Tanguy/Masse Earn 2nd at SM100

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.

SM_JB_Christian
Jeremiah Bishop and Christian Tanguy

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

Kaarin Tae
Kaarin 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.

Brenda Simril
Brenda Simril

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.

See the Dirtwire.tv interview with Kaarin Tae here and Brenda Simril here.

Single Speed – Powers is back

Don Powers
Don Powers

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.

Bob Moss
Bob Moss

“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.

See the DirtWire.tv interview with Don Powers here and a Bob Moss interview here.

Masters – Clayton seeks redemption

Jeff Clayton and Roger Masse
Jeff Clayton and Roger Masse

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.

See the Dirtwire.tv interview with “Masters Danger Man” Jeff Clayton here and Roger Masse here.

View full results here and NUE Series standings here.

Tanguy Assumes NUE Series Lead With 2nd Place Finish at Wilderness 101

Masse makes it three in a row with Masters win.
Wilderness101
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

Race leaders at the top of Croyle. Baker leads Blair, Treadwell and Tanguy - photo credit Chris Scott
Race leaders at the top of Croyle. Baker leads Blair, Treadwell and Tanguy – photo credit Chris Scott

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.

The Baker chase group: Tanguy, Blair, Tredwell - photo credit Tomi McMillar
The Baker chase group: Tanguy, Blair, Treadwell – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.

The Open Men's podium with Keck Baker on top.
The Open Men’s podium with Keck Baker on top and RDC’s Christian Tanguy having to settle for 2nd

“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

Women's 2nd place finisher Carla Williams - photo credit Tomi McMillar
Women’s 2nd place finisher Carla Williams – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.

Vicki Barclay at the finish - photo credit Dirtwire.tv
Vicki Barclay at the finish – photo credit Dirtwire.tv

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.”

Your Women's podium
Your Women’s podium

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

Bob Moss on the attack - photo credit Tomi McMillar
Bob Moss on the attack – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.

Bob Moss celebrates his win
Bob Moss celebrates his win

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.”

2nd place single speeder Matt Ferrari - photo credit Tomi McMillar
2nd place single speeder Matt Ferrari – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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

Defending Masters champion Jim Mathews - photo credit Tomi McMillar
Defending Masters champion Jim Mathews – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.”

Mike Ramponi - photo credit Tomi McMillar
Mike Ramponi – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.”

This year's Masters winner Roger Masse - photo credit Tomi McMillar
Roger Masse – photo credit Tomi McMillar

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.

Yeager takes the win at Curse of Dark Hollow. Thiemann and Harding on podium at Granogue.

Yeager on her way to the win.
Yeager on her way to the win. Photo Credit: Tomi McMillar

Yeager takes the win at round 2 of the Michaux Endurance Series.

Overcoming both extreme heat and a technically challenging course, Selene Yeager rode a text book race to take the victory at the Curse of Dark Hollow, round 2 of the 2015 Michaux Endurance Series. The fabled trails of Michaux State Forest are known as some of the most difficult and rocky in the country. This years race was made even more challenging with heavy rains the night before making for slick conditions on the relentless and rocky trails.

Curse of Dark Hollow

“The thermometer read 99 degrees in my Ford Fiesta when I finished Curse of the Dark Hollow in Michaux State Forest this Sunday. And I felt every last one of them during the final 5 miles of mostly technical climbing back to the start/finish staging are. Fortunately, I felt good for the bulk of the day. The race kicked off with a LeMans start, which is my very least favorite way to start an event. But I’ve been running regularly again, so put those skills to use and got a good position right out of the gate and raced hard to get to the pointy end of the field and into the rocks ahead of the majority of the field because I knew it was going to be a slick mess. I was right! I just kept it light and loose and was able to clear mostly everything. The heat got to me here and there. But mostly I was able to stay on top of my hydration and nutrition to get a win on the day”.

Yeager is now poised for overall victory with a massive 1 hour lead on second place. The 2015 Michaux Offroad Series concludes with round 3, The Terror of Teaberry on Sunday, September 27th.

Harding and Theiman in 2nd and 3rd behind Arley Kremmerer.
Harding and Thiemann in 2nd and 3rd behind Arley Kremmerer.

Harding and Thiemann go 2nd and 3rd at Granogue.

XC racing returned to the Granogue Estate in Delaware with round 5 of the Mid-Atlantic Super Series, To Granogue and Bach. The only thing hotter than the nearly 100 degree temperatures was the battle for the women’s Pro/Open win. Elite team riders Kathleen Harding and Nikki Thiemann sparred with Arley Kremmerer on the fast and twisty Granogue trails. In the end it was Kremmerer who came away with the win, Harding and Thiemann finishing less than a minute back.

Tanguy Second at Lumberjack

Masse tops Masters field.
LumberjackLogo

June 20, 2015 Wellston, Michigan. Michigan’s first 100-mile mountain bike race, the popular Lumberjack 100 always takes place on the third Saturday in June and always fills it’s 450 available spots within hours.  Promoter Rick Plite and his cast of helpers put on a great event that utilizes a 33-mile loop through Michigan’s beautiful Manistee National Forest and the Big-M Ski Area. The Michigan style single track is composed mostly of hard pack trail, occasional sandy sections, and fast rolling terrain offering twists and turns that demand constant power, and total concentration as the trails quickly turn to nothing more than green blurs of forest. Ninety percent of the 33-mile, 3-lap race is comprised of this single track that will eventually push racers over 9,000 feet of total elevation gain.

Open Men – Schworm last man standing

Christian Tanguy leads Jorden Wakeley, Brian Schworm, and Tinker Juarez
Christian Tanguy leads Jorden Wakeley, Brian Schworm, and Tinker Juarez
Keck Baker leads early
Keck Baker leads early

Rare Disease Cycling rider and 2014 Lumberjack champion Christian Tanguy hoped to defend his title from last year but ultimately had to settle for second. Challenging Tanguy for the overall would be Brian Schworm (Green’s Toyota), Tinker Juarez (Ridebiker Alliance), Keck Baker (Champsys/cannondale P/b Battley Harley), Michigan native and 2013 Lumberjack 2nd place finisher Michael Simonson, and 2013 2nd place finisher Jorden Wakeley (Quiring Cycles) riding a 29+ fatbike.

The fact that the mile rollout on the pavement was somewhat tame was more than compensated for once riders turned into the Big-M parking lot with Baker leading the way. “I just got nervous” recalled Baker “I went into crit-mode. I wanted to ensure good position in the single track”. Baker lead a strong group that included Schworm, Juarez, Wakeley, Simonson and a huge train of followers up the opening climb and subsequent rollers. The lap-1 pace was high, with the lead 13 riders coming into the start/finish at 2:12. As the lead group was starting to gel, Chicago rider Mike Phillips (Adventure 212 / Specialized) moved to the front and kept up the pressure with a pace that seemed un-sustainably high. Phillips lead through the lap-2 run-up section followed by Juarez, Simonson, Baker, Tanguy, Wakeley and Schworm. Single speeder Gordon Wadsworth was also in the mix, having recovered from an early crash in the lap-1 first climb traffic.

