The Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series race #2 rolled out Saturday from the Ocoee whitewater center near Ducktown, Tennessee, host of the 1996 Olympic whitewater competition. The sold-out Cohutta 100 attracted 500 competitors with a race course boasting more than 14,000 feet of vertical elevation within the Cherokee National Forest, including much of the Tanasi trail system, recently rated best in the state of Tennessee by singletracks.com.
Several racers reported encountering black bears during the race, which is not surprising given that the Cherokee Forest is home of one of the largest black bear preserves. Racers Tony Mellot and Alex Butler were among several racers who encountered bears.
"We were coming up around mile 35 on this screaming downhill and I looked up from a distance at what looked like a large black husky, but as I got closer, I realized it was not a dog and obviously a large black bear," said Butler. "I swerved out of the way a little bit, and kept cruisin’ down."
Mellot said, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, "All I saw was a wall of black fur, but I looked over, winked at it, and went right on by."
2012 NUE Champion Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air) demonstrated that he is in top form at his first NUE race this season, finishing 7:26:02, nearly a half hour ahead of his nearest competitor!
"The early morning fog was thick. Five hundred racers fought for the first singletrack. I used my cross country skills to slot in second wheel and stay out of trouble," said Bishop. "My training had been very hard in the mid-week leading up to the race, with a five-hour blaster just two days previous when I emptied my tank. To succeed over 100 miles, I knew my nutrition strategy and hydration would be essential, so I held with the lead group that was eight-man strong at the time."
Bishop got going around mile 45 and started driving the pace on his way to victory. "It was a great feeling to start my 2014 endurance season with such a good day in the saddle. I enjoyed a post-race swim with friends, celebrated the win and a return to epic racing."
Rob Spreng (Rare Disease Cycling) finished second at 7:53:34. In 2013, Spreng finished third overall in the NUE Series, including a second place finish at the Mohican 100.
Christopher Michaels (Mark's Bike Shop) took third, finishing 8:14:25. "This was my first race of the year other than a fun race back in January, a fun target to shoot at for sure."
Tom Burke (New Holland Brewing) finished fourth in 8:18:07. Andy Rhodes (North Mountain) finished fifth at 8:20:23.
Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) finished third overall last year in the NUE Series, including her first ever win at the Pierre’s Hole 100. Building on her experience and training, 47-year-old Simril is off to her best start ever as she captured her first win of the season at Cohutta, finishing 9:34:15. Her finish time was just less than two minutes short of the winning time set last year by NUE defending champion, Cheryl Sornson (Team Rare Diseases), who went on to win her third NUE Series title last season.
"Cohutta is one of my favorite races because, being from Chattanooga, it's my hometown NUE race and because of the beautiful and brutal mountains we ride over. I really had no race plan other than to just get to the start, ride my own pace, and finish. This was my 40th NUE race, so after doing so many I know full well when I wake up in the morning that I'm due for a long day of pain and suffering."
Seven minutes behind Simril, Paige Witherington (Peachtree Bikes) finished second in 9:41:54. "Yesterday I finished the Cohutta 100. It was my first ride over 73 miles and my first 100 miler so I had no idea what to expect. It turns out that what people write about is true - pacing is everything and having fun is paramount."
Less than two minutes behind Witherington, Jennifer Moos (Rose Bandits Cycling) captured third place in 9:43:42. Five minutes later, Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop) finished fourth 9:48:51. Anne Pike (Blue Ridge Cycling) rounded out the podium at fifth in 10:07:54.
Gordon Wadsworth, 28, was the only SS to go sub-eight hours on the day. In fact, he was one of just three racers to go sub-eight on the day, as he won the SS in 7:48:35.
"Gerry and I sat at the back of the lead group filing into the singletrack," said Wadsworth. "Gerry passed as needed to stay tight on the leaders through the flat sections of singletrack and, as soon as the trail tilted up, we kept our momentum into fourth and fifth positions. Much to the entertainment of the leaders, Gerry hit the gas a few times and I answered, putting us into the first two positions early on."
Pflug attacked a few time and Wadsworth answered each one. "I made a couple of my own to match as the geared pair of Spreng and Bishop kept the group pace smooth to the bottom of potato patch. Everybody was waiting to see when Jeremiah would motor on and sure as rain he opened a gap shortly onto the first pitches of the eight-mile climb."
