeremiah and I swapped recipes for a bit before charging down into the Detweiler descent. A firing Dylan Johnson shot past us and I knew if I could hold their wheels I could make the group I needed to be in.
Our group shrunk coming out of Detweiler, and again on3 bridges until it was the familiar company of Heath Thumel. Heath and I have similar strengths and after a long week of moving for me and a week away from home racing the High Cascades 100 for him we were both happy to keep things “fast casual.”
And we pretty much did. Working with two other riders until the descent down No-Name trail after which it was the two of us singing songs and dreaming for finish line.  Crossing 4th and 5th overall with me 1st SS
The Pivot Cycles LES was MONEY as always on the fast fire roads and gnarly rock knees of the PA Wilderness. Industry Nine system wheels custom laced to NOX rims wrapped in Maxxis Ikon rubber had heath and I both smiling and confident no matter our line choice.”

Fifteen minutes back, Ross Anderson (Elevation Zero), finished at 7:35:01. A couple minutes later, James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) and Don Powers (UPMC Pro Bikes), declared a tie for third place and finished together at 7:37:36.

Powers states, “Well this past Saturday was my 8th time racing the Wilderness 101.  I’ve had recent success at this race scoring podiums spots in 3 out of the last 4 years and was hoping for another similar result this year.  I knew it would be tough with some strong competition in Gordon Wadsworth, Jim Litzinger and Peyton Randolph all in the mix.  The race starts with a 3ish mile / 1000 foot gravel climb.  The pace was pretty chill and the big geared guns let us SS’ers set the pace.  What surprised me even more was that they let us SS’ers set the pace all the way to aid station 1, which is 19 miles into the race.  Normally on the climb out of aid station 1 the intensity picks up and the top geared guys start to flex their muscle.  But that was not the case.  As we crested the top of the climb I started shouting out to the likes of Jerimiah Bishop, Dylan Johnson, Brian Schworm, & Cristian Tanguey that I was confused by their tactics.  On the next rocky descent things started to shake out, Gordon got away and I tried to keep it close to Litzinger.  Jim was on his full suspension S-Works SS while I was on a rigid SS.  I was able to gap Jim on the next climb and then he proceeded to drop me on the next technical rocky descent.  I was able to catch back up on the next climb and then once again he got away on the next descent.  After that I did not see him again until later.  Going into aid station 4, I was caught by another strong SS’er Ross Anderson.  He got away on the big climb out of aid station 4 and I didn’t see him again.  So I knew I was sitting in 4th place with about 35ish miles to go.  As I rolled into aid station 5, I saw Litzinger refueling and filling bottles.  He got a little lost and had to back track a bit, he was off course about 1.5 miles (This is what happens when you climb with your head down and miss arrows).  We rolled down the first part of the rail trail together and he said his legs were pretty dead.  On the last climb with about 7 miles to go in the race I attacked him and put a decent size gap on him heading down to the technical final single track trail called Fisherman’s Trail.  Well my lead didn’t last long as Jim caught back up and then proceeded to attack me.  After we got out of Fisherman’s Trail I was able to close the gap on the last part of the rail trail, I was running a slightly bigger gear than him 32X18 vs 34X20.  We called a truce and rolled the last 3 or so miles into the finish together.  They scored us tied for 3rd SS & 12 overall with a time of 7:37 and change.  While Jim is without a doubt my biggest racing rival, he is also a good friend and it was nice to finish tied with him in such a hard race.”

Masters

Spaulding repeats at Wilderness

Masters: 1st- Russell Spaulding, 2nd-Tom Stritzinger, 3rd- Roger Masse, 4th- Jim Matthews, 5th-Bruce Stauffer

Last years race winner, Russell Spaulding (TFM Racing), repeats again this year coming in at 8:09:12. Spaulding is currently in second for the overall series standings.

“I really didn’t know what to expect this time around at Wilderness. I have been racing hundreds every two or three weeks since Mohican in June. The “Double Hundred” (Miles & Heat) out in South Dakota really left me in a bit of a fog before this race.

After the neutral roll out I found myself stepping out in front of the lead pack on the initial climb. This ended up being my only real contribution to the pack behind me, because I ended up startling a family of deer that ended up crossing the road just ahead of the pack. So you see, that’s really why I was out front on the first part of the climb. Just trying to protect the deer / mountain biker relationship!

Halfway up the climb the lead pack caught me, and I just tucked myself right in behind one of the stronger riders and held on for the top. Once we hit the top the lead pack just cruised along like it was some Sunday ride. I’m tucked in behind a rider just cruising along, and I happen to notice that the entire pack was being led by two single speeders. It’s like all the geared riders are sitting on the couch eating chips, while someone else is doing all the vacuuming!

