Masse makes it three in a row with Masters win.
July 25, 2015. Coburn, PA. East coast racing in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series resumed this past weekend in the mountains of Pennsylvania with the fifteenth running of the Wilderness 101. Known for it’s relentless gravel and forest road climbs and technical rocky descents, the course for “the 101” rewards the rider with a balance of skills. Rare Disease Cycling riders Christian Tanguy and Roger Masse joined a list of top competitors to try and win a podium spot and series points in their respective categories.
Worth noting about the 101, is how long a relatively large front group tends to stay together. This year, the elite group at the top of the opening gravel climb gradually grew on the subsequent fast rolling gravel and forest road as chase groups burned matches to rejoin the leaders. By the time riders hit the first single track at mile 27, the peloton, that included the top riders in each category, had swollen to 60 or 70 riders with an average moving speed of nearly 16 miles per hour.
Carnage ensued. The single track trifecta of Longberger Path, Spruce Gap Trail and Three Bridges Trail, shattered the huge group. Riders were again forced to burn matches up the Laurel Run Rd and Little Shingletown Road Trail in a futile attempt to rejoin the now much smaller front group. Riders that weren’t back in contact with by the time Little Shingletown started pointing downhill, formed small chasing groups on the subsequent pavement of Pine Swamp and Laurel Run Roads. Smaller more elite front groups encouraged cooperation and high speeds to mile 40 and Aid Station 2.
Open Men – Baker unstoppable
Some of the fastest endurance riders in the country threw their hats in the ring to contest the Open Men at the 101. Some of the contenders in attendance were: 2015 True Grit champion Keck Baker (ChampSys/Cannondale p/b Battley Harley), 2015 Mohican 100 winner Christian Tanguy (Rare Disease Cycling), former college All-American running star Dereck Treadwell, Toasted Head Racing’s Ryan Serbel, and 2014 NUE Single Speed champion, riding a geared bike, Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery p/b Reynolds GM Subaru), and previous Wilderness 101 single speed winner Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) also riding a geared bike.
Leaving Aid Station 2 riders quickly turn left onto Greenlee Road to start of the first major climb of the day. An elite group formed led by Baker that also contained Blair, Treadwell and Tanguy. Wadsworth and Ian Spivack (BIKE DOCTOR p/b North Tek) were not far behind.
“We were 4 riders at the front and Keck Baker increased the tempo towards the end of climb allowing him to enter the rough single track downhill first.” recalled Tanguy of action at the top of the Greenlee climb.
At the top, Baker had indeed surged to maintain his lead into the rocky single track section of Croyle. “I hit it hard on the flat section and got a little gap and then hit the decent.” recalled Baker of the moment of separation. “I noticed I had a gap so I pushed the decent a little harder than planned.”
By the end of Croyle, Tanguy was in 4th position just behind Dereck Treadwell. “Dereck and I were riding pretty much the same speed where Keck was gone in a flash.” said Tanguy. Patrick Blair was alone in 2nd place with a 30 second gap and Baker was out of sight.
Keck Baker had no idea how much damage he had done. “At the bottom I started riding expecting to be caught but then thought that the group might be shattered and unorganized so I figured this was it.” said the front runner.
On the pavement, Wadsworth bridged back to Tanguy and Treadwell and the group eventually reeled in Blair. A chase group had formed but the Bear Meadows climb had Wadsworth off the back. By Aid 3 and the subsequent Rag Hollow climb, of the chase group, only Treadwell and Tanguy remained. Tanguy was able to slip away from Treadwell in the rough single track before Aid #4.
“I thought I made great tempo but Keck was nowhere to be seen. His time gained in the rough trails was just too great to overcome in the climbs… especially when he was climbing extremely well himself.” remembered Tanguy of his thoughts about catching his rival.
Baker had his own fears about the RDC rider. “I was always looking over my shoulder on the remaining climbs expecting to see Christian motoring up to me.” said Baker about the eventual 2nd place finisher. “It was a long extremely hard day on the bike. No doubt one of the hardest days I have ever logged on the bike… no doubt.”
In the end, it was Keck Baker’s day, taking the win in 6:27, Christian Tanguy earns 2nd in 6:37, Dereck Treadwell 3rd in 6:43, a late charging Ryan Serbel outsprinted Gordon Wadsworth for 4th in 6:45. Tanguy’s 2nd place finish moved him into the NUE series lead in this hotly contested and competitive field.
See Keck Baker’s Dirtwire.tv interview here.
Open Women – Barclay dominates on home turf
Among the favorites in a strong women’s field were: Past Wilderness 101 winner Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team), 2015 Mohcian 100 winner Linda Shin (Blacksmith Cycle), 2015 Cohutta 100 2nd place finisher Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop), Fools Gold promoter Lisa Randall (SuperSport Athletic Wear), and the ever-present Simona Vincenciova (Hammer Nutrition) having notched 2 NUE 4th place finishes in 2015.
Barclay and Williams found themselves in a chasing group by the top of the first climb that eventually rejoined the peloton of 70 riders at the front of the bike race. They were the only women to make that initial selection. Williams struggled a bit in the first single track and Barclay got a gap and would never look back. “I was pleasantly surprised and happy with how well I was riding from the start.” recalled Barclay. “I rode a lot of the race with (riding buddy, work colleague and teammate) Matt Ferrari, so it was nice to have good company along the way.”
