Written by: Jen Toops
On July 23th, 2022, Shenandoah Mountain Tours held the Wilderness 101 ultra and marathon races in Coburn, PA. The Wilderness 101 is part of the NUE National Ultra Endurance Race Series. This east coast course takes you through the Bald Eagle and Rothrock state forests of Pennsylvania, and is know for pristine mountain streams, old growth forests and rocky backcountry single track.
The gravel was fast, trails were dry, but it was a scorcher as temps reached mid 90’s with sunny skies. After a hard days work, racers were greeted at the finish line with well deserved BBQ and beer included with the entry fee.
Camping was also included with registration in Coburn Park. This is the staging area making for a trouble-free race morning and celebration at the finish line.
Women’s Open 101 Mile
Taking the win in the Women’s open, Britt Mason (Knobby by Nature), finished with a time of 8:17:37. This is her second NUE win for 2022 previously taking the win at NUE Mohican race. She also won the W101 in 2021.
2021 NUE Champion, Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/ Pivot MTB), finished 2nd with a time of 8:59:38.
” I decided to race my Pivot Les Hardtail this year since there is so much gravel. It climbed like a rocket. I tried to hold Britts wheel as long as I could but ended falling off on the rolling gravel about an hour into the race. From then I started my own race. I didn’t have a lot of ride time on the Les prior to racing and had a brand new dropper. It took a bit to get the feel for the bike in the chunky singletrack. I also decided to try a race with no data and just ride by feel. Mid race I started feeling real nauseated and had trouble eating. I could only get down Honey Stinger gels and Carborocket electrolyte mix. I dialed it back a bit. Libbey and Julia passed me and we went back and forth for miles. Finally I decided to get off the bike and lay in a river to cool off. Then the next aid station had ice packs. That was just what I needed and was ready to rally. I focused on pushing the climbs since my Les was made for climbing and took it easier on the rocky singletrack. People were flatting left and right but my Maxxis Rekon Race held strong. On one descent there was a Timber Rattler shaking its tail at me and too close to my foot for comfort! Talk about scary! Then we saw another one on a gravel descent! Ended up seeing Libbey around mile 82 and was able to hold P2 until the finish! Super strong ladies field this year especially with the heat! Next NUE race is Shenandoah! Thanks to Sponsors: Pearl izumi, Pivot Cycles, Maxxis, Ergon, SCC tech, Carborocket, Honey Stinger, Lazer, Stans.
The third step went to, Libbey Sheldon (CXhairs Devo), with a time of 9:01:51.
Fourth place went to, Liz Wolf, with a time of 9:21:39. Julia Thumel (Bigfoot Endurance) finished fifth in 9:30:26.
Men’s Open 101 Mile
Taking the win in the men’s open was, Patrick Collins (Assabet River Bicycles), with a blistering fast time of 7:27:52.
“This was my second W101 and I came into it motivated for redemption after flatting out of the lead in a bad spot last year. With the heat and humidity, the start was reserved, with the group taking it pretty easy until the aid station 1, where Ian Schwing and I opened up the throttle on the first trail climb and we got a gap. I was excited for a solid day with a good riding partner… but things turned out differently. On the descent, I flatted. The hole was too big for a CO2 + plug to hold air. I rode it a very low pressure until it went flat again a few miles later, when I put a tube in. This set me back a lot. I was frustrated but was committed to not giving up, as these races are so long and so much can happen. I went to some pretty physical and mental dark places the rest of the race to claw my way back, even with stopping to fix two more flats and crashing while riding a front flat for miles. Coming into aid station 2, someone said I was nearly a half hour back. I closed it down to 15 mins at station 3, 8-10mins station 4, 2mins station 5, then caught and passed Ian on the final climb and I went on to win by a handful of minutes. Huge thanks to the other racers that gave me CO2s and tubes to keep me going. We are all friends out in the backcountry. I love this community and the NUE series. After the race I went straight to the river to take a dip to cool off. I forgot my black Vittoria shoes there, so if anyone found them, please let me know! :) Big thanks to my sponsor Assabet River Bicycles for the continued support that makes it all possible. If you’re in the central MA area, ARB is your go-to shop for excellent customer service! My next NUE races will be Shenandoah and Marji Gesick. ”
Just a few minutes back and taking second place, Ian Schwing (Flow Formulas), finished with a time of 7:32:07.