After aid two the master’s race was just starting to take shape. Johnston was within view up ahead of myself and Masse. The further we got into this race, I realized two things. One, the mountain bike Gods had selected me as part of their amusement during this race. I ended up on the ground a little bit more than I would have liked. Someday I hope to be a real mountain biker! Two, my legs were cramping way too early in this race.

Masse eventually ended up leaving us all behind to fend for ourselves. I was just trying to stay in the mix, and work through the cramping in my legs. By aid three I was hoping for some instant relief for my legs in the form of pickle juice or yellow mustard.  Neither were to be found, but fortunately there were some Endurolytes available.

At the bottom of the first downhill after aid three I ended up passing Masse. The rocks in Pennsylvania are just plain mean, and he was working on one of his tires. When I reached the off camber, rocky as hell “No Name” trail I ended up making another mistake and ended up on my back below the trail. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my legs had not immediately seized up. Man that’s painful! By the time I got back up on the trail Stritzinger comes screaming by me to take the lead before we reach aid four.

Aid four is grilling hot dogs! Can you believe it? Bottles of fancy mustard on the table! I pretty much drained one of those fancy mustard bottles before hitting the climb after aid four.

I would assume that most racers despise the climb after aid four, but for some reason I really start to come alive in the last third of a race. My legs were becoming less of an issue. The temperature was heating up, and the climb was taking me into my Zen zone.

Turns out I ended up catching Stritzinger just before the last climb of the race. I knew there were two major climbs after the aid four climb, but there are also a couple of smaller climbs within that mix so I wasn’t sure what lay ahead for both of us.

In the end I got to ride with some very talented riders. I’m grateful, and lucky to have had such an awesome experience. Congratulations to Tom Stritzinger and Roger Masse on their amazing finishes, and a special shout out to John Friel. Way to tough it out John!

Thanks to TFM Racing, G-Assist, Valor House, and Tried and True for sponsoring me this season.

Special thanks to Chris Scott, his crew, and all the volunteers that made the Wilderness 101 such an amazing experience. To the crew at aid four that decided to grill hot dogs. Thank you. That was a most excellent decision!”

Three minutes back, Tom Stritzinger finished strong for second place at 8:12:41.

” I was having a strong race until just before the last climb with about 5 miles to go.  Then Russell Spaulding catches me from behind.  He says “hello” then drops me like a bad habit.  If he used Strava, I am guessing that he would have been the KOM of the day for that last climb!  I really enjoyed the first 18 miles where it was like a Sunday morning ride with what seemed like the entire race field riding together, chatting and going at friendly pace.  I never see Jeremiah Bishop, Christian Tanguy, Brian Schworm and Dylan Johnson after the opening gun and until the finish.  It was unreal to still be riding with and chatting with these guys through the first 18 miles!  The course had everything:  gnarly single track, two track, gravel, long tough climbs, and a tunnel that was very dark and a bit scary as it was strewn with rocks!  Overall, a great venue, phenomenal volunteers, some serious mtn. bike riders and a fun time for all.  Wilderness 101 is one of my favorite races in the NUE series so far this year.  I hope to be back again next year.”

Rounding out the podium and taking third, Roger Masse (Stokesville, Shenandoah), finished in 8:17:38.

Click here for full results

Click here for event photos (by Bryan Lewis of Cutaway USA)

What’s next on the NUE Epic and Marathon Series? NUE Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY on August 4th, 2018. Click here for info on Pierre’s Hole.

NUE Wilderness 101 Marathon

Written by: @JenToops

Photos by: Bryan Lewis

The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack.  This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.

One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph

Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day!  Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.

Men’s Open

Petrylak gets FIRST NUE marathon win

Men’s Open- 1st-John Petrylak, 2nd-Dereck Treadwell, 3rd-Chris Shannon, 4th-Tyler Weston, 5th-Chris Tries

Taking the top step in the open men’s marathon race was, John Petrylak (Bike Factory/Norco Bicycles/Esi Grips), with a winning time of 5:01:38.  With this win, Petrylak now leads the NUE marathon open men’s division.

“After several days of heavy rain the clouds parted and the sun came out for race day at the Wilderness 101/101K!

On the first climb less than 5 minutes into the race Chris Shannon went mid-evil on the opening climb! This quickly dissolved the front group down from 6 riders down to 4 and eventually to just Dereck Treadwell and I chasing Chris to close the gap. Chris had a significant gap as he went over the top of the climb.
Dereck and I put in some big efforts and took some chances on the descent to close the gap. At last we all came back together at the bottom of the mountain; we were now a group of 3!
We worked very well together on the 27 miles of gravel through AS1 (27 miles in). After the aid station a long climb began to test out our group; Dereck Treadwell started up the climb at a serious pace. The elastic began to stretch and eventually it was just Dereck and I as we crest the top of long gravel ascent. We shortly entered the first piece of typical rocky single track together.
I was very comfortable in the technical stretches of trail and got around Dereck and just started having fun!
I was having so much fun I was able to get a little gap between myself and Dereck. Still feeling well I went for it solo for the last 35 miles. My risky plan worked as I was able to hold a few minutes on Dereck and Chris Shannon. At just a few seconds past 5 hours I was able to get my first NUE marathon series win!!!!!
Thanks to; Bike Factory Charlottesville, Norco Bikes, Athlos Sports, ESI grips, Carbo Rocket and Ride100%. “

About seven minutes back, Dereck Treadwell (Dr. Naylor, Treadwell Training, Kona), took second place in a time of 5:08:41.

