MTB News & racing round-up for April 6, 2006
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Sea Otter Classic mixes cross-country, gravity and road racing
By Steve Medcroft
Geoff Kabush and Liam Killeen in
the 2005 Sea Otter
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
The Sea Otter Classic, a Monterey, California-based cycling festival
and racing venue, got underway Wednesday morning as more than 250 vendors
claimed their expo spaces and dozens of pro road and mountain bike teams
made camp, dirt jump and trials exhibitionists dialed in their workstations
and event organizer's prepared for expected crowds of over 50,000.
Held on the Laguna Seca Recreation Area (home of the Laguna-Seca auto
raceway), the event is traditionally the launching pad of both the 2006
U.S. mountain-bike season and an opportunity for the cycling industry
to release it's newest product lines.
Mountain bike stage race
Pro mountain bike racing begins Thursday with a sixty-minute Super XC;
a multi-lap circuit race held on a mixture of dirt tracks and Laguna Seca
raceway's famous corkscrew turns. Followed by a two-mile time trial on
Friday, short track on Saturday, the MTB stage race (which will be scored
as a points-bases omnium) culminates with the marquee pro cross country
races on Sunday.
At last year's Sea Otter, Canadian Geoff Kabush (Maxxis/Turner) and Englishman
Liam Killeen (Specialized) went one-two in Sunday cross-country race.
Both went onto to success in 2005. Kabush pretty much dominates the U.S.
scene while Killeen focused on international competition; scoring his
first-ever world cup win in the marathon in Mont
Sainte Anne, Quebec. The same pair have been making news already in
2006, although not for the same reasons.
Click here for the full Sea Otter
Eatough off to China
After several days of non stop action in Monterey, Trek/VW pro Chris
Eatough will not be heading home from the Sea Otter to prepare for NORBA
XC #1 in Fontana, CA in a few weeks. Instead he will be hopping on a plane
to Pudong, China to race in the first ever Zhongkun Huangshan MTB Festival.
Eatough, the 2005 NORBA Marathon Series Champion, six-time world and two-time
national 24 hour solo champion, will tie in some visits to local Trek
dealers in town and also make a stop at the Shanghai Bike Show –
the equivalent of Interbike in China. The marathon event there expects
to draw the fastest distance racers in the East.
The official name of the race in China is the Zhongkun Huangshan MTB
Festival”; the event is organized by CCA, Huangshan Municipality
Government and Nordic Ways. Please visit www.huangshanbike.com
for more details on the event.
Hans Rey wraps up latest 'Adventure'
Photo ©: Marco Toniolo
Photo ©: Marco Toniolo
Freeride pioneer Hans 'No Way' Rey just returned from a two-week trip
to the Phillipines. On hand at the Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival, one
of the biggest cycling events in Southern Asia (held in Manila), Rey took
time out from a schedule of trials shows to explore the country on film
for his next Hans Rey Adventure television special.
"This wasn't a typical "Hans Rey Adventure Team" trip," Rey
said by email this week. "It was more like a road-trip, consisting
of several mini-adventures."
Accompanied by Italian photographer Marco Toniolo and a local videographer
traveled north of the festival site to the Mountain Province and the world
famous Banaue Rice Terraces, considered the 8th World Wonder and a UNESCO
World Heritage site. "We toured to the remote village of Batad, where,
for the past 2000 years, locals had carved beautiful rice terraces into
the surrounding hillsides. It looked a lot like the terraced Inca hills
near Machu Picchu, Peru."
Rey says the group rode the treacherous footpaths of the terraces to
"a place called Echo Valley, site of the 'Hanging Coffins" a sacred
burial area surrounded by limestone cliffs. After my experience with the
spirits several years ago in Borneo, I was extra cautious and respectful.
Some of those coffins are 500 years old!"
In a second adventure, Rey ascended the Phillipines largest mountain;
an active volcano with a crater lake called Taal. "We had a fun descent
to the edge of the first lake. This volcano is on and off active, and
we could see the smoke from several cracks in the earth and smelt the
sulfur in the air. Four local riders joined me on this trip. The downhill
was a good laugh and worth the efforts."
