MTB News & racing round-up for November 9, 2005
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Welcome to our regular round-up of what's happening in the dirt. Feel
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Rennie nails his big jump - sort of
By Steve Medcroft
Photo ©: Red Bull
On November 3, three hours outside the opal mining town of Cooper Pedy
on the road to Oodnadatta, Australia, Nathan Rennie launched a Santa Cruz
V-10 off a 12-meter ramp in an attempt to reach the world record bicycle
long distance jump of 116 feet. For the attempt, being filmed by a crew
for a 30-minute television special ostensibly called the Red Bull Mountain
Gap, 2003 downhill World Cup champion Rennie was towed to the ramp by
motorcycle at 96 kilometers per hour.
"Nathan just rang from the jump site at 5:45 Australian Eastern
Daylight Time with news of his 121 foot record jump," Rennie's father
Bruce said in an email on Friday. The jump has been classed as 'unofficial'
by the Guinness Book of Records because of (a) crash on landing which
has prevented any further attempts at this time."
According to his father, Rennie "flat landed the front wheel and
'blew up' three quarters of the way down the landing ramp. Nathan separated
his shoulder and smashed his prized Troy Lee full face helmet, as well
as sustaining cuts and bruising to most of his body."
Rennie is said to be in good spirits despite the crash. "(He) is
elated with his effort and feels the setup could be used for much bigger
jumps in the future," said his father. "After viewing the raw
film footage, Nathan and the Red Bull crew were stoked with the jump,
and are looking forward to putting together the half hour package for
Red Bull on free to air T.V."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Steve Peat signs with Santa Cruz Syndicate
Photo ©: Santa Cruz
One of mountain biking's worst-kept secrets has been confirmed as the
Santa Cruz Syndicate team has announced that top British downhiller Steve
Peat has inked a deal with the team. Peat will join the powerhouse squad
of the Santa Cruz Syndicate to achieve the goal of world recognition in
the gravity arena. The Syndicate alliance will support Peat for the next
three years as the two-time UCI World Cup downhill champion continues
his royal reign.
Peat said, "I am excited to be able to ride the Santa Cruz range of bikes,
especially the V-10." On his web site, he added "I am very thankful
to all at Orange [Orange Mountain Bikes England; his sponsor through 2005]
for helping me win 2 World titles and numerous other races. It has been
long and very hard for me to come to this decision but I truly think it
is the best for my racing career. To have a professional race set up like
Santa Cruz behind me is going to allow me to focus 100% on my racing.
I am sad to leave Orange and would like to thank everyone there for making
the last 4 years fun and supporting me at the races."
Nathan Rennie (L) and Steve Peat
Photo ©: Santa Cruz
Rob Roskopp, owner of Santa Cruz Bicycles said, "I'm excited we were
able to get Steve to become part of the Syndicate. I aimed to create a
group of powerful, talented riders and personalities. The addition of
Steve will further enhance the program. I expect that Steve's incredible
bike handling skills coupled with the V-10 will produce many wins. With
Steve's years of racing experience I have no doubt he'll bring great insight
into further developing future Santa Cruz products."
Peat will compete globally in downhill and 4X events which include: UCI
World Cup Series, UCI World Championships, British National Championships,
and select events in Europe and North America.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Rain promises hardest Ruta de los Conquistadores ever
By Rob Jones in San Jose, Costa Rica
Several mountain bike races contend for the title of the world's toughest
off-road race. Australia's Crocodile Trophy has two weeks in the vast
expanses of the Outback, with heat and dust to contend with; Canada's
TransRockies offers a week in similar isolation, with serious mountains,
while its sister event, Europe's TransAlp tackles the sheer steepness
and hostility of the Alps. Then there's South Africa's Cape Epic, a week
of taxing riding in some of the world's wildest country.
