Masse locks in NUE Series win for Masters, earns trip to LaRuta
September 6, 2015. Stokesville, VA. The 17th annual Shenandoah Mountain 100 mountain bike race with it’s associated weekend of camping and socializing happened last weekend under perfect weather. Roughly 500 racers converged on the Stokesville Campground to test their mountain bike skills and endurance for this popular event. The race course has something for everyone: fast gravel road traverses, gravel climbing, technical climbing, and amazing technical single track descents. Chris Scott and the folks at Shenandoah Mountain Touring spend months preparing for this, their marquis event. Sadly, their amazing work, the perfect weather, and huge attendance for 2015 edition was shrouded in sadness. A tragic accident occurred approximately 50 miles into the route just over the crest of Bald Ridge. Masters rider Ross Hansen collided with a tree and suffered a fatal injury. Endurance mountain biking events are exciting and challenging, but unfortunately also carry risk. On behalf of Rare Disease Cycling, our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Mr. Hansen.
Rare Disease Cycling riders Christian Tanguy and Roger Masse threw their hats in the ring in their respective categories, Open Men and Masters, each earning second place finishes. Details about these category contests as well as the top Open Women and Single Speed riders are described below.
Open Men – New course record for Bishop
With multi-time Shenandoah winner Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak Ergon) in attendance, many of the top contenders figured they would be racing for 2nd. Rare Disease Cycling rider Christian Tanguy for one was ready for a battle. He’s had close contests with Jeremiah before and is a past NUE series winner. Other favorites included: NUE Series leader Keck Baker (Champion Systems), Cohutta mens open winner Brian Schworm (Think Green-Pedal the Planet), Matt Bailey (Bicycle Riding FOOL!) and Jamie Lamb (Cyclesmith – Oakley) just to name a few.
Tanguy took the early lead 2 miles into the rolling gravel of the opening climb up Narrowback and maintained his lead through the opening single track climb up Festival Trail. Tanguy was caught by Bishop leading a train of about 10 riders near Tillman road at the bottom of Tillman West. A lead group of 10 or so grew on the pavement leading up to Lynn trail where things blew apart. By the top of Lynn the lead group was whittled down to three: Bishop, Baker and Tanguy. The three stayed together across Wolf Ridge and down the single track descent back to Tillman. The three transitioned together feeding at aid2. Bishop and Baker were making Tanguy work even to stay in the draft on the relatively flat pavement and gravel leading up to Hankey1. “This is where I noticed how incredibly great shape were both Keck and Jeremiah.” recalled Tanguy. “I could not believe the speeds on my computer. Over 30 mph each time the road was pointing down even if so slightly.”
The trio climbed Hankey1 to the intersection where Hankey1 continues right and Hankey2 goes left (when racers return later in the race). As the pitches got steeper near the top of the climb, Bishop pushed hard on the last uphill portion.
“Jeremiah forced any racers wanting to stay within reach to make an extremely violent effort.” remembered Tanguy of the attack. “I experienced this technique first hand at many occasions. Should I have been alone with Jeremiah, I would have let him go away right there but I thought that if I could keep up with Keck, I would have a very strong partner on the transition roads at the bottom of the valley. Meanwhile Keck was certainly thinking that if he could stay with Jeremiah and drop me before the bottom of the valley; the chance of me bridging back were lower.”
The multi-time SM100 winner Bishop wanted the lead down Dowels Draft. “Usually In a 100 it’s better to ride with a group but I was excited to ride fast on the dowels decent since I had on a dropper post.” said Bishop of the attack. “The gap was large so I went for it!”
Tanguy was 3rd man of the now shattered group descending Dowels. Tanguy passed Baker on the side of the trail near the bottom working on his bike and rode the remaining 60 miles solo. In the end Bishop went on to set a new course record of 6:49. Tanguy finished 2nd in 7:07. Baker had to drop out having suffered an unfixable flat tire on Dowels. Jamie Lamb was 3rd, Matt Bailey 4th, and Brian Schworm 5th.
With Bishop taking the win, Baker has a lock on the NUE series for the Open Men. “After Brain Schworm put that choke hold on me and nabbed that pre season Ricon de la Vieja priem, then looking at Christian and how he was on form mid-season, I had become a little doubtful that I would be able to pull it off.” said Baker reflecting on the accomplishment. “It was hard fought and not once all season did I loose focus on my training and diet. It took a lot of work thats for sure! Looking forward to La Ruta!”
Bishop was pleased with the win. “After being a worker for a lot of races this season it felt good unleashing my best for SM100.” said Bishop. “Being on the number one team in the world for Endurance mountain biking has upped my game.”
Christian Tanguy finished his season with his 2nd place performance at SM100 earning him a tie for 2nd with Josh Tostado in the series. “I was delighted and improved my time from 2013 by an impressive 12 minutes.” said Tanguy in conclusion.
In terms of NUE series championship points, despite not finishing the SM100, Keck Baker has a lock on the series with 3 wins and a 2nd. He will represent the USA and the NUE at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores 3-day mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica in November.
Open Women – A win for newcomer Tae
With past SM100 champions Sue Haywood, Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yeager not in attendance, many in the women’s field looked to try to step up and through the open door. Among the favorites were 2014 NUE Series champion Brenda Simril; 2013 Canadian Elite Women’s Marathon National Champion but new to NUE racing, Kaarin Tae; up-and-coming young rider Kaysee Armstrong; NUE veteran and multi-time podium finisher Simona Vincenciova; Laura Hamm (Moonstomper); Cohutta 100 winner Linda Shin, and Fools Gold 100 promoter Lisa Randall to name a few.
