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How to succeed in the NUE Series: What you need to know before the Mohican 100

  • By Eszter Horanyi
  • Published May. 28, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:51 PM EDT
Gerry Pflug slogs through the mud 15 miles into the 2011 race. Photo: Julie Lewis-Sroka.

The race and the course

Consisting of a lollipop loop, the Mohican course is made up of 40% singletrack, 50% dirt roads and double track, and less than 10% pavement. It crosses four different counties in northeastern Ohio with a total elevation gain of approximately 11,000 feet.

The kicker with the elevation gain: None of the hills are over 350 vertical feet in length. Sometimes the 350 feet are gained rapidly with a short and steep climb and other times it’s spread out over a mile. This means a constantly undulating course with an elevation profile that looks like an electrocardiograph trace of a patient undergoing ventricular fibrillation.

The race starts in downtown Loudonville and heads straight up a hill. In order to make the racing interesting, promoters have put a $200 prime up for grabs at city limits a mile from the start, ensuring an exciting and fast pace from the gun. The course quickly hits the most technical singletrack of the course with tricky off-camber descents followed by an uphill hike-a-bike.

Once out of the stem part of the lollipop, the course becomes a mix of rolling singletrack, rails to trails segments and short sections of pavement. Gerry Pflug, multiple time NUE series singlespeed winner says, “The singletrack is pretty nice. There is nothing super technical about it, but it’s tricky enough to keep things interesting.”

Unlike many other races that are held on entirely public land, the majority of the Mohican 100 course is on private land and equestrian trails that are only open to mountain bikes on race day. Thus, only the 25 mile section of trail in the Mohican State Park and approximately five miles on the Mohican Wilderness Race Course can be ridden ahead of race day. This gives a distinct advantage to those who have raced the course before or have done their homework in terms of course research.

Pfug says the trails are similar to many trails on the East Coast with tight turns through the trees and making use of the many opportunities to gain and lose elevation on the countless short and steep hills in the area.

The trails vary from mountain bike specific trails built within IMBA guidelines to foot paths through the woods. The constant variety serves to keep riders on their toes and the never-ending short but steep hills make it a challenging course to race.

The course will favor a rider with good bike handling skills to make it smoothly and efficiently through the technical sections of trail, especially on the stem part of the lollipop at the beginning and end of the course, but can also put out a lot of power on the smoother dirt road and paved sections of the course.

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