The Shenandoah Mountain 100, held on Sunday over Labor Day weekend near Harrisonburg, Virginia, will decide the Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series Champions for 2010. The event has been the finals for this prestigious series in years past and is hosting it again this year.
The weather forecast looks amazing for race day with a forecast for "brilliant sunshine" with temperatures in the upper 70s. This is a departure from the norm for the 2010 series where all the NUE events east of the Rockies have been total wash outs except Shenandoah Mountain Touring's other NUE Series event: the Wilderness 101.
Jeff Schalk (Trek Mountain Co-op) has the NUE Series locked up for the men's category, but for the race itself, he'll be the target of a group of super fast men all looking for a victory. Leading the charge will be Christian Tanguy (Team CF) who might have been quickest at the Wilderness 101 were it not for a mechanical. Thus far, a victory in a 100-miler has eluded him.
Chris Beck (Subaru/Trek) and Mike Simonson (Trek 29 Crew/SRAM/Stans No Tubes) are other favorites and Sam Koerber (Trek 29er Crew) has had no trouble rolling the first 50 miles of the Shenandoah Mountain 100 with the leaders in past years. In 2010, he's enjoyed some high altitude training after getting married earlier this summer.
Local pro Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) pulled it together last year in time to represent and break his home course record, but he may not yet be recovered from winning the Breck Epic in mid-August. Another local pro Nick Waite (Kenda/GT) just showed back up in town after a whirlwind tour of the northeast doing some racing and chilling with his courier brothers in New York City.
Nobody can count out Brandon Draugalis (PAValleys.com), with his solid skills and super fitness. He will be rolling it without much support from his PA teammates, but even Virginia homies can appreciate his talent so he will be getting lots of support on the course.
Some of the favored Pennsylvanians are missing including Jacob Loverich, Chip Koglemann and Giro D Ville champion Bob "Goldmember" Goldman, though Rich Straub (Freeze Thaw), Pistol Pete (Engin Cycles) and Andy Gorski are making the trip south.
North Carolina is sending a strong contingent including Virginia State Champion Jason Laxton, Tour de 'Burg winner Drew Scharns (Boone Bike and Touring), Charlie Storm (Inland Construction) and Andy Applegate (Champion Systems/Cannondale).
Mike Keefer (Gettysburg Bicycle/Cupcake Factory), Garth Prosser (Cannondale Factory Racing), Greg Kuhn (Team Fraser), David Wood (Trek 29er Crew), Jens "the Biking Viking" Nielsen (Sports Systems) and long shot Joe Fritsch (College Park Bicycles) round out the list of top 10 hopefuls.
In the women's race, a battle is expected between Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) and Amanda Carey (Kenda), with her trademark World Cup start. Sornson needs to have Carey finish no better then fourth place to secure her second NUE Series Title.
Local Sue Haywood (SBC/Turner Racing), Karen Potter (www.MTBRaceNews.com), Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing), Mandi Riddle (Joey's Bike Shop), Vicki Barclay (Freeze Thaw Cycles) and Anna Kelso (Gripped Racing) could throw a wrench into the winning plans of the two favorites.
Justin Pokrivka (Pro Bikes/Cohen and Associates) is looking to repeat his Wilderness 101 singlespeed success and he'll face past NUE Series Champs Harlan Price (Team CF) and Gerry Pflug (Salsa/SPK/ProBikes). Matt Ferrari (Freeze Thaw/Hub Cap Cycles) is climbing well again and is hoping to light up the singletrack descents enough to contend and place in the top three. Dark horses are Rich Dillens (Team Dicky) and Mike Ramponi (Independent Fabrication).
Robert Herriman (Trek 29 Crew) has the masters men field locked up for the NUE title but the race should be exciting with Jim Matthews (MBR) and Ed McCalley (Team Ed) going for it. John Williams (Bike Line of Newark) is always a steady riding soldier having a good time and Mark Drogalis (Team CF) will be lighting up the climbs and looking to take the podium.
The 1000-mile club has long time heroes Larry Camp (Micahux Green) switching back to gears after almost a decade of going single. Mike Buchness (Team Bike Lane) and Barry Quigley (Team Green).
The battle for best local is always intense. On the men's side, look for Chris "Chas" Michaels (Schwalbe North America), Ryan Fawley (Trek Mountain Co-op) and Kyle Lawrence (Trek 29 Crew) and in the women's event watch Misty Tilson (Shenandoah Mountain Touring), Whitney March (JV Squad) and Jennifer Wolfson (SVBC).
Past winner Chris Eatough (Trek Mountain Co-op) will be coming to the event to enjoy some of his favorite singletrack and to promote his coaching services and training programs. He has been coaching some of the top athletes, including Chris Beck and Team CF riders Cheryl Sornson, Christian Tanguy, and Harlan Price.