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MTB News & racing round-up for September 9, 2005

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Welcome to our regular round-up of what's happening in the dirt. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Trebon recovers from 'Toona crash in time to launch Euro 'cross campaign

By Steve Medcroft

Ryan Trebon returns to cross
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
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2004 U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross winner Ryan Trebon (Kona Les Gets) says the cast is finally off the wrist he broke in a crash at the International Tour de Toona stage race (USA, July 25-31) and he plans to keep his promise of racing a full European cyclocross season.

The crash happened in the Hollidaysburg Circuit Race, July 18. "In the fourth stage," twenty four year old Trebon said Wednesday from his Corvalis, Oregon home, "the field slowed up real fast and I wasn't paying the right kind of attention. That was it. I hit the ground."

Trebon's wrist has been immobilized in a couple of different casts since that day. "At first, I was in a forearm cast up to my elbow," he said. "I took nine whole days off the bike. Then they put on a cast that went up over my elbow and it was too uncomfortable to ride at all."

The injury effectively ended his 2005 mountain-bike campaign but the expected healing time is keeping the door open for 'cross. "The cast finally came off on Wednesday," he said. "I've been riding as much as I can but it's not easy; I can't grip the bars all the way – my arm's weak from being in a cast for so long. I need to get used to riding again."

But Trebon says the slow re-start to his training doesn't change his belief that he'll be in Europe racing 'cross in November. In fact, he says the time off may be exactly what he needs to have a strong 'cross season and may even have an impact into his 2006 mountain bike campaign. "Because I've had the time off now, come February, I won't have to take that long break," he says. "It means I should be fit in February and hope to be good for the first NORBA races."

The Kona rider plans to test his recovery in three weeks. "I'm planning on racing Star Crossed (Seattle, Washington) October 1. What racing I do from there all depends on how well I recover. But," he adds, "I plan to be in Europe November 5."

After a quick trip home for U.S. Nationals in December, Trebon says he'll stay in Europe until February. "This is a different approach for me. I had a great time racing the USGP last year and I enjoy racing 'cross. It's something I've been wanting to focus more on." His goals: "I want to finish in the top ten in the big races. If I can get my fitness back, it's an attainable goal."

Micayla Gatto
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The junior world's women's podium
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Behind every great junior
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First Worlds, first podium for Canadian teenager

Micayla Gatto did Canada and the Rocky Mountain Business Objects Team proud at the 2005 World Championships in Livigno, Italy on Saturday Sept 3.

The 17 year old from Vancouver, BC has had a year of amazing progression. In only her first year racing at the national level, she has dominated junior women's downhilling. In doing so she has also posted times that were consistently competitive against the pro women's field. In preparation to race for Canada in the World Championships, the 2005 junior national champion competed with the pro women at the national series final in Sun Peaks, BC just before leaving for Italy. Micayla was second place finishing close (1.9 seconds) to the 2004 pro women's national champion and ahead of the 2005 women's pro national champion.

This followed back to back wins of the Whistler Krankworks A Line Air Downhill and Enduro Downhill Junior races in early August. This undoubtedly gave her confidence as she prepared for the biggest race of her career in Europe.

In spite of relatively little experience, Micayla handled the challenge like a pro. After a solid third-place seeding run, she backed it up with third place on race day. Rachel Atherton of Great Britain won the junior world championship title.

Micayla plans to devote herself to an attempt to better this result in New Zealand in 2006.

Off Road to Athens finally available on DVD

By Steve Medcroft

During the 2004 mountain-bike season, a two-man film production crew called Gripped Films followed eight U.S. Olympic mountain bike hopefuls around the world as they chased UCI points trying to qualify for the three-spot U.S. national team. The filmmakers spun the race footage and interviews they gathered into a feature documentary about the sacrifices and energy elite-level athletes put into their chance at the Olympic Dream called 'Off Road to Athens.'

The movie as debuted at Sea Otter in 2005 and since then, has been seen in small theaters and at private showings across the country. but with no DVD distribution, the movie had been unavailable to the everyday mountain biking fan.

Off Road to Athens
Photo ©: Gripped Films
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The premiere of Off Road to Athens
Photo ©: Gripped Films
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Until now. Ken Bell and Jason Berry, friends and co-workers at a trade show graphics production company based in Harrisonburg, Virginia, announced this week that they have ordered 5,000 copies of the film from a dubbing supplier and are now accepting pre-orders for DVD purchases.

For the DVD release, filmmakers went back to the hundreds of hours of raw footage and interviews they gathered on the road and added a one and a half hour feature reel to the DVD version of the movie. "Oddly enough, the 'Extras & Deleted Scenes' came out to the same length of the movie!" says Director Jason Berry. "That's 104 minutes of extra interviews, extra race footage and scenes that got cut."

"We managed to put in extra features on all eight riders," added Ken Bell, the film's Producer. "There's also an interview with Susan DeMattei who got the bronze in '96; the only American to ever earn an Olympic medal in the sport of mountain biking."

The racers featured in the movie are Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Adam Craig, Todd Wells, Jeremiah Bishop, Alison Dunlap, Sue Haywood, Mary McConneloug and Shonny Vanlandingham.

Pre-orders for the DVD of Off Road to Athens, which was recently honored as an "Official Selection" for the Denver Starz Film Festival, can be ordered on the film company's Web site. For dealers and bike shops, the pair will be taking pre-orders out of a corner of the KENDA booth at the Interbike Trade Show (#3335).

"We should be getting a big pallet of DVD's by the end of September," Bell says. "We expect to have all the pre-orders shipped out by the end of the first week."

For more information or to pre-order an Off Road to Athens DVD, visit the filmaker's website at www.offroadtoathens.com.