La Ruta de los Conquistadores, which starts Friday, November 11 may only
be three days long, but it easily takes its place in the roster of world's
toughest MTB races, and qualifies for the descriptor "epic". The stats
- 320 kilometres of riding
- over 9,000 metres of climbing, with the highest point at 3,100 metres
- riders from 27 countries and five continents
The race began thirteen years when ago Roman Urbina read about the Spanish
Conqueror Juan de Caballon and his 20 years trip on the mountains of Costa
Rica, in his attempt to explore the country. De Caballon's expedition
started at the Pacific Coast and finished in the Caribbean. Urbina - a
recognized Costa Rican athlete and adventure man - decided to emulate
that long voyage himself.
Captivated by the histories of that Spanish general, he and another 34
brave adventurers started the trip across nine of Costa Rica's twelve
microclimates. An adventure that led them to crossing the rain forest,
volcanoes, high mountains and crystalline rivers.
Roman decided that such a trip had to turn into an annual competition
and that's how La Ruta de los Conquistadores was born. It is now in its
13th year, and is the final event of what is becoming know as the annual
"Grand Slam" of endurance racing: Cape Epic, TransAlps, TransRockies and
"More than a race, La Ruta is a personal growth journey. That's the difference
with the traditional competitions of World Cup," explains Roman Urbina.
"There are some segments that cannot be traveled even in 4X4 vehicles
or motorcycles. Imagine what type of event is the one that we organize!
The competitors will not have any access to external support and must
trust in their own tenacity and, in some cases, in the help of other competitors,"
This year Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) will attempt to become the
first non-Costa Rican to win the overall title. Frischknecht is the first
world champion (mountain bike and cyclo-cross) to enter La Ruta, and has
won marathon World Cups. However, La Ruta is like doing three marathons
back-to-back. Other pros on the start list include Americans Walker Ferguson
and Jeremiah Bishop, and Spain's Alejandro Diaz de la Pena (Maxxis-MCS).
Costa Ricans make up the largest contingent of entries, with 193 riders,
followed by the U.S. (107) and Canada (34). The top local hope is Deiber
Esquivel, who won the Pan Am Championships in Mexico City only a few week
Urbina explains that the locals take defending the title very seriously.
"They work together as a team, and train all year for this race. Some
riders will go out early, forcing the [foreign] riders to chase, and then
another local will come by at the end."
An added obstacle this year could be the torrential rain that has been
falling. Normally, it is dry at this time of year, but the record-breaking
hurricane season (although further north) has extended the rainy season.
"If it keeps raining like this, it will be the hardest La Ruta ever."
La Ruta de los Conquistadores 2005
Stage 1 - November 11: Garabito, Puntarenas (Pacific Coast) to Santa
Ana, San Jose (Central Valley), 114.1 Km (70 miles) - Max. alt: 1,158
meters at Grifoalto de Mora - Total ascent: 4,526 meters (15,000 vertical
Stage 2 - November 12: San Jose to Turrialba, 77.9 Km. (50 miles) - Max.
alt: 3,010 meters (Irazu Volcano) - Total ascent: 2,729 meters (9,000
Stage 3 - November 13: Turrialba to Moin Port, Limón, 126.4 Km. (80 miles)
- Max. alt: 898 meters (Santa Teresita de Turrialba) - Total ascent: 1,785
meters (6,000 vertical feet)
NORBA 2006 announced
The 2006 U.S. NORBA National Mountain-Bike Series schedule has been announced.
Starting later in the calendar year than the '05 season (in May instead
of March), the calendar features a streamlined six races (vs. eight last
year) and hits new venues in Los Angeles and North Carolina. The 2006
U.S. National Championships will be held in July in Mammoth Lakes, California;
a schedule that brings the U.S. in line with the rest of the World's national
The opening round of the series is at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park
in San Dimas, Ca, between May 5-7. Less than 50 km east of Los Angeles,
the season opener marks the return of the national mountain bike series
to the state of California after the traditional stop in Big Bear Lake
was cancelled in 2004.
After a month long break the series resumes with two consecutive weekends
on the east coast. Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk, N.C. hosts its
first-ever national series event June 10-11 and is followed by a return
to a familiar site as Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vt. hosts round
three June 17-18.