“It was a great day for me out there. Knew the temperatures would get hot and the rest of the racers seemed to be on the same page, as the first hour half of the race was a nice easy roll to Rothrock. Went to the front on the first climb with only Patrick to keep my pace, was glad I wasn’t alone as I knew it would be a long hard day alone. Unfortunately, Patrick flatted which led me with a tough choice, to which I decided to send it alone and pray nobody catches back on. I’ve never been in a situation like this in a 100-mile race, so there were lots of nerves, thoughts, and plenty of looking back to see if there were any riders. Kept the pace high, but comfortable for me. The gap seemed to grow larger, and I kept the pace up, knowing the heat would affect me, and not having any riders to work with at the later part of the course. However, it wasn’t enough to stay away the whole race. Patrick finally caught me on the last climb like I was standing still. Tried to hang on his wheel but couldn’t push it to the end. Hats off to him for not giving up after his flat tire issues and pushing through the hot weather! Shout out to Flow Formulas for the awesome support, as I look to take on Leadville this August, Shenandoah, and a full collegiate race season this fall!”
Third palce finisher, David Hendrix (Shirk’s Bike Shop), crossed the line in 7:47:04.
Dan Atkins (Bigfoot Endurance) took fourth place in 7:47:33, and Nelson Odreman (Vida Cycling/Trek) finished fifth with a time of 7:56:26.
Singlespeed 101 Mile
Taking the win in the singlespeed division, Thad Paunovich (IPMC Pro Bike & Run), with a time of 8:16:55.
“The Wilderness 101 was my second NUE race of the year. I did the Mohican 100 back in May and dealt with cramping for most of the race due to the heat and lack of proper race nutrition/hydration, I assume. Leading up to the W101, I was keeping my eye on the temps and it was shaping up to be another humid scorcher like the W101 usually is. I made the commitment to really focus on my hydration and nutrition intake for this race so that I wouldn’t end up like I did at last year’s W101 crawling to the finish line. The race started out at a pretty moderate pace going up the 1,000ft first climb. I stayed with the lead group until the gravel roads started to flatten out. When racing a singlespeed, it is always a tough call for me on when and when not to try and spin with the fast geared guys on the flat stuff. Sometimes it really pays off but other times you end up burning too many matches spinning your legs off. Eli and I dropped off the geared guys and spun some of the flatter gravel together for a little while. I decided to catch the next geared guy’s wheel that came through and away I went. I opened up a gap between me and the rest of the SS’ers and I was like, I just gotta make this stick for the next 80 miles or so lol. It worked. I rode a lot of the next 80 miles either solo or with 1-3 people staying on top of my nutrition, stopping at aid stations for bottle swaps and to fill up my water bottles with cold water to keep me refreshed. I am becoming familiar with the Central Pennsylvania east coast rocks having done the TSE 5 day stage race the past 2 years and having done the W101M twice and the W101K once. I believe this previous knowledge of the trails helped me ride the rocks relatively pretty smooth on my hardtail SS and allowed me to keep a consistent pace throughout the race. I got to the big Stillhouse double track climb around mile 65 with my 34×20 gearing and was like I just gotta go for the last 35 miles and not let Eli see me. I cleaned Stllhouse and stayed on the gas all the way up through about mile 95. I started to fade on the hike a bike section after the last climb with 5 miles to go. Fellow Pittsburgh’er, Russell Shorkey came by me and told me to finish strong and that’s what I did not having much left in the engine. Held off an always strong and consistent Eli Orth by less than 3 minutes and got my 2nd NUE Singlespeed Win this time at the WilderneSS 101.Up next for me on the NUE Race Schedule is the Shenandoah 100 over Labor Day weekend, a personal favorite because of the big long climbs and the ever so fun swooping, fast descents in the beautiful Virginia Backcountry. I would like to give a HUGE thank you to all of the Race Directors and wonderful volunteers that make these 100 mile MTB races possible, along with PRO Bike & Run who has supported me in such big ways over the past couple years helping me pursue my passion and love of riding/racing bikes! I always have to thank my family, friends, inspirors, motivators, and even trash talkers who support me and continue to fuel my fire for racing bikes! I am truly Blessed!”