Rare Disease Cycling's Christian Tanguy pilots is Specialized S-Works Epic World-Cup to a 2nd place finish at Lumberjack
Rare Disease Cycling’s Christian Tanguy pilots is Specialized S-Works Epic World-Cup to a 2nd place finish at Lumberjack
Mountain Bike legend and two-time olympian Tinker Juarez rode strong all day
Mountain Bike legend and two-time olympian Tinker Juarez rode strong all day

When the rollers near the end of lap-2 began, Tanguy moved to the front. “I took over the lead for the last 8 miles of the second lap and continued the fast pace.” remembered the RDC rider.  “More riders fell off of the lead train and we were a much smaller group when we reached the aid zone at the start of lap-3”.

Schworm was content to let others do the pace-making. “About two-thirds of the way through lap-2, Christian started the attacks on the repeating steep hills which reduced the group to 6.” recalled the eventual winner. “At the beginning of lap-3 I hammered the initial section and two more were gapped. One of the victims was Keck Baker. “Six came into the start/finish area together.” said Baker. “but just as I had my cooler open reaching for my bottles, the others were already flying by!”.
LumberjackOpenPodium

The lap-3 lead group was reduced to Tanguy, Wakeley, Juarez, and Schworm with Tanguy setting the pace. “I led our small group again thru the road Monkey section.” said Tanguy. “We were riding at good speed and lost Jorden and Tinker.”.

Brian Schworm celebrates his Lumberjack win with his family
Brian Schworm celebrates his Lumberjack win with his family

Two riders left, Schworm and Tanguy. “Shortly after the mid lap aid station, in a short uphill both my legs cramped.” remembered Tanguy of the decisive moment. “We were about one hour from the finish but I had to back off the pace or I wouldn’t see the finish line.” That moment opened the door for Brian Schworm.

With Christian stuggling, Schworm made his move. “I then attacked on the run-up to the fire tower, the following road section, and the first few hills when we hit the trail again.” recalled Schworm. “I saw a had a gap at this point so I quickened the pace a bit and hammered those repeating steep hills and was able to hold the gap from there to the finish.”

Tanguy would do all he could to just finish without losing any spots.

In the end it was Brian Schworm hanging on to win in 6:27:39. 2nd RDC’s Tanguy 6:29:52, 3rd Wakeley 6:31:29, 4th Juarez 6:31:32, and Keck Baker would finish in 5th 06:39:55.

Full results here.

Open Women – Chandler finishes strong

With many of the NUE favorites opting instead for Colorado’s Bailey Hundo, the door was opened for some new talent to emerge victorious in Michigan. Among the favorites taking their shot was Rhonda Stickle (Bike Zone Racing), Mari Chandler (Dart Nuun / Tecnu Racing) and local Michigan rider Jill Martindale (Grand Rapids Bicycle Co.).
LumberjackWomensPodium
Stickle set an impressive lap-1 pace getting back to the start/finish area in 2:36:38. Martindale was 3 minutes back and Chandler sat in third two minutes behind Martindale.

By the end of lap-2, Stickle lead Chandler through the start finish by 13 seconds.  Martindale was third, 7 minutes back having fallen off the pace of the leaders.

But Chandler was in control. The Nevada rider rode lap-3 in 2:41:15, just 30 seconds slower than her lap-1 split!

In the end, Chandler wins in 7:59:03, Stickle is 2nd with 8:04:56, and Martindale holds on to 3rd in 8:14:44.

Full results here.

Single Speed – Wadsworth back on top

Gordon Wadsworth rode with the leaders of the open men for half the race
Gordon Wadsworth rode with the leaders of the open men for half the race

With wins in the first two 2015 NUE Single Speed contests that included an overall win at Cohutta, Blue Ridge Cycling rider Gordon Wadsworth raced in the open at Mohican on a geared bike. But Wadsworth got behind nutritionally on a hot Ohio day and eventually fell off the pace of the leaders. Looking for redemption, Wadsworth returned to the Single Speed category for the the 2015 Lumberjack 100. “It’s just SUCH a good single speed course” said Wadsworth. “Doesn’t get much better than racing 100 miles on beautiful single track.”

Jan Roubal would be Wadsworth's nearest single speed challenger
Jan Roubal would be Wadsworth’s nearest single speed challenger

Challenging Wadsworth would be Ontario rider Jan Roubal (Velorution), Bloomington Cycle And Fitness rider Aaron Fader and local rider Mike Bernhard (Twin Six Metal).

Wadsworth’s win would not be without drama. Having fallen off of the pavement pace of the very top geared riders, Wadsworth was passing riders to the left of the line on the first climb when he went down hard. “I didn’t see what happened, but I saw Gordon picking up his bike out of the woods on that opening climb” recalled Masters winner Roger Masse about the early racing.

Wadsworth was back on his bike and burning jet fuel. He was immediately passing his single speed rivals and was soon in contact with the leaders.  LumberjackSSpodium By the end of lap-1, Wadsworth crossed the line in 2:12:56 with the leaders of the open men.

The man they call “Quadsworth” rode with the elite front group till a particularly steep climb on lap-2 where he got bogged down and had to dismount. A gap formed and he was not able to close it.

Detached from the open leaders, the NUE Single Speed series leader rode tempo for the remainder of the race and took the single speed win handily in 6:48:32, good enough for 8th overall. Jan Roubal was 2nd with 7:07.39, and Aaron Fader 3rd in 7:12:41.

Full results here.

Masters – Masse makes it 2 in a row

RDC's Roger Masse played his cards well enough to repeat his Masters win at Lumberjack
RDC’s Roger Masse played his cards well enough to repeat his Masters win at Lumberjack
Jeff Wittbrodt challenged Masse all day
Jeff Wittbrodt challenged Masse all day

Fresh off his Master’s win at Mohican 100, RDC’s Roger Masse hoped to make it two-in-a-row with a repeat of his 2014 Lumberjack Masters win. With 80 Masters starters, this would prove to be a tall order. In attendance was 2015 Cohutta Masters winner Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neurosurgical Institute), Stark Velo rider David Jolin, and a slew of fast local Michigan riders including Jeff Wittbrodt (Specialized), Jack Kline (McLain Race Team), and Racing Greyhounds riders Mark Donakowski and Chris Torrance.

“The pace really started moving fast once we were in the Big-M driveway” recalled Masse about the start. “I slotted in a rider or two behind Clayton. I watched him ride for the first several minutes and eventually decided he looked tired from the early effort. So I punched it at the top of an early climb to pass.”

After that initial surge around Clayton, Masse settled into a fast group that included Jeff Wittbrodt and Open rider Jeff Mandell (Finkraft Cycling Team). “Wittbrodt lead for much of the first lap” remembered Masse. “I could see he was a confident descender but was keeping the climbing pace reasonable. At that point, I had no idea he was racing Masters.”

Cohutta Masters winner Jeff Clayton was so close, but never in contact with the leaders. He had to settle for 3rd.
Cohutta Masters winner Jeff Clayton was so close, but never in contact with the leaders. He had to settle for 3rd.

LumberjackMastersPodium
At the beginning of lap-2, Wittbrodt began to slow, perhaps in an effort to conserve for what lay ahead. Jeff Mandell took over the pace making. “Jeff picked up right where (the other) Jeff left off on lap-2” said Masse. The lap-2 group started with 6 or 7 riders and ended with only Mandell and Masse. Wittbrodt was not in contact. Mandell and Masse began to slow towards the end of lap-2 but were rejuvenated after the final stop for bottles and the start of lap-3. Mandell eventually fell off the pace with 20 miles to go leaving Masse alone.

A resurgent Wittbrodt caught Masse shortly after Mandell dropped off. “I asked Jeff at that point if he was Open or Masters” said Masse. “When he said Masters and I told him I was too and that I thought we were leading, it was on!”. With a surge of adrenaline, Masse stepped up the pace and lead Wittbrodt through the 1/2 way aid station and into the climbs leading up to the hike-a-bike section. “I noticed he was falling off the pace a bit at the top of the longer climbs, so I notched it up even more. I had a gap at the bottom of the run-up and I went totally anaerobic up the run-up, barely recovering on the gravel descent that followed.” The effort was enough. Wittbrodt was out of sight.

With 10 miles to go and the lead, Masse spent the rest of his match-book and held off Wittbrodt for the win in 7:19:23, Wittbrodt would finish 2nd with 7:22:29, and Jeff Clayton 3rd in 7:24:38. Just 5 minutes separated the top-3 Masters racers after nearly 7 1/2 hours of racing.

Full results here.

Photo credits Jack Kunnen Photography and Rob Meendering Photography

 

Harding on the podium at Kenda Cup East #3

Harding takes 3rd!
Harding takes 3rd!
Harding 3rd at a muddy Millstone Grind in Websterville, Vermont.
The 3rd round of the new Kenda Cup East XC series saw some of best riders on the East Coast take on a muddy and challenging Vermont course. Continuing to build momentum in an already successful comeback season, Kathleen Harding put in a solid ride to finish 3rd behind winner Ellen Otter (Bicycle Express) and Karen Potter (Pivot / Epic Brewing).
“The preride on Saturday was dry and dusty and with rain in the forecast, I knew the next day we’d see an entirely different course. 12 hrs later it was 40 degrees cooler, and Sunday’s race was just what we expected. It was muddy, slick and cold. I was ready for the challenge nonetheless”. Harding was able to make the most of the deteriorating conditions, and after a strong start stayed focused on riding a consistent race.
“I fought to get into a decent place before the technical single track and continued to make up time as I picked my way through the greasy roots and slick rocks. It was a true picture of New England racing”. Harding battled for the entire second half of the race with Karen Potter. An untimely last lap crash gave Potter a slight edge with Kathleen finishing 3rd.
Harding, satisfied with her performance celebrated in fine Vermont fashion with a Heady Topper (one of Vermont’s finest, most sought after brews) compliments of the promotor. “It was the perfect way to end the day”.

Tanguy Victorious at Mohican 100

Masse wins Masters.

Mohican 100 race director Ryan O'Dell
Mohican 100 race director Ryan O’Dell

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.

The coveted "Axe-pipe"
The coveted “Axe-pipe” prize for division winners

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 Christian Tanguy in the lead in the early single track
RDC’s Christian Tanguy in the early single track

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.
MohicanChristianCornering
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.

Keck Baker leads Christian Tanguy, Gordon Wadsworth and Brian Schworm down the waterbars section at mile 20.
Keck Baker leads Christian Tanguy, Gordon Wadsworth and Brian Schworm down the waterbars section at mile 20.

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.

Dylan Johnson navigates the water bars
Dylan Johnson navigates the water bars

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.

Christian Tanguy rides the swinging bridge at mile 82
Christian Tanguy rides the swinging bridge at mile 82

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.”

Christian Tanguy wins the 2015 Mohican 100
Christian Tanguy wins the 2015 Mohican 100

 

Christian Tanguy1st, Keck Baker 2nd, Brian	Schworm 3rd,  Dylan	Johnson 4th, 	Anthony	Grinnell	5th, Dereck	Treadwell 6th, Ronald	Catlin 7th, and josh	tostado	8th in the open men
Christian Tanguy 1st, Keck Baker 2nd, Brian Schworm 3rd, Dylan Johnson 4th, Anthony Grinnell 5th, Dereck Treadwell 6th, Ronald Catlin 7th, and Josh Tostado 8th in the open men

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

Linda Shin is your women's open winner of the 2015 Mohican 100
Linda Shin is your women’s open winner of the 2015 Mohican 100

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.

Brinda Simril and Linda Shin are happy to be finished
Brinda Simril and Linda Shin are happy to be finished

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.”

From left Marlee Dixon is 3rd, Linda Shin 1st and Brenda Simril 2nd at the 2015 Mohican 100
From left Marlee Dixon is 3rd, Linda Shin 1st and Brenda Simril 2nd at the 2015 Mohican 100

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

RDC's Roger Masse rides into Aid 3 with Toast Head's Mike Montalbano
RDC’s Roger Masse rides into Aid 3 with single speed rider Mike Montalbano

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.

Jeff Clayton leads in the early single track
Jeff Clayton leads in the early single track

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.”

David Jolin was steady all day.
David Jolin was steady all day.

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.

Roger Masse is 1st, Jeff Clayton 2nd, David Jolin 3rd, Mark Donakowski 4th, and Tom Kruse 5th in the Masters Division
Roger Masse is 1st, Jeff Clayton 2nd, David Jolin 3rd, Mark Donakowski 4th, and Tom Kruse 5th in the Masters Division

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

From Left James Litzinger is 5th, Will Crissman 3rd, BobMoss is 1st, Peat Henry 2nd, and Merwin	Davis is 4th in the Single Speed division
Bob Moss is 1st, Peat Henry 2nd, Will Crissman 3rd, Merwin Davis is 4th, and James Litzinger is 5th in the Single Speed division

 

Peat Henry finishes 2nd
Peat Henry finishes 2nd

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.

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.

Swan Fights for 2nd at Mountain State Dirty Double

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RDC's Stephanie Swan is so passionate about the Dirty Double, she wrote and performed a theme song for it!
RDC’s Stephanie Swan is so passionate about the Dirty Double, she wrote and performed a theme song for it!

Rowlesburg, WV, May 16 – 17, 2015. “This is not a road race.”, reads the first sentence on the registration page. No, the Mountain State Dirty Double Roubaix presented by Pathfinder of WV is a two-day gravel racing stage race. The routes are comprised of paved roads, tar and chip roads (most of these have numerous pot holes), gravel roads (sometimes deep gravel, sometimes large gravel), dirt roads, unmaintained county roads, and steep downhills. If this sounds like fun, then the Dirty Double is for you. The rules are simple: General Classification (overall) scoring is based on the total time of both days. Lowest time wins. Riders must complete each day’s stage on the same bike they started the day on. However you can use a different bike on day 1 verses day 2. No outside support is allowed, so riders must carry what they need apart from nutrition available at aid stations. Cyclocross or Mountain bikes are highly recommended.

Dirty Double - Day 1
Dirty Double – Day 1

Rare Disease Cycling rider Stephanie Swan looked to improve on her 2nd place GC performance at the 2014 inaugural event where she placed second among the open women. Swan would have her work cut out for her with multi-time Iron Cross winner Ruth Sherman (Stan’s NoTubes/Corning Race Team) and host team rider Justine Pagenhardt (Pathfinder of West Virginia) in attendance.

For the Saturday stage, the weather was overcast with the possibility of rain (which never materialized), leaving racers with perfect 70 degree temps and comfortable racing conditions. The Day 1 early pace was brisk and Swan was separated from the women’s leader Sherman up the first selective climb. Fortunately for Swan, she had a nice group to work with for the remainder of the stage and was able to hold off the rest of the women for second place on the day.

With a 10 minute lead over 3rd place Pagenhardt and only 6 minutes down on GC leader Sherman, Swan was well positioned to have an impact on Day 2.

Things went downhill in a hurry.

The heavy rain that hit after the stage on the first day had been steady enough to leave some large puddles at the top of the first climb of Day 2. Some of these stretched across the entire width of the dirt road which had become soft, muddy and slow. It was over this muddy section at the top of the hill where Swan lost contact for the 2nd time with the GC and Day 2 leader Sherman. Chasers Pagenhardt and 4th place rider Carryn Purdon were not far behind.

Stephanie Swan descends with riders from her Day 1 group.
Stephanie Swan descends with riders from her Day 1 group.

Swan was left riding alone as rain continued to fall during a long, twisty technical descent. “My hands were slipping all over my handlebars from the water coming down.” remembered the RDC rider.

“At the bottom of the first descent, I was by myself, and over the next six miles I passed about five riders, as I time trialed on the rolling flat section of the course.” recalled Swan about the miles after her Day 2 separation from Sherman. “This effort really wore me out and I must have lessoned my pace. I heard voices behind me about half way through from a group of about five riders including a woman.”

It was Carryn Purdon, who was conserving energy, working together with other riders to maximize her advantage and to regain contact with Swan. This race was not over.

“I presume she had had other riders to work with on the flats because she seemed pretty fresh.” recalled Swan of the catch.

Dirty Double - Day 2
Dirty Double – Day 2

The group, which now included Swan, stayed together until mile 26. During this temporary alliance, Purdon had shown herself as an expert descender. Since the last part of the course is a fast twisty technical gravel descent, Swan decided to take her shot on the final climb before the run in to the finish. “I dug deep and put in as much time into her as I could on the climb, hoping I could hold her off on the descent.” remembered the RDC rider.

The strategy worked. Swan held just enough of a gap she was able to get to the finish of Day 2 ahead of Purdon and Pegenhardt for second place on the day and a second place overall.

Full results here.

Photos courtesy of abraracing.com.

2015 Dirty Double Open Women's podium: 1st Ruth Sherman, 2nd Stephanie Swan, 3rd Justine Pagenhardt, and 4th Carryn Purdon
2015 Dirty Double Open Women’s podium: 1st Ruth Sherman, 2nd Stephanie Swan, 3rd Justine Pagenhardt, and 4th Carryn Purdon
Swan is all smiles despite being temporarily caught by the 4th place rider
Stephanie Swan is all smiles despite being temporarily caught by 4th place rider Carryn Purdon halfway into Day 2

Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships

Cheryl Sornson on the podium after a fierce battle.
Cheryl Sornson on the podium after a fierce battle.

Sornson 2nd, Harding 5th at the USA Pro Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships.

Team RDC took a road trip down south this past weekend for the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships held just outside of Augusta, Georgia. The course was a relatively flat affair with a heavy dose of tight and twisty single track. With near endless high speed corners and a lack of descents on the course allowing for little recovery, riders were taken riders to their technical and physical limits.

Sornson charging across one of the many stream crossings on course.
Sornson charging across one of the many stream crossings on course.

Cheryl Sornson finished in second position after a nearly 5 hour long battle for the win with Rose Grant (Stan’s NoTubes). Early on in the race a trio of riders made up of Sornson, Grant and Ally Stacher (Ally’s Bar) broke away from the field and immediately established a large gap. A mid-race crash from Stacher left just Sornson and Grant at the front of the race. The two riders battled tooth and nail through the more technical second half of the course with Grant gaining her winning margin within the closing miles of the race.

Harding rolls to the line.
Harding rolls to the line.

Kathleen Harding was next across the line for RDC, finishing in 5th place just behind Serena Gordon (Live Co-Factory). Harding is enjoying a killer comeback season, proving yet again that she is capable of competing with the country’s best.

Tanguy Opens Season with 2nd Place Finish at Cohutta

Roger Masse second in Masters.
CohuttaPrizes
April 25, 2015, Ducktown TN. National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series race #2 commenced with the Cohutta 100 in pouring rain and 50 degree temperatures in south eastern Tennessee this past weekend. The 2015 edition featured a different course from past editions that took racers over the Big Frog mountain and then west into the Cherokee Forest on undulating gravel roads near the Ocoee river. The new course was designed to be slightly gentler than the courses from recent years, but the pouring rain overnight and at the start all but wiped out hopes for faster times.
CohuttaMap
Rare Disease Cycling riders Christian Tanguy and Roger Masse suited up and braved the elements in their respective categories to try and notch some early season points.

Men’s Open

Despite the rain, the pace was brisk up the pavement towards the opening single track at the top of a one mile climb, as riders vied for position entering the woods. Dylan Johnson (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team) set the pace up the first climb out the gate. Keck Baker (Cannondale/Carytown Bikes) jumped at the top to get the hole shot into the woods. RDC’s Christian Tanguy was in the lead group that included Baker, Johnson, Westley Richards (Clemmons Bicycle), single speeder Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery) and Brian Schworm (Think Green-Pedal the Planet), with several other top contenders. “Despite the rain, the trail was not too muddy and more amazingly I could see fine as I did not get much projections from the tires landing on my glasses thanks to a little fender on my fork” recalled Tanguy sighting lessons learned from the 2013 Cohutta race which opened in similarly rainy conditions.

Baker lost the lead briefly, but retook it on the “roots” section by the river just before the bridge ending the first loop of single track. By mile 15 the front group had solidified a gap. “I think at first it was about 8 of us and we started riding along pretty well together.” recalled Baker about the early elite selection. “All but Brian Shworm and a few others were unwilling to put in any work.”

Your top three overall (from left) Gordon Wadsworth 1st, Christian Tanguy 3rd, and Brian Schworm 2nd
Your top three overall (from left): Gordon Wadsworth 1st, Christian Tanguy 3rd, and Brian Schworm 2nd

The rain stopped an hour or two into the contest and Tanguy was in the mix. “I started to enjoy myself on the trails and the rain stopped. Wow, could it be that I could get the opportunity for a good ride?” wondered Tanguy. “I was in the lead group and feeling ok. I was bracing for the later hours in the race where each pedal stroke is accompanied by pain.”

Not much happened until mile 70, when Keck Baker accelerated. “I attacked and Dylan Johnson answered and bridged up to me and at this point we started to roll up a climb.” said Baker about his decision to shake things up. “I looked back and saw the group had shattered and there was a group in chase.”

Tanguy was one of those chasing riders playing it smart and conserving his matchbook. “I was really hurt and the legs did not wanted to spin any faster. I was so sure I would not see any of those guys” recalled Tanguy “I wished them well with a nice ‘Goodbye’. I was already satisfied with my effort.”

But Tanguy wasn’t finished just yet. Baker dropped back and started working with the two chasers Wadsworth and Richards letting Johnson go. Dylan Johnson, now in the lead, continued solo.

Soon Shworm caught the Baker/Richards/Wadsworth trio and immediately attacked. Only Wadsworth followed.

Mens Open Podium
1st Brian Schworm,
2nd Christian Tanguy (not pictured),
3rd Dylan Johnson,
4 Westley Richards,
5th Keck Baker,
6th Andrew Dillman,
7th Michael Simonson,
8th Nathaniel Cornelius
Photo credit SARAKRISTEN.COM

Soon after Tanguy caught the Baker/Richards group. “I was very surprised to reach back to some very tired riders. As usual for me during those 100 miles race, my heart was feeling fine but my legs were just quitting.” remembers the RDC rider. Tanguy rode through and Richards tried to follow.

Meanwhile at the front, Schworm and Wadsworth were together coming up the pavement to the finish. Wadsworth lead over the bridge and aggressively hit the final left hand turn after the bridge to set up the sprint. The sprint never happened. The aggressive turn opened up a slight gap and Schworm did not challenge. The overall went to Wadsworth.

Tanguy persevered finishing 2rd place in men’s open behind men’s open winner Brian Schworm and the remarkable performance by the 1st single speed racer Gordon Wadsworth who took the overall win. “It is an incredible result especially when in one race I double up on my mileage for the year. I hope the legs will hold a little longer during the Mohican 100 next month.” Tanguy reflected.

Johnson crossed in 4th and Richards in 5th after both were able to pass Baker on the last bit of single track fixing a flat. Baker, who had hoped for a top-3 after his win at True Grit, had to settle for 5th.

Open Women

Cohutta Open Womens Podium
1st Amanda Carey,
2nd Carla Williams,
3rd Linda Shin,
4th Simona Vincenciova,
5th Danielle Musto
Photo credit SARAKRISTEN.COM

Just as exciting as the men’s race, the top three open women were all within minutes of each other entering the final single track and the last nine miles of the race. Luca Sunscreen rider and NUE veteran Amanda Carey entered the single track first and used her abundant technical skills to enlarge her gap to the finish. “I’ve ridden behind her enough to know her technical riding is really solid.” recalled Rare Disease Cycling rider Roger Masse, referring to the large skill set of the Cohutta Women’s winner. Joe’s Bike Shop rider and up-and-coming star Carla Williams finished 2nd just ahead of a hard charging Linda Shin (Blacksmith Cycle). Hammer Nutrition rider Simona Vincenciova finished 4th and rounding out the top-5 was Grand Rapids Bicycle Company/Salsa rider Danielle Musto.

Single Speed

Cohutta SS Podium
1st Gordon Wadsworth,
2nd Brian Patton,
3rd Daniel Rapp,
4th peat henry,
5th Ernesto Marenchin
Photo credit SARAKRISTEN.COM

2014 NUE Single Speed champion and Blueridge Cyclery Rider Gordon Wadsworth continued his impressive assent in the cycling world by not only easily winning the single speed category, but also being the first rider OVERALL!
Winning an NUE race on a single speed against other elite riders on geared bikes is an impressive feat in NUE endurance racing, a feat that has only been accomplished two other times: once in 2013 by former Rare Disease Cycling rider Gerry Pflug at the Mohican 100 and that same year by legendary Kona Mountain Bike Team rider Barry Wicks when he outsprinted Christian Tanguy and Mike Simonson two years ago at Lumberjack.

Military Endurance rider Brian Patton tipped his hat as to his expected fitness level earlier in the season by finishing 1st overall in the non-elite wave at Monster Cross in Richmond… on his single speed. Patten finished an impressive 2nd place in the SS Cohutta contest. Dan Rapp (Team Noah Foundation) was 3rd, Peat Henry (Team Noah Foundation) 4th, and Pivot Cycles Ernesto Merenchin having to stop for a lengthy chain repair late in the race, rounded out the single speed podium in 5th.

Masters

Coming off an early season win at NUE #1 True Grit Epic, RDC’s Roger Masse etched a solid second place finish heeding the win to incoming Masters class freshman Jeff Clayton (Super Sport Athletic Wear) of Lizella GA. Clayton, who’s earned success as a solo rider in timed lap events in the 8-12 hour range and who has been on the podium for the Cohutta 100 sister event the Big Frog 65, has made a shift into the longer epic loop endurance racing of the NUE with this appearance and win at Cohutta. “I didn’t know who he was or if there were any Masters racers in front of me until the finish” declared Masse of the surprise win of the new arrival. “He’s obviously an experienced rider and this result is probably not a fluke”.

Other than David Jolin (Stark Velo) and 2013 Cohutta Masters winner Mark Drogalis (Toasted Head Racing), Masse was not sure of where the challenges would come. “But I knew they would come. They always do.” said the RDC rider and 2014 NUE Masters Series champion.

Masters podium (from Left): David Jolin 4th, Roger Masse 2nd, Jeff Clayton 1st, Tom Kruse 3rd, and Alan Miner 5th
Masters podium (from Left): David Jolin 4th, Roger Masse 2nd, Jeff Clayton 1st, Tom Kruse 3rd, and Alan Miner 5th
Photo credit SARAKRISTEN.COM

“Despite a solid warm-up the day before the race, I really felt weak at the start and pretty quickly started dropping behind the fairly large front group up the first climb.” recalled Masse. “I latched onto the chasing group for a while but was really hurting, as a result, my position in the single track was not so good.”

Masse settled in and rode tempo through the single track and Aid 1 trying to regroup. Soon Masse found himself riding in a small group that included fellow Masters rider Tom Kruse. The group was passed by Blackwater Bikes rider Daniel McPeake and Masse latched on leaving Kruse behind. “I rode with McPeake through Aid 4 until we encountered Andy Rhodes” said Masse. “They started attacking each other on the climbs and I didn’t want to and really couldn’t match those efforts for long.”

