I always tell people the best part of doing a stage race is spending a week not thinking about anything except riding your bike. It’s a truly freeing experience but such singular focus can sometimes lead to that FOMO feeling that you traveled halfway around the world and missed out on all the cultural experiences on hand.
This is where the Machu Picchu Epic positively shines. Having competed in mountain stage races across the globe, I can say without a doubt that Machu Picchu Epic is one-of-a-kind. In a completely unique format for stage racing, riders are challenged with 3-4 hours of racing each day followed by lunch and a tour of the local historic sites including: the ruins of Pisac with its endless terraces, the Jenga-stacked Inca walls of Saqsaywaman, the fortress at Ollantaytambo, and finally the world-renowned Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Shannon Boffeli descends into the Sacred Valley on stage 3. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Race director Alessandra Whilar and event organizer Daniel Roura go to great lengths to ensure that riders experience all the excitement of bike racing and the endless cultural experiences Peru has to offer including a trip to one of the seven wonders of the modern world: Machu Picchu. Their love and excitement of their country is infectious.
Jen Hanks drops into the finish on stage 2 – Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Anyone taking on the Machu Picchu Epic needs to pack a healthy desire for adventure and their climbing legs as each stage packs in ample climbing, all done at elevation. The race starts in the metropolitan center of Cusco at a lung-bursting 11,152 feet above sea level and most stages go up from there. The Epic is the ultimate challenge and an experience of a lifetime all wrapped into one.
And for a final bonus, after finishing the race riders are treated to a guided tour of the world-famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that truly cannot be duplicated.
Jen Hanks making to final river crossing by cable cart. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
My wife, Jen Hanks, and I took on the challenge of the Machu Picchu Epic together. Unlike many of the other stage races we have done this second-year event did not feature a duo category option so we competed as individuals in Peru.
Stage 1 started with a two-part climb leading to the high-Andean lake of Quirqucha, well above tree line at almost 13,600 feet. For perspective, the Leadville 100 tops out at a mere 12,500 feet. The climbing was tough and the local riders seemed unfazed by the elevation. Luckily, there was just enough singletrack descending to give us a chance to close some of the gaps.
Riders race along a glassy Quirqucha Lake at 13,000 feet above sea level. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
After traversing along the lake we attacked the days descent bombing down endless miles of trail and two-track while dodging alpaca, sheep, pigs, cows, dogs, and chickens while blasting through thatched-roofed villages that rarely see visitors let alone an army of lycra-clad mountain bikers. We hit speeds well over 30 miles per hour on the steep mountain two-track before reaching the finish line in the Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Stage 2 featured the highest percentage of singletrack in the race. Starting and finishing in the park of Saqsaywaman, an ancient Inca temple celebrating the god of lightning, the stage was appropriately quick and electric with relatively short climbs and fast descents on rutted, rock-strewn singletrack that presented a thrilling challenge for even the most experienced riders.
Shannon Boffeli weaves his way through the rocks of stage 2 – Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Day two was the shortest stage of the race at just under 18 miles, which, of course, meant we all rode that much faster. The singletrack was rugged and challenging. “Trail” in Peru means ancient paths that villagers use to travel on foot or move sheep and alpaca. Not the manicured, mountain bike specific trail most U.S. riders are accustomed to. I enjoyed these less developed trails and the challenge of navigating through the rocks and crisscrossing trails to find the fastest line.
Stage 3 begins the travel portion of the Machu Picchu Epic as riders take a shuttle out of Cusco to the shores of Laguna Puray. Riders make a quick loop around the lake before heading off on a cross country tour through rolling hills with stunning views of snowcapped peaks and screaming descents past the legendary sites of Moray and the 1,000 year-old salineras, before finishing in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo. I would say stage 3 had the most exciting descents of the entire race; fast and open with well-established trails.
Jen can’t keep the smiles off her face on the salineras descent. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Stage 4 was the queen stage of the Machu Picchu Epic as riders tested themselves with 26 miles of climbing from the Sacred Valley to the top of Abra Malaga pass at over 14,300 feet. This was the ultimate test of physical and mental toughness riding higher and higher above the trees, past wind-whipped high-plains, and into the clouds before reaching the finish and retreating into the warming hut perched atop the pass for hot chocolate and cake. Many tears were shed at the finish line after long hours of grinding straight uphill with only Andean condors and high-mountain alpacas to keep us company. Stage 4 was more a personal accomplishment than a race. Riding a bike above 14,000 feet is not something most people will ever have an opportunity to do.
The climb to Abra Malaga pass over 14,000 feet above sea level. A true test for any rider. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Stage 5 began in the urban center of Quillabamba located at the oxygen-rich elevation of just 3,400 feet. The day started on fast gravel roads following the Urubamba river before climbing the jungle mountain slopes of the Urubamba valley. This 30-mile stage packed in steep climbs on mountain roads and another fast two-track descent to the finish.
Shannon crosses the Urubamba river on stage 5. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
After the finish each rider took their turn making the final river crossing by elevated cable cart to the hot springs of Cocalmayo for the finish line festivities.
After a final overnight we hopped a train for a quick ride to nearby Aguas Calientes and enjoyed our final tour of the incomparable Inca city of Machu Picchu.
Shannon and Jen touring famed Machu PIcchu on the final day of the Epic.
The Machu Picchu Epic was an unmatched adventure that pushed us to our limits while still experiencing all the magic the Peruvian Andes have to offer. With an affordable entry, that included full lodging and tours, the Machu Picchu Epic is an inviting challenge for any adventure hungry mountain bike enthusiast.
Click Here to visit the Machu Picchu Epic website and learn more about the race and how you can become a Machu Picchu Epic participant.
Proceeds from the race help support the Todos X el Morro (TXM) mountain bike advocacy group. TXM builds and maintains a vast mountain bike trail network in the historic battle site national park of el Morro Solar, just south of Lima. TXM’s fifteen full time staff members and 600 volunteers have cleaned tons of trash from the park while building and maintaining the trail networks and providing security to create a safe and inviting riding experience. You can learn more about their incredible organization at todosxelmorro.pe
Todos X El Morro volunteers help with clean up and trail maintenance. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Peru is quietly becoming known as a foodie destination. With a year-round growing season, Peruvian restaurants have access to amazing fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients. We enjoyed outstanding dining options each night. A welcome treat after hard days in the saddle.
Just one of the delicious post-race meals provided by Machu Picchu Epic. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Jen Hanks is all smiles on stage 2. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Stage 1 offer up a mix of all terrain. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Beautiful overhead shot of the stage 3 start. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Jen Hanks cuts through the clouds on Abra Malaga summit. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Jen Hanks making friends. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Riders rest their legs during a post-race tour of Saqsaywaman
Jen can’t keep the smiles off her face on the salineras descent. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Quirqucha lake. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Jen Hanks making to final river crossing by cable cart. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
The long road to the summit of Abra Malaga. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Jen Hanks descends to the finish in stage 2 – Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Descending into the Sacred Valley. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Todos X El Morro volunteers help with clean up and trail maintenance. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
Just one of the delicious post-race meals provided by Machu Picchu Epic. Photo courtesy of Machu Picchu Epic
In just a few hours many of North America’s top riders will be lining up in Leadville, Colorado, for the Leadville 100.
Saturday’s Leadville 100 course features just over 100 miles of mostly double track riding on an out-and-back style course. The Leadville course is more rugged than most in the Life Time Grand Prix which means all the top athletes will be on mountain bikes.
We got a sneak peak at what our favorite racers will be competing on as the Grand Prix turns to knobbies including top riders like: Sofia Gomez Villafane, Rose Grant, Keegan Swenson, Russell Finsterwald, Alexey Vermuelen, Melisa Rollins, Dylan Johnson, and more.
Sofia Gomez-Villafane: Specialized Epic Hardtail – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 1st
Sofia Gomez-Villafane’s Specialized Epic Hardtail. Photo by: Andy Cochrane
SGV is running Specialized Renegade 2.2 tires. Photo by: Andy Cochrane
SGV is running a full Shimano XTR bike with road pedals for better energy transfer. Photo by: Andy Cochrane
Photo by: Andy Cochrane
Keegan Swenson: Santa Cruz Highball – Life Time Grand Prix Rank: 1st
Keegan Swenson’s Santa Cruz Highball
Swenson is running Reserve 28 wheels with Maxxis Aspen ST 2.4 tires
Keegan’s race set up includes a 38-tooth ring with 10-52 cassette
Keegan’s cockpit includes the SQ Lab Innerbarends
Evelyn Dong: Juliana HT – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 5th
Evelyn Dong’s Santa Cruz Highball frame custom-painted to represent Juliana. She’s running Reserve 28 wheels with Maxxis Aspen 2.25 tires.
Russell Finsterwald: Specialized S-Works Epic EVO – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 2nd
Finsterwald is running Shimano road pedals for better energy transfer and Specialized Renegade 2.2 tires
Rose Grant: Juliana HT – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 6th
Grant is full SRAM AXS with 32-tooth ring and Quarq power meter. She has custom 26oz bottles from The Feed with Gu Roctain fuel.
Grant has a Rockshox SID Ultimate 100 fork with Reserve 28 wheels and Maxxis Aspen 2.25 EXO tires and Orange Seal sealant
Her race bike will feature ESI grips and Hammerhead Karoo 2 computer
Alexey Vermuelen: Factor Lando HT – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 3rd
Alexey Vermeulen will be running the Factor Lando HT at the upcoming Leadville 100
Vermeulen will be running Enve 525 wheels and Kenda Booster tires
Vermeulen runs a full Shimano XTR rig with ESI grips
Melisa Rollins: Trek Supercaliber – Life Time Grand Prix rank: 6th
Melisa Rollins Trek Supercaliber with Bontrager Kovee XXX wheels
Rollins is running Kenda Booster Pro 2.4 tires
Hannah Otto: Pivot Les SL – Life Time Grand Prix rank 10th
Hannah Otto’s Pivot Les SL with DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels and Kenda Rush 2.2 tires. She also runs full Shimano XTR with Stages dual power meter. She’s using a 32-tooth chainring for Leadville.
Dylan Johnson: Factor Lando HT – Life Time Grand Prix rank 15th
Dylan Johnson’s Factor Lando HT
Johnson’s bike features Black Inc wheels with Continental Race King 2.2 tires.
Black Inc’s sleek one-piece stem/bar combo
Hannah Shell: Santa Cruz Blur – Life Time Grand Prix rank 17th
Hannah Shell will be riding the Santa Cruz Blur with the as yet unreleased HUNT Proven Race XC wheels and Pirelli Scorpion hard terrain tires.
Pirelli Scorpion tires and HUNT Proven Race XC wheels
Shell’s Blur is stacked with full Shimano XTR
Hannah is using the Garmin 1040 solar for navigating the 100 mile course.
Alexis Skarda: Santa Cruz Highball – Life Time Grand Prix rank 17th
Alexis Skarda will be aboard the Santa Cruz Highball with full SRAM XX components, 34 tooth chainring and Quarq power meter. Photo by: Devon Balet
Skarda will be running Reserve 28 wheels and Maxxis Aspen 2.4 tires. Photo by: Devon Balet
Stephen Davoust: Giant Anthem – Life Time Grand Prix rank 23rd
US marathon national champion Stephen Davoust on the Giant Anthem he will race at the Leadville 100
Davoust’s Giant Anthem sports the Fox Live valve system and a Fox 34. He’ll be running Giant XCR0 wheels and Maxxis Aspen 2.25 tires.
Stephen Davoust runs full Shimano XTR cockpit with Shimano Pro stem and bar
The 21st annual National Ultra Endurance Series Mohican 100k/100m was held on May 21, 2022. Hundreds of racers from around the country gathered in Loudonville, Ohio to tackle this tough course. The return of the mass downtown start added extra mileage and required a few course changes for 2022. With feedback from the 2021 course, race director Ryan O’dell removed the Mohaven singletrack from the 100k race and reduced the Glenmont loop for the 100m racers.
Sunny skies, high humidity, and temps in the upper 80’s made for a difficulty day on the bike. Many racers battled with muscle cramping and heat exhaustion. Aid stations had ice packs and water hoses out cooling riders off. Later in the afternoon, the skies opened up and it poured rain that continuing on and off for the remainder of the race.
From the downtown start racers are immediately greeted with the first of many punchy climbs. Racers jockey for position on the next 5 miles of road before entering the Mohican State Park singletrack loop. They continue toward the Wilderness singletrack and the all famous rock garden. Locals and media enjoy heckling racers as they try to maneuver this technical mossy rock garden. After the Wilderness aid station, the 100k racers split and head back on more gravel roads toward the finish. The 100 milers continued to complete Mohaven and Glenmont singletrack loops before continuing on to the finish.
Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat. What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance. 100k racers eventually climb over 8,000 feet and 100m racers climb over 11,000 feet. According to O’dell “Out of a total 453 Registered Racers, 64% of racers completed the 100 mile, 58% completed the 100k, a significant improvement over 2021.”
What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers that help out with the race. Ryan O’dell stated, “Along with many other local volunteers, New Hope Church, led by Pastor Rob and Bethany Paterson, showed up in force to help out at aid stations and 20 course marshal positions, as well as provide transportation and medical attention. In all, more than 150 local area volunteers working two-hour shifts were here to support the racers.”
The 2021 Wilderness 101 women’s winner, Britt Mason (Knobby Side Down) from Ellicott City, MD, won the women’s 100 mile race with a time of 9:14:04.
” The race started hot right out of the gate with climbing as soon as we reached the outskirts of town. I may have gone out a bit hard, as I made some early mistakes with crashes and missed turns in the unfamiliar trails. After the first couple of hours, I settled in to my groove and did my best to manage the heat throughout the day. I never fully cramped but had to govern my heart rate progressively lower to keep the grabby muscles at bay. I consider myself a punchy climber, but the steep hits just kept coming all day! I’ve never walked my bike so much in an NUE, either by choice to prevent cramping or because the trail was too soft, slow, and steep to ride. The strategy worked, as I ran from the front from the start and held off the chasers. Next up for me in the NUE series is Wilderness101.”
The 2021 women’s NUE epic champion and 2021 Mohican 100 mile winner, Jen Toops (Pearl izumi/Pivot), Marion, OH finished second with a time of 9:36:08.
“Mohican 100 is always a favorite of mine since it’s home turf and family/friends come to watch. After racing the new course in 2021 I knew it was going to be a hard day in the saddle, especially with the heat/humidity, and all the strong ladies signed up. This year the course started from downtown Loudonville instead of Mohican Adventures campground. This meant it was going to be a red lined start or risk being stuck in a congo line in the state park loop. Britt and Julie passed me on the 5 mile road start. I let them go and settled in my own pace as I was already feeling overheated. At the end of the state park loop I caught Julie and we came into aid 2 at the same time. It was so incredibly humid and hot. The Wilderness singletrack went smooth and I was sure I could make some time up, since I knew the lines. Wrong….the massive cramps started when I tried to clean a steep climb. Both of my quads seized up and couldn’t move them! I literally laid on the ground screaming and finally had to just get up and start moving. I prolly lost 3-4 min here. I immediately took a CarboRocket RocketLyte and slammed a few Honey Stinger gels and the cramps held off the rest of the race. There were times throughout the day where my body felt cold, extremities tingly and I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I continued to just keep a steady pace and stopped at every aid station to put ice/or water down my back. I kept looking back on the last road section sure Julie would catch me but managed to stay a few minutes a head. About 15 min from the finish the skies opened up and it poured. I was happy to have crossed the line and finished with how bad I felt through out the day. This felt like a day surviving on the bike instead of racing. Thank you to all the aid station workers that helped all day, especially aid 2 with the panty hose ice pack and aid 4 with the water hose! Thanks to all family and friends for the cheers and heckling :) Sponsors: Pivot Cycles, Pearl izumi, SCC chain lube, Lazer Helmets, Ergon, Xpedo, Honey Stinger, CarboRocket, Maxxis.”
Only a couple minutes back from second, Julie Medema (Founders Brewing) from Grand Rapids, MI, finished third with a time of 9:39:54.
“Mass start with the 100k & 100 milers combined made for a hot start to the day. I was in 2nd until mile about 25 then Jen passed me and I was already not feeling great so just settled in for a long, hot day. First 50 miles were TOUGH and SLOW with lots of technical singletrack and some major mud out there. Legs finally felt good at mile 75 🤪Solo mission to try to catch Jen but ended up 3 min behind in a thunderstorm! It was an epic day; equally tough mentally as physically with hot humid temps and endless steep long climbs. Thanks to Founders Racing for the support!”
Taking fourth place was Leila Husain (Sycamore Cycles) out of Brevard, NC with a finish time of 10:40:11. Hanna Pauline Derby from Marquette, MI finished fifth with a time of 11:27:50.
Men’s Open– Collins takes first Mohican win
Taking the win in the men’s open 100 mile, Patrick Collins of Worcester, MA, finishing with a time of 7:36:11.
“Thanks to Ryan O’Dell and his crew for putting on a great event! This was my first Mohican 100. Once we hit the dirt, a lead group of 5-6 of us set a very hard pace for the first handful of hours. Guys were turning the screws, heat rising, testing each other’s limits, some digging deeper than was sustainable, so guys began to fade. I was climbing better than others. I got a gap on the first climb in the Wilderness, feeling good on the only familiar trails on course, as I did a XC race there last year. Brian Schworm bridged up on the climb after the aid station and we worked well together for a while. I was very glad to have a partner on the road sections. We saw glimpses of Jake “The Diesel” Inger I got a gap on him the super muddy steep climb in the private trails about 5.5 hours in. I think this section was a hike-a-bike for most, but I dug extremely deep and stayed on my bike to power up it. Once alone and no one in sight behind me, I rode a hard tempo, slowly easing the pace as I neared the finish until Jake showed up right behind me with less than a kilometer to go entering Mohican Adventures. It legit scared me! All this work to lose it at the very end, no way! I drilled it as hard as I could and finished ~25 secs ahead. Mind blown… biggest result ever! Huge thanks must go out to my sponsor Assabet River Bicycles, the best bike shop in central Massachusetts, owned by Jerry De Zutter. The legendary Tom Stevens is the head mechanic and he has made sure my bike was ready to rock and roll. Also huge thanks to my parents who have always supported me, especially in the tough times. On the drive back home to MA, I collided with a deer on I-80 in the middle of nowhere PA. I was fine, but my van was toast, so my dad drove through the night to the rescue and brought me home. My next planned NUE races are Wilderness and Shenandoah. I would like to do Marji Gesick as well, but I missed reg. Perhaps if I am in contention for the series win, they’ll let me in? :)”
Less than a minute back, Jake Inger of Yarmouth, ME finished second with a time of 7:36:36.
No stranger to the Mohican 100, Brian Schworm from Morehead, KY took third with a time of 7:37:30.
“The race went very well but I was worried about the heat and concerned about racing so soon after a minor surgery to remove a small skin cancer spot on my forehead (wear your sunscreen!). I was feeling great and riding with the eventual winner Patrick Collins with Jake Inger not far back until the trail section beyond Glenmont at about mile 75. I started cramping and faded a bit. Jake caught up and I was worried there were more behind him. I had to give 100% just to hang with Jake as he was so strong. He pulled me to the finish and took off with a couple miles to go (and almost caught Pat as well) so I was able to hold my third place. I’m very happy with this result especially considering the surgery, heat, and my age 😀. After the race it was great to hang out, catch up with racing buddies, and swap stories of the day. The race turned out very well and, despite the heat and humidity, it was a great day. Already looking forward to next year! Thanks to my bike sponsors Think Green-Bicycle Face Cycling Team for helping to make these races possible along with ESI Grips, Maxxis Tires, absoluteBLACK, and TruckerCo, but the biggest thanks goes to my wife Jennifer Schworm for all the support both during the race and the daily routine required for my training. I couldn’t do it without her!”
Fourth place went to Jimmy Close of Ellicott City, MD finishing in 7:56:02. Brent Goetz from Canal Winchester, OH took fifth place in 8:09:11.
Singlespeed100 MILE– Wakeley wins
Finishing 5th overall and riding the last five miles on a flat, Jorden Wakeley of Grayling, MI, won the 100m singlespeed class with a time of 8:05:28.
“Went into the singletrack top ten and got caught behind some slower riders and the lead group got away. I was able to ride with Brian Schworm to the first aid station and he got out quicker than I did. Chased for 15 miles and caught the entire lead group at the second aid station and proceeded to draft off of them on the gravel roads. Dropped 5th and 6th place in the Mohaven section and ended up catching 4th just after Glenmont. We rode together for a while and I got away from him on Valley Stream Road, which put me in fourth overall. Flatted on the last rocky downhill about 5 miles from the finish and tried to repair it with a tube that unfortunately had a hole in it. So, I decided to ride on the rim to the finish and ended up getting caught by the eventual 4th place finisher. 5th overall in the day and 1st singlespeed–I ran a 36-19 gear and I ride for Northbound Outfitters. Tough, hot race as I was cramping at mile 30 and started feeling stronger after the bike path to Glenmont. Loved the course. Next race: Lumberjack 100. “
Leading the 2022 NUE singlespeed series, Chase Caughey of Canton, OH finished with a time of 8:32:32.
“Mohican 100 is one of my favorite races because I grew up riding msp. This year was my first time doing the 100 mile instead of the 100k and first season racing ss. There were a lot of strong single speeders registered and I was excited for the competition. Lining up on the start line I was settling my mind in for second because I knew Jorden’s wheel would be to hard to hold. Got a front row start thanks to my friends Justin Holle and Brian Elander. First half of the race went pretty smooth, riding my pace in second place and happy with the 34×20 choice. About 70 miles in third place rider Joe Fraas passed me on a long flat section holding the wheel of a geared rider out spinning me. I caught back onto him not long after being dropped. We rode together for a while until a good climb where I rode away from him. Finished in second about half an hour behind Jorden Wakeley and only four minutes faster than Joe. Great race! Thanks Evolution Training Cycles for everything”
Just a few minutes back, Joe Fraas from Pittsburgh, PA took third place with at time of 8:36:23.
