ATHLETE: John Petrylak
VORS ID #: 12596
AGE: 39
BIKE A : Norco Revolver FS
BIKE B : Norco Revolver HT
BIO : 2016 Expert & XCT Men's Champions
BIO : I like racing my bike its my favorite
VORS Registered : Champion

2018: 99.0
2017: 130.0
*miles are approx

2016XCT Champ
2016Expert Champ



with John Petrylak

the rumblings of a mad man
I don’t remember everything about every race but certain moments have stuck with me from every race. This is a list of my 2017 races; every one of them was an unforgettable experience.
Bring on 2018!!

February 5th...Bedford Mountain Cross: This was my introduction to short track. I remember the morning was cold but warmed up into the low 60’s. During this race I set a few top 3 all time efforts for heart rate and power.

February 12th...Pantani Ride: (not really a race but it might as well be. I remember riding off the front on the first big climb after Bryan Lewis flatted. When we started going up Simmons Gap I was looking down at the switch backs and could see my lead growing (I was thinking finally I could win this thing). But not so fast I’m a mere mortal! Just before the insanely steep start of the Shifflett Rd. climb Bryan caught me and proceed to show me why I work a 9-5 and he’s a professional cyclist. ________________________________________

February 19th...MonsterCross: As I came through the start/finish for my second lap someone yelled out “leaders 5 minutes up” I proceeded to ring myself inside out and caught up to the star studded lead group. Unfortunately I burnt every match I had and then some just to catch them. After J. Bishop attacked on the climb out of the bottom I was popped but thrilled with my race overall.

March 5th...Stokesville 60/40: This race is an instant classic. Every year it’s getting bigger and faster. My memory from this race was coming down Lookout mountain trail and taking some risky lines as I was praying to the mountain bike tire gods not to flat.

March 11th...True Grit 50miler(Utah): I remember riding through the desert 🌵 going down this trail with huge drops and basically riding off of cliffs wondering when my luck was going to run out. I had a terrible race but a wonderful trip to Utah with my wife.

March 25th...Tour de Pocahontas; During the 50 mile stage I got s small gap on the field. Going full out through some single track my front tire lost grip and I rammed my face into a pretty large tree. Ouch!!

April 9th...USAC Race Dark Mountain N.C.; Not my best race of the year. Actually driving to the race was the hi-lite! I rode down with John Witherspoon and laughed the whole way in both directions. A true example of the journey being better than the destination.

April 15th...Conquer the Hill; Rest is Best I needed to get over a stomach bug but I’m a hammer head and I raced. By the final lap I barely had enough to turn pedals over. Miserable day ________________________________________

April 29th...Big Frog 65 (NUE Marathon Race); I’m back! After a blah start I stayed on the gas and caught back up to 3rd place. During the last few miles of single track it seemed to last for an eternity. I just wanted my first NUE podium. Once I could see the tents in the campground I knew I made it.

May 21st...Bootleg Blitz (VA State Championships); rain turned this typical Virginia clay based trail into peanut butter. No matter how hard I tried or how fast I pedaled I wasn’t going anywhere. Maddening!

June3rd...Mohican 100k; why did I do that? I spent a lot of matches in the first 10 minutes of the race. I blew up🔥and had to soft pedal for a while (like 30 minutes) I went from 3rd place to 103rd place and there was nothing I could do. Eventually I came back around and raced up to 5th.

July 9th...The Sizzler; USAC XC race in Greensboro NC. Statistically this was one of my best races. A stacked field made for intense competition. I rode damn near 100% effort for 20 miles and it was still only good enough for 8th place.

July 15th...Carrabassett 100k in Maine; I could write 3 pages about the drama that unfolded during this race. The thing I remember most is the sense of relief after I descended off the final super rocky mountain without a flat and I knew the finish was just a few minutes away.

July 21st...USAC XC Nats; Snowshoe VW Silver Baby! 🥈

July 30th...Chimney Chase; ouch 🤕 Perfect example of running out of talent at the worst possible time.