Masse crossed the line at 8:28 and was surprised to find that Super Sport Athletic Wear rider Jeff Clayton had won the category in an impressive 8:11. “Jeff Clayton won fair-and-square. Hat’s off to him. I admit to not knowing who he was until after it was over or that there were any Masters racers in front of me, but that’s the beauty of Masters… new freshman every year can be a surprise. I certainly know who he is now!” said Masse. “Congrats to all racers who were brave enough to show up in challenging conditions and welcome to the Masters incoming class!”

Full results here.

Strong weekend for RDC at US Cup, Singlespeed-A-Palooza, Dirty 40 Rasputitsa, Rattling Enduro, Bakers Dozen

Rare Disease Cycling had another busy and successful weekend slaying international competition at the US Cup in California and taking several wins on the East Coast in events ranging from Single Speed XC to enduro.

Oberman charging on the Bonelli Park US Cup course. Photo: Johnny Mueller / Sho-Air Cycling Group

US Cup Round #3: Bonelli Park

Picking up were he left off, Cole Oberman returned to racing in California with a pair of strong finishes at round 3 of the USA Cycling US Cup. Oberman finished in 24th place in the UCI HC level cross country and 7th in Sunday’s short track event. “I’m happy to continue to have progressively better finishes in such top notch fields. I’ve got a little more work to do between now and the opening World Cups but I’m feel like I’m on track to have a great season”.

Oberman suffers on a steep climb. Photo: Johnny Mueller / Sho-Air Cycling Group

Recapping the weekend Oberman stated, “The XC went great for me. I had a great jump off the line and rode most of the race in the top 15. I slid back a bit on the last lap but it’s a huge confidence booster to be riding in the same group as top World Cup riders. Sunday’s short track was a little disappointing as I was in a position to win and took myself out with a stupid crash. Still, I chased back onto the group and finished 7th in the sprint. So again, it’s a huge confidence booster to know I’m so fit. I’m really looking forward to Sea Otter and The Whiskey Off-Road in the next couple of weeks”.

 

Harding on the top step in her season opener.
 

Singlespeed-A-Palooza

Kathleen Harding kicked off her comeback season with a win at this past weekends Singlespeed-A-Palooza. SSAP held this year in Montgomery, NY is one of the largest and longest running singlespeed mountain bike events in the East Coast. The event is also a fundraiser for the local Heart Strings Charity.

Harding summarizing her weekend, “SSAP is always a fun way to kick off the season. Two of us took off from the start and led the race down the first gravel road. After we got to the woods I pulled away and was able to maintain the lead through the end of the race”. 

Yeager on her way to a gritty victory.
 

Dirty 40 Rasputitsa

Also held on Saturday in East Burke, VT was the Dirty 40 Rasputitsa gravel road race. Team rider Selene Yeager was on hand looking for a new adventure and the top step of the podium.

“I’d been looking forward to this one for months, since I’ve never done it and was looking for new adventure. I certainly found new adventure! Winter hasn’t gotten the memo that spring is here up there! The race, which is 40 miles of mostly “Vermont cobbles” (stuttery dirt roads) and mud also included a 2.8 mile non-winter maintenance road that as advertised, had not been plowed. Welcome to a snowy 5K in the middle of a bike race! I was having a very good day and was in the lead at that point. But I knew Lyne Bessette is an amazing runner with I believe a sub-3 hour marathon, so I knew if I wanted to keep my lead I’d better run! My feet are still battered and blistered, but pulled off a very happy win”.

  

Rattling Enduro

Changing gears from gravel road racing to enduro mountain biking, Selene Yeager made her way down to Lykens, PA for Sunday’s Rattling Enduro. A master of all disciplines, Yeager was able to take her second victory of the weekend.

 “The next day I lined up at Rattling Enduro in Lykens, PA, which included 3 long timed enduro segments. I was still pretty tired, but now the sun was shining and it was pushing 70 degrees and there was no snow! So I was just happy to pedal hard and have fun. Pulled out the win on the day for a really satisfying weekend”.

Leesburg Bakers Dozen Relay

Cheryl Sornson was back in action this past weekend as one third of the winning team known as “Churtle’s Sublime Tillmination”. The team completed 19 laps winning by a margin of over 1 hour.

Sornson described the race as, “13 hours of pure 38 – 42 minute intervals of all out effort.  Putting our strong man (MIKE) out on the starting lap proved to be the key to our lead that we kept all day.  The rest of the day our team consistently put out fast consistent lap times.  Mike and I in the 37-38 range and Jenn hammering a solid 42.  We each did a night lap which slowed a bit, but otherwise we crushed ourselves each lap. By the end we were tired and completely loopy, but the day was beautiful and the crowd was super cool.  A great day in the books for sure”. 

  

Greene County Road Race

Stephanie Swan was also on the podium this past weekend taking the win at the Greene County Road Race. Swan won the women’s division and was also an impressive 8th place overall.


Swan 4th at Michigan’s Barry Roubaix

Rare Disease Cycling rider Stephanie Swan rides to a 4th place finish at Michigan’s “Killer Gravel Road Race”.

BarryRoubaixLogo

March 28, 2015. Hastings, MI. With nearly 3000 entrants for 2015, the Barry Roubaix is described by promotor Rick Plight as: “The largest gravel road race in the world”. Like the classic it’s named after, Barry-Roubaix tests riders against 80% rolling ravel roads, pavement, rocks, sand, mud, and a mile of rough double track. This early season event, marks the start of the racing season in Michigan, where snow and ice on the course are not uncommon at this time of year.

There are three race distances to challenge riders of all abilities. The 24 mile “chiller” has 1200 feet of climbing. The 36 mile “thriller” climbs 2200 feet. But the marquis event and the most challenging is the “killer” 62 mile course with 3600 feet of climbing.

RDC's Stephanie Swan (left) celebrates with the open women
RDC’s Stephanie Swan (left) celebrates with the open women

This race is fast. A successful racer must be able to navigate fast cornering on loose surface and be at or near threshold the entire race. The cutoff for racers reaching the 2nd aid station at mile 42 requires an average speed of nearly 15mph! The leaders will average considerably more.

Last year’s open women’s winner and Rare Disease Cycling rider Stephanie Swan returned to defend her 2014 title against multiple-time Barry-Roubaix champion McKenzie Woodring (Foundry Cycling), and 2015 USA World Cyclocross Team member Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing). Fresh off her win just four weeks ago at Monster Cross, Stephanie was ready to test her mettle against a larger field and more seasoned competitors.

The podium with Stephanie Swan in 4th. Photo credit to Crystal Anthony.
The open women’s podium with Swan (left) in 4th. Photo credit to Crystal Anthony.

The 200 rider combined women’s, Masters 40+, and single speed field started fast and quickly strung out into single file. Swan found herself on the wrong side of a crucial separation early on. “After the third roller, our field was strung out double, then single-file. A gap formed about 10 riders ahead, and I hung on to the wheel in front of me. The gap widened, and it was clear: I was on the wrong side of a crucial split.” said Swan about the early selection. “McKenzie, Crystal, and Kelli (Richter) were on the other side of the gap.” remembered Swan. In the end all three women that made the lead group crossed the line in separate splinter groups off the original lead pack, but the early speed differences in speed between the lead and chase groups created an early time gap that would not be overcome.

