"Unbeatable" singlespeeder pulls the Pflug in the Mohican
Record-breaking times, some familiar podiums, but nothing is predictable in the NUE Series
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A decade of racing at the Mohican has included some unusual occurrences, including: an overnight flood of the entire Walhounding Valley that forced on-the-fly course changes during the race; searing heat the next year; baseball-size hail before packet pickup followed by soaking rains; two tornado’s crossing the course in 2010.
For racer’s who completed the 2010 race, the weather reports coming into this year’s race were less than optimistic, with a threatening front of thunderstorms rolling in on Thursday night and again on Friday before packet pickup. However, the dry conditions before the storms arrived allowed the ground to soak up the moisture, not unlike how a record 600+ racers soaked up nearly 23 kegs of Great Lakes Brew following the race.
Gentle winds continued throughout the day and late into the night, creating ideal course conditions would produce record-breaking times and good memories of the tenth anniversary race including the first ever finish by tandem duo Devin DeBoer and Mark Quist, who finished 9:58:35.
On its anniversary year, The Kenda Mohican 100 also made history by recording the oldest racer to ever complete the race. Mike Dietlin, (Kenda) will celebrate his seventieth birthday but he is not letting that slow him down. Out of 27 masters who started, eighteen finished, with Dietlin placing fourteenth, despite having twenty years on this field of young bucks in their fifties. At the awards, BikeSource of Columbus recognized Dietlin’s achievement with a $75 gift certificate. As he picked up his award, Dietlin, who has completed three Mohican 100’s in a row, including the wet year when many dropped out, yelled out to the crowd, “I think I may be done with the 100 mile and may enter the sissy race next year!” he said referring to the Mohican 100k, sticking out his tongue.
With Gerry Pflug (Salsa Cycles/NoTubes/Top Gear) dropping out at aid three, Justin Pokrivka (Top Gear/Cohen & Associates) led the way to Mohican singlespeed victory. Pokrivka led the tight field by just over five minutes finishing 7:17:06. Ron Harding (Trestle Bridge Racing) came in 7:22:48, followed closely by Matt Ferrari (Hubcap-Freeze Thaw) who edged out Dwayne Goscinski by just two seconds to take third finishing 7:31:24. Not far behind, James Mayuric rounded out the podium in fifth place with Jason Suppan (Soup Can Racing) in 7:43:38.
Afterward, Gerry Pflug posted the following to his blog “Pfun with Pflug” “To say I had a bad race at the Mohican 100 yesterday would be an understatement.
“The funny thing is that a few days before the race my body, mind and bike seemed completely prepared for the challenge… I had won every NUE SS race after the Breckenridge 100 last July until yesterday, 7 consecutive wins.
“My prepared feeling started to change Friday evening before bed. I noticed my throat was feeling a little raw and that the glands on my neck were a little swollen. I thought for a second I might be getting sick, but did my best to ignore the thought. I sucked on a cough drop before bed and hoped that would make things feel better by morning. I didn’t sleep too well the night before the race, but didn’t think too much about it because I usually never do. Anyway, come morning my throat was still scratchy and I had a throbbing headache also. I sucked on another cough drop while driving to the race and believed I would be fine by starting time.
“At NUE #2, the Syllamo 125, my legs felt great on the first climb. My legs usually do feel great on most climbs and I feel like this is what gives me the ability to create the gaps needed to win races. My legs did NOT feel great going up the first steep road climb at Mohican. Actually, they felt like someone poured concrete into them. Regardless of how my legs were feeling, I was still mixed in with the lead group of SS racers at the start. It was one of the biggest trains of SS riders I have ever seen stuck together for so long at the beginning of a NUE race.
“On the steep road climb after the technical water bar descent, I was having trouble riding with the other singlespeeders up the hill and knew then something was very wrong. At that time, I looked down at my seatpost and noticed the electric tape I use to mark my post position had sunken all the way into the frame. I thought maybe this was the issue that was holding me back from riding at my potential and figured this was why I couldn’t get enough power out of my pedal stroke. I stopped, raised my post and retightened my clamp.
“I rode a short distance with my readjusted post, but almost immediately could tell the position was too high, so I had to stop again and readjust everything. Valuable time was ticking and my gap behind the leaders of the race was increasing, I was now stuck alone and knew my day was going to be a long one.
“…I stopped at the checkpoint to get my bottles and remove a base layer under my jersey. I then started the long climb out of the checkpoint and was having trouble riding the climb that I have cleared with ease in previous years. The thing that made this even more irritating is that I was using a slightly easier gear on my bike than during previous attempts at this race.
“I felt like I was going backwards faster than I was moving forward. With my finishing position not looking too good and my body feeling like crap, I made the hard decision to pull the plug at the top of the climb and to ride back down to the checkpoint.
“The road heading back was completely flat, but my legs could barely muster the energy for me to keep pedaling. I knew then my decision to quit the race was a wise one. I don’t like quitting or having a DNF next to my name on the results, but I do know it’s important to listen to what my body is saying and it wasn’t telling me anything good at the Mohican.
“Congratulations to my TOP Gear Bike Shop teammate Justin Pokrivka for riding a strong race and getting the SS win. Nice ride, man!”
Two-time NUE Champion, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) made it two in a row in her bid to defend her title this year, finishing in 7:42:26. “Course conditions were far better than I thought they would be. The trails weren’t too muddy. Mostly the ground was just saturated, so at times it felt like your tires were really sticking to the ground. I felt good most of the day. Other than the vicious wind, the weather was ideal for a long day in the saddle.
“Looking at the times from last year, I knew it was possible to go sub-eight hours so I was focused on that goal. I tried to just stay on the gas all day, trying to chase down men ahead of me, sort of riding it like a personal time trial. I caught onto a few people here and there but never really had a group to work with for a long period of time, although I rode with 2 awesome singlespeeders for the entire rail trail.
