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NORBA US national series #7 - NE

Snowshoe, WV, USA, August 18-21, 2005

2004 results     Schedule     Preview 

Schedule

  • Race 1 - August 18: Marathon
  • Race 2 - August 19: Four-cross
  • Race 3 - August 20: Cross-country
  • Race 4 - August 20: Dual slalom
  • Race 5 - August 21: Super D
  • Race 6 - August 21: Downhill
  • Race 7 - August 21: Short track cross-country

Round 7 in West Virginia

By Steve Medcroft

Racers were greeted by damp, muddy conditions and thick fog when they gathered at Snowshoe Ski Resort in West Virginia for the seventh round of NORBA competition. On the schedule are marathon, mountain cross, super D, cross-country, downhill and short-track.

Snowshoe Mountain Resort sits at 4,500 feet in Central West Virginia. 125 miles of trails cover 11,000-acre; many of which were originally cut when loggers farmed timber off the mountain in huge skids. 2005 is the sixth year the NORBA series has come to Snowshoe and racers are faced with tacky, muddy trails unless weather forecasts improve and sunshine arrives to dry everything out.

In cross-country, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher) and Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) and are locked in a head-to-head battle for the overall NORBA series win. Horgan-Kobelski currently leads the series but in the past three races, the two have traded the advantage back and forth and with only one race left (Mt. Snow, Vermont August 26-28), both are determined to carry the lead into next week. Team Maxxis manager Eric Wallace says Kabush was "extremely disappointed" to post ninth-place at the Brian Head NORBA cross-county race after suffering mechanical problems. To help create good karma for the Snowshoe race, Kabush has outfitted his Turner cross country bike with a pair of gold-plated Crankbrothers Eggbeaters pedals, one of two pairs he was given by Crankbrothers and one of only six pairs supposedly in existence.

In the women’s race, Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix), who won four of the previous cross-country races, will face, among others, Heather Irmiger (Tokyo Joe’s), who won her first ever NORBA cross-country two week’s ago in Brian Head, Utah. Irmiger says she feels strong and has set a goal to win one more NORBA before the season ends but Vanlandingham is a power rider and Snowshoe, with its constant, steep climbing, should be considered a favourite. But Snowshoe isn't the super-high altitude racing that suits both Irmiger and Vanlandingham so well so look for riders like Sue Haywood, native to West Virginia and the terrain, and Mary McConneloug to possible take some glory for themselves.

In the marathon in the NORBA series, Monique Sawicki (TeamMATA) looks to put a stamp on her series win. With a four-hundred point lead over second place, all she needs to do is show up and start the race. In the men’s race Chris Eatough (Trek/VW) will try to place high enough to put a points gap between himself and series challenger Jay Henry (Ford/Specialized). Henry is in Lillehammer, Norway racing the marathon World Championships and won't be in Snowshoe so all Eatough needs to do is place in the top five to take the series.

In downhill, with Greg Minnaar (Team G-Cross Honda) home in South Africa preparing for Worlds, Jared Graves has stepped in as the favourite and is current series leader.

And besides all the NORBA favourites and series contenders though, this could be a weekend for Australian results. The Australian National Team, fresh from a two-week altitude camp in Silverthorne, Colorado and which includes Australian National Champion Emma Colson (Topbike Tours - Giant) along with a strong junior contingent, is getting in their last competition before heading to Livigno, Italy for Worlds.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews all weekend for results, pictures and race reports from the race.