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.



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.