After suffering a slight mechanical, Eli Orth (Dean Titanium Bikes), finished just a few minutes back in 8:19:30.
“Wilderness 101 was my 3rd NUE race on the year. As usual I raced single speed in the epic category. This was my first time doing Wilderness since 2019. In 2019 it was crazy hot with a heat index of 110. This year going in was looking to be a similar hot day. It was HOT but not as bad as I remember 2019 thankfully. The race opening miles and climbs were at a pretty easy pace. I waited for someone to open up and pick up the pace but everyone seemed content with it. I decided to see if I could pick up the speed of lead group in hopes I could latch onto a faster group in the flatter section after first climb. It worked and a group of 10 or so was able to open some distance. With there being such a big and strong group of single speeders I wanted to try and take advantage of my stouter gearing than most others had early on. After the pull for a while myself and Thad were the only single speeders around and were left to ourselves. We settled in and talked a bit. Thad made another push about 20 miles in and I decided to stay at my pace and not chase. At mile 25 I heard a weird noise coming from my rear hub on a chunky gravel section. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of the downhill so I coasted to the bottom. Once I was off the bike I saw I had broken a spoke and it was twisted between the chain and the cog. I got it untwisted and wrapped only to have to stop again and wrap the other part of the broken spoke that was hitting the frame. For a while I stayed a little cautious seeing if it would hold up. Luckily it did! I was able to retain second place and was surprisingly closer to Thad at the finish as he finished a couple minutes ahead of me. Given the mechanical it was a great race. My decision to run a 34×19 versus my previous time running 34×20 at W101 seemed to work well. Thanks to all my sponsors. The fresh Kenda Boosters were flawless and the 8 bottles of CarboRocket 333 kept the cramps away and gave me the race nutrition I needed to keep the pace up. Also the best grips.. Esi grips, AbsoluteBLACK for their oval, and Stages. Special thanks to Dean for a custom titanium frame I can have confidence in on the gnarly Pa rocks. Plenty of rocks out there to ruin a day. ”
Third place, Sam Farmer crossed the line in 8:32:23.
Fourth place, David Taylor(Turbo Certified), crossed the line in 8:47:20. Just a few minutes back, Kevin Claus (Rare Disease Cycling), took fifth place in 8:49:48.
Masters 101 Mile
Winning the Masters Division, Keith Papanicolas (Badass Coaching), finished in 8:14:40.
Almost thirty minutes back, Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works), crossed the line in 8:42:22.
Taking third place, Rob Campbell (Freeze Thaw Cycles), finished in 9:00.
In fourth place was, Zane Wenzel (Team Horst Sports), finished in 10:22:32. Fifth place went to Paul Hoda with a time of 10:35:22.
Women’s Open Marathon
Leading the NUE women’s marathon series and taking the top step, Kelly Catale (Team Kellcat), finished first with a time of 6:02:12.
No stranger to the W101 races, Bryna Blanchard (BMB Racing) took home a second place finish with at time of 6:49:56.
