Race Bikes for Unbound Gravel – Round 2 of the Life Time Grand Prix

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

Many of the world’s best riders are lining up in Emporia, Kansas, for the Unbound Gravel event – round two of the Life Time Grand Prix.

Saturday’s Unbound course features 200 miles of rolling gravel and dirt roads through the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. Riders have chosen a wide variety of race set ups to get the most from their bikes in the first gravel race on the Life Time Grand Prix calendar.

We got a sneak peak at what our favorite mountain bike racers will competing on as the Grand Prix turns to gravel including top riders like: Sofia Gomez Villafane, Alexis Skarda, Rose Grant, Keegan Swenson, Russell Finsterwald, Melisa Rollins, Dylan Johnson, and more.

Sofia Gomez Villafane: Specialized Crux – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 2nd

Sofia Gomez Villafane Specialized Crux


  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-ace/XTR/GRX with double chainring
  • Cockpit: Aero package
  • Tires: Specialized Pathfinder with inserts

Keegan Swenson: Santa Cruz Stigmata – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 1st

Keegan Swenson’s Santa Cruz Stigmata


  • Drivetrain: SRAM Red 48-tooth single ring & 10-50 SRAM Eagle cassette
  • Wheels: Reserve 40/44 with Fillmore valves
  • Tires: Maxxis Refuse 40c with inserts – 28 psi front 30 psi rear
  • Cockpit: Zipp 40cm Service Course SL bar and stem
  • Computer: Garmin Edge 530
  • Bike Bags: Zipp Speed Box top tube bag & Almsthre saddle bag
  • Extras: 3 tubes, Stan’s NoTubes Dart, 3 Genuine Innovations Plugs – Loaded, 4 CO2s and hand pump

Alexis Skarda: Santa Cruz Stigmata – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 3rd

Alexis Skarda’s Santa Cruz Stigmata


  • Drivetrain: SRAM Red 44-32t double chainring
  • Wheels: Reserve 34/37
  • Tires: Maxxis Refuse 40c with Tannus inserts

Stephan Davoust: Giant Revolt – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: DNF at Round 1

Stephan Davoust’s Giant Revolt
Stephan is Running Giant’s D-Fuse Handlebar and Seatpost to Dampen Vibrations on the Road
Giant Frame Bag for Extra Storage


  • Drivetrain: Shimano GRX Di2
  • Tires: Maxxis Rambler 45c silk shield with Cushcore
  • Cockpit: Giant D-Fuse handlebar and seatpost
  • Bike Bags: Giant frame bag

Evelyn Dong: Juliana Quincy – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 5th

Evelyn Dong’s Juliana Quincy


  • Drivetrain: SRAM XPLR 46-tooth single ring with 10-44 cassette and k-edge chainguide
  • Wheels: Reserve Gravel 32
  • Tires: Maxxis Refuse with Mynsweeper inserts

Russell Finsterwald: Specialized Crux – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 2nd

Russell Finsterwald’s Specialized Crux
Finsterwald’s cockpit is outfitted with a speaker


  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace/GRX 48-tooth single ring with 11-46 cassette
  • Tires: Specialized Pathfinder Pro 42c
  • Cockpit: Specialized bar with Farr Bars aero package
  • Extras: Wireless speaker on stem for tunes to get him through the dark times

Kaysee Armstrong: Liv Devote – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 9th

Kaysee Armstrong’s Liv Devote
Armstrong is using mountain bike pedals and shoes for the first time at Unbound
Armstrong is the only rider I’ve spoken with no running inserts in their tires


  • Drivetrain: Shimano GRX/Ultegra double chainring
  • Wheels: Giant 35 carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Rambler 40c no inserts

Dylan Johnson: Factor LS – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 13th

Dylan Johnson’s Factor LS


  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace/GRX double chainring with Quarq power meter
  • Wheels: Black Inc
  • Tires: Specialized Pathfinder Pro with tubolight inserts
  • Cockpit: Black Inc carbon bar/stem combo
  • Computer: Wahoo Roam

Rose Grant: Juliana Quincy – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 8th

Rose Grant’s Juliana Quincy


  • Drivetrain: SRAM Red with 44-tooth single ring 10-46 rear cassette
  • Wheels: Reserve 25
  • Tires: Maxxis Ramblers 40c with Orange Seal sealant
  • Computer: Hammerhead

Melisa Rollins: Felt Breed – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 11th

Melisa Rollins’ Felt Breed


  • Drivetrain: SRAM XPLR etap AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Wheels: Zipp 303S
  • Tires: Kenda Flintridge 40c
  • Computer: Wahoo Roam

Race Bikes For The Life Time Grand Prix

Riders are lining up in Monterey, California, for the Sea Otter Classic and round 1 of the Life Time Grand Prix.

Saturday’s Sea Otter course features two 40-kilometer laps on the super-fast, hard pack at the edges of Laguna Seca Raceway. Riders have chosen a wide variety of race set ups to get the most from their bikes in Saturday’s marathon event.

We got a sneak peak at some of the fastest rides that will be on course this weekend including top riders like: Rose Grant, Geoff Kabush, Melisa Rollins, Dylan Johnson, and many more.

Rose Grant: Juliana Wilder

Rose Grant’s Juliana Wilder


  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Rockshox SID 100mm
  • Shock: Rockshox SID Luxe 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM AXS dropper
  • Wheels: Reserve 28 carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4 with Orange Seal sealant
  • Grips: Chunky ESI
  • Computer: Hammerhead

Melisa Rollins: Trek Supercaliber (Melisa is sponsored by Felt who do not currently produce a mountain bike)


  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Shock: Fox/Trek ISO strut 65mm
  • Seat Post: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon fixed
  • Wheels: Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4

Hannah Otto: Pivot Les SL


  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with Stages Double Side Power Meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Step Cast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 carbon
  • Tires: Kenda Rush 2.2
  • Cockpit: Race Face Next SL
  • Grips: ESI Fit CR

Evelyn Dong: Custom Juliana SC Highball


  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
  • Fork: Rockshox SID ultimate 100mm
  • Seat Post: SRAM Explr AXS dropper 75mm
  • Wheels: Reserve carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.4
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado

Taylor Lideen: Pivot Les SL


  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed with 4iiii power meter
  • Fork: Fox 32 Stepcast 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Wheels: Boyd Trail Blazer
  • Tires: Kenda Saber Pro 2.4
  • Computer: Wahoo ELEMENT Bolt GPS

Dylan Johnson: Factor Lando


  • Drivetrain: SRAM AXS with Quarq power meter
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast 120mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Black Inc Twenty Seven
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Cockpit: Black Inc bar/stem combo
  • Tires Inserts: Tubolight EVO SL

Stephan Davoust: Giant Anthem Advanced Pro


  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step Cast Live Valve 110mm
  • Shock: Fox Live Valve 100mm
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL dropper
  • Wheels: Giant XCRO carbon
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear

Geoff Kabush: Yeti SB115


  • Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
  • Fork: Fox 34 Fit4 Step Cast
  • Seat Post: Fox Transfer SL
  • Wheels: Stan’s No Tubes Podium SRD
  • Inserts: Cushcore front & rear
  • Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25 EXO 120tpi
  • Cockpit: Pro Bike Gear
  • Grips: Lizard Skins 32.2 DSP

You can follow Shannon Boffeli on Instagram @shan__solo

NUE- Shenandoah 100k

The 23rd annual Shenandoah 100 is the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series held over Labor Day weekend in Stokesville, VA. Shenandoah now includes a 100k option of racing on Saturday and the classic 100 mile race on Sunday.

100k race start

Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just a few races remaining that will determine this year’s champions. Shenandoah is a highly anticipated showdown showcasing top level talent in a festive atmosphere with most racers choosing to camp out at the Stokesville Lodge and campground which is included in registration.

Womens Open- Sheldon wins 100k

Women’s 100k podium: 1st Libbey Sheldon, 2nd Carla Williams, 3rd Laura Hamm, 4th Bryna Blanchard, 5th Lauren Zimmer

No one could match the pace of Libbey Sheldon (CSHairs Devo) in the women’s 100k race on Saturday and she took the win with a time of 5:29.

In her first mountain bike race after having a baby, previous NUE epic series winner, Carla Williams (CarboRocket) of Roanoke took second place in 5:38:25.

Just a couple minutes back from Williams, Laura Hamm (Moonstomper) took third place in 5:40:22. Hamm also went on to complete the 100 mile race on Sunday with a third place finish.

Making the trip from New York, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing) finished fourth 5:47:37. Taking the last podium spot went to Lauren Zimmer (Bingham Cyclery) in 5:57:15.

Mens Open- Petrylak second 2021 NUE marathon win

Men’s 100k podium: 1st John Petrylak, 2nd Anthony Grinnell, 3rd Will Pfeiffer, 4th Ben Ferguson, 5th Jarod Lawver

After a major setback with course markings, John Petrylak (CarboRocket) fights hard to take the Shenandoah 100k win with a time of 5:25. Petrylak had a previous NUE 100k win at Wilderness.

“After a typical start to the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series Shenandoah Mountain 100K we came to an intersection that I know very well. The course arrows should have pointed LEFT ; however they were pointing RIGHT. We got off course and after an extra 6 mile loop and 37 minutes waisted we climbed back to the original intersection in question and by this time someone came and realized that the arrows were wrong and fixed them.
Later in the day it was suspected that a person or persons maliciously changed the arrows. 
Now at this point I believe we were absolutely dead last or very close to it. Without much thought I just pressed on full gas and set out to pass every rider I could. After 5 and a half hours I managed to catch every rider except masters athlete George Ganoung and take the open men’s win.Also a huge amount of respect for Anthony, Will and Stew for rolling in literally a few minutes behind me as they had just as much additional pain and suffering to deal with and still rose to the occasion. Thanks to: CarboRocket, Molly’s Bikes, ESI Grips, Kenda Tires and Athlos Sports”

Just three minutes back, Anthony Grinnell (Syndicate Cycling) took second with a time of 5:28:32.

“The racing didn’t really start until we began climbing on the initial road sections, but even then, it was a manageable pace.  Shortly into gravel, the top 8 or so guys formed a pretty large gap to the rest of the field.  Heading up the first single track climb, we had a lead group of 4 and pulled a gap on the rest of the breakaway.  But as we got to the top of the climb, we encountered a problem.  GPS said go left, but the arrows pointed right and a tape banner blocked the trail to the left.  We all figured there was an issue with the GPS or a last minute course change since there was both tape and arrows telling us to go right.  Big mistake.  About 5 miles down that trail, we all realized there were no more arrows, too many downed trees, and we should have gone left.  At that point, it was easier to keep going and complete the 9 mile extra loop and re-peat that tough single track climb to make the correct left turn at the top.  37 minutes later, we were back on course and, as Will Pfeiffer so adequately stated “pedaling pissed off”.  The even bigger downside is, while we were adding our extra miles, someone corrected the course marking issue, which ended up putting the entire 100k class in front of us.  We literally had to pass hundreds of other riders as we worked our way up.  I’ve been a huge fan of Flow Formulas products, but wow did it make a difference in being able to maintain energy needed to make up all that lost time.  Big props to Pirelli tires too…they were bullet proof and with all of the sharp rocks on the course, that was a must.  I was shocked, and REALLY happy to see that John, Will, and I were all able to put our heads down and battle our way back up to sweep the podium.  We think a hunter likely changed the markings, but in the end, it didn’t keep John Petrylak from winning his first SMT 100K race, didn’t keep me from getting 2nd, and kept Will Pfeiffer’s title hopes alive for the series.  It was a great day for the Syndicate/Flow Formulas team with Jim Litzinger getting 1st in the 100K Single Speed Class and Joe Frass getting 5th in the 100 mile Single Speed Class. Huge thank you to Shorkey Auto Group and Pro Bike & Run for getting us to these races and keeping our equipment working.”

Will Pfeiffer (Flow Formulas) took third crossing the line in 5:31:37.

“The race started like any other, with a good push up the first climb.  Five of us got away and kept a good pace on Narrowback.  When we came to a T-intersection near the top, an unexpected right turn was marked.  We figured there was some issue with the normal trail and just followed the arrows and tape.  This proved unfortunate, because it turned out there were some people messing with signage on the course.  As we realized what had happened, I’ll be honest, I was not in a good place mentally.  I have been chasing the season standings this year, and I was watching all that effort go out the window in one fell swoop.  John Petrylak, Anthony Grinnel, and Stewart Gross were instrumental in keeping my head in the game and I am very thankful to have been with those guys.  So, one bonus loop later, the lost boys joined back up DFL and all sorts of motivated.