“I was pretty nervous leading into the race because of the number of good single speeders on the start list and then the heat and torrential rain the day before didn’t help calm the nerves. Making the turn into town is always so cool seeing 500+ racers lined up and ready to go. The road start is a tough one for single speeders, but luckily my teammate, and eventual 100K winner, Anthony Grinnell was on the front. I knew he wanted to pace smart because of the heat, so I was able to stay with the large front group going into the woods. Even with so many riders, I somehow rode most of the 22 miles of singletrack by myself, which was pretty nice because I picked a pace I was comfortable with and focused on staying on top of my hydration and nutrition. I carried three bottles with me, two filled with Flow Formulas Lemon Lime (I used 6 bottles for the day) and one filled with water. Since I was riding the single track by myself, I really had no idea how I was doing until aid station 2 and saw I was only about 10 minutes from the overall leader. Seeing this gave me a huge burst of confidence and some extra freshness in my legs and I really started to pick-up the pace. I continued to ride mainly by myself until the long rails to trails section. This is such a killer section for a single speeder and you just have in your head that if your single speed competitors are working with someone in this section you are going to lose so much time. I just got as aero as I could and was spinning at a comfortable pace, when out of nowhere a geared guy flew past me. I knew this could make a huge difference in my overall time, so I did an all-out 30ish second sprint to get on this guy’s wheel. I looked down at my Garmin and was doing over 500 watts to get his wheel. I got in his draft in the nick of time, because I wasn’t going to be able to hold that effort any longer. I do not know his name, but he had a pink bike and pink kit and he pulled me for three quarters of the rails to trail, which allowed me to get ahead of eventual 2nd place Chase C. momentarily. If he reads this, thank you again for the pull. Chase eventually caught me on the climb after aid station 4 and he and I talked and rode together for a while. During this time, I found out Eli Orth wasn’t in front of us like I thought and Chase and I were sitting 2/3 behind Jordan. Chase dropped me on the one climb and I rode as hard as I could the last 10 miles or so just hoping to hold onto 3rd place. It was such a great feeling coming across the line seeing my son, wife, parents, and a couple friends at the line cheering for me. We always have a group that camps at Mohican Adventures for the weekend, which just makes the whole race experience that much nicer. I was running 34*20 wolf tooth ring and cog. Thanks to sponsors Flow Formulas, Pro Bike and Run, McQueen Athletes, Jim Shorkey Auto Group, ESI Grips, and Extreme Nano Lubricants.”
Ohio’s own Eli Orth from Cincinnati took fourth place with a time of 9:07:41. Finishing fifth place was Thad Paunovich from Avonmore, PA finishing in 9:31:27.
Master’s100 Mile–Magnuson wins
Taking the win in the 100 miles masters division was, Eric Magnuson of Manchester, MA with a time of 8:47:52.
“After blasting out of town, the Mochian 100 splintered on the first climb. The race then unfolded across an array of singletrack, gravel, and roads. During the first four hours, I raced in different groups. Alliances formed. Alliances fractured. At about the midway point, I was on my own—and that’s how things stayed until the finish. Others were in front of me, but I couldn’t see them; others were behind me, but I couldn’t seem them either. I pedaled in isolation, experiencing Ohio’s punchy hills, muddy trails, and escalating heat. I spent most of the day dreaming of dousing myself with something cold. At an aid station, I found a hose. There was joy at the end of it: clear, cold, fast-flowing water. Deep into a race, the mundane can become extraordinary. The Mohican is a stellar event put on by a stellar crew. The volunteers deserve a standing ovation. Signage was superb. Aid stations were excellent.Huge thanks to my family, my riding buddies, Skip’s C.S., Shayne Gaffney, and Riverside Cycle. Next on my calendar: High Cascades 100.”
Just a couple minutes back, Keith Papanicolas from Fairfax Station, VA, finished second with a time of 8:49:2.
Third place went to, Amir Matityahu from Los Altos, CA crossing the line in 8:58:27.
Taking fourth place wes Bruce Stauffer from Rockwell, NC with a time of 9:41:18. Christian Butts out of Plainville, MA took the last podium spot with a time of 9:45:01.
Taking back-to-back wins at the Mohican 100k was, Kelly Catale from Pepperell, MA with a finish time of 5:53:17.
“This was my second year racing the Mohican 100k and I have determined that it will always be a brutal experience. The crazy climbing, muddy doubletrack, and fun singletrack make the course challenging, but it’s the weather that delivers the true pain. Just like in the 2021 edition, the mid-Ohio humidity made the air feel like peanut butter right from the start of the race, which meant I was destined to suffer for the next six hours (this was my first real “humid” day of riding all year). The mass start from downtown Loudonville was a bit hairy, with several guys angling for front positions before diving into the first trail. The only other female in the front pack, Britt Mason, and I exchanged some conversation and marveled at how we had never crossed paths before this race. My goal was to finish the race in under six hours; my race strategy was to go out hard and see how long I could sustain the effort before blowing up. It turns out that 16 miles plus humidity is the blowup point. I slowed down considerably after then and focused on keeping my heart rate and body temperature from skyrocketing. Truthfully, I don’t recall the last time I felt as terrible during a race as I did during this day, and by the time I hit the second aid station at mile 34 I had already quit the sport of cycling at least three times. Luckily, the amazing aid station volunteers had ice-filled pantyhose to offer the overheating participants. I draped one around my neck and into the back of my jersey and within about 5 minutes, I felt slightly frostbitten and almost completely renewed mentally and physically. I even decided to un-quit the sport of cycling! Yes, my race was saved by pantyhose. The remainder of the race was a bit of a blur, as I did my best to keep ahead of dehydration. I finally felt strong at the 5-hour mark and was definitely not on pace to break six hours, but I dug deep and pushed myself hard for the last ten miles and finished with goosebumps–likely from being overheated, but maybe also from ending up in first place after suffering so intensely for so long. I want to extend a huge thanks to Seven Cycles, Voler Apparel, Industry Nine, Vittoria Tires, Flow Formulas, Ride Headquarters, and Gold Medal CBD for enabling me to participate in these events. Thank you also to my husband, Joe, for another fun and successful race weekend, to the race promoters for another fantastic event, and to all of the volunteers who helped make the day survivable.”
Placing second in the women’s 100k was, Bryna Blanchard out of East Greenbush, NY, with a time of 6:19:46.
“Mohican 100k felt like a magic race day for me this year. Despite the 7 AM start time, early morning nerves, and lots of training volume leading up to the race I managed to feel strong for the duration. I managed to avoid the 5 hour energy crash that so often forces me to lose my pace and inevitably get caught in the final miles. After a difficult time in survival mode at the Big Frog 65 it felt amazing and motivating to race hard and enjoy the ride from start to finish. The single track was fast and fun with some rocky slip and slide to keep things interesting. The bits of road in between made for a nice change of pace. With the chaos of mass start and miles of strung out racers on pavement I had no concept of my position in the women’s field. All I could do was ride my race, pace my efforts and work hard to not slow down. I was surprised and grateful to cross the line in 2nd behind world class endurance racer Kelly Catale. Thank you promotors, volunteers, and organizers for putting on a top notch professional event. Thank you Barker Mountain Bikes for all the continued support over the years. I am so grateful for these experiences, friends and bikes.”
Travelling in from Roanoke, VA, Abigail Snyder, took third place with a time of 6:36:58.
” I came into the 2022 Mohican 100k with high hopes after a tight battle for 3rd place at the Big Frog 65 and a surprise 4th place last year, when the 2021 edition of the Mohican 100k was my first ever 100k race. From the start, however, it seems as if my hopes would be dashed. I struggled for the first 2/3 of the race: I missed turns, got bungled up in the congo line through the state park singletrack, had some mechanical issues, and just generally was angry with the world. When I came through Aid 3, the word my friend/crew used to describe my frame of mind was “salty.” Because of the mass start, I had no idea where I was as far as position, but felt like I had to be somewhere between 10-15th place. Still, I didn’t give up. My team name and personal motto is “Ride Fierce,” the meaning of which centers around the image of a cheetah: beautiful and dangerous. I knew I would only be happy at the finish line if I gave it my best on course. So I controlled the only thing I could control: pedaling—and didn’t stop fighting for every possible second until I got to the finish. Even as I crossed the line, I expected to be 15th, so I was shocked to hear that I had finished third! The next NUE event that I am planning to be at is the Wilderness 101, where I will again tackle the 100k distance. Many thanks to Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke Outside, RND Coffee, and Cardinal Bicycle for making it possible for me to race this season!”
Coming in fourth place was, Heather Compton from Grayling, MI with a time of 7:06:47. Jen Tillman from Ellicott City, MD takes the fifth spot in 7:25:51.
Men’s Open 100K– Grinnell takes win
Previous 2021 Mohican singlespeed podium finisher, Anthony Grinnell of Harmony, PA, takes the overall 100k win , finishing in 5:10:14.
“I’ve been racing the Mohican 100 since 2014 and still have memories of years past where humidity and creeping temperatures caused racers to drop like flies. With temps expected to surge into the 80’s and very high humidity, I knew a smart pace in the first half of the race would be critical. Sure enough, right around the 2.5hr mark, I started seeing all the guys that went too hard begin to fade and struggle with cramps. I picked off rider and after rider and worked my way up to first place before Aid 3. I stayed strong to the finish and pulled more than a 15 minute gap over 2nd, finishing with a time of 5 hours 10 minutes. I was extremely happy with the win and am looking forward to my next NUE race at the Wilderness 101. A huge thanks for everyone who supports our Syndicate Cycling team: Shorkey Auto Group, Pro Bike & Run, Flow Formulas, ESI Grips, Extreme Nano Lubricants, and Wolftooth Components to name a few.”
At only seventeen years old, Mason Allen from Crozet, VA took second with a time of 5:25:16.
“This was my first time racing the Mohican 100k, so I was not certain what the course would yield for me. On the starting road, I had some trouble working my way through the crowd, so I entered into the singletrack farther back than I would have preferred. However, I was able to pass by a couple groups on the singletrack. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I did settle into a group with 100k leader Anthony Grinell. We kept steady for a while, but I eventually broke away on the singletrack, which I knew I was strong on. Once the singletrack ended however, I was gradually caught by Anthony Grinell as well as two of the 100k single speeders. I went back and forth with 2nd place single speeder Dahn Pahrs for about an hour, but eventually had to lower my pace. After being dropped, I simply maintained a manageable pace solo till the finish. I didn’t have any idea I was 2nd for the open men category, until somebody informed me between Aid 5 and the finish. Overall, I’m happy to come away with my first NUE podium at Mohican, especially as a junior. The next NUE event I plan to race is the Carrabassett 100k. Big thanks to the race organizers and the volunteers at the aid stations, without whom the race would not be possible, as well as John Petrylak for helping prepare for this event.”
Third place went to Robbie Seal of Richmond, IN with a time of 5:29:48.
Finishing in fourth place, Casey Abston out of Louisville, KY, with a time of 5:46:27. A couple minutes back, Luke Hlavenka of Barrie, ON, takes fifth place with a time of 5:52:40.
Singlespeed100K- Holle gets SS win
2021 NUE Singlespeed epic series champion, Justin Holle out of Aurora, CO finishes in 5:19:04 and taking 2nd overall in the 100k.
Just a few minutes back, Dahn Pahrs from Pittsburgh, PA took second place with a time of 5:22:18.
Peyton Randolph out of Baltimore, OH took third place with a time of 5:47:11.
In fourth place, Acie Hylton coming from Beckley, WV, finishes with a time of 5:53:58. Taking the fifth podium position was, Ryan Craig out of Pittsburg, PA with a time of 6:00:03.
Masters100K– Suppan on Top Step
Winning the master’s 100k division, Jason Suppan from Orrville, OH finished with a time of 5:31:29.
“Grey hair and saggy elbow skin. It’s what I look for when I get passed. Racing the 50 plus category, it’s impossible to know who you’re racing against at times and these guys are fit and fast. My power isn’t there anymore but the bike driving skills are still pretty good, so the goal is always to get to the single track in the front group. I was where I wanted to be until I lost some spokes to a large, tumbling rock a few miles into the single track. Thankfully the wheel held up for the remainder of the race but I was on my own with a wobbly bike. I was glad for the 52 tooth cassette through the Wilderness and onward, but was wondering when SRAM would come out with a 60. Ohio is a tough place to ride. Relentless up and down with almost zero flat cruising and never enough downhill to fully recover. I’ve been trying for years to get a Peace Pipe trophy at the Mohican 100 and finally managed to shake the champagne this year. The course was the best ever and so was my bike. I ride a Giant Anthem full suspension without a dropper and 34×10/52 gearing. Put this race on your schedule! Gorgeous scenery, incredible singletrack, and a very well put together race. Thank you to the volunteers, supporters and sponsors, and Ryan O’dell for putting this together. We are so lucky to have this State park and its single track caretakers, The Mohican Malabar Bike Club. Thank you to Ride On of Wooster for their support and help in getting me on a very capable bike.”
Paul Arlinghaus of Fishers, IN, finished 2nd with a time of 5:46:04.
“My race plan was to get over the Tanny Hill in the lead group, and then ride the Mohican single track somewhat conservatively. I was the last rider in the lead group over the Tanny Hill and the Mohican single track section went well. A big part of my race success was due to the support I got from Heather Arlinghaus at Sags 1, 3 and 5. She made sure I quickly had 2 full bottles leaving each Sag. While it was hard to tell my place in the 50+ 100k mid race, it looks like I was in 3rd (8 minutes behind Sean Nicholson-Crotty) heading into the Mohican Wilderness. I suspect that Sean was riding the Wilderness for the 1st time and I had been saving my legs for this part of the race. I cleaned all of the Wilderness with just a couple dabs and made up 6 minutes on Sean. From Sag 3 to 5 it was pretty lonely, but I started to catch sight of Sean up ahead and was slowly reeling him in. I caught Sean just out of Sag 5. I was hoping that he was in the open category so we could just work together on the last 10 miles. But he was 50+, so we still had some racing to do. Sean stood up and pulled away from me on the Valley Stream Rd climb. I knew we had one more big climb coming, so I rode my pace up Valley Stream Rd, and pulled back much of the gap on the descent. On the last climb I caught Sean just before the top and was able to open a small gap on the descent. I spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder but was able to hold a 30 second advantage to the line. I was 4th at Big Frog and plan to race both Wilderness and Shenandoah. Bike: Trek Supercaliber, Rock Shox, Sram XX1, Slica Chain Lube and Tire Sealant.”
Sean Nicholson-Crotty from Bloomington, IN finished third place with a time of 5:46:37.
““Thanks to the organizers for a great race. The course was fun and the support was fantastic. This was the first of these I have done, but I will definitely be back next year. Hopefully, I’ll remember not to ride the first 20 miles like an XC race so the last 20 won’t hurt so badly. Thanks also to my sponsors, Direct Results Training and Revolution Bike and Bean in Bloomington, IN.”
Taking fourth place was, Dorel Stoia from Medina, OH, finishing in 5:56:50. Fifth place went to, Brad Rogers from OH with a time of 6:18:40.
The final stage of the 2022 Pisgah Stage Race is Industry Nine’s The Land of Waterfalls Route, named for the 250+ waterfalls in Transylvania County. The scenic route is 27 miles with 2301 feet in elevation gain that hits Butter Gap and Davidson River trails. Racers had a cold & wet morning to start but by the end of the stage the sun was shining bright. The final descent heads down the enduro, Bracken Mountain, and racers finish at Brevard Music center for awards and dinner.
Stage 5 Results
Kaysee Armstrong had a strong lead heading into the final stage. It was a battle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall positions between Kait Boyle, Jocelyn Stel, and Taylor Kuyk-White who were only separated by a few minutes. It was unsure if Jocelyn Stel would be racing the final stage as she broke her frame on the Pilot rock descent on stage 4, but she was able to rent a bike for the day.
Kaysee Armstrong took the stage 5 win, crowning her the overall cross county women’s winner. Kait Boyle finished strong and took 2nd, moving into 2nd overall. Taylor Kuyk-White was able to take Jocelyn on the final stage and finished 3rd moving her into the 3rd overall position.
1st-Kaysee Armstrong 2:08:40
2nd-Kait Boyle 2:20:29
3rd-Taylor Kuyk-White 2:27:46
Kerry Werner had a comfortable lead heading into the final stage and was able to finish just a minute behind Carson Beckett and take the overall win. Carson Beckett was able to win stage 5 and finished 2nd overall. Cypress Gorry had another impressive finish taking 3rd on stage 5 and holding onto 3rd overall.
1st-Carson Beckett 1:55:09
2nd-Kerry Werner 1:56:18
3rd-Cypress Gorry 1:57:22
Bracken Mountain Stage 5 Enduro
The final enduro was held on Bracken Mountain with a 1733 foot descent and 4.75 miles long. This was a fast flowing enduro with switchbacks and long pedal sections finishing at the Brevard Music Center.
1st-Kaysee Armstrong 24:16
2nd-Kait Boyle 26:30
3rd-Jen Toops 27:09
1st-Carson Beckett 21:15
2nd-Cypress Gorry 21:46
3rd-Kerry Werner 22:20
Overall Pisgah Stage Race results
1st-Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) Knoxville, TN 13:02:40
2nd-Kait Boyle (Industry Nine- Pivot Pro Backcountry Team) Victor, ID 13:52:43
3rd-Taylor Kuyk-White (Philly Bike Expo P/B Industry Nine) Philadelphia, PA 13:59:14
Moriah Wilson & Keegan Swenson Life Time Grand Prix Round 1
Moriah Wilson (Specialized) turned in perhaps the most impressive ride of the day in Monterrey, California, being known as more of a gravel rider, she was able to drop a mountain bike olympian and a reigning mountain bike national champion on her way to the finish.
Wilson rode strong in the front group all day coming into the final climb with US marathon national champion Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz HT Squad) and Argentine olympic rider Sofia Gomez Villafane (Specialized) before turning the screws opening a gap that she held to the line.
Gomez Villafane held on for second just in front of Alexis Skarda.
In the men’s event Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz HT Squad) controlled the race from start to finish. Swenson’s early pace created the first selection trimming the field to a select group of seven with Russell Finsterwald (Specialized), Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz HT Squad), Andrew L’Esperance, Cole Paton (Orange Seal), Lance Haidet, and Alex Wild.
The relentless pace trimmed the lead group even more until Swenson, Wild, and Finsterwald coalesced at the front. On the final climb another acceleration from Keegan Swenson decided the race with Wild dropping off first followed by Finsterwald.
The final stage of Moab Rocks was a close one for the pro women and men. In today’s stage racers do a lollipop course that hits some of the best riding in Moab – the Mag 7 trail system.
For the first half of the race, riders are climbing up road and single track for 14 miles. After a challenging climb, then the fun begins as they descend the rocky and fast Bull Run Trail. This is a rip-roaring descent that takes in some breath-taking views all the way to the La Sal Mountains. After a long descent, there is one final road climb out and then it’s a fast coast to the finish line.
For the pro women, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) won the women’s race by 3 minutes while second through sixth place all finished within 3 minutes of each other.
Lauren Cantwell (Orbea/ Velocio) and Karen Jarchow (Revel Bikes) were climbing together in 2nd & 3rd position before Jarchow sent it on the Bull Run descent; gapping Cantwell. Lauren Aggeler (Team Segment 28) caught Cantwell at the bottom of Bull Run but Cantwell fought back on the road and caught both her and Jarchow.
Aggeler put the hammer down on the final climb out of the Gemini Bridges riding area and caught a draft on the final flat, catching Cantwell just 200 yards from the finish. Cantwell and Aggeler sprinted finish for second place with Aggeler crossing the line (2:23:49) and Cantwell 2 seconds behind at 2:23:51.
For the overall, Nash dominated the 3 days finishing over 20 minutes ahead of second place.
Jennifer Gersbach finished fifth on two of the stages but her strong race on stage 2 at Klondike Bluffs placed her runner-up overall.
Karen Jarchow finished fourth on stage 3 by less than a minute and solidified third overall for the stage race. It was a strong women’s pro field with new women on the podium each stage.
For the pro men, Stephan Davoust (Giant-Maxxis-Fox) pushed hard trying to take on the reigning Moab Rocks champion, Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis-Shimano-Fox). Davoust won today’s stage in a time of 1:56:55. His time however, was not enough to win the GC with Kabush finishing in second only 16 seconds behind him. Bradyn Lange (Cycle Progression) finished in third (1:59:01).
For the GC, Kabush remains the Moab Rocks Champion winning the overall by a mere 15 seconds. Davoust finished right behind him with Lange 2 minutes back in third place.
The 2022 Moab Rocks race featured another year of strong competition, a great race atmosphere by TransRockies and epic Moab single track that keeps racers coming back year after year.
Full Results: https://zone4.ca/event/2022/29F4F1AE/
The legendary Moab Rocks 3-day stage race started this morning in downtown Moab, UT. It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures as racers started off to the classic Transrockies tune of “Highway to Hell”. The course began with a difficult 13 mile climb up Sand Flats Road as riders gained over 3000’ of elevation. Once at the top they turned onto Porcupine Rim where they were rewarded with an exhilarating 10-mile descent down one of the most iconic mountain bike trails in the world.
For the pro women, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) started strong and stayed in the lead for the entire race finishing in a time of 1:58:51. Helena Plasschaert was 2nd up the Sand Flats climb but was passed by Karen Jarchow (Revel Bikes) on the descent. Jarchow finished 2nd in a time of 2:05:49. Liza Hartlaub finished in 3rd place, less then a minute back from Jarchow (2:06:28).
For the pro men, the lead 15 men stayed together up the Sand Flats climb until two miles from the top when Peter Stetina started to attack and the group was split up. It was reigning US marathon national champion Stephan Davoust (Giant-Maxxis-Fox), who won the stage in a time of 1:41:19.
Less then 10 seconds back, Bradyn Lange (Cycle Progression) finished 2nd place (1:41:27) followed by multi-time Moab Rocks winner and Olympian, Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis-Shimano-Fox) in 3rd place (1:41:37). With the top three men less than 20 seconds apart, it’s going to be an exciting race.
Stay tuned as tomorrow racers take on the Klondike Bluffs Trail System.
Melisa Rollins & Danny Van Wagoner Open Endurance Season with Big Wins at True Grit Epic 50-Miler
Written by: Shannon Boffeli
After two years of snow storms and mud, True Grit race director Cimarron Chacon was more than pleased to see clear skies and warm temperatures as racers approached the start next to the red rock walls of the historic Santa Clara courthouse for the 8 AM start.
With more than 850 starters, True Grit represents the first leg of the National Ultra Endurance series and the first mass-start mountain bike event of the season. For more than a decade True Grit has challenged riders with technical desert singletrack riding that will both punish and delight.
Offering distances from 15 to 100 miles, in the warm desert of southern Utah, True Grit is the first opportunity for riders from across the country to stretch their legs and test their abilities on the dirt.
With most riders electing for the 50-mile distance, a tough battle was on hand as idyllic conditions promised lightning fast finishing times.
The women’s event promised tough racing with a host of elite athletes returning to battle in this early-season test.
Melisa Rollins (Virginia’s Blue Ridge/Twenty24) took the early lead out through Cove Wash and the undulating climbs of Green Valley. The duo of Liza Hartlaub and Mya Graham (Waite Endurance) chased close behind followed by Sparky Moir (Fezzari/MRP/Ergon), Nicole Tittensor (Jans/Scott), Lauren Zimmer (Bingham Cyclery/Peak Fasteners), and Jen Hanks (Pearl Izumi).
Despite previous crashes at True Grit Melisa Rollins rode without fear through the daunting Barrel and Zen trails never relinquishing her lead.