“I love visiting PA, and I could feel my excitement building at we drove closer to Coburn through the rolling farm fields and pastures surrounded by flat top ridges. I could picture most of the single track in my head, chunky piles of rocks, rooty switch backs, and fast techy descents. I love this terrain, it’s familiar to me and inspires me to ride aggressively, which is alway helpful for racing. The Wilderness 101k course is highly variable, with long sections of smooth gravel roads interspersed with very technical single track, and a good amount of rugged backcountry double tack. Each section requires very different strategies for racing. It is also a uniquely long distance for a “100k” at 77 miles. My plan was to ride steady up the starting dirt road climb and pace myself for the long day ahead. Luckily, I hooked up with 3 other riders for road racing tactics, pace lining the initial 20+ dirt road miles before hitting the 1st single track. I entered the woods in 3rd place and caught up to 2nd on the trail, feeling relaxed and balanced on the bike, happy to be in the woods. We entered the first aid station together and rode out together back onto a dirt road climb. Still with many hours to go and feeling strong I kept my steady pace and was able to pull ahead. The next several miles of single tracks consist of rocks; uphill rocks, downhill rocks, piles of rocks, large and small. Some days are just on and riding the rocks feels like flow, until it doesn’t. Only one minor crash, a few dabs and I rode through it with a smile in good time. The Specialized Epic Evo performed perfectly, like it was designed for this terrain, and so much fun to ride! At this point the course follows a series of undulating rough unmaintained double tracks with a very backcountry feel. The challenge is to avoid flats while maintaining speed on the long bumpy descents. “Stay light, don’t flat” played through my head for many miles. The next distinguishing course feature consists of a 20+ minute class IV road climb that I know well. Once again I chose to tempo up the climb instead of pushing the pace, still many many miles to go. The remainder of the course becomes a bit blurry with fatigue setting in, some smoother single track, fast dirt road descents and painful little climbs. Without knowing the proximity of my competition, my focus turned to pushing through tired legs without blowing up or slowing down too much. With the memory of past experiences getting caught in the final miles, I raced to the finish line, feeling spent but not yet in survival mode. Racing smart, pacing and riding technically well earned me a great day on the bike and a very satisfying result. Thank you to Barker Mountain Bikes for the awesome new race rig and continued support.”
Taking third place was, Abigail Snyder (Ride Fierce Racing), with a time of 7:02:30.
” I got 3rd in the Open Women 100k this weekend, and I’m totally stoked with that result! It was brutally hot, and I started out really strong (in 2nd until halfway), but had to dial it waaay back because of the heat. Perhaps most annoying, my fork malfunctioned today and wouldn’t compress, so the singletrack just beat on me… it felt sooo rough and awkward to ride! All that being said, I borrowed a friend’s aero bars for this weekend and they probably saved me–without them, my hands would have been absolutely shattered—and they were super fast on the gravel segments!! Now to rest, recover, and get my bike in working order (and UCI-legal—no Togs or aero bars next weekend!) before heading to Snowshoe! Many thanks to Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke Outside, RND Coffee, Cardinal Bicycle, Osmo Nutrition, and ESI Grips for their support this season! I can’t wait to see everyone again at the Shenandoah Mountain 100k in September. ”
Fourth place was Paula Coyos (Patapsco Bicycles) crossing the line in 7:31:03. Taking the fifth spot was Jen Tillman (Knobby by Nature) with a time of 7:31:33.
Men’s Open Marathon
Winning the Men’s marathon race, Ryan Stahnke (Trestle Bridge Racing) crossed the line in 5:50:45
Just a few minutes back, Anthony Grinnell (Syndicate Cycling), took second place with a time of 5:52:24.
“I knew it was going to be a very hot and humid day so I wanted to control my pace and race smart. All was going well up the first big climb with a manageable and appropriate pace, until about 2/3rds of the way up when someone in our pace line decided to jack his brakes. This caused the rider in front of me to crash, which caused me to ride up on to his bike and slam the gravel. My entire left side took a beating including my hamstring, IT band, hip, butt, ribs, and a laceration on my arm. I got up as quickly as I could because I knew if I wasn’t on the lead group by the top of the climb, they’d pull a huge gap on the next 20 miles before the single track. That’s where my strategy of not redlining went out the window, right along with a bunch of burnt matches. Gapping back up with a barely functioning left leg was brutal and the muscles in my hamstring and hip were killing me the entire race. I pushed through it and kept clicking off the miles, but the power just wasn’t there and my left leg kept wanting to seize up front the deep bruising. With all things considered, I’m really happy with a second place finish. The S-Works Epic Evo was flawless the whole race, so big thanks to Pro Bike & Run for hooking me up with the best bike in the industry. Big thanks to Shorkey Auto Group, McQueen Athletes, Koo Eyewear, KASK helmets, Flow Formulas, Wolftooth Components, and Extreme Nano Lubricants for supporting the Syndicate Cycling team. Next stop- Shenandoah!”
Taking the third place on the podium was, Philip Maynard (CNYC/NYCM Insurance), with a time of 5:58:18.
