Roger Masse triumphant in Masters race.
March 14, 2015, Santa Clara, Utah. The 2015 National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series began it’s seven month, thirteen race journey across two countries with the True Grit Epic in the desert of south western Utah. By the series finals at the September Fools Gold in Georga, the series will crown four champions for this grueling 100-mile mountain bike race format: Men’s and Women’s open, Single Speed, and Masters. With six east-coast and six west-coast events, the 2015 series has more balance rather than the slight east-coast bias that has been present in recent years. New for 2015 is the first ever non-US NUE event: the Ricon Challenge in Costa Rica. Racers are scored on their best four finishes with all ties being broken at the final race.
True Grit is a difficult race by many measures. The terrain is technical and challenging. There is roughly 12 thousand feet of climbing. The race date is early spring when many northern racers are still digging out from winter. The weather is hot and there are no trees for shelter on the 88 mile course.
Rare Disease Cycling rider and 2014 NUE Masters Series champion Roger Masse began his 2015 endurance campaign with a bang, taking the win over California rider Greg Golet (Team Chico) and third place rider David Jolin (Stark Velo) in the Masters race.
Golet started strong, dropping Masse on the early climbing of lap one of the two lap race. “I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or lack of a full recovery from my last weekend’s race at Monster Cross, but I felt like I wasn’t really running on all cylinders.” said Masse about his early efforts. “(Sonya) Looney and (Gordon) Wadsworth were setting a brisk pace for the second wave start that I could not match for very long.”
Masse soon fell victim also to fellow Masters competitor Greg Golet who rode strong during the early climbing. “I watched Greg slowly disappear off the front for what seemed like an eternity.” recalled Masse about the initial Masters class ordering. “I ended up settling in, riding first in front of then behind the 2nd place women Amanda Carey, who was riding the techie sections with the confidence of a local.” said Masse about his first trip through the more technical parts of the course.
“I didn’t see Greg again till just before the beginning of the Barrel Rolls section near the end of the first lap.” remembered Masse. “He was riding pretty slowly so I just rode on by and managed a decent gap and pushed it further through the features till he was out of sight.”
But the drama was not over. As Masse settled in for the 2nd lap climbing with a couple of open guys, the more relaxed pace allowed Golet to catch back on. He wasn’t going away without a fight. “As he went by I grabbed his wheel and we rode together for the tail end of the early climbing.” remembered Masse about the catch. “It was harder than I wanted to go at that point, but I couldn’t let him go again.”
Golet and Masse were still together near the start of the most technical part of the course on lap 2. “I attacked him at the start of Barrel Ride trail and using my newly acquired local-line knowledge from riding with Amanda on the first lap, I rode the big Waterfall drops and got a decent gap.” said Masse. “I kept the pressure on by riding a clean and faster pass of the Zen loop and with that, the final lead with a winning gap was mine.”
Masse picked up his last feed in the Checkpoint at the bottom of Zen where he caught single speed rider Dan Rapp. “Dan and I rode together for most of the rest of the race.” said Masse. “We must have passed (eventual Women’s winner) Sonya Looney in the feed. We were both surprised when she came by us at mile 65 with authority.”
Despite a big fade in the final 15 miles, Masse was able to hang onto the lead for the Masters win.
Full results here.
Full DirtWire.tv post-race coverage here.