After exiting Zen, Rollins held just over a minute lead on Hartlaub who had opened a gap to Graham.
Now at the halfway mark, Melisa Rollins upped her pace, hammering out some hard miles through the long Stucki Springs climb and onto the final Barrel Roll trail system.
By the finish she had doubled her advantage on second-placed Liza Hartlaub, and crossed the line in a blistering 3:55:50.
Hartlaub came home just 3 minutes back with an equally impressive time of under 4 hours.
Mya Graham crossed the line with a well-deserved third place.
Sparky Moir rode strong in fourth throughout the day. Moir showcased her desert riding skill holding off Jen Hanks, while both shed Tittensor and Zimmer through the treacherous Zen trail before settling in with a steady pace to the finish.
The final podium spot was decided in the finishing miles after Hanks flatted on the last descent of the day allowing KC Holley (Kuhl) to sprint past less than a mile from the finish line.
Things heated up fast for the men as an elite group powered at the front from the very start. After a rapid opening climb and a safe pass through Cove Wash, Danny Van Wagoner (Johnson Elite Orthodontics) moved to the front as the singletrack started in Keyhole wash, a deep ravine where riders are forced to ride single file.
Feeling confident, Van Wagoner opened a gap and kept the pressure on throughout the opening miles. “While it felt early to roll solo,” Van Wagoner said, “I looked at my numbers and felit I was riding sustainably. I was hoping the hard pace would allow some margin for error through the technical sections of the Waterfall, Barrel, and Zen trails.”
Van Wagoner’s early pace paid off as Zach Calton (Calton Coaching) suffered a flat while trying to keep his gap to the leader at a minimum on the Barrel trail. This left Cameron Larson (Summit Bike Club) second on course dangling between 1-2 minutes from the leader.
With his flat repaired, Calton started moving his way back toward the front eventually picking up Chad Berentsen (No Ride Around). The duo focused their effort on bringing back Van Wagoner who had pulled away from Cameron Larson on the false flats of Stucki Springs.
Eventually the chasers caught and passed a fading Larson with only Van Wagoner left out front.
The solo leader had gauged his efforts well and showed no signs of slowing on the final lap around the Barrel Roll trail. Attacking the final climbs and slicing his line through the technical rock features Danny Van Wagoner finished off an impressive day taking a solo win in Santa Clara.
Zach Calton and Berentsen kept it close in the final miles of the race with Calton opening the smallest of gaps to take the runner-up spot just 23 seconds in front of Berentsen.
Fourth went to Colorado ultra-endurance strongman Nick Gould (Mazda Lauf Factory Gravel) who was battling in a 3-man group for the podium. After Chris Holley (Kuhl) missed a final turn to the finish Gould and Blair Perkes (Kuhl) snuck through with all three finishing within seconds of each other.
Gwendolyn Sepp and Nick Bragg Win the 100-Mile
The 100-mile race in Santa Clara saw smaller than normal numbers as most of the 865 racers opted to compete in the 50-mile distance or the stage race that included a gravel race on Sunday.
The women’s 100-miler saw mother/daughter duo to Allyson and Gwendolyn Sepp both take on the challenge of 100-miles on their home trails in southern Utah. Gwendolyn, a college athlete for Utah State University, took the win over her mom with a time of 8:54:30.
Allyson (Red Rock Bicycle) came home at 9:26:17.
Nick Bragg (Sycamore Cycles Collection) took the men’s title in a nail-biter over Utahn Roger Arnell (Johnson Elite Orthodontics).
Bragg’s winning time of 7:05:17 was just 2 minutes faster than Arnell, an impressively close race after 100 miles.
Brian Elander (No Ride Around) finished third ahead of Jonas Woodruff (Next Wave Development). Joshua Tootell took the final podium spot in fifth.
The masters 50+ group went to local speedster Jonathan Davis (Elevated Legs) with a finishing time just under 8 hours.
Second went to NUE veteran Greg Golet (Team Chico/Carborocket). Golet finished with just over a minute in hand from Amir Mattiyahu (Trail Head Racing) who took third.
Massive junior numbers were on hand for the 2022 True Grit Epic with hundreds of kids under-18 taking part in junior men’s and women’s categories as well as the open.
True Grit Epic offers a 3-day stage race which includes a 90-mile gravel race on Sunday. Melisa Rollins and Zach Calton took wins in the 3-day event.
The Marji Gesick is a point-to-point endurance race located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. It starts in Marquette and ends in downtown Ishpeming. The one-hundred mile and fifty mile mountain bike races are part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There is also a one-hundred mile run, fifty mile run and one-hundred mile duathlon option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States and sells out in less than twenty four hours. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect tokens at random checkpoints along the course.
The course was designed by Danny Hill and made to push riders to their absolute limits. The one-hundred milers having around twelve-thousand vertical feet of climbing, and the fifty milers around seven-thousand. In both courses, racers have to navigate through sand, roots, rocks, off camber climbs, drops, jump lines and technical descents, all while saving enough energy to get through the grueling last fifteen miles.
Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, under twenty-eight hours for runners and under twenty-two hours for duathlon, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart.
Women’s open- Lowery gets the top step
No stranger to the Marji Gesick races, Carey Lowery of Tennessee, won with a time of 8:14:19. “The 50 started in Marquette at the Ore Dock. The first two miles were flat, paved, and faster thanI wanted to go so early into the race so I let the front go and settled into a comfortably hard pace. After climbing Marquette Mountain, I settled into a rhythm of attacking the climbs, recovering on the flats, and finding my flow state on the descents. I had no idea how many women were ahead of me, but I thought maybe 2 or 3. I did not chase them, but let my legs and lungs dictate my efforts. I have done enough of these endurance events to know to be consistent and conserve. I felt great heading into Jackson Park, where I stopped to grab my hydration pack. I caught Kim Heintz a little ways after the first stop in Jackson. I elected to keep my GPS screen on the breadcrumb trail and not watch “the numbers.” I raced more by feel and knew how far I was by distinct landmarks. I rolled back into Jackson Park, rewarded myself with an ice cold Coke, refilled my nutrition and fluids, and headed back out for the last 15. I had pre ridden this two days before, so it was comforting to know just how far (both time-wise and distance) I had to go. As I approached the rock slab hike a bike, I cried out, “My favorite section!,” which helped to stoke the fires for the final miles. I did not pass any other women. The last bit of single track was a real bugger, as the fatigue monster was riding piggyback. I was all smiles going up Jasper Knob, as I was smelling the barn now. I rolled through the finish line in 8:14, not knowing how I placed. It wasn’t until after I had gotten cleaned up and changed 15 minutes later that I realized I had taken the win. That was just icing on a wonderfully delicious Marji Gesick cake! Sponsors: Rescue Racing, Scott’s Bikes, Industry 9, Chamois Butt’r, Christopher Bean Coffee, Trucker Co”
About thirteen minutes back, Amy Schultz from Wisconsin, took second in 8:27:09. “This was my first time racing Marji Gesick 50, my longest mountain bike event ever, and honestly my longest bike ride ever (road, gravel, or mtb!). The longest I had ridden my mtb prior to Marji Gesick was about 5 hours for a non-race ride. I do put in a significant amount of volume on bikes throughout the year, but typically focus on shorter XCO races (such as the WORS series in Wisconsin) and cyclocross races. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I would have fun as I love technical singletrack. And I was right, I just loved the course. It suited me well. I started out near the back at ~200 of 240 racers. I was worried about going out too hard and not pacing myself. So I thought this was a good idea. However, when I reached the first climb, a gravel road, and a lot of people were walking already or riding pretty slowly, I realized I should maybe change my strategy. I decided to push the effort a bit to get ahead of as many people as I could before the first stretch of single track, Off Grade, a black rated uphill. However, I didn’t quite get ahead of enough people. I ended up behind a train of ~30-40 people on the singletrack. It was painful to walk and not rip that stretch at the speed I wanted. But, it allowed me to chat with some local riders, something I never get to do in shorter, hard-effort races. I met Trent and Luke and we eventually hit some double track, passed the rest of the group, and rode the iron ore trail to Ishpeming together. Luke didn’t stop at the checkpoint and I lost track of Trent, but it was so nice having them to ride with! I stopped at the drop bags to eat and refill. I was pretty strict about eating something every 30 min and drinking 1 liter an hour. I caught the wheel of Dan in the next techy section. He asked if I wanted to pass, but I decided it was probably a good strategy to stay with people. Time went by fast when I followed a wheel and chatted, also, when I went solo I tended to go too hard up hills and I was worried about bonking. I really enjoyed loved riding with Dan. He was a good technical rider and I rode some steeper parts I probably would not have otherwise. I eventually passed him and caught a few more wheels. The next guy I rode with told me I was only about 30 min from first place female, and I thought, “no way! I started in the way back and was so slow through the first 12 miles of single track” I decided I couldn’t and shouldn’t push the pace though. I should just ride a comfortable pace. I still had a lot of miles left – about half the race left. At the second pass through Jackson park to get my drop bag for the last time, about mile 40, the lady working there told me the 1st place woman just left the stop 5 min ago. I couldn’t believe I had potentially made up some time. I sort of wanted to try to catch her, but I was tired and knew I had a long way. I also just wanted to eat and refuel in the moment. Furthermore, I was convinced I was maybe disqualified as I had not seen any checkpoints with tokens, which are needed when you cross the finish line. I carried on and decided I would stop at all remaining aid stations (I had skipped all up until then, except the Jackson Park drop bag stops). I stopped and had brownies, cookies, licorice and even stopped at the beach aid station and took a shot of whiskey with the crew there! I think it was the pick-me-up I needed, because after that stop, I had a second wind and some fast segments on the last single track stretches. Thank you aid station volunteers! I think next time I will start near the front next time, but who knows, maybe it will help me pace and not fade towards the end! OTherwise, I wouldn’t change much. I really enjoyed the vibe and energy from the volunteers, staff, and riders. I would do Marji again, but would also like to try the Cascades 100 (I used to live out on Mt Hood, Oregon), or Mohican 100. Thanks to Neff Cycle Service (Sponsor and bike shop) and Josh McKinney (friend) for ensuring I have a mountain bike that works well and that I love to ride!”
Taking the third step on the podium, Kim Heintz from Illinois, finished in 9:17:47. “This year’s Marji 50 was my third time racing it and my first race in exactly two years. The last time I raced was this same race in 2019.I went into this race not knowing what to expect, I was hoping for a top 3 finish. I’ve spent most of this year focused on shorter, harder efforts and also out of practice with racing. The previous two times, I had just come off of racing Leadville, so I had everything dialed.I was assigned bib #666, and normally you’d think you’ve been dealt the worst luck every, but in the Marji, it’s kind of like winning the lottery. That’s their brand – and it definitely got a lot of attention! I was hoping it’d bring some good luck for the day!When we started, we were on a paved path for a couple of miles, and then we took a turn away from Lake Superior and started climbing. It was a long and sometimes steep climb. I saw that I was in second place and worked hard to try to keep 1st in my line of sight. For most of the first hour or so, I figured I was only about 45 seconds back. However, I think my lack of practice in racing the last couple of years got the best of me and I think I went out too hard.I didn’t realize it for a couple of hours but then it kind of hit me.I came into Jackson Park the first time, where I had my drop bag, about 6 minutes faster than my best time there. I was still feeling good but about an hour later, I could feel my legs starting to seize up a bit and cramp. My heart rate wouldn’t come down, and that’s when I realized I had gone out too hard. I slowed things down quite a bit for the next hour or two and got a little bit of positive talk from my friend Bryan who was out there with me and tried to get my heart rate under control and to also get my legs to stop seizing up.During this time, several other women had passed me, and I assumed my run for the podium was over. So, I just spent the rest of the race enjoying the super technical trails, fun descents, and insane climbs.
It was an absolutely picture-perfect fall day in the Upper Penninsula, and what a great way to spend it!You’re supposed to pick up hidden tokens along the race course as you go. Usually these are just randomly placed throughout the course. I never saw any this time but just as we did the final climb up, which is always an out and back, I saw the first one. I kept going up and saw another one and then another. In total, there were 4 tokens to pick up on this short, steep section.From there, I headed to the finish line, crossing in 9:17. One of the race directors, Todd, came up to me to congratulate me. And I said I’d hoped to have done the 666 number justice by taking a podium spot but I thought I was in 5th or 6th. He said “are you sure about that?” and pulled out his phone to show me I finished 3rd.I was in disbelief and overjoyed! I didn’t know it at the time, but the tokens each had a word on them – and they spelled out “Finish What You Start”. How fitting for the type of day I had.Marji is such a cool race. Extremely hard and makes you feel all sorts of emotions, but such a satisfying and rewarding experience. Sponsors: PSIMET Racing and Roots Racing”
A couple minutes back, Kim Rudd of Minnesota, took fourth place in 9:21:34. Finished in fifth was, April Beard of Wisconsin, in 9:42:06.
Getting his first NUE win of 2021, Anthony Grinnell of Pennsylvania, won with a time of 6:04:30. “I travelled to Michigan’s UP with my teammate Jim Litzinger with one goal in mind- to get Litz another single speed win so he could wrap up the championship. The race started off at a very reasonable pace on the opening flat 2 to 3 miles. This was the best possible scenario, allowing Litz to stay on my wheel until we got to the opening climb. As we started up the first climb, a few overly ambitious riders got aggressive. I looked down at my Garmin and was pushing over 400 watts as I watched several riders gap Jim and I on the climb. Two of them blew up before the first climb was even finished, leaving one racer out ahead of us. Even though we’d never done the Marji race, we heard all the rumors of tough, grindy single track and new better than to overdo it in the early stages of the race. Single speed or not, Litz is one of the best technical single track riders I know. All I had to do is pull him through the early flat gravel and paved sections and then follow his wheel as he lit up the single track. We caught a glimpse of the leader just prior to the second stop at Jackson Park about 40 miles in and I could tell he was hurting. With 20 miles of mostly super fun, grinder, old school single track left, Jim and I felt right at home and knew we had two wins in the bag, barring any flats or mechanicals. We ended up pulling a 40 minute gap for Jim to seal up the Single Speed Marathon Championship and for me to take the Men’s Open win. I’ve done a lot of NUE races, but this is one of my favorites now. What an awesome event with an excellent course and an unbelievable crew who organizes it all. If you haven’t done this race, you need to. Huge thanks to Pirelli tires for taking a massive beating and not even thinking about flatting. As always, Flow Formulas kept my energy up and legs feeling strong throughout the race. I’d also like to thank Shorkey Auto Group, Pro Bike & Run, KOO Eyewear, KASK helmets, Extreme Nano Chain Lube, Starlight Apparel, Industry Nine, Wolf Tooth Components, ESI Grips, and Horizon Orthopedics.”
Forty-five minutes back, John Burmeister of Michigan, took second in 6:45:05. “The morning of the race was no different than many other races I have participated in. I was anxious to start and the nerves were firing. Being my first Marji event there were a few unknowns that helped fuel the anxiety. I had heard many stories from previous racers about how grueling the course can be. Especially near the end.. I had put in a fair amount of training this summer, had a handful of successful races this season, and did some pre-rides of the 2019 course. I was feeling hopeful to be in the mix for a podium position. With so many names unknown to me I wasn’t sure who the competition would be. My plan for the start of the race was to go out with a moderately hard effort to see who would give chase. At the gun we rolled out fairly quick but the pace quickly slowed with no attacks being made for the lead position. My next plan was to put in a good effort on the first real climb. We hit the Mt. Marquette road climb and the group quickly broke up. I made it up and over solo and continued on to the first “checkpoint”, Jackson Mine park, with a 5+ minute lead on the 2nd and 3rd position riders. My pace felt good and I felt like I was going to be able to maintain it going forward.Having ridden most of the course I knew things would slow a bit once we got on the RAMBA trails. With my lead I figured I would save some energy on the climbs and make up time on the descents. Slowly but surely, I started to get the sense that a rider may being closing in on me. On occasion I could hear what I thought was another rider somewhere in the woods. Sure enough the 2nd and 3rd place riders caught up to me just before our return to Jackson Park. We all stopped for feeds and I was first to leave the park heading for the finish. The other 2 racers caught up to me fairly quickly. Seeing how well they were still moving along I told them they were looking good and let them by without any hesitation. At about mile 52 I was starting to feel some real fatigue. I decided I was going to ride the rest of the race for 3rd and I was OK with that. Things started to get dicey shortly after.. My legs were feeling fine but the rest of my body and mind were suffering. For the remainder of the race there was a lot of walking on stuff I would normally ride. (There really is “no free trail” out there. Even the descents make you work!) At this point I was having lots of self-thought and contemplation about the choices I had made. The typical thoughts and conversations one has with themselves when they’re deep into a grueling event! I just kept telling myself to “keep moving forward”, and that is what I did.At the end of the race, I finished in 3rd place but ultimately was more pleased with just finishing the event. It was more than just a race but also a challenge of overcoming physical and mental limits . There are always things we could have done differently when thinking back on our choices but at the end of the day I can say the outcome would have been the same. The 1st and 2nd place finishers absolutely crushed it! Hats off to the 2 of them for an exceptional race and kudos to everyone else who completed the race and to those who simply attempted it. Easily one of the hardest events I have ever participated in.Thank you to all of the event coordinators, “trail angels”, and my support crew.”
Taking third was, Rick Hatfield of Michigan, with a time of 6:50:59. “I had been looking forward to Marji all year. My wife and I traveled “up-north” several times from the Ann Arbor, MI area to pre-ride some of the course. She had raced Marji in 2019 so I had an idea what to expect. My J-Tree Teammates and I rode the few miles to the starting line from the place we had been staying at in town. The weather was perfect, low/mid 50’s and bright sunshine. At the start its always the same thing, everyone looking around squaring up their competition while trying to look calm while the race jitters set in. I do a final check of my bike feeling pretty confident that Wheels in Motion bike shop had my set up correct on my Trek Top Fuel right. The race starts and it’s a pretty chill start. I stay with the top 5 leaders on the road when we hit the first big climb, Marquette Mountain. The lead rider decides to put in a big effort, the rest of us look at each other decide not to chase. I crest the mountain and enter the trail in 4th place. I am caught by the 5th place rider and we work together pacing to Jackson Park for the first aid station. My wife was my pit crew for the day and had me in and out of aid station faster than a Nascar pit stop. I dropped off my 2 bottles of infinit and grabbed camel bak pre-filled with infinit which worked well. From there is was back and fourth working with the 5th place rider. We eventually caught the third place rider, but I got separated when I second guessed a turn onto a road. At about 45 miles in we hit Jackson Park for the final leg. The 5th place rider and I leave the aid station and begin working together again. With about 10 miles to go the 5th place rider begins to have stomach and cramping issues. He pulls to the side of the trail and lets me lead. At this point I see him start to fall back a little, so I decide to burn one of my last matches and push hard to gap him. The trail is not forgiving whatsoever, you are hit with hill after hill. You think, alright this is the last climb and you are hit with another. With 5 miles to go am I am getting really worried I hadn’t seen any tokens. I pass a few of the 100 mile runners and ask if they had seen any and said no. With about a ½ mile to go the final climb has all the tokens with about 50 yards apart. At the last token is mannequin of Todd holding the last token with his middle finger out – I laughed and rode into the finish. I loved this race! I thought for sure I would get lost with all the twisty turns and on-off-on again trails but it was pretty well marked. The chunky, rooty hilly terrain is not like any other NUE race I have done in the past and Marquette is such a great town to hang out afterwards.”
Taking fourth place was, Paul Fox from Michigan, with a time of 7:02:19. About ten minutes back was, Jason Kloptowsky of Illinois, with a time of 7:12:04.
Singlespeed- Litzinger with the WIN
Placing second overall and taking the singlespeed win by over two hours, James Litzinger of Pennsylvania finished in 6:04:31. ” My first time to the UP did not disappoint. I really wasn’t sure what to think about the Marji Gesick after reading race reports, watching race video, course reviews, and talking to the few who have earned the coveted buckle. My gathering was that it was a load of single track that will slow down your average speed and wind you through the punchy climbs of the forest. I have enjoyed this type of race in the past so I was all set to go. It started at the Marina in Marquette, at a casual pace, before climbing up a freshly graded climb at 10-12% grade for about 7 minutes. This is when the race started and there was a flyer of the front, my teammate and friend Anthony Grinnell said he is either a rocket or he will fade back to us. Anthony and I decided to make it a day by using each other to pace ourselves. Anthony pulled and worked on the flats and double track then I would jump in the front navigating the fun single track. These races are so fun but they are even better when you get to have your friend there with you to push you! Our race was uneventful until I spotted the leader at the top of one of the punchy climbs. From there Anthony and I reeled him in around mile 38 or so. From there we kept our pace, while enjoying the trails, which lead us to the finish just over the 6 hour mark. It was a blast to The Specialized Epic was the perfect race bike that Pro Bike+Run keeps in tip, top shape for the grueling demands this race has. Flow formula in the bottles was once again top notch considering fueling was difficult to come by with the rough trails. Thanks to Jim Shorkey Auto Group and Dr. Bryan Hooks for their support of the Syndicate to make these trips possible.”
Coming all the way from Utah, Benjamin Modic, takes second place in 8:35:28. “After moving from Grand Rapids and living in Salt Lake City for the past 6 years, I had an itch that only the Marji Gesick could scratch. My journey back to Michigan reconnected to me with old friends, introduced me to new ones, and allowed me to ride the trails where my passion for cycling began 12 years ago. This was my first time ever doing a race on a singlespeed, so I felt like to 50-mile race would be enough of a lesson for me. For gearing advise, I turned to community pages, discussing it with previous finishers. There is no perfect gear on a singlespeed so you can’t overthink it. I went with 30×20. I knew the start of the race and paths in between Marquette and Negaunee would be a high cadence punishment, but it made more sense once I got to the good stuff. I felt strong up until the last 10 miles of the race. Shortly after the suicide hill ski jumps, I found myself walking more and more. The last few miles gave me inspiration and overwhelming joy hit me at the finish line. I love this sport. Thanks to all my friends and my family for making this trip so memorable, especially my dad (pictured below) for helping crew for this race and all the previous races while I lived in Michigan. I will be back at some point to try the 100-miler… and I’ll be bringing the singlespeed!”
Taking the last podium spot, Dan Packer of Michigan, finished in 9:47:56. “I was surprised to come in 3rd out of the single speeders. I rode with my City Bike Shop brother who unfortunately had to text #quitter a few years ago, so the goal was that we get him to the finish. It was such an awesome day, we were both thrilled to just keep crankin. I rolled a 30:20 gearing on my mulletted, slacked-out RSD Middlechild. It was perfect for a long, slow day of spinning pedals through the endless steep, rocky, rooty, ribbons of singletrack. I can’t thank/blame Todd and Danny enough for the effort they put into these events. Kept the rubber side down (for the most part)!”