Wadsworth took a calculated risk and gave it his best to stay away.
Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head Racing) placed second behind Wadsworth at 8:30:22 then James Thompson, (Red Eye Velo) rolled in a minute later to take third in 8:31:49.
After making a wrong turn at mile 97, five-time defending NUE Series Champion and last year's race winner, Gerry Pflug (Rare Disease Cycling) rolled in four minutes behind Thompson to finish fourth at 8:35:11.
"Not very far from this tent, at the 93-mile marker, there was a 'T' intersection in the trail with no arrows, only a piece of course marking tape lying on the ground across the trail on my left side. I hesitated for a minute at this intersection, but decided to go right because the tape seemed to be blocking the trail to the left. I descended for a while and then climbed even further before coming to a gate blocking a gravel road with no course markings in sight."
"I guess finishing fourth in my class is not too bad considering the circumstances; it's just a bit disappointing and hard to swallow after riding so well for the first 93 miles of the race. But, there will be good days and bad days. And, overall, I've had a pretty good and long lasting string of luck to help me win many races over my many years of racing."
Forty-seven seconds behind Pflug, Trevor Rockwell, Team Noah Foundation, took the fifth spot on the podium at 8:35:58.
50-year-old Alex Hawkins got his first win at Cohutta, finishing 8:31:17. "My goal for Cohutta was to pace myself and race my own race. At True Grit last month, I went out too fast and suffered mightily for over two hours during the middle of the race. At one point I was cramping so badly that I could not walk through the cattle gates without stumbling and getting tangled up in the barbed wire."
Hawkins caught leader Roger Masse with 14 miles to go. "Roger was running a rigid fork for Cohutta which made me think that as long as I remained with him until the singletrack began I should be able to pull away on the descent. He seemed to be thinking the same thing and so put in one final attack on the last gravel road climb. I was able to fight that off and enter the singletrack ahead of him. Despite the rigid fork, he managed to finish less than two minutes behind."
Rare Disease Cycling's Masse, 53, finished second, just two minutes behind the leader at 8:33:27, "With an abbreviated season in 2013 due to Lyme Disease, I came into this race not really knowing who the fast Masters riders were. I'm really happy with my day. I had a great start and really felt pretty good most of the day."
Nine minutes behind Masse, 58-year-old Greg Turner (Velo Voodoo) finished third in 8:42:07. NUE defending champion, Marland Whaley, Hammer Nutrition, finished fourth on the day at 8:56:17 following his first win of the season at NUE #1 True Grit Epic. Four minutes behind Whaley, Jim Mathews, Toasted Head Racing, took the five spot in 9:00:38.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air)||7:26:02|
|2||Rob Spreng (Rare Disease)||0:27:32|
|3||Christopher Michaels (Mark's Bike)||0:48:23|
|4||Tom Burke (New Holland)||0:52:05|
