Curse

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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Lumberjack

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

Mohican 100

Posted in Must do Races on June 8, 2011 by rogeremasse

Stop number three in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series is the original Ohio 100 mile mountain bike race that inspired promotor Ryan O’Dell to make the 100 mile format a national level event series. This race has everything: tons of sweet single track, gravel roads, pavement, and even some gopher holes… more on that later.

In the Pre-race cyclingnews.com preview, travel companions Trek rider Jeff Schalk and Team CF rider Cheryl Sornson were favored to win their respective categories. I was considered a threat to reigning Masters NUE champion and 29er Crew teammate Robert Herriman since I finished 2nd to his 3rd in the NUE opener Cohutta 100 last month. Continue reading

Greenbrier

Posted in Must do Races on May 26, 2011 by rogeremasse

If you’re a cross country racer living in the mid-atlantic, you have probably done the Greenbrier Challenge at some point. This USA Cycling event is a stop on the AMBC & MARC Series and also serves as the Maryland State Championship Race. Greenbrier State Park in Boonsboro MD has been the venue of choice for race promotor James Carlson and the Potomac Velo Club for many years. The course is rocky enough to make you consider full suspension but with 800 feet of climbing per lap, a light hardtail is also a popular choice.

I hadn’t raced Greenbrier in several years due to conflicts with National Ultra Endurance Series events. Fortunately, the 2011 edition appeared on a free weekend. With 400 preregistered riders, I threw my hat in the ring with fellow Crew members Daniel Atkins and Mike Keefer. I chose the 22 pound Superfly Elite. It’s a bike I’m very comfortable on in all but the nastiest of terrain. It’s stiff and light and really likes to roll. Continue reading

SDS

Posted in Just for fun on May 12, 2011 by rogeremasse

Stokesville-Douthat-Stokesville (SDS) is a two day mountain bike tour organized by Shenandoah Mountain Touring that covers some of the most gorgeous and challenging terrain on the east coast. Just to complete the SDS requires starting at dawn, a high amount of fitness, a consistent intake of calories, the skills to ride tricky technical terrain all day, and the ability to fix your bike out in the woods.

SDS is not a race but in ways more challenging. I’ve never felt so spent after two days of riding. With over 18 hours of moving-time, 25,000 feet of climbing that takes you 156 miles in the mostly rocky single track of the George Washington National Forest, it’s a pretty ambitious weekend that leaves you with an incredible indelible impression on what mountain biking is all about. It’s gorgeous. For this post, I’ll let pictures that I and others took do the talking.

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Double Header

Posted in Must do Races on May 3, 2011 by rogeremasse

Last month I began scheming with Team CF rider Cheryl Reccia Sornson a.k.a. “Churtle” to try and pull off a ridiculous double header racing weekend. We both wanted to participate in the Cohutta 100, the opener for the 2011 NUE Series. Unfortunately, this was the same weekend of the Michaux Maximus, the first of three 2011 races that make up the Michaux Ultra Endurance Series.

With the Cohutta on Saturday and Maximus on Sunday, it was a little crazy but possible to do both races. There remained the small logistical problem of the 600 miles separating the two venues and the small physical problem of how very tired legs were going to ride 40 miles in Michaux with 100 miles of racing in them from the day before. Fortunately, Cheryl’s husband Lee volunteered to help with the driving. We chose to ignore the leg problem. A plan was hatched.

These two races couldn’t be more different. Cohutta is basically a 75 mile gravel road race with 22 miles of fairly buff single track thrown in… Oh and 12,000 feet of climbing. Michaux is 40 miles where 90% is rocky single track with rock ridges and feature riding like a snowboard terrain park. It’s the type of place that changes your perception of what mountain biking really is.
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