National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series heads to Ohio

Favorites continue to fight for the series overall at the Mohican MTB 100

Fair skies and mild temperatures are in this year's forecast for the 9th annual Kenda Mohican 100 mile and 100k, presented by Hammer Nutrition. That is welcome news for racers, who endured what may have been the toughest Mohican race ever last year.

Pounded by daily thunderstorms that produced hail larger than golf balls and spawned at least two tornados on or near the race course, the 2010 Mohican recorded the highest drop-out rate in its nine-year history. However, that was an unusual anomaly. Most years, the Mohican has enjoyed dry trails and great weather conditions on race weekend.

The 100-mile race is stop three on the Kenda NUE Series, rolling out of downtown Loudonville, near Liberty Park, at 7:00 am under the Mohican MTB100 Banner stretched out over Main Street. From the starting siren, racers will ascend straight to the top of Maple Heights.

The first racer to reach the city limits will receive $200, sponsored by the Loudonville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Kim's Bikes of Loudonville. Of course, the caveat is that the racer must also finish the race to receive this award.

From Maple Heights, racers will descend through Mohican Adventures and a stream crossing before entering the 5,000-acre Mohican State Forest where racers can be easily lulled into going hard along 20 miles of some of the best flowing singletrack the Buckeye State has to offer. However, the inevitable steep pitched hill climbs, stream crossings, and a few rock gardens can easily bring a racer back to earth later in the race. For 100-mile racers, Aid Station 3 headed by veteran Alan Kasper, is the point of no return. 100k racers split from 100-milers at this point, heading back toward the finish at Mohican Adventures.

100-mile racers will cross over the Bridge of Dreams, located near Brinkhaven, known as the longest covered bridge in Ohio. Further along, another long suspension bridge, spanning the Mohican river from a nature preserve late in the race has reportedly tested the balance of many shaky legs according to several racers last year.

This year, a web-based chip timing system will be employed for the first time to track racers at many points along the course, including all aid stations. In what is, perhaps, the best news of all, the creative geniuses at Great Lake Brewing of Cleveland, in response to demand last year, are bringing out a refrigerated truck to deliver drafted hoppy goodness to every racer who earns a Mohican finishers mug.

Men

Jeff Schalk (Team Trek Co-op) from Frederick, Maryland is the three-time reigning NUE men's open champion and winner of the 2008 and 2010 Mohican MTB100. Schalk is a favorite again this year but off to a less than perfect start this season due to inopportune mechanical difficulties including flat tires, broken spokes at Cohutta followed by a broken chain at Syllamo's Revenge and despite those difficulties early in the season, Schalk remains second in the NUE standings. Not only that, he finished in an amazing 7:33:08 at Mohican last year, a half hour ahead of his nearest competitor. Take away those mechanicals and he is every bit the unstoppable force he was last season.

Christian Tanguy (TeamCF.org) Christian Tanguy, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, has been a force to be reckoned with this year, taking the first two races of the series and proving that he can hang with the reigning NUE Series Champ. He will also have an edge, pacing with teammate Brandon Draugelis of Bedford, Pennsylvania, who proved effective in helping his teammate at Cohutta.

Josh Tostada (Bachbuilders/Santa Cruz) of Breckenridge, Colorado, a three-time winner of the Leadville 100 in Colorado. He placed 13th at Mohican in 2009, third last year, and is undefeated at the Breckenridge 100, high in the Rockies 9,000 feet above sea level, the fifth stop of the NUE Series this year. Tostada will, no doubt, bring his high mountain fitness to Mohican.

Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher/SRAM XX/NoTubes) of Oxford, Michigan, became a threat in 2009, finishing fourth in the NUE Series and at Mohican in 2009. This year, Simonson is on fire, leading the pro/expert men at Cohutta until an unfortunate flat tire in the final 20 miles rolled him back a few spots.

Chris Peariso (Adventure 212/Specialized) placed fifth at the Cohutta 100 this year behind Simonson and is capable of snatching victory.

Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat.com) of Stow, Ohio, was the top Ohio racer at Mohican last year, finishing 15th.Marenchin is currently ranked third this year in the NUE men's open after finishing ninth at Cohutta and sixth at Syllamo's Revenge. The fitness he's gained from the first two events may come into play at Mohican.