GESTEV and 23-Degrees react to UCI World cup Changes

The UCI mountain bike commission, headed by president Daniel Baal, held an hour long briefing conference at the 2005 World Championships last week and announced, among other things, that it was modifying its working relationship with GESTEV, Inc. and 23 Degrees Sports, the management team responsible for organizing sponsorship and television distribution for the UCI World Cup.

"The World Cup is the high point of the mountain bike season, but we regret that there have been no sponsors or TV program for the last two seasons," Baal said at the conference. "In 2004 we talked to the organization (23 Degrees and GESTEV) about outsourcing management of the World Cup for 2006. For this year they had the possibility (of taking charge of the World Cup), and worked for one year. They did not have success. Despite a lot of effort and energy, there were not sufficient guarantees to start the agreement for 2006. Unfortunately, the marketplace and the economic conditions do not show the (required) interest in this program."

In response, - Patrice Drouin (director of GESTEV Inc.) and Martin Whiteley (director of 23 Degrees Sports Management S.L.) issued the following statement on Friday:

Further to recent communications and rumours in the arena of international mountain bike racing concerning the role of our two companies, GESTEV and 23 Degrees Sports Management, in our joint venture on the UCI World Cup we would like to make the following points very clear, as we understand them.

While it is true that the previous exclusive arrangement has ended, which entailed the management, TV and marketing rights for 2006-2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, it has only ended in the sense that it is no longer exclusive in the area of marketing and television, and the management rights have returned to the UCI for now. In agreement with the UCI, we are free to continue working on finding solutions for marketing and television, and should these solutions be satisfactory to all parties, the management rights will be returned to us.

Since signing the letter of intent at the end of January this year, we have worked very hard in the following areas; work that we feel has already proven to be beneficial for the World Cup, particularly in 2006.

  1. Calendar coordination with other major events and series. This includes frequent discussions and negotiations about dates with the organisers of the NORBA Series in the USA, Maxxis Cup in Europe, and other major events, to ensure there is a coordinated travel path between these events and the World Cup for riders, teams, press etc.
  2. Suggestions for specific rule changes for the improvement of the World Cup for next year, which have already been received by the UCI.
  3. The identification, visitation and coordination of the various candidate venues for 2006. Our research and contacts for these potential venues have been passed onto the UCI for their consideration in putting together the 2006 calendar.
  4. Of course, after the main point of identifying the possible dates and venues, our task was to establish a TV distribution and production strategy for this project, which has been done in cooperation with major agencies.
  5. Preparation, production and widely distributed sponsorship packages which has been coordinated with the assistance of highly respected international marketing agencies and agencies that specialise in the fields of TV production and distribution.

In conclusion, both of our companies fully understand the administrative need the UCI has in taking back the management rights at this point in order that a calendar can be fixed as soon as possible for 2006, with the bare minimum plan for global marketing. However, we remain fully optimistic and in fact, certain, that the media interest in our sport is returning to the high levels of some years back, and we expect in the coming weeks to be able to formalize a TV contract that will be global and extensive in nature.

IMBA/SORBA to Host National Mountain Bike Patrol Training Conference

The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has announced National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) regional training conference on October 8 - 9, 2005, at Gainesville College in Gainesville, Georgia. Hosted by SORBA (Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association), the event will bring together patrollers from the Southeast and beyond for a weekend of training, networking and sweet Georgia singletrack. Successful participants will have the opportunity to become certified National Mountain Bike Patrol Instructors.

Current and aspiring patrol leaders, as well as mountain bike club leaders and land managers will hone their leadership skills and leave the conference ready to start new patrols or enhance existing ones. Any current patroller with an interest in taking their skills to the next level is welcome.

Attendees will learn advanced mountain bike patrol skills including patrol organization and advocacy, teaching techniques and trailside repair. Speakers will include land managers, ski patrollers, mountain bike advocates and mountain bike patrol representatives from across the Eastern U.S.

Following the conference, newly certified mountain bike patrol instructors will return to their home regions where they will start new patrol groups, train more patrollers, and expand the network of this growing program.

IMBA's National Mountain Bike Patrol supports and organizes over 60 volunteer patrol groups throughout North America. Patrollers assist, educate, and inform all trail users.

Additional details and online registration is available at: www.imba.com/nmbp/conference.html.

BC marathon finals held at 23rd Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic

The final race in the B.C. Marathon Series is being held around and in Whitler, B.C. September 24th. The 23rd edition of the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic, a point to point cross country race, starts in Paradise Valley near Squamish Airport, rolls up the historic Cheakamus Canyon Trail then hits the torturous climbing and technical riding for the final 38 km to Whistler Village; the race's first visit to the resort that recently hosted the 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Championships race.

Last year's winners, Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Jenn Ann McKirdy (Rocky Mountain), will both be back to defend their titles against a field that will include two-time world champion, Roland Green (Kona), three-time world champion and Olympic medalist, Alison Sydor and a full complement of Canadian national team riders and top racers from the U.S.

The real story of the race however is the amateurs who ride for personal fitness and voluntary torture over this difficult track. Riders from 10 to 70 suffer the challenges both physically and mentally hoping to conquer the longest running mountain bike race in Canada.

The 2005 edition of the race will also feature a beginner/junior course to allow new riders to experience the true teeth of the course with all the tough climbs and descents along with the Whistler Village finish without the total 70 kilometer with 2000 meters of climbing elite race.

The Cheakamus Challenge starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 24th at the Squamish Airport. The men's a women's winners receive special pots fired and designed by Vincent Massey, one of the founders of Whistler Off Road Cycling Association.

For more information or to register for the race, visit www.cheakamuschallenge.com.

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