|5||Andy Rhodes (north mountain)||0:54:21|
|6||Garth Prosser (Specialized)||0:59:12|
|7||Andrew Dunlap (Rare Disease)||1:06:18|
|8||Brian Toone (Friends)||1:07:07|
|9||German Bermudez (Bike Tech Miami)||1:07:44|
|10||Ben Richardson (Humana)||1:08:04|
|11||Brian Mountjoy (Toyota)||1:10:17|
|12||Kip J. Biese (KJBikeCoaching)||1:10:42|
|13||Nathaniel Cornelius (Toyota)||1:14:57|
|14||Jesse Kelly (Rare Disease)||1:15:12|
|15||Barnabas Froystad (Bear Creek Bike)||1:20:43|
|16||A. Zane Wenzel (Horst Engineering)||1:23:32|
|17||James Wiant (Peachtree Bikes)||1:25:09|
|18||Paul Tarter (Adventures)||1:27:36|
|19||Jeff Mandell (Finkraft Cycling)||1:28:16|
|20||Scott Morman (Stark Velo)||1:31:59|
|21||Joe Johnston (Black Bear)||1:33:59|
|22||David Pike (Blue Ridge)||1:42:30|
|23||Ryan Heerschap (Cycle Craft)||1:44:04|
|24||Dan Kotwicki (RBS Cycling)||1:45:00|
|25||Alexander Kurland (Bike Factory)||1:45:38|
|26||Tomas Delgado (Bike Superstar)||1:51:12|
|27||Jay Click (Cycletherapy)||1:56:30|
|28||John Adams (Saddleblock)||2:00:35|
|29||Grant Matthews (Toasted Head)||2:02:37|
|30||Bruce Stauffer (Cycle Works)||2:06:12|
|31||Justin Sotdorus (Nuts About)||2:07:45|
|32||Cole Jacobsen (Titletown Flyer)||2:09:45|
|33||Chris Lane (Joe's Bike Shop)||2:10:37|
|34||Alejandro Collins (Wheel)||2:16:57|
|35||Rowan Jones (Breck's Bicycle)||2:19:22|
|36||David Cornett (Pro-Mountain)||2:19:42|
|37||Ross Anderson (SCOTT PRO)||2:22:18|
|38||Craig Brimer (East Ridge)||2:30:21|
|39||Raymond Willard (Empire Brewing)||2:30:44|
|40||Lee Simril (Motor Mile)||2:38:14|
|41||Peter Bauer (Bandwidth.com)||2:45:21|
|42||Justin Dansby (Peachtree Bikes)||2:47:52|
|43||Ryan Miracle (Marietta)||2:51:02|
|44||Jeff Brown (Joe's Bike Shop)||2:55:31|
|46||Alejandro Vila (Adrenalina Race)||2:56:52|
|47||Dustin Burkeen (Wood N Wave)||2:57:09|
|48||Brad Jacobs (Team)||2:58:40|
|51||Steven Boggs (RACING GREYHOUNd)||3:04:53|
|52||Tom Haines (Design Physics)||3:07:31|
|53||Greg Rittler (Joe's Bike Shop)||3:11:25|
|54||Brad Hawk (Twin Six)||3:11:48|
|55||John Tenwalde (Paradise Garage)||3:12:13|
|56||Dan Marshall (Eager Beaver 10)||3:14:05|
|57||Eric Ivey (Outspokin)||3:16:58|
|58||Wilfredo Rafael Ospina Uribe||3:19:49|
|59||Michael Bonsby (Team Mt Airy)||3:20:59|
|60||Diego Tosoni (self)||3:23:01|
|61||Frank Webber (Orbea-Tuff Shed)||3:26:43|
|62||David Marshall (Commonwealth)||3:29:44|
|63||Matthew Kesecker (CAMBO)||3:31:29|
|65||Keith Duncan (Team Ed/The)||3:34:23|
|66||Carter Chappell (901 Racing)||3:37:29|
|70||Will Seidel (RTO National)||3:46:53|
|71||Terrence Gleason (TotalCyclist)||3:51:21|
|72||Brad Verstegen (BCOC)||3:52:10|
|73||Steve Baptiste (Big chief racing)||3:53:14|
|74||Victor Gasior (Stanky Creek)||3:54:01|
|76||Jared Trinkaus (The Bike Shak)||4:04:20|
|77||John Van Alsburg (Team rJr)||4:05:50|
|78||Jason Sparks (RACING GREYHOUND)||4:05:54|
|79||Obie Ingram (Southern Cresce)||4:18:59|
|80||Jason D'arcy (SCC)||4:19:01|
|81||Eric Mierzejewski (Achieve)||4:19:28|
|83||Sergio Alejandr Paez (Synergy)||4:20:57|
|84||Chris Bryce (Wolfpak Racing)||4:21:09|
|85||Aaron Oswald (Trek Store)||4:26:01|
|86||Rob Mitzel (Team rJr/)||4:27:31|
|87||Bill Mickey (Frankford Bikes)||4:36:29|