Fourth place went to, Samuel Haglund of Michigan, crossing the line in 10:05:51. About an hour back, Cory Christener of Michigan, finished in 11:06:41.
First place in the women’s masters category went to, Martha Flynn of Minnesota, with a finish time of 10:09:36.
Taking the second podium spot was, Diana Munger of Minnesota, crossing the finish line in 12:51:30. “High time for some seriously #unfinished business in the Munger household. But first- let’s backtrack – to almost 5 years ago. Our intrepid gang of friends with a peculiar taste for masochistic epic adventures convinced us to sign up for a crazy new race in da UP. Completely self supported, hills upon more hills, upon more more hills, ridiculously hard old school singletrack – what the hell were we thinking? Blame Danny. Blame Todd. What does that even mean?! Well, we trained hard together and were ready to conquer. But alas, the best laid plans of mice and men. My husband, John, suffered a horrible crash with less than a month to go. So we forged on without him. Marji 2017 was a brutal year. Heat, humidity, and endless climbs, mosquitoes and flies. That is, racers dropping like flies left and right. Incredibly, my friends and I all managed to finish. Such relief and happiness to be done but mixed with a twinge of sadness that John couldn’t be there with us to share. Next time, we all wanted him along for the ride. Flash forward four years to the present. John’s injury was slow to heal and his mountain bike mojo took even longer to return. Pandemic and just life in general also slowed our return.Same gang -ready to try it all once more. Miraculously, we were able to snag coveted race entries- ‘cause now, of course, it seems like everyone who’s anybody wants to do Marji. But even after all this finagling, my beloved spouse waffled endlessly and and dragged his feet about biking.Race time drew near. Emails were flying in. ‘Are you in or out?’ was the question from the race director.I posed this query over and over again to my husband. ‘Maybe’ was the reply. The date to transfer to the shorter race came and went. Wifely nagging was of no avail, yet a single word from a buddy sealed the deal- just two weeks before the race. Too late for Marji camps at this point. With just 14 days to go, a high intensity training plan was instituted. Not easy to accomplish in the flatlands of Minneapolis, but somehow he managed.Race morning dawned spectacularly. Not sure why, but I actually thought it would be easier this time round- maybe because it was about 35 degrees cooler. Sheer hubris. It was much worse, of course – way more gnarly singletrack, sheer drops, hills (mountains?) that never ended. So many more rocks and roots than I remembered- where had they all come from? Lots more runners and bikers. Spectacular views and fall colors popping helped to ease the pain a bit. Not to mention a course that was so well marked, I actually started wondering why I had spent so many hours trying to load the gpx file on to my Wahoo. And at the heart of it all- still the same race. The same camaraderie and good will out on the trails. Every racer was super friendly- all working towards the same goal- to finish. Every volunteer I talked to had a Marji story they were eager to share. Was I actually hallucinating when I glimpsed the Marji mannequin giving me the finger on the very last climb? How very apropos. The last 5 miles seemed truly endless and somewhat terrifying as night fell. Not quite believing I was finally at the finish with my friends cheering me on. And not long afterwards, my husband also triumphantly crossing the line. How could he possibly ride 100 plus to my 60 plus miles and finish so embarrassing and so damn close to me?! But never mind, we were finally able to experience the legend that is Marji, together (well, sort of, anyway).The very nice race official lady who asked for this report told me to be sure to include my sponsors. Sorry to report that no one wants to sponsor me. But I do happen to have oodles of amazingly supportive friends and family who nicely look the other way and sweetly pretend that I’m not just a little bit unhinged when I tell them that I worked so dang hard for just four wooden tokens. Blame Danny. Blame Todd. Thank Danny. Thank Todd, and thank all those awesome volunteers and the incredible community who make this ridiculous and over the top race possible.And by the way, both my husband and I had a marvelous time. As I knew he would.Marji Gesick 2021- check.Mission accomplished.”
Rounding out the podium and taking third was, Dawn Steinmann of Wisconsin in 14:11:51.
Taking the win in the masters division was, Jeff Adamcik of Michigan with a finish time of 7:49:06. “It was nice to finally come into a race this year where I felt my left knee was up to the task. I rode most of the race with Dorel Stoia, who at the time was the current points leader. We were tracking with each other until we got to the aid station. He was always faster than me at the aid station and both times I had some work to do to catch up. On the last leg of the race I was starting to feel it, only to come out to a small lake where “ Danny “ and his crew were enjoying themselves. One of them asked “why are you smiling?” I asked “could you share some of your pop?” The response was that they had diet and by my reaction they knew I wasn’t excited about that. I needed some sugar. Shortly after I heard, “what about a beer”. Heck ya! I felt I was back in my college days slamming down a BlackRocks Pilsner. Next up, was the Suicide Hill climb. Definitely energize by the beer … I caught sight of Dorel. However, he stayed ahead of me and I was losing sight of him in the last few miles. I came to the finish, thinking I was #2, but to my surprise I was declared the winner. Dorel missed the last hill climb, thus, the tokens. Thanks to Kevin Geminder at Bicycle HQ for getting my bike ready and the transfer registration! Also thanks to Mike and Angi Golisek for housing me for the weekend and cheering me on throughout the race.”
Finishing seven minutes back, Todd Mcfadden took second place in 7:56:07. Taking third was, Dave Jolin of Ohio crossing the line in 7:57:43.
Fourth place was, Roger Lundsten of Wisconsin, in 8:15:45 and fifth went to James Kauth of Minnesota, with a finish time of 8:32:47.
The Marji Gesick is a point-to-point endurance race located on the upper peninsula of Michigan. It starts in Marquette and ends in downtown Ishpeming. The one-hundred mile and fifty mile mountain bike races are part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There is also a one-hundred mile run, fifty mile run and one-hundred mile duathlon option. It’s quickly gaining popularity as one of the toughest endurance races in the United States and sells out in less than twenty four hours. This GPS required race is self supported, and racers are required to collect tokens at random checkpoints along the course.
The course was designed by Danny Hill and made to push riders to their absolute limits. The one-hundred milers having around twelve-thousand vertical feet of climbing, and the fifty milers around seven-thousand. In both courses, racers have to navigate through sand, roots, rocks, off camber climbs, drops, jump lines and technical descents, all while saving enough energy to get through the grueling last fifteen miles.
Racers in the one-hundred mile course finishing under twelve hours for mountain biking, under twenty-eight hours for runners and under twenty-two hours for duathlon, will earn the coveted belt buckle handmade by blacksmith Gordon Gearhart.
Women’s Open- Toops secures NUE overall win
Former NUE Marathon series winner, Jen Toops from Ohio, took the win in 12:58:22. With this win she secures the overall female Epic NUE title. ” I have a love/hate relationship with this race. How can a race so fun, hurt so bad? After completing the 50 mile Marji twice I decided it was time to conquer the 100. Although it would be awesome to get the buckle, I had one goal. To finish the race. As long as I finished I’d lock up the NUE epic overall win for the season. The start of the race was very busy and reminded me of the La Ruta de los conquistadors. Instead of a helicopter roll out we had an electric guitar national anthem, beautiful paint horse, lemans start and fire works. Just before the start, I got to meet fellow Pivot Cycles rider, Kaityln Boyle, who came all the way from ID for a chance at the buckle. After the lemans start I had no idea what place I was going into the woods. Did it matter? No. A very long day awaited. Even though I had my GPS, I still managed to blow by turns, start up the wrong trails and got turned around a lot at the beginning. Once we were on the single track I was having so much fun and was finding my rhythm. This is the part I love about Marji!
Just before the Jackson Park I caught up with Kaityln Boyle. We rode most of the sandy snowmobile trails and bike path together chatting it up! A welcomed mental break. The first loop out of the park I felt amazing and really was having fun on the tech singletrack. This loop went on forever! I was so focused on riding I didn’t eat enough on this loop. That was my downfall of the race and paid for it on the way to the finish. I stopped back at the park to get a back up charger and lights. This is when I saw Kaityln Boyle had DNF due to pain from a pre-ride crash. Kaityln and my support Heidi encouraged me I still might be a buckle contender. I had 15 miles to do a little over 2 hours. Feeling confident I continued to push the pace. After about an hour of riding I did the math in my head and realized a buckle was not in the cards today. My riding started to get sloppy, the fatigue had set in and I was in survival mode. I forgot how hard the last sections of trail were with non-stop punchy climbs, hike-a-bikes and just shenanigans. The last 30 minutes were torture, I wanted to lay down on the side of the trail. I wanted real food. I turned my lights on and navigated those roots and rocks walking what I normally could ride during the daylight. Jasper knob was such a rewarding sight to see on the GPS. The last hike a bike! I walked to the top collected my tokens and gave fake Todd a high five and headed in to the finish. My whole body hurt like it never has with any other race. I laid in the van post race for a couple hours before I could even function. Marji is by far the hardest hundred I have ever completed. I love it but hate it. I’m proud of my effort and learned a lot. Will I be back? You bet and next year I will have a different goal in mind! Calling all Ladies….lets go get this BUCKLE. Thank you Danny and Todd for an amazing event as always! Bike: Pivot Mach 4SL size XS. Sponsors: Pearl Izumi, Pivot cycles, Ergon, Fox, Lazer, Honeystinger, Carborocket, SCC, Stans, Maxxis.” Special thanks to Heidi for the race support!
Nicky Ruszkowski of New York, took second place with a time of 16:27:54. “Marji Gesick 2021 was my second attempt at this race. In 2019 I dropped out at around mile 85 and so I certainly came at this with unfinished business. I love riding the more technical trails and Marji certainly has plenty of those. The gnarly, rocky descents in this race play to my strengths and are so much fun to ride. I think the cooler temperatures on race day were actually a little deceiving and I don’t think I was alone in underestimating the amount of fluids needed to stay hydrated. Overall this is a phenomenal race and I was delighted to come in second behind Jen.”
About fourteen minutes back from second place, Jessica Nankman of Pennsylvania, finished third with a time of 16:42:44. “For years I have heard about this race with upwards to 70% non-finisher race called Marji Gesick and decided it was time to see what it is all about. I typically race ultra endurance events, 24 hour mountain bike races, thus was looking forward to another way to test my physical and mental fortitude. With my long-distance background I was confident in my ability to cover the miles and being that I live in Eastern Pennsylvania I felt strong about my technical skills, the thing I was most concerned about was the logistics of the race. I was concerned about the self-supported aspect, it took extensive planning and contemplating on my part about how to carry the hydration, nutrition, and gear needed. Rumors about “trail angels”, volunteers who set-up aid stations along the course, were true and they helped immensely with rider needs . Another part of the race that takes pre-planning is the point to point factor. Just being my husband (who was also racing) and myself making the trip to Marji, we had no outside help. We opted to stay in the campground located at race start, which made for a very relaxed pre-race morning but we wondered how to get back afterwards. A friendly volunteer drove us from the finish back to our campsite post-finish.As for the course it’s self…it was a challenging and tough 105 miles. There were many miles of smiles; fun single track, rewarding rock gardens, flowing berms, and air-time inducing jump lines. But there were even more miles of tough trail that caused much suffering. Near vertical ups and downs, soul-sucking sand, and sketchy washouts induced a fair amount of walking. To add to the physical and mental challenge many of the last few miles were ridden in the dark. Thank goodness for the great cheering and support of the spectators and volunteers along with many friendly fellow racers that kept me going strong.I have never experienced a race like this. Marji Gesick truly is as advertised, it one tough event not to be taken lightly. But the achievement of reaching the finish line, and being on the podium, is an accomplishment that will never be forgotten.Sponsors to please be included in the review: Liv Cycling USA Ambassador, Lupine Lights, Saucon Valley Bikes.”
Taking fourth place was Jenny Acker from Michigan with a time of 17:48:38. Finishing fifth was Christina Peek from Michigan crossing the line in 20:51:19.
Men’s Open– Acker takes back-to-back Marji wins
The 2019 Marji Gesick winner, Matt Acker of Michigan, gets back-to-back Marji wins with a time of 10:36:55.
Just four minutes back, ultra endurance racer, Kurt Refsnider of Arizona, finished second in 10:41:38 “I made the decision to fly up from Arizona for the race just a few days before the race, so eveIrything was a very last-minute affair for me. But I had heard story after story about how technically challenging the Marji is, and that’s hands-down my favorite kind of riding. And I’m so glad I made the trip – it’s been a while since I’ve ridden a race course that was as difficult and fun as the Marji Gesick 100! I had the pleasure of riding with local legend Matt Acker for most of the race, and following his wheel for so many miles sure helped me ride efficiently (especially as I tried to keep him in sight on the longer descents). 100 milers are a bit on the short end of the races I typically do, and my legs started to fade in the final miles after trying to ride fast for 10,000+ feet of punchy climbing. Matt gradually disappeared ahead of me, and I just tried to hold it together after mile 90.I also am especially impressed by how the race organizers have created an incredibly demanding event in which riders openly embrace (and come for) that challenge. Most races with a course of this style would have relatively small fields, but the organizers have created a welcoming and empowering atmosphere around the race that’s truly one-of-a-kind.”
Taking third place, Chad Cannon of Wisconsin, finished in 11:34:32. Ryan Goemans of Wisconsin finished fourth in 11:39:28 and Ben Senkerik of Wisconsin took fifth place with a time of 11:43:37.
Singlespeed– Holle takes overall NUE SS win
Justin Holle of Colorado wins the singlespeed division and takes 4th overall with at time of 11:39:15. With this win he has secured the overall Epic NUE singlespeed title and went undefeated this year. “Bike: 34×19 gearing on Norco Revolver HT. The overwhelming sentiment leading into Marji seemed the same from every source, ‘good luck’. Having never quit a race I didn’t understand the high DNF rate or the fear expressed by such sources. And then…after missing my 4th turn only to see the arrow placement AFTER the turn did I realize these racers quit because, damn, that course just presses your buttons! I jumped out early with fellow Singlespeeders Mark Kransz and Scott Quiring, jockeying 1st to 3rd. Just as I passed the hilltop bagpiper I put in a gap and thought I’d race off the front. No sooner did I see myself careening over the handlebars into a pile of rocks, giving up my position. Through mile 39 we danced positions and at that Aid Station I made haste and passed through without support. Alone until mile 65 Aid at Jackson Park I learned this “race” was more an “adventure”. Staying on course demanded full awareness so race efforts sat second wheel.On the loop from Jackson Park that Singlespeed Monster: Anthony Toops closed in behind me. I guess this IS a race! More friend than foe, we chatted and grunted through the loop keeping tabs on our pace for that coveted sub-12 buckle. Back through the Jackson Park aid we knew we had enough time to finish under 12 barring any issues. We hung together, alternating position, riding, and power hiking the steeps. Near mile 94 I slowly pulled away and looking back didn’t see Toops in sight. The course became more intuitive, sign reading less challenging, and I stayed committed to ignoring my computer data. I relied on looking up to the sun to gauge my sub-7:30PM finish. With 50-milers becoming more frequent on trail I could tell we were close. Feeling confident I looked back and saw Toops! What?!?! He closed in on me AGAIN. Providing that final fire I needed! I drove my pedals, attacked the steep hill holding the precious tokens, and headed back down with enough of a gap. Passing Toops I hollered to my friend and turned onto tarmac to punch it home. I passed a final geared racer and came across the line in 4th overall position with the SS win. Marji is the hardest 100-mile MTB race course I’ve ever done. It attacks you mentally, physically, and, when you blow a turn, emotionally. Fortunately I had a good day and I attribute that to accepting MG as an adventure first, race second. Oh, and the guys making grilled cheese at mile 58, thank you sirs. Thanks to my support: Base Canp Cyclery, Norco, Shimano, Crankbrothers, ESI, and Carbo Rocket.”
Just a couple minutes back on Holle, Anthony Toops from Ohio, took second place in singlespeed and sixth overall, finishing in 11:41:13. “Marji Gesick is always the biggest test of the year. This year, my goal was to go sub 12hr and get the coveted buckle on a single speed. I was able to get a buckle on gears in 2018 but it was a true test for me at the time… so doing it on a single speed had me wondering if it would even happen. The race started with the traditional 1/2 mile run and from the beginning I was on my own pace. My goal was the buckle and if this turned into a “race” then so be it. I could see a few ss racers up ahead but I stuck to my plan and didn’t chase. I was in a good group with my teammate Jeff Rupnow, who has tons of experience at this race, and I knew he could carry me to a buckle… if I could hang! At mile 13.5 the group was flying and unfortunately missed the left turn back to Forestville. We were heading back up to the Top of the World! Eventually we noticed the mistake but it cost us roughly 12min, which isn’t something you can easily claw back at this race. This caused some high anxiety until I could get my time splits back on track. Going into Jackson Park I was still up 20min on my previous sub 12 race! Now the stress was off some but I knew the two loops out of Jackson Park are no joke. This is where the race really starts. At this point I’m still sticking to my plan and haven’t seen another ss’r in a while. About 15min later I caught up with Justin Holle and we rode together pretty much the rest of the race, pushing each other to make sure that buckle was ours! Half way into loop 2 out of Jackson, Justin started to get a gap on me. I made a mistake with my nutrition on the first loop and ran out of calories and water for almost an hour (rookie!) so I started to fade. I made sure to get some calories in and started to feel normal again with about 7mi to go. I would guess Justin was only a couple minutes ahead but I was solely focused on that buckle! The last 15mi of this race is the true test and every second counts. It’s a weird experience because this is a race where you are in a battle with the trail and yourself; racing someone else is a bonus. No matter how well you’re doing, you’re always wondering if you’ll make it.I put my head down and went as hard as I could for that last hour or so. I WASN’T coming up short! When I could see the last climb to Jasper Knob on my screen, I knew I had it. BUT where the heck were all the tokens! Of course they were on the way up to Jasper Knob (blame Todd & Danny) so everyone had that stress all day. In the end, I finished 2nd by just a couple minutes and the buckle was mine!Marji is one of those races where you always say you don’t need to do it again… but you always want to. Now that I have a geared and ss buckle, next year will be a new challenge! Thanks again to my wife Jen for her motivation, my team Evolution Training Cycles/Paradise Garage Racing, and especially Heidi for all her help! See you in 2022?! Bike Setup:Frame – Pivot LES size large. Fork – Fox Step Cast 32 100mmGearing – oval 32x19Tires – Continental cross king protection 2.3 front and rear.”
Finishing in third place, Eli Orth of Ohio, crossing the line in 12:20:44. “Marji was my fourth NUE epic distance SS race. Going into the race my main goal was to have a clean race and finish with a decent overall time. I ended up finishing 3rd.The race started great getting into one of the lead groups. It took a little hit though when our group made a wrong turn at mile 15. We were repeating a section we had went through around mile 5. Luckily Jeff Rupnow and Anthony Toops realized it once we had climbed all way to Forestville Rd. We turned back and by the time we were back on track we had lost about 14 minutes… and we were battling through other riders that we were previously well in front of. Surprisingly time was made up and by the time hit Jackson Park I was still on track to get under 12 hours. On the first loop through Jackson I was still on pace. On the last trails through the last 15ish miles I was pushing the pace and had a small crash that set me back just a little and seemed to slow my momentum a little. I made it to the finish only to realize I dropped an orange token on my way in. Soooo I had to go back and get the orange token. My finish time was 12hrs 3 min 57 sec. A little frustrated getting so close to the under 12 but falling little short. Overall happy with the race though and finishing Marji without mechanical and any physical issues is always a win. Thank to my sponsors Dean Titanium Bikes, CarboRocket, Kenda, AbsoluteBLACK, ESI Grips.Also thankful for all my family that supported me to do this race from my wife staying and watching the kids to my step-dad that ran support for me!My gearing for the race was 34×20. This was my last NUE points race for the season. My next planned race is the Cruce Del Istmo in Panama to represent the NUE.”
Fourth went to, Nathan Lillie of WI, in 12:45:47. Brent Pontius of MI, took fifth place in 13:37:48.
Women’s Singlespeed-First woman to complete Marji on a Singlespeed
Kristen Wade of Illinois is the first woman to complete Marji on a singlespeed. She finished in 23 hours. ” I hardly feel like I should be writing a race report considering the top female racer crossed the finish line nearly 11 hours before me but this was no ordinary race and I was in no ordinary category. The 2021 NUE Marji Gesick was my first Marji and I competed on a single speed. I was the sole female in the single speed category and much to my surprise I was the first female to ever FINISH the Marji with one gear. I rode a titanium VooDoo Dambala 29er with a 30:22 gearing and my nutrition consisted of a lot of Snicker bars, PayDays, grilled cheese and beef sticks. The Marji Gesick is more than a Hard Day, for some, it is a hard night too. I have no sponsors to thank because I am not a sponsored athlete. However, I would like to thank my husband, Al, for his continued support riding with me and encouraging me when I struggled. Next year I would like to return to race another Marji, with one gear, but faster.”
Schultzof Ohio takes the Masters win
Taking the Masters win, Brad Scholtz of Ohio, finished in 14:24:12. ” Having participated in other 906 events I knew it would be special and epic! I had not raced Marji before, but I knew lots who had attempted, and a few who had completed the race- and they made it REALLY clear that this would be the hardest thing you’ve ever done! “Words can’t do it justice”! I started the race with two of my RBikes teammates as we knew that we should match up fairly well and to have some company at least for a while. Not having any idea what I was in for, I would have been more conservative at the beginning, but my teammates were pushing a pretty spicy pace- I hung on and tried to settle in and stay on top of nutrition/hydration. What a challenge it is pay attention to navigation, hydration, nutrition, physical effort and tackle the technical sections was crazy fun and challenging! When I reached the bag drop(mi 65ish) I was feeling pretty good, but I also had a decent idea that the last 40 mi were the hardest! And needless to say I was not disappointed! The scenic views, stupid hard climbs and technical descents were my favorite- make no mistake, the constant punchy climbs really accumulate to break you down. My secret is really to just “stay present” and enjoy/tackle the section that you’re currently doing. Don’t even think about what’s yet to come. The second most critical thing for me is to stay in a “positive“ place- giving and receiving positive energy from/to the other riders. Positive engagement with everyone I can in contact with. Thank you to my teammates(RBikes) for the pacing and to the amazing volunteers all over the course!!That was amazing! I’m proud of my effort, but now I’m completely hooked, and already thinking about next year and how I can go faster! I Was extremely pleased to take 1st place in the Men’s Master division.”
About fifteen minutes back, John Munger from MN, takes second place in 14:38:20. Vin Dog Mack of MI, takes third place with a time of 15:10:11. Fourth goes to, Scott Cole of WI, in 15:45:44 and fifth place to, Derrick Seys of IL, crossing the line in 16:21:30.
After taking the 2020 season off due to Covid, Utah’s most-anticipated mountain bike race each year returned for its 13th edition. Taking in over 75 miles of Park City, Utah’s, world renowned singletrack and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing, the Point 2 Point is known as one of hardest single-day mountain bike races in the country.