Women

Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) of Victor, Idaho, the reigning NUE series champion leads the NUE Series this year with back to back wins in Tennessee and Arkansas; however, she will not be at the starting line at Mohican due to a conflict in her schedule. She is racing at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. Carey finished the race in 9:15:20 last year under adverse conditions.

Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, is the 2008 NUE women's champion. She placed fourth at Mohican in 2008 and third in 2009. Without Carey to contend with, Sornson is the odds on favorite to win at Mohican.

Brenda Simri (Motor Mile Racing) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, placed fourth last year and is off to a great start in her first two races currently ranked third overall in the NUE series.

Namrita O'Dea (Topeak-Ergon) of Atlanta, Georgia, placed fifth and sixth respectively at Cohutta and Syllamo's this year and is currently ranked fourth overall in the NUE Series. Long and tall, Namrita is capable of a podium finish at Mohican.

Laureen Coffelt (Velosoul/The Natural Way) of Memphis, Tennessee, returns to Mohican after a seventh place finish in 2009 improving to sixth place last year.

Kelly Ayer (CAMBA) of Newbury, Ohio, was the top woman from Ohio last year, placing seventh at Mohican amidst a strong pro/expert women's field.

Singlespeed

Michael Montalbano (Team Dayon/Fuji) of Hewitt, New Jersey, won the singlespeed division last year in 8:16:50, 37 minutes ahead of NUE singlespeed champion Gerald Pflug. Does he have what it takes to knock off the champ again at Mohican?

Gerald Pflug (Salsa/SPK/Pro Bikes) of Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, made a move to the singlespeed division in 2009 after finishing eighth in the NUE men's open division in 2008. Since then Pflug, who has been referred to as "The Pfluginator" for obliterating the field, has won back to back series championships in the singlespeed division including third place at the Mohican 100 last year. No doubt, he is looking forward to getting a second crack at Montalbano.

Matthew Ferrari (Hubcap-Freeze Thaw Cycles) has a name that perhaps best describes his excellent form this year, Ferrari led most of the race at the Cohutta 100 this year until a flat tire late in the race resulted in "the Pfluginator" rollin' past and onward toward his first victory. Ferrari placed second but remains a top contender at Mohican.

Dylan "The Kid" Johnson (Oasis Bike Works) just 16 years old from Virginia astonished everyone with his unexpected fourth place finish at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 last year. At the Cohutta 100 this year, Johnson was rollin' with the big dogs again, however, while attempting to close the gap to the leaders along a stretch of steep, sketchy, gravel road down Bull Frog Mountain, Johnson suffered a painful high speed, over the bars, crash, landing on his face before being whisked off by ambulance for medical attention. After the race, the bold un-detoured Johnson told Cyclingnews he would be back to face off at Mohican.

Gabe Rainwater of Coshocton, Ohio, holds the distinction of setting a course record in the solo division of the 24 Hours of Mohican in 2009 completing 18 laps, the equivalent of 180 miles and 17,568 vertical feet, breaking the 2008 16-lap record set by Chip Meek in 2008 and 14 laps set by two time US Olympian, David "Tinker" Juarez in 2007. In 2009, Rainwater received the distinction of being the first male finisher of BOTH the Mohican Mountain Bike 100 and, just two weeks later, the 20th Anniversary Mohican Trail 100 mile run.

Master's 50+

Robert Herriman (Gary Fisher 29er Crew) of Royal Oak Michigan, was the ONLY racer who secured the NUE series victory before the final race in Virginia last year. Herriman, who looks like he just graduated from college, blew the field away by over an hour at Mohican last year, finishing in just 9:20:11. Herriman placed third at Cohutta this year behind Doug Andrews of California and Roger Masse.

Roger Masse (Gary Fisher 29er Crew) of Bethesda, Maryland, finished second in the NUE Series and sixth at Mohican in the singlespeed division in 2009. Masse placed 10th at Mohican last year under adverse conditions. Now at 50 years old, Masse has moved into the Master's 50+ division and he is off to a great start, placing second at Cohutta this year and threatening to take the keys to the throne held by NUE Champion Herriman.

David Grauer (55 Orthopro) of Niwot,Colorado, finished third overall in the NUE Series last year, placing second at the Breckenridge 100 in Colorado and third at the Fool's Gold 100 in Georgia. He finished ninth at Cohutta this year but failed to finish at Mohican last year in difficult conditions.

