The 5th Annual Cohutta 100, the first race of the 2010 National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE), went off with a bang. A bang of thunder and lightening, torrential downpours, and vicious winds greeted the racers a couple of hours into the race. The 100 mile loop started out under cloudy skies.
The course kicks off with a grueling two mile road climb which helped separate the pack of about 300 racers including many of the top endurance racers in the U.S.
The pace was fast for the first 20-30 miles as overnight rain had kept the dust down on the opening 25 miles of singletrack. It was once the racers hit the over 60-mile long dirt road section that the severe weather hit.
The dirt roads faired well considering the amount of rain, but many riders complained of the tacky, energy-sapping conditions that ensued. Three time Cohutta champion Jeff Schalk, commented that the course was slower by half an hour from last yearís times.
As racers crossed over Bald Mountain at 3,500 feet, the highest point of the course, wind gusts blew riders across the dirt road. And the long descent down left many with worn out brakes. The torrential rain actually kept many racers fairly clean until hitting the last 8 mile stretch of singletrack which left racers crossing the finish line completely covered in mud. The wind and rain kept up most of the day, even into the awards ceremony.
Both the menís and womenís fields were quite stacked with notable endurance riders. Jeff Schalk (Trek Racing Co-Op), last yearís NUE series winner, won the menís race by over 10 minutes ahead of a strong field of men. The menís podium was rounded out with Chris Peariso (Adventure212/Specialized) , Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher), Christian Tanguy (Team CF) and David Wood (Gary Fisher 29er Crew).
In the womenís filed, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), 2nd place finisher in the 2009 Leadville 100, took 1st place by a healthy margin of almost 20 minutes, finishing with a time of 8:03, a few minutes faster than last yearís winning time. 2008 NUE Series winner Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) and AnnaJean Dellaire (Alderfer Bergen) raced a tight race within 2 minutes of each other finishing in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Rounding out the womenís podium were Vicki Barclay 4th and Karen Potter (iRide Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com) 5th.
Harlan Price won the single speed division in one of his best finishes and Robert Herriman won the masters division.
The NUE series picks up again June 5th with the Mohican in Ohio.
1, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt)
2, Cheryl Sorenson (Team CF)
3, Anna Jean Dallaire (Alderfer Bergen)
4, Vicki Barclay
5, Karen Potter (iRide Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com)
1, Jeff Schalk (Trek Co-Op)
2, Chris Peariso (Adventures212,Specialized)
3, Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher)
4, Christian Tanguy (Team CF)
5, David Wood (Gary Fisher 29er Crew)
6, Josh Tostado (Bach Builders)
7, Zachary Morrey
8, Greg Kuhn (Team Fraser)
9, Andrew Gorski
10, Garth Prosser (Cannondale)