A Battle to the End

Dylan Johnson leads Keck Baker, Christian Tanguy, and Brian Schworm over the "Bridge of Dreams"
Dylan Johnson leads Keck Baker, Christian Tanguy, and Brian Schworm over the “Bridge of Dreams”

I came to the Mohican 100 with confidence as I could finally log some quality rides outside. Every year, I wonder if I should go for the $200 prime for the first rider to reach the city limit. The road leading out of the city is steep, than get steeper to finally be a gentler grade. If I really wanted, I had an opportunity to be in the mix for a shot at the prime but it was a big match to crack. From experience, I know that energy saved early might be decisive at the end.

Christian leads Gordon Wadsworth and Brian Schworm down the "water bars" section
Christian leads Gordon Wadsworth and Brian Schworm down the “water bars” section

I actually spent more energy on the road leading to the single track to make sure I was not going to be stuck behind a slower rider. I managed just fine as I actually was first for a while. Then a large group latched on. When we reached aid station 1, we were still all together. As the race progress, I maintained myself in the front position and I don’t know the specific but the group started to whistle down. By aid station 2, there were only 5 persons left in the group: Tinker Juarez, Keck Baker, Brian Schworm, Dylan Johnson and myself.

Now on more open roads, I rode to the front in an effort to keep the chasers at bay. After a while, we had a little pace line going and this when Tinker was dropped. The four of us had fun but being on the open roads with no shade, I started to really feel the effort. Especially reaching to aid 4 was a struggle, I was out of water for a good 20 minutes. By now it was obvious than Keck and Brian were the strongest on the open flattish roads, Dylan was the fastest on the technical single track and I was the most at ease when the course was pointing upwards.

Brian Schworm in the early single track
Brian Schworm in the early single track

5 hours into the race, I was the one ridding the most at the front and I was not sure how it will play at the end. I knew that the one entering the last stretch of single track will have a great chance to win the race. We reached the steep downhill leading to the suspension bridge over the river. All four of us managed to make the right turn at the bottom of the trail. I don’t know for the others but in all the previous editions I went straight right into the bushes.

Tinker Juarez was with the leaders though the single track
Tinker Juarez was with the leaders though the single track

Then we reach to the steepest most difficult dirt road climb of the day. Over the years, I learned to be humble to this climb; one time I had to dismount and push my bike. For this edition of the Mohican 100, I had much more energy and decided to ride tempo. My goal was to get my lead group companion tired rather than distancing myself. However, by the top I had quite a large gap on Dylan and could not see Brian or Keck. With 10 miles to the finish I saw my chance to reach the single track first. I rode hard on the flat road and was only a mile or two away from the single track entrance when I spotted a rider in aerodynamic position charging at me.

I could not be Dylan (as the rider was not riding a white helmet) and he was way too fast for a 100k racer. In no time, the rider reached back to me, it was Keck. Shortly after he entered the single track in front of me. It let me wonder what I could do, but then the single track widens up with two good possible lines. That was the opportunity I was looking for. I passed Keck and gave every thing I had. I know that I am not the fastest single track rider but I also know that after six and half hours of high intensity effort I can hold my own.

Keck Baker carves a corner in the early single track
Keck Baker carves a corner in the early single track

All the 100k racers did a great job leaving me good opportunity to go around them. I was getting a little anxious to get a flat when I heard several times the tires making loud noises on the stones. However, the equipment held on just fine and I kept my lead to the finish line. I could not be happier with my race as it took every bit of energy I had to separate myself from the group and then attack in the single track.

Christian Tanguy celebrates his Mohican 100 win with a podium shower
Christian Tanguy celebrates his Mohican 100 win with a podium shower

See more RDC coverage of the Mohican 100 here.

Photos by Butch Phillips.

Full results here.

Thom Parsons DirtWire.tv video coverage here.

Listen to Mark Stover’s account on MountainBikeRadio’s The Last Aid Station Mohican edition.