“As soon as I heard Vicki was going to be there, I figured it would be a race for 2nd place” confessed Williams about the prospect of racing the NoTubes rider. “I did catch up to a group of riders which included Vicki after the first climb and stayed with them until 3 bridges. As soon as we started on those rocks, I didn’t see Vicki again. I rode so much more of the rocky trails than I did 2 years ago and I took 2 hours off of my previous time, so all in all I had a great day. I still have a lot I can get better at, but it is cool to see big improvements like that.”
Vicki Barclay was in a class by herself, knocking on the door of the top-10 overall. “Not racing 100 milers has made me faster at 100 milers.” joked the NoTubes rider. “I had no idea that I finished just outside the top 10 men.” Barclay finished in 13th place overall easily taking the women’s win in 7:13. Carla Williams used her strong climbing skills to hold onto 2nd with 7:59. Lisa Randall finished 3rd with 8:27, Linda Shin was 4th in 8:42, and rounding out the top-5 was Simona Vincenciova in 8:49.
See Vicki Barclay’s Dirtwire.tv video here.
Single Speed – Moss gets second NUE win
Since he was trying his hand in the open for the 101, the Single Speed division was missing the NUE Single Speed Series leader Gordon Wadsworth. The category was stacked with talented riders eager to step through the door left open by Wadsworth. Among them: 2015 Single Speed Mohican winner Bob Moss (Farnsworth Bicycles/Crank Arm Brewing/Torrenti), Many time Wilderness 101 and Shenandoah Mountain 100 2nd place single speed finisher Matthew Ferrari (Freeze Thaw Cycles – Stans NoTubes), Past single speed Shenandoah Mountain 100 winner Mike Montalbano (Toasted Head Racing), the 2014 Mohican 100 Single Speed champion Don Powers (Pro Bikes), Peter Haile (The Pisgah Tavern), Watts Dixon (The Revolting Cogs) and Brain Patten (U.S. Army Racing), to name a few.
Moss jumped out to an early lead. “This race was very similar to the Mohican 100 for me. I jumped ahead for about 20-30 miles, then fell back to settle in.” reflected Moss “I watched the other single speeder’s surge ahead and I really wanted to go, but I couldn’t, so I just settled in and hoped for the best for the remaining 60 or 70 miles.”
At roughly 30 miles in Moss was riding a rocky descent led by fellow single speeder Watts Dixon pushing the pace. “There was a big group and several single speed riders together packed tight. We crossed a dip with a sharp rock.” recalled Moss “I had just enough time for me to clear it.”
With no time for Moss to announce the hole, Watts hit hard and bent his rim. His race was over. “This was about the time when Matt Ferrari, pulled ahead.” remembered Moss.
Ferrari seized the opportunity, milking his lead over Moss till just about the half way point. “Bob caught me on the Ruff Gap descent into Aid 3.” recalled Ferrari of the catch. “We climbed out together and came across the top of Sassafras. He came around me when I stopped to eat – I knew there was a bunch of single track ahead where eating would be tough.”
That turned out to be the critical move. Ferrari wouldn’t see Moss again, but only 2-3 minutes separated the eventual winner and Ferrari the entire time.
In the end Bob Moss took the win in 7:14 followed closely by Matthew Ferrari in 2nd with 7:16, a late surging Mike Montalbano was good enough for 3rd in 7:18, Don Powers 4th in 7:19, and Peter Haile finish 5th in 7:35.
See Matt Ferrari’s Dirtwire.tv video interview here.
Masters – Masse makes it 3 in a row
Rare Disease Cycling rider Roger Masse won the Masters division over rivals Jim Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) and Mike Ramponi (Shenandoah Mountain 100) in convincing fashion. “I just tried to make up for last year’s flat-fest” said Masse, referring to his 4 flat tires resulting in a 9+ hour finishing time for the 2014 edition. “I carried extra tubes and air this year and fortunately didn’t need any of it.”
Masse was in one of the several chasing groups after the opening climb that eventually rejoined the huge peloton prior to Aid 1 and any single track. “I was worried about Jim the most, but didn’t see him at the start nor up the first climb. I wasn’t even sure he was there.” remembered Masse. “I went pretty hard but still got detached from the leaders up the first climb, but like many others, was eventually able to get to the back end of what seemed to be the main field working with other stragglers. Didn’t have great legs at the start but things improved as the day went on.”
Masse never saw Mathews, and was instead caught by long time friend and Bike Doctor rider Jed Prentice on the trail called No Name shortly before Aid 4. “It was only then that I knew where Jim Matthews was” remembered Masse. “Jed said that he had passed him at Aid 3.”
With the pressure off, Masse was content to ride with Prentice to the finish. “It was great to ride with Jed for the last couple of hours” said Masse. “He picks good lines and he’s really good in the tech. I always learn something when I follow him.”
Masse crossed the line with Open rider Prentice taking the Masters win in 7:32, Matthews finished 2nd in 7:56, Mike Ramponi finished 3rd in 8:17, Keith Button (CCB racing) and Henry McCullough (Team Trappe Door) were 4th and 5th respectively with 8:18.
Masse’s win at the 101, his 4th for 2015, firmly places him in the NUE series lead in the Masters category.
See Roger’s Dirtwire.tv interview here.
Full results here.
NUE Series standings here.