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NUE Series heads to Ohio with Mohican 100

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The start of the 2008 Mohican 100

The start of the 2008 Mohican 100 (Image credit: Hollie Mcfadden)
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Michelle Stoppard was third in 2008

Michelle Stoppard was third in 2008 (Image credit: Guru Graphix)

Race number two of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) rolls into the short and steep pastures of north central Ohio this weekend. Over 400 riders will leave from downtown Loudonville, in search of a finish line with over 100 miles and 11,000 feet of climbing in their way.

"The race connects both private and public lands [Mohican State Park] in a single loop offering entrants a one day experience, highlighting many of the most scenic areas in Mohican Country," said promoter Ryan O'Dell.

As the race enters its seventh year, the support from the community has grown to create a festival-like atmosphere in downtown Loudonville. A mile-long bike path will connect the start in downtown with the finish at the Mohican Adventures Campground just outside of town. Sierra Nevada Brewing and Great Lake Brewing are making sure that each participant will have libations to fill their Mohican MTB 100 Pint glasses at the end of the day.

Women's field draws strength from numbers

Besides the participants who are out to test their legs against the century mark as a personal challenge, the 100-mile format has drawn a group of internationally accomplished competitors. In the women's open field, returning champion Betsy Shogren (Cannondale Factory Team) from West Virginia is planning a return to defend her win from last year. She expects a better showing than her fifth place finish at the Cohutta 100, an accomplishment despite recovering from illness.

2009 Cohutta winner Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store) will be hot on Shogren's heels. Lowery got a new coach and renewed motivation to take back the series championship. The owner of that championship after last year's series win is Cheryl Sorenson (Trek Racing Co-Op), who missed the Cohutta due to work. Her 2009 legs have yet to be tested in the 100-mile format, and everyone is itching to see what she has to dish out.

Series newcomer Paula Burks officially took the gloves off at the Cohutta and announced her presence with a second place finish, while past series champion Danielle Musto (Kenda/Tomac/Hayes) will also be there to scrap for a podium spot. Musto's third place finish at Cohutta proves that she's back on form and ready to throw a BBQ in her own honor.

Men's open field on fire

There is no doubt that last year's Mohican winner and series champion Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-op) has redefined the limits of how hard one can go in a 100-mile point to point race. Currently he owns just about every 100-mile course record there is. His new definition is pulling competitors out of the woods as they come to question his dominance. Debater number one, Jeremiah Bishop (Monavie/Cannondale), went home after the Cohutta this year with a new appreciation of Schalk's strength. Like a true competitor, Bishop will be back in Ohio after having his fire lit.

Everyone has their eyes on taking down the mountain that is Schalk. Third place Cohutta finisher Chris Beck (Subaru 29er Crew) is beginning to understand what it takes and could be a surprise at the finish line. As usual the 2007 NUE Series Champion Chris Eatough (Trek Racing Co-op) will be in attendance and is known for getting stronger as the season progresses.

Rounding out the top five spots will be a hard-fought battle amongst seasoned vets with the likes of Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher/ 29er Crew), who was fifth at the Cohutta, Michiganite Christian Tanguy (Team Fraser) and 2006 NUE Series winner Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication/ IFracing Inc) who skipped the first series' race to recover from a stage race win in India.

Singlespeeders: "We don't sign up, we show up."

Those were the words of last year's series champion John Mylne (Niner Bikes/ Ergon) when asked why he wasn't on the start list. Apparently his teammate Dejay Birtch likes to fly under the radar, too, since both plan on making their first showing in the NUE series for 2009 at the Mohican.

Waiting for them with a hood and axe will be this year's Cohutta singlespeed winner, and newcomer to the one-geared class, Gerald Pflug (Speedgoat/SPK/Salsa). Mathew Ferrari (FreezeThaw Bikes) will have one eye on the podium and one on the kegs, and is likely to stand atop both before the night is through.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Mohican 100.

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