The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series will visit the Wilderness 101 in Coburn, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for its fifth stop of the 2009 season. The oldest 100-mile mountain bike race in the country will be celebrating this year by returning to its traditional course of 2005-2007 with over 10,000ft of climbing through the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests. Situated outside State College Pennsylvania, Coburn epitomizes the small mountain villages that dot the landscape of central Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Mountains of the East Coast.
Race headquarters will be based out of Coburn's city park, where entrants register, camp, start and finish the race. Riders will be traveling a course that splits the 100 miles into roughly 30 miles of singletrack interspersed amongst unused logging roads, gravel state forest roads and a tiny bit of pavement. Riders will face a big day of climbing and descending on trails that have a reputation for being narrower and more technical than any of the other races on the NUE series schedule.
Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-Op) is returning to defend his 2008 win after a recent trip to Colorado to race in the Breckenridge 100 where he placed second to Josh Tostado (Bach Builders / Santa Cruz). Tostado is hoping to repeat that performance, but might find the course a bit short to his liking, with a traditional sub-seven hour finishing time for the 101. Schalk's BC Bike Race partner Chris Eatough (Trek Racing Co-Op) will be there - not as a teammate but as a fierce competitor - in a race that he has previously won.
The strength of the women's field is shaping up to challenge the normal depth of the men's class. East Coasters Cheryl Sorenson (Trek Racing Co-Op), Betsy Shogren (Cannondale Factory Racing), retired pro Sue Haywood, Carolyn Popovic and Karen Potter are just a sampling of the talent that will be lining up against the West Coast protagonists of Pua Sawicki (Team Mata) and Erika Tieszen (Bach Builders).
Stay tuned to tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the race.