The Wilderness 101 is a classic backcountry endurance mountain bike race in Coburn, Pennsylvania, and is part of the National Ultra Endurance Series. There are two lengths: a 101 Mile & Marathon distance (101k) backcountry mountain bike race in the Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forests of PA. The course consists of singletrack, double track, and fire roads with some pavement. The race organizers expect course changes until the event’s start. The Marathon course is slightly long at 70+ miles, but it is without the three very, very large mountain climbs that the Ultra loop has included so it is a fast 70+. The Wilderness 101 set the standard on the East Coast in the early 90’s for ultra endurance mountain biking, and at Strambecco, we consider it to be one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Mid-Atlantic.
At the start gate of the race, there is a large and lush grass pitch where the camping takes place! This is an incredibly nice touch and addition to having a nice and pretty space to camp that happens to be directly next to the start-finish lines, which makes the Wilderness 101 give great logistics and convenience. This is obvious as most of the racers choose to camp at sight the night before.
Some logistics and bonus quotes from the race organizers are: “Entry fee includes post-race meal (FOOD TRUCK pending…) with beverages, two nights camping at the Coburn Park, fully stocked aid stations 20 miles apart along the course. Cash to the Top 5 Men and Women Overall. Awards to top finishers in respective classes. Classes for this event will be Men and Women’s Open, Singlespeed, Masters (50+), Tandem, and Clydesdale. Competitor technical t-shirt and participant pint glass. Field limit – don’t delay!”
If camping isn’t your style, there are a handful of vacation rental options in Coburn and the broader Happy Valley area. State College, home of Penn State University, has a little more action and offerings. After the event, check out local favorites Penn State Creamery and Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks for live music, great food and beer. For a full active weekend, you’ll be glad to know that Coburn is located in a picturesque area surrounded by nature, offering several activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding region is a favorite place for hikers, beautiful and popular trails include Mid State Trail which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests, Alan Seeger Natural Area, known for its diverse plant and animal life, and nearby Rothrock State Forest featuring an extensive network of trails, including the popular Thousand Steps Trail. The Coburn area is also renowned for its excellent fly fishing and kayaking/canoeing on Bald Eagle Creek. Finally, the Bald Eagle State Forest features several rock climbing opportunities including the popular climbing area known as Cooper’s Rock offering a variety of routes suitable for climbers of different skill levels.
Wilderness 101 is part of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE), which includes some of the best mountain biking events in the country. NUE comprises an Epic Series, 100-mile events, and a Marathon series, which includes 50-mile and 75k length events that are specifically designed to test the limits of both amateur and professional mountain bikers. These races are characterized by their demanding terrains, including rugged singletrack trails, steep climbs, technical descents, and unpredictable weather conditions. Participants must possess exceptional endurance, technical skills, and the ability to navigate diverse and often unforgiving landscapes.