The Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series is adding three events for 2011, bringing the total for its tentative schedule to 11 rounds. In addition to its eight established venues, the series will visit Mountain View, Arkansas, Alta, Wyoming and Park City, Utah.
"The races that have been added are outstanding, more western located venues," said Ryan O'Dell, NUE Series Organizer to Cyclingnews. "With four races in the West, Western racers now have great opportunity to complete the four-race minimum without the necessity to travel to the East." The change comes in response to racer requests for additional western venues. "The races that have been added this year have been described by racers as well managed events along epic courses."
An added consideration is the growing popularity of endurance races, in particular, 100-mile endurance events. "Nearly all of the NUE Series races sold out last year. If we fail to add races, there is a risk that racers might not be able to get in to complete the minimum four events, compromising their chances in the series.
What will remain constant is that series standings will continue to be determined by the best four of the now eleven possible results for each racer. Ties will be broken at the series finale at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 near Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Labor Day weekend.
The series will open on April 30 at the Cohutta 100 in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Ducktown, Tennessee. From there, racers will have an opportunity to mix it up in the Ozarks at the first new series venue, the Syllamo's Revenge 100, in Mountain View, Arkansas, on May 14
"Syllamo's Revenge continues to be a very popular 50-mile race, but for this year, the race will offer two-lap option for 100 100-miler racers," said O'Dell. "It's a mostly singletrack course, and it attracts many racers from Texas and Arkansas to mix it up on their home turf with 2010 NUE Champions like Jeff Schalk, Amanda Carey, Singlespeed "Pfluginator" Gerry Pflug and Masters Champion Robert Herriman."
Longstanding series races, the Kenda Mohican MTB100 in Loudonville, Ohio, on June 4 and the Lumberjack 100, deep within the Manistee forests in Wellston, Michigan, on June 18 will finish off the spring portion of the series. In the summer, the series will gain some altitude with the next round at the Breckenridge 100 in Breckenridge, Colorado on July 16. This race begins at 9000 feet and climbs over the Continental Divide three times.
The High Cascades 100 in scenic Bend, Oregon, will return for its second year as stop in the series (on a new weekend) on July 23, and the Wilderness 101 will follow on July 30 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 create some chaos before the tie-breaking finale. First will be the Pierre's Hole 100 near Alta, Wyoming, on August 6. This new venue is likely to delight 2010 series winner Amanda Carey as it is near her hometown. Staging from the Grand Targhee Resort, the Pierre's Hole 100 consists of a 25-mile loop, each lap features over 4600 feet of climbing on mostly single and doubletrack trails.
The Fool's Gold 100 will happen next way down yonder on August 20 in the Chattahoochee Forest Dahlonega, Georgia. The Fool's Gold 50/100 is changing venues for 2011 and will be based out of the beautiful Montaluce Winery. This change will allow more parking, excellent views, and quality wines.
To keep everyone guessing right up until the finale, the last two races will be positioned on opposite sides of the country on the same weekend. One will be the third new series addition, the Park City Point to Point 80 in Park City, Utah, on September 3, and the other will be the series original, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia on September 4.
The Park City race is the only race in the series that is not a full 100 miles. "It's only 80 miles, but it is at high elevation and nearly all singletrack," said O'Dell. The finish times are comparable to most of the 100 milers. This is not the first time Park City has graced the NUE Schedule however. The E-100 in Park City was one of the original events in the series. The Park City P2P has taken the best of the trails from the E-100 and retained all of the trails that racers loved and more."
O'Dell doesn't expect people to race both of the last two events. "It would be next to impossible to complete both events in the same weekend," he said. Instead, the double allows western racers, in particular, to have another great competitive option to be counted in the series, and eligible for series awards. However, racers who fear losing their place in a tie would be wise to attend the Shenandoah Mountain 100, given its tiebreaker status. Located in the George Washington Forest of Virginia, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 is a favorite among NUE racers according to the latest series poll.
The series schedule is tentative and subject to change as race organizers are still in the usual process of procuring forest service permits and other logistical race planning details.
2011 (NUE) National Ultra Endurance Series tentative schedule
April 30: Cohutta 100 Ducktown, Tennessee
May 14: Syllamo's Revenge 100, Mountain View, Arkansas
June 4: Mohican 100, Loudonville, Ohio
June 18: Lumberjack 100, Wellston, Michigan
July 16: Breckenridge 100, Breckenridge, Colorado
July 23: High Cascades 100, Bend, Oregon
July 30: Wilderness 101, State College, Pennsylvania
August 6: Pierre’s hole 100, Alta, Wyoming
August 20: Fool’s Gold 100, Dahlonega, Georgia
September 3: Park City Point to Point 80, Park City, Utah
September 4: Shenandoah Mountain100, Harrisonburg, Virginia