Chris Shannon (Think Green, Bicycle Face), who set a blistering pace on the opening climb, claimed third place with a time of 5:19:25.

Women’s Open

Blanchard gets the top step

Women’s Open: 1st-Bryna Blanchard, 2nd-Jen Toops, 3rd-Olivia Shannon, 4th-Marilyn Rayner, 5th-Kayla Randolph

After finishing second at NUE Iron Mountain and NUE Mohican, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing), claims the top step in a time of 6:17:09.

“I finally got to put 2 hands in the air standing on the box this past weekend at the Wilderness 101 NUE marathon race. Every race is a learning experience and I tried to apply some new strategies based on past mistakes. Apparently the marathon distance is a bit subjective and open to race promotor’s interpretation. The Wilderness 101 inaugural “short” course was the longest single day mountain bike race I have completed. The distance concerned me based on my past two NUE performances, or lack there of, loosing a position in the final miles of racing. This time a few small changes in nutrition and pacing may have made a difference, by less than 1 minute over Jennifer Toops after 6+ hours of racing. The competition was tight as Jen attacked and disappeared up the first climb. With heavy legs I had to let her go, I needed to pace myself and hope my legs would open up. I rode next to Lara Richardson up the initial road climb and settled into my own pace, reminding myself of my goal to avoid the big slow down at the end. I knew I felt a bit overtrained going into this race and I had no idea how my body would react to another long hard day on the bike. During the first 20+ miles of dirt roads I found myself riding mostly alone, testing my legs and spinning out the lead at my own pace. Once I hit the first section of rocky slippery single track I felt good and happy to be riding the sweet familiar trails of central PA. At the end of each single track section I found myself wishing for more, even after sliding off the edge of No Name and landing 20 feet down the steep left bank. Luckily my bike landed on me instead of rocks and a very kind racer who witnessed the crash from behind offered to help me climb back up onto the trail. I’ve been down that trail many times with never a clean run, maybe next time. Despite the crash I felt my confidence increasing on the downhills and I was somehow able to stay ahead of Jen who is a mad descender. A few small mistakes at the end cost me some time, including an unnecessary water stop at the final aid station as a drank none of that bottle, missing a turn, and hitting a rock in the second less dark tunnel. Once again, live and learn, and improve for next time which may have to be the final NUE race at Big Bear Lake. Originally I was planning on completing just 4 races in the series but this is too much fun and I don’t feel like I’m done. I’m feeling very happy and satisfied with this win. Thanks again to the promotors, volunteers, fellow racers and friends for making these experiences possible and awesome. Thanks as always to Barker Mountain Bikes, team BMB, for the support and encouragement. Also thank you to Thierry Blanchet, my partner in life and riding, for always supporting me, putting up with my weird food and training schedule, organizing travel, driving me around, and being genuinely more excited for my results than I am.”

Finishing only under a minute back from Blanchard, 2017 NUE Marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles), finished in 6:18:03.

“Going into wilderness I didn’t know what to expect. Word was it was mostly gravel except for about 10 miles of super rocky singletrack. I opted to ride my Pivot Les and put a little extra air pressure in my Continental cross kings for smooth sailing on those gravel roads.

The past month I spent some time out West and was feeling mentally refreshed. I was ready to race. We had a lead out car and were let loose on the first climb. I hung on to Lara’s wheel briefly but was feeling really good. I decided to “go” for it.

After being out of view, I worked with Scott Burrill for a bit on the gravel. Knowing Bryna was a powerhouse on road I tried to keep working hard. It was the first singletrack section  that I caught sight of Bryna’s pink helmet lingering behind me. I bombed the singletrack down hill opening up another gap. Bryna again fired back and ended up passing me on a double track climb.

I tried my best to keep her in sight, but she was slowly pulling away after the second aid station.  For some reason I was having terrible heartburn. It was unbearable. I got off my bike and found some CarboRocket Rocket Lytes, praying they would help knowing they had ginger in them.

Within a half hour, I found my second wind and the hunt was on! I pushed and pushed and pushed all the way to the finish, even setting some new power records along the way. I never saw her again in the race but ended up being less than a minute back on Bryna! Congrats to Bryna on a super strong race!

Next race: Pierre’s hole in Wyoming.

Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot Cycles, CarboRocket, Ergon, Rotor, Stans, Continental, Xpedo, Honeystinger, Kasks Helmets, 100%”

Getting her first NUE podium spot, Olivia Shannon (Against the Grain Brewery), took third with a time of 6:39:31.