This year riders from across the country came to the destination town of Park City to be challenged by technical trails, grueling climbs, breakneck descents, and moose.
Rains on Friday helped clear out some of the smoke that has plagued the west throughout the summer and provided endless hero dirt for the riders to enjoy their P2P experience.
As the race kicked off just after sunrise it was clear both elite fields were ready to push the pace early.
Two-time winner Evelyn Dong (Juliana/SRAM/No Tubes) took the early lead pushing what challenger, Melissa Rollins (Team Twenty24) described as, ‘cross-county Olympic speeds.’ Dong was joined early on by Caedran Harvey with Rollins not far behind.
The punishing early pace broke up the women’s field and saw Evelyn Dong establish a solid gap that continued to grow throughout the day. The Juliana rider rode clear throughout the day and not even getting stung by a bee on the lip would slow the lone leader.
At mile 55, Dong passed through the crowds at the Park City Mountain feed zone taking in the cheers from hundreds of local fans lifting her spirits to finish the final 20 miles showing strong form.
Behind the leader Melisa Rollins had moved into second place after Harvey got off course in the mid-mountain section of the course.
Rollins was followed by the hard-charging Virginian Andrea Dvorak (Cutaway), who is battle-tested in all forms of endurance cycling.
No one would be catching Evelyn Dong on the day as she finished the race with a smashing time of 7:30:18, well inside the top-20 of the 350 men and women in the race.
Rollins final push to the finish was temporarily delayed as a mother and baby moose took up residence on the trail. The 25-year-old Rollins was forced to bushwhack her way around the pair before getting back on course and finishing her day at just over 8 hours.
Despite encountering the late moose challenge, Rollins managed to stay over 20 minutes clear on third-place rider Dvorak who finished at 8:24:55.
Chelsea Bolton finished fourth in the open women’s field but took top honors for best quote of the day for her comment after finishing the punishing Steps trail climb exclaiming, “Before today, I’ve only ever gone up that trail by mistake!”
Courtney Boyd (Wattie Ink) rounded out the women’s podium in fifth place with a time of 8:47:14
The open men’s race got off to a similarly rapid pace with relative youngsters Truman Glasgow (Rouleur Devo) and Tanner Visnick (POC) pushing hard early accompanied briefly by Australian Lachlan Morton (EF Foundation) who was fresh off a podium finish at the 6-day Breck Epic and his Alt Tour De France effort where he rode the entire Tour De France course solo.
Morton suffered an early flat before exciting the Round Valley section of the course. This left Glasgow and Visnick out front, a strategy that Visnick had envisioned. “Going out hard early is typically my move,” the 24-tear-old Visnick said. “Unless I’m marking another rider and don’t know the course well, I prefer to be in front setting my own pace on the climbs and descents.”
Despite throwing down early speed, Visnick was unable to shed Glasgow who worked his way into the lead by the top of Deer Valley resort. The 21-year-old Glasgow stayed clear on the following descents and through the tortuous John’s trail where a mother and baby moose forced some brief detours.
At 50+ miles in both riders descended into the Park City Mountain feed zone just seconds apart.
Morton was slowly working his way through the field jumping into 5th place by the Steps trail climb and taking over 4th before making his way into the feed zone.
In front the racing was all out with less than a minute between the two leaders and Tanner Visnick now being out front, barely.
Despite being young, Visnick is no stranger to distance events having already won the Gunnison Growler, Emerald Epic, and Big Sky Biggie in 2021. After a quick stop at the final feed zone, Visnick used his endurance experience to hold onto a 20 second gap over his challenger needing to essentially sprint the final 5 miles of downhill to cross the line with just 39 seconds in hand.
After almost six and a half hours of racing Truman Glasgow finished less than a minute behind the leader.
Lachlan Morton worked his way up to third place by the finish, passing another youngster, Cameron Larson (Summit Devo Team), in the final miles of the race.
Larson took fourth in what was his longest-ever mountain bike race effort.
Fifth went to Danny Van Wagoner with a time of 6:45:29.
In a tradition unique to the Park City Point 2 Point, a special award is given to the final racer to finish each year’s event; in special recognition of their perseverance making it to the finish line.
This year’s red lantern award went to Kristine Thompson, who finished, in the dark, with a time of 13:58:44. The longest-ever finishing time for the P2P.
For the first time three riders on the men’s podium were former NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) racers. Truman Glasgow and Cameron Larson both raced in the Utah league, while race winner Tanner Visnick raced in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Instead of tapering the weekend before the Park City Point 2 Point, race winner Tanner Visnick, was getting married in Bozeman, Montana. Congratulations Tanner!
The 20th annual Mohican MTB 100k/100m kicked off on June 5th, 2021. Hundreds of racers from around the country gather in Loudonville, Ohio each year to tackle this tough course. A new course for 2021 would eliminate gravel and add more private single track sections making it quite possibly the toughest course yet.
The 100m race took off at 7AM and started/finished at Mohican Adventures campground. It was a full sun, scorching hot, and humid day with temperatures reaching mid 80’s. Due to a short run out before the singletrack, a mass start wasn’t possible this year and race director, Ryan O’dell, sent racers off in 5 min waves by category.
The racers quickly jockey for position going into the 25 miles of fast flowing single track in Mohican State Park. After the single track is a mix of mostly gravel roads with some technical sections and the newly added Mohaven and Glenmont single track. The famous Mohican Wilderness rock garden was included where racers are heckled as they try to maneuver this technical section. Being in Ohio, most assume this course is relatively flat. What the race lacks in elevation it makes up for in dozens of steep, punchy climbs strewn throughout the entire distance and eventually climbed over 11000 feet.
What makes this race special is the amazing group of volunteers from New Hope Church that run the aid stations. Ryan O’dell stated, the church has been helping for 10 years now. The New Hope volunteers bring a unique excitement and enthusiasm to the event that makes racers feel welcome and appreciated. I can’t thank them enough.” No matter if you are leading the race or in the back the volunteers make signs, are out cheering racers on and have a “Nascar” style to get you in and out of aid stations quickly.
Finishers cross the line and grab a pint glass(100k) or a growler(100m) and can enjoy the post race atmosphere. Families and friends gather food from Grants Guac and Roll and beer from Great Lakes Brewing all while cheering racers on as they cross the finish line.
Traveling all the way from AZ, Kyle Trudeau (CZracing) takes the win in the men’s open 100 mile with a time of 7:31:10. This was Kyle’s first win at the Mohican 100.
“First off I would like to say thank you to the race promoters for putting on a well run event and having such a challenging and well marked course. I also want to thank all the volunteers, especially at the aid stations because I relied on their help heavily since I did not have my own support crew at this race. The Mohican 100 this year was my first appearance at the race so there were many unknowns I was going to have to face on race day. My goal for the start of the race was to make the front selection and then start fueling and pacing for the remainder of the race. I was able to make the front group of three that split almost immediately in the first mile. I was happy to sit in the group since I did not have any experience with the course but was attentive to any move that might try and go up the trail. Our group grew to about six people and stayed that way until about mile 25 where I took the lead on a steep climb and created a split of three of us. I stopped at the mile 28 aid station and made a quick chase back to the front two where we rode together until some technical single track around mile 35. I was sitting second wheel and the leader made a mistake, I got around and rode a clean descent to get about a 30 second gap. After that I settled into a solid but manageable pace, focusing on my fueling and being smooth on the tricky single track sections. I watched my lead grow hoping I could sustain my pace to the finish. The heat and attrition of the race started to set in and I started downing soda at every aid knowing that it has helped me pull through some very deep fatigue late in a race. I always felt like I was going to get caught at some point and couldn’t believe I had managed the win until I was crossing the finish line with my arms raised. Huge thanks to Construction Zone Racing, BeSpoke Real Estate, GoTenac Coaching, Bicycle Haus and SockGuy for making my participation in these great events possible and Tucson Sports Recovery for keeping my body running strong.”
Taking the second spot was, Chris Mehlman (Bear National Team), traveling in from MA finishing the race in 7:56:46.
“This was my first 100-mile race. However, I have done other marathon events before and also raced Breck Epic in 2019, and I know that these events suit me much better than XC races. I was very excited to finally get a taste of the mental and physical battle that comes with such a long race!
The start was more aggressive than I expected for such a long race, but I should have known that given my previous experience with overly antsy racers in 50-mile races!! I settled into the lead group and felt good except when one guy on a Pivot was on the front on descents and was pushing it hard.
Around mile 25, Kyle Trudeau went to the front and upped the pace on a climb. I was excited to see how long I could hang with him…. until I flatted. It was on a descent just before the first long road/gravel section, and with what was not my quickest fix, the lead group was long gone. At that point, my goal became reeling in everyone except for Kyle; I knew how strong he is and knew that catching him would be almost impossible. I put my trust in the Stan’s Dart (which held the rest of the race!!) and I turned my brain to chase mode. I might have gotten just a bit overzealous, though my chasing motivation waxed and waned as I caught a couple of people but was told a larger-than-expected time gap at each aid station. By mile 60, however, I had caught everyone else. I caught 2nd and 3rd just before the 1st Glenmont aid station on the rail trail, and it was a welcome sight during a dark moment. When I passed under the “Bridge of Dreams” on that trail, all I could think was how it was the “Bridge of Nightmares.”
After that aid, I dropped the other guys and set off on my own in what became a lonely and brutal last 40 miles. My legs felt emptier and emptier, and all I wanted was to get home to the finish. I stayed on the grind (and on the fueling, luckily), and tried to avoid the temptation of constantly glancing at the mile counter on my Garmin.
Just rolling across the finish line felt like a big accomplishment. I have never been so empty after a race. Finishing 2nd was awesome, but the most important thing for me was the learning experience. There was a lot that the race taught me about 100-mile events that I will take on board moving forward so I can finish one step higher next time!!
The race had an incredible atmosphere and great trails, and I look forward to coming back! I’m not sure what my next NUE race will be, but I will be racing Nationals, Telluride 100, and then Breck Epic later in the summer! Follow me on Instagram @cmehlman34 to see where these adventures take me!”
After winning the Mohican 100k (2018) and 100m (2019) in the single speed division, Anthony Toops (Paradise Garage), takes on his home course with gears in the open class. He took the third step in 8:08:33.
“This was my first race since True Grit in 2020 so I didn’t really know what to expect other than the typical tough day at the Mohican 100. To my surprise this years course was the toughest yet! I started the race at my own pace knowing that it’s really easy to blow up in the first 25 miles of this race. That meant letting the front pack go and just settling in. I had my chain drop twice at mile 7 and again around mile 15 so I burned a couple matches getting back up to speed and I was able to link up with fast French racer Theo Charney in the MSP single track. At this point I’m guessing we are around 7th or 8th. We worked together trading turns and pushing the pace which would see us pick off riders one by one throughout the day. We passed Tanguy around mile 50 and passed another racer in the Glenmont single track. Not far into this section I had a stick jam in my derailleur pulleys and I lost my easiest gear. I stopped a few times to try and tweak the hanger but it was too far gone. The climbs here were super steep and wet and grinding up them I was riding the fine line of cramping. After coming out of the woods we passed Pendlebury on the way back into Glenmont and passed a couple more racers coming out of the last aide station. Theo and I chose the final straight to lay down a sprint to decide placing. He opened it up and took a slight lead but I was able to reel him back just enough to grab 3rd.
The heat, humidity, and tough course always makes this race hard and today was no exception. Luckily I seem to favor the heat so that plays to my advantage and keeping a steady pace always helps at Mohican. Big shoutout to Theo because I don’t know if I would’ve kept that pace if I didn’t have that motivation. Thanks to all the race staff and volunteers who run the best aide stations and course direction out there. Also, thanks to my sponsors Paradise Garage and Evolution Training Cycles for the support.”
Rounding out the podium was, Theo Charnay (VC Laissac), from France taking the fourth spot, 8:08:33. Fifth place went to, Jeffery Pendlebury (Ride on Wooster), crossing the line in 8:25:58.
The previous 2017, 2018 NUE marathon champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot MTB race team) takes the Mohican 100m win in a time of 9:31:58.
” I couldn’t sleep the night before because I was so excited for race day. I haven’t done a solo race since Sept of 2019. We just moved back from Boulder and this is my home course with friends and family that came to cheer us on so I was chomping at the bit to get going. My race turned out mostly un-eventful and I’m ok with that! I’ve blown up every year I’ve done this race in the past so I decided to try a different approach. I went hard on the opening mohican single track climb to get some distance and then settled in to a slower pace and focused on nutrution. On the opening climb it was more wet than expected and I actually fell over on some slick rocks. I normally run a little extra air pressure on hundo races so I’m sure this didn’t help. It was a good wake up call to chill out. I could see Hanna during the mohican singletrack loop so I knew she was still close by. After reaching the gravel, I continued to push the climbs and took it easy on the downhills and was able to keep the lead the whole race. I’m glad I saved some juice for the newly cut singletrack sections as they had some real steep muddy climbs. I rode my Pivot Mach 4SL live valve and was fortunate to have no issues with the bike all day! We rode through some real muddy sections and my SCC chain lube got me through the whole day.
I focused on staying on top of nutrition this race because of the heat and humidity. Aside from the first aid station I stopped at every aid and made sure I ate. Any time I could feel the cramping starting I took a CarboRocket RocketLyte and it took care of the cramping. In total: two 2L CarboRocket electrolyte mix, two 1.5L Gatorade, two shots Coke cola, 1 bottle water. 7 honey stinger gels, 2 honey stinger waffles, 1 bag mini HS waffles, 2 packs HS performance chews, several gummy candies, and 4 CR Rocketlytes. I also had an extra bottle on bike of water to use to cool down on the climbs.
I’m very impressed with the quality of staff at this event. The aid stations and volunteers were AMAZING. The new course was very well marked and I enjoyed more singletrack vs gravel this year. I downloaded the map on my element and was able to make sure I was on course all day. It’s always a bonus with you can camp at the start/finish line. Well done Mohican crew! Next NUE race: TBD. Sponsors: Pivot Cycles, Pearl Izumi, Lazer, Ergon, Fox, CarboRocket, Honeystinger, Maxxis, Stans, SCC chain lube, xpedo, and MTBracenews.”
Finishing 2nd place, Hanna Pauline Derby (Vangos Restaurant), of Marquette, MI finishes with a time of 11:14:05.
A previous Mohican 100m winner from Ohio, Shannon Tenwalde (Paradise Garage Racing), takes the third spot with a time of 12:26:02.
Rounding out the top five was, Annette Nowak, taking fourth place in 12:52:04 and Laureen Coffelt (Los Locos Pivot) finishing with place with a time of 13:34:02.
Taking the win in singlespeed was, Shane Kramer, from NY crossing the line in 8:24:03.
“This was my first race in almost 2 years. I was second at Mohican in 2019 and really wanted to improve on that result. I came into the weekend ready to go but unsure of how my fitness would match up. Scanning the results from TSE I knew there would be some tough competition but that why I like racing the Mohican. On Friday I tried out a 19t cog but settled on 34×20 for the race. I’ve always been terrible at starts. However, since we started in waves it was a lot less hectic off the line. By the time we were thru the campground I was riding with Eli Orth and John Vorberger. Eli blew thru a turn which allowed John and I to move to the front. We quickly got a gap on a descent and worked together to keep it. John looked very strong on the climbs so I assumed I was racing for second place. To my surprise just after aid 3 maybe 40 miles in I looked over my shoulder and I had a gap. I upped the pace slightly but wasn’t ready to burn any matches. As I hit a road section I was able to jump on the wheel of a geared rider which helped me keep my advantage. From this point until the finish I tried to keep the pace up and drink as much as possible. Luckily I found a another geared buddy to help me make good time on the bike path. The gap to John swelled to 5 minutes but by the finish he had cut it down to 40 seconds. I was fortunate enough to hold on for the win. Overall it was just a super fun day on the bike.”
Just 44 seconds back, John Vorberges (Syndicate) of PA took second place in 8:24:47.
“This was my first 100-mile MTB race, so I was not sure what to expect. I was feeling pretty recovered even after doing the 5-day Transylvania Epic stage race the week before, so I was looking forward to going hard all day. The race started pretty mellow, and among the singlespeed group, I was second in the woods following Eli Orth. After a few miles of singletrack, Eli missed a turn (he just went a few feet past it) and I took the lead. After a few more miles, it was just me and Shane Kramer (the eventual SS winner) in the trails. I was keeping a pretty decent pace, but not killing it. Once we popped out onto gravel, I tried to push the pace on the climbs to test out Shane’s fitness. Turns out that was a bad move – I only tired myself out – he is very strong, and about 40 miles in, he dropped me.
I rode solo for a while, but I caught a geared rider’s wheel for the rail-trail section. I dropped the geared rider on a climb after the rail-trail and continued on solo for a while. I was suffering a ton at this point, the heat was getting to me, and I felt like I was absolutely crawling. I kept pushing and eventually made it to some gravel. I was going up this steep climb, just about to get off and push (singlespeed Brah!) when Josh Kunz yelled some words of encouragement, so I grunted and cleaned the climb. I then caught up to my teammate, Wyatt Rodgers, and we rode together for a little. Then we got to Valley Streams Road (the WORST climb of the course), and Thom Parsons (Dirtwire) drove up beside me while I was climbing to interview me. I was hurting, but kept going until he turned the corner, then I got off and walked, haha. The rest of the race I just kept going at a sustainable pace, and eventually crossed the line about 40 seconds behind the winner, Shane Kramer. I never saw him, but he must’ve been just ahead of me on the final singletrack. My gearing for the day was 34×20, which I thought was a pretty good choice.
I’m planning to do High Cascades, Wilderness 101, and the Shenandoah 100 this year (all in the 100 mile singlespeed class). I would like to thank the Syndicate cycling team, Flow Formulas, the wonderful Sweetwater Bike Shop in Ambridge, PA, and Extreme Nano Lubricants.”
Third place was, Eli Orth (Dean Titanium Bikes), from OH with a time of 8:53:51.
“I came into the Mohican 100 fresh off of finishing the TSE 5 day stage race. I was banged up with a hurt shoulder and a bike that I had to scramble to get parts for and get ready in time. I knew I had to still give it a go with this being my home state NUE race. I knew going into the day that it would be hot. Not only was it hot and humid but the new course made it a very tough day on the bike. The new singletrack around Glenmont was soft and muddy in a lot of places with tough climbs. In the places that was the tough singletrack you found yourself fully exposed to beating down sun in open prairies or sandy quarry area. I originally planned to just make two aid station stops but that plan went away as I needed more hydration and fuel than what I put in the drop bags. I stopped 4 times but made them quick just to top off fluids. The race started great.. leading through a good portion of the singletrack until I blew by a turn. That’s when Shane Kramer and John Vorberger went by and set the pace. In a couple spots Shane and John were able to make quick passes on riders we caught (staggered start by class) but myself and Joe Fraas found ourselves stuck while Shane and John rode out of site. At that point I made the decision to just settle in and not try and chase them back down hoping I’d eventually pull them back in. I let Joe go by on singletrack also as he seemed to want to push harder to maybe recatch them. The rest of the race I just kept a consistent effort trying to stay fueled and have a clean race. I repassed Joe at Mohican Wilderness singletrack and didn’t see him again after that.The race went as good as it could’ve being that I was solo with no fast geared wheels to grab onto in any flat sections. Holmes paved trail is not a single speed friendly spot to be solo but I did what I could to get through it quickly. I stayed on the hardest pace I thought would be manageable knowing that there were a lot of fast SS guys behind me trying to reel me in. This was one of the hardest 100 milers I’ve done. Many strong riders struggled and dnf’ed. I was very happy to hang onto 3rd place and get 10th overall. My gearing of choice was 34×20 which worked well overall. My next races will be Woods Mountain in Pisgah then followed the next week with what will be my 2nd NUE race.. the Lumberjack 100”
Yianni Pimenidis took fourth place in 9:38:49 and about 10 min back was Joe Fraas (Syndicate Cycling) taking fifth place, 9:39:23.
Traveling all the way from CA was, Amir Matityahu (Trail Head Racing), taking the win in the masters division with a time of 9:26:37
“The Mohican 100-mile race was my first foray into ulta-endurance mountain biking. After working as an orthopedic trauma surgeon at a level one trauma center in the setting of the current COVID pandemic, getting out and racing was breath of fresh air. A way back to clean air, sunshine, and normalcy.
In preparation for the race, I looked at the GPS file, watched videos, trained hard, regarded the weather, and thought I was “ready.” I’m lucky to have solid support at home from my wife and kids. My major concerns were finishing the race and of rain-soaked muddy trails that could wreck my drive train and breaks.
A few days before the race, I packed my bike bag and flew to Akron from SFO. This was my first time in Ohio and at Mohican Adventures. I rented a cabin on the grounds. Even though it was raining hard, the setting was picturesque. A small but tranquil lake surrounded by bungalows. There was a mist rising from the water. Ducks, frogs, and birds created a concert of visual and sounds that gave feeling of being in nature. Friday, one day pre-race, the rain stopped. I went for an hour ride to evaluate the trailns. Amazingly, they had mostly drained, and the dirt was tacky. In the evening, there were barbeques, fire pits, and laughter. The local racers were friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. This relaxed setting was in contrast to the brutal race ahead.
The Mohican 100 race was a wave start by category that began at 7am. The race was 99.7 miles with 11,000 ft of mostly punchy short climbs. There was a ton of single track, apparently more than previous years. The weather was going to be hot 85-95 deg F. We had the option to drop two 1-gallon zip locked bags to aid stations in the morning before the race. I dropped a bag to the 2nd aid station with gels and snacks. The second bag went to the 4th aid station, with food, chain lube, C02, pickle juice, salt tabs, and Hotshot for cramping. I started with two bottles on the frame and bars and gels in my pocket. We were 30 masochistic masters on the start line. We were all nervous chit chat and introductions. The guy to my right was a cyclocrosser, Sam M, who came down from Mass to race. The guy to my left drove up in a sprinter van with his girlfriend, who was also going to race. It was the calm before the storm. The organizer gave the masters group blue ribbons so that we can identify each other in contradistinction to the open men’s group. Very helpful.
The countdown started and we were off. The race started on a short fire road, then left on a narrow single-file bridge and to the first switchback climb of the day. Sam M had the hole shot to the bridge, as he predicted. I was third behind him pushing too hard in the first 10 min of a 100mi race. After about 20 minutes, there were four in our lead group with a small gap ahead. The next 20 miles were fun single track in the woods with roots, rocks, and berms through the Mohican State Park. Because of the previous rain, there was hero dirt all around, but the roots and rocks were slippery. About 21 miles into the race my chain broke, and I lost the lead group. This is where you either suck it up or get out. Where your mind says, “it’s going to be hard; It’s going to be hot, you lost the lead group, is it worth it?” The difference between a casual ride and a race is the willingness to suffer through mental and physical pain and come out the other side stronger. In essence, Rule #5. I said to myself, “this is a long race, keep your mojo, fix and go.” I turned the bike upside down on a flat log at the side of this hilly single-track trail and fixed the chain with a quick link in about 5 minutes. I had no idea how many spots I lost and who was ahead or behind me. My mental state was, in part driven by the thought of how far I’ve traveled, how hard I trained, and a friend texted the night before “Go win that S**t.” A mantra I continued to have in the back of my mind. I got back into the race zone and worked to catch up without blowing up.
