Peak2Peak MTB Race – Michigan

Jorden Wakeley and Kaitlyn Patterson Welcome Fall with Peak2Peak Wins

Written by: Michael Simonson

It’s officially fall in Michigan, which means mountain bike racing is at it’s peak with everyone getting ready for some of the biggest events of the year.

This past weekend saw a great venue at Crystal Mountain nestled right in Thompsonville, Michigan. The Peak2Peak, promoted by Endoman Promotions, is in it’s 10th year and going strong. The promoter has this event dialed in and it runs super smooth. The venue is beautiful, and there’s more to do than just mountain biking. Big payouts for both the elite men and women draw top talent from the Midwest and this year was no exception.

It’s a fast course, and this year, it was particularly dialed in. The moisture leading up to the event was just the perfect blend to make the top soily/sandy course set up nice and tacky and the slug fest up the ski hill at the end of every lap was sure break up the pack.

For the elite men, there were multiple past winners and podium finishers present. After a fast start, and a blazing fast first lap, it settled into a 5 man group, Cole House, Jorden Wakeley, Alex Vanias, Nathan Guerra, and Michael Simonson. The singletrack sections saw multiple attacks from all, but when the course opened to the 2 track sections, the racing neutralized.

Attacks at the end of each lap saw Simonson dangling, but he would recover and chase back onto the group. It all came down to the final ascent and decent of the ski hill on the last lap. It was Wakely first to the top and into the downhill shoot followed by the others with Simonson getting gapped off the back.

A mad dash to the finish saw Wakeley come in for the win, followed by Cole House in 2nd, Nathan Guerra 3rd, Vanias 4th, and Simonson 5th.

The elite Women saw a changing of the guard with a tight battle between multiple past winners Mackenzie Woodring and Kaitlyn Patterson. In the end it was Patterson who pulled out the win.

Overall this race is a sure winner and I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in seeing what Michigan Mountain Biking is all about to attend.

Click Here for full results from all categories

Moab Rocks – Stage 3

Pepper Harlton Makes it Two in a Row While Brent Pontius Takes His First Stage Win; Chris and KC Holley Crowned Moab Rocks Champions

Written by: Shannon Boffeli


The final stage of the Moab Rocks mountain bike stage race is usually the favorite for most of the racers. Not just because it’s the last stage of a grueling three days of riding but it also features some of the best riding Moab has to offer.

Located in the Magnificent 7 trail area, stage 3 features an abundance of singletrack – including the only long stretches of buffed-out dirt trail in Moab sprinkled throughout techy slickrock and long, high-speed descents.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

But before the fun starts, riders have to conquer a 5-mile section of road that features the two toughest climbs of the day.

With that in mind the racers got off to a mellow start slowly ramping up the pace before the first of two road climbs.

Overall race leader Chris Holley (Kuhl) settled into the lead group, seeming content to follow some wheels and be ready if he needed to defend against attacks.

His closest competitors, Brent Pontius (Rooster’s/Bikers Edge), Jason Sager (Competitive Cyclist), and Jeff Kerkove (Topeak/Ergon), also occupied the lead group but no one felt the urge to take an early flyer and attempt to unseat Holley from the top spot.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Sager, who was riding a long-travel bike for the first time looked as though he might give Holley a run later in the stage when the descending started but his plans were foiled early on when mechanical troubles prevented him from finishing the stage.

This left Pontius and Holley alone for much of the race with each rider feeling the effects of three days in the saddle and not pushing the pace too hard.

When the descending finally started, the leaders settled into a reasonable pace on the 9-mile descent back to Gemini Bridges road. On the descent Jeff Kerkove and Alaskan Jeff Ellis regained contact with the lead group.

Ellis, who finished 6th in stages 1 and 2, was in the midst of making a move on Bobby Brown (Bicycle Outfitters) and it was paying off as he stayed with the leaders until the final climb to the finish where Brent Pontius started driving the pace at the front.

Pontius moved clear of the group but Holley kept the Rooster’s/Biker’s Edge rider close as they crested the final climb, and Holley regained his wheel as they descended to the finish.