This race was different for me. I had raced two other NUE races and knew the competition was on a very high level. I chose to race my own race. Once I found out I was racing 75 miles instead of 63, I decided I was going to stick to my plan and focus on pacing and nutrition. That first climb quickly separated the pack. This was the toughest part of the race for me because I had to hold back so I could finish the strong. I tried to hold on to 4th place on the gravel section but was soon overtaken by three women. Knocked down and starting to get an upset stomach I came into the 1st aid station at a low point. My race changed when I finally reached the singletrack. I caught Marilyn Rayner in the first bit and soon caught up to Kayla Randolph on the next rocky section. I was shocked to see them on the trail. It lit my torch and my low point turned up quickly. After the second aid station (mile 45), I eventually passed the last female I would see the rest of the race. I crossed the finish line in third place in open women and was ecstatic. I accomplished my yearly goal of getting on the podium in an NUE series race. Thanks so much to my sponsors Against the Grain Brewery, Goose Creek Cycles, and Sword. Also a huge thanks to my husband and coach Chris Shannon of Progressive Endurance. Excited to see these ladies at Marji Gesick for the 50 miler in September!”

Singlespeed

Toops makes in three in a row

Singlespeed- 1st-Anthony Toops, 2nd-Eli Orth, 3rd-Yianni Pimenidis, 4th-Josh Kunz

Getting his third consecutive NUE singlespeed marathon win,  Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage Racing), finishing in a time of 5:36:07. With this win Toops now leads the NUE marathon singlespeed division.

“This was my first time racing wilderness and going into it I didn’t really know what to expect. I was told it was mostly gravel and some technical single-track with great climbs and fast descents. It turns out that was pretty accurate!

The race started off fairly relaxed until Josh started pushing the pace on the long first climb. My plan was to keep him in site and monitor my power so I didn’t push too hard at the start. I was able to tag on to a couple of geared racers and get pulled along, eventually catching up to Josh on the descent.

We all rode together for a while until the first singletrack section. I managed to get into there first so I upped the pace in an attempt to give myself some breathing room. The plan worked and I exited that section out of site. Eventually I was caught again by the geared racers from earlier which was a blessing! This race you definitely can benefit from a buddy, especially if you only have one gear!

The rest of the race I just tried to keep the pace high and stick with the small group. Eventually I managed to catch up to some of the 100mi single speed crew which was some much need motivation to get up those final climbs. After some rail trail soul searching and a couple dark tunnels I rolled across the line in first only a few minutes ahead of Eli Orth who was had been hunting me down.

This course can really beat you up with the rocky terrain and punishing climbs (stillhouse climb🤯). I may have to copy Jim’s ss setup for next season.  I used 32×19 gearing which worked well.

Race day was fun and the event was really well organized. Thanks to all the volunteers which were awesome and Paradise Garage for the continued support!

Next race is Pierre’s Hole in Wyoming.

Four minuts back was,  Eli Orth (Team Hungry) taking second with a time of 5:40:32.

“Wilderness was my 4th NUE marathon race of the season. Going into the race I had no idea what to expect. The marathon distance was new for Wilderness and was longer than the usual distance at 76 miles.

With the first looong climb Josh Kunz attacked it pretty hard while Anthony Toops and I hung back. Anthony then started to pull away from me on that same long fire road climb.

After the first 20 miles I settled in and started to turn it up a little more. I ended up catching up to Josh and passing him around mile 35 on a single track section. I felt like Josh would be back on my wheel at any time, so I continued to push hard hoping to also catch up to Anthony at some point, but I never did.

Overall it was a fun race with some tough climbing and some technical rocky sections. I was happy to get 2nd and improve on my 3rd place finish at Iron Mountain, and have a clean race with no mechanicals.

I ran a 34×20 gearing which I felt worked well. I was able to climb everything and still spin up and keep good speed on some flat sections.

My next NUE races will be Shenandoah and then Marji Gesick.

Sponsors/team: Team Hungry, Absolute Black”

Rounding out the podium in third place, Yianni Pimenidis finished in 6:22:04.

Masters

Clayton gets his fourth win

Masters: 1st-Jeff Clayton, 2nd- Scott Burrill, 3rd-Chris Torrance, 4th-Bruce Moore, 5th-Nate Cross

Getting his fourth NUE masters marathon win, Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neurosurgical Institute) finished in 5:44:58. Clayton now leads the series with a perfect score of 4!