Besides the adventures, Rey spent some time giving trials demos in support
of the festival. He says he felt like a start in Manila. I did a show
in one of the biggest shopping malls of Manila. The turnout was incredible,
I couldn't believe how big and enthusiastic the local biking scene was.
The people were so happy to meet me and have their photo taken with me
- I found out, many of my past adventure team trips are constantly being
televised on the Discovery Channel Int.and other TV networks. People brought
all sorts of foreign, especially american, biking magazines to be autographed,
it was quite nostalgic to see some of the 10 - 15 year old features and
The trip left former trials world champion Rey enthusiastic about the
country. "This place is beautiful," he said. "I used the
opportunity for my non-profit charity, 'Wheels 4 Life' (www.wheels4life.org),
and presented 12 bikes to the Bishop of Southern Leyte who will distribute
the bikes to some of the survivors of the recent devastating mudslide,
where the majority of the villagers (over 1000) were buried alive. I also
gave some more bikes to families in need of transportation near Ormoc
where we had the festival. For me it was a great joy giving these bikes
out personally, especially since it was the first time since I had started
my charity. I hope many thousand's of bikes will follow these ones."
Rey will next appear at this weekend's Sea Otter Classic.
Whiskey Off-Road 50-miler set for May 13th
Promoter Epic Rides (www.epicrides.com)
expects more than 400 mountain bikers at the third annual Whiskey Off-Road
endurance event May 13th in Prescott, AZ - a middle distance endurance
mountain bike event that starts on the famous Whiskey Row in downtown
This event is designed to accommodate all skill levels; advanced, stronger
riders will find plenty of challenges on the 50-proof (50 miles) ride;
the 25-proof option, at half the distance but with challenging climbing
and descents, will suit strong intermediate riders; and the 15-proof course
will appeal to people not up for the longer distances and more challenging
climbs and descents.
“The Whiskey is the perfect season opener for mountain bikers from
outside the state because it will allow them to check their early season
fitness as the National mountain bike calendar gets underway," says
promoter Todd Sadow (who also promoted the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo
and Soul Ride 100-miler)."
Those attending will have opportunities to win prizes with a total value
in excess of $10,000.
US Gran Prix of Cyclocross revamps its marketing for 2006
The US Gran Prix of Cyclocross announced a partnership with g4 Productions
Partners to produce and promote the 2006 Gran Prix. A sports event company
specializing in marketing, technical planning and operations of professional
and amateur cycling, running and endurance sports, g4 Productions will
collaborate with the management team of the Gran Prix and local race promoters
to provide unified branding and marketing strategies, secure additional
sponsorships and expand on-site hospitality and expo areas for the series,
now in its third year.
“We are very proud of what we have accomplished thus far with the
U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross – the premier ‘cross series in
the United States,” said Bruce Fina, Marketing Director, U.S. Gran
Prix of Cyclocross. “By partnering with g4 Productions, we are leveraging
their professional event production and promotion experience to help us
take the sport of cyclocross to the next level in America.”
“Our partnership g4 will increase our ability to produce a world-class
series, attract new fans, athletes and sponsors to the exciting sport
of cyclocross in the United States,” said Geoff Proctor, Technical
Director, U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross. The partners of g4 Productions
bring to the partnership over 50 years of collective experience in sports
marketing, technical planning, operations, sponsorship and integrated
“The Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross represents the
best of the sport in this country and provides an excellent springboard
for U.S. athletes headed to Europe to perform on the world stage,”
said Robin Morton, Partner, g4 Productions. “The management team
and local race promoters have done a terrific job of creating a fun and
exciting series for the athletes and fans of the sport. g4 Productions
is excited to help develop new strategies to promote the series and enhance
the value of cyclocross for its many sponsors.”
Teaming with prominent promoters in strong cycling markets and working
in conjunction with USA Cycling and the UCI, the Crank Brothers US Gran
Prix of Cyclocross attracts the best riders in North America to the series.
The 2006 Crank Brothers US Gran Prix of Cyclocross schedule includes six
days of racing, four of which are in new venues this year.
2006 US Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross schedule
• October 7 – 8th Gloucester, Massachusetts
• November 4th Longmont, Colorado
• November 5th Boulder, Colorado
• November 18th Lacey, Washington
• November 19th Portland, Oregon
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)