Pontius would ultimately take the stage win but Holley claimed the title of 2015 Moab Rocks champion.

Jeff Ellis finished off his impressive ride in 3rd place with enough time in hand to leapfrog Bobby Brown in the GC and claim 4th.

Yesterday’s stage winner, Jeff Kerkove rolled in 4th on the day and moved into 3rd overall claiming what was previously Jason Sager’s spot.

Bobby Brown finished 5th on the day and would occupy the same spot in the GC.

The women’s race started off with even more excitement as stage 1 winner Karen Jarchow, who crashed in stage 2, was unable to start the final day of the race.

Originally Jarchow thought her crash the previous day left her with nothing more than bruising and some road rash but a dented helmet and some lingering dizziness made her concerned about a more serious concussion. With that in mind she decided to not take the start.

That meant overnight race leader KC Holley (Kuhl) would have to keep Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TVBRace) and stage 2 winner Pepper Harlton (Devon Bicycle Association) close enough to hold onto her GC lead.

At the start of the day Holley had roughly 10 minutes on Harlton who sat in second overall.

Holley was nervous at the start, worried about the upcoming 5 miles of road that separated her from the singletrack.

As the race got rolling her fears appeared sadly justified as she faded back into 4th losing sight of Armstrong and Harlton.

Finally on trail, Holley started picking off riders beginning with Kata Skaggs (Adventure Bicycle Association), then Armstrong toward the end of the lap.

“I was pretty worried because we were back on the road [just 4 miles from the finish] and I hadn’t caught Pepper and had no idea how far ahead she was,” Holley said after the race.

Concerned that she might have given up too much time the race leader was happily surprised to be told on the final climb that Harlton was just a minute or two in front of her.

Pepper Harlton had given her all trying to claw back the time she lost on stage 1 ultimately coming up just short.

Pepper Harlton descends toward another stage win. Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Pepper Harlton descends toward another stage win. Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Harlton crossed the line for her second stage win in as many days but only getting back 2 of the 10 minutes she needed to unseat Holley from the race lead.

A relieved KC Holley crossed the line for second on the day but fastest combined time after 3 days of racing. She would join her husband Chris as 2015 Moab Rocks champion.

Kaysee Armstrong rolled in third on the stage followed by Kata Skaggs and Sandra Hardy.

At the finish riders congregated sharing their stories of the past three days of racing and enjoying the camaraderie that seems to make all mountain bike racers immediate friends.

All riders on hand would agree that after three days of magnificent weather, outstanding trail riding, friendly and helpful event staff, and plenty of free beer the 2015 Moab Rocks will forever be a highlight of their racing careers.

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Photo by : Raven Eye Photography

Click Here for full results from stage 3

Click Here for full GC results from Moab Rocks

Click Here for full timed descent results from stage 3

Photo Gallery

Moab Rocks – Stage 2

Jeff Kerkove and Pepper Harlton Win at Klondike Bluffs; Husband and Wife Chris and KC Holley Control Leader’s Jerseys After Stage 2

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Another idyllic morning greeted racers for stage 2 of the Moab Rocks mountain bike stage race. It was a stark contrast to last year when gusting winds up to 40mph battered riders throughout the day.

Conditions were so perfect in fact that race leader Chris Holley (Kuhl) had this to say, “I think this was the calmest morning I have every seen in Moab.” Moab is an area known for harsh conditions especially wind that has carved the thousands of arches and depressions seen in this area out of solid rock.

Today’s stage would have none of that as warm temperatures and sun-splashed red rock welcomed riders to the Klondike Bluffs trailhead.

Stage 2 started with a 4-mile drag race down a twisting dirt road stretching out the racers before hitting the singletrack.

Jason Sager leads the front group. Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

Jason Sager leads the front group. Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

The pace off the start was high as riders battled for position before entering the trail.

Once on the combination of slickrock and desert hardpack that make up Klondike Bluffs a lead group of Chris Holley, Jason Sager (Competitive Cyclist), and Brent Pontius (Rooster’s/Biker’s Edge) surged off the front.