The rest of the race turned into a 50 mile TT trying to fight through the field.  My mom was a massive help, supporting me at each aid station.  Late in the race she told me I was 10th heading into the final climb of Hankey.  I was already deep in the effort and absolutely buried myself trying to catch riders.  Pulling a third in class was a mixture of some effort and a lot of luck.  But I will say this, I’ve had a handful of races over the years that presented some physically and mentally difficult obstacles.  It sounds cliche, but never once have I regretted refusing to give in.  The mindset, challenge, and camaraderie this weekend meant so much more to me than the result.  Huge thanks to Flow Formulas, The Black Bibs, Maxxis, Industry Nine, Kask, Koo, Handup, Ridge Supply, Chris of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, and my awesome teammates who let me be a part of their super inspiring rides on Sunday.  #flowformulasfamily”

Ben Ferguson finished fourth in 5:34:09 and Jarod Lawver fifth in 5:46:37.

Singlespeed– Litzinger leads NUE marathon SS

Singlespeed podium: 1st James Litzinger, 2nd Don Powers, 3rd Kenny Kocarek, 4th Larry Miller, 5th Kasey Clark

With a second place finish at Mohican and first place at Wilderness, James Litzinger (Syndicate Cycling) took the Shenandoah win with a time of 5:32:09. Litzinger now leads the NUE SS Marathon series.

“The backcountry racing at Shenandoah Mountain always is always a blast and this year was no different!  The start and preparation for the race was very smooth and thought out.  We were put in to starting corrals of 5 and I was lined up with some hammer in the corral 50-55, teammate Anthony Grinnell (2nd) and John Petrylak (1st) crushed the course!  Coming out of the campground it was very chill until it hit the road and everyone started to jockey for position.  Dahn Pahrs and I were the only 2 single speeders  spinning and tucking our way to the front with the geared guys.  We were comfortable with the brisk pace of the opening gravel climb and taking some pulls. The biggest deciding factor in the race came at the top of the first single track climb when 2 arrows pointed right and the GPS said to go left.  Decisions, decisions…we went right with the arrows which cost us about 4 miles and 13 minutes.  During the single track I noticed the screw on the top cap of my fork was coming loose so I used my thumb to push down on it and tighten it.  After getting back on course we were faced with the challenge of making our way through a lot of riders on the tight single track.  After getting back out on the road, Dahn and I worked together on our way to the next climb which was a lot of hike a biking.  At the bottom of the climb I noticed my fork was not responding as it should, it was stiff and in the down position.  I decided to put it in the lock position to prevent it from going down but made the descents very challenging.  After the race I noticed that I changed the rebound to SLOW when I was tightening the screw.  After the long, steep, rocky, and rooty climb. 

After the hike a bike we were rewarded with a super fun descent.  To my surprise, I was able to catch a few more riders before poking out onto the dirt road again.  After completing the descent, I looked back to join up with Dahn again and he came back out on the road a few seconds after me. I decided to sit up, get some nutrition, and wait for my buddy since these races are a lot more fun with some company.  After fueling up and spinning down the road a little I thought I heard a car coming so I moved off to the side of the road and looked back to see that it was not a car but John Petrylak.  As a single speeder we are often faced with the decision to burn some matches get dragged along by the strong geared guys or rider your own race and conserve your energy.  Well, I decided to burn some matches for a big increase in speed on the backcountry Virginia road.  I was able to make up some great time spinning and tucking behind John’s wheel.  When we pulled into aid 2, I had to fill my bottles, grab grub, and by that time John was already rolling and there was no catching him.  I continued rolling the course at my own pace until the ripping descent leading into aid 3 when teammate Anthony Grinnell caught me.  It was a blast shredding the descent and getting a big pull on the road with him until I had to let him go before burning up all my matches.  I was glad to be looking at the Hankey climb for the last time before working my way down the mountain to the finish.   Special shout out to the Syndicate Cycling support of Pro Bike+Run Shops, Shorkey Auto Group, Specialized bikes, Flow Formulas, Wolftooth Components, Extreme Nano Lubes, Esi Grips, Pirelli tires, KOO, Kask, Dr. Bryan Hooks Orthopedic, and last but not least my amazing family.”

Previously winning Mohican earlier this season, Don Powers, of Pennsylvania took second in 5:41:27. Don also raced the Shenandoah 100 mile race on Sunday.

Stopping the Pennsylvania podium sweep, Kenny Kocarek (Kobby Side Down) of Ohio finished in 6:12:53. Larry Miller (Team Bikenetic) took fourth in 6:47:32 and Kasey Clark (Velopigs) finished fifth in 7:10:30.

Masters Ganoung takes top step

Masters podium: 1st George Ganoung, 2nd Peter Schultz, 3rd Derek Dagostino, 4th ustin De Leo, 5th Roberts Moore

Winning the Masters category was George Ganoung (Otterhaus) with a finish time of 5:23:37.

” I have a long competitive road and gravel history but this was my first ever marathon mountain bike event. I won the Master 50+ and due to some strange circumstances, I came out the overall winner as well…with a big footnote though.About 9 miles into the race I was 8th in a group of 4 ~30 seconds behind the leaders and we had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field. We came across a major arrow marked intersection, but having pre ridden the course, and having the map on my GPS, they were not pointing in the expected direction. My compatriots followed the arrows so I went with them, about .5 mile in I just felt it was wrong, and told them I am turning around. They agreed and we flipped it, went the other way at the intersection and ran into course tape across the trail, it was broken, but seemed to indicate it’s a reroute. We flipped again and went back further, but with the trail getting significantly rougher and no other markers I told the other guys I think someone mucked it up and I am committing to the GPS track. By then the bulk of the race had caught up and the two way traffic on single track was chaotic and was forced to walk. I told the riders I ran into as I back tracked to make their own call but I am following GPS. It seemed like the majority turned around, and someone else had turned the arrows back by the time I got to the intersection. Fortunately it was the right call and the race markers had clearly been sabotaged. I ended up being about 30th out of the 1st single track after the confusion. Convinced the leaders went the right way and were long gone, and half the race was ahead, I just rode hard out of anger on the next fire road section catching as many folks as I could. It turned out the leaders had actually gone further off course before turning around and after the next big single track climb and descent, I was told I was in the overall lead…and somehow managed to hold on for ~40 miles to the finish. Massively impressive ride by 2nd place John Petrylak who went further off course and came back to win the open class and nearly caught me at the end. Big thanks to @shenandoahmountaintouring and all the volunteers for putting on such a cool event and hats off to the riders who do this stuff all the time, huge respect for the skill/fitness required.
In regards to NUE future, Shenandoah again and maybe Wilderness 101 next year are probably it for me because they are close. This is just a branch out as a new challenge.”

George Ganoung (Otterhaus) 5:23:37

About 10 minters back, Peter Schultz (Team Bikenetic) finished second with a time of 5:32:35. “As we charged up the first climb, I had my coach’s voice in my head to stay within myself. I was doing about 4 W/kg on the double-track climb and thought that’s about the power that would need to be sustained for 5 hours by the overall winner. So, I let about 30 people crank on past, pretty sure that they’d come back.The hitch in this plan came at the top of the first climb where the arrows were pointed in the wrong direction. When we finally got ourselves turned around, I got shuffled backward another 20 spots or so. So, I spent the entire descent in a conga line, as well as most of Lynn Trail. I tried to stay calm and stick to the plan.But things went further sideways on the Wolf Trail descent when I had a 5-minute mechanical due to a messed up jockey wheel. “The Plan” went even further in the crapper on the road to Hankey’s where I’d stashed my two bottles on little stands: someone stole one of my bottles. Whoever did that and whoever swapped the arrows on Narrowback is a complete butthead.“The Plan” started working in second half of the race where I passed dozens of people. I was able to keep my power relatively high (for me) at about 3.6W/kg. My times on the first and second Hankey’s climbs were within a second of each other. I was able to hold it all together on the descents and get back in one piece.I’d like to give a big shout-out to the OGs in this race, with the fastest overall times going to folks over 50. I had a front row seat watching Libby Sheldon (and Laura Hamm) from the rear as she nearly cleaned Lynn Trail. So impressive!I’d like to thank my sponsors — my wife, myself, and Bikenetic – and my coach, Jeremy Powers, for his attention to detail.”

Taking the third step, Derek Dagostino (Molly’s Bicycles) finished in 5:50:13. “While living and mountain biking in Richmond, Virginia, I had always heard about the Shenadoah Mountain 100 but never seriously considered participating in this race because of its difficulty. I participated in local XC races through the year in 2020 while working to improve my fitness. Going into 2021, I was looking for a challenge and made the SM 100 KM my “A” race for the year. New to endurance mountain bike racing I realized that I had a lot to learn before the race. I joined local marathon XC races for training and also to work my hydration and fueling plan. Admittedly I made some big mistakes along the way. 

3rd place Derek Dagostino

The SM was as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be! Race participants were lined up by bid numbers and in rows of five people. I started mid-pack and used the first 7 miles of fire road to move up while minding my pace. From the fire road you jump onto single track which starts the first significant climb of the day. A few miles into the climb, the riders leading the group of 15 or so stopped and mentioned that they thought we were off course. We turned around and back tracked to the proper course and I later found out that a prankster changed the course markings. The little detour added 3 miles to my race and I also found myself in heavy traffic until reaching the fire road at the end of Tilman single track. At this point I really had no idea where I was in the field because of the mix-up. The climb up the Lynn trail was as memorable as it was steep! Once back on the fire road, I was able to pace with some other riders including Eli Drooger who ended up taking 1st in U19 category. The climb up Hanky was tough but I was also able to pass other riders, make up some ground, and stay on track until the finish line! Special thanks to the SM race promoter and volunteers who pulled off the event this year. The event was well organized and not surprisingly will continue into its 24th year in 2022. Also I want to acknowledge my sponsor Molly’s Bicycle Shop and Blind Dog Brewery in Chester, Virginia. The team at the shop has played a pivotable role in supporting me with fantastic equipment (including my Norco Revolver FS1), topnotch service and an occasional beer!”

Fourth place went to Justin De Leo (Blue Ridge Cyclery) with a time of 5:55:46. Fifth place to Roberts Moore (Moore Velocity) crossing the line in 5:56:30.

Written by: @jentoops

Photos by: @Shenandoahmountaintouring

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE Marathon Series is the Marji Gesick in Ishpeming, MI on September 18, 2021. See you all there!

NUE-Shenandoah 100Mile

The 23rd annual Shenandoah 100 is the oldest race in the NUE Epic Race Series held over Labor Day weekend in Stokesville, VA. Shenandoah now includes a 100k option of racing on Saturday and the classic 100 mile race on Sunday.

Early 630AM race start

Held within The George Washington National Forest of Virginia, Shenandoah marks the start of the fall season of the NUE Series with just a few races remaining that will determine this year’s champions. Shenandoah is a highly anticipated showdown showcasing top level talent in a festive atmosphere with most racers choosing to camp out at the Stokesville Lodge and campground which is included in registration.

Womens Open Toops with second NUE win

Women’s 100 M podium: 1st Jen Toops, 2nd Leila Husain, 3rd Laura Hamm, 4th Kaitlyn Maddox, 5th Lynn Faust

Making the trip down from Ohio, previous NUE marathon series winner Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/ Pivot Cycles), took the top step with a time of 9:17:59. Toops now leads the 21 NUE epic series with a win at Mohican and second at Wilderness earlier this year .

” I’ve been signed up for Shenandoah for the past couple years but couldn’t make it for various reasons. I was very excited to finally make it down to VA and see what Shenandoah was all about. My brother Shane Cusick came to cheer and is a Shenandoah veteran so we spent race eve going over the course. Game plan: the “death climb” is tough so save some matches and ride my own race. Some jerk on Saturday threw tacks out on the beginning of course and I got one in my front and rear tires. Luckily Stans sealant did the job and I was still able to run my Maxxis ikons with no issues.

Toops navigates one of many water crossing

All the women were lined up together for start of the race in about 100th position. Julia and I rode most of the beginning gravel together and then I lost sight of her (turns out she had some tire issues and had to DNF). When the race entered the first singletrack there was a lot of Congo lines and hike a bikes. I think this helped in the long run by not burning too many matches in the beginning of the day. I continued to ride a steady pace, keep up on nutrition, and save plenty for the “death climb”. Then the moment of truth…. the so called death climb. Turns out what I envisioned was way worse than it actually was. The 17 mile death climb is long but never super steep and you even get some breaks here and there. I kept looking back and asking at aids if anyone knew time gap and no one knew. I just kept pushing a tolerable pace and ended up taking the win! Super excited to celebrate with my brother and Ohio crew that made it to the event. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot cycles, Ergon, Fox, Maxxis, Stans, Scc, Honeystinger, Carborocket, Lazer. Next up in Marji Gesick in MI. ”

Putting in a lot of training this year for Shenandoah led to happy tears at the finish line for Leila Husain. She took second place with a time of 10:11:33.

An emotional finish for Leila Husain taking 2nd in the women’s 100 mile open

Laura Hamm made a weekend out of racing. She completed the 100k race on Saturday and also the 100 mile race on Sunday. Taking the Stan the woman award she finished the 100 mile in a time of 10:32:13.

