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NUE series announces the 2012 schedule

NUE Series Singlespeed podium: Jason Pruitt, Gerry Pflug, Matthew Ferrari

NUE Series Singlespeed podium: Jason Pruitt, Gerry Pflug, Matthew Ferrari (Image credit: Ryan O'Dell)

The Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series announced its 12-race schedule for 2012, including a new venue as well as a switch in which event will host the final round. Last season, in addition to its eight established venues, the series made stops in Mountain View, Arkansas; Alta, Wyoming; and Park City, Utah. The 2012 Series will remain a best four of 12 races with all ties broken at the championship race.

The Hampshire 100 in New Hampshire becomes the first New England venue to be part of the series.

"The Hampshire 100 Race Director, Randi Whitney, along with numerous volunteers have spent five years refining her event and NUE is very excited to add New Hampshire to the 11 great states hosting NUE Series races next season," said NUE Series Director Ryan O'Dell.

"Located in the cooler, scenically beautiful northeast on Sunday, August 19 should make this a popular NUE venue this year and with a registration limit of 500, many racers will be able to get in when registration opens on January 15."

The other major change for 2012 is a switch in the series final location. The Fool's Gold in Georgia, will host the championship event. The race, traditionally been held on a weekend in August, is moving to September 8 for 2012.

"The cooler fall weather may make the Fool's Gold 100 even more attractive to racers. This will mark the first time the NUE Series Championship has been held in the southeast." In previous years, the Shenandoah Mountain 100, in Virginia, hosted the finals.

An accomplished mountain bike racer who fought his way to a seventh place finish in the NUE Men's Open Division this year, his best performance so far, race director Eddie O'Dea, describes the new championship race course this way, "The 2012 Fool's Gold 50/100 will again be based out of the beautiful Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia. Expect lots of fast and flowy singletrack, some doubletrack, and a fair dose of gravel road grunts. There are a couple of longer sustained climbs, but the rollers will probably be the ones to get you."

According to NUE Series Director, Ryan O'Dell, "Eddie and Namrita O'Dea's decision to move the race start/finish to the Montaluce Winery really provides atmosphere for the Championship. Many new improvements are being planned next year as they host the championship for the first time. The entry limit this year will be 350, however, all NUE top-five division leaders will be able to compete at the championship as long as they register at least one month before the race.

A growing success

Even with three venues added last year, nearly all NUE Series races sold out last year, some within just minutes. The addition of still another venue this coming year will make it possible for more racers to attempt the series minimum of four races and in the process, receive a national ranking and prizes.

NUE Series races offer quality venues and they are accessible in that racers do not need a license to compete.

Series winner Amanda Carey Kenda-Felt) recently commented on the courses. "Each NUE Series venue is in a location you would want to ride whether or not you are there to race."

O'Dell likened participation in the series to a 400-mile stage race. "The difference is that racers are free to choose the time and place of each stage from a qualified choice of 12 high quality events. With four races in the West and more to come, Western racers now have greater opportunity to complete the four-race minimum without the necessity to travel to the east but are still free to choose from any NUE venues."

O'Dell expects the series to continue to grow and pointed to New York, Montana, Washington, California, Missouri and even Toronto, Canada, as possible future host venues. He encouraged NUE racers to attend events in those places and to report back on those which would be good to add to the series.

The details

The series will open on April 28 at the Cohutta 100 in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Ducktown, Tennessee. From there, Racers have one month to prepare before heading to the Ozark Mountains at Syllamo's Revenge in Mountain View, Arkansas on May 19.

The 12th Annual Kenda Mohican MTB100 in Loudonville, Ohio will host race number three on June 2. A single loop race course with 11,000 feet of vertical climbing, this race spans four counties, including the 5000-acre Mohican State Forest. With nearly 600 racers last year, Mohican has become one of the most well attended races in the NUE series.

From the Buckeye State of Ohio, the NUE Series heads north into the Great Lakes State of Michigan for the Lumberjack 100, headed by race director, Rick Plite. Located deep within the Manistee forest in Wellston, Michigan on June 16, The Lumberjack will finish off the spring portion of the series. This event always sells out early.

In the summer, the series will gain some serious altitude with the next round held at the Breckenridge 100 in Breckenridge, Colorado on July 14. Breckenridge sits at 9000 feet and elevates over the continental divide three times. Bring your lungs for this one and try keep your eyes on the trail. The jaw dropping views can drop you right off the trail for racers who are not vigilant.

One week later, The High Cascades 100 in Bend returns for its third year to represent the state of Oregon on July 21. Race Director, Mike Ripley, is already planning more improvements for this popular event.

The Wilderness 101, headed by Chris Scott, will follow on July 28 in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests just outside of State College, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions in Pennsylvania. The race features some technical backcountry singletrack.

The final four races will occur within a month-long period, which could create some chaos before the tie-breaking event. First up is the Pierre's Hole 100 near Alta, Wyoming, on August 4. Two-time reigning NUE Women's Champion and race winner, Amanda Carey, calls it home, residing nearby in the town of Driggs. Staging from the Grand Targhee Resort, the Pierre's Hole 100 consists of a 25-mile loop and each lap features over 4600' of climbing on mostly single and doubletrack trails. From the Teton Mountains to New England, The Hampshire 100 will make its NUE debut on Sunday, August 19.

The next two races could keep everyone guessing like it did last season, each positioned on opposite sides of the country on Labor Day Weekend. The Park City Point to Point in Park City, Utah on September 1 was a sold out hit during its series debut last year, staging from the heart of the 5000-acre Canyons Resort, connecting nearby Deer Valley and Park City resorts along epic trails in the Wasatch Mountain Range.

The next day, a series original, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, sounds off on September 2. Home to four of the last five NUE Championships, Shenandoah sold out last year with the greatest attendance in the NUE Series. As a result, the entry limit has been raised to 700 for 2012.

Moving to a new date, The NUE Series Championship race will head south to Georgia for The Fool's Gold 100 on September 8. The Fool's Gold is aptly named after the first American Gold Rush that occurred near the town of Dahlonega, well before the California Gold Rush began.
The NUE 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.

2012 National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series
April 28 - Cohutta 100, Ducktown, Tennessee
May 19 - Syllamo's Revenge, Mountain View, Arkansas
June 2 - Mohican MTB100, Loudonville, Ohio
June 16 - Lumberjack 100, Wellston, Michigan
July 14 - Breckenridge 100, Breckenridge, Colorado
July 21 - High Cascades 100, Oregon
July 28 - Wilderness 101, State College, Pennsylvania
August 4 - Pierre's Hole 100, Alta, Wyoming
August 19 - Hampshire 100, New Hampshire
September 1 - Park City Point 2 Point, Park City, Utah
September 2 - Shenandoah Mountain 100, Harrisonburg, Virginia
September 8 - Fool's Gold 100, Dahlonega, Georgia

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.