Written by: @jentoops
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.
For full results CLICK HERE
Mohican 100 photo album by Photographer Butch Phillips CLICK HERE
Next up on the NUE series is the Lumberjack 100 mile June 19th, 2021 in Manistee, MI