Laura Hamm completed both the 100k and 100 mile races

Finishing fourth was, Kaityln Maddox with a time of 11:27:26 and Lynn Faust finished fifth in 13:03:03.

Mens Open- Johnson gets Shenandoah win

Previous NUE epic series and Shenandoah winner, Dylan Johnson took the overall 100 mile race with a finish time of 7:29:21.

Johnson leading 100 mile race

About 20 minutes back, Ian Schwing took second with a time of 7:50:34.

“My favorite race of all time had awaited me Sunday. The legs were fired up from the day before having my second collegiate race in UVA. 6:30am start is always majestic at sunrise with hundreds of people riding together in the woods. Fireworks and moves happened early and many people flatted. Worked my way through traffic until finally at the bottom of Tillman, found myself in the lead group, racing through almost 20 places. Dylan was already out of sight and put in what seemed like a death march of an attack for 90 miles, and nobody followed. Dropping into aid 3 only 3 of us were left in our group. On braileys decent, Jake got a flat and I rode passed him. A very very lonely death climb was ahead of me, and lonely it was. I shared a few miles with Bobby Lea before regaining the gap on Chestnut and hammered to the finish to ensure a second place.  Thank you to Flowformulas for all the support and fueling these massive efforts! Next big race on the calendar is a full collegiate season, collegiate nationals, and marathon nationals!”

Taking third place was Bobby Lea finishing about three minutes off second place with a time of 7:53:21. Fourth place went to Jimmy Klose crossing the line in 7:54:40. Hot on his heels was Heath Thumel just one minute back in 7:55:39. Bishop had mechanical issues and finished 14th.

Singlespeed- Holle with 3rd NUE SS win

Singlespeed 100M podium: 1st Justin Holle, 2nd Lance Byrd, 3rd Anthony Toops, 4th Patrick Blair, 5th Joe Fraas

The single speed division put on quite the show with the top three just four minutes apart. Making the trip from Colorado, Justin Holle, took the single speed win with a time of 8:07:51. With previous wins at High Cascades and Lumberjack he now leads the NUE epic singlespeed series.

Holle congratulating Toops after a close race

Just over a minute back, Lance Byrd took second in the singlespeed division with a time of 8:09:09.

“The Shenandoah 100 single speed division went full-dramatic in 2021.  The lineup contained multiple previous winners (Justin Holle and Patrick Blair) and 39 registered single speeders.  With a neutralized socially distanced mass start, the pace remained sane early, keeping every possibility alive.  Justin Holle (current NUE SS series leader) wouldn’t waste his premium starting position and led the entire field up the gravel climbs to the singletrack.  His confidence paid early dividends as Adventures for the Cure teammates Lance Byrd and Pat Blair were trapped behind a pileup that caused the first decisive split on mountain 1.
Furious chasing towards mountain 2 ensued.  Lance, Pat and Anthony Toops were hanging onto geared riders for dear life as those who were held up tried to bridge back to the leaders.  Pat Blair tried eating gravel at speed, with only a chipped tooth and the dust of his competitors to show for it.  He would fall further behind but wasn’t done!  Lance and Anothony attacked mountain 2.  Lance bridged to leader Justin Holle on mountain 2, ripping Wolfe descent.  The race was on.

Just a minute back, Bryd finishes second in SS. Look at those bars!

Lance and Justin joked that it would be a battle the rest of the day.  They marked each other over mountains 3 and 4.  They climbed similarly, Lance hiked and descended a little faster, Justin would repeatedly pedal him down and take control of the race.
Heading to The Death Climb of mountain 5 the stakes were raised… Anothony Toops bridged, Pat Blair (chipped tooth) bridged.  The top 4 single speeders entered The Death Climb together.  In slow motion they tested each other, some were faster on the steeps, others faster in the mud.  But, even another hour of brutal climbing couldn’t separate them by more than a few seconds.
Lance attacked the 5th and most epic descent.  It seemed to work.  There was no one in sight as he turned onto the gravel leading to the finale, mountain 6.  But Justin would not be denied.  He clawed Lance back on the roads, bridging just before the start of the climb.  The two were inseparable and they even discussed how this would play out.  They decided at the same time that Lance would attack near the top.  It seemed scripted, inevitable.  Justin responded to the final surge and then pulled away over the final kicker.  He ripped down the final descent, sealing his Shenandoah 100 and NUE SS series victory.”

Previous NUE marathon SS series winner, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage) of Ohio took the third spot with a time of 8:12:01.

“What a race this turned out to be!  This was my first SS race since 2019 and I really didn’t know what would happen out there.  I went into the day with no expectations and no pressure other than riding hard and NO CRASHES!
The race started pretty easy and I just focused on my own race.  Justin Holle went off the front going into the first singletrack section and I wasn’t sure if I would see him again.  After I think aid two, I started to see a group up the road and it turned out to be a few geared and SS racers.  I latched onto them on a road section and from then on it was 4 SS racers battling it out for most of the day.
The pace was quick but there weren’t any all out attacks yet, just steady efforts to wear everyone down.  We were all anticipating fireworks on the death climb and everyone was riding really strong. Justin dropped back a little going into  aid 5 (mile 75) at the top and it was Lance, Patrick, and I together in and out of the aid.  I was wondering if he had cracked… but Lance quickly replied “He’s not gone yet. He always comes back!”.  Wouldn’t you know it; by the time  we were almost to the longest downhill of the day, here comes Justin! 
Lance was in the lead by about 25 yards and I had a small slide out in some mud so Justin went by going into the downhill(Chestnut).  I quickly popped back up and caught his wheel.  Patrick was in 4th and taking it easier on the downhills after a crash earlier in the race.  Justin and Lance were absolutely flying on the downhills and keeping their wheel was difficult since I was having some pretty bad hand cramping issues.  The legs were feeling strong but the hands couldn’t safely hold on so I had to back off and would loose some time going into aid 6 (mile 88).
At aid 6 I quickly grabbed a can of coke and got pedaling again.  Justin and Lance were just up the road about 200 yards. I spun like crazy and was closing the gap going into the final climb.  I was all in and went as deep as I could and almost caught them, but they put in a big attack before I could close the gap.  They would again gain some time on the final downhill and at this point I was yelling at my hands they hurt so bad!  At the line we would finish just a few minutes apart. 
This is the best battle and the most fun I’ve had in a 100mi race and couldn’t have asked for better competition on the day. Looking forward to doing it again at the Marji Gesick 100! Sponsors: Paradise Garage. Bike setup:Frame – Pivot LES size largeGearing – oval 32x19Tires – front Maxxis Aspen 3c exo 29×2.25, rear Continental Race King protection 29×2.2″

Rounding out the podium was Patrick Blair finishing fourth in 8:30:58. Fifth place went to Joe Fraas in 8:52:56.

Masters- Weaver gets win

Masters podium: 1st Dave Weaver, 2nd Eric Magnuson, 3rd Amir Matityahu, 4th Keith Papanicolas, 5th Garth Prosser

Taking the win in the Masters division was Dave Weaver (Rapha/Canyon) with a time of 8:43:05.

“Last week my rear hub cracked and a replacement never made it by Friday. My mtb shoes and helmet were still lost in shipping from the Last Best Ride in Whitefish, MT. So I threw my mtb in the car without a rear wheel along with my roadbike, in case I couldn’t race, I was just going to ride Reddish and camp out with  friends. Fortunately, Jeremiah came through with a loaner rear wheel Saturday afternoon! 

I’ve only done one other 100 miler and it was the SM100 in ‘19. I wasn’t prepared for the attrition and pain it took…and my bike setup was all wrong. My goal for Sunday was not to go out too hard on the first two climbs and stay between 10-15th overall hanging close to  Pat, Lance, and Anthony. It’s easy to get caught up in fast starts. The masters guys at this level are all very strong and know how to ride bikes in the backcountry-I knew Amir is leading the NUE Series, kept an eye on him early, and was able to pull ahead on the technical Lynn Trail climb, only to lose time to Dan Atkins on the decent-he’s fast. 

On the flats going into the Death Climb I hear Nathan and Jeremiah charging back calling my name, and was motivated to jump on that train the entire climb as I was seeing some dark moments. It was great to be with two friends on the worst climb of the day. I pulled ahead of Dan again only for him to drop me on the descent again. After a season of flat tires, I took it easy on all the downhills making sure I didn’t flat, or crash. Both are likely at the SM100. Hats off to Chris Scott, who always works hard putting together the best bike racing experiences for everyone! We’re fortunate to have beautiful places to race bikes and volunteers who put in their time to help make the race possible. I’ll definitely be back next year!”

About twenty minutes back was Eric Magnuson finishing second and crossing the line in 9:02:51.

“Taking my son on a college-campus tour through PA, DC, and VA, I figured I’d take a slight detour to race the Shenandoah 100. Glad I did. The course mixes a range of surfaces (rocks, dirt, gravel, and pavement) with suffer-inflicting climbs and smile-inducing descents. The result: a stellar MTB race. I finished where I finished (second place Masters) by pedaling with some luck and sticking to a run-of-the-mill plan, which consisted of going hard at the start; settling down to an all-day pace; and avoiding direct conflict with trees, boulders, and other hazards. There’s a band of people to thank, including family, friends, racers, race organizers, and volunteers. Special shout out to Riverside Cycle for all they do to keep my “lightly used” bikes in working order. Next up: something on the NUE 2022 calendar—perhaps True Grit.”

Only a minute back from second was, Amir Matityahu took third place in 9:04:12. In what looks like a sprint finish fourth place went to Keith Papanicolas in 9:04:14. After a broke derailleur Garth Prosser ran the last few miles finishing in 9:05:53.

Written by: @jentoops

Photos by: @Shenandoahmountaintouring

For full results CLICK HERE

Next up on the NUE Marathon Series is the Marji Gesick in Ishpeming, MI on September 18, 2021. See you all there!

NUE Lumberjack 100

Written by: Jen Toops

Photos: Jen Toops

The 14th annual Founders Brewing Lumberjack 100 is Michigan’s original one hundred mile mountain bike race.  Taking place in Wellston, Michigan, the race course is located within the Manistee National forest and is ninety percent singletrack. Each lap consist of thirty-three miles of sandy loose soil, fast flowing hills, and three thousand feet of climbing. Racers complete three laps and support crews set up along the finish providing “pit style” aid to racers.

Part of the NUE series, the Lumberjack is capped at four hundred-forty racers and sells out within hours. This year four hundred and four racers eagerly hit the start line and seventy-four of those had to DNF.  Rain the day before hardened up the sandy loose soil, making for near perfect racing conditions. The weather remained cool and cloudy skies held throughout the race as you could hear thunder in the distance.

Men’s Open

Johnson wins the AXE with back-to-back wins at Lumberjack 100

Dylan Johnson wins the Men’s Open

Men’s Open Podium

The 2017 NUE Epic Series winner Dylan Johnson (Lesko MTB Racing), repeats at Lumberjack 100 taking the win for two years in a row. Finishing only a couple minutes ahead, he gapped the men’s field at the end of the third lap taking the win with a time of 6:41:25.

“With Lumberjack being a relatively flat course a large group tends to stay together at the front. That was the case this year as well with riders slowly dropping of as the race progressed. The first big move came from Jordan Wakeley at the end of the first lap. Going into the second lap the front group was reduced to less than ten riders. For the most part the pace was steady after that. We all knew that fireworks were going go off on the last lap. By the last lap six of us remained in the front. The longest climb of the race comes with 12 miles to go so made sure I was leading into it. I pushed hard to test the waters. I saw I had a small gap over the group so decided to go for it. From that point it was all out to the finish.”

Just two minutes back, Brian Schworm (Think Green-Bicycle Face) finishes second coming in at 6:43:56.

“2018 Lumberjack 100 was a blast! Fast flowing singletrack with some hills mixed in made for an awesome course and the looming rain showers held down the temperatures for some great conditions for racing. After racing 85 miles with an incredibly fast group a mishap with my derailleur and chain cost me 90 seconds and (I thought) put me out of contention. I kept chasing and was able to move up to second by the finish. Thanks to Think Green-Bicycle Face p/b SWORD Cycling Team and to my wife Jennifer Schworm for their continued support!  Without their help none of this would be possible.  Up next is the USA Cycling XC Nationals in West Virginia followed by the NUE Series race Wilderness 101.”

Coming in just a second back from Schworm is Christian Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team), with a finishing time of 6:43:57.

Women’s Open

Williams gets her first Win at Lumberjack 100

Carla Williams wins the Women’s Open

Women’s Open podium

Taking top honors in the women’s field is, 2017 NUE Epic winner Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop), finishing at 7:23:47 about a half hour ahead of the rest of the women’s field.

“Race start was at 7 down a straight road followed by a bottleneck into the 1st singletrack section. I had a good start, and I knew I was going to have to go out fast to stay ahead of Chase who won this race last year. The first 8-10 miles of the course was just a single file line of riders in front and behind me, and I worked hard to hold my position.

