Heading into its seventh year, the Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series is adding three events to its schedule for 2013, including stops in New York, Southern Utah and South Dakota.
Organizers also changed the rules for winning the series. To claim the title in any of the four divisions - men, women, singlespeed, masters - next season will require a minimum of five races, up one from four in previous years. However, all racers who complete four races will receive a national ranking and series awards. Ties will be broken at the Fool's Gold 100 in Georgia on September 8, the final race of the season.
A new NUE Advisory Board, made up of NUE Series Champions and participating race directors, was established this year to set the direction for the rapidly growing series. The advisory board evaluated many race applications and reviewed suggestions made by racers to help determine which races to add for the 2013 season.
The board also agreed that a greater commitment for series champions was necessary due to series growth. The NUE Series has grown from seven races to 15 races spanning 14 different states. Even with the expanding schedule, nearly all NUE Series races sold out last year, some within mere minutes.
In 2013, series winners will share a minimum $14,000 cash purse. However, all NUE series finishers who complete four races will receive rewards and recognition. The organization is still seeking addtional sponsors.
The NUE Series will kick off next year on March 16 with a new race in the southwest, the True Grit Epic in St. George, Utah. According to Race Director Cimarron Chacon, "The True Grit Epic is long, tough, and technical. The first 20 miles are along rocky and steep terrain that requires excellent bike handling skills and upper body strength. This course is a roller coaster of desert riding with over 70% of the 89 miles on singletrack and slightly over 13,000 feet of elevation gain."
The series then heads southeast to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Ducktown, Tennessee for the Cohutta 100 on April 27. To the delight of racers last year, Cohutta added even more singletrack. According to race director Charles Nelson, "For 2013, The Cohutta 100 remains mostly unchanged. There will be a slight route change at the beginning to cut out the climb up Fire Road 45."
Next up is the second new race of the series in the Shawangunk Mountains in New Paltz, New York for the Wildcat Epic. Race Director, Gunter Spilhaus, is moving the 100-mile race to May 11 this year as Wildcat makes its series debut.
On May 18, the NUE Series goes south to the Ozark Mountains of Syllamo's Revenge in Mountain View, Arkansas. Due to demand and with permission from the National Forest, Syllamo's is raising its registration limit for the 125km distance this year from 100 to 175.
The Buckeye state of Ohio will hold the 11th annual Mohican 100 in the 5000-acre Mohican State Forest on June 1. Last year, a record 650 racers attempted to complete this single loop course spanning four counties. Racers can expect more singletrack and a cool, new location for the 100 mile/100k split at aid station three.
Further north into the Great Lakes state of Michigan, the Lumberjack 100 is scheduled for June 15. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan, the Lumberjack will cap off the spring portion of the series. This event always sells out early.
As summer arrives, the third new event debuts in the Black Hills of Sturgis, South Dakota. The Tatanka 100 on June 29 will start in Sturgis and proceed clockwise around a single grand loop. The course will use the three biggest official Black Hills trails, the Centennial Trail #89, and a portion of, both, the Deerfield Trail#40, and the Mickelson Trail #104 before finishing along some scenic Black Hills railroad grade/two track.
Round 8 of the series will gain some serious altitude with the next round held at the Breckenridge 100 in Breckenridge, Colorado on July 14. Breckenridge sits at 9,000 feet and the race there crosses over the continental divide three times.
One week later, it's time to think Big Foot and Volcanos. Mudslinger Events hosts the High Cascades 100 in Bend, Oregon on July 20 on the epic trails around Mt. Bachelor.
The Wilderness 101, promoted by Chris Scott, will follow on July 27 in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, Pennsylvania.
The final four races will occur within a month-long period, which could, once again, create chaos in the standings before the final tie-breaking event. First up is the Pierre's Hole 100 near Alta, Wyoming, on August 3. Pierre's Hole, a a mountain valley tucked up to the Wyoming border on the western side of the Tetons, was once known as the strategic center for fur trade in the Northern Rockies, and this year's race will include more singletrack than ever.
The seventh annual Hampshire 100 in New England made its series debut last year in Greenfield, New Hampshire. Held on August 18, the very technical race will again benefit the Crotched Rehabilitation Center.
The next two races could keep everyone guessing, much like last season, with each race positioned on opposite sides of the country over Labor Day Weekend. The Park City Point to Point in Park City, Utah on August 31 was sold out within minutes, staging from the heart of the 5000-acre Canyons Resort, connecting nearby Deer Valley and Park City resorts along trails in the Wasatch Mountain Range. The estimated cash payout this year will reach at least $10,000 according to race director, Jay Burke.
The next day, a series original, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia sounds off on September 1. Along with Mohican, at 650 racers, Shenandoah is the largest race in the NUE Series.
Fool's Gold wraps up the series as the final race on September 8 in Dahlonega, Georgia.
The NUE Series schedule is subject to change. Race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and doing other logistical planning.
The NUE Series does not require racers to have a license to participate.
2012 champions included Jeremiah Bishop (men), Cheryl Sornson (women), Gerry Pflug (singlespeed) and Ron Sanborn (masters).
For more information on the NUE Series, visit www.nuemtb.com.
2013 National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series
March 16: True Grit Epic, St. George, Utah
April 27: Cohutta 100, Ducktown, Tennessee
May 11: Wildcat Epic, New Paltz, New York
May 18: Syllamo's Revenge, Mountain View, Arkansas
June 1: Mohican MTB100, Loudonville, Ohio
June 15: Lumberjack 100, Wellston, Michigan
June 29: Tatanka 100, Sturgis, South Dakota
July 14: Breckenridge 100, Breckenridge, Colorado
July 20: High Cascades 100, Bend, Oregon
July 27: Wilderness 101, State College, Pennsylvania
August 3: Pierre’s Hole 100, Alta, Wyoming
August 18: Hampshire 100, Greenfield, New Hampshire
August 31: Park City Point to Point, Park City, Utah
September 1: Shenandoah 100, Harrisonburg, Virginia
September 8: Fool's Gold 100, Dahlonega, Georgia
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the 2013 NUE Series.