|88||Adam Elser (Frankford Bikes)|
|91||Daniel Cleaver (Dirt Division)||4:52:49|
|94||M.V. Carroll (RACING GREYHOUNd)||4:56:54|
|96||Michael Weisgerber (Rogue Racing)||5:08:34|
|99||Connor Everett (RedEye Velo Jun)||5:16:50|
|100||Christopher Barkow (Cheese Sammich)||5:25:34|
|102||Russell Spaulding (TFM_BC)||5:32:27|
|103||Sam Stallings (Team Hrothgar)||5:48:12|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Brenda Simril (Motor Mile)||9:34:15|
|2||Paige Witheringotn (Peachtree Bikes)||0:07:39|
|3||Jennifer Moos (Rose Bandits)||0:09:27|
|4||Carla Williams (Joe's Bike Shop)||0:14:36|
|5||Anne Pike (Blue Ridge)||0:33:39|
|6||Danielle Musto (Salsa, Twin Six)||0:56:35|
|7||Simona Vinvenciova (Vanderkitten)||1:00:44|
|8||Emily Korsch (Team Noah Found)||1:04:43|
|9||Melissa Mertz (Toasted Head)||1:08:57|
|10||Kristen Arnold (Lady Gnar Shred)||1:41:11|
|11||Heather Hawke (Rokform/Rock)||1:42:23|
|13||Jocelyn Linscott (Toasted Head)||1:58:26|
|14||Stephanie Critchfield (SCC)||2:22:27|
|15||Kathleen Sheehan (Joe's Bike Shop)||2:36:02|
|16||Kelly Paduch (Mark's Bike)||2:43:49|
|18||Melissa Cooper (Storm Racing)||2:51:02|
|19||Maria Esswein (Team Noah Found)||3:16:25|
|20||Emily Hairfield (Blue Ridge)||3:22:08|
|21||Karen Franzen (Cycling Concept)||3:57:35|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge)||7:48:35|
|2||Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head)||0:41:47|
|3||James Thompson (Red Eye Velo)||0:43:14|
|4||Gerry Pflug (Team Rare)||0:46:36|
|5||Trevor Rockwell (Team Noah)||0:47:23|
|6||Chase Barnhart (Marietta)||1:11:15|
|7||Jason Pruitt (Peoples Brewing)||1:12:27|
|8||Tom Brockman (Bicycle Sport)||1:16:40|
|9||Chris Hays (Toasted Head)||1:25:01|
|10||Todd Ace (RACING GREYHOUNd)||1:28:16|
|11||Rob Lochner (Pro Bikes)||1:41:52|
|12||Jeff Bushong (Chicken Ranch)||1:51:06|
|13||Scott Miller (Team)||2:03:11|
|14||Taylor Kruse (Paradise Garage)||2:05:43|
|15||Kerry Slotter (Saucon Valley)||2:13:00|
|16||Doug Smith (Gator Cycle)||2:45:33|
|17||Joe Collins (VO2 Multisport)||3:02:34|
|18||Adam Clarke (Team Noah Found)||3:10:12|
|19||Chris Irving (Los Locos)||3:18:36|
|20||Andy Cremeans (Pro Mountain)||3:32:48|
|21||Jared Alderson (abs racing)||3:35:36|
|22||Joseph Delaney (North Mountain)||3:53:28|
|23||Kelly Von Canon||4:06:26|
|26||John Meek (Privateer)||4:32:28|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|2||Roger Masse (Rare Disease)||0:02:10|
|3||Greg Turner (Velo Voodoo)||0:10:50|
|4||Marland Whaley (Hammer Nutritio)||0:25:00|
|5||Jim Matthews (Toasted Head)||0:29:21|
|6||Roger Sutton (Brick City)||0:33:29|
|7||David Jolin (Stark Velo)||0:45:51|
|11||Henry Mccullough (Team Trappe)||1:29:02|
|12||Michael Balliet (SmithLock)||1:40:39|
|13||Anthony Hergert (Reality Bikes)||1:56:08|
|14||Mark Johnson (Art of Stone)||1:56:22|
|15||Mark Drogalis (Toasted Head)||2:03:05|
|16||Tab Tollett (Moots)||2:11:41|
|17||Stuart Rackley (YABA)||2:22:49|
|18||David Grauer (orthopro)||2:23:43|
|19||Vick Dyer (Team ED/Bike)||2:27:37|
|20||Hugh Kelly (Milwaukee)||2:57:13|
|22||Ed Mccalley (TEAM ED/BIKE)||3:48:55|
|24||Jeff Smart (Fit Livin')||4:32:03|
|25||Nick Kirby (BIKE LINK RACINg)||5:13:16|