“With a 9am start, the day was already sweltering when the marathon race kicked off. Nobody was eager to push the pace on the road, so we rolled casually into the first climb, where about fifteen riders formed a breakaway group. Knowing patience would be key, I hung back and let them get maybe a minute ahead by the top. A chase group of six formed and worked very well on the rolling terrain before the first singletrack, but failed to bring the leaders back. I led into the singletrack, my specialty, and set a strong pace. Only Kelly Catale (Team Kellcat), eventual women’s winner, was able to follow, although even she lost a few seconds before we were back on dirt roads. From there on it was a time trial, picking off riders as they succumbed to the heat, poor pacing, crashes, or getting slowed down by the rocky singletrack. A plush bike (Yeti SB100) and fat 2.4″ tires at low pressure (17.5/18.5psi, no inserts) were key to moving quickly, and I mostly held my own on the road, and then passed riders rapidly whenever it got rough. Anthony Grinell (Syndicate Cycling) had been caught in an early crash, and was trying to recover at Aid 4, when I caught up and joined him on Stillhouse. Anthony let me know there was only Ryan Stahnke (Trestle Bridge Racing) ahead, and somehow shaking off the effects of his crash, opened up nearly a minute on me before the top. An informal aid station at Sand Mountain Trail sped me up dramatically with an ice pack to shove down my back, and I kept Anthony in sight across Sand Mountain and onto Panther Run, but lost him for good on the final Panther climb. Some dirt bikes passed me on panther, but I caught them on the descent, which held me up only slightly before the long Poe Paddy grind, in what was now oppressive heat. At this point I was barely able to keep moving, with good legs but extremely limited by the heat. At the bottom of Cherry Run I hopped off into the stream and soaked for a moment, shedding enough heat to keep moving over Old Mingle and through to the finish. I pedalled quickly enough to hold off everyone behind, but continued hemorrhaging time to Anthony, who was on a mission and nearly caught Ryan before the finish. I ended up with a 5:58, eight minutes behind Ryan, and six behind Anthony. It was one of the least enjoyable races I’ve done, but one of the most satisfying efforts to have pushed through!”
Coming in fourth place was Shawn Alexander (Clarkson University) with a time of 6:18:41 and fifth place was Craig Hoddy with a time of 6:27:59.
Winning the Marathon Singlespeed division, Tate Clemson (Trestle Bridge Racing), finished in 7:25:30.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going in to this event, as it was the first of its kind I’ve done. I had talked to Stewart Gross and a few other member of Trestle Bridge Racing beforehand to get an idea of what it was going to be like, but the actual race was totally different than how it was described. Started out with a big group and by the top of the first climb it had thinned out with me being the only single speed rider left, so I knew I was going to be in a good position. I felt good on most of the climbs until mile 40 with the mind numbingly long climb post aid-station 4. I pretty much put my head down from that point on and decided to just keep peddling no matter what, and before I knew it I was crossing the line. Super grateful to have finished, and let alone win, such an awesome race. Shoutout to my great sponsors at Flow Formulas and Stan’s NoTubes for keeping me hydrated and without issue for the race. I definitely hope to come out for more of the NUE series in the future now.”
Finishing second was Robert Toedter (Carl Hart MTB) in 8:55:04.
Taking the win in the Master’s division, Amir Matityahu (Trail Head Racing), finished in 6:02:06.
