Kelly Tames Rattling 50

Jesse Kelly wins 45+. Harding second in women’s race.

August 9, 2014. The Mid Atlantic Super (MASS) Series endurance competition resumed this past weekend near Lynkens PA as the Ratting 50 took center stage. Known for it’s rocky challenging terrain, the 50 mile course in Weiser State Forest was once again the place where riders brought their biggest tires and and their biggest game to tackle what is likely the most challenging technical course in the MASS series. Rare Disease Cycling rider Jesse Kelly brought home the gold in the Masters 45+ category after a tough back-and-forth battle with Joe Johnston and Rolf Rimrot.

Jesse Kelly is the Masters 45+ Marathon champion, Joe Johnston 2nd and Rolf Rimrot 3rd

“I was a bit jaded beforehand having looked up my strava from last year and seeing I’d described it as ‘five hours in a tumble dryer'” said Kelly about his thoughts before the race.

The Rattling 50 course starts with an immediate 10 minute climb up 800 feet to the single track in the Weiser State Forest. “I wanted to battle it out with the big boys in the open including traveling partner Francis Cuddy, but he and the top dogs left left the field in the dust from the start.” recounts Kelly. “The course looped differently this year and I was confused pretty much the entire race. After the first long climb the singletrack quickly showed its character and I was no match for the numerous rock gardens.”

Nutrition strategy is important at the Rattling 50. As an August race with stops at mile 10, 20, and then a long skip to mile 40, It’s easy to run out of water. “It was not as hot as last year but a 20-mile section with no stops meant at least two hours with no refills.” remembers Kelly. “Nutrition was vital. Fortunately the Specialized S-Works Epic holds two bottles in the frame, but I still grabbed an extra for the jersey pocket. I’m very glad I did as even some of the riders with hydration packs ran out! Even drinking plenty I finished dehydrated. It was just so tough at times to attempt to drink in all the singletrack, and when doubled track appeared it was still too tiring to let go of the bars!”

The Masters 45+ race played out as a battle between Kelly, Joe Johnston (BLACK BEAR CYCLING / FASCAT COACHING) and Rolf Rimrot (Bike Line). “I would make headway on the tamer trails and continually be hunted down and often passed in the rocks.” said Kelly about the early back-and-forth. “I mostly stayed near Joe running first or second, but Rolf sailed by about half way leaving me in 3rd for a long while.”

Vick Barclay is 1st, RDC's Kathleen Harding 2nd and Jessica Nankman is 3rd  in the Women's Marathon event
Vick Barclay is 1st, RDC’s Kathleen Harding 2nd and Jessica Nankman is 3rd in the Women’s Marathon event

Kelly was also duking it out early with open rider Jeff Mandell (FINKRAFT CYCLING TEAM) who eventually rode away to place fifth in the Open Men, and Jamie Huber (TOASTED HEAD RACING), who went on to take the single speed win. Also with Kelly was the young Andrew Bobb (MOUNTAINSIDE RACING) who’s had a stellar year. “Andrew’s technical abilities are unbelievable!” recalls Kelly. “He invited me to follow his lines in the rock gardens but sadly I could only wish to do so! All these guys were so powerful through the toughest sections, and fighting back up to them time and again was taking a toll.”

Jesse's sträva file shows the course complexity at the Weiser State Forst
Jesse’s sträva file shows the course complexity at the Weiser State Forst

“After collecting myself at the final aid station and with the wonderful encouragement from the volunteers, I was ready to rocket home.” recalls Kelly about the final 8 miles to the finish. “Sadly, Rolf had a hard fall at some point, but he still hung on for 3rd. And I was able to get some space in front of Joe. I screamed down the last doubletrack descent along with Brian Shernce (CYCLE CRAFT/BULLDOGS) to the finish. That was the most thrilling part of the race, with my primary motivation at the end to just satisfy the cravings for hoagies and cola :)”

RDC’s Kathleen Harding placed second in the women’s open event behind Vicki Barclay (NoTubes Elite Women) and ahead of third place finisher Jessica Nankman (GIANT NORTHEAST GRASSROOTS TEAM). “Endurance racing is rough.” recalls Harding, who primarily focuses on shorter cross country distance events. “Probably should’ve had more hay in the barn before taking on the Rattling 50. On the upside, got to check out some incredible trails.” When a teammate asked how the course was, Harding was overheard to say “it felt like riding a jackhammer for 50 miles with a sandpaper saddle. Ha!”

The overall winner and Open Men’s division winner was Ryan Serbel (CREATEX COLORS – BENIDORM BIKES) followed by Scott Gray in second, and Andrew Freye (Bike Line) in 3rd.

Jamie Huber (TOASTED HEAD RACING) won the Single Speed, followed by Scott Green in second and Dan Bonora in third.

Full results here.

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