The series then returns to Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah for
round four July 8-9 before taking another brief hiatus. For the second
consecutive year, the series then heads to Brian Head Resort in southern
Utah for round five August 4-6 before heading to Snowmass Resort in Aspen,
Co. for the series finale on August 12-13.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for a full analysis of the 2006 NORBA schedule.
2006 National Mountain Bike Series
NMBS # 1 - May 5-7: Los Angeles, CA
NMBS # 2 - June 9-11: Sugar Mountain, NC
NMBS # 3 - June 16-18: Mount Snow, VT
NMBS # 4 - July 7-9: Deer Valley, UT
USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championship - July 20-23: Mammoth
NMBS # 5 - August 4-6: Brian Head, UT
NMBS # 6 - August 11-13: Snowmass, CO
Looking back at the 3 Peaks: the Keith Bontrager diary
Photo ©: Phil Ingham
November 6, 2005 - It's been over a month since this race went down,
and I have been pretty slack... errr... busy since. When I have time to
write these things they tend to get longer. I am not sure if that is good
The bike biz and racing have taken me from Santa Cruz to North Yorkshire,
to Utah and then spit me out in Costa Rica, all in a month. I am here
for a few days, hiking a bit, and hacking along in very poor Spanish before
I have to make a presentation to dealers in this country (in English unfortunately).
There is finally time to catch up a little.
My temporary office is on the patio outside my $30/night room in La Fortuna,
Costa Rica. La Fortuna is a backpacker's travel spot, simple, cheap and
friendly. It would have been nice to work on my farmer's tan a bit in
an attempt to smear the mid-thigh and upper arm transitions I've burned
in with all the miles on the bike this year, but there are some storms
raging right off the coast in the Caribbean that are, according to George
W's crack team of Sunday Science advisors, NOT the product of the global
climate changes that are NOT occurring because we are cranking up our
own version of the earth's heater a bit too much... Never mind. Still
it's the tropics, and it is warm enough.
Read the entire Keith
Bontrager diary here.
Mountain biker dusts road cyclists as the fastest descender
Mountain biker Myles Rockwell
Photo ©: Red Bull
The ground shook in Malibu November 5th as many of the nation's best
road cyclists and mountain bikers plunged down the legendary Tuna Canyon
to determine once and for all the fastest descender at the inaugural Red
Bull Road Rage, co-sponsored by Giant Bicycle and Avid Brakes. Mountain
biker Myles Rockwell cleaned up, taking home first place in both the Time
Trial and Pack Races. At 58 mph, the fastest speed of the day was awarded
to David McCook as part of the Avid Brakes speed trap.
"It's nice to shut everybody up. Everyone thought it was going to be
McCook or Lopes, but it's nice to be the underdog. I didn't really prepare
in any special way. I did a couple of spin classes and that's it," exclaimed
Myles after completing his winning time trial run in just 4 minutes and
24.7 seconds, earning the coveted crown as the fastest downhill descender.
Not far behind was road cyclist David McCook.
See the full story, pictures and final results for the Red
Bull Road Rage here.
Three World Champs to race Aussie National Series #2
Both the second fastest man and second fastest woman in the world will
be riding in the National Mountain Bike Series on 19 & 20th November
near Bunbury. Former World Champion downhiller, Sam Hill, silver medalist
from this year's Livigno, Italy World Championships held recently in Italy
will get to race in his home state for the first time since winning the
prestigious title. Hill is also the current National Series Leader after
dominating the first National Round in Tasmania in October.
The women's field has recently been bolstered by the entry of World Champion
Silver Medalist, Sabrina Jonnier from France . Jonnier is currently ranked
third in the World on the UCI rankings after a successful World Cup Series.
Joining the World class line-up is Junior World Downhill Champion, Amiel
Cavalier from Woolongong. Cavalier missed a top placing in the first round
in Hobart after injuring his leg in the final run.
Competitors will come from the east coast of Australia, Adelaide, Northern
Territory and Tasmania. The second National Round of the Olympic sport,
Cross Country, will be held on Saturday with the Downhill on Sunday.
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