I finished lap 1 and was definitely feeling the effort which was not a good sign given I had 2 more laps to go. I was using a camel pack and my plan was to only stop once to get more water so I rolled through the tent without stopping. I decided I would have to slow down the pace. I passed Anthony at the start of lap 2 who was suffering more than I was. I tried to focus on eating my Huma gels, drinking Gatorade, holding speed through the corners and spinning up the hills to let my legs recover. I was feeling a little nauseous and was also getting nervous about holding my lead.

Miraculously, about halfway through the second lap, something flipped. I have no idea what but it was like my body kicked into endurance mode and remembered how to race 100 miles. I was happy, my legs felt good, I no longer felt sick, and I knew I would have no trouble finishing the race strong.

I started attacking again and caught up to Peyton on his ss. I followed him into the start/finish at the end of lap 2, quickly switched camel packs and took off to catch back up to him and start lap 3. I was still feeling great and managed to catch up to Jeff Rupnow and followed his wheel through the trees towards the end of lap 2 and traded pulls on the fire road leading into the last 5 miles of singletrack. He pulled ahead and finished a few minutes ahead of me and I came in at 7:23 and won the race in the women’s open. I would like to thanks Joe’s Bike Shop, ESI grips, Maxxis tires, Huma Gel, and Rudy Project for their support. Next race: High Cascades 100”

Last years Lumberjack 100 winner, Chase Edwards (CZ Racing), took second place finishing with a time of 7:52.

“The Lumberjack 100 course helps me dial in my cornering skills each year. I was stoked about the fast conditions on race day! I had some fun chasing down Carla on the first lap, but my body just wasn’t up to the challenge of hanging on to her. I finally found my groove on the third lap (it was 8:30 in the morning Arizona time, and I was finally awake!). My finish time was a lot slower than previous years even with the fast conditions, but I pushed hard on the punchy climbs for the entire race, so I can’t complain. This race is a blast! Sponsor: Construction Zone Racing.”

Coming off a sixth place finish at the 2017 Lumberjack, Amanda Lappe (Maplewood Bicycle), gets the third podium position in 2018 with a time of 8:06:35.

“This was my second Lumberjack, and the trails were just as fast and flowy as I remembered from last year.  I spent a lot of the first lap picking my way through groups until I settled in with a couple people who were doing a similar pace as me.  I wasn’t feeling the greatest for the first part of the second lap, but I caught up to a group that was led by Noelle.  I sat on the back for a while, trying to eat and drink until I felt decent again.  I was able to get around her and for the rest of the second lap, I tried my best to put distance between us.  I was flying solo on this trip, so I had stashed my food and water in the Hammer neutral aid tent and the volunteers there were amazing. They had me in and out super quick to start the third lap.  My legs were toast by the time I hit the 10 miles to go sign and those last few hills were a grind.  I was super happy to beat my time from last year and thrilled when I realized I had gotten third.  Thanks to my coach, Chris Mileski (www.chrismileski.com) for helping me get ready for this race and Maplewood Bicycles in St. Louis for keeping my bikes dialed.”


Randolph get his first ever NUE win!

Singlespeed podium

Peyton Randolph wins Singlespeed

Winning his first ever NUE race and earning the top step in the singlespeed division, Peyton Randolph, finished in 7:29:13.

“I learned my lesson at Mohican 2 weeks ago and started a few rows back to keep my opening pace calm and comfy. The two-mile road section to the jeep trail was highlighted by a saturated road and a 4” fat tire directly in front of me to ensure I was properly hydrated. Once we hit singletrack, it was on. My 32:18 gearing was smooth for 2 laps. The 3rd lap, my legs decided 100 miles is just unnecessary and that I was on my own for the final 33. The first ½ lap I rode with fellow Ohio SS’er Anthony Toops. We chatted quite a bit. He made a few excuses about tire pressure and how he hasn’t ridden since Mohican, then left me in the dust to ride by my lonesome. We’re OK now though. He bought me a cake after the race but I’m concerned that he didn’t eat any of it. Perhaps one of his tactics? After the mid-lap aid station of lap 2, super wicked fast Carla Williams tagged on the back of my wheel and for some reason wanted to stay there. I’m not boasting that I’m good at technical areas and climbing, but that’s just about all I’ve got going for me. I was riding a hard pace for myself and Carla effortlessly stuck on my knobbies back there jamming to tunes and having a jolly good time. Just when you think you’re starting to whip your body into shape, a true athlete shows you how it’s done. ½ way through the 3rd lap, I was fading and Carla had more in the tank so she took off. By far the best part of the 3rd lap was getting passed by very part-time Ohio ss’er Michael Gottfried with only ~3 miles to go (riding Lumberjack with shifting buttons). My brain had melted by this point so I mumbled some hurtful suggestions his direction as he passed. As I entered the finish line area, I see Michael messing with his chain maybe 100’ from the finish! Apparently, he had some issues with his gear things. I think I acted very mature by laughing and pointing as I slowly rode by to victory over my good friend Michael. We ate burgers together later that night so all is good. Thanks Lumberjack crew for the best trophy that may ever grace our house! Thanks to my wife Kayla for allowing us to take so many bicycle vacations, to all our Ohio friends for making the Airbnb house a blast the entire weekend, and to Ryan at Wheelie Fun Bike shop in Powell, OH for setting me up with the perfect fit. Next race is Wilderness 101 in a few weeks.”

Only a few minutes back, Vincent Roberge, finished second with a time of 7:31:38.  Lane Myers took the third spot finishing in 7:34:22.

Master’s 50+

Devin Doboer get second NUE win for 2018

Masters’s 50+ podium

Devin Deboer wins Master’s 50+ class

Coming off a win at the NUE Mohican 100, Devin Deboer (Fusion/ New Holland Brewing), takes the win in master’s 50+ with a time of 7:09:42. This is back to back wins for Deboer in the NUE Epic series in 2018.  About ten minutes back and finishing second, Bradley Cobb (Motor Mile Racing/SCV) finished in 7:19:01.  Rounding out the podium, John Risk (R2R), took third place at 7:29:40.


Fatbike podium

Winning the fat bike division, Allen Wheeler (Grand Rapids Bicycle Company), finished in 7:22:57. Twelve minutes back, Brad Lako (KLM/Cold Stone) took the second step at 7:35:48.

“The decision to race “Fat” at Lumberjack100 is simply a challenge on top of a challenge – why not!? But to do the race and try to win the fat category is simply just, well, not advised.

LBJ started out like most years, rain the night before (which is a good thing) hot, humid and early. The strategy for me was simple: pace yourself right on the edge of zone 2 and zone 3 and managing the efforts on the hills. Lugging a 22lbs Specialized Fat Boy, set up with FastTrack 4.0 tires at 9psi in the front and 11psi in the rear up the hills was actually not all that bad. The extra noticeable effort for me was when the bike slowed down. The effort to overcome the big tires was huge at times and the bike just never feels snappy. Nonetheless, I soldiered on negative splitting each of my lap times and trying to keep the effort as high as possible as I knew I was in the top three after lap one. I managed to get into good groups and would leap frog them when I felt them starting to settle in. On the last lap I was holing 2nd place firmly pushing as hard as I could on the last lap in hopes to catch the leader. I rolled across the line in 7hrs 35min securing 2nd place. I remember thinking, I’m glad that’s over and will never do that again. But remembered this was my second LBJ FAT and 6th attempt. I guess I’ll be back next year! Huge thanks to my main sponsors/supporters: KLM Bike and Fitness and Cold Stone Creamery of Rochester Hills, MI.”

Coming in third, Jesse Gould (KLM/Cold Stone), finished in 8:04:18.

Click here for full Lumberjack 100 results

What’s next? NUE Epic Series heads to South Dakota on July 7, 2018 for the Tatanka 100. Click here to register

Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 4

Friday April 13, 2018

Stage 4 was brought to you by Fox Factory and this stage had the most singletrack of all the stages.It hits Squirrel Gap in the opposite direction of stage two, Laurel creek, Laurel mountain, and finishes on the all famous Pilot rock enduro section.

Racer approaching the heckling section on Pilot Rock.

Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles) headed down Pilot Rock.

A little shake up in the Men’s open with Dylan Johnson taking the win on stage 4.

Open Men’s stage 4 results:
1. Dylan Johnson, NC, 2:32:25
2. Travis Livermon, NC, 2:33:54
3. Tristan Cowie, NC,  2:36:02

In the overall Men’s open Travis Livermon remains in the top spot with an overall time of 9:07:11.  Tristan Cowie is several minutes back at 9:11:10 and Kerry Werner continues in third place at 9:17:34.  Open Women stage 4 results:
1. Jena Greaser, Canada, 3:15:30
2. Ada Xinxo, Spain, 3:17:18
3. Jen Nielson, SC, 3:31:48

Jena Greser continues to dominate the women’s field, having a fifteen minute gap over Ada Xinxo going into the final stage.  Ada Xinxo sits comfortably in 2nd at 11:45:17 and  Jen Nielson 3rd at 12:16:28.

Watch all the stage 4 action here:

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

Fool’s Gold 100 – NUE Series Finale

KENDA NUE Series #14

Carla Williams and Dylan Johnson Wrap Up NUE Titles in Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Ryan O’Dell

The Fool’s Gold 100, the final stop of the Kenda National Ultra Endurance Series, was the last opportunity for racers to improve their national ranking. Besides being the final race, Fool’s Gold also served as the NUE Series tie breaker. This year’s Fool’s Gold moved to a beautiful new location at Anderson Creek Retreat near Elijay, GA, that included camping. Racers and spectators were treated to amazing views, including Springer Mountain, the southernmost point of the Appalachian trail.

In addition to race day awards, the top five NUE Division winners will receive a share of the $10,000 cash purse. Each of the four division winners will also be rewarded with complimentary entry into All NUE races in 2017, a custom made NUE Champions Jersey by Voler, along with an all-expense paid trip, excluding airfare, to Costa Rica to represent NUE at the La Ruta del los Conquistadores November 3-5, http://www.adventurerace.com/ . La Ruta is a three day stage race that stretches across Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean along an amazing course that includes two volcanoes, two oceans, Jungles and high-mountain passes.

Carla Williams descends on Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Carla Williams descends on Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Women’s Open

And the winner is, Carla Williams!

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, took top honors for a third straight year at the Fool’s Gold 100 finishing 7:42:09. This year Carla won first place in the NUE Series after taking second last year! Congratulations! “Fool’s Gold has some of the most fun and flowy singletrack in the NUE and it’s one of my favorite races. I was in a good position overall in the series leading up to this race and since Christy Olsen wasn’t at the start line, I could pretty much relax and just have fun out on the trails which is what I did. I pushed hard up the climbs and really enjoyed all the downhills. I was able to take 1st overall and win the women’s series! It’s been such a fun season traveling to new places, seeing old friends and making new ones, and I couldn’t be more excited to be heading to La Ruta in November.”

Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, finished second with a time of 8:52:17. This was her fourth NUE race of the season. Anne Pike, DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, took the third spot on the podium at 9:35:38. She raced five NUE races this season and moved into third place overall in the standings. Although not present at the final race, Christy Olsen, Fat Fish Racing/Crazy Pedaler, took second place overall in the series and Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycle, finished fifth overall! Congratulations to all of the women’s series finishers!


Dylan Johnson stands on top of the Fool's Gold podium. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Dylan Johnson stands on top of the Fool’s Gold podium. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Men’s Open

Dylan Johnson battles to get the win and takes the NUE Series!

With a winning time of 6:37:30, Dylan Johnson, Giant Co-Factory Northeast, fought his way to a Fool’s Gold finish, and took first place in the NUE Series! “I came in to the NUE final at Fool’s Gold with the lead in the series but by no means did I have it locked up. Brian Schworm, who’d been on my heels all season, was in a position to take the series win from me if he won at Fool’s Gold. I knew it would be a tough final and that Schworm would throw everything he had at me. Sure enough, the pace started very high and it didn’t take long before Brian and I found ourselves off the front in a one on one battle.

For the most part I stayed on Brian’s wheel knowing that I would have the advantage on the long gravel climb ten miles from the finish. Brian didn’t make it easy for me though. He charged every section and at times got a slight gap on me but luckily I was always able to reel him back in. We made it to the base of the final climb together and as soon as the grade got steep I made a move and put a little distance between myself and Brian and was able to hold it to the finish. It’s been an amazing season and I still can’t believe I pulled of the series win. I’d like to congratulate all the NUE series competitors this year, putting together 4 good races is no easy task. I can’t wait to represent the series at LaRuta!”

Six minutes later, Brian Schworm, Think Green VO2 Multipsort p/b SWORD, finished second with a time of 6:43:48. With this finish, Brian also placed second overall in the NUE Series. “The Fool’s Gold 90 mile race was the final of the NUE series and was decisive in determining the overall winner. There were three racers with a mathematical chance of winning: Dylan Johnson, Taylor Lideen, and me, and all of us were preregistered. I knew I needed to win and felt good about my chances.

