2016 Jerdon Mountain Challenge Report

Race Report: Blue Ridge Adventures – Jerdon Mountain Challenge

240 riders, from 13 different states, put their wheel to the starting line of the 2016 Jerdon Mountain Challenge. What was once considered the ‘little sibling’ to the infamous Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM), which happens the following day and is over twice as long, Jerdon Mountain Challenge has become a race all in its own.

Located in the small mountain town of Old Fort, NC, Jerdon takes on many of the same trails as ORAMM, such as Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge, but with a more user-friendly distance. This is part of the reason the race has become so popular with a wide range of riders. This year, Jerdon saw a 30% increase in riders over 2015. What makes this number so exciting is the people who make up the 30%. Women saw a 36% increase and 8 junior riders, ranging from 10-17 years old, started and finished the 26 mile route. “This is exactly what Blue Ridge Adventures is all about”, says race director Todd Branham. “Offering challenging, high quality events for seasoned racers, while creating a friendly environment for young and/or less experienced riders”.

The mass start left downtown Old Fort with a police escort leading riders to Curtis Creek, which allowed riders to spread out a bit before making the first climb up to Salt Gap. The route traverses to Star Gap, where riders make the ascent and descent down Heartbreak Ridge. The climb afterwards up Kitsuma is steep and technical, but offers a long descent down the backside, leading to the final miles back to the finish.

 The overall winner, Ben Renkema, from Greenville, SC, finished in 1hr 55min at a brisk 13.5 mph pace. Michael Mathers and Seth Cooley rounded out the top 3. 17 year old, Chad Hale from Tallahassee, FL, had an impressive 5th overall finish, with a time of 2hrs 18min. Bonnie Kleffman took the Open Women win, with a time of 2hrs 33min. Following in 2nd and 3rd place were Leah Nicholson and Duffy Danish, respectively. Another Junior rider made the top 5. Hannah Dickson, from Brevard, NC, came in at 3hrs and 3min, taking the 5th place Open Women spot.

For complete results, visit: http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/2016-jerdon-mountain-challenge-results/

 With temperatures approaching the mid-nineties, it was a hot and dry day of racing. Post-race, riders could be found cooling off in the cold creek that runs right through the finish area and enjoying a well-deserved meal and beverage. While most riders head home and recover in the comfort of their own home, a few hearty souls do a double-header, Jerdon Mountain Challenge on Saturday and ORAMM on Sunday. One of these happens to be Junior rider, Chad Hale. We’ll be keeping our eye on him and cheering him on. Here’s to the next generation of mountain bikers!

-Written by Seyl Park

Jerdon Mountain Challenge 2015 – Results and Report

The 4th annual Jerdon Mountain Challenge kicked off a weekend of racing in Old Fort on Saturday, with more than 150 racers tackling the Off-Road Assualt on Mt. Mitchell’s “little brother.” At 26 miles, Jerdon features two main climbs, both followed by ripping singletrack descents.

With sunny skies, tacky trail conditions, and some recent improvements to Jerret Creek Rd, the potential for fast times was there, and last years winner, Brian Schworm (Think Green/Pedal the Planet) wasted no time in setting a vicious tempo up the first major climb on Jerret Creek. Very quickly, Schworm’s efforts reduced the lead group to just 4 riders, with Brad Perley (Brevard College), Matt Williams (Epic Brewing), and Ben Brown (J.A. King) joining Schworm at the front. Brown was the first to crack, followed shortly by Williams.

At the front, Schworm and Perley stayed together until Perley bobbled over the railroad tracks at the bottom of Heartbreak Ridge, allowing Schworm to open up a gap heading into the second climb of the day up Mill Creek Road. Perley would not be detered, however, and he put in a massive effort to catch and then drop Schworm before the final singletrack down Kitsuma Ridge. He was able to maintain his gap all the way to the line, setting a new course record in the process. Schworm rolled through for 2nd, while Williams rounded out the podium in 3rd.


Men's Podium.

Men’s Podium.