“The Wilderness 101 race was my first race in Pennsylvania. The location at Coburn Park and nearby Millheim, PA took me back to Med School in Philadelphia and clinical rotations in Amish Country. I stayed in Millheim, above a coffee shop, in a circa 1,800 building with rickety old wood floors and a slightly sloping deck that overlooked open-mic nights at the Coffee Bean. A surreal experience. As usual, flew in, picked up a car, went to the motel, and built my bike on the Thursday night before the race. In preparation for the race, I looked at the GPS file, watched videos, trained hard, and knew the weather was going to be hot and humid. I’m lucky to have solid support at home from my wife and kids. My major concern was the heat.Day before the race, I went for an hour ride to check the bike with openers. The local racers were friendly, inclusive, and welcoming. This relaxed setting was in contrast to the brutal race ahead. The Wilderness 101 race was a mass start that began at 9am. The race was 75 miles with 7,200 ft of elevation gain. There were basically 6 climbs. The last of which was 2.7mi, 5% grade climb, in exposed 90deg humid weather. I dropped 3 bags with 2 bottles, gels, chain lube, pickle juice in Aid stations 3, 4, and 5. I started with two bottles on the frame and gels in my pocket. We were 20 masters on the start line. We were all nervous chit chat and introductions. It was the calm before the storm. The countdown started and we were off. The race started on a road, then onto gravel for the first 24 miles. Super-fast and with elevation gain of 2,200 ft. There was a wheel touch and accident behind me. Everyone was OK. It was lucky to be in front of it. We were in a front group of 6 riders, 3 masters, and 3 in the open field. We then did a sharp left turn into a single track climb with rocks, roots, sharp turns, and step-ups. I was 4th in to the 25mi hole shot. Up to this point in the race, I was pushing hard to stay in front, but was passed by a couple of guys and lost the front 3. The roots, random rocks and rock gardens on the single track section were tough as a first ride through. Finding the lines and flow was difficult for much of the single track. There were small sections of flow. But, mostly jarring rocky riding with a “thank you Rabbit Sanchez for full suspension.” The race continued through forest, rock gardens, then gravel. The heat was beginning to take it’s toll. I was in no man’s land. Could not share the load on most flat sections. There was lots of time on my own, riding with no soul in site. Luckily, I caught up to Kelly C and a 100mi rider and had some company toward the end. Somehow, the last 15 miles, I was re-energized like a horse getting close to his barn. And, after 6 hours and 2 minutes, crossed the finish line with intense relief in masters first place. Then, there was great beer and food, as befitting an amazing mountain biking day. I would summarize the day as a fast, tough, hot, long, jarring single-track and gravel day in the humid heat of Amish Country. Super fun and will do it again. Bike: Full Suspension Specialized SWORKS Epic Evo (120 front shock) Tires: Continental Race King Protection 2.2, Tire pressure 22psi rear, 20psi front. Team Sponsors: Trailhead Cyclery, Specialized, Nuun, SRAM, Beyond Fistula, Fox Next NUE race: Telluride, CO.”
Second place went to, Paul Arlinghaus (Crooked Creek), with a time of 6:28:03.
“With 90+ degree temps and a 75 miles course I had never ridden, I decided to ride a conservative race. I watched as a group of 20 riders pulled away up the up Millheim Pike. About 7 miles in, I saw George Ganoung along the road putting a tube in his rear tire. I expected him to come flying by me at some point, but this gave me some encouragement that this would be a hard race to finish and a steady pace was a good plan. I settled in and joined a small group over the top of Crowfield. The single track was much tougher than I was expecting and while I felt like I was struggling just to move forward, I was slowing passing riders. On the no name trail, I caught Dorel Stoia, crashed, and then caught Dorel again. My dad was waiting at Sag 4. He quickly gave me 3 cold bottles and told me I was in 8th. I pushed hard on the Still House Hollow Climb to get away from Dorel and passed a few riders (after looking at Strava, one of those was Jason Suppan). The single and double tracks on the top of Sand Mountain were rougher than I was expecting, but luckily, I found a few 100 milers to work with as we hit double track. My rear tire had enough and got a slow leak at the rim. On the descent to sag 5, I had to stop, use a CO2, and turn my bike on its side to get the Silca Sealant to the right spot. The sealant did its job and I was back on my way. My legs were done on the final climb up Old Mingle Rd. I was just trying to not walk. Somehow the climb finally ended. The descent on the other side would normally have been really fun, but I was too tired to enjoy it. This led to the fisherman’s hike-a-bike. I had no idea how long this section would be, so I just kept moving. Craig Hoddy caught me just as I was getting back on my bike. I was relieved when he said he was in the open division so we could work together and get to the finish. 75 miles, 8th overall 2nd in 50+. Bike: Trek Supercalibler, Sram, Bontrager, and Silca. Next NUE race is Stokesville”
The third step went to, Dorel Stoia (Spin Bike Shop), with a time of 6:38:02.
Fourth place went to Roger Masse (Stokesville/SMT) with a time of 6:43:47. Fifth place was Jason Suppan (Ride on Wooster) coming in at 6:50:28.
For 101 mile results: CLICK HERE
For Marathon results: CLICK HERE