“Jason is so good at riding that stuff,” Holley shared after the race. “He’s so smooth I was totally happy just sitting in behind him for most of the day.”

Throughout the 32-mile stage Sager and Holley would open small gaps on their breakaway companion Pontius but Brent was always able to close it back down.

The trio put down fast times throughout the entire course with no one in the group gaining a significant advantage.

Eventually a close sprint finish would decide their final order with Jason Sager crossing the line just in front of overnight race leader Holley and Brent Pontius a few seconds behind them.

Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

After the finish the lead group started to get the feeling that something might be wrong as they waited longer and longer for the next riders to come in.

Finally, Jeff Kerkove (Topeak/Ergon) came into sight over 15 minutes behind the lead trio.

After some discussion it was determined that the leaders had missed a turn cutting out checkpoint #1 and giving them an advantage on course.

The race jury met and decided they would assess the top three riders with a time penalty of 22 minutes and 25 seconds.

In the end, Kerkove was named stage winner with a time of 2:05:20 followed by Bobby Brown (Bicycle Outfitter) just over a minute behind.

The time penalty moved Sager back to third place on the day followed by Holley and Pontius finishing off the podium.

Chris Holley will enjoy at least one more night in the leader’s jersey losing just over a second to Jason Sager who sits third overall.

Stage 2 for the women was equally exciting as the ladies produced some major shake ups of their own.

Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

After a fast start on the road the women dove into the rocky, technical riding of the Klondike system. Early on, overnight race leader Karen Jarchow (BH/Castelli) cut a tire and sacrificed precious time fixing it.

Luckily for Jarchow her nearest GC threat, KC Holley (Kuhl), had struggled on the opening road section and sat in 5th place at the start of the singletrack.

The tire repair didn’t go quickly enough as Holley passed by while the GC leader was still stuck on the side of the trail.

By this time Holley was starting to move up through the pack but her slow start had given Pepper Harlton (Devon Bicycle Association) a big cushion and the hardtail-riding Canadian was not about to slow down despite the rugged terrain.

This is Harlton’s second effort at Moab Rocks and she was careful not to miss any turns as she did in 2014 when a wrong turn dropped her from 2nd to 4th. This time around, Harlton stayed on course and showcased her well-honed riding skills to stay well in front of the pack and take her first Moab Rocks stage win.

KC Holley turned in some impressively skilled riding of her own moving from 5th into 2nd at the finish line. Her technical skills helped her recover from a slow start finally putting over four minutes on third-placed finisher Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TVBRace).

Kata Skaggs (Adventure Bicycle Company) came home in fourth.

Karen Jarchow rallies to make up time after her flat tire. Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

Karen Jarchow rallies to make up time after her flat tire. Photo by: Raven Eye Photo

Stage 1 winner Karen Jarchow took fifth on the day losing her overall lead to KC Holley as her struggles continued following the flat tire. After finishing her repair, Jarchow remounted and pushed herself hard to make up time. The BH/Castelli rider was taking risks to get time back from her competitors until a heavy crash had her off the bike again. Ultimately, she toughed it out to finish the stage and now will need to shift her focus to regaining her GC lead.

When asked if she was nervous about starting with the leader’s jersey tomorrow KC Holley said, “Yes, I am really nervous. The stage starts with another road section and I heard we have to ride back on it too.”

Holley will need to limit her losses on the road tomorrow and use the technical aspects of the Mag 7 trail system to her advantage to stay in front of her closest challengers.

The final stage features another hearty helping of singletrack as riders contest 30 miles on the Magnificent 7 trail system. Riders can expect more ledges, rocks, and bumps with 3,500 feet of climbing mixed in.

Click Here for full XC results from stage 2

Click Here for full timed descent results from stage 2

Race Notes

  • Each stage of Moab Rocks features a timed descent with today’s honors going to Bobby Brown for the fastest men’s time and Kaysee Armstrong clocking the fastest time for the women