Swan chased hard, but as a member of the chasing group, she had to work harder than she’d hoped in the early portions of the contest. In the end, Swan earned 4th place, behind winner Woodring, 2nd place finisher Anthony, and just 3 minutes behind 3rd place finisher and Chicago Series Cyclocross favorite Kelli Richter (PSIMET Racing). 5th place went to Kae Takeshita (Verdigris-Village CX).

With her 4th place at Barry Roubaix and her win at Monster Cross, Stephanie Swan is off to a strong early season start with two UltraCross podium appearances in a month.

RDC continues successful US Cup campaign at the Fontana City National!

Oberman on the podium again at the Fontana City National US CUP.
Oberman on the podium again at the Fontana City National US CUP.

Rare Disease Cycling continued it’s successful start to the season with another podium finish in the short track cross country at the Fontana City National, round 2 of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho Air Cycling Group. Sunday’s short track brought a close to a weekend that saw solid finishes for both Sornson and Oberman in the UCI HC cross country event on Saturday.

Oberman on the technical xc descent at Fontana. [Photo: Phillip Beckman / PBCreative.com]
Oberman on the technical xc descent at Fontana.
[Photo: Phillip Beckman / PBCreative.com]
Elite Men

Oberman again finished out the weekend with a podium finish in Sunday’s short track race. “It was great to prove that my success last weekend wasn’t a fluke. I had a solid start but the more technical course at Fontana caused a bunch of crashes early on in the short track. I got caught behind a couple of these and it was a lot of work to get back towards the sharp end of the race. In the end I made up enough ground to find myself on the podium again”.

Jumping from 10th position to 5th in the closing laps of the race, Oberman eventually led out and out sprinted current USA short track national champion Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air). ” Going into the last lap, I attacked our group and led it out into the finish straight. I just stayed on it full gas and in the end it was enough. I’m totally stoked to make the podium 2 weeks in a row. Definitely in good company!”.

Saturday’s UCI HC cross country event also went well for Oberman. He finished 28th overall, 7th among the Americans in a truly international, world cup caliber field. “The start at Fontana is always a struggle, the ground is loose and immediately off the line there are a series of tight turns. There’s just no way to move up and you inevitably lose some time on the leaders as things sort out, especially starting on the 7th row”.

Still Oberman rode a steady race, working with other riders to try to get to the front. “The course at Fontana really suits me, its technical and also has a single, long climb on the course. I rode the first couple of laps with a couple of the other Americans, Spencer Paxson (Kona) and Mitch Hoke (The Pro’s Closet), we made some good progress together but eventually I was just rolling a little better on the climb and ended up by myself. I tried to stay on pace for the final 3 laps and made up a few more positions. I know I can do better than 28th but it’s only my 2nd xc race of the year and I’m super happy to see some solid improvement over last week”.

 

Elite Women

 

Sornson on her way to a top-20 finish among the world class women's field. [Photo: Kenny Wehn/Stan's No Tubes]
Sornson on her way to a top-20 finish among the world class women’s field.
[Photo: Kenny Wehn/Stan’s No Tubes]
Cheryl Sornson continued to have a stellar opening to her season by placing 20th in the women’s UCI HC cross country event. Sornson drew on her endurance background to ride a consistent race, finishing strong and reeling in competitors until the last lap. Following an equally impressive result at last weeks race in Bonelli, Sornson now finds herself sitting 15th place overall in USAC US Cup series. Not to bad for someone that claims she, “only went to California to get in some good training”!

Sornson also raced the short track on Sunday. Again working the race into the middle of a larger workout, she battled back form a rough start to finish with the lead group in 13th place.

 

US Cup action continues on April 12th with round #3, live from Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA.

Oberman anchors Bonelli Park US Cup weekend with Short Track podium.


Cole Oberman finished out a weekend of solid performances by RDC with a huge 2nd place finish in Sunday’s short track cross country event at the USAC US Cup series opener in San Dimas, California. With 22 nations represented, Rare Disease Cycling riders proved yet again that they are capable of performing at a top international level. 

 Elite Men 

 “Coming into this weekend I knew I was on some killer form”, said Oberman after Sunday’s short track cross country event. “I finished 29th in the the cross country on Saturday and given the quality of the field it’s not terrible but I was shooting for a much better finish. In the end I think this gave me a little more motivation to lay it out there in the short track”.  

Oberman bid his time riding mid pack for the first half of the highly tactical race waiting for the ideal moment to launch an attack. “They called the preme lap late in the race and so I knew this was the perfect opportunity to go for it. As soon as everyone sat up after the preme sprint I launched it off the front. I bridged up to Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory) and we just drilled it together for the next 4-5 laps. He (Mantecon) jumped with one to go and opened a little gap on me. I was dying in the last couple of corners and just barely held off Todd Wells (Specialized)”.

 ” I would have loved to have won but in the end I’m so stoked to take 2nd in front of such a high quality field. For me it was really a confirmation that I belong at this level and that all the hardwork I did with my coaches Jeremiah Bishop and Mike Shultz is paying off”. 

 Elite Women 

Sornson on course at Bonelli. photo: Kenny Wehn

 Cheryl Sornson kicked the weekend off for RDC with a solid 16th place finish in a women’s Cross Country field that contained Olympic medalists and the current XC world champion. Even more impressive is that the Bonelli Park US Cup race was Sornson’s season debute, having had no oppertunities for tune-up races due to a particularly harsh winter on the East coast. 

 “Being in straight up winter on the east coast, it was a shock to the system in many ways to come out here. It was first race of the season for me and LA was experiencing a record high heat wave for this time of year”. 

However, Sornson adapted quickly, “I stuck it out for a 16th place finish.  I am super happy with that result among such a talented and big field of women”.  

Sornson also competed in Sundays short track event (placing 20th), using it as part of a larger workout as she builds fitness for the Kenda Cup East series which opens later this spring. “Being that I am escaping PA weather and using this week as a training week, I jumped into the short track race mid training ride and threw down as best as I could.  Not sure how that race ended up, but it felt good to bust out my lungs, heart and legs!”. 

Cheryl and Cole will be back in action next weekend for round #2 of the US Cup in Fontana, California.

RDC opens 2015 NUE Series with a Win

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. TrueGritLogo600x158 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.

True Grit Masters Podium with (from left) John Lauck, Greg Golet, Roger Masse, and David Jolin
True Grit Masters Podium with (from left) John Lauck, Greg Golet, Roger Masse, and David Jolin

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.

Post race DirtWire.tv interview with Roger Masse
Post race DirtWire.tv interview with Roger Masse
Dirtwire.tv highlights of the 2015 True Grit Epic
Dirtwire.tv highlights of the 2015 True Grit Epic

Full results here.

Full DirtWire.tv post-race coverage here.

Rare Disease Cycling kicks things off at Monster Cross 2015!

 

11050738_10102718128206223_1377283481725740420_n (1)Swan wins pro women. Oberman second in pro men’s sprint finish. Masse wins single speed.

