Masse wins Masters.
Loundonville, Ohio – May 30, 2015. National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series racing resumed this past weekend for race #3 of this popular format of endurance mountain bike racing, the 100 mile distance. Roughly 600 racers converged on this rural central Ohio town both for the shorter 100K version and for the Mohican 100 miler, the race that gave birth to the NUE.
Despite the rumors, central Ohio is not flat. The 100 mile loop takes riders over roughly 12,000 feet of climbing along mostly single track, double track or dirt roads, that spans four counties and careens through some of the most remote and scenic areas in the rolling hills of Mohican Country. The terrain at the Mohican is difficult to categorize due to the wide variety of conditions riders can expect to navigate throughout the day including fast flowing single track, rock gardens, streams, mud and roots. Race promoter and NUE Series director Ryan O’Dell and his team do a great job bringing racers a top-notch riding experience followed by a festival celebration that keep the Mohican 100 among the very best in mountain bike racing events.
Rare Disease Cycling riders Christian Tanguy and Roger Masse threw their hats in the ring in their respective categories both hoping to improve on their dual runner-up finishes last month at the Cohutta 100. Tanguy, who won the 2014 Mohican 100 and who was the 2013 NUE Series champion, hoped to improve on his 2nd place finish behind Brian Schworm (Think Green-Pedal the Planet) last month at the Cohutta 100. Masse, the 2014 NUE Masters Series winner and 2014 Mohican 100 Masters division winner was also looking for redemption following his 2nd place finish to newly minted Masters rider Jeff Clayton (Super Sport Athletic Wear) at the Cohutta. Rare Disease Cycling regional rider Shane Pasley also made the trek from his home in Delaware to compete against the other registered 150 open men.
Open Men – Tanguy & Baker Last Men Standing
RDC’s Tanguy lined up with strong field that included Keck Baker (ChampionSystems/Cannondale), Schworm, Dylan Johnson (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team), Tinker Juarez (ShoAir Cannondale), Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz, Swiftwick), 2013 Mohican 100 winner Michael Simonson, Cory Rimmer (Kona), 2014 Lumberjack 2nd place open finisher Jorden Wakeley (Quiring Cycles), and 2015 Cohutta overall winner Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery) riding a geared bike in the open division.
With a $200 preem on the line for the first rider up the opening climb at the city limit sign, Tanguy was very near the front and in the mix to possibly take the preem. “From experience, I know that energy saved early might be decisive at the end”, recalled Tanguy. “So I did not take my shot at the town-line preem”. Tanguy did, however, spend that energy shortly after that on the road section leading into the opening single track, “To make sure I was not going to be stuck behind a slower rider”. That effort allowed Tanguy to lead the huge field through the early single track.
Tanguy settled in and a large group latched on which was still together when the leaders reached aid station 1. As the race progressed, Tanguy’s pace making at front position began to take a toll. Rimmer, Wadsworth, Tostado, and Simonson began to lose contact with the leaders. By aid station 2, an elite group of five riders remained: Tanguy, Baker, Schworm, Johnson and Juarez.
35 miles in with the early Mohican State Forest single track complete, the Mohican takes racers on a combination of pavement and gravel roads. Tanguy continued to ride at the front in an effort to keep the chasers at bay. After a while, the elite group of 5 were riding in a brisk pace line and this is where Tinker was dropped. “Tinker was climbing strong in the early parts of the race.” remembered Baker of the ShoAir rider and 2-time Olympian. “He started looking tired when we began rotating on the road.”
Down to four and out on the open roads with no shade, Tanguy started to feel the effort. “Reaching aid 4 was a struggle, I was out of water for a good 20 minutes.” remembered Tanguy. “By now it was obvious that 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.”
Five hours into the race, Tanguy was still doing the most work riding at the front. The elite group of Tanguy, Baker, Johnson and Schworm worked together on the rail-trail section though mile 72 and aid 4 and remained together past the suspension bridge at mile 82. That’s when they reached the steepest and most difficult dirt road climb of the day.