“I had hoped there would be a sizable masters turnout for the marathon Wilderness race, but a few days before the race only 10 had signed up. I was glad to see Scott Burrill was one of them since he has been a great competitor. Despite the creeks and low lying areas being inundated by runoff from the recent heavy rain most of the trails and roads I was able to preride were in pretty good condition. I expected a pretty tame first hour or so of racing based on my last time at wilderness in 2016, but an immediate solo attack and subsequent response by a few of the fastest guys made for a quick splitting of the group. I stayed in contact with the leaders for awhile but had to back off when the road kicked up even more. A short while later the usual single speeders came cruising by, led by Anthony Toops. The good news was Scott was not tagging along with them. I settled into my anaerobic threshold pace and enjoyed the scenery, especially on the descents. Sooner than I expected the course merged with the epic course and I immediately started passing riders…a nice morale booster! Even though I’m not a great rock garden rider, I enjoyed the challenge of the sass and sasspig trails and did my best to stay on the wheel of Scott Mormon and another guy when they passed me. The subsequent road climb and climb/descent of beautiful/no name trails went well enough and I anticipated picking off more riders on the long climb up  still house hollow rd. It shouldn’t have surprised me to see Eli Orth grinding up the road right behind me…he is a singlespeeder who I usually end up riding with a bunch in races. We passed Chris Tries near the top and Eli pulled away never to be seen again. I gapped Chris for awhile, but on the flat rail trail section he motored up to me even though I was hammering in my 34-9 gear. We chatted a bit and he slowly pulled away on the last significant road climb of the day. From there it was awful hike a bike, lots of muddy puddles, pedestrian avoidance, scary tunnels and on to the finish. I enjoyed racing the marathon distance this year, especially since it meant doing a couple of really fun marathon distance only races. Thanks to the race promoters, volunteers, fellow competitors, and especially my wife Jodi, who is so supportive of my racing escapades.”

Scott Burrill (Bikeman.com) took second with a time of 6:45:07 and Chris Torrance rounded out the podium in third finishing in 7:04:18.

Click here for full results.

Click here for event photos (by Bryan Lewis of Cutaway USA)

What’s next on the NUE Epic and Marathon Series? NUE Pierre’s Hole in Alta, WY on August 4th, 2018. Click here for info on Pierre’s Hole.

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.

Wilderness 101 – State College, PA

Brian Schworm and Carla Williams Win a Scorcher in State College and Take KENDA NUE Series Lead

By Ryan O’Dell

The Wilderness 101 proved to be a major player in the NUE Race Series Standings resulting in three division lead changes www.nuemtb.com. Located near State College, Pennsylvania, Home of the Nittany Lions, W101 has become known for its fast gravel roads and rocky, technical singletrack. Much like Tatanka and the High Cascades 100, heat would be a factor on race day with temperatures soaring into the nineties by midafternoon.

Women’s Open

Williams gets her third straight NUE win and now leads the NUE Race Series!

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, had a substantial lead winning the women’s race in 8:15:00. Williams has three wins now, including Cohutta and Tatanka, and now leads the NUE race series just past the midway point.  “I was super excited for W101. This was my third year doing the race and, even though the course has changed slightly each year, I basically knew what to expect and had a race plan ready in my head.

The first part of my race plan: be better prepared. My race prep for Tatanka was a disaster. I had to race in brand new specialized MTB shoes from a local bike shop because the Pearl Izumi shoes I like disintegrated on my feet before the race. I also forgot to pack bike gloves, and I found myself scrambling to find a new bladder for my camel pack in Sturgis, SD at 8pm the night before the race. For W101, I had everything packed and prepped two days in advance.

The second part of my race plan: get to State College, PA. I had to work an ED shift on Friday which meant flying up to State College later on Friday night. Jeff drove up with the bikes and met me at the airport at 10pm. luckily; there were no flight delays or cancellations.

The third part of my race plan: Stay with the lead men off the start. I burned a match or two on the first climb, but I was able to stay with the leaders and was able to draft and push the pace with them for the opening miles of gravel road. I was off to a good start!

The fourth part of the race plan: Don’t die on the rocks. I basically pushed up every gravel climb as hard as I dared so I could take my time on the rocky single track and downhill sections. I fell off the bike a couple of times, clipped my handlebars on a tree that sent me flying, but overall, enjoyed the rocks way more on my full suspension then I did last year on my hardtail. I flip flopped with several guys on the course, passing or catching them on the climbs, only to have them zip by me on the downhill sections.

The fifth part of my race plan: stay hydrated! It was definitely a hot day but not too bad compared to the furnace that Chapel Hill has been recently. I stuck with Hammer Perpetuem to start the race and then filled up on Heed and water at the aid stops.

Last part of the race plan: river swimming, coke drinking, eating veggie burgers, and hanging out with friends at the finish. By far, the best and most well executed part of my race plan! Overall, it was a great day, fun course. Christ Scott as always puts on such well-organized events. The aid stations were top notch, the volunteers couldn’t have been more helpful, and the race course was very well marked. I especially like how they have filled water bottles at each aid station that you can grab quickly and keep on pedaling. I’m looking forward to being at Shenandoah in September.”

Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycles, was next at 8:55:26. Shinn is a proven competitor with a fifth place finish at Cohutta followed up with a second straight victory at the Mohican 100. “Last year I had gone off course and ended up with fourteen stitches after falling in the river crossing, so I was determined to do well at this year’s race. Because of the heat and humidity, my plan was to start conservatively, make sure I stay hydrated, and push it in the singletrack and descents.

On the first climb, Anne, Simona and a couple of other women blew past me and I was sitting in sixth but I had to keep telling myself to be patient, it’s a long race, and stick to the plan. Between aid one and two, I started to pick it up and jumped on a fast train of guys, picking off a couple other women. At this point, I was in third. Halfway up the long climb before aid 3, Vicki Barclay was there giving out cold water and cheers. She told me that the second place woman was just up ahead, which gave me the extra push – thanks Vicki for the cold water and motivation!

I rolled up behind Simona, was happy for her company, and we rode together for a bit into the next aid. The volunteers at all the aid stations were so amazing, getting us cold drinks and the best was a cold towel for my neck! Simona and I rolled out together and into the next singletrack. The baby heads and technical trails were tough and draining, but this is where I knew I had to attack. We rode together for a bit, and in the long rocky descent, I attacked and opened it up and didn’t see Simona again after that.

I got into a groove and started passing guys that were starting to fade from the heat. The last steep climb and hike a bike section after aid five was definitely the toughest, mentally and physically. I was done at this point but my plan was going well and I was stoked to be in second. I had a blast in the technical trails. It was definitely a really tough day with a tougher course than last year. Next up, heading to Wyoming the following week for Pierre’s Hole!”

Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, was third at 9:16:49. “Originally, I wasn’t planning on racing Wilderness 101 but decided to jump in at the last minute before the registration closed. The women’s field looked pretty stacked which would make for an interesting race.

I had a good start and moved into the second position on the first climb, working hard to put some time and distance between me and the other ladies. I got caught by Linda Shinn halfway through the race. We arrived and left Aid #3 together, and rode together for a little bit, until she rode away from me on the next technical downhill. By now the heat was getting to me and I started slowing down a bit but was able to stay in third until the finish. It was a tough day on the bike but it was fun racing with the women I got to know over the years of racing NUE and to see how things shake out. My next stop is SM100.”

Libbey Sheldon, Crosshairs Cycling – CXHairs YO, was next in fourth place at 9:35:52. Anne Pike, Team DNA-Movement/p/b Penetron, claiming the fifth podium spot, adding to her sixth place finish at Cohutta followed by a second place finish at Mohican.

 

Men’s Open

Schworms narrow victory just enough to lead the NUE Race Series!

Brian Schworm, Think Green VO2 multisport/ p/b Sword, got a narrow victory, by just one minute, claiming his second win in the NUE Race Series this season.  Schworm now leads the NUE series with wins at W101 and Lumberjack adding to his second place finishes at both Cohutta and Mohican.

“I heard great things about the Wilderness 101 but didn’t know what to expect since this was my first attempt at this race.  I heard the trail sections were technical and a blast to ride and I also heard that it was 25 to 30 miles of gravel and forest roads before the first section of singletrack. This, together with the forecasted heat for the day, I knew it would be important to start conservatively. Other racers had the same plan for the beginning of the race and the front group consisted of about 25 to 30 racers for the first hour and half or so of the race.

Once we hit the first section of trail there was a bit of a split in the group, and once we hit the second section the group reduced yet again. There were probably seven or eight racers remaining and then Francis Cuddy put the hammer down for a few miles to distance ourselves from the chasers. I can’t remember if it was that second section of trail or the next, but Aaron Synder flew through it and gapped the group by 30 seconds or so. We were able to catch back up but I knew then he was someone to watch!

Just past the 50 mile mark we hit a big climb.  I knew, from checking out the profile of the race course, that it was about four miles long. I decided to apply some pressure and I worked it up this hill. Christian Tanguy went with me and we separated ourselves from the rest of the group.  We rode together for many miles but, after a long technical section, Aaron caught back up. His skills through those trails must have been absolutely incredible!

Just after aid station four, we hit another long climb.  I noticed that Aaron dropped back a bit so I accelerated and was able to get a bit of a gap on Christian. I reached the top with a significant lead but it was all in vain. Christian and Aaron joined forces, reeled me back in, and we rode together through the last aid station.

I knew that there was one last significant climb at the 90 mile mark. I was definitely getting tired but I knew I still had to try if I wanted a chance of winning. I guess I was just the least tired since I accelerated up the climb with no response. I went as fast as I could up that hill but never lost sight of Christian behind me so I was running scared!  I sprinted down the following downhill but then got a bit confused at the river trail and back-tracked to double check the course markings. I regained my bearings but was really running scared now, especially with my legs cramping up on the hike-a-bike section along the trail. Once through that, I rode the remaining railroad bed trail as fast as I could. I thought it would never end! I was constantly looking over my shoulder and giving it my all. Fortunately, I was able to hold on for the win with Christian and Aaron finishing closely behind.

