Stop number seven of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series brings a sold-out field of racers to the Shenandoah Valley off the I-81 corridor of Virginia. A favorite of the series' racers, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 celebrates its 11th consecutive running this weekend as it winds its way on a single-lap course through the George Washington National Forest. Competitors will face over 12,000ft of climbing on a course that boasts multiple 30- to 90- minute climbs that are rewarded with singletrack descents through canopied forests.
Cheryl Sornson (Trek Racing Co-Op) will be on the women's starting line to defend her win from 2008, but she'll have her work cut out for her thanks to local ex-pro Sue Haywood (Shenandoah Bicycle Co), succesful 100-miler Betsy Shogren (Cannondale Factory Racing), Cohutta 100 winner Carey Lowery (OutDoor Store), Karen Potter (Bikect.com), Johanna Kraus (Velo Bella) and Danielle Musto (Kenda/Tomac/Hayes). That's only a partial list of the strength of a talented women's field. The Shenandoah Mountain 100 traditionally draws the largest women's field of any 100-miler in the series.
In the men's race, all eyes will be on Christian Tanguy (Team Fraser) after his recent accomplishments at the Wilderness 101 and the Fool's Gold 100, where he finished second and first respectively. If he should win the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and decide to go to the Tahoe Sierra 100, he would force Jeff Schalk to follow and try and prevent Tanguy from taking a win there, which would also give him the series overall.
The rider most likely to stand in the way of a Tanguy win this weekend will be Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie/ Cannondale), who has the distinct advantage of being on home trails. Other top contenders include Chris Beck (Subaru Gary Fisher), Sam Koerber (Fisher 29er Crew) and Brandon Draugelis (Cannondale Factory Racing). The virtual winner of the NUE Series Singlespeed Class Gerry Pflug (SpeedGoat, SPK) will be running gears and attempting to push one more rider out of the top ten. Last year's winner, Chris Eatough, will stay home as he awaits the birth of his second child.
There are no changes to the course for this edition.
Race director Chris Scott has been running the race since 1999 and has relied on his volunteers, excellent during-race care of racers and the support of the private Stokesville Campground to put on a race that has set many standards for the 100-mile format.
The continuance of the race through National Forest lands has happened thanks to good relations with the US Forest Service. In order to maintain that relationship, Scott asks that racers use supplied gel flasks to avoid dropped gel wrappers and keep all spectators and individual supporters off the roads. Limiting race-related road traffic allows all Labor Day Weekenders sharing the forest to enjoy their visit, too.