Michael Dietlin, 70 (Kenda) of Johnstown, Ohio, last year was one of only eight finishers in the Masters, also becoming the eldest racer to finish the Mohican 100-mile race. Turning 70 later this year, Dietlin was the first to register and could break his own record with another finish.

Mark Jones, 59 (Orville Cycling) placed fifth behind OMBC Series Masters Champion Terry Campbell last year in the Mohican 100k. He is moving up to the 100-mile distance this year and his determination alone could make him a wild card.

100k Preview - The Mohican will also feature a 100km distance option and the preview for those events follows.

Men

Ross Clark (Edge Outdoors) of Hudson, Ohio, becomes this year's leading contender following his fourth place finish at last year's race. Race winner and former OMBC Series Champion Brad Wilhelm has not yet registered for this year's race. Also MIA is Stephen Cummings and Mike Naughton who finished second and third respectively last year. Alien abductions perhaps?

Brian Schworm (Pedal Power) of Wellington, Kentucky, took second place behind Travis Saeler in 2009. Schworm is 41 this year, however, no one that knows him will be cutting him any slack. He is a contender with a rich history of racing prowess.

Chip Meek (Spin Bike Shop Dieringer Frames) of Berea, Ohio, finished fourth last year, just three minutes behind Clark. Meek got off to a good start this season with a big win at the Mountwood Challenge, a dual points race between Ohio and West Virginia. In 2008, Meek broke the record set by two time Olympian and National 24 Hour Champion, David "Tinker" Juarez at the 24 Hours of Mohican.

Martin Sanders (CSC) of Cincinnati, Ohio, finished just one second behind Meek last year to finish sixth.

Steve "Twinky" Twining (Groovy Cycleworks) of North Lawrence, Ohio, finished in third place in 2009, just 14 minutes behind race winner Travis Saeler and 10 minutes behind Schworm. He's fast but does he have the stamina to take on Clark and the rest of this field?

Women

Amanda (McKay) Virostko (Shamrock/Biowheels) of Columbus, Indiana, has taken the 100k for three straight years now 2008-2010, longer than any racer, winning time 7:23:39. Don't let her small stature or that hollywood smile fool you. She has proven to be tough as nails on race day. Virostko will be the moving target of all women again in 2011.

Heidi Shilling (COMBO Race Team/Whole Foods/Roll) Reigning Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series Champion finished less than three minutes behind Virostko last year, but can she step up her game this year to take the win?!

Bridget Donovan (Trek Store Cincy/Hammer Nutrition/CEP) finished third last year and she will be bringin' her long guns to Mohican again this year.

Becky Silzer (PAMBA/Mud Maids) of Brimfield, Illinois, finished fifth last year

Lauren Mika, Idutri, from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania finished second at Mohican in 2009, 30 minutes behind race winner Amanda McKay, however, she bailed in 2010.

Singlespeed

Jason Suppan (Soupcaninsoles.com) from Orrville, Ohio, won last year, 6:16:41 with some help from teammate and 2009 winner, John Lorson. Lorson, also from Orrville won the 2009 singlespeed race in 5:38:56 in 2009. Last year, he finished second behind Suppan.

Nathan Grubbs (University of Cincinnati) finished less than a minute behind third place, Jake Scott, of Worthington who is not yet registered for this year's race.

Michael Gorman (Orrville Bike Shop) finished second in 2009, just eight minutes behind Lorson. He did not race last year but will surely make his presence known in 2011.

Masters 50+

Rudy Sroka, 54 (Lake Effect Racing) North Royalton, Ohio, rolled to an impressive victory last year in 6:36:26, nearly 30 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. Racers will have their work cut out for them if they hope to defeat Sroka. A tall order indeed

Mark Virello, 56, of Boston, Massachusetts, landed neatly between Sroka and Orlando last year to capture second place. He's back with a contingent from Boston that could shake things up this year.

Joe Orlando, 52, of Wadsworth, Ohio, took the top spot in 2009. His winning time was 6:22:07. Last year, he placed third behind Rudy Sroka and Mark Virello.

Terry Campbell, 57 (AOA) of Zanesville, Ohio, is the reigning OMBC Series Masters 50+ Champion. He finished fourth last year, behind Orlando.

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