On the women’s side, eventual winner Nina Otter (Liberty Bikes) had an uncharacteristically slow start. “I got caught up behind some people getting around the gate at the entrance to Jerret Creek,” she would explain later, “and a couple of women got ahead of me.” She was able to claw her way back to the front though, and take the lead before entering the singletrack on Star Gap and Heartbreak Ridge. While she never opened up a big gap on second place rider Jennifer Moos (Pink Siren Sports), Otter was able to cruise home for the win with a comfortable margin. Moos to a well earned 2nd place, while Beth Freye (Blue Ridge Outdoors) took 3rd.

Women's Podium

Women’s Podium

Men Overall:

Position Bib # Name Start Finish Total Division Gender City State Team Name
1 677 BRADFORD PERLEY 7:59:58 09:48:46.992 01:48:48.808 Open Men M BREVARD NC BREVARD COLLEGE
2 631 BRIAN SCHWORM 7:59:58 09:52:11.712 01:52:13.528 Open Men M MOREHEAD KY Think Green-Pedal the Planet p/b SWORD Cycling Team
3 657 MATT WILLIAMS 7:59:58 09:57:43.426 01:57:45.242 Open Men M ASHEVILLE NC Epic Brewing/MTBRacenews.com
4 638 PATRICK SMITH 7:59:58 10:04:52.834 02:04:54.650 Open Men M NORTH AUGUSTA SC Team Greenville Health System
5 682 BRAD COBB 7:59:58 10:05:34.779 02:05:36.595 Master Men M LOOKOUT MT TN MOTOR MILE RACING
6 523 IAN BALDWIN 7:59:58 10:05:54.439 02:05:56.255 Open Men M ALEXANDER NC Suspension Experts
7 547 KEVIN CONRECODE 7:59:58 10:05:54.625 02:05:56.441 Open Men M ASHEVILLE NC Industry Nine
8 653 JEFF WELCH 7:59:58 10:06:35.772 02:06:37.588 Senior Men M LENOIR NC Fiets Maan Racing p/b Luna Cycles
9 594 CHRIS LARSEN 7:59:58 10:07:48.725 02:07:50.541 Open Men M ASHEVILLE NC ABRC
10 675 JIMM MCELROY 7:59:58 10:07:59.614 02:08:01.430 Open Men M WEAVERVILLE NC Fiets Maan Racing p/b Luna Cycles
11 681 CHRIS BROWN 7:59:58 10:11:21.021 02:11:22.837 Master Men M CHATTANOOGA TN Industry Nine p/b ABRL
12 581 MICHAEL HUDSON 7:59:58 10:12:25.879 02:12:27.695 Master Men M ASHEVILLE NC Juggernaut ESF
13 658 JEFF WINE 7:59:58 10:12:26.846 02:12:28.662 Master Men M LOUISVILLE KY Friends of Roll/ Effov
14 575 MICHAEL HODGES 7:59:58 10:14:31.809 02:14:33.625 Master Men M COCONUT CREEK FL The Best Bike Shop.com
15 627 CHRIS READY 7:59:58 10:15:26.147 02:15:27.963 Senior Men M ARDEN NC VeloSports Racing

Women Open:

Position Bib # Name Start Finish Total Division Gender City State Team Name
1 620 NINA OTTER 7:59:58 10:17:00.905 02:17:02.721 Open Women F ASHEVILLE NC Liberty Bikes/Industry Nine
2 671 JENNIFER MOOS 7:59:58 10:18:12.645 02:18:14.461 Open Women F FORT LAUDERDALE FL PINK SIREN SPORTS
3 561 BETH FRYE 7:59:58 10:28:06.698 02:28:08.514 Open Women F BOONE NC Blue Ridge Outdoors
4 618 LEAH NICHOLSON 7:59:58 10:42:51.240 02:42:53.056 Open Women F BREVARD NC
5 580 LAURA HOWELL 7:59:58 11:03:36.013 03:03:37.829 Open Women F CHATTANOOGA TN
6 665 KIRA ZAZZI 7:59:58 11:31:10.593 03:31:12.409 Open Women F DENVER NC Velo 16 BSG
7 599 LAUREL LONG 7:59:58 12:57:36.014 04:57:37.830 Open Women F HUNTERSVILLE NC Carolina Youth Cycling