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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

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MTB News & racing round-up for June 3, 2006

Edited by Steve Medcroft

2006 Queensland Marathon Sunday

A stellar field of 370 riders including World Champions, National Champions and World Cup race winners is set to take on the toughest endurance mountain bike event on the Queensland race calendar, when Two Wheel Promotions stages the Kooralbyn Marathon this Sunday, June 4th.

Single speedster Greg Long in 2005
Photo ©: Unitede Photography
Click for larger image

Wearing the number 1 plate at the pointy end of the Elite Men's bunch will be the reigning Kooralbyn Marathon Champion and National Under 23 Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion Mark Frendo of the Flight Centre Scott team. In 2005, Frendo completed the journey through the steep hill country of Queensland's scenic rim in a time of 3.40.11.

Frendo will need to reproduce the same sizzling effort in 2006, up against a field including emerging talents such as Daniel Hallam and Dave Whitney.

“Yeah it’s a pretty tough course,” was Frendo's assessment of the Kooralbyn Marathon. “A fair bit of climbing - I’ve done a lot of racing so it should be right.”

The Elite Women's event sees the much anticipated return of two time World Junior Cross Country Champion Lisa Mathison, