The Shenandoah Mountain 100, held in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest is the only true big mountain 100 on the east coast. The challenging and fun course that takes 600 bicyclists over six large mountains and along amazing scenic singletrack is second in popularity only to the Leadville 100. The Virginian event has long been the keystone of the NUE Series and always has excitement in-store. This year it is Hurricane Issac that is bashing New Orleans and Mississippi and could send some waves of moisture towards the event. This mountainous terrain is a perfect course for wet weather. The rocks get slippery and the riders roll on!
The SM100 as it is called is still the largest in the NUE Series but for 2012 it will not be the final deciding race in the NUE Series. That honor has been bestowed to the upcoming Fools Gold 100 in Georgia. After a fast and exciting Shenandoah, the champions will be crowned in the dirty south. We hope you follow along to the end of this exciting series for the Georgia NUE Championship conclusion
Possibly more excited than the contenders themselves is retired pro racer and three time NUE Series Champion, Jeff Schalk who along with his wife Anna and their son Harvey will be camping for the weekend and enjoying the racing and the amazing scenery at the Stokesville Lodge and Campground Facility.
Christian Tanguy (Team CF) will be making a return to the Shenandoah course following his incredible win here last year clinching the overall NUE Series title from Schalk. Christian has been making the rounds coming up with some solid NUE finishes but slightly short on victories. He took the win at both the Mohican and New Hampshire. The pressure is on the defending champion to take his 3rd victory in a row at the Shenandoah which will be quite a challenge being that it is the home course of his most talented challenger Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing). A victory is about the only way Tanguy can remain in the hunt for the series title. Bishop is making quite the resurgence in the NUE Series after making a very solid run to represent the US in the Olympic Games in London last month.
Major contenders for the podium include last year’s hot shots - Sam Koerber (Niner Bikes/Industry Nine) who has a 10 minute advantage in the SM100 just on the downhills alone. Also in this select group of top motors we have Kevin Carter (Gripped Racing), Brandon Draugalis (Team CF), Mike Simonson (TREK/RBS/StansNoTubes). Jonathan Schottler (Cannondale) and Justine Lindine (Redline) were the only ones able to keep pace with the top two NUE riders, Bishop and Tanguy at the Wilderness 101. It is going to be super exciting to see if Schottler and Lindine can do it again on this similar course. Look for Evan Plews (Ibis/Kenda) to make the jump and latch onto this lead group in his first go at the Shenandoah.
The robust local scene is producing some fast ones on the coattails of Jeremiah Bishop including Erik Jensen (Marks Bike Shop/Edible POWER) Kyle Lawrence (Shenandoah Bicycle Co.), Ryan Fawley (Blue Ridge Cyclery) and Matthew Donahue (DCMTB) have the best chances to get in the early move. Jensen covered the front group coming into the 40 mile mark at the Wilderness 101 and has been training hard with Bishop ever since.
From just over the mountain in Charlottesville we have new father Paul Buschi (Giro d'Ville) who could really throw down with some daddy rage. Buschi actually gave Bishop a bit of a beating in the inaugural SM100 in 1999. Also reigning from the town of our beer sponsor Starr Hill we have Andy Kinley (North Mountain Woodworks), Bob Anderson (Plum Grove Cyclery) who have both rolled some amazing fast SM100’s. John Petralak (Blue Ridge Cyclery) and Alex Kurland (CAMBC/IMBA) Sam Lindblom (CAMBC/IMBA) and Eric Magrum (FOOF B Team) should have solid rides too.
Representing Richmond we have Joe Fish (Design Physics Racing), Matthew Bailey (Trek), and Keck Baker (Carytown Bicycle Company/ Cannondale) who choked last year here at the 100 with a DNF. Baker predominately a roadie and one of Virginia’s best as the state champion looks to have improved his mountain bike game with a 5th in New Hampshire a few weeks back. He has been seen out on the course getting used to his super light new Cannondale this week with. Hopefully the course reconnaissance with Bishop on some key sections will put him in the front move.