Overall, it was an amazing race! It was definitely awesome to win another NUE race but this one was extra special since my parents surprised me by coming to watch the race! Thanks definitely need to go to my team Think Green VO2-Multisport p/b SWORD and my other sponsors Specialized, Schwalbe Tires, ESI Grips, TruckerCO, and AbsoluteBlack, but most of all to my supportive wife Jennifer for all her help with these races.  Next up is another new race for me, The Hampshire 100 in New Hampshire. “

Exactly one minute later, 2013 NUE Champion, Christian Tanguy, RBS/TREK, rolled in second, his best finish this season following a narrow fourth place finish at Mohican.

Two minutes behind Tanguy, Aaron Snyder, Stans NoTubes/7 Mtns Lodge, held on for third place finishing 7:00:08. Eleven minutes later, Heath Thumel, Race Pace Bicycles/ I9/Maxxis, took fourth at 7:11:38. Four minutes later, Stewart Gross, Griggs Ortho, claimed fifth at 7:16:20.

 

Singlespeed:

Wadsworth gets his second NUE win!

Defending NUE SS Champion, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery / Pivot Cycles, crushed the field to finish 7:11:39. Wadsworth, following back to back NUE Series SS Championships 2014 and 2015, now has two wins this season following his opening season SS victory at True Grit Epic back in March.

“Knowing that the Wilderness 101 is fire road heavy on the front end, I rode conservatively and easily on the lead-up to the first aid station; saving matches and biding time until the steeper climbs in the middle of the race course. I felt good about my climbing and my fitness and stayed in smart position on three bridges and all of the fire road climbs, using momentum on the gravel downhills to be right where I needed to be.

Kip Beise was ever present in the front group for the first 25 miles but, in the initial selection coming down Dettweiller trail, I worked my way up to third wheel behind Aaron Snyder as Kip must have faded. I wasn’t sure I could keep up with the likes of super local Snyder all day but I was confident in my ability to hold my own on my Pivot LES SS with Thomson Dropper post when the trail turned down, so when we bottomed out of Dettweiller and Kip wasn’t in sight, I remained calm but felt a wave of confidence. My usual custom of clinging to wheels and helping set pace amongst the fastest open riders would again be my goal.

When Brian Schworm and Tanguy attacked on the steepest of the days climbs around mile 55, I quickly decided to let them go and ride a more conservative race. Aaron Snyder and I rode to the top of this climb together and Heath Thumel joined us at the top when we pitted in the neutral aid station. Thumel and I would lose contact with Snyder on the technical ridgeline trail; comforted by the knowledge that this wasn’t his first round on the #PArocks and that we had held our own. Thumel and I would ride the rest of the day together. I was pushing on the climbs, Heath motoring flats and fire roads, before descending comfortably together through the best that Rothrock and Bald Eagle forests had to offer us.

Arriving at Aid Station four, I found my drop bags had NOT made the leap from Aid 3 to 4 so, climbing away from mile 74, I knew I would have to ride conservative; especially in the heat. Heath and I continued our pacing together and eventually worked through the never ending technical Panther Run descent and down into Aid five. From that point on, it was rail to trail, one steady fire road climb and clamoring our way to the finish line. We continually darted our eyes backwards in hopes we would remain alone and, thankfully did, all the way to the finish line. I told Heath to go ahead and take the fourth place slot so he would be guaranteed that overall result and, as we crossed the finish line, we thanked each other for a hard day’s work. Basking in the campside creek, it felt great to be back on the top box of the NUE SS standings.”

Kip Biese, kJBike Coaching/ Old Town Bike Shop, was next finishing 7:54:49. Completing seven out of eight races so far in the NUE Series, Biese leads the NUE Series SS Standings, earning the mid-season travel award, a trip to compete in NUE #12, The Volcano 100 in Costa Rica. Biese has four second place finishes, including Cohutta, Bailey Hundo, and Tatanka.

Holding on to claim third was Michael Tressler, D-Generation X, at 8:16:12. “The race started off with a pretty casual pace. Fellow single speed frenemy, Dahn Pahrs led the large leaders group up the first climb at a comfortably uncomfortable pace. At the top, the pace ramped up and I was immediately thrown off the back, ping ponging off one chase group after another, hedging my bet that, if I conserved energy early on, the 90+ degree heat would claim some victims on the climbs between aid two and three.

Sure enough, I was able to reel in several SS’ers on the Alan Seeger climb up to aid three and was back in the game. My 34X20 gearing was a little lighter than most in the race, but it served me well on the climbs and didn’t kill me in the heat. I caught up to Dahn at the top of Sassafras DH, giving me the motivation to ratchet up the pace on the killer single track to aid four.

