Southern Cross

Posted in Cross, Must do Races on March 3, 2012 by rogeremasse

Last week I awoke from my long winter nap and opened my 2012 racing season with A debut at Southern Cross. Both the final race in the 2011 and the opener for the 2012 American Ultracross Series, this race is worth double points. Southern Cross is promoted by Eddie and Namrita O’Dea, the duo behind the Fools Gold 100 mile mountain bike race, this year’s NUE final. Never having raced in February smack in the middle of a long base training period, I am both curious and nervous about how my body will respond to race level efforts this early.

I’m riding my Trek Superfly Single Speed with a Niner rigid carbon fork. Wheels are custom. DT Swiss 240s on Stans 355 29er rims laced with DT Revolution spokes. These are light wheels that I use only on race day. They are a little flexy and require frequent truing touch-ups. The 400 gram Bontrager 29-0 Team Issue 1.9 tires bring the total weight of my ride to 16.5 lbs. I don’t think my bike will be holding me back today. Instead of the gearing proclamation in my Vaguely-Southern-Cross-Related-Questions-With-Single-Speeder-Roger-Masse pre-race interview by Thom Parsons, this is a climbing race, so I’m running 34×20, not 36×17.
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Iron Cross

Posted in Must do Races on October 12, 2011 by rogeremasse

My last endurance event of the year, not really cyclocross and not quite a mountain bike race, race #3 in the American UltraCross SeriesAmerica’s original UltraCross event, Iron Cross never disappoints. Mike Kuhn, Zach Adams and the rest of the High Speed Cycling crew have this race dialed. Roughly 60 relatively high-speed miles that mainly cover paved, gravel and dirt roads. Small stretches of relatively easy mountain bike style single track is peppered in to keep in line any pure roadies that might enter.

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Posted in Must do Races on October 1, 2011 by rogeremasse

The Terror of Teaberry, the final race in the 2011 Michaux Endurance Series is the hardest mountain bike race in my world. I say this even after doing more-or-less the same course in the 2010 and 2009 editions of this race. You need to have your equipment dialed, every bit of your peak fitness, and confidence to test your skills to the limit just to finish safely. A slow progression of system failures lead to a showing that I’d like to soon forget, let alone share.
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Posted in Must do Races on September 24, 2011 by rogeremasse

Gnar, Old school West Virginia style Gnar. That’s how Gunnar Shogren, the 2010 Masters winner of last year’s Revenge of the Rattlesnake, described this year’s edition. With my average speed clocking in at just over 8 miles-per-hour, I must agree. Last year was hard. This year was ridiculous. If you like difficult terrain, this race is for you.

Stop #4 in West Virginia Mountain Bike Association‘s Ultra series, Revenge of the Rattlesnake usually starts and ends at Blackwater Bikes in Davis WV. Davis is an east-coast mountain biking mecca. There are so many miles of mountain bike trails accessible from town, race promoter Todd Romero continues the long tradition of a different gnarly course each year.

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Posted in Must do Races on September 9, 2011 by rogeremasse

The Shenandoah Mountain 100, the final stop in the NUE series is the most important race of the season. Not only is it the last race in this 100-mile MTB race series, but it is also where series ties are broken. You are guaranteed to win the NUE series if you have four wins at the end of the year, one of which is Shenandoah.

Shortly after the Wilderness 101, Doug the Hulk Andrews, one of my NUE Masters rivals, already had 4 wins.  I was mathematically eliminated from a possible series win. It was looking like Doug would not even have to make the trip to the final race, baring one possible scenario…  With a win at the Fools Gold, the 2010 NUE Masters champion and my 29er Crew teammate Robert Herriman still threatened. If Robert won there, he would have 3 wins. Those combined with a tie breaking win at Shenandoah would make him the series winner again. I wanted the strongest riders in attendance at the final race so that I could punctuate a less-than-perfect season with a win. And if I couldn’t do that, maybe I could somehow help my teammate win the series. Continue reading

Rattling 50

Posted in Must do Races on September 2, 2011 by rogeremasse

Mike Kuhn Dog Kuhn, the promoter of the Transylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race, is also the propulsion behind several other awesome bike racing events in the Mid Atlantic area, one of which is the Rattling 50. Rumored to be The Best Endurance MTB Course in the Mid-Atlantic, the Rattling Creek MTB Marathon in Weiser State Forest represents some of the best east-coast style rock riding around. These trails have great flow despite the numerous rock gardens that demand careful navigation.
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Wilderness 101

Posted in Must do Races on August 2, 2011 by rogeremasse

There are two races in the National Ultra Endurance Series with east-coast style rock riding: the NUE final race, the SM100 in September, and the race held this past weekend near State College PA, the Wilderness 101. Dubbed the original east coast epic, with over 10,000 feet of climbing, the going up part of the 101 is mostly a gravel road climbing race. However, as we’ve learned from Isaac Newton, what goes up must come down. The descending on rocky technical east-coast style trail is what make this race special. Yes, east coast epic.
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Posted in Must do Races on July 25, 2011 by rogeremasse

This past Sunday, I joined Crew teammates, Mike Keefer, Travis Saeler and Daniel Atkins for stop #2 in the Michaux Endurance Series for 40 miles of the best single track in the world at The Curse of Dark Hollow.

As we line up in the Masters wave, I see several-time Masters winner Jay Dodge; fast starter and always a threat, Michael Funk; newcomer and winner of the 2011 Michaux spring race, Paul Wojciak; and on single speed, my friend Bernie Shaio, whom I just edged out last time we raced in Michaux.  To have any shot at the series title, I need to put some time into Paul and Jay and at least hold even with Bernie and Mike. I’m going to have my hands full today.

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Hilly Billy Roubaix

Posted in Cross, Must do Races on June 28, 2011 by rogeremasse

Definitely not a road race, not really a mountain bike race and not exactly a cross race either, the Hilly Billy Roubaix is the first stop of the American UltraCross Championship Series. This 72 primitive mile event that takes you over dirt and paved State Roads around Monongalia County in Northern West Virginia wasn’t even really on my schedule until my wife Joyce said she wanted to do it…

Ok, let’s do it!

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Posted in Must do Races on June 23, 2011 by rogeremasse

The Lumberjack 100 stop #4 on the NUE Series of 100 mile mountain bike races is by far the NUE race with the most single track. After the first two miles of pavement, you dive into Michigan forest and don’t come out again until the finish.

I decided on the Superfly 100 since the course is a bit bumpy and the climbing is on the low side for a 100 mile mountain bike race. Continue reading