Both Lowery and Carey recommend a hardtail 29er for racing the Cohutta 100. Because the technical nature of the course is low, the weight and efficiency of the hardtail outweigh the benefits of a dual suspension and because of the large number of miles spent on fire roads, the large wheels have the advantage of rolling faster over the smooth terrain.
Like any course, tire choice is condition dependent. Carey points out that when choosing a race rig for a 100-mile race, it’s best to choose the setup that would be ideal for riding five hours into the race, not necessarily during the first one. While an ultra light rig might be ideal for the first two hours, comfort over seven or more hours outweighs the benefits of shaving a little bit of weight.
For tires, both riders recommend a fast rolling tread, as long as conditions are dry. Carey points to the Kenda Kosmik Lite II for an ideal tire if the rain holds off. If conditions are wet, she plans on switching to the 1.9 Kenda Karma which has an ideal combination of low rolling resistance while being able to shed mud if trail conditions deteriorate.