By the halfway point and Aid4 two riders appeared in position to challenge for the win, Tae and Simril, with Tae having the lead by a small margin. After becoming aware of one another’s proximity, they both gave it their all to try and capture the win. In the end it was Tae holding on for the win and Simril taking second. Afterward, we asked both riders to describe a pivotal moment in their race.
Kaarin Tae: “It’s hard to pinpoint a pivotal moment out of 8 hours and 51 minutes of racing…but perhaps it was after AS5… I had just ridden the “Death Climb” solo from AS4 to AS5, and I had noticed a small group approaching from behind. About 5 minutes after leaving AS5 a rider informed me that the second woman had arrived at AS5 just as I was leaving, and they had told her that I had just left so he thought it was only fair to tell me that she was just behind me. This lit a fire in me when I thought I had no matches left. I attacked every climb along the ridge to the knob and descended with complete focus and determination. I was still in the lead at AS6 and hit Hankey take 2 at a solid pace, steadily increasing as I approached the ridge. I forced myself into a deep suffer zone along the ridge, determined to have nothing left when I finally reached the Stokesville descent. Focus focus. Hitting the campground I knew I would win it and allowed myself to start celebrating inside. What a great feeling to ride through that field and across the line!”
Brenda Simril: “I knew the competition was going to be totally stacked so I was surprised to find that there was only one woman still ahead of me at the bottom of the death climb. She was totally unknown to me so I was hoping that she would do me a favor and blow up on the climb. Unfortunately for me, she’s a total machine and held me off even though I got within sight of her and was absolutely chasing my guts out to catch her. Total hats off to Kaarin because when they told me at Aid 5 that I was only 90 seconds back, I thought for sure I could make it up on the downhill into Aid 6. I was amazed and humbled when I got there only to find out the deficit was now 5 minutes. So from there to the end the first goal was to hang on to 2nd and the next goal was to break 9 hrs, both of which I did!”
In terms of NUE series championship points, despite the 2nd place finish, Brenda Simril has a lock on the Series with 3 wins and a 2nd. She will represent the USA and the NUE at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores 3-day mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica in November.
Single Speed – Powers is back
The Shenandoah 100 started off like any other NUE race usually does for the SS class, with 2014 NUE champion Gordon Wadsworth off with the lead geared guys and a small group of single speeders in the chase group. After the first climb that chase group was comprised of Don Powers, Brian Patton and Bob Moss. On the road section leading to the Lynn trail climb the pace laid down by the geared riders in the chase group put the single speeders in difficulty. First Bob Moss fell off the pace, then Powers fell off with another geared guy. Patton survived the best. As the group began the ascent to Wolf Ridge along Lynn trail, they were surprised to see Gordon Wadsworth looking exasperated and moving slowly.
“As I hit the 2nd climb I saw Gordon.” said Powers recalling the moment. “He explained he wasn’t feeling well after getting sick during the week.” That moment flipped a switch inside Powers, knowing this may be one of the only chances to get a win on one of the NUE 100 milers.
By the top of the climb Powers caught back up to Brian Patton. “He got a little gap on the descent”, said Powers. “but I kept him in sight leading into aid station 2. At that point I did a quick bottle swap and I was out of the aid station before him. From that point on I didn’t see another SS’er the rest of the day.”
Powers did his best to grab geared guys wheels on the road sections to make sure he held onto the lead. “I basically spent the last 70 miles of the race convincing myself that Brian or Bob were right behind me” recalled the eventual winner. “and that I needed to keep my pace up even though I was cramping pretty bad on some sections. I was in and out of every aid station in less than 20 seconds with the help of the awesome volunteers!”
In terms of NUE series championship points, despite not finishing SM100, Wadsworth has a lock on the Series with a perfect score of 4 wins. He will represent the USA and the NUE at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores 3-day mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica in November.
Masters – Clayton seeks redemption
Rare Disease Cycling rider Roger Masse was looking for a repeat performance of his 2014 Shenandoah 100 Masters win in 2015. The only rider in attendance to beat Roger in 2015 was Super Sport Athletics rider Jeff Clayton. Clayton won the Masters contest of the 2015 Cohutta 100 with Masse taking second. Also in attendance were David Jolin (Stark Velo), Tom Kruze (Team Bulldog) and Tatanka 100 winner Lee Simril (Motor Mile Racing). In the end, Clayton was the best on the day with Masse settling for second. Tom Kruse finished 3rd, Jolin 4th, and Lee Simril 5th. Masse shared his thoughts on the day:
“I had a decent start but Jeff Clayton was hungry and he passed me about 4 miles in on Narrowback. I didn’t chase, thinking I’d see him later in the race since he often goes out too hard. I had an early nutrition issue due to mistakenly sending my drop bag to the wrong aid station which meant I had to take time to fill a CamelBak (after much searching) and loosing the good group I was with in the process. That and having to stop for a bike mechanical late in the race combined to make it difficult for me to reel back Clayton. In the end, I had to be content with 2nd which could have been much worse considering the big fade I had late in the race due in part to the early nutrition problems.”
“Hats off to Jeff for putting together a great day despite having a few problems himself.” concluded Masse.
In terms of series championship points, despite the 2nd place finish, Masse has a lock on the Series with a perfect score of 4 wins. He will represent the USA and the NUE at the LaRuta de los Conquistadores 3-day mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica in November.