Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stoopid 50 Mountain Bike Marathon Race Report Race Report
Stoopid 50 Endurance Mountain Bike Race
June 10, 2007
Rothrock State Forest, PA
By Wes Schempf
Last Sunday was the inaugural Stoopid 50, a fifty-mile single loop marathon race held near State College in beautiful Rothrock State Forest. Presented by Mt. Nittany Wheelworks and Shenandoah Mountain Touring, the 50 was the first race of the newly revamped Mid-Atlantic Super Series endurance series.
Approximately 120 riders lined up for the start early Sunday morning in Penn Roosevelt State Park. Team was represented by Ray Adams and Wes Schempf in the open single speed category on their Fisher Rigs, and Mike Kuhn in the open men category riding his Fisher Paragon. Due to an unfortunate moving incident on Saturday, resident local Ryan “too much rock, and not enough roll” Leech was forced into a support role and wasn’t able to contest the race.
With beautiful sunny skies and low humidity, racers rolled onto the course for a neutral start on the first mile and half of the fifty-mile loop. Competition in the single speed category was fierce, as some legendary characters were present including Gunnar Shogren, Buck Keich, and Topher Valenti. Shogren, a fixture on the east coast mountain bike scene from the early 90’s on and all around great rider was someone to be watched.
The course was tough and demanding due to the technical nature of the singletrack and the preponderance of climbing. Once in the first section of singletrack there would be no opportunity for getting past other racers so this section was critical. Ray and Wes were able to get into the singletrack in decent position and shadow Gunnar, who was just ahead. Since this was Ray’s first race on a single speed, it took him some time to get used to one gear. Sections that he would be able to ride easily on his geared bike took on new challenge, as was racing the course for the first time.
Wes and Gunnar rode easily to the first aid station about 1/3 of the way into the course. At this point, Wes continued on to the steep and brutal hike-a-bike up Sassafras Trail knowing that the support crew of Ryan and Pat Leech and Nancy Nowicki were waiting with energy drinks and water. Having no idea what position he was in, Wes continued to push ahead while trying to keep enough gas in the tank for the rest of the race.
After decending into Greenwood Furnace State Park, racers had to climb back up to the second aid station about 2/3 into the loop. The aid station was a welcome relief from the miles of grueling rollers that racers faced. Coming into the aid station, Wes was surprised to hear that he was in the top 5 overall. A quick refill of the Camelbak, and one too many cold glasses of coke resulted in seeing competitors Gunnar and Ray roll into the checkpoint. YIKES!
Wanting to keep his position in front of Gunnar, Wes took off and punched it for the finish. However, the course wasn’t done with its namesake. Plenty more climbing and technical riding were on the menu. Up the twisty Long Cut Trail and along Beautiful Trail, Wes was constantly checking for any sign of Gunnar or Ray. Fortunately for Wes and Ray, Gunnar was forced to stop and change his wheel due to a flat. Ray attacked and was able to gain a nice gap over Gunnar.
Once, over Chestnut Springs, it was almost all downhill except for the three miles of gradual climbing to the finish at Penn Roosevelt. Rolling across the line, Wes was greeted with the news that he was third overall and the first single speed. Ray finished several minutes back as fourth overall and second single speed.
The winning time posted by Brandon Draugelis was 4:16, in second was Aaron Snyder with a time of 4:29. Third, on a single speed, was Wes Schempf at 4:31, and Ray Adams in fourth, on a single speed, with a time of 4:37. Not bad for guys with one gear.
Mike Kuhn, who raced the Mohican 100 the weekend before, cruised into 14th in the open. Mike is planning on racing the Lumberjack 100 this coming weekend. Best of luck to you, Kuhndog!
Special thanks to:
The promoters: Frank, Jim, Harry, and Cathy at Mt. Nittany Wheelworks, and
Chris Scott at Shenandoah Mountain Touring for organizing and running the race.
Teammates: Ryan Leech, Nancy Nowicki, and Ryan’s mom, Pat, for the support and feeds.
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