NUE Series opener set for April 28
Now in its seventh season, the Cohutta 100 is offering National Ultra Endurance (NUE) racers a newly revamped course. Cohutta 100 Race Director Charles Nelson said that he added flowing singletrack, reduced gravel road mileage and improved racer flow and support. The new course will retain the traditional basic format as previous years, which has long delighted early season racers with a mix of twisting singletrack along the Tanasi trail system and fireroads that border the Cohutta Wilderness.
The course will get more singletrack near the start and less towards the finish. Most notably, however, will be the addition of singletrack at the course's most southern point, incorporating a section of the Pinhotti trail system before backtracking to Tanasi on the same south-bound course.
"The new course," said Nelson, "is going to be more exciting, interesting, and challenging. It's going to be safer too - offering racers more accessibility to aid stations, allowing for less isolation, and establishing a more visible bicycle race environment for the rare passing car. I think all of these features and changes will make for a smooth, demanding, and highly appealing race course. There are some massive climbs and some killer singletrack. It's going to be a great course and a great race!"
Over 200 racers have already registered along with several previous Cohutta 100 winners including 2009 NUE Series women's champion Cheryl Sornsen (Team CF). Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) will return after her third place finish in the NUE women's open last season. Recognized as the NUE women's singlespeed champion following her fifth place finish in the women's open, Andrea Wilson (Outdoors Inc) is also on the guest list.
Reigning NUE Series men's open champion and last year's winner, Christian Tanguy (Team CF) will return to defend his title. In 2011, he smashed the Cohutta course in just 6:27:49 trading wins throughout the season with the three-time NUE Series Champion Jeff Schalk, before narrowly capturing the win at the championship round in Virginia for his first ever NUE Series title.
Following an amazing recovery from a severe crash at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 last year, series contender, Michael Simonson (Trek/RBS) of Michigan, will return to Cohutta where he placed fourth last year, just behind the three-time NUE Series champion Schalk, who announced his retirement after last season.
Chris Peariso (Adventure 212/Specialized) who finished just behind Simonson last year, will be making the journey south from Wisconsin and Mike Montalbano (Tomac Bikes/Gu Energy) will be competing in the men's open this year. Among Montalbano's most notable finishes, he took the singlespeed division at the 2010 Mohican MTB 100, ahead of former NUE Champions Harlan Price and Gerry Pflug.
Speaking of the Pfluginator, reigning two-time NUE Series singlespeed champion Gerry Pflug (Salsa/NoTubes/Top Gear) will return to defend his title at Cohutta. Last year, Pflug smoked the course in just 7:14:32.
In the Masters 50+, Mark Drogalis (Team CF) will make his debut following solid performances in the men's open where he will, no doubt, be a force to be reckoned with this season. Chris Irving (Los Locos) will return following his sixth place finish last year. Last year, NUE Seriers masters champion, Doug Andrews (www.projectrwanda.org) of Mission Veijo, California, set the bar at 7:33:18.
Cohutta 100 registration is open, with a field limit of 325. Racers may also sign up for the Big Frog 65, a shorter, 65-mile version. For more information, visit www.trailheadoutdoors.org.
The 2012 Kenda NUE Series is a best four of 12 races series. For more information on the series, visit www.nuemtb.com.