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.