“As much as I love singlespeeders, they are pretty useless in terms of taking pulls!” she said, laughing.
“However, that section was really key for me. Having their company was awesome during what I think is the hardest part of that entire race. If you crack during the rail trail section it can be very, very hard to get through it mentally, without being demoralized. They gave me the motivation to drill it off the front and ride for them and for myself as hard as I could.”
Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) took second, in 8:26:30, building on her strong finish at Syllamo’s Revenge, had this to say, “I felt that I had a solid race and once I was able to get a little gap, my focus was just on staying strong and holding onto second.”
Andrea Wilson, known for riding a rigid singlespeed, opted to change things up for one race by going geared. Wilson worshipers need not fear however, when asked about the change to gears, Wilson responded with a wink and a smile, confirming that she was not abandoning rigid singlespeed racing altogether. She took third at 8:44:28. “The course is tough to race on a singlespeed if you’re going up against geared riders,” she explained, “so, on a whim, I decided to ride my geared bike instead of my singlespeed.”
“I was sitting in second place early on, then Kathleen Harding and I were back and forth just before the first aid station. She stopped there, and I didn’t, and she chased me from there all day. Brenda Simril passed me soon after, and I never saw her again. I had some long stretches where I wondered what I was doing out there, but the competitive side of me kept thinking about Kathleen just behind me. The course was mostly in great shape, and the singletrack was awesome.”
Kathleen Harding (Team CF) rolled in just two minutes behind Wilson, 8:46:20, and Linda Shin (Blacksmith Cycle) 8:59:12 and Carmen Sweet (Reactivated) 9:26:38 rounded out the top six.
NUE men’s open champion, Christian Tanguy (Team CF), still recovering from an over-the-bars crash into the rocks at Syllamo’s Revenge, made a late entry into the race, seizing his first victory of the season at a blistering pace, stopping the clock at 6:37:58.
Tanguy made good on his promise after Syllamo’s to redeem himself. The Mohican MTB 100 may prove to be the race that got him back on track toward defending his title, following a narrow loss to US Olympic hopeful, Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) at Cohutta before crashing out at Syllamo’s.
“I decided to test the legs at the Mohican 100 as a preparation for the Lumberjack 100. The right leg (injured), took some time to warm up but as the lead group approached the entrance of the singletrack trails, I moved to the lead and started to set a high pace. I thought I would run the same tactic as last year where Josh Tostado put the hurt on the rest of us riding so fast in the trails. Immediately, my attention was dedicated to trail riding and I was no longer thinking about my leg and how it would hold up. I had a big smile on my face. My Specialized Epic was smoothing everything thrown its way. Shortly after, I had a gap. For a short while, I wondered if it was reasonable to ride that fast so far from the finish especially on my own. During the previous editions, I really suffered on the open roads and buggy trails and riding those alone is even less fun.
“I kept the high pace in an effort to help my teammate Brandon Draugelis. The longer I would stay at the front, the longer he could follow wheels and save energy. Reaching the open roads, the lead moto informed me of a gap of over 10 minutes but the dreadful buggy trail was going to challenge me. Actually, telltale signs of fatigue had me grab my Hammer bottle a little more often as well as slowing down for a while. By aid station #4, my lead was reduced to 2 minutes. I was solo for more than 4 hours and I knew that the chasers would create a paceline and also would get motivated to chase harder knowing that the gap had decreased.
“This is where I endured the pain, re-motivated myself and wished for more uphill roads. Somewhat a paradox when my legs were shut, but one has to know their own strengths; for me it is not on the flat open roads but in the climbs. The brutally steep dirt roads were a great test but the legs did not seize up. By aid station #5, I started to really think about a possible win. I was in the lead for approximately 6 hours and I was going to make sure I could stay solo for another 30+ minutes.
“Once more, trail riding was a good distraction from the aching body. I was delighted to reach the finish line in first place, especially after taking off 5 miles from the start. My lead increased to 7 minutes; the uphills in the last 20 miles of the race saved me. My racing data can be found on Strava.com.”
Michael Simonson (RBS MTB Team) nudged ever closer to the NUE Champ, finishing less than eight minutes back at 6:45:36. Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry’s) rolled in 6:47:37, two minutes behind a pack of three with mere seconds separating third, fourth and fifth place. Leading the three-pack was Chris Peariso (Adventure212/Specialized) who broke it down this way, “I decided to go into this year’s Mohican 100 with a bit more of a relaxed attitude after my past two attempts didn’t turn out that well.
“After my hard chase I sat in the back of the group and was not able to do much work as the rest of them got down to business in the search for Christian. Then, at aid three, I got caught out with everyone else having support so their stops were much shorter than mine so I was once again forced to chase. While chasing, I also had a quick mechanical that forced me off the bike to pull a stick out of my rear derailleur.
“I got back onto the group and, just as I did, the SiMonster attacked again on the road section. I chased a bit with help from Rob but we were not bringing any time back on him. Then the cramping started for me so I was forced to chill again and follow Rob and Jordan. That was pretty much the way the rest of the race went. I dug pretty deep to make it to the rail trail section with them.
“The three of us continued to work together, with most of the work coming from Rob and Jordan. Because of this I told the two of them they could sort out third and fourth for themselves. When we hit the last section of singletrack, Rob went first and I just followed Jordan’s wheel, trying to encourage him to get up to Rob. Then, Jordan crashed right before the wrought Iron bridge to the campground. I waited up for him to get back on his bike and we rolled across the line together, fourth and fifth respectively.”
Eight minutes later, Brandon Draugelis (Team CF) finished 6:55:29 to round out the top six.