I got to the second aid station and had barely caught up to the guy in 3rd position and eventually passed him. At every aid station I was amazed by the volunteers’ efficiency. About 50 yards before the station, there was a person with a walkie talkie that radioed ahead to get my drop bag. When I got there, they had it out, asking if I need water or Heed. They filled my bottles and I loaded up on gels and bars. Then, off I went. It was like having your own crew. It took about a minute in and out.
The race continued through forest, rock gardens, private property, and some gravel. The heat was beginning to take it’s toll. I was in no man’s land. Could not share the load on flat sections and had no idea where I was relative to the other racers. There was lots of time on my own, riding with no soul in site. Luckily, the organizers did a great job of marking the trails with arrows or orange ribbons. Even when it seemed like a random ride through the woods, at least I didn’t feel lost. At the 4th aid station, they were ready with my bag. Volunteers lubed the chain, filled my bottles, and I had a shot of pickle juice and coke. At mile 65, I was starting to hit the wall. A combination of 95 deg heat, working too hard at the start of the race, and not drinking/eating enough. I was feeling the twinges of adductor and hamstrings cramps. I was trying to hydrate but did not feel like eating. Then at about mile 70, my hamstring cramped. Drank a hotshot, which, was like a brain reorganization potion. It snapped me out of the cramps. I continued to focus on pushing on the pedals and changing saddle position to cycle muscles. I was standing more and more. I found a place in my mind that I had not visited before. A place of painful calm and continued drive to finish.
Somehow, the last 6 miles, I was re-energized even with on-and-off adductor cramping. And, after 9 hours and 16 minutes, crossed the finish line with intense relief. Then, there was great beer and food, as befitting an amazing mountain biking day. I would summarize the day as a tough, hot, long single-track day where the mind overcame the body and turtles won over hares. A day to be proud of for all those who persevered.
Bike: Full Suspension Specialized Epic, Tires: S-Works Fast Tracks 2.1, Tire pressure 22psi, Team Sponsors: Trailhead Cyclery, Specialized, Nuun, SRAM, Beyond Fistula, Fox. Next NUE race: Cascades 100, Bend, Oregon.”
Taking the second step was, Samuel Morse (Corner Cycle) from MA with a finish time of 9:32:40.
“Wow, what a a brutal course for my first 100 mile mountain bike race! I managed to finish 2nd in the 50+ group, but felt like I had ridden twice that distance. The Mohican 100 seemed like it would be a great adventure back in February when I decided to give it a try. With a good start, I was loving the fun and flowing single track, but things gradually turned into a brutal challenge as the hours passed on a hot, slick and extremely hilly and challenging course. I set my effort off of the pace from prior few years results and estimated about 7.5 hrs goal, however when I got to 7.5 hours, I still had roughly 20 amazingly hilly miles to yet to go and was cramping from head to toe! I was crawling to the finish line from that point forward and was passed by the eventual winner, Amir Matityahu, with only 3 miles to go. This was a great learning experience for me and perhaps I’ll give it a go again next year with a better understanding of the requirements. Hearty thank you to all involved in putting together this event. It was so well organized and the course was marked exceptionally well from start to finish. Lastly, I’d highlight the amazing volunteers that manned the aid stations!”
About ten minutes back was, Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works) of NC finishing in 9:42:28.
“This was my 3rd Mohican 100 mile MTB race, and my second as a 50+ master. Each one has been markedly different. The first was the “traditional course” (maybe 2014?), then last years COVID-shortened race and now the new “long” course – not that it’s longer than 100 miles, just that it took me longer to complete than any other 100 mile NUE race I had ever done. It was a proper hard day! I liked the wave starts. The Masters racers started last, which meant there was always a carrot to chase – I was always catching someone. The hi-light of my race was catching two racers in my division just before the final hike-a-bike in the final mile. I think that was the fastest climb I ran all day! I managed to hang on for a 3rd place finish. The hardest part of the day was the new section of single track. The rock sections were technical enough that I could barely ride them (well, mostly…) and there were so many steep climbs and muddy sections that took all of my effort to pedal up and thru. Speaking of mud, I need to get my bike back to Robert Marion at Cycle Works Performance Bike Shop in Mt. Airy, NC for some much needed maintenance before Lumberjack 100. A big shout out to all the volunteers – they were amazing, and plentiful! Well Done Mohican crew!”
Taking fourth place was, Keith Papanicolas (Badass Coaching), with a time of 10:00:01. The fifth spot went to Dan Kotwicki (Wheels in motion) crossing the line in 10:36:04.
This time it was Scott’s Erin Huck taking the sprint win in front of Sofia Gomez Villafane (Clif Bar) flip-flopping their short track results from last week. Kelsey Urban came home in third followed by Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz) and Rose Grant (Juliana).
The men’s race also saw last week’s runner-up move in front of the pack with Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz/Monster) taking the win in front of Canadians Tyler Orschel and Leandre Bouchard.
Cole Patton (Orange Seal) finished fourth while Torbjorn Andre Roed completed the podium in fifth.
Sunday’s cross country event will feature an equally strong field competing on a new course in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The arrival of Chloe Woodruff (Pivot) will provide extra excitement as we get to see how the world cup race winner’s form is coming along.
Unfortunately, race fans will not get to see Trinity teammates Haley Batten and Christopher Blevins this weekend as they flew to Europe in preparation for the opening round of the 2021 World Cup season.
The Maah Daah Hey mountain bike race is a 100, 75, 50, 25 or 13 mile mountain bike race through the badlands of North Dakota. The race course is almost 100% single track along the uninterrupted Maah Daah Hey trail through the heart of the rugged Badlands. The Maah Daah Hey trail is a unique blend of dirt, clay, sandstone, and scoria with unending climbs and descents. On the tops of the badlands buttes you will find flat prairie grasslands. There are also some sparsely wooded sections scattered on the trail but overall there is minimal cover from the elements. Hence the name BADLANDS.
In 2020, the Maah Daah Hey mountain bike race actually happened! ~70 people signed up for the 100 mile race which started in a campground outside of Watford City, ND and ended in Medora, ND. At 6am on a beautiful sunny August morning, racers lined up for an epic day. Once on route, racers went through a series of check points and 3 aid stations over the 100 miles. Sag support was allowed to meet their racer anywhere on course or racers could leave drop bags at the aid stations. With temperatures only in the 80s’, it was an optimal year to race! For support vehicles, it was an exciting day of driving miles and miles of back roads through farmlands to catch their racer at the next check point.
For the Pro men, it was course record-holder, Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz/Shimano) and Nathan Keck who lead the mens’ field. Tostado and Keck worked together for the first 15 miles before Keck crashed and started fading back. Juarez and Tostado rode together with Tostado in the lead at every checkpoint and aid station. By mile 50, Luke Nelson had almost caught up with Tostado and Juarez, maintaining a gap of only a few minutes behind the leaders for the next 30 miles. At aid 3 (mile 79), Tostado and Juarez picked up the pace and started putting time on Nelson. They continued to ride together until the end finishing less then a second apart and setting a new course record. Tostado won in a time of 8:32:58:31, Juarez finished 2nd(8:32:59) and Nelson in 3rd(8:41:00:37).
For the Pro women, only 5 brave women completed the Maah Daah Hey 100. Finishing 1st was Ashley Busack in a time of 11:34:34:54, Candace Jenkins in 2nd(12:39:47:25), and Sandy Marshall in 3rd(12:59:25:09).
For years, the legendary Maah Daah Hey Trail was disappearing due to neglect and a lack of resources. The Maah Daah Hey race has become an avenue to keep the trail alive. Since 2013, The race directors, Nick and Lindsey Ybarra and hundreds of incredible #SAVEtheMDH volunteers have partnered with the USFS and spent over 8,000 volunteer man-hours transforming the trail into a world-class destination.
Following two months of lockdown, racers were beyond ready to head outdoors and back to real, not just virtual, racing; many wondering whether the 2020 season would be a wash following Covid-19 lockdowns nationwide. On May 30, Mohican MTB100 became the first mountain bike race in the USA to re-open the mountain bike race season, picking up where the NUE Series left off in early March with the True Grit Epic season opener in Utah. The day after True Grit Epic, Utah and most of the nation were on lock down for the first time in our nation’s history.
Following the latest federal and state guidelines, Mohican MTB100 put together a mitigation plan that was shared with ODNR, EMS, and the local health department requesting their input and suggestions. The plan included changing the typical mass start downtown in favor of a time trial format beginning and ending at Mohican Adventures. At least ten years ago, Mohican developed a well thought out rain route as an option to protect local trails in case of heavy rains leading up to the event. This plan had never been necessary until May 30.
Just two weeks before race day, ODNR confirmed that it was opening campgrounds statewide but cancelling existing special use permits including the Forestry permit obtained by the Mohican MTB100. ODNR also confirmed that it would not be issuing any new special use permits for special events through July 15.
After careful consideration, including the short time frame racers would have to change travel and lodging plans on such short notice and the impact on local businesses including restaurants, camp grounds, and motels that had just opened, Mohican opted to implement an optional rain route that would circumvent the top rated trail in Ohio, an IMBA epic trail system around the gorge located in the Mohican State Forest. The rain route removed 25 miles of pristine singletrack plus the five mile prologue from downtown Loudonville shortening the 100 mile race to just 65 miles with 6394’ elevation gain and the 100k to just 33 miles. Local businesses welcomed Mohican racers in a community largely driven by tourism and suffering from the extended lockdown period.
Although the race had the support of the State Highway Patrol, the rain route along SR3 is a posted bike route that did not require police support. To avoid putting any strain on local emergency services, Mohican organized its own volunteer medical team and employed a plan that racers and volunteers agreed made everyone feel safe.
After offering deferrals to 2021 for any reason, including international racers, racers from states still in lockdown, and racers whose flights had been cancelled, just 230 remained from what would have been a record turnout estimated at 600-700 before the pandemic arrived. Local landowners, Mohican captains and volunteers supported the decision. There were no injuries reported and for the first time in its 19 year history, every racer who started finished the race.
Lowery takes the top step on the Mohican Podium
Following her fifth place finish at the True Grit NUE Series opener, Carey Lowery, Rescue Racing/Scott’s Bike, led all Women in the marathon women’s open finishing in 2:29:39.
“Because of the time trial format, I had no idea where my competition was. Therefore, I just made it a point to keep the hammer down the whole time. Knowing that the course was shortened, I was able to burn quite a few matches on the short punchy climbs. I chose my hardtail as the course was gravel road heavy. I also ran a less beefy tire than usual and rode a bit more cautiously through the single track since I had “skinnies.”
I drafted when I could to conserve some energy, but since I started towards the back, I was mostly on my own. I kicked it up a notch as I entered the Mohican Adventures property and laid it all out in the final mile. I surprisingly ended up winning the Open Women’s race against a small, but competitive field. I am grateful to Ryan for making this happen as it was good to get back to some sense of normalcy. It was as much a mental benefit as a physical one.”
Four minutes behind Lowery, Janet Edwards, Road Apple Roubaix p/b Do, placed second at 2:33:29. Eight minutes later, Mary Penta, Think Green-Bicycle Face, took third at 2:41:31 with Lara Richards, Chainbuster Racing, a minute back at 2:42:53.
Messer wins the Men’s Open
Andrew Messer, Be Real Sports, took the W in the Men’s Open at 2:03:40. One minute later, OMBC Ohio Series Champion, Troy Chipka, Ashland Bike Company, placed second at 2:04:49.
Perhaps the youngest ever podium finisher at 17 years old, Wyatt Rodgers, Syndicate Cycling Team, rolled in a minute later at 2:05:55. “Leading up to the Mohican 100 this year, there were a lot of doubts and concerns for me regarding the race. Because of Covid-19, although concerned, my Dad and I decided we were going to race it no matter what. It turned out that there were a ton of changes to the race format, the awesome mass start was no longer going to happen and the race distance was cut in half with more road than trails. With these major changes, I was concerned how this would affect my results because technical mountain biking is my strength, not gravel racing. I was pleased to find out that the race was still a ton of fun.
I was very happy with the mix of trails and road. With the time trial start, it was hard for me to tell what place I was in. Around mile 8 of 30, I was caught by a fellow racer, Troy Chipka that was in my class, the men’s 100k open. Troy and I decided to work together and put up the fastest time we could by working together on the road. We knew we were racing at a good pace and somewhere towards the front of the race. We played our cards right and were very pleased to find that when we finished, we placed second and third despite making a wrong turn that cost us about two minutes. Being just 17 years old and placing third at an National Ultra Endurance event, I am super happy with my result. I’m also very proud to say I was the youngest ever to podium at an NUE event after missing the podium last year by two places. Overall, I was very happy with how well the race was ran and directed. A huge thank you to Ryan O’Dell for putting on another amazing race!”
Dorel Stoia and Burgess Gow rounded out the top five at 2:09:31 and 2:12:10 respectively.
Two young racers entered the competition and finished their first BIG race including 15-year-old Bryce Thompson, Ashland Bike Company and 14-year-old Alex Mesarchik, Shenanigans Cycling, who finished at 3:25:15.
Kunz gets the win defending his NUE Series title
Defending NUE Series Singlespeed and OMBC Ohio Series singlespeed Champion, Josh Kunz, Evolution Training Cycles, took another step toward defending his title following a second place finish at True Grit by getting his first win of the season at 2:14:06. “It was an all-out effort. Starting in wave # 2 with a relatively long flat roll out on a SS is tricky. I grabbed whatever geared racers wheel I could on the road and took off up every steep road. Then, once in Mohican Wilderness singletrack, I kicked it up knowing I can make time on the tech climbs and the rock garden. The time trial aspect was actually a lot of fun. I’d like to thank Jeff Rupnow from Evolution Training Cycles and CarboRocket for keeping me firing!”
Nathan Grubbs was second at 2:26:14.
Dan Fausey, Trailer Park Racing, placed third at 3:00:48. “As the stay-at-home order dragged on, I was starting to bounce off the walls. I had enough “family time,” and hadn’t raced since March. I missed seeing my bike friends! So, I was super stoked to learn that the Mohican 100 would still be happening. As I started to share this news with my friends, I learned that a few people were loudly criticizing the decision to conduct the Mohican 100 this year (on social media, natch). But, since none of the complainers were medical professionals, or government officials, I decided to go ahead and ride. Plus, Ryan O’Dell had put a thoughtful mitigation plan in place and made changes to the race. So, I was excited about it.
Hadn’t raced since March – seemed like all of our races seasons were sidelined by COVID! Race day showed up with perfect weather, sunny, but not too hot. I picked up my timing chip and race plate in a drive-through line, and got ready for my six-person start wave. I was racing singlespeed again – for the first time this year! On the course, I did nothing but smile.
Around mile twelve I realized that there’s no substitute for a live race! There were folks heckling and cheering as usual on the rock gardens and at Valley Stream. And nothing is as motivating as chasing down that rider in front of you. After the race, the festival was a little subdued (with no food) but we enjoyed our free beers at social distance anyway. I’ll admit, it was weird having podiums six feet apart. But at least I couldn’t smell Josh’s (Kunz) sweaty pits! Overall, it was a great race and a thoughtful blueprint for race safety in the pandemic era!”
Once second behind Fausey, Scott Albaugh, Cycle Therapy, took fourth 3:00:49.
Grimm victory in the Masters
In the Masters, 55-year-old Erik Grimm, Park Ave Bike Shop, led all men for the victory at 2:13:29. 53-year-old Tom Weaver, Summit Freewheelers, was next taking second at 2:21:00.
Four minutes later, Tom Arlinghaus, Crooked Creek, was third at 2:24:39.
Among the Masters finishers this year were five 60+ racers including Ohio Series Masters 60+ Champion, 66-year-old Steve O’Bryan who placed fifth, 60-year-old Tim Shepherd, Knobby Side Down, 60-year-old Doug Fanta, Hudson Velo Club, 65-year-old Charles Patterson, Dirty Harry’s bike shop, and 61-year-old Tim Bonifant, Orrville cycling club.
Next Stop for the NUE Epic Race Series: On July 18, The NUE Series heads to Bend Oregon for the High Cascades 100 that will be an entirely self-supportive race this year following all Federal and State guidelines for social distancing. For more information, visit http://nuemtb.com/
The 2019 Pierres Hole 100 was once again slated to be a great day in the mountains of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The area doesn’t lack views with the Tetons in sight from most parts of the course. Grand Targhee events manager Andy Williams really puts his heart and soul into this race and it shows. With a great atmosphere and plenty for spectators and racers families to do, the resort really has it dialed.
Racers start at the Grand Targhee Resort and complete 1, 2, or 3, 31 mile laps depending on their distance of choice. The course is almost 100% single track except for a few short sections of double track to connect everything together. This can be a blessing and a curse; The trails are really fun, but they will wear even the toughest riders down.
Treadwell earns the Win
Dereck Treadwell earns his first NUE win of the season winning the Pierre’s Hole 100k with a time of 5:40:12. With this win he is now moves to second place in the NUE men’s open marathon series.
Even after a flat tire, Joseph Goetti takes second just three minutes back from Treadwell at 5:43:29
“Packing and driving up the day before, I had a great deal of excitement in me as well as some nervousness. This would be my first race on the mountain bike! I’d been thinking about transitioning into marathon mtb racing for the past year as I’ve always had a desire for the longer, more grueling races and getting out on the trails using more technical bike handling skills! After expressing my goals with Scheels, I am super grateful they agreed to sponsor me with an amazing bike, the new 2020 Trek Top Fuel 9.8!
In the 3 weeks that I’d had the bike leading up to this race, I’d put 270 miles on it with a few 4-5 hour rides to prep for this race! I was getting pretty beat up at first in my hands, back, and neck, but that had all worked itself out and I was feeling good and strong coming into the race.
The race consisted of 63.6 miles (100k) with about 7,700ft of elevation gain over 2 laps with 1 long climb and a few other moderate ones. Almost all of the race was on single track besides the first half of the climb on lap 1. This was on a fire road to allow us to get into position going into the single track.
Lining up along side me was other Scheels sponsored riders, Jamen Bennion and Millard Allen, both racing in the single speed category on hard tails (bikes with only 1 gear and no rear suspension (BRUTAL!))
I don’t think any of us got any quality sleep the night before, but that is normal before a big race and having slept well in the previous nights, I was confident I’d feel OK in the race! I woke up at about 5:45 to get my oatmeal in and allow it to settle. We prepared our gear, did a small warm up spin and lined up to take off at 8:10am.
My plan for the race was to be patient for the first lap and get a feel for the lap and how the other riders were doing; however, that plan quickly went out about a minute into the race. I was expecting a bit more of a fight for position on the first portion of the climb, but just getting my heart rate into the 160’s I was putting a gap on the field. I then changed my plan to push a hard, but still reasonable pace sitting in threshold heart rate at about 170bpm to come over the top first so I could take advantage of the new Top Fuels 120mm and 115mm front and rear suspension travel on an open downhill.
The new plan went well and I came over the top with a decent gap and opened it up on the downhill. Pshhhhhhhh, ahhh $#!^…. No more than 2 minutes into the descent and I was getting hit in the face with sealant from my front tire as air spewed out. I had not yet had a flat on my mtb, so I had my Co2 taped to my tire levers and allen wrench in my jersey (not thinking there was much chance I’d need to use them) which took precious time to unwrap. I first tried putting in more Co2 to no avail as it just leaked out. My spare tube was taped under my bikes top tube which took me more time to unwrap, and many riders were now going by. But I tried to stay calm, and was able to get the tube in and tire back on till ahhh $#!^… I didnt have enough c02 left to fill the tire.
HUGE thank you to the man who came by shortly after and lended me an extra canister which filled the tube up the rest of the way and saved my race! Lesson learned: I will have a much better strategy for fixing a flat next race as this one had cost me 8 minutes.
Proceeding down hill, I was riding a bit aggressive making time when I could but now having to deal with trying to pass slower riders. I came by Jamen shortly after getting going again as he had also suffered a front flat and was dealing with traffic as well.
Making my way onto the second climb after the descent, I was putting the power down riding at threshold again and making up places quickly. I was riding a bit higher heart rate then I’d planned on the climbs and in the rolling sections, but with descents take much longer on the mtb than what I’m used to on the road. This means there is good time to recover your cardio system in between climbs, allowing me to push harder where I could.
I came through the first aid station where Jamen’s family was stationed to help us out, grabbed another spare tube and ditched my bottle for a camelbak and continued to press on.
Coming though the start/finish line at the end of lap 1, I had climbed back into 5th place overall and was about 4:45 down on the lead. I pressed on riding at threshold again up the main climb, passing many of the 100 mile riders who had started at 7:10 to tackle 3 laps of the course (I plan to do that next year if I make it to this race again!) I was keeping my eye out for the yellow ribbons they had all open 100k men tie to their seats, the first of which I saw after descending down from the main climb and reaching the second climb.
He said he was pretty blown when I was passing and cheered me on to catch the leaders! Just being 1 spot away from the top 3 now gave me some extra motivation, and I continued to press on riding up the climbs at threshold.
I came through the final aid station with 15 miles to go with 3 open men still in front of me, exchanged my pack and grabbed another bottle which I used to cool myself. Shortly after this I came around the next open rider to move into 3rd, and then with about 10 miles to go I came around the next to move into second.
My stomach was starting to get a bit upset now. I started the race with a bottle of water, moved to a pack with Hammer Heed in it at aid 1, then grabbed a bottle of scratch at aid 2. At aid 3, I picked up another pack of heed and a bottle of water. Up to this point I’d taken in half a pro bar, a few packs of shot blocks and some maple syrup. I think next time I will switch out the 2nd bottle of scratch for water, and then my final pack may be water and have the bottle be scratch. I think too much liquid nutrition and not enough regular water was upsetting my stomach in the heat.
I backed my heart rate down to low 160’s on the climbs as I was beginning to feel the signs of cramping, but I was continuing to push hard and ride fast. For all I knew, the leader may have been feeling the same way, and I was going to fight all the way to the finish for the chance to catch him!