Team RDC kicked off the race season in Richmond, Virginia at Monster Cross 2015. The traditional East Coast opener, Monster Cross is a fast, technical and tactical race that tests not only riders fitness but also their mental sharpness. After 50 miles of sandy fire-roads made muddy by a wet winter, it was clear that the team has been putting in the hard work over the last few months. RDC had an impressive first performance of the year with Stephanie Swan and Roger Masse taking the win in their respective categories and Cole Oberman narrowly missing the victory in the pro mens field.

Womens Pro/Open

With a combined womens and mens elite field making for a chaotic start, Stephanie Swan found herself riding in 3rd position early on (trailing Erin Silliman-Wittwer and RDC teammate Selene Yeagar). “About 10 miles in, I found a nice, small group to work with, and finished the first lap with them. Going into the second lap, my group dispersed and I found a lone rider to pace with: coincidentally – Erin’s father-in-law, Fred Wittwer. We rode together for about five miles. Eventually we came upon Erin at 15 miles to go”.

Swan takes the win!
Swan takes the win!

Taking advantage of Silliman-Wittwer’s decision to pit at in the closing miles of the race, Swan pushed on. “I crossed the line about five minutes ahead of Erin for what I thought was second place”. Unfortunately RDC’s Selene Yeager, who had ridden the entire race with a commanding lead, veered off-course during the second half of the race and was eventually being forced to abandon. This left the victory in the hands of teammate Swan who was happy to kick off the year on a high note. “I’m very happy to start the season with this result, and look forward to the rest of 2015!”

Men’s Pro/Open

Oberman takes a close second at Monster Cross 2015.
Oberman takes a close second at Monster Cross 2015.

In what Monster Cross race director Mark Junkermann described as “the closest finish ever”, RDC cross country racer Cole Oberman took 2nd place behind East Coast legend, Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak-Ergon). “In the end I think I just waited a second to long to start my sprint. I think he got me by about a tire width”. To get to that point Oberman had stayed active throughout the race making sure to stay in the front group.

“I forced what ended up being the decisive move with about 10miles to go”. Taking advantage of his familiarity with wet east coast conditions, Oberman “(I) attacked in a particularly muddy/sloppy sector of the course. I had noticed on the first lap that the group really split up through this section and figured that it would be the best place to get some separation “.

In the end only Bishop was able to match Oberman’s pace. After repeated attacks from each rider in the closing miles, the race came down to a thrilling sprint finish with Oberman missing out by the smallest of margins. “I would have loved to have taken the win but I’ve got absolutely no shame in losing to a legend like JB. Most importantly I’ve confirmed that all the hard work I’ve put in over the last 4 months has paid off and that I’m heading into the big US Cup XC races in California with some really solid fitness”.

Single Speed

MaSSe takes the single speed victory.
MaSSe takes the single speed victory.

NUE Masters ace Roger Masse rounded out a solid opening weekend for Rare Disease Cycling by taking the win in the Single Speed Mountain Bike category. Starting in the massive 2nd wave Masse put an early focus on the crucial task of making the front group. “As soon as the pace vehicle waved us on, a 10-20 rider front group quickly formed. Within 10 minutes it was down to about 8 riders that included fellow single speeders Piki Danko and Brian Patton”.

After helping to force a brisk pace the group dwindled even further by the second half of the race. “By the time we got to the southern section again for the 2nd lap, it was just Brian and I (two single speeders) leading the non-pro wave”. Despite being held up by traffic at a road crossing, Masse managed to hang on, taking the win the the Single Speed MTB category and finished up 2nd overall in the non-pro wave.

“I’m super pleased with the result and my early season fitness” said Masse as he prepares to head to Utah for the True Grit Epic, this years NUE series opener.

Full results here.
 

Rare Disease Cycling powers into its 6th season!

Cole Oberman finishing out a top-10 at USA MTB Nationals.
Cole Oberman finishing out a top-10 ride at USA Nationals.

Rare Disease Cycling (formerly Team CF) powers into its 6th season with a more focused squad of elite racers and an even stronger resolve to continue the fight against rare genetic diseases. RDC is aimed at raising awareness and ultimately research funds to combat the spectrum of rare genetic diseases including cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia and more.

The East Coast based American team relies heavily on the results of its racers to further its mission and has been a dominant force in nearly every discipline of off-road cycling. Throughout its five-year history, RDC has taken hundreds of elite podium spots, most notably winning the National Ultra Endurance Series eight times, the Trans-Sylvania Epic Stage Race on three occasions and the Brasil Ride Stage Race in 2013.

Selene Yeager at the finish of the 2014 Shenandoah 100 NUE.

For 2015, the squad has been pared down to eight elite riders who will tackle one of the busiest and most diverse race schedules in North America. “Our aim is to put riders on the podium every single weekend throughout the season” says Cole Oberman, Team Manager and XC rider. Oberman will be joined by returning team members Cheryl Sornson, Nikki Thiemann and Kathleen Harding to take on the USA Cycling US Cup and ProXCT calendars, Mountain Bike National Championships, and the North American UCI Cyclocross calendar amongst a slew of one day events.

Christian Tanguy returns to a full race schedule for 2015!
Christian Tanguy returns to a full race schedule for 2015!

On the endurance side, former NUE series champion Christian Tanguy will be captaining the veteran RDC squad. Tanguy, who will target an overall series victory again in 2015 is joined by masters NUE champion Roger Masse, Ultra CX specialist Stephanie Swan and endurance racing expert Selene Yeager. Beyond the NUE series, the endurance team will tackle everything from mountain bike stage races to gravel road races and fat bike marathons.

“A crucial component of Rare Disease Cycling’s success is the team’s ability to not just raise awareness but significant money for research”, says team director and founder Dr. James Wilson. “The primary way in which we do this is through the Million Dollar Bike Ride (MDBR), in which RDC partners with existing advocacy/research groups and helps each group to raise money. These funds are in turn distributed directly into research grants aimed at finding a cure or treatment options for a variety of rare genetic diseases.” The MDBR, held in Philadelphia, PA was an overwhelming success in 2014 raising over $1.4m. The ride will be returning in 2015 with plans to expand to additional cities in 2016.

The official RDC kit. Made by DNA Cycling for the 2015 season.
The official 2015 RDC kit, made by DNA Cycling.

For 2015, Rare Disease Cycling continues on with long-time bicycle and component sponsor, Specialized. The team will ride the brands top-shelf S-Works bicycles as well as Specialized components and accessories. Also continuing with team is custom clothing supplier DNA Cycling and Philadelphia area bike shop and logistical sponsor Bicycle Therapy.

New to the program for this season are ESI Grips and GU Energy Labs. “GU Energy Labs is a company of athletes who apply heart and science to create a complete system of nutritional products to help athletes hydrate, energize, and recover,” says GU Marketing Manager Yuri Hauswald. “We are proud to be the Official Nutrition Supplier for Rare Disease Cycling, helping their athletes to not only succeed on race day but to further a vital charitable mission.”