The Stillhouse climb put me into some difficulty, but I was able to bridge up to ally Dan Kotwicki and sketched his mad descending skills down the tooth rattling Panther Run and into aid five, catching Matt Ferrari along the way. From there to the finish, I just did everything I could to not get the living rigormortis death cramps from the intense heat.

Next up for me is the Pierre’s Hole 100 and then most likely Shenandoah and maybe Fool’s Gold, depending on how much I want to continue to hurt myself.”

Seven minutes later, Matt Ferrari, Freeze Thaw/Stan’s NoTubes, was fourth at 8:23:47. Four minutes back of Ferrari was Igor Danko, Fibaro Racing Team, at 8:27:23.

 

Masters 50+

Clayton claims victory and NUE Series lead!

Jeff Clayton, GA Neurosurgical Institute, won with authority, the only sub eight hour finish in the Masters race, an impressive 7:42:52. With this win, Clayton narrowly leads the NUE Masters division following victories at Cohutta and Lumberjack plus a second place finish behind Greg Golet, Team Chico, at the True Grit Epic season opener.

“The mellow pace for the first few miles was nice, my body/nerves like a bit of warmup.  On the first gravel road climb the pace picked up. I saw Carl Reglar, winner of the Mohican in the 50+, right near the front, so I decided to move up and mark him.  Things seemed to settle down until each climb where the pace went up again, but the breaks in tempo between climbs were enough to make it easy for me to keep up.

After passing Carl on a fast downhill road and then flying down the first double track section, the initial group seemed to have broken up and I didn’t see Carl. I even joined in a breakaway and soloed briefly off the front, both firsts for me in an NUE race! Things were going well until I got gapped back about thirty seconds on three bridges trail. I chose to follow Brian Schworm as he bridged back up but that put me into “the red”.  After several minutes with the small leading group, I fell off the back. To make matters worse, I lost my remaining full bottle on the next double track descent.

Leaving aid station two, I pace lined with Ross Anderson, normally a good race companion for me, but still dehydrated and not recovered from the earlier effort, his pace ended up being too much for me after 15 minutes or so and I was now solo and trying to recover on the longest climb of the day. A couple of racers passed me and I was looking back for Carl and Roger Masse a lot. I’d mostly recovered and re-hydrated by aid three and enjoyed trying to match the single-track skills of Madison Matthews as he would pull away and then I would catch him on the flats and gravel downhills.

My legs finally felt really good again on the Coopers Gap gravel climb where I passed a couple of guys before the Beautiful and No-Name Trails where I had a pretty good descent. I caught Madison again at the top of the double track climb after aid four and really hit the gas, trying not to flat (or lose any fillings) on Panther Run/Poe Valley and drill it on the gravel roads/rail trail.  I was solo until the finish finishing first in Masters 50+, 12th overall.  It was great fun and a challenge to race the Wilderness 101 for my first time.”

Carl Reglar, Verge Sport/Test Pilot, who earned his first ever NUE win at Mohican, was next for second place at 8:09:26. “I thought I learned a few things from the Mohican 100 (my first 100 miler) that would help me get through this race with less pain than I experienced in Loudonville. I cramped pretty badly, starting around mile fifty in Ohio so the last half of that race was not that pleasant.

My goal at Wilderness 101 was to focus on nutrition before and during the race so I could delay cramping as long as possible. I did not factor the extreme heat and ultimately did not hydrate as well as I would have liked. However, I did delay cramping.

I felt good at the beginning but had to stop at the first aid station to add air to my rear tire. It was not completely flat but very squishy. Thank you again to the women who went to her car to lend me her floor pump!

A few takeaways: I probably went a bit too hard trying to catch up to the leaders after I stopped (never did catch up). I never really got out of the hole I dug for myself early in the race. I was climbing okay but not really recovering due to the heat. To finish, I knew I had to dial it back a bit. Not recovering on the fun downhills meant I launched it a few times into the woods. The aid stations were awesome, the volunteers are so amazing. A few times in the race (top of that long dirt road climb) I was in a pretty dark place but their enthusiasm kept me going and really made my day! Thank you!

Congrats to all the riders who lined up for 100 miles of very challenging but beautiful terrain! Due to the amazing people I met, how well run these events are, and the great time I had, I will certainly line up for the Hampshire 100 in August.”

Fifteen minutes later, Mike Ramponi, finished third at 8:24:08. Another fifteen minutes later, Adam Linstedt, took fourth at 8:39:13. 56 year old Lindstedt also earned a fourth place finish at Mohican and garnered sixth at True Grit Epic.

NUE Defending Masters Champion, Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling / Keswick Cycles, claimed the final podium spot, just 27 seconds behind Linstedt, to finish 8:39:40. In 2014 and 2015, Masse won back to back NUE Series Championships. In the hunt this season toward defending his title, Masse has placed fourth at True Grit Epic then second at Mohican.

 

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