The remaining miles ticked down, and I ended up coming across the line in 2nd place, 3:16 down from the leader! Although it was a bit disappointing wondering what could have been if I wouldn’t have lost those 8 minutes with the flat, I was extremely happy overall with how I rode in the race! I had paced myself well taking it out hard, and I pushed it the the entire race without fading much at all! And most importantly I had and absolute blast racing my bike on the trails of Grand Targhee! Too focused to see it on the first lap, the view from the top of the main climb is stunning, and I was able to catch a few glimpse of it the second time around, struck in awe as I cruised down the descent. I highly recommend this area for anyone wanting to ride some amazing trails a bit more away from the crowds, and I hope to be back next year in the 100 mile race! My next mtb race will be Park City Point 2 Point on August 31st!
As always, I want to send a huge thanks to everyone supporting me, especially to my girlfriend, Kendra Nelson, who has stood by me though all the years of training, moving to Utah, and transitioning to the mountain bike! I would not have been here doing this if not for her! Also to Scheels for the bike and race, to all my family back home wishing me well! To Jamen’s family for helping us in the feed zones. And to my racing team, Above & Beyond Cancer Cycling p/b Scheels. “
About 8 minutes back, Dan Mahlum took third place at 5:51:18.
Harvey gets THIRD consecutive win
Taking the win in the 100k for the third year in a row, Caedran Harvey seems unstoppable finishing with a time of 6:20:11. A little over twenty minutes back was Ami Stuart crossing the finish line in 6:41:14. Taking third in the women’s open was Amber Steed coming in at 6:49:54.
Steed- “This was my first year tackling the Pierre’s Hole course at any distance, and 100 km seemed like a good goal for me. With some real challenges to contend with – elevation, stiff competition, heat, and distance – I felt nervous but excited to enter my first NUE race. I’d been racing for Sportsman and Ski Haus (MT) since 2017, so I felt I was starting to crest the learning curve of this XC racing thing. What could possibly go wrong.
I knew no one in my field of competitors, aside from the name of a prior winner who seemed to top the podium every year she’d entered. Coming from 3,000’ elevation and being a bit riper in age, I worried I might fall short – but, I also knew that anything can happen in racing. So, I focused on my own race and started with high spirits and rested legs.
The 100km course took us through two laps of Grand Targhee’s finest trails – and there was no shortage of seriously fun descending. Knowing there would be relatively few opportunities for easy passing, I worked my way up early during the starting road section. Feeling good, I kept my pace generally steady throughout the first lap, surprised to hear I was only a few minutes off the leader as I started lap 2.
This is about when my hydration and fueling strategy fell short, allowing the elevation and heat to bear down on my body. Despite my best efforts to push my increasingly heavy legs, I couldn’t muster the power to maintain the pace I’d hoped for. Crushingly, I watched as I was passed by another competitor when the course wound back through camp, further dampening my spirits. My goals for the remainder of the race shrank – but remaining on the podium kept the cranks turning and my motivation alive. Climbing those last few miles took more mental power than physical, and I managed to finish in third.
Every race teaches me something, and some lessons are more powerful than others. At Pierre’s, I gained some perspective about the course, how I handle the conditions, and how I can better prepare in the future. But inevitably I’m humbled by my competition, inspired by my own accomplishments, and excited to return another day. While I don’t have another NUE locked into my calendar at the moment, I’m I’ll be showing up to another. Thanks to everyone who make these events possible!”
McDonald gets SS win
Getting his first NUE SS win and third overall, Will McDonald takes the top step with a time of 5:49:41.
“I raced on a full suspension yeti ASRc with 34-20t gearing. Race was great, started off in 3rd for ss and maybe 8th overall on the first climb, I was able to catch and pass the two singlespeeders ahead of me on the 38 special decent. And caught up with the 4th place overall rider, who I road with with for the rest of the lap, I would pass him on the DH and he would pass me on the up hills. We moved into the 3rd and 4th position halfway through lap 1. Last time I saw him was at the finish of lap 1 and then he took off from me on the long ascent to the top of 38 special and went on to win the race. The climb up to 38 special was pretty rough second lap with the 34-20t gearing, but I was able to grunt up there without cramping or bonking. I caught up to Bart Flinn at the bottom of 38 special, he was in a rough place and seamed to have bonked pretty hard. A few miles later on the decent back to the resort I had some deja vu and passed George Flinn, moving me into 2nd place overall. The rest of the race went pretty well, but with my legs fatiguing I wasn’t able to hold off the rider who ended up second overall, he passed me after the underpass and was able to put some good time on me during the ascents on the 2nd half of lap 2.Overall it was a great race and I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did with the minimal amount of training I have done this year, not to mention racing for twice as long as my longest ride in the past 2 years. “
About 13 minutes back, Millard Allen took second at 6:03:44.
“Pierre’s Hole is one of my favorite races, although it deceives me every year in how challenging it will be. I chose to run 32-20 gearing because of all the climbing and not thinking I would lose too much time in the descents. I had somewhat of a tough day but was able to finish strong enough to take second. Holden and I rode the first lap together and we were wondering if we would be able to catch Will, who passed us on the first big descent going down 38 Special. It felt like he passed us sitting still. I thought his full suspension bike and taller gear would allow me to catch him eventually, but he was a complete beast. It ended up being a race for second place. Holden attacked going up Andy’s and Peaks Trails at the beginning of the second lap. He saw I was struggling a bit so he took a chance. I was able to keep him in my sight during the climb while toeing the line of not redlining too much. I was able to overtake him about 2/3s up the climb and hold it together the rest of the race. My nutrition was off and I suffered A LOT the last half of the second lap. Even if I had my nutrition dialed in that day, I am confident Will was just too strong.. plus with the larger gearing he would have been able to ride away from me. Solid race by Will, Holden, Brad Keyes and all the other racers! Amazing event and I look forward to riding True Grit Epic next year, TBD if it will be on a SS.”
About 15 minutes back, Holden Anderson pedaled to a third place crossing the line in 6:19:15.
Saffell on top
In a very close masters race, Bob Saffell, dug deep to take the masters win at 6:27:07.
“I had no idea what the field was going to show for the race. I was just looking forward to 100k of amazing one track. I was expeing Jon Gould to be the one to watch. He rode away on the first climb, confirming my expectation, Brent Peacock was a bit behind him. I settled in for the duration. Soon after feed one I caught Jon and got a small gap on him. I caught and passed Ami Stuart on More Cowbell and we were descending together on Perma-Grin when disaster struck. My shifter fell off my bar. I looked for the bolt for a second, determined i was going to have to drop out, when, hmm, tried a bottle cage bolt, and it worked. I took it easy through the lap, on the Andy’s climb on lap two I started to ramp it up a bit and decided, “what do i have to lose” I caught and passed at least one other 50+ on the climb and kept pushing it. In the Quakie Ridge section I caught glimpses of Brent, so I buried myself a bit and made the pass some where in the last 2 miles on Snow Drift, 40 seconds to spare. Brent had a soft front tire, otherwise it would have been a different finish.”
Less than a minute back, Brent Peacock, took second crossing the line at 6:27:59. Only 26 seconds back from second and taking third was, Kyle Rafford, at 6:28:25.
The NUE series headed to the San Bernardino mountains in sunny Southern California for the Grizzly 100k, 75k races and Grand Fondo. This was the final NUE race of the 2018 season and determined the NUE overall titles.
Starting around 7000 feet above sea level in Big Bear Lake, CA, racers were challenge to a high altitude course with technical singletrack, loose descents, and the all famous 5 mile Radford climb.
Juarez crushes the Men’s Open
Men’s Open Podium: 1st-Tinker Juarez, 2nd Ty Kady, 3rd Romolo Forconi
It was Tinker Juarez of Cannondale/LA mirada who took the win in the Men’s Open with a time of 3:34:13. Just about fifteen minutes back was Ty Kady finishing in second with a time of 3:49:09. Rounding out the Men’s Open podium was, Romolo Forcino, finishing third at 3:52:48.
“The 75 k starts out with a climb that takes approximately 20 minutes and then enters the long technical downhill of the 7 Oak Trail. I entered the 7 Oak Trail in second place about a minute or two down on Tinker Juarez. After the long descent there is a long gradual dirt road climb to the top of the Santa Ana River trail. Ty Kady passed me just before entering the SART and I rode alone until I reached the infamous Radford Road climb. During the hour long Radford Road climb, I came close to reaching Ty in second place, but I was not able to completely close the gap. At the top of Radford, I rode alone on the Skyline single track to the finish of the race.
I was very happy with my day on the bike and am always honored to stand on the podium with Tinker and Ty. The BigBear Grizzly is an excellent race. Not only does it cover miles of the best single track in California, it’s also a race where you don’t have to worry about your nutritional supplies. You could leave the starting line with one water bottle and there are enough stops along the way to fill up your bottle and get calories so that you don’t have to worry about carrying pounds of water and food with you. The race is a culmination of the dream of Derek Hermon of BearValley Bikes. Bear Valley Bikes also happens to support me and many other riders in Southern California. Through Bear Valley Bikes, our race team also gets support from Cannondale, Oakley and Wren Carbon Components among others.Being a husband and father of 2, I don’t get to travel too far for races, so I am very happy to have this event in our hometown. If you have never done the Grizzly, I highly recommend it. BigBear Lake is a beautiful part of Southern California where the town’s people really have a lot of passion for all of the different things they do. There is a lot of mountain bike history in BigBear Lake, and the town really supports the sport.”
Toops takes the win and Series title
Women’s Open Podium: 1st-Jen Toops, 2nd-Jen Hanks, 3rd- Bryna Blanchard
It all came down to the Grizzly 75K to determine the NUE women’s marathon series winner for 2018. Taking the win with a time of 4:46:15, Jen Toops of Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles MTB, 2017 NUE marathon series champion, successfully defends the 2018 NUE women’s marathon title.
” This was a big race for me. My husband and I came early and pre-road the singletrack sections. I chose to ride my Pivot Les with all the climbing. If I wanted to defend the series I had to have a strong smart race. The race started fast. Blanchard, Jen Hanks and I were all neck and neck on the first climb fighting for position. My teammate, Jen Hanks, and I made some time on Blanchard on the first super loose downhill and eventually lost sight of her. Hanks pulled away on the first flat dirt road section and I lost sight of her.
I was feeling good on the singletrack and then I hit my handlebar on a tree bombing a downhill. Boom, I was thrown on my back landing on my pack and sliding into a rock that luckily prevented me from sliding down the mountain. Another racer helped me up, made sure I was ok and sent me on my way. My levers were all out of place and I a little shaken up but I had to focus.
Then came the Radford climb. I knew Blanchard was strong on long climbs. I gave it everything I had. By the top of the climb I could see Hanks but surprisingly never saw Blanchard behind me. I had pre-rode the last singletrack section, the skyline trail, and knew what was left in the race. Catching Hanks in the singletrack we exchanged words of encouragement and we pushed to the finish claiming first and second!
The Grizzly course was really fun and fast. Derek put on a great event and hope to make it back next year! Thanks to my sponsors who helped make this race happen: Pearl Izumi, Pivot Cycles, SCC chain lube, Carborocket, Ergon, Xpedo, Continental, Stans, Kask, Rotor and Honeystinger.”
Just over two minutes back was, Jen Hanks of Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles MTB finishing strong at 4:49:00.
Taking the third spot on the podium was, Bryna Blanchard of BMB Racing finishing at 4:52:33. Blanchard finishes second in the 2018 NUE women’s Marathon series with a win at Wilderness, second at Iron Mountain, second at Mohican and a third at Big Bear.
Golet gets top step
Taking the top step in the Master’s division was, Greg Golet of Team Chico, with a time of 3:54:10. With this placing, Golet takes second in the overall 2018 NUE Marathon series.
“I was fortunate to arrive Friday and had a chance for a preride on the Santa Ana river trail. It was fun, but I took it slow and easy. In contrast, I got to rip it on race day! That section was my favorite, but really the whole course was a blast. The Radford climb seemed smoother than I remembered, maybe because it didn’t rain as much this past winter? Really, the only drawback was that the race ended too soon! When the turn came to head back to town, I really wanted to continue on the 100K course that I did the past couple of years. Riding the ridge line swooping between granite outcrops was hard to say not to, but alas, I needed a fourth finish in the marathon series. As usual the BigBear team did a great job with the race, and I am thankful to the support of Honey Stinger, CarboRocket, and Wolf Tooth components. For me, one of the best parts of the trip was stopping on the way home to climb a peak in the magnificent High Sierra. Thanks NUE for giving me a reason to keep heading down to SoCal!”
Finishing a couple minutes back with a time of 3:56:21 was Mike Dailey. Dailey finishes the season strong and takes sixth in the 2018 Master’s Marathon series.
Claiming third was, Jeff Peterson, crossing the line at 5:40:16.
Boffeli claims singlespeed 75k WIN
Taking the win in the singlespeed division was, Shannon Boffeli, Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles MTB, with a time of 4:15:05.
Breckenridge Returns for 2019 with Big Bear, California
“Celebrating more than TEN YEARS as the nation’s premier XXC Race Series”
The 13th Annual National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series www.nuemtb.com announced the 2019 race schedules this week featuring a balanced schedule, east and west.
The NUEEpic Race Series Schedule is comprised of races at or near 100 miles in length. Big Bear Grizzly in California will again host the NUE Series Championship race where all ties are broken. The Breckenridge 100 returns for 2019 bringing the total number of Epic Series races to twelve in this best four of twelve series.
The NUE Marathon Race Series schedule is comprised of races at or near 50 miles to 100k in length. In 2019, The Breckenridge 100k returns bringing the total number of races to 11 in this best four of eleven series.
Photo by Ryan Stephens
“On behalf of The NUE Race Series, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, many who have been with us for up to a decade now, for believing in our vision and supporting NUE. We are proud to promote our NUE sponsors including Kenda Tire, Hammer Nutrition, Sigma Sport of Germany, Darn Tough Socks of Vermont, KMC Chain, Lauf Forks, Voler apparel, Squirt Lube, and Chris Eatough Coaching, for providing training plans for NUE Racers, many tailored to specific NUE race courses based on his success with NUE.” Ryan O’Dell, NUE Race Series Director.
Born in 2006 to fill a need for XXC racers, the NUE Series began with just six races before growing over the last eleven years to now include a total of twenty three races held within twelve different states.
The NUE Marathon Race Series will be made up of eleven well known races including the newest Iron Mountain 100k in Damascus, Virginia. Distances will vary ranging from 50 miles to 100k. Like the NUE Epic 100 Mile Race Series, the NUE MARATHON Race Series will be governed by the same rules and will require the same number of races (BEST 4) to become eligible for series awards and recognition. It is important to note that the NUE Epic and NUE Marathon are two separate race series. Points will not transfer between the Epic 100 Mile and Marathon Race Series. Marathon Series finishers will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE finisher jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series Finishers.
To claim the NUE Race Series Epic 100 Mile title, racers best four finishes will count. NUE requires a minimum of four races to receive a national ranking. ALL racers who complete four of the NUE 100 Mile distance races will receive a national ranking and qualify for series awards, Custom Voler NUE Champion Jersey or discounted NUE Finisher Jersey plus prize packages for ALL NUE Race Series finishers.
Additional Travel awards for NUE Division leaders include an NUE Epic Series Champion travel package to compete in The LaRuta de los Conquistadores, a three day stage race across Costa Rica recognized as one of the toughest races on the planet. Details will be announced publicly soon.
All Epic and Marathon series ties will be broken at the Big Bear Grizzly in California. An attractive feature of the NUE Series is that there is NO LICENSE REQUIRED in order to participate. Everyone is welcome to compete on a level playing field alongside top Pro’s. ALL finishing racers receive a score based on their race finishes with a “lowest points wins” formula. The best possible score is 4.
Nearly ALL NUE Race Series events sold out again in 2018, some within mere minutes. The Marji Gesick 100, the first race to open registration has already sold out. True Grit, High Cascades and Mohican have recently opened registration and are also expected to sell out.
NUE is currently soliciting the support of additional partners interested in promoting products and services that racers can use. Potential sponsors can receive more information by contacting Ryan O’Dell at email@example.com
What’s on tap for each event for 2019?
Both, the NUE Epic Series and Marathon Series will roll out on March 9 in the southwest at the True Grit Epic and True Grit Epic 50 in sunny Santa Clara, Utah. According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, “The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first twenty miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on single track and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain. We are adding a 15 mile challenge ride this year to include those who may not have trained enough to take on a series course but would like to experience a little bit of True Grit. True Grit Registration is already open and nearing capacity.”
On April 27, NUE returns to Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 and Cohutta Big Frog 65 under the new direction of Lisa Randall at Mountain Goat Adventures, who also produces the Fool’s Gold 100. The course has reverted back to the original Cohutta 100 course from a decade ago, using the singletrack section of Brush Creek and the Tanasi trail systems, and an intense gravel loop known as “The Death March”. Staging for the race takes place along the banks of the beautiful Ocoee River — site for the 1996 Olympic White Water Events. The 100 miles of race course traverses the mountain terrain by world class single track and fire roads. The single track is fast and flowing, but can get tight and technical in spots. The fire roads are demanding but rewarding with long ascents, fast descents, and spectacular mountain views.
Out of the gate, the race makes about a three mile climb on pavement up highway 64. This warm-up serves as a good field displacer and pole position before entering into the fast and flowy single track for the next twenty miles. Next is a challenging loop on beautiful mountain fire-roads. Road texture alternates between hard-pack gravel and smooth moist dirt. Expect tenacious climbs (over 12,000’ of elevation gain overall), hundreds of curves, and peaceful mountain streams. Upon return, racers will re-enter the single track for about nine final miles of the best trails in these mountains.
The weather in Southeastern Tennessee in late April ranges in expression. Expect a chilly morning for sure on race day, but a quick warming up in the early miles. Six Aid Stations provide supplemental support throughout the course and a delicious meal and coveted “Finisher” mug await finishers at the Finish Line.
Next up is the 18th Annual Mohican 100 and Mohican 100k on June 1 that hosted nearly 600 racers in 2018. Like the Leadville 100, Mohican features a downtown start in Loudonville with plans to continue the neutral start that started in 2018. From there, the course covers several miles of double track before treating racers to a recently recognized IMBA Epic trail of pristine, flowing single track within the 5000 acre Mohican State Forest along a single loop spanning three of the counties that make up what is known as “Mohican Country”. Due to tremendous growth, The Mohican 100 mile and 100k imposed a limit of 600 racers. This race may sell out quickly so it is recommended to register soon. 100 Mile Race finishers receive a custom Mohican finisher growler to be filled and refilled with a truckload of microbrew provided by award winning Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland.
From the Buckeye State, racers will head north into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, on June 15. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, The Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series. If you like fast flowing, mostly non-technical single track, and Founders Brewing, this is your race. Perhaps that is why this event always sells out early, sometimes within minutes.
One June 24, Iron Mountain 100k, located in Damascus, Virginia returns to the NUE Marathon Race Schedule. Damascus is called “Trail Town” because the Appalachian Trail and the Creeper Trail pass right through the historic downtown. Bicycle advocates are also creating a Great Eastern Trail Bicycle Route that passes through Damascus too. This route is under development and utilizes the Iron Mountain Trail and the Highlands Horse Trail in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. The GET Bicycle Route links to the New River Trail and onto Blacksburg where it gets back on singletrack and joins the existing GET at the southern end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail.
As summer arrives, The NUE Race Series returns to the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota on July 6 for the Tatanka Epic and Tatanka Marathon. The Tatanka introduced a brand-new course and format in 2018. Starting and finishing on the legendary Sturgis Main Street, in the middle of downtown in the “City of Riders”, racers will duke it out as they race through town between unique loops in a clover-leaf format. The new course covers dozens of miles of newly constructed trail and keeps the best trail from past events. The Tatanka Marathon will share its main loop with the Epic and represents many hardcore locals favorite “BIG ride”.
One week later, on July 13, NUE Marathon Series heads northeast to Maine. The Carrabassett 100k located in the Carrabassett Valley adds some northeast flavor to the NUE Series. Carrabassett, located near Sugarloaf Ski Area, has spent approximately $500,000 building mountain bike trails in the Carrabassett Region. The goal is to construct an iconic mountain bike trail network that is on everybody’s “must-ride” list. To date there is approximately 100 miles of riding for all abilities. This includes miles of super flowy, machine-built singletrack and old-school style trails that have been carved out with hand tools and sweat. The Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge (CBCC) is your chance to experience some of this outstanding riding in a true point-to-point style race through the western mountains of Maine! Profits from the race go towards construction and maintenance of new trails.
Also on July 13, The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k races return to the NUE Series Schedule. The Breckenridge 100 mile and 100k in Colorado can take your breath away, literally, as it begins at an altitude of 9000 feet before crossing the continental divide three times, eliciting jaw dropping views throughout in a three loop Clover shaped race originating from Carter Park in downtown Breckenridge.
2018 NUE series marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot)
On July 20, think Big Foot and Volcano’s as Mudslinger Events hosts The High Cascades 100 in Bend returning for its tenth year to represent the state of Oregon. The Trails around Mt. Bachelor are truly epic and racers are treated to quality craft brews from Deschutes Brewing. With just 350 spots available, racers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
Also on July 20, The Wilderness 101 and the Wilderness 101k, directed by Chris Scott, is located in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If you enjoy technical backcountry single track and hair raising downhill thrills, nothing rocks quite like PA! W101 was one of just six races included in the inaugural NUE Race Series.
The final four races will occur within a two month period and, as usual, has a tendency to create some chaos in the series standings before the final tie breaking event.
First up is the 11th AnnualPierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k located near Alta, Wyoming on August 3. Pierre’s Hole, a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies. Today it is known as the strategic gathering place to ski unfathomable deep powder and ride some of the best known single track in the nation.
According to race director Andy Williams, “The Pierre’s Hole 100 and Pierre’s Hole 100k at Grand Targhee Resort newest course layout adds even more new single track without the nasty climb down to the ranch from the early years of the race that many old timers may recall. The 2019 course will take racers through fields of wild flowers, aspen trees and old growth forest right in the shadows of the Tetons.” The “Grand Loop” which is all a part of the Pierre’s race course was recently named as an IMBA Epic trail!”
The next day, on September 1 over Labor Day Weekend in the USA, the 22nd Annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will send up to 650 racers into the George Washington National Forest. Shenandoah is the grand-daddy of them all, and the largest strictly 100 mile race in the NUE Race Series! Shenandoah not only has a great reputation for amazing trails but is also well known for the outstanding support of volunteers and aid stations that many racers would agree sets the bar for excellence.
One September 21, NUE shifts north to the upper peninsula of Michigan to Ishpeming for the Marji Gesick 100 and 50 mile races. 100 miles and 13,000 vertical feet armored with rocks, roots, drops, jump lines, flow trails, grueling climbs, dangerous technical descents and a final fifteen miles designed to push riders to their mental and physical limits. This year’s Marji Gesick with a limit of 666 already sold out, in a single day!
