Spreng takes second overall. Masse second place in Masters.
August 17, 2014. National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series racers converged on Greenfield NH this past weekend for the Hampshire 100 Ultra Endurance mountain bike race. With just a few races left in the series, this is the time of the year where series division contenders try to gain a points advantage heading into the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and the Fools Gold, the final races in the series. Rare Disease Cycling teammates Gerry Pflug, Rob Spreng, and Roger Masse exemplify series competitors in this situation and in the end came away with some solid performances.
Leading the way was Gerry Pflug with a win in the single speed category. Pflug, who is a five-time NUE series winner in single speed, is also a 2014 series podium contender in the open category. With the single speed win at Hampshire, “the Pflug” took a big step towards achieving his goal as being the first person ever to earn an NUE series podium in both single speed and open in the same year.
“Since I’ve done the Hampshire 100 the past two years, I knew it would be a hard 100 mile race, but I didn’t realize how much harder the race would be with the new course layout.” explained Pflug referring to the large number of new and difficult trail added to this year’s edition. “Most riders had finishing times about an hour slower than previous years.”
The new difficulty was due to the removal of about 10 miles of early rail-to-trail replaced with some very freshly cut trail that involved soft loamy climbing. The fact that the course receiving about 3 inches of rain a couple of days before the event did not help matters.
“At the beginning of the race, Dan Rapp was able to get into the single track a head of me and put a little time between us, but eventually I was able to catch him with the help of another singlespeed racer, Will Crissman.” remembers Pflug about the early positioning of his single speed rivals. “From that point, the three of us worked together until we were caught by a group of geared riders that also contained singlespeed rider Ernesto Marenchin.” explained Pflug about the growing chase group by the end of the long rail-to-trail section. “Upon getting caught by this group, Dan Rapp and I increased the pace and only Crissman followed.”
On the powerline climb, Crissman fell from the pace set by Rapp and Pflug. “From that point until the aid station at mile 48 I rode with Dan at a fairly steady pace.” recounts Pflug. “I was able to leave the aid station a bit quicker than he did, which gave me an opportunity to put distance between my fast singlespeeding friend and competitor.”
“I was certain Dan was going to bridge back up to me, so I kept my speed at a high pace and eventually moved into fourth place overall.” said Pflug of the miles of trail just after the mile 48 aid station. “I never saw any other singlespeed racers after leaving Dan.”
Pflug managed to hold-on to his lead to take the win at 8:57. Ernesto Marenchin (Pivot Cycles/Twin 6 Labs) crossed the line in second 14 minutes later. Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head Racing) followed in third 5 minutes behind 2nd. Paul Simoes (Bikeman.Com) was 4th and Will Crissman (B2C2 P/B Boloco) rounded out the single speed podium in 5th. “After doing the past five NUE Series Races on a geared bike, it felt good to be back on a single speed.” said Pflug after the event. “Like they say, variety is the spice of life!”
Rare Disease Cycling’s Rob Spreng, competing in the men’s open division, had an awesome race, adding a solid result to an already stellar season. Finishing ahead of all but Sho Air Cannondale rider Jeremiah Bishop when the day was done, Spreng puts himself into position to compete for a very high 2014 NUE series ranking.
“Once we all got going in the singletrack there was some changing front positions for a little while.” recalled Spreng about the start. Once everyone got settled in, it was Spreng, Bishop, Tinker Juarez (ShoAir Cannondale), Dan Timmerman (Nalgene P/B Mt Bora) and Mike Barton that formed the front group. A short while later, Spreng recalled seeing Mike off of the trail with a mechanical issue, reducing the lead group to four.
“I’m not sure when, but Tinker was the first to fall off.” Spreng recalled. In the single track following the mile 48 aid station where Gerry Pflug would shortly get separation from fellow single speeder Dan Rapp, Dan Timmerman was losing contact with the leaders. “The remaining three of us were together until somewhere around mile 50.” remembers Spreng. “From there I think JB and I started putting a little gap on Dan Timmerman.”
Spreng and Bishop were together through the start-finish area at mile 62 and for about 10 miles after that. “He starting turning up the pressure around mile 65 and I stayed as long as I could.” recalls Spreng about the final separation with the eventual winner. “I had to eventually let him go and ride my own race from there to the finish. From then on I kept my gap on third place and rode the rest alone. I had a ton of fun finishing! My Specialized S-Works Epic World-Cup was loving the last 10 miles of awesome trails.”
Bishop won the day with a time of 8:22, nearly one hour slower than his 2013 winning time. Spreng finished 2nd 16 minutes later. Dan Timmerman finished 3rd, Matthew Merkel (Riverside Racing) 4th and Toasted Head’s James Mayuric rounding out the top-five. With 2 second place finishes and a 4th, Rob Spreng is well positioned to vie for a top-3 series finish in the open men.
Rare Disease Cycling rider Roger Masse briefly challenged Masters winner Alec Petro (Corner Cycles) with a catch at the mid-way point. It didn’t last. The same single track section where Dan Timmerman lost contact with Spreng and Bishop; and where Dan Rapp lost contact with Pflug; Masse also lost contact with the Masters race leader.
“I jumped ahead of Alec into the Prolog single track at the start, but he caught and passed me on the first pavement climb” recalled Masse of the early test of his rival. He wouldn’t see him again till the half way point. “Rolling out of the aid station at mile 48, I nearly regained contact with Alec again, hanging about 30 feet off his wheel for a mile or so.” remembers a surprised Masse. “I thought he was gone… but there he was. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capitalize. I had just finished 25 relatively fast-paced miles of single track with Jeff Mandell (Finkraft Cycling Team), Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) and eventual 6th place open finisher Ross Andersen (Pure Energy – Scott Elite Cycling). At that point in the race, I needed to settle down a bit so he slipped away.” Meanwhile, Petro jockeyed back and forth with the eventual Women’s 100K winner Crystal Anthony all the way to the start-finish, out-of-sight and together gaining time on Masse. Petro hung on for the win with Masse crossing in 2nd 23 minutes later. “I was hoping to be a bit closer to Alec in the end, but I’m happy with the second place finish.”
Masse, who had taken over the Masters series lead following a mechanical-filled day which landed him a disappointing 6th place at the Wilderness 101, lost the series lead for 24 hours to Marland Whaley as his rival won the Masters race at Pierre’s Hole in Wyoming. Masse’s 2nd place at Hampshire replaces the 6th place finish from Wilderness 101 and moves him back into the series lead setting up a winner take all showdown with Whaley at the Fools Gold in September.
In the open women, Elizabeth Allen (Danielson Adventure Sports) finished first at 11:30, followed by Anne Pike (Blue Ridge Cyclery Racing) three minutes later. Third place went to Lenka Branichova (Lapdogs Cycling Club).