The course is one of my favorites with great flow on fast trails with lots of climbing plus I had my teammate Nathaniel Cornelius to help out. When we lined up for the start of the race, I noticed Taylor was not present. Of course, Dylan was there with other contenders Tomasz Golas, Heath Thumel, Stewart Gross, and my teammate Nate. Soon into the first big climb these racers with singlespeed extraordinaire Gordon Wadsworth established a bit of a gap on the others. As we started descending the other side, I noticed that Nate and I, with Tomasz close behind, had a small gap on the others so I pressed the pace. I knew this wouldn’t be a decisive move but I thought we could make Dylan burn a match to bridge back up. Once at the bottom, Nate took over and with his road background, put the hammer down. Tomasz and I could barely hold on and we had a small gap.

Apparently behind us, Dylan, Heath, and Stewart joined forces and were able to catch back up before we hit the trail section of the course. Once on the trails, Nate continued to lead with a strong pace with the rest of us in tow until we reached aid station two. There some of us stopped, but some didn’t. This busted up the group and I found myself in the back due to a “natural break”. It took nearly thirty minutes but I worked my way back to the front with Dylan and Tomasz. We then rode together until the top of Bull Mountain.

Once we created the summit I went full-throttle to try and distance myself with my full suspension Specialized Epic versus Dylan’s hardtail. A couple times I gained a bit of a gap but Dylan was always able to close it down. On the next lap we rode quickly but nothing significant until will we reached the steep climbs before and ascending Bull Mountain. I felt very strong up these climbs but was uncertain about Dylan. It seemed like I may have a gotten a couple small gaps but, again, he closed them down quickly. On the following descent I tried again, in vain, to get away. Dylan was always right there.

Now it was down to the final and largest climb over Nimblewill Gap. Dylan and I approached he hill slowly, even conversing about riding and such, but the moment we hit the climb, Dylan accelerated like a rocket ship. I wasn’t even able to hang with him for a minute. I was impressed!  Anyway, I still carried on up the hill to secure my second position in the race and second in the series. I knew I gave it all I had and was aggressive during the race but Dylan was simply faster. Of course I am very happy with my NUE results this year with two wins and four seconds. Dylan is an incredible racer and person. I am very happy for him winning the overall and for myself for finishing second. Thanks to my team and my supportive wife, Jennifer. Now, it’s time for some R&R and then start thinking about next year!”

Tomasz Golaz, DRT, completed the race in third place with a time of 6:54:30 at Fool’s Gold. Taylor Lideen, Pivot Cycles/92fifty, finished third in the overall NUE Series.

John Haddock on his way to a win in the SS category. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

John Haddock on his way to a win in the SS category. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC


Haddock First at FG100, moves up to third overall in the NUE Race Series!

Racing in his sixth NUE of the season, John Haddock, J. A. King / Farnsworth Bicycles, achieved the top spot! He came in with an impressive time of 7:25:50. “I’d heard great things about the trails and scene down at Fool’s Gold, so I thought I’d head down to North GA and check it out! Plus, a bunch of buddies were going and my wife would join, which made the call even easier. My overall impressions of the race were as expected: a really cool course with a good mix of climbing, gravel, road, and a good helping of generally buff singletrack. Onsite camping was superb, the aid stations were great and course markings were perfect.

The race started out fairly tame but kicked up a notch once we hit the first climb. I saw the lead group pull away and settled into a fast, but manageable pace, with Gordon ahead and Scott close behind. On the rough Nimblewill descent, I was caught by some geared riders and eventually worked my way into a group on the road consisting of a now-injured Gordon Wadsworth, Greg Golet, Nick Bragg and Carla Williams. I entered the trails first and gradually pulled away from the group. I would find out at Aid 4 that Gordon pulled out due to injuries from a bad spill. After distancing the group, I rode by myself for the rest of the day, enjoying the woods and feeling good overall. The scene at the finish was excellent, with tasty food, great beverages, bathrooms and shady seating. Thank you to Race Director Lisa Randall for hosting a wonderful final event of the 2016 NUE season. Also, huge thanks to J. A. King and our team sponsors for all of their support this year.” With his win at Fool’s Gold, John Haddock improved to third overall in the NUE Series.

Scott Rusinko, Nox Composites, took second place at 8:00:12. Joseph Stroz, Stroz Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab, P.C., came in third place with a time of 8:15:05.

Overall for the NUE series, Gordon Wadsworth achieved first place for the third year in a row! Kip Biese, KJCoaching/Old Town Bike Shop, who completed eleven of the twelve NUE races, the greatest of any racer this season, took second overall in the series. NUE newcomer, Steven Mills, 22 years old, claimed fourth overall in the NUE Series including wins at both the High Cascades 100 and first overall at the Big Bear Grizzly 100.

50-plus winner Jeff Clayton makes his way over Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

50-plus winner Jeff Clayton makes his way over Jake Mountain. Photo by: Dashing Images LLC

Masters 50+

Clayton wins FG two years in a row, and takes the NUE Series victory!

Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, finished in 7:39:38 which was significantly faster than his finish time last year. Tied with Greg Golet with four wins each in the NUE Series, Clayton also claimed his first overall victory in the NUE Series! “When I heard that Greg Golet had been in an accident at Rincon and probably wouldn’t be able to race at Fool’s Gold for the series tiebreaker showdown, I was disappointed…I was really looking forward to the challenge. Then came the news first from the promoter, and then from Greg himself that he would be able to race after all!

With a neutral rollout for the first few miles I took advantage, along with defending NUE Champion, Roger Masse, of riding on the front of the peloton—not something I can normally manage! It wasn’t long into the race proper before Greg came by me and slowly pulled away out of sight up the gravel road climb…damn! I figured that I could/should make up time on the descent, with Greg being somewhat mobility limited with his injuries. Sten Hertsens, another strong Master’s racer came flying around me and I was happy to follow his quicker lines to the bottom, Greg still out of sight.

I did my best to lose Sten in the singletrack leading up to aid station 2, which I eventually succeeded in doing, and also reeled in Greg. After following Greg up to aid 2, I decided that I would need to put time on him in the twisty singletrack, especially the descents. This tactic worked, albeit slowly, as he gradually receded further into the distance.  By aid 3,4 at the base of Bull Mtn, he was out of sight. That is pretty much how the race between Greg and I settled in.

I was somewhat worried going into the climb back up the gravel road toward the finish as I knew Greg would probably be out-climbing me there again. That said, I figured if I had at least a ten minute gap, short of me having a complete meltdown or mechanical, I’d hold him off.  Once I hit the last few miles of pavement, I went full speed ahead all the way until the finish.

I finished under blue skies in beautiful northern Georgia, with my teammates Van and Cody cheering me on…a great victory to cap off a very fun NUE race series. I managed to win 6 of 7 series races, each venue with its own unique characteristics and challenges. My thanks to my Master’s competition for joining me in the series as well as the many other racers I suffered with. Also, thanks to the promoters and volunteers for putting on great races, my family for their support, my sponsors including title sponsor Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, and finally, Scott Sports for producing such a capable and durable race machine, the Scott Spark 900RC.”

Greg Golet, Team Chico, fighting to get back after an injury suffered at Rincon in Costa Rica, arrived next in the tie breaker showdown with a time of 7:36:49. For the season, Golet finished second overall in the NUE series. “It’d be dishonest of me not to admit that I have pretty mixed emotions about how my NUE season ended. I feel joy and gratitude in being able to race in the finals, experience the beauty of the Georgia trails, and share fun times with others, but also frustration from having to race while injured. I had a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by a reckless driver two weeks earlier at the Rincon de la Veija Challenge (Volcano 100) in Costa Rica. This left me with a fractured scapula, and considerable soreness on the front and backsides of my ribcage. I didn’t expect to be able to race; however, I started to feel better as the event approached, and anyway, was committed to the trip east given that I had a conference to attend in North Carolina immediately afterwards.

On the day before the race I did a long pre-ride of the Jake and Bull mountain loops of the course (first time my tires touched dirt since CR), and found that I was able to ride fairly well, as long as I didn’t have to absorb jolts of the trail with my left arm, or larger hits or twists with my torso. The ride got me really psyched up! The single track was amazing, and I was thinking about this Abby Wambach interview where she was talking about how pro athletes compete all the time while injured. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and realized that I just needed play the hand I’d been dealt. It would be better to race and not do well, then to not race and wonder how it would have turned out if I did. Plus if I won this one, I would take the series title!

Pretty early in the first big climb I passed Jeff and Roger (my main competitors), and was feeling great on the relatively smooth mostly hard-packed dirt road. The decent off the back was rough in spots, and I was perhaps a bit more cautious than I needed to be, but I didn’t want to crash (like Gordon did!). Mid-way through the Jake Mountain loop, Jeff caught and passed me. I stayed with him long enough to admire how well he was ripping the single track, but eventually he got away from me. My trail riding was OK, but I was stiffer than I needed to be, especially on the rougher descents, such as off Bull mtn. Realizing this bummed me out a bit (which was somewhat self-defeating), but I knew it was a long race and hoped that my endurance would pay off later on. Well, it didn’t; at least not enough for me to make up the deficits I suffered in the middle part of the race. Jeff finished about seven minutes ahead of me. I don’t know if I would have won if I wasn’t injured, but was pretty disappointed crossing the line. So it goes with racing some times. I’m glad that I gave it a try and am truly happy for Jeff. We hung out for quite a while after the race and he’s a great guy.

My compliments to Lisa on running a fantastic race. Everything was really professionally done. Also huge thanks to NUE Series Director, Ryan O’Dell, for putting on the best series imaginable. He always has the best interests of the riders in mind and it shows in so many ways. Thanks too to my amazing wife Debbie and my three kids for supporting me in pursuit of my dreams. I love you guys so much!”

Two-Time NUE Defending Champion, Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling, took third place with a time of 7:45:58 edging out Carl Reglar, Verge Sport/Test Pilot, in the battle for third place overall in the NUE Series. Reglar, who was not at the NUE Final, finished the season fourth overall.

Click Here for Full Results From Fool’s Gold 100

2017 NUE Race Series Top Five

Women’s Open:

1st Place- Carla Williams

2nd Place- Christy Olson

3rd Place- Anne Pike

4th Place- Chase Edwards

5th Place- Simona Vincenciova


Men’s Open:

1st Place: Dylan Johnson

2nd Place: Brian Schworm

3rd Place: Taylor Lideen

4th Place: Christian Tanguy

5th Place: Tomasz Golas


Men’s Master’s 50+:

1st Place: Jeff Clayton

2nd Place: Greg Golet

3rd Place: Roger Masse

4rd Place: Carl Reglar

5th Place: Sten Hertsens


Singlespeed Open:

1st Place- Gordon Wadsworth

2nd Place- Kip Biese

3rd Place- John Haddock

4rd Place- Steven Mills

5th Place- Scott Rusinko


WHATS NEXT: For the last four years, NUE Champions have a perfect record of first place finishes at LaRuta. Can they maintain such a high standard against some of the best stage racing ultra-competitors in the world?! Stay tuned right here and follow the Kenda NUE Series Champions as they compete with racers from all over the world at the LaRuta this November! www.nuemtb.com

Mohican 100 mile presented by KENDA – Full Report

June 4, 2016

By Ryan O’Dell

The Mayor Loudonville, Steve Strickland, welcomed racers to Loudonville before starting the race at 7am sharp. Now in its 14th year, The KENDA Mohican 100 released nearly 600 racers along some of the most popular single track trails Ohio has to offer on a grand single loop, 100 mile and 100k, that spans three of the four counties that make up what is locally known as “Mohican Country”. This year, several hike-a-bikes were rerouted to make them more ridable, including a new and safer crossing at SR97 that included The Ohio State Highway Patrol. Mohican offered a $10,000 cash purse, the largest in the NUE Race Series.

Last year’s Men’s Open winner and former NUE Series Champion, Christian Tanguy was the first racer to crest at the city limits before going on to finish fourth in the Men’s Open. Tanguy was awarded an additional $200 cash prime courtesy of the Loudonville Visitors Bureau.

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography


Women’s Open

Shinn makes it two in a row at Mohican!

Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycles, achieved her first Mohican victory in 8:59:35 in 2015 claiming “Mohican 100 is probably my favorite 100 miler.” This year, Shinn set a new PR at 8:59:30.

“We always have a big group of friends that come down for this race each year so I always look forward to it – it’s more like a fun weekend away camping, hanging out and riding bikes. I was motivated for a good race since Cohutta didn’t go so well for me.

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

I had a good start and was taking it fairly easy in the first half of the singletrack, really enjoying the fun Mohican trails and passing guys. I knew there were a couple girls ahead of me but wasn’t sure if they were in the 100km or 100 miles so I started to pick up the pace. After the first aid station, me and another rider missed the turn into the singletrack and ended up on the road back tracking to another trail that we had already ridden. We quickly turned around and jumped back in but then became stuck behind riders that I had already passed so that was frustrating. I made my way back through and passed a couple of 100km girls and knew I was sitting in 2nd. I was focused on catching the girl ahead regardless of which race she was in.