August 19th...Crotchet Mountain 100;Back to New England. Rocks-roots-repeat

September 3rd...Shenandoah 100; standing on the podium with guys I used to only read about, amazing day🤗

September 17th...Hill City Hootenanny; Definitely the surprise of the year as far as courses go! Super fun single track and a very well run race. I’ll be back

September 24th...Battle of the Quarry; I should have sprinted up the final climb😬

September 30th...Big Bear Lake C.A.; leaving with my first National title(NUE)! We did it ✅

October 7th...RVA 24/6; I had to opt for the short race this year(6 hour solo). As I was leaving the campground about 15 hours before my brothers and sisters would be finishing their final lap of the 24 hour race I definitely felt guilty but relieved.😌 (thanks for helping me out Wusksyat)

October 21st...Paranormal 6hour Solo; This is a memory forever. Broken chain 30 seconds in.......after a broken chain I raced from dead last and won🏆

November 5th...Tidewater; I was thinking if I could just get on the same straight away as Adam and Keck I could get on their wheel. (Thanks for all the great photos this year Chris T.)

Thank you to everyone who made 2017 a successful year:
Bike Factory Charlottesville
ESI Grips
Tifosi Eyewear
Bishop Training
Scott Sports
A new and exciting adventure this coming year is going to be riding on a Norco. 😍
I’m wishing everyone the best in 2018, I cannot wait to see you out there.

lessons from a G.O.A.T

“I hated losing more than I liked winning”

Yep… I’ve been trying to put the way I feel about racing into words and have never been able to find the perfect words until now. A few months ago I was watching an in depth interview with Ricky Carmichael the Greatest.Of.All.Time (7 time motocross champion and 5 time supercross champion) and the interviewer asking RC what drove him to win. Ricky said “I hated losing more than I liked winning” and those words have been rattling around in my head ever since I heard them. While I don’t spend much time getting interviewed (but I have been twice)

I often wonder what is it that drives me (or really “us”) to line up for what we all know is going to be multi hour painful experience???

The answer to that question for me is not complicated…… I just want to race my bicycle.

I have the same euphoric feeling racing a local XC race with 5 riders as I do racing the Shenandoah Mountain100 with 650 riders. I also put the same amount of effort into every race; I show up prepared. Bottles filled and labeled a fresh kit, chain lubed and tire pressure set. I mean why put yourself behind the 8 ball and show up with a half flat tire and squeaking chain. Besides the things we can control there are plenty of surprises we can’t plan for.

You can try and formulate a plan for the actual race however I have yet to see one work out perfectly. There is always something that happens that derails those plans.

However I find that the more experience I get the better I’m able to adapt to a crisis occurring during a race.

Here are two examples of crisis control midrace:

During a marathon race this year the aid stations were close enough to only need to carry 1 bottle but a legend (Chris Scott) once told me years ago “don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket, take multiple bottles incase 1 pops of the cage and you don’t know it”. Sure enough going uphill a little mishap caused a bottle to eject and roll down a freaking cliff! I mean you couldn’t have made this stuff up it flipped out and rolled down a cliff!!!!! The good news; I had a spare bottle with nutrition mix in my jersey pocket ready to go I just needed to add water at the next aid station.

While recently chasing hard to catch the leader at the Chimney Chasing a Blitzing Beaver race in Charlottesville (Dave T. that was for you) I had a root toss my front wheel into an oak tree that started a “yard sale” of parts that went on forever. DANG! My seat broke off when the bike flipped over and hit me.

I remembered seeing someone at a local 6 hour race use a simple strap that normally holds your tube and spare parts to frame as a make shift tire boot to fix a badly torn sidewall. If it can hold a tire together it surely can attach a broken seat.

Tube and tools go into the jersey pocket and now I had a new way to attach my seat so I could finish the race. With a half of lap to go I went on to not only finish but land on the podium!

I easily could have called it a day and rode back to the car and started drinking beer but that inner demon reared its ugly head and said “no way! get your busted *ss on that bike and try to finish”.

I believe that is fine example of hating losing more than winning. Winning may not always be standing on the top step of the podium (it is sure is nice though).

A win is sometimes just leaving that race stronger, smarter and more experienced than when you started. If you flat fix it and do a hard training ride the rest of the race, if you crash brush it off straighten the bars and chase down those wheels in front of you, if you get off course turn around figure it out get back to it…etc etc etc

Most importantly listen to those guys and girls who have been at this game for a while; they have given me countless wins with golden nuggets of information and inspiration by just listening to them.

Yes I’ll admit it I do hate losing BUT that’s the very thing that keeps me coming back for more.

JULY 2017
Carrabassett Men's open 2nd place race report

I got to Carrabassett a little earlier than I anticipated. This gave me an opportunity to do a preride on both Thursday and Friday.
The first 10 miles of the race is just the most absolute fun New England Single track you can image. On Friday I rode the last 5 miles or so of the finish (which is an awesome 5 mile descent back into the valley).

