Saturday, July 26, 2003 -- State College, PA
Wilderness 101 Backcountry MTB Race (iPO Event Id#: 5715) Story by Chris Scott with photos by Dana Harshberger
State College local's Ryan Leech (2nd), Chip Kogelmann
(6th) and Nick Pedatella (11th - 1st Junior) had fairytale
rides to the top of their expectations. While regular top finisher's
Peter Kostes, Benjie Klimas, Harlan Price and
locals Eric Roman, Rich Straub, Bill Alcorn, and
Mike Biegalski struggled in the heat that reached the mid
80's. The day was extra long for Wilderness 101 stars Tiffany Mann and
Skip Brown. Mann was unable to find her victory legs, while her
sweetheart Skip failed to pick up a directional marker even though his
legs were motoring him at warp speed to a top 3 finish.
This left the doors open for a showdown between East Coast endurance
legend Tiffany Mann, collegiate all star athlete Lindsey Keller
and regular top 3 finisher Lee Schwarz. Lee was able to stay
focused for every mile on the 101 mile course and bested a struggling
Mann to gain her 1st victory in the 101/100 mile genre. Lindsey Keller
put some fear into Mann when they shared time at an aid station but
Mann was able to regroup and push it to the finish holding onto her
2nd position with Keller in 3rd.
The group of racers that provides inspiration to us all is the over 50 posse. And inspire us they did with John Majors laying down a superbly insane time of 9:38:17. This made Marshall Hammond's winning time in 2002 of 11:27 look geriatric. Marshall was in the same game as John this year with a huge improvement off his last year's time dropping 1.5 hours to finish in 10:06:17.
Jim Claudias put down the hammer for 3rd well under the 11-hour
mark at 10:49:11. Rick Heck the youngster of the group locked
down 4th in a time of 11:33:48 and Dennis Robertson slid in for
5th in 12:43:25. Debi Sheets confirmed Marshall's example that
you do get better with age as the 52 year old temptress dropped half
an hour off her last years time to finish in 12:23:57 while putting
some of the fellows to shame.
Les Leach played his part and exploded off the front of the race setting a bold pace until trouble with course markers and then the ensuing lack of energy after retracing his ground derailed his chances and shot him out of the top 5. Elsasser did prove to be victorious with Brennan close behind in 2nd after swapping a pedal with aid station support. Brennan's training partner and good friend Travis Turner took the final spot on the podium.
Mike Moraties donned his singlespeed for the 1st time in a race
of this length and was able to keep it together for 4th place ahead of
a suffering Eric Roman. Roman pushed it to the wall the entire
race. But that wasn't the same wall he is used to seeing this spring
as he made lap records in endurance events up and down the east
coast. When asked about his race, Roman said "I was able to crush
Lloyd and thus my existence remains fulfilling." Lloyd Graves
the magician behind the paint and overall company image of Independent
Fabrications was a bit dejected at the finish stating, "Roman the
chump pulled some shady moves out there, I guess I won't take his bike
back this time, but he will pay the price!"
Coming into the mid point of the race, the front group, the strongest in race history had separated itself into an elite squad. Three time 24 hour Solo World Champion Chris Eatough was leading the charge slightly slipping away from Skip Brown on the descents. Brown was bridging/holding his own on the climbs, but a combination of Croyle Run and Telephone trail made Skip have to put his head down and really hammer hoping to catch a glimpse of Eatough again. This yo-yo effect would prove the downfall for Skip as he hammered head down past a set of arrows and shot off the course. Brown got back in contention before repeating his mistake later in the race but miraculisouly was able to scrape together a top 10 finish riding into 9th place.
With Brown out of contention Eatough blazed his customized Trek Fuel
to a new course record and got in a great weekend of training in
preparation for his attempt for a 4th World Title in the 24 hour Solo
distance. Ryan Leech improved his placing from 3rd in 2002 to
2nd this year. He attributed his increase in fitness to his European
tour - the Milk Rack in the UK.
The unexpected motor of the day goes to local Chip Kogelmann for tearing the legs off the top riders on the road sections. Chip was losing time in the woods but was able to step on the gas in the open and TT his way up the ranks to an impressive 6th place just ahead of thoroughbred's Jens Nielsen and Garth Prosser. Rich Straub was able hold it together and round out the top 10 even though he felt like he was flushed off the back.
The juniors of the day were separated into 2 worlds by the end of the
day. Nick Pedatella who rode like a top senior to take 11th
place in his 2nd running of the event. Nick destroyed some of his
fellow State College riding partner's egos on this fine day. Mark
Schow had a solid ride for 2nd coming in 36th overall in his 1st
attempt in the 101.
The riding continued until way past dark when Greg Kauffman strolled in as the last finisher. Greg almost missed out on State College's finest beer from Otto's Pub & Brewery. But the 3rd keg was still flowing and the feast was still prepared as it was for every finisher of the 2003 Wilderness 101.