The 12th annual Wilderness 101 is the next stop in the Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series on Saturday, July 28. It will be round seven in the 100-miler series.
The mountains of the Rothrock and Bald Eagle Forests in central Pennsylvania are welcoming cyclists with cool mountain weather. The arduous route takes bicyclists over 12 mountains along the 101-mile route as it runs linearly deep into the backwoods chock full of rattlesnakes, black bears and porcupines.
Defending NUE Series champion Christian Tanguy (Team CF), who regained his series lead after last weekend's High Cascades 100, will have his hands full with a competitive field. Kevin Carter (Gripped Racing) has been right there all year with Tanguy challenging for the series title. Tanguy will also be fending off attacks from some other talented riders including Brandon Draugelis (Team CF), Michael Simonson (RBS Trek MTB Team), and Rob Spreng (Dirty Harry's).
Super fast "newbies" signed up include Justin Lindine (Redline) and Bradley Schmalzer (Team Bikeman.com/XXCMagazine) while you can't count out the old guard including Rich O'Neil and Rich Straub of (Stan's NoTubes), Andy Gorski, Garth Prosser (Specialized), Greg Kuhn (RBS Trek MTB Team), Jed Prentice (Bike Docton), Rob Lichtenwalner (NoTubesTSE Epic) and Brian Wilson (Bike Barn Racing).
Some of the new fast guys to the NUE scene are Stephen Kincaid (Stan'sNoTubes/AXA Equitable), Ian Spivack of (DCMTB), Dylan Johnson (Scott RC), Joe Fish (Design Physics Racing) and Dan Atkins (Race Pace/Trek MTB), and will be interesting to see how they hold up against the mainstream NUE podium riders.
On the women's side, State College local Vicki Barclay (Freeze Thaw/Hubcap/Stans No Tubes) is hoping to claim her second victory at the 101. Former NUE champ and Wilderness winner Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) is back riding great in 2012. Both Barclay and Sornson have both suffered serious injuries while riding this year.
They will be competing with Karen Potter (MTBRaceNews.com) and Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) and are sure to be going head-to-head all day long with Kristin Gavin (Team CF).
The Wilderness 101 doesn't have the amount of singlespeeders it used to have, but it has drawn some fast racers including NUE Series leader Gerry Pflug (Salsa/Notubes/Top Gear). Local rider Matthew Ferrari (Freeze Thaw/Hubcap Cycles/StansNoTubes) has yet to take down the Pflugger.
Mike Montalbano (Dark Horse Cycles) is back to singlespeed after contemplating riding with gears. Justin Pokrivka (Top Gear/Cohen & Assoc.), Jason Pruitt (Peoples Brewing/LAS/ Hodsons Bay/CRC), Hal Batdorf (www.lonewolfcycling.com) and Patrick Blair (Adventure for the Cure) are also ready for party that is the singlespeed podium.
Masters Men 50+
The masters category is always very fast at the Wilderness 101. Roger Masse (Trek) is so ready for a victory, but so is Michael Ramponi, who is looking to take it on his singlespeed. Local Jim Matthews (MBR) is sadly out with a last minute injury. Ron Sanborn (Einstein Racing) has a good chance for a victory while Chris Wurster (Independent Fabrication) is focusing on finishing his 10th Wilderness 101.
There are a few course changes since 2010. They begin at the top of the second huge climb after aid station #2 up Seeger Road onto Broad Mountain. This year racers will keep going up that road and eventually hit aid station #3 further up on top of the mountain. In the past, racers would drop down Telephone Trail and traverse into #3.
There is also a slightly different connection to the singletrack after leaving #3. Riders will not be dropping off the mountain to the right (used to be down into #3) at all. The route will be taking a left into singletrack just past the road (Kettle Rd.). Racers used to turn left on at the top above station #3. In past years, racers would hit Sassafras trail directly from Kettle Road. This year they will get some bonus singletrack by turning in on Pigpile and sweeping left on Sassypig to connect to the top of the original downhill "Sassafrass".
Further changes come after aid station #4's initial climb and the regular section of Sand Mountain Road. Racers will proceed with their normal right turn on Siegerville Millheim Pike passing the old turn onto Little Poe Trail. This year they will continue their climb to the top of Siegerville Millheim Pike which is an additional 15-25 minutes of climbing. A cool section of singletrack known as "Little Poe Trail" will be skipped because it has been deemed "single use - hiking only" and a special use exception granted for the previous 10 years is no longer in effect. Upon topping out at the SMPike, racers will roll about a half-mile along the top and take a left on a loose rocky road - Panther Run Road. That is the road racers used to end up on at the end of Little Poe Trail. From here, they will continue in the normal direction onto Poe Valley Rd. into aid station #5.
Some pre-riders have had encounters with a private property owner along the course. Promoter Chris Scott said, "Please note that the section of trail through the tunnel and across the narrow wooden bridge one mile from the finish has been posted 'no trespassing' and closed to all users but those registered for the event. It is private property and the landowner is fed up with disrespectful folks crossing his land. He has felled some trees that we will creatively get around during the event. Please thank him allowing us to pass along the section of rail grade that he owns. His name is Tim. If you head out that way to pre-ride on Friday please be courteous."