Nicholson Takes Climbing Crown

Branden Nicholson came away with his first Growlers title, but he had to go to overtime to do it. Nicholson edged Mike Packer and Andrew Holder in a wild play-off to walk away with the 2017 Climbing Championship crown.

The mood was festive, and conditions were almost too good. The amazing tread allowed riders to dig hard without spinning. With 1,800 feet of ascent on the table over five climbs, there was no room for error.

The first climb was relatively straight-forward. It started at the bottom of that steep finishing hill at the end of BAP and totaled 325 feet. There was one caveat – someone had added a small log-over near the top to make things interesting. This was a happy climb and 28 people rang up a full-pull.

TFB was the focus of the second and third climbs. We hit the one on the west end near the entrance to Without a Paddle first. Like the BAP climb, it was 325 feet. There was a sketchy section at about 205 that took down a number of riders, but 20 people cleaned the entire thing.

Next came the climb featuring five wicked switchbacks on the east side of TFB. Distance was 400 feet. The second switchback was tough enough, but it was made more difficult by the performance of several exotic dancers who had stationed themselves at that location. Again, 20 people were able to get the full-pull.

The Board of Director decided that surprises were needed. The fourth climb – up Buffalo – was completely off people’s radars. At 475, it was long and relentless. Again, someone had added several log-overs to up the ante.

Those who cleaned the log-over at 230 still had to deal with a bad climb to the finish line. This ascent featured several outstanding saves, as riders roasted their lungs and legs to get it all. Remarkably, Dave Bisers (single-speed!), Adam Faren, Bob Horness, Andrew Holder, Braden Nicholson, Shane Oberg, Travis Cothren, Mike Packer, and Kevin Templeton were able to clean it all.

And for the finish? Well, if you are familiar with the 275 feet of gentle ascent at my house, you understand how brutal this climb is. The first 100 feet are a little tricky as riders weave between trees, but the real problem is a switchback followed by a very steep section from the 125-mark to the 150-mark.

Going into this climb, Cothren, Faren, Holder, Nicholson, Templeton, and Packer were tied – all having cleaned the previous four climbs. Templeton and Faren hooked their bars on a tree, and Cothren could not quite complete the final climb. Packer, Holder, and Nicholson got the entire things and were tied for first.

The Board of Director opted for a timed run up the same climb to decide the winner. All three got it, but Nicholson was the fastest, finishing in 37 seconds. Packer was second in 39.1 and Holder third with a 43.

Seeing all the riders in costumes and hearing all the noise as people cheered for each other on every climb was very special.

Hats off to Braden for the win, but you need to think about this – Andrew Holder and Mike Packer cleaned all six climbs and still didn’t win. Do you think it’s tough to win a Growlers event?

Witnessing this Climbing Championship made me realize just how talented the people I ride with are. In addition to all the top guys, I was extremely impressed by the performances of Steve Luther (the dude is 71), Travis Cothren, Darryl Kent, Shane Oberg, and Peter Sloniker.

Big thanks to Dave for running the show and to Matthew Petrino, Ben McCormack, Juntu Oberg, and Joel Rogauskas for assisting. It was a fantastic day. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have another one.

Results – Total Footage

  • Zane Bischoff – 1,564
  • Dave Bisers – 1,631
  • Travis Cothren – 1,665
  • Vincent Deluchio – 983
  • Barry DeSemple – 1,126
  • Jeanine – 954
  • Adam Faren – 1,609
  • Lizzy Fitch – 836
  • Nathan Frechen – 1,565
  • Adam Graff – 1,193
  • Sue Grandjean – 1,421
  • Lynn Green – 1,436
  • Suzie Griffin – 401
  • Carter Hanley – 551
  • Andrew Holder – 1,800
  • Bob Horness – 1,404
  • Michael Inbody – 1.083
  • Jesse Jacobsen – 1,435
  • Jon Jennings – 1,440
  • Darryl Kent – 1,361
  • Nic Khajavei – 799
  • Kevin Knorr – 1,408
  • Allen Legoboru – 1,303
  • J. LeMonds – 1,215
  • Steve Luther – 1,283
  • Tim McCormick – 1,302
  • Braden Nicholson – 1,800
  • Wayne Nussbaum – 1,206
  • Shane Oberg – 1,544
  • Mike Packer – 1,800
  • Pete Sloniker – 1,733
  • Bob Stanton – 1,578
  • Kevin Templeton – 1,605

7 thoughts on “Nicholson Takes Climbing Crown”

  1. Well someone had to bring up the rear. :0)
    What I lost in footage I gained in respect for the riders, in appreciation for jeep for bringing us all together, awe in the climbs and confidence in myself. Thanks everyone for your fantastic support.

  2. Thanks to everyone for getting together and creating such a fun time. What a great gang of people! Let’s do it again next year. The

  3. To Jeep and all the volunteers that helped put this great event together could not have done a better job. It was awesome to share a common interest we all have, the love for riding. I had a great time even though I felt more pressure than a pressure cooker with all the bells, dancers and cheering. Congrats to all 3 riders who dominated all 5 climbs. To all the other riders, thanks for all your cheers and fun times!

  4. Thanks Everyone!! What a GREAT event to be a part of for my first GGR event. Thanks for organizing Jeep and thanks to everyone else who help with logistics and measuring. I sure hope we do it again. Everyone did awesome and it was really fun getting to know everyone a bit. Hope to get out on the trails more often and see some of you out there! FUN TIMES!

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