After aid 3, I was told that she turned to the 100km so now I was leading the 100mile race which was a strange unknown feeling because this was the first time I’ve ever led an NUE race. I was stoked!

I was going back and forth with a couple of guys but was riding solo for most of the rest of the race and kept a steady pace. I knew I had a bit of a lead, no idea how much but had to keep telling myself that I was being hunted and not to slow down too much. Once I got to the final singletrack, there was no one around and was pretty pumped that I was going to win another Mohican! I couldn’t wait to get to the finish line.

Most of my friends raced the 100km and as I crossed the finish line, they were all there with high fives and hugs, it was so amazing to have such a warm welcoming finish! I had a ton of fun, everything was dialed, from my nutrition to training to my equipment. I had just put on the Lauf fork that I won last year at Cohutta for this race and it was the perfect set up on my Scapin Spektro!

This race has everything, a mix of terrain, tons of singletrack, amazing volunteers and really fun atmosphere for pre and post- race. This was my first year camping out at the finish and it was fun to hang out with everyone after the race. Can’t wait for the next NUE at Wilderness 101!”

Ann Pike, Team DNA-Movement p/b Penetron, placed second finishing in 9:26:30. Fifteen minutes behind Pike, Rachel Furman, CARVE, placed third at 9:41:46. Jacqueline Ledoux was fourth at 10:32:08 and seven minutes later, Beverly Enslow, Hammer Nutrition / Health Solutions Chiropractic, rounded out the podium in fifth place at 10:39:17.


100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Men’s Open

Dylan Johnson gets his second straight win to lead the NUE Race Series

Following a third place finish last year, Dylan “The Kid” Johnson, Giant Co-Factory Northeast, nicknamed for his youth in comparison to most other race leaders at just 21 years old, achieved his first win at Mohican following up on his first ever NUE Series win at Cohutta in April. As a result, Johnson now leads the NUE Race Series. It was a tight race that was won in the final two miles where he posted a blistering time of 6:57:10.

“The Mohican 100 always has a fast start and this year was no exception. I kept myself at the front of the group and entered the single track third. There was a bit of shuffling of position in the singletrack until five-time LaRuta winner, Lico Ramirez, made his way to the front and soon I found myself sprinting up the climbs to keep up. At this point I knew it was going to be a hard day in the saddle. A lead group of eight or nine exited the first single track section but this would be whittled down to five by aid station 3, including Lico, last year’s Mohican winner, Christian Tanguy, Brian Schworm, and Ian Spivack.

The pace calmed a bit at this point as we settled into a more sustainable pace but it wouldn’t last long. At about mile 85, on one of the steep climbs before the final few miles of single track, I made an attack to drop the group. I managed to distance myself from everyone except Lico. As we rolled up on the final aid station, I prepared myself to battle it out in the final single track section but, to my surprise, Lico stopped at the aid station. I continued alone through the single track going as hard as I could so I wouldn’t get caught. I was relieved to finally see the finish and I sprinted in to take the win.

I was ecstatic to take my second NUE win at Mohican and take the NUE series overall lead. It was a hard fought battle and an extremely close race with second place, Brian Schworm, coming in less than a minute behind and Lico and Christian coming in moments later for a sprint finish. Every year it seems like more single track gets added to the course and the race keeps getting better. I can’t thank the volunteers enough. All day they were extremely helpful and attentive, getting my drop bags immediately. Luckily the rain held off until after most racers had finished but that didn’t dampen the post-race party atmosphere.” Johnson’s next NUE race will be in the mountains of Colorado at the Bailey Hundo on June 18. http://nuemtb.com/series/bailey-hundo-ultra-endurance-mountainbike-race

Less than a minute behind the leader, Brian Schworm, Think Green-VO2 Multisport p/b SWORD, Rolled into second place at 6:58:04. “The Mohican 100 race started with fantastic conditions.

The trails were dry and fast, and the weather was very agreeable although the forecast called for rain in the afternoon. As usual, the race started in downtown Loudonville shooting up Maple Heights climb. The climb with the following few miles of paved road were great for spreading out the field before hitting the first thirty miles of singletrack.

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

I was around fifth position once we hit the trail.  The race was smooth and uneventful through the trail section until we hit the “hike-a-bike” section towards the end of the initial trails.  There Federico “Lico” Ramirez showed why he has won La Ruta multiple times; he rode nearly the whole section where most were having trouble just hiking! Needless to say, he gapped the rest of the field. Within the next few miles a handful of racers, including myself, bridged up to Federico.

Once we hit the gravel roads and bits of trail that followed, some other riders joined the front group while some dropped off.  This continued until the Mohican Wilderness area where a lead group of five established itself.  The group included Federico, Ian Spivak, Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguy, and me.  From this point until the Rails-to-Trails section, I was struggling a bit. There were a few climbs I dropped off the group and then scrambled to catch up afterwards.

On the Rail-to-Trails section we worked together, taking turns leading the group, to hopefully extend our lead. There were no attacks or anything of that nature through this trail. I think we all knew that a very difficult section, five big climbs between aid stations 4 and 5, was coming up.  This is often where decisive moves are made. Sure enough, we hit the first climb hard!  I was still struggling a bit and dropped a few seconds back. I rejoined the group just in time to hit the next climb. I believe this was where our group starting falling apart. Dylan and Federico were out front, Christian in between, and Ian and I further back. Somewhere in there I got a small gap on Ian and went all out on the downhill to the swinging bridge to increase my gap.

Next we hit, what I feel is, the toughest climb on the course, the Valley Stream Rd. climb. The climb is just under a mile long and hits gradients of 20% in a couple places. Up this ascent I could still see Dylan and Federico together in the front and Christian in between. I started feeling a bit better and made some progress on catching Christian. On the following downhill and road section I was able to catch Christian, and on the fifth and final climb before aid station 5, I was able to distance myself from him.

On the following five-mile stretch of road before aid station 5, I put the hammer down, mostly to distance myself from Christian but also to hopefully close the gap to Dylan and Federico. Sure enough, I went around a bend and I could see them ahead. This gave me the extra motivation I needed and by the last aid station, I was only 20 to 30 seconds down. I saw Dylan shoot up the trail but was surprised to see that Federico stopped. At this point there are only about twenty minutes of racing left so I was surprised to see him do this. I’m not sure, but I think he might have been bonking and was in need of some food.  Anyway, I went into the trail with Federico on my tail. He hung in there for a while but I dug deep on the singletrack and was able to get a gap. I never saw Dylan again and in the end he was about 45 seconds ahead.”

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

46 seconds behind Schworm, Federico “Lico” Ramírez, La Ruta de Los Conquistadores, a five time winner of what has become billed as the toughest race on the planet, took third at 6:58:50 following a risky pass around Christian Tanguy in a sprint finish. In addition to his five wins at LaRuta, Ramarez has won the Trans-Rockies, Trans-Alps, and Breck Epic.

LaRuta has hosted the NUE Race Series Champions for three years now and is now offering package discounts for NUE and OMBC Racers who would like to take on the challenge of this world class three day stage race across Costa Rica November 3-5. Details are available at http://nuemtb.com/laruta-2

2013 NUE Race Series Champion, and 2014 and 2015 Mohican race winner, Christian Tanguy, RBS Cycling Team, was just one second back to take fourth in 6:58:51, twelve minutes faster than his winning time last year at 7:10:03.

“This year I have spent more time pushing the stroller than I do riding my bike. Nonetheless, I felt much more ready than for the Cohutta race. I thought that a top ten would be a very difficult result to achieve but I should have the energy to be competitive to win the prime at the city limit.

Prior to the race, during one of the walks with my 2-year old in the stroller, I laid a plan on how to be in contention to win the prime. I gave him the play by play:
First: lock all the suspensions to eliminate any energy waste while on the road. This is so easy to do on my Trek Top Fuel; one push button locks both front and rear shocks.
Second: not being overly worried to be somewhat far from the front rider on the early very steep pitch. It is important to save energy for later…
Third: Position myself such that nobody is in front of me. Last thing I want is to have to veer around another rider during the sprint.
Fourth: Knowing where the city prime is exactly located. I had no clues during my first three Mohican races where the city line was!
Fifth: Be on the right gear to respond to others starting to sprint.
Sixth: Sprint and not look back until crossing the line!
I managed to perfectly execute my plan and right there I knew it was going to be a good day. Unfortunately, I got a little jammed leaving the open road. I was shuffled back almost to the 20th position. I was very dissatisfied with my position in the field. For the next two hours I had to commit more energy than if I reached the singletrack in fifth position or so…

As the miles went by, I was getting more and more fatigued but thanks to my two chain ring setup on my Trek Top Fuel, I managed to put some good efforts on the climbs. With two chain rings, I achieve finer steps between gears such that I can really dial-in force on the pedal in relation to the pedaling cadence.

I think I am nostalgic of the good old day, where racers were more focused on finishing the race rather than finishing at a good spot. Sometimes the lead group will ride very slow with nobody willing to ride tempo. Maybe to my demise, when that happened, I rode to front and picked up the pace….

After the river crossing, I was still in third place (Costa Rica racer Lico Ramírez and Dylan were at the front and out of sight) but I was running on fumes. The terribly steep dirt road had me on my smallest gear; I was falling apart. Brian passed me and I knew it would be impossible to match his speed.

During the last six miles of single track before the finish; I was worried I would be caught by somebody but it was me who caught back up to the Costa Rican racer. I came within thirty yards but for two miles it was impossible to close the gap. We finally arrived at the 1/4 mile of paved road before the finish. He was still thirty yards in front of me. I sprinted despite my legs absolutely not wanting to spin those cranks anymore. I made a clean pass and was only few seconds away from reaching the finish line. However, my competitor sped up and cut my path to reach the hole in the fence; the finish banner is just ten yards beyond the fence. Our handlebars came into contact. If I had been more aggressive, I would have kept going which would have probably ended up with both of us on the ground; instead, I just braked and lost my chance to finish third. However, that night I was able to drive back home and kiss my kids good night with no injuries to report.

In addition, this 4th place is much better than I anticipated; I would be satisfied with a spot somewhere between 10th and 15th. My next NUE race will be the Wilderness 101.” http://nuemtb.com/series/wilderness-101-ultra-endurance-mountainbike-race

Just three minutes separated 5th through 7th place. Ian Spivak, 7:04:29, Tomasz Golas, DRT, 7:06:24, and Ronald Catlin, RBS Cycling at 7:07:05. All of these times were faster than last year’s winning time.

USA Army Veteran Charles McDonald representing Paralyzed Veterans Racing finished his second Mohican 100 mile race to the cheers of fans and racers inspired by his effort as the only racer to finish the race with one arm. In 2014, McDonald completed the race without prosthesis, an amazing feat given the difficulty of finishing the race with both arms. This year, McDonald used a new specialized prosthesis that included a shock designed to help absorb some of the vibration. Never give up, never surrender, evidenced by Charles McDonald.


Powers to Victory

Donald Powers, Pro Bikes, took the podium following his winning finish at 7:52:44. One of just three SS racers to go sub eight on the day, Powers, finished tenth at the Cohutta 100 making him a top contender for this year’s NUE Series title.

“I had a good start and rode with fellow Pittsburgh SS’er Regis Ricketts for the first half of the race. We were first and second SS for that entire time. I had some stomach issues around mile 22 and emptied all the contents of my stomach all over my handlebars & top tube. Rege was pretty impressed that I didn’t even stop pedaling. On a climb heading towards aid station 2, I passed fellow UPMC Pro Bikes teammate Craig Cozza (he was racing the Masters 100K) and gave him a fist bump and said “let’s win our classes today”.  He agreed and held up his end of the bargain. He got into aid 2 after me but left before me and was never seen again then crushed the gravel after aid 2.

On a steep climb after aid 3, Rege and I were pushing our bikes up a hill and the third place SS’er at the time, John Haddock, came into sight so I jumped back on my bike and started to push the pace. I was able to bridge up to a geared rider that I knew, Dave Parsons, and he pulled me along to help drop my SS competition. Shortly after grabbing his wheel, I emptied the contents of my stomach once again but like the last time; I just kept on pedaling and held my geared friend’s wheel.

I managed to push through some serious leg cramps (due to the vomiting) and even a crash on the downhill towards the swinging bridge that bruised and road rashed my left leg.  Basically, I think these 100 milers come down to who is willing to suffer the most. In the end, I won by about three minutes, but raced like 2nd place was 100 yards behind me for the last 50ish miles. My next NUE race is the Wilderness 101.”

Three minutes later, John Haddock, J. A. King/Farnsworth Bicycles, crossed the line second at 7:55:47. “I wasn’t initially going to make the Mohican 100 this year but was happy when my schedule opened up and made the trip possible. This was my first Mohican and man was it awesome!