Since this was the first year the NUE was making a stop in Carrabassett I wasn’t sure what to expect, but right away you could tell this race was a well-oiled machine. Folks directing parking for an easy, orderly morning and signage everywhere. The course also have good markings and the race description was right on.
After a brief riders meeting we lined up an then it was GO time!

The start is a nice field section that funnels into double track and then eventually single track. I was very motivated to get to the single track first since rain the night before and into race morning made for muddy conditions. I had a great start and was first wheel into the single track around the outdoor center. It was crazy fun! Such amazing trails and fun obstacles.

After the first 6 miles of single track the race starts to get a little more serious. A group of around 8 riders started to get some distance as we climbed towards the top of the resort. The group was lead by race favorite Dereck Treadwell, eventual winner Andy Scott, Brian Oickle, and myself. I followed Dereck’s wheel as he punished the steep pitches at the top; soon after that Dereck and I had gotten some daylight between us and the chase group!

The gap didn’t stick as we descended down some of the XC skiing trails they were pretty chucky and it was a big gamble to just let it rock down them.

After the descent the group was down to 4 riders and another 4 in a chase group just a few seconds back. We climbed up a super fun piece of machine built single track and then popped out onto a fire road heading towards aid station 1. After the aid station the group came back together as we descended this amazing piece of double track with tons of little bridges and small creek crossings. The group was rolling smooth along a pretty blown out fire road with monstrous mud puddles sprinkled around. I was about 20 seconds in front of the group with Andy and then a terrible crash caused Dereck to call it a day as his handle bars broke!!!!

Right after the second aid station at mile 30 it was Brian Oickle, Andy Scott and myself heading up a loose, rocky steep double track trying get away from the chase group. Our group was together all the way until around mile 45 when after a long flatish section that Brian was flying on we dismounted for steep creek crossing and then Andy got a little separation from Brian and I going up the powerline. Right after the second to last aid station is a 5 mile gravel road that we started to work together on to close the gap on Andy. The road is an out and back so we could see Andy about 30 or 40 seconds in front of us.

Once we hit the check point and turned around to head towards the final climb we did a nice old school New England piece of single track. While I was riding I could feel my left foot starting to have a bunch of float in the pedal and then it started slapping against the pedal. UGH!!! My cleat came loose.

I got it tightened back up just before the bolt fell all the way out! Now I was in crisis control mode heading towards the final 5 mile climb before a nice rewarding descent back to the finish line.

I didn’t realize that we used the same piece of trail twice (listen to those announcements during riders meetings) so I panicked thinking I missed a turn and then rode backwards when I found Bobby Nash and we both decided to head the way I was going originally. After a few nervous miles we popped out at the last aid station signaling we were going the right way.

After I started to get rolling up the climb I found Brian Oickle had some terrible luck and flatted. With 3rd place on my wheel I kept the pace high climbing up the final stretch and was able to put just a little daylight between Bobby and myself. I kept the gap all the way to the finish but I could never catch Andy as he was on fire! After a very exciting race for almost the entire day I was so thrilled to land on the podium.

Congrats to Andy Scott he rode very strong all day!

MAY 2017

The season is here and the racing is getting good. A runner friend of mine is always shocked at the amount of races I do during the year. Now to be honest some are more important than others but I use the same meticulous process to prepare for each race. If it weren't for local races I may have never found the sport I love. Local racing has helped many young and older athletes realize their potential or at least find a forever love.♥️

We are truly unique to have the insane national and sometimes international talent show up to our VORS races throughout the year. Let's not forget all of the regional hot rods that regularly show up and rip our legs right off!

Our promoters, race directors, volunteers, land owners, and park officials all work tirelessly often for free to put on a good old local mountain bike race. Judging from the attendance and the level of competition I'm seeing this year I think 2017 is going to be fast fun year.

My focus this year has turned to the National Ultra Endurance Marathon series and the local races have given me some great training and preparation for the NUE races. I think a few of the local races have actually been a little tougher than the NUE's😳. But the best part of mountain bike racing is the friendships I've developed over the years. I can't imagine any other sport where you toss your toughest competition your last tube because they flatted and ran out of tubes. We are a unique but tight knit group.

So far the season has been more challenging than I thought it would be. A tough race at True Grit and some lingering sickness have had me struggling a little more than I would have liked but the eye is still firmly on the prize. A good weekend down in T.N. for the second NUE Marathon race had me on the podium which was a nice recalibration for the rest of the spring.

Standing on my first NUE podium I'm wearing my VORS I said local racing matters.