With little climbing remaining it was here that Tanguy took his shot, burning some matches to try and gain some separation over, or at least to tire, his rivals. The gamble appeared to pay off. “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.” remembered Tanguy of the decisive attack. “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.”
Baker had indeed been dropped on the climb but refused to concede. “When Christian attacked and blew our group apart, Brian and i caught up to Dylan who had tried to go with Christian.” said Baker of the attack. “Brian put the pressure on the next roller and Dylan fell off and I struggled to stay on.”
At roughly mile 89, Baker lead Schworm during the final single track descent before aid 5. “Then it dropped down into a pit of mud at the bottom.” recalled Baker. “I muscled through it and i think that is when Brian fell off the pace.”
Baker, with his road racing and time-trial background, started burning the remainder of his matchbook to reel in Tanguy.
On that pavement before the final aid station, Tanguy saw the chaser in in aero-pursuit. “He was way too fast for a 100k racer.” thought Tanguy. “In no time, the rider reached back to me, it was Keck.”
By the time the first rider passed the final aid station, the Mohican 100 had a new leader. “I caught Tanguy before the bridge and attacked immediately.” remembered Baker. “I got a small gap getting in the woods first then eased up because Christian had caught up.”
Tanguy had regained contact with Baker near the bottom of the final single track climb. If Baker could remain in front to the top, he would have a better shot at the win.
An opportunity arose and Tanguy made his final move. “The single track widened up with two good possible lines. That was the opportunity I was looking for.” recalled the RDC rider. “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.”
It was enough. After over 7 hours of racing, Tanguy held off Baker in the single track to finish with a 1 minute margin. Brian Schworm finished 3rd, Dylan Johnson crossed the line in 4th, Anthony Grinnell was 5th, Dereck Treadwell 6th, Ronald Catlin 7th, and Josh Tostado 8th.
Shane Pasley split the huge 153 registered starters in the men’s open division earning 75th place.
Open Women – Third time’s the charm for Shin
With multi-time Mohican 100 winner and Rare Disease Cycling rider Cheryl Sornson not quite able to squeeze enough time out of her full-time work commitments to make the trip to Ohio and with Motor Mile Racing’s Brenda Simril recovering from broken ribs suffered in a vehicle accident, Linda Shin (Blacksmith Cycle) stepped through the open door and emerged as the winner in her third run at the Mohican 100.
Shin’s win would not be without drama. Breckenridge Colorado rider Marlee Dixon (Mtbracenews.com / epic brewing) was first into the woods. Dixon proceeded to use her abundant single track skills to increase her advantage through the first third of the contest.
Linda Shin notched her first ever NUE win with a steady ride outlasting competitors Marlee Dixon (Mtbracenews.com / Epic Brewing) and Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing).
“When I got into the first single track with Brenda and (husband and Masters rider) Lee, goal was to stay with them for as long as I could.” said Shin about the start. “We rode together pretty much for the rest of the day which was really fun and motivating! We were told Marlee was 9 minutes up after Aid 3.”
The Shin/Simril train had grown to 5 riders by the rail-trail section. “We had an awesome group in the rail-trail and we worked hard.” recalled Shin. “I was on the verge of blowing up but tried to stay with Brenda and Lee.”
As the group rolled into aid 4 at mile 72, Dixon was just leaving. “We were pumped!” said an excited Shin. “My legs felt really good so I picked up the pace on the road to try to catch her. Brenda was feeling it in her knee so she backed off a bit.”
Shin made the catch with about 20 miles remaining. “We went back and forth for a bit where I would catch her on the climbs and she would drop me on the descents.” recalled Shin.
On the last descent before the last road section, Dixon crashed. “I made sure she was okay and she told me to ride so I went and just kept thinking that Brenda would be on my heel.” remembered the Blacksmith Cycle rider and now new women’s leader. “I got into the last single track and felt awesome and couldn’t believe that I was going to get the win and the super sweet trophy! I literally had shivers as I crossed the finish.”
First Simril then Dixon both rolled in less than 2 minutes later. “It was such a tight race, which made it so much fun!” concluded Shin.
Masters – Masse Back On Top
With a 2nd place finish to new Masters incoming freshman Jeff Clayton (Super Sport Athletic Wear) at last month’s Cohutta 100, Rare Disease Cycling rider Roger Masse had his work cut out for him. Ohio local and Stark Velo rider David Jolin who has notched some impressive rides in recent NUE contests was also entered. Newly minted Masters racer Tom Kruse (Cycle Craft/Bulldogs) who rode with Masse during the early parts of last month’s Cohutta was also counted in the mix of the 31 pre-registered Masters racers.
Clayton lead up the opening climb and rode incredibly strong maintaining contact with the leaders of the open men. The Super Sport Athletic Wear rider maintained an impressive top-20 position overall during the opening single track through Mohican State Forest. Local rider Jolin also had a strong start trailing a few minutes behind Clayton in the woods. Masse lagged behind in 3rd or 4th position. “With 600 riders all fighting for position to get into the woods, it’s easy to loose track of the top Masters competitors.” said Masse about the start. “I was carrying a lot of fluids at the start. I was at best the 3rd place Master going through the first 25 miles”.
As the day grew warmer and single track widened into road, Masse began passing people. “I must have passed 10 guys on the first hike-a-bike section.” recalled Masse. “People were really starting to slow down.”
Masse caught Jolin just after Aid 2 on a gravel climb. “I was surprised he didn’t try to stick to me for awhile.” remembered Masse about the catch of the Stark Velo rider. “I’m not even sure where I passed Jeff.”
Starting to run on all cylinders, Masse emerged out of aid 3 with Tim Carleton (The 11 Inc / Pearl Izumi) and RBS Cycling Team teammates Kelly Sugg and Dan Kotwicki.
In the very next single track section, the group was surprised to catch Gordon Wadsworth and Cory Rimmer (Kona) recovering from early efforts of trying to stay with the top men. “Gordon was definitely at a low point there. Normally I would never see him at all.” said Masse.
Wadsworth, Rimmer, Masse, Carleton, Sugg, and Kotwicki rode together for most of the remainder of the race. “It was really getting hot and we just dialed it back a bit.” remembered Masse about the 2nd half of the race. “We spent a long time at every aid station taking on fluids, even the un-official ones, between aid 3 and aid 5. The heat and previous efforts had taken it’s toll so the 2nd half felt really more like a long hot ride with friends than a race. The pace was mostly very conversational. We really had some fun!”
In the end, Rimmer faded on the closing climbs. First Sugg then Carleton were dangling off the back in the final single track. Wadsworth cruised around Masse when he bobbled a rocky corner in the final mile leaving Kotwicki and Masse to finish together.
The “hot ride in the woods” was good enough for Masse to win Masters. Clayton finished 11 minutes behind Masse after fading badly after his early strong single track riding. Jolin continued to ride steadily crossing the line for 3rd 9 minutes after Clayton. Mark Donakowski (RACING GREYHOUNDS) finish 4th. Kruse was 5th.
Single Speed – Will Christman can’t close the deal
Blue Ridge Cyclery rider Gordon Wadsworth had already notched two 2015 single speed NUE victories heading into the Mohican 100. He won single speed at the opener True Grit Epic. He also won the single speed *and* the overall (on single speed) at the Cohutta 100 ahead of Brian Schworm. For the 2015 Mohican100, Wadsworth decided to try his hand on a geared bike against the top men in the open. This left the door open for one of the many super-strong single speed riders that have been perhaps overshadowed by Wadsworth.
In the end it was Bob Moss (Farnsworth Bicycles/Crank Arm Brewing/Torrenti Cycles) who would take the single speed win over Peat Henry (Team Noah Foundation) by 4 minutes. Will Crissman (B2C2 p/b Boloco) who lead the single speed class for 80 miles, suffered badly from his early effort and the mid-day heat faded to 3rd. Only 7 minutes separated the top-3 single speed racers after over 8 hours of racing. Merwin Davis (pathfinder of wv) would finish 4th and James Litzinger (Specialized Bicyles & Components, DirtyHarrys.net, Highland Training, SWORD Hydration) rounded out the single speed podium in 5th.
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.