Pierre’s Hole Alta, WY
Over its twelve year history, the NUE Race Series has alternated the Championship race from east to west several times in an effort to keep the playing field level for racers. In 2019, the final NUE race will break most ties and determine the new NUE Champions on the west coast of California at the Big Bear Grizzly 100 and Grizzly 75k in Big Bear Lake. Big Bear has attracted racers from nine countries and eighteen states!
Directed by Derek Hermon, racers familiar with the 100k Grand Fondo course will be treated to an extended portion of trail along a ridgeline with amazing views and an altitude beginning at 7000′ and reaching 8500′ with enough single track racers will beg for a fire road.
The NUE series schedule subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details. Stay tuned here for upcoming information about NUE Series Sponsors, Prize Money, Potential travel awards, and other race details. www.nuemtb.com.
The next stop in the NUE series, Pierre’s Hole, is a rugged 32 mile single track loop that takes racers all over Grand Targhee Resort. If you’re able to look up out of the chest high wildflowers, the views down into the valley and of the Tetons at Pierre’s Hole 100 are breathtaking.At 7:00am on a beautiful cool morning, the 100 mile racers start their three lap race followed at 8:10am by the 100k racers and at 8:40am by the 50k racers. The race starts with a grueling 1700’ climb up the resort separating everyone for the 95% single track course. Once at the top, racers head down 38 special for a memorable descent with 38 switchbacks. Climbing back up the resort slopes again, riders enjoy an exhilarating high alpine descent down to aid 1 and back down to the resort base area.
Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / firstname.lastname@example.org / @jaygoodrich
The next two loops are an undulating combination of meadows, forests, twisty and smooth single track that brings racers back to the start/finish for the end of lap 1.With temps in the low 70s, a race venue at Grand Targhee resort full of campers, hot showers, local beers, good food and kids activities as well an epic single track course; this is a race geared towards the avid mountain bike racers as well as the family-friendly and casual racers.
Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / email@example.com / @jaygoodrich
East coaster, Bryan Lewis (Cutaway USA), proved he could handle the elevation and took the top step in a time of 8:00:01.
“The Tetons have always been one of my favorite places to visit and I was excited to meet up with a couple friends from the area and take on the PH100. With 3 distance options to choose from the 100 mile field was a lot smaller than other NUEs. It’s as if others knew something I didn’t. The race started with a long climb that set up the lead group fairly quickly. On the first descent of the day Sam Sweetser set the pace and quickly separated he and I from the rest of the lead group. That set the tempo for the remainder of the ride as he continued to pull me around the single track.
Sam was super smooth and fast on the switchback heavy course and it was fun to follow him along. He was riding strong and when he made a minor mistake in a corner I made my way around him and tested his legs a bit separating from him around mile 60 and never (and by never I mean always) looking back. He kept the gap tight but I was able to hold on and really felt good on the final lap in Rick’s Basin and had fun ripping on it.
Overall, Pierre’s Hole was an amazing race under the view of the Tetons, which is hard to beat. I will say when I was finished I didn’t want to see another switchback for a few weeks, but that’s just me. Thanks Andy and the crew for building great trails and putting on a fun race!
Sponsors: Flying solo, but appreciate the support of my employer Cutaway, USA as well as a good group of friends (Will, Steven, Tyler, Seth, AT, and Carlo) that consistently talk smack and give me a hard time as I chase fun events across the country. Also big thanks good friend Jansen Gunderson who hosted and helped me with feeds during the race. Also I’m really glad my girlfriend didn’t shoot me for stealing her drink mix out of the cooler while she also cruised through 100 miles under the Tetons. :/ Lessons learned and thanks a great vacation Lauren!”
Twelve minutes back, Sam Sweetser (Cole Sport), takes second at 8:12:01.
David Krimstock (Shimano/Pearl Izumi/Pivot) rounded out the podium taking third at 8:19:47.
“Pierres Hole was the 4th 100 mile race in 5 weeks for me, and even though I have done this type of schedule before the added travel and fatigue left me with some unknowns. Riding sections of the course before the race had me looking forward to giving it my all on race day. This years course was unique with a small handful of dirt road miles, it seems to me that the PH100 has the most single track of any 100 mile race Im aware of. Between 38 Special, Action Jackson, and the winding up and down of Ricks Basin, I had a feeling my body was going to be completely thrashed by the end.The race started with a reasonable pace, and I played it safe. Letting Brian, Sam, and Stefano get ahead then reeling them back in by the top of the climb. Leading into the 38 Special descent Sam and Brian pushed the pace to get onto the trail first, and I settled in behind Stefano. Feeling decent, I went ahead of him during the climb out of the canyon and tried to keep the leaders in sight. I was about 2 minutes back for the rest of lap 1, and was continuously trying to pull them back. I held onto faith that my strategy of fueling with EFS Pro and Gel and using a Camelbak to be able to drink while on the trail would pay off as it often does. However, the gap continued to grow and I found myself riding in 3rd for the majority of the day. I had a blast ripping the endless trail with my Pivot 429SL and seeing all the other folks out on the laps having the same experience. Even though it may not have been my best day out there, its hard to forget a day spent in that unique terrain.”
Taking the win in the women’s open division, racing on Kenda Saber Pro tires, Larissa Connors (Sho-Air CG), finishes in a time of 8:58:17. With this win Connors has a perfect score of four and now leads the overall NUE race series.
“Pierre’s Hole was a last minute addition to my race schedule. I Choose to head up to Alta because I’ve never been to WY and heard so many good things about it! The idea of a three lap race was exciting, as was the promise we would be racing under the Tetons all day on SO MUCH SINGLETRACK!
I tried to start easy, since the altitude meant pacing was going to be crucial. That didn’t last long though and by the top of the first climb I had been lured into riding super hard, and decided to just run with it. The 38 special descent was crazy fun on lap 1, and the flowers and scenery distracted me from any thoughts of how long the race was, or how much I was going to blow up if I kept going so hard.
By lap 2 I had to slow down a bit. I realized when my wrists started hurting on lap 1 that if I didn’t actively choose to recover on the dh then I was going to be in a world of pain by lap 3, since you COULD pedal every inch of the course if you wanted.
A volunteer told me that 2nd place was only 5 min back at the start of lap 3, which freaked me out since I was chillin’ on lap2, so I laid down the gas again on lap 3. Surprisingly it felt good to dig deep, so I pushed hard, had fun cheering on the racers doing the shorter distances, and ate all the BonkBreaker snacks I had on me over the course of the last 32 miles.
Crossing the line a minute under 9 hours was freaking rad, and winning my 4th NUE of the year was the icing on the scenic race cake!!”
Kaitlyn Boyle (Pivot Cycles/Industry Nine) finished second in a time of 10:06:59. Crossing the line third was Jennifer Wolfrom (Hoback Sports) at 10:49:59.
Getting his first NUE win of the season, Henry Fischer of Wila’s Wheels, won singlespeed with a time of 9:23:15. Brent Cannon (Team Elevate), took second in 9:36:58. In a sprint for third place, Adam Smith finished just seconds before Adam Miller in a time of 10:32:05.
Adam Miller states, “I am a mtb coach for our local NICA racing teams, Teton Valley Composite, and Jackson Hole Composite, so a shout out to them!!! The younger kids were supporting at aid stations All day! We had four of our athletes compete, and one of them podiumed in the 50K open!
I had only 2 rides over 4 hours prior to race, so the hundred miles was more of a challenge to say the least, and a good lesson of perseverance for our athletes’.
I chased another single-speed rider all day. He would DROP me on any hill handedly. I relied on my downhill skills any chance I could and would get him into view every once in a while. I got a glimpse of him in the last 10 miles, so I gave-er everything I had. He did too! I finally caught up with him about 100 yds from the finish. Sprint finish, and I won by .3 seconds!
Looking back, I would have geared my single-speed at 32/21 instead of my usual 32/20. By the third lap, I was having a real hard time getting the cranks over, and the racer in front of me with 32/22 was still spinning along…NEXT YEAR!”
With wins at True Grit, Tatanka and High Cascades, Cary Smith (The Hub) can now add Pierre’s Hole to the list and finished in 9:02:12. He now leads the NUE masters race series with a perfect score of four.
About ten minutes back was, Matt Woodruff (Kuhl) taking second in a time of 9:11:56.
Mike Baughman (Lost River Cycling) took third in a time of 9:57:52.
Photo credit: Jay Goodrich / firstname.lastname@example.org / @jaygoodrich
The Wilderness 101 is a classic on the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series and is know for its rolling hills through amish country, long gravel roads, rail trails, tunnels and rocky east coast singletrack. This year a new Marathon distance was added which is part of the NUE marathon series. W101 is hosted in Coburn, PA and organized by Shenandoah Mountain Tours.
One of two tunnels racers ride through near the finish line. Photo credit: Kayla Randolph
Flooding the previous week had racers wondering if racing was going to be possible, but the high waters receded and the weather was perfect on race day! Camping was provided at the race start/finish which added to the overall race weekend experience.
Fully stocked aid stations and great volunteers!
Old railroad bridge
Johnson gets third NUE win for 2018
Open Men: 1st Dylan Johnson, 2nd-Brian Schworm, 3rd-Christian Tanguy, 4th- Heath Thumel, 5th-John Wiygul, 6th-Andy Rhodes, 7th, Dan Atkins.
In the open men’s division a lead group of Johnson, Bishop, Tanguay and Schworm formed but after, Jeremiah Bishop (Caynon Topeak Factory Racing), had to stop several times for flat tires, Bishop was able to finish in ninth place. Taking the win by about seven minutes was the 2017 NUE race series champion, Dylan Johnson (Leska MTB), crossing the line in 6:39:50.
Finishing strong for second place, Brian Schworm (Think Green Bicycle), came in at 6:47:17.
“The recent weather with the record setting amounts of rain and consequential flooding had me a bit concerned about the condition of the course for the 2018 Wilderness 101; however, with a few reroutes by the race director and a nice break in the weather on race day, the conditions were completely agreeable. The race started out of Coburn to cool temperatures and the excitement began although the pace was moderate at best for the first hour and half. In between aid stations one and two the pace quickened on a few of the climbs and a lead group containing Dylan Johnson, Christian Tanguay, Jeremiah Bishop, and myself formed. We rode together for a while but either a piece of singletrack, or a climb, or mechanical problem would split our group into various combinations with some leading and others chasing but ultimately we would regroup.
I would say the first decisive section was the Sassafras/Pig Pile section of trail. I was already 10-15 seconds behind the others entering the trail where Jeremiah and Dylan took off leaving a gap to Christian and another gap to me. Unfortunately for Jeremiah, he suffered a flat towards the end of this section leaving Dylan on his own. Jeremiah was able to continue but was now behind. He quickly worked his way back up to me and then we rode back to Christian. Us three worked together for a while trying to bridge back to Dylan but ultimately Jeremiah’s tire was still giving him problems. He needed to stop again. Christian and I forged on until the Stillhouse climb beyond aid station 4 (at least, where aid 4 was supposed to be; unfortunately, we beat the delivery leaving us without). Anyway, on the Stillhouse climb I could see Dylan up the hill so I pressed on hard while Christian wisely held back to save some energy for later.
At the top of the climb just before entering the Sand Mountain section there was a “trail angel” with some water. This unofficial aid station was perfect since aid 4 was missing and I was out of water. Dylan was also in need and was taking his time refilling his bottles. I filled up quickly and caught Dylan who was only a few seconds ahead at this point. We rode together through Sand Mountain and the following climbs and descents. I was feeling great at this point and sensed that Dylan was not. I couldn’t have been more wrong! After a little back and forth, Dylan attacked with about 12 miles to go and I had no response. I went from feeling great to feeling a bit sluggish. Very quickly that deteriorated to feeling tired and hungry and then to feeling light-headed and shaky. I was running scared; I had completely given up chasing Dylan and was more concerned about Christian gaining on me. In the end Dylan put almost seven minutes on me and Christian was just 30 seconds back. I was relieved to be finished and even more relieved that I held my second position.
Of course I need to thank my team Think Green – Bicycle Face for their support. Also my other sponsors Sword Energy Drink, Specialized Bicycles, ESI Grips, Schwalbe Tires, and TruckerCo, but as usual, a special thanks to my extraordinary wife Jennifer for her undeniable support and understanding in these adventures of mine. Now time for some recovery and then revamping of the training for my next NUE event, the Shenandoah 100 in about a month’s time.”
Just seconds back from second place, last years Wilderness 101 race winner, Christain Tanguy (RBS Cycling Team), finished in third place, 6:47:47.
Local racer, Vicki Barclay (Cannondale, Kenda) took the top step in the women’s open, at 8:10:35.
“This was my first time racing the Wilderness 101 since 2015. After a few years of shorter, one-day races and stage races, plus a few weeks of little racing, I was excited to race this 100 miler to get in a good day of quality training and racing on home turf (I have a house in State College with my husband, Rich). Come race day, I was thrilled to see that the race had brought out some fast ladies; I knew I would have to ride a smart race to take the top step at the end. Lauren Cantwell and I rode mostly together until Aid 1; I let some small gaps open up at times, but wanted to ride conservatively for the first 20 miles (this was my seventh time racing Wilderness and I have made every mistake in the book in year’s past that has cost me significantly!). Once the pace settled a bit after the climb out of Aid #1, I put in some small efforts to gain a gap before a key piece of singletrack. The gap stuck and I managed to stay out in front for the rest of the race, trading places with some men on the course, and enjoying the special kind of pain that 100 mile racing induces. With the recent rain, a lot of singletrack had be replaced with fire roads, so I was happy I chose to run my Honey Badger XC pro 27.5 x 2.2 tires front and rear – excellent traction in the singletrack and fast rolling on the roads. I fueled the race with lots of my favorite race snack – GU Watermelon Chews! With the good feels at Wilderness 101, I am considering racing the Shenandoah 100 in a few weeks!
Sponsors: Kenda Cannondale Women’s Elite Team”
About eleven minutes back, Lauren Cantwell (Deschutes Brewing), took second place at 8:21:21. Finishing third was, Amelia Capuano (Rearden Steel) crossing the finish line at 8:47:03.
“The race was comfortable for me. It was beautiful outside and I really enjoyed the evolution of the day’s riding. I am appreciative of the smiling and joyful riders with whom I rode for portions of the day, they made it a blast. Also very glad that the flood waters receded from the park to make for fun camping. Thank you Chris Scott for taking on the challenge of running classic races.
Sponsors: Myself, My Family, and Great Friends, LLC.”
Defending SS NUE Champion and last years Wilderness 101 singlespeed race winner, Gordon Wadsworth, Blue Ridge Cyclery/Pivot Cycles, gets his second NUE win for the 2018 season finishing in 7:14:41.
“My day was pretty swell. We JUST finished relocating a little outside roanoke and so motivation wasn’t high to be honest. Nevertheless as soon as we kicked tires onto the sweet Pa dirt all the stoke came flooding back.
Our start was WILDLY casual for about the first two hours. A wild pack of singlespeed racers including Don Powers, Kenny Kocarek, Peyton Randolph, and myself seemed pretty comfortable controlling the pace from the front. And the group of maybe 30-50 riders seemed happy to let us!
In the downhill turns prior to aid 2 I made sure to be at the front and was joined by a purposeful Jeremiah Bishop. We’ve got a few W101s under our belts and both knew that the dirt climb out of Aid 2 was narrow and more difficult to navigate; often precipitating a break group or a bump in the pace. Jeremiah and I swapped recipes for a bit before charging down into the Detweiler descent. A firing Dylan Johnson shot past us and I knew if I could hold their wheels I could make the group I needed to be in.
Our group shrunk coming out of Detweiler, and again on3 bridges until it was the familiar company of Heath Thumel. Heath and I have similar strengths and after a long week of moving for me and a week away from home racing the High Cascades 100 for him we were both happy to keep things “fast casual.”
And we pretty much did. Working with two other riders until the descent down No-Name trail after which it was the two of us singing songs and dreaming for finish line. Crossing 4th and 5th overall with me 1st SS
The Pivot Cycles LES was MONEY as always on the fast fire roads and gnarly rock knees of the PA Wilderness. Industry Nine system wheels custom laced to NOX rims wrapped in Maxxis Ikon rubber had heath and I both smiling and confident no matter our line choice.”
Fifteen minutes back, Ross Anderson (Elevation Zero), finished at 7:35:01. A couple minutes later, James Litzinger (Syndicate cycling) and Don Powers (UPMC Pro Bikes), declared a tie for third place and finished together at 7:37:36.
Powers states, “Well this past Saturday was my 8th time racing the Wilderness 101. I’ve had recent success at this race scoring podiums spots in 3 out of the last 4 years and was hoping for another similar result this year. I knew it would be tough with some strong competition in Gordon Wadsworth, Jim Litzinger and Peyton Randolph all in the mix. The race starts with a 3ish mile / 1000 foot gravel climb. The pace was pretty chill and the big geared guns let us SS’ers set the pace. What surprised me even more was that they let us SS’ers set the pace all the way to aid station 1, which is 19 miles into the race. Normally on the climb out of aid station 1 the intensity picks up and the top geared guys start to flex their muscle. But that was not the case. As we crested the top of the climb I started shouting out to the likes of Jerimiah Bishop, Dylan Johnson, Brian Schworm, & Cristian Tanguey that I was confused by their tactics. On the next rocky descent things started to shake out, Gordon got away and I tried to keep it close to Litzinger. Jim was on his full suspension S-Works SS while I was on a rigid SS. I was able to gap Jim on the next climb and then he proceeded to drop me on the next technical rocky descent. I was able to catch back up on the next climb and then once again he got away on the next descent. After that I did not see him again until later. Going into aid station 4, I was caught by another strong SS’er Ross Anderson. He got away on the big climb out of aid station 4 and I didn’t see him again. So I knew I was sitting in 4th place with about 35ish miles to go. As I rolled into aid station 5, I saw Litzinger refueling and filling bottles. He got a little lost and had to back track a bit, he was off course about 1.5 miles (This is what happens when you climb with your head down and miss arrows). We rolled down the first part of the rail trail together and he said his legs were pretty dead. On the last climb with about 7 miles to go in the race I attacked him and put a decent size gap on him heading down to the technical final single track trail called Fisherman’s Trail. Well my lead didn’t last long as Jim caught back up and then proceeded to attack me. After we got out of Fisherman’s Trail I was able to close the gap on the last part of the rail trail, I was running a slightly bigger gear than him 32X18 vs 34X20. We called a truce and rolled the last 3 or so miles into the finish together. They scored us tied for 3rd SS & 12 overall with a time of 7:37 and change. While Jim is without a doubt my biggest racing rival, he is also a good friend and it was nice to finish tied with him in such a hard race.”
Spaulding repeats at Wilderness
Masters: 1st- Russell Spaulding, 2nd-Tom Stritzinger, 3rd- Roger Masse, 4th- Jim Matthews, 5th-Bruce Stauffer
Last years race winner, Russell Spaulding (TFM Racing), repeats again this year coming in at 8:09:12. Spaulding is currently in second for the overall series standings.
“I really didn’t know what to expect this time around at Wilderness. I have been racing hundreds every two or three weeks since Mohican in June. The “Double Hundred” (Miles & Heat) out in South Dakota really left me in a bit of a fog before this race.
After the neutral roll out I found myself stepping out in front of the lead pack on the initial climb. This ended up being my only real contribution to the pack behind me, because I ended up startling a family of deer that ended up crossing the road just ahead of the pack. So you see, that’s really why I was out front on the first part of the climb. Just trying to protect the deer / mountain biker relationship!
Halfway up the climb the lead pack caught me, and I just tucked myself right in behind one of the stronger riders and held on for the top. Once we hit the top the lead pack just cruised along like it was some Sunday ride. I’m tucked in behind a rider just cruising along, and I happen to notice that the entire pack was being led by two single speeders. It’s like all the geared riders are sitting on the couch eating chips, while someone else is doing all the vacuuming!
After aid two the master’s race was just starting to take shape. Johnston was within view up ahead of myself and Masse. The further we got into this race, I realized two things. One, the mountain bike Gods had selected me as part of their amusement during this race. I ended up on the ground a little bit more than I would have liked. Someday I hope to be a real mountain biker! Two, my legs were cramping way too early in this race.
Masse eventually ended up leaving us all behind to fend for ourselves. I was just trying to stay in the mix, and work through the cramping in my legs. By aid three I was hoping for some instant relief for my legs in the form of pickle juice or yellow mustard. Neither were to be found, but fortunately there were some Endurolytes available.
At the bottom of the first downhill after aid three I ended up passing Masse. The rocks in Pennsylvania are just plain mean, and he was working on one of his tires. When I reached the off camber, rocky as hell “No Name” trail I ended up making another mistake and ended up on my back below the trail. It wouldn’t have been that bad if my legs had not immediately seized up. Man that’s painful! By the time I got back up on the trail Stritzinger comes screaming by me to take the lead before we reach aid four.
Aid four is grilling hot dogs! Can you believe it? Bottles of fancy mustard on the table! I pretty much drained one of those fancy mustard bottles before hitting the climb after aid four.
I would assume that most racers despise the climb after aid four, but for some reason I really start to come alive in the last third of a race. My legs were becoming less of an issue. The temperature was heating up, and the climb was taking me into my Zen zone.
Turns out I ended up catching Stritzinger just before the last climb of the race. I knew there were two major climbs after the aid four climb, but there are also a couple of smaller climbs within that mix so I wasn’t sure what lay ahead for both of us.
In the end I got to ride with some very talented riders. I’m grateful, and lucky to have had such an awesome experience. Congratulations to Tom Stritzinger and Roger Masse on their amazing finishes, and a special shout out to John Friel. Way to tough it out John!
Thanks to TFM Racing, G-Assist, Valor House, and Tried and True for sponsoring me this season.
Special thanks to Chris Scott, his crew, and all the volunteers that made the Wilderness 101 such an amazing experience. To the crew at aid four that decided to grill hot dogs. Thank you. That was a most excellent decision!”
Three minutes back, Tom Stritzinger finished strong for second place at 8:12:41.
” I was having a strong race until just before the last climb with about 5 miles to go. Then Russell Spaulding catches me from behind. He says “hello” then drops me like a bad habit. If he used Strava, I am guessing that he would have been the KOM of the day for that last climb! I really enjoyed the first 18 miles where it was like a Sunday morning ride with what seemed like the entire race field riding together, chatting and going at friendly pace. I never see Jeremiah Bishop, Christian Tanguy, Brian Schworm and Dylan Johnson after the opening gun and until the finish. It was unreal to still be riding with and chatting with these guys through the first 18 miles! The course had everything: gnarly single track, two track, gravel, long tough climbs, and a tunnel that was very dark and a bit scary as it was strewn with rocks! Overall, a great venue, phenomenal volunteers, some serious mtn. bike riders and a fun time for all. Wilderness 101 is one of my favorite races in the NUE series so far this year. I hope to be back again next year.”
Rounding out the podium and taking third, Roger Masse (Stokesville, Shenandoah), finished in 8:17:38.