In terms of the race, I started fairly fast but dialed it back once on the double track. Due to some extensive riding the previous week, I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. Surprisingly, I kept seeing Dahn and Rege in the initial singletrack. Keeping a steady pace, I was able to put a gap on Kip and almost catch the other two. When Dahn saw me on a switchback somewhere at Camp Mohaven before the rail trail, he gassed it. Rege flatted and I passed. I was alone most of the rail trail but managed to hook up with some geared guys shortly before Aid 4. After that I just kept moving and looking over my shoulder expecting to see Kip. I was surprised at the end to see that the top three SS finishers were only separated by about 3 minutes – pretty cool!

On another note, I was really impressed with how the local community, especially the equestrian community, rallied behind the race. I think we rode through someone’s corral at one point? That’s awesome! Also, the race provided my best experience at aid stations ever. The volunteers had my bag waiting for me when I pulled up and that really helped keep the motor running. Everything about the event was first class – the venue, the volunteers and the course. Thanks for having me up and I hope to make it back next year! My next race is the Wilderness 101.

Three minutes later, Kip Biese, KJBike Coaching/ Old Town Bike Shop, became only the third sub eight hour SS finisher, placing third at 7:58:29. “I had an okay start and was able to mark the lead SSers for the most. I got a little jammed up with traffic on the first two trail climbs, but after we cut through Mohican Adventures and got onto the long stretch of singletrack, I caught up to a group that included Donald Powers.

Unfortunately, about 20km into the race while on a fast bit of double track, I flatted and saw John Haddock pass me as I fixed it. This left me riding almost all the road sections without anyone to draft. At Aid 3 my wife had me at about thirty minutes behind Powers. The second half of the course I felt pretty strong, except on the stretch of flat bike path before Aid 4; there I briefly slipped back to 5th. I feel I finished strong and in the end was just a little over five minutes behind the winning time. Thanks for a great race.” Next up for Biese? The Bailey Hundo June 18.

Six minutes later, Trevor Grant, Bicycle Depot, took fourth at 8:04:52. Nine minutes behind Grant, Regis Ricketts captured the final podium spot at 8:13:42.


Masters 50+

Reglar gets his first Mohican 100 Win 

54 year old Carl Reglar, Verge Sport/Test Pilot, won his first Mohican 100 as the only Masters racer to go sub eight on the day at 7:55:27.

Two time defending Mohican 100 mile Masters winner and reigning two-time defending NUE Race Series Champion, 55 year old Roger Masse, Rare Disease Cycling, took second just six minutes back at 8:01:45. Masse also placed fourth at True Grit Epic, NUE #1, in a bid for his third straight NUE title.

“I love racing the Mohican 100, the 100 mile race that started it all. 2016 was my 7th time doing the event and in the end I was very happy with my finish time of 8 hours. I’ve never met or raced against Masters Winner Carl Reglar so I wasn’t aware there was a Masters rider in front of me… but that’s part of the mystery of racing Masters, being mixed in with all the other open men.

Apparently, Carl made the selection at the back of the front group right after the town prime and I was maybe 50 feet from making that cut… I wasn’t concerned at the time. Normally, that fact would not have mattered much since that large front group gets whittled down once riders hit single track, but in this case it mattered only in the sense that a Masters rider was able to sneak off the front that I would never see… but hey that’s racing!  Congrats to Carl. In the end the time gap was only five minutes so I hope to get another chance to race him again in 2016.”

53 year old Stan Hertsens, Muleterro, took third at 8:38:11, 56 year old Adam Linstedt fourth at 8:40:11 and Terry Blanchet, NAV – North American Velo, took fifth at 8:44:13.

A top NUE Masters contender and local racer from Belleville, David Jolin, Team Y Not Trek, just missed the podium by two minutes to finish 8:46:37. Jolin is a top contender posting a second place finish at True Grit Epic and a fourth place finish at Cohutta 100.  

Next Stop for the NUE CENTURY RACE SERIES #4 and #5: On June 18, The KENDA NUE Series features a double header with races in both Colorado and Michigan. The sold out Bailey Hundo located in Bailey, Colorado is a 100% fundraiser for Trips for Kids and the Colorado High School Cycling League. On the same day, the sold out Lumberjack 100 features a three lap all singletrack race in the Manistee Forest. For more information, visit http://nuemtb.com/

Click Here for Full Results from all Categories

Mohican 100 Results and Photos

Full report to come…

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Hundreds of racers charge off the start line and through Loudonville, Ohio, at the start of the Mohican 100. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Christian Tanguy powers through the water early on in this 100 mile challenge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Women's 100k winner Sally Price gets wet. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Women’s 100k winner Sally Price gets wet. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Linda Shin makes her way through the dense forests of Ohio on her way to a race win. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Mud and slippery conditions created some carnage on course. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Mud and slippery conditions created some carnage on course. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Slick conditions caused many falls during the Mohican 100 an conditions would get worse as rain started falling later in the day. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Slick conditions caused many falls during the Mohican 100 an conditions would get worse as rain started falling later in the day. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile race winner Dylan Johnson successfully navigates a long suspension bridge. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ben Michelis hammered out the 100k event on a rigid SS coming in 10th. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ben Michelis hammered out the 100k event on a rigid SS coming in 10th. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Dylan Johnson strikes a triumphant pose as he takes another NUE win for 2016. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Dylan Johnson strikes a triumphant pose as he takes another NUE win for 2016. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gaps were exceptionally tight at the 2016 Mohican 100. Here Federico Ramarez crosses the line just seconds in front of Christian Tanguy. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gaps were exceptionally tight at the 2016 Mohican 100. Here Federico Ramarez crosses the line just seconds in front of Christian Tanguy. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Ramarez just after the finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gregory Jancaitis celebrates his new growler and an 11th-place finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Gregory Jancaitis celebrates his new growler and an 11th-place finish. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile women's podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile women’s podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile open men's podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

100-mile open men’s podium. Photo by: Butch Phillips Photography

Click Here for full results from all categories

Cohutta 100 – NUE #2

Cohutta 100 Race Report

Ryan O’Dell

The KENDA (NUE) National Ultra Endurance Race Series #2, Cohutta 100 and Big Frog 65, now part of the new NUE Marathon Race Series, rolled out from  the Ocoee whitewater center near Ducktown, Tennessee, host of the 1996 Olympic whitewater competition.

The racecourse features more than 14,000 feet of vertical elevation within the Cherokee National Forest, including much of the Tanasi trail system, rated as one of the best in the state of Tennessee by singletracks.com.

Much like last year, the buzz before Saturday’s race centered on the weather forecast calling for the potential for severe thunderstorms.  However, this year would be different than last, allowing racers to enjoy dry and fast course conditions under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low eighties. There was even a pleasant breeze that lingered throughout the day.

Eventual race winner Carla Williams on course. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Eventual race winner Carla Williams on course. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

NUE Century Race Series

NUE Women’s Open 100 Mile

Carla the Crusher

Carla Williams, Joe’s Bike Shop Racing Team, who placed second at Cohutta and second overall in the NUE Race Series last season, crushed the competition to finish 7:29:16, more than an hour faster than last year and nearly an hour ahead of her nearest competitor!     

“My goal from the start was to get in and out of the first singletrack section in first place. I definitely burned a few matches in the first twenty miles of the race, but once I hit the gravel roads, I got something to eat and drink and was feeling good again.

I was by myself for the first gravel miles, but eventually Bradd Cobb, who ended up winning the SS category, caught up to me and we road together for the rest of the gravel miles. We would catch other riders and ride with them for a bit until they would either get ahead or drop behind our pace. We were moving at a strong but steady clip up all the climbs and then would have a blast on the sweeping downhill turns. I had no idea what was happening with the women’s field behind me, but I knew there were a lot of strong riders and that I could be caught at any time.

We hit mile fifty under four hours and I was pretty psyched about that. I figured that even if I did get passed, I was on pace for a great time and that also motivated me on the second half of the course to keep pushing up the climbs. I was pretty tired going into the last single track but I still didn’t see any other women behind me, so I just focused in being as smooth and steady as possible and ended up finishing just under 7:30. It was a great day, great course, and great start to the NUE season!”

Mari Chandler, Team Adventure Medical Kits, rolled in at 8:24:01 to take second. Twenty five minutes later, Simona Vincenciova, Hammer Nutrition, who placed fourth last year, took third this year at 8:49:16. “Right from the start and through the first single track section Linda Shin and I stayed together. I noticed my rear tire was starting to get a slow leak and made a quick stop for air at aid station one while Linda stayed behind with a mechanical. For the next 80 miles I pushed my legs hard to stay in front of Linda but, after aid station three, I got passed by Mari.

As I dropped out of the last single track section and was just about to roll into the grass, Linda passed me and Brenda was just behind. I knew I had only one chance to make a move. Right when we entered the parking lot with about a half mile to finish, I clicked through the gears and made my final sprint and kept grinding it till the finish line. Everything played out in my favor and I came across the line ahead of both of them claiming third place. I felt pretty good for most of the race and my Hammer Nutrition was working well to keep me fueled and hydrated in the higher than normal temps.”

Thirteen seconds back, Two-time NUE defending Champion, Brenda Simril, Motor Mile Racing, took fourth in 8:49:29 on a cyclocross bike. The Simrils have completed more NUE Races than any other racer, now at 57, so why cyclocross bikes for Cohutta? Brenda Simril, “Lee and I had decided after True Grit that we were going to take a breather from the NUE series this year and just do whatever comes up and sounds like fun. So, we’re adding a lot of Pisgah races, camping with the dogs, paddling and as many last minute late season ski trips as possible!

We had no intention of doing the Cohutta 100 but were going to join in on the camping and pre-race party Friday night. Then, on Tuesday before the race, we found out that a bunch of our teammates and local riding (and Growler Enduro buddies) had signed up last minute to do the 100 on singlespeed. So…at that point I started to feel incredibly left out and since we don’t ride singlespeeds, I figured the next worst idea would be to ride it on our cross bikes. This sounded like an even better idea after a couple of beers.

We showed up thinking there was little chance of making it through the singletrack at the beginning without major mechanicals (we had 4 tubes, 4 CO2s, and a pump with us plus tires and tubes in our aid bags). We intentionally went into the singletrack at the very back of the pack so we wouldn’t hold folks up and also so we could ride very conservatively to preserve our tires.

The 100-mile women with race winner Carla Williams second from left. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

The 100-mile women with race winner Carla Williams second from left. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Miraculously, we made it to the gravel roads with no incidents. We were tooling along the whole time having fun, even taking a beer handoff from a buddy at the half way point (first time for me in an NUE race!). It felt great going down, but by the time we got to the 20 mile to go mark, I was feeling like it was time to get on with business and get to the finish. The fun part was seeing Linda at the top of the final gravel climb then getting to race her through the last singletrack without killing myself. She’s a super stud so it was great to finish with her. Again, by some small miracle my bike held up even though I lost most of the air in my rear tire on the last section.

That was our stupid human trick for the year so maybe we’ll try to come up with something even more ridiculous for Shenandoah. Did someone say “tandem”??”

Twenty-seven seconds behind the NUE Champ, Linda Shinn, Blacksmith Cycle, came in at 8:49:29 for fifth place, getting a PR in the process.

Riders await the start to the first east coast NUE of the year. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Riders await the start to the first east coast NUE of the year. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

 NUE Men’s Open

Dylan “The Kid” Johnson gets his first NUE victory

Dylan Johnson, Giant Co-Factory Northeast, earned his nickname “The Kid” at Cohutta five years ago. There are not many 16 year olds competing in NUE Race Series let alone having the gumption to try to run with the Big Dogs in the lead pack. That year, he crashed hard early in the race and his finish line became an unanticipated trip to the ER to receive stitches on his face. Five years later, at the age of just 21, this determined young man has earned his first NUE victory blistering the course in 6:42:00, proving that hard work and determination pays off!

“Cohutta has always been one of my favorite NUE races despite crashing my first year when I was 16. The course has a lot of gravel road which means you have to be patient and use a little road tactics.

There was a lead group of eleven of us and, most of the day, I sat in and conserved my energy. Last year I learned the hard way not to go too early when I bonked after a solo break. I waited until fifteen or so miles to go before making a move this time and three others came with me including last year’s winner, Brian Schworm, who proved to be the hardest to drop but I eventually managed to break free just before the single track. Winning an NUE has been a long time goal of mine and I’m thrilled to finally make it happen. I plan on doing Wilderness, Hampshire, Shenandoah, Fools Gold and maybe more.”

Dylan Johnson leading the way in Ducktown. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Dylan Johnson leading the way in Ducktown. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Brian Schworm, Think Green-VO2 Multisport p/b SWORD, second overall in the NUE Race Series last season, crossed the line less than two minutes back at 6:43:59, more than ten minutes faster than last year. “I lined up with my teammates Nathanial Cornelius and Brent Goetz for another go at this race. As many are aware, the course starts with a significant road climb to sort things out a bit before filing into the singletrack.  It’s always a gamble for how this turns out. There had been times that it was full-on up that hill and other times is was just moderately paced. This year it was the latter with the exception of Brian Toone’s jumps off the front.

There was a little chaos with racers vying for position at the top but nothing unsafe. We filed into the trail for some pristine singletrack.  Christian Tanguy was leading us up and I was sitting fourth position.  The pace was quick and not intense.  We continued in this manner until we reached the bridge crossing down near the start/finish area about 45 minutes into the race.  Following the bridge there was another significant climb but this time of the singletrack variety.  There was a bit of reshuffling but we continued on the following singletrack the same as before.

Once we reached aid station 1 about 1.5 hours into the race, we hit the gravel roads.  We knew there was approximately 65 miles of this gravel to follow.  This changed the dynamics of the race. There were 10 of us in the front group but nobody really wanted to put forth much effort to push the pace. I guess everyone was thinking it would be pointless to put forth the effort when everyone else could draft and save energy.  It was also too early for attacks; the others could easily chase down a lone leader.  Therefore, the group continued on at the slow pace. In fact, after a while, seven more riders caught the front group which swelled the group to 17.

Riders are treated to the spectacular scenery around Ducktown, Tennessee. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Riders are treated to the spectacular scenery around Ducktown, Tennessee. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

The race continued this way for a couple hours. Gordon Wadsworth was telling jokes; others were discussing equipment, bikes, etc. There were a few efforts on some of the hills but nothing very serious yet. However, at one point Christian decided to increase the pace. He jumped on the front and led the group up a few hills. A few racers dropped off because of these efforts but still around 10 or so remained in the front.

Things got very serious when we rejoined the Big Frog 65 loop. Dylan Johnson immediately attacked and the group fell apart. I was chasing Dylan with Ian Spivack and Tomasz Golas right behind. Once we crested the climb, the four of us regrouped and worked together to keep the pace high.  This continued until we reached the last significant climb before the singletrack. Again, Dylan attacked.  It was obvious that he was riding strong and was determined to win, and this attack set him in that direction.  The others and I couldn’t hold his wheel and we were spread apart up that climb.

My only hope was to try and catch Dylan in the final 45 minutes of singletrack.  I hammered as hard as I could but never saw him again. Overall I’m happy with second place. Dylan definitely earned the win and I put everything I had on the course. My teammates finished strong as well with Nathanial taking 11th and Brent finishing 15th. We represented Think Green VO2 Multisport p/b SWORD well together with a 1st by Drew Dillman and 3rd from Ben Richardson in the Big Frog 65!”

Three minutes later, Tomasz Golas, DRT, from Bloomfield, IN took third at 6:46:33. Less than two minutes back, Ian Spivak, from Vienna, VA was fourth in 6:48:08.

The next four racers would all finish at 6:50, with just seconds separating fifth-eighth place. 6:50:46 for Scott Hoffner and Defending NUE SS Champion Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/ Pivot Cycles/ Indust, going geared at this race following two straight SS victories at Cohutta. “After last year’s SS win and a good standing in the SS series, I decided to give my new Pivot Cycles LES geared bike a run in Open men.

The bike and body felt great but since I built the bike just this week and didn’t have really any miles on it, some micro-fatigue of working new muscles got the best of me; and rather than push my body into any sort of injury I chose to ride conservative. I also had some shifter cable stretch that sabotaged a perfectly set up 4-way sprint, taking 6th instead of 8th! Dylan Johnson is a man on fire right now and deserved to stand on the top box.

My goal is still a singlespeed victory, but racing bikes is the most energizing and exciting thing in the world to me so I always choose the bike that will give me the chance to enjoy that to the fullest.”

Two Seconds behind Wadsworth was former NUE Men’s Open Champion, Christian Tanguy, Rare Disease Cycling, at 6:50:48. Two seconds later, Heath Thumel, Race Pace Bicycles/ LRC, claimed 8th at 6:50:52.


Christian Tanguy is back at it taking 7th at Cohutta. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Christian Tanguy is back at it taking 7th at Cohutta. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

NUE Singlespeed Open

Cobb on top!

By just over one minute, Brad Cobb, Motor Mile Racing, took the top spot in the Singlespeed open to finish 7:26:09. “The race started off really fast, and sudden for me. In fact, I took my helmet off for the prayer, and before I could put it back on and buckled, Charles yelled GO.  The chase up HWY64 was a normal fast start, and the field immediately spread out.

This is the first hundred miler I have done in four years (Leadville was the last time), so I knew to push hard, but save as many matches as I could.  The single track was sweet and fast, and I started picking off racers pretty quickly.  When we hit the fire road, I teamed up with geared racer, John Wiygul, and we time trialed to the third aid station.

Single speed winner Bard Cobb. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Single speed winner Bard Cobb. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

At the turn, he spent a little too much time restocking, so I went ahead and kept pressing.  I eventually came up on Women’s leader, Carla Williams, and we climbed Big Frog and passed a lot of folks.  She was under the impression there were a couples of SS up ahead, so we both put our heads down and pushed for the next twenty miles until we came up on one of the SS.  We passed him on a downhill and were able to gap him enough so that he couldn’t catch us.

Soon thereafter, we came on what I thought was the first SS, and we used the same approach, but he was having nothing of it.  In fact, on several hills, he (I think it was James Thompson) appeared to be pulling away from me, and I kept digging and digging to stay on his wheel.  Eventually, Carla and I dropped him and couple of others and then put the hammer down.

We blew through Aid station five knowing aid six was only a few miles away.  Making the left on 221 was a very welcome sight as I have ridden this stretch many times.  As Carla and I approached, the wonderful aid station manned by the Scotts Bike Center Team, I was told I was the first single speeder to come through among hundred milers. So, with about 30 miles to go, Carla and I got back into our groove and made some pretty good time back to the single track.  When we hit Quartz, Carla was gracious enough to let me around, and knowing how close I was to the barn, I totally let loose.

Upon coming across the finish line, I was told I was the first SS doing the hundred.  I was pretty damn happy, but about five minutes later, I was told there were two single speeders that missed the 221 turn and went a few miles out of the way (and one of them was a good friend).  So, I volunteered to the race director to do whatever he thought was fair, and in the end, I remained on the top of the podium.  In my mind, there is an asterisk by the win, but it was still an amazing day to ride a mountain bike.”

Kip Biese, KJBike Coach/ Old Town Bike Shop, from Colorado Springs, was next at 7:27:32. “I was still a little over geared, but not nearly as badly as at True Grit. The start was rough; I barely got there in time riding from camp so I got a little boxed in and didn’t notice the wheels I was following hadn’t held the lead group on the road climb. I was stuck behind slower trail riders until the bridge crossing coming off Old Copper. After that I felt decent and, I believe, at Aid 1 leaving the singletrack I was second SS.

Over the course of the long gravel grind I gradually slipped back and lost motivation. I don’t know how far back I went and, like most of the lead riders, I either went off course or rode backwards on the course. My Garmin had me at almost 105 miles. Once I turned around from going the wrong way, I soon caught my wife doing the Big Frog 65 and knew I was headed the right way.

When I caught John Haddock on a dirt road climb, I realized I might still be in the hunt. After that, I picked up my tempo and picked off lots more riders (SS’ers and geared riders in both races). In the last stretch of trail I felt strong and I know I caught at least two 100mile SS’ers, maybe 3. I caught Stewart Gross just before leaving the trails and sucked his wheel until almost the finish where he had to sprint for his place. I also sprinted as a SS came from nowhere to sit my wheel, but he was actually a DQ from accidentally cutting the course.”

Two minutes later, Scott Rusinko, Nox Composites, from Chattanooga took third at 7:29:04. Two minutes behind Rusinko was James Thompson, Red Eye Velo, at 7:31:17. Two minutes later, Michael Tressler, To Live and Die in PA, rounded out the top five finishing 7:33:37.

Gordon Wadsworth applying his talents in the Open 100-mile category at Cohutta. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

Gordon Wadsworth applying his talents in the Open 100-mile category at Cohutta. Photo by Sara Kristen/SaraKristen.com

NUE Masters 50+

Clayton gets back to back wins at Cohutta!

Jeff Clayton, Georgia Neurosurgical Institute, achieved his second straight Masters victory at Cohutta, coming off a second place finish behind NUE contender Greg Golet at True Grit Epic earlier this season. Clayton finished with a commanding lead with a final time of 7:27:25, the only masters racer to go sub eight on the day.

“I was sorry and disappointed to get the news, shortly before the start that NUE defending Champion, Roger Masse, was sick and unable to attend. But, you never know (as Roger is fond of saying) if/when a new “freshman” talent will show up in Masters Class.

I did know that my new acquaintance Randy Kerr, who I met at another 100mile/100k mountain bike race called Skyway Epic a few weeks ago, would be a very formidable competitor. Randy is a super climber and it seems he prefers to crush the competition on a single speed regardless of what class he is racing. As I expected, about two thirds of the way up the pavement climb at the start, I dropped off the rather large lead group…and, as expected, Randy was in that group.  What I didn’t expect was a small chase group, including eventual women’s winner Carla Williams, to rocket by! I gave an extra effort to jump on the wheel of the last guy and he towed me back to them just as we entered the singletrack.

After passing a couple of (obviously blown up) riders, I ended up in a chain of riders behind Carla.  She held a great pace, but eventually it was time to get back on the gas and a few of us separated ourselves off of the growing chain of riders and held that all the way to the bridge across the Ocoee River. It was there that I saw Randy again (unbeknownst to him).  It seems that a rigid bike has its limitations on the rooty-rocky old Copper Road trail! I also knew that he would disappear again on the long climbs ahead, and he did.

The race settled in for me with a small group of the lead singlespeeders and a couple of us geared riders always clustered around each other, but often not riding at exactly the same pace. Such is the dynamics of long races with the need to ride within one’s own limits, both climbing and descending. I was determined to catch Randy before the last section of singletrack before the finish, so with each rider I would catch who had fallen off of the lead group, I would ask about Randy—it seemed that I was getting closer all the time, and I knew patience, good nutrition, and hydration were key to success.

80 miles into a race the ability to do simple cognitive tasks is (for me at least) quite diminished. So, even though my memory from 2015 and logic told me that I needed to turn left onto FS221 to begin the long climb toward the finish, there were no signs directing a left turn, nor did I see any blue paint arrows on the road, so I continued straight.  Besides, my drafting leech singlespeeder companions (I’d do exactly the same on a flat road!) didn’t say anything.

About five minutes later, having passed a bunch of riders going the other way, and questioning them and myself if they were outbound 100 milers or inbound 65 milers, I raised the question with my companions—they had no idea if we should have turned. We continued on hesitantly until the next road intersection (I measured it out after the race at another 2.33 miles one way) where I saw no signage for our direction of travel–so I announced I was turning around.  Of course several riders I had passed/dropped a little earlier were going the wrong way too so I shouted to them to turn around.  Lots of confusion…and I’m sure some riders originally ahead of me also missed the turn.

My hopes of catching Randy were obviously much diminished, but I soldiered on regardless.  It really helped having some of the singlespeeders  I had been racing with from very early around me (including Scott Rusinko, Kip Biese and James Thompson—all who I believe had been in the lead until the missed turn) fighting each other for position into the singletrack.  I enjoyed the singletrack and was pleased to re-pass a very fast Carla Williams.

Still going as hard as I could along the highway toward the finish, I was amazed to see the green “GO” logo that identified Randy’s jersey back. He was behind a couple of other riders and spinning like a madman.  Randy is hard of hearing, so I knew a sneak attack coming into the finish might work. As we entered the parking lot, I decided it was time and went full attack in my 34-10 gear and had a good gap. I even caught Stewart Gross who had dropped me way back on the last gravel climb. Randy did not respond and victory was mine!

However, my excitement was somewhat diminished when Randy informed me that he’d also gone off course, but didn’t finish out the prescribed course—so he DQ’d. It would have been much better to have a legitimate contest.  All in all I was happy with my race, having taken a course misadventure adjusted ~ 1 hour off my 2015 time—watch out you top open class racers.”

John Schwab, US Military Endurance Sports, placed second at 8:11:09. A little over a minute later, Stephen Lebovitz, Motor Mile Racing, finished third at 8:12:49.

David Jolin, Team Y Not Trek, who placed third at True Grit Epic behind Clayton, took fourth at 8:17:08. One minute later, Alan Miner, Banks Bike, rounded out the top five at 8:18:54.

NEXT UP: The KENDA NUE Race Series heads deep into the backcountry of the Mohican State Forest in Ohio for the 14th Annual Mohican Mountain Bike 100, a single loop 100 mile and 100k race spanning four counties. For more information or to register, visit www.mohican.net

Click Here for full results from the 2016 Cohutta 100