Other top 10 hopefuls from far and wide include these amazing riders and fun guys; Garth Prosser (Specialized), Greg Kuhn (RBS Trek MTB Team/Stans No Tubes), Andy Gorski (Pro Bikes), Dan Atkins (Race Pace/Trek), Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry's), Greg Kuhn (Trek RBS Team), Dylan Johnson (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team), Zack Morrey (Blue Ridge Cyclery), Charlie Storm (Storm Racing Team), Chris Nystrom (C3 Green Team), Mike Joos (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team), Aaron Snyder (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team), Jeff Dickey (Scott Pro Mountain Bike Team), Troy Berry (Hammer Nutrition/Stans), David Yacobelli (Corning/StansNoTubes) Morgan Olsson (Revolting Cog/Revolution Cycles), Jed Prentice (Bike Doctor) and teammates Charles Buki and Jason Berry (Gripped Racing).
West Virginia's Bradley Schmalzer (Bikeman.com/XXC Magazine) was one of the fastest guys around this spring and could make a solid dig into the top 10.
This field of over 50 hot rods will guarantee that it will be more difficult than ever to crack the top ten this year!
Yielding the young Jedi in training powers at the Shenandoah this year will 11 year old Adam Croft (Trek Mountain Co-op). Stay tuned to see if this amazing fly weight can go under 10 hours on a very adult course.
Absent from the Shenandoah this year will be Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) who has put all her eggs in her attempt to claim another NUE title. Filling Cheryl’s shoes as the gal with the most game is Harrisonburg local and past National and World Champion Sue Haywood (Stan's NoTubes Women's Elite) This is Haywood’s first 100 miler this year and she should be lightning fast as usual mixing it up with the top 20 men.
Challengers for the top of the podium include the very impressive yet evenly matched Vicki Barclay (Stans NoTubes Womens Elite), Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) and Karen Potter(MTBRaceNews.com) have been going head to head all year long. They have been giving NUE followers some very exciting racing mixing it up event after event. Their performance at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 will not likely disappoint.
Other super fast amazing riders who will be duking it out for the top 5 womens payout includes; Emily McDonald (Veloworks-Spokes, Etc.), Kristin Eddy (Huckleberry Inn/Team SOG), Melissa Petty (SCO/MicroMetals/BikeZoo), Pam Frentzel-Beyme (Gripped Racing), Jennifer Wolfson (Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition), Whitney March (ChrisScottistan), Ann Brie (Team Daddy RAGE) and Misty Tilson (Shenandoah Mountain Touring).
There will be a huge cheering section along the 100 miles course for Charlottesville riders Megan Ross (FOOF), Susan Field (Team Snacks) and Jennifer Hodges (FOOF) which should prod them along to the finish for their first time!
Mike Ramponi (Firefly Bicycles), who was looking to be a shoe in for the win here at the Virginia classic, had a tragic accident on the trail and will be stuck at home this year on the sideline. Left sitting in the hot seat after the demise of Ramponi’s is Roger Masse (Trek 29er Crew), who could arguably be consider a local because he has these National Forest trails. Roger has ridden countless 2 and 3 day Stokesville Douthat Stokesville tours so and notched countless SM100 victories. Another contender that could own the day is Scottie D (Foghorn Leghorn)
They east coast regulars were completely and totally turned on their heads and spit out the back by Patrick Blair (Adventures for the Cure) at the Wilderness 101. Patrick will toe the line at the Shenandoah this weekend. How will it go down? Was Gerry Pflug (Salsa/NoTubes/Pro Bikes) and Matt Ferrari just a bit off the mark at the 101 or is the upright riding cross racer going to destroy them all again. Gerry has most effectively wrapped up his second straight NUE Series title with some amazing rides this year.
Can Rich Dillen (Team Dicky) put together a solid ride on this off camber course? Its been a long time since the blog master has done so here at the Shenandoah. One could use this comparison to illustrate the chances of the Rich taking the victory - If Matt Ferrari is the bridesmaid that would make Rich Dillen the flower girl.
Justin Pokrivka (Top Gear/Cohen and Associates), Hal Batdorf (LoneWolfCycling.com) have had great rides this season, lets see if they can put one more together before the finals. Chris Merriam (4 Boys Racing) Watts Dixon (Revolution Cycles, NC) will round out the top contenders this year. Michael Boyes (Athens Bicycle) has been rolling in West Virginia and Ohio this year, can he perform on a course he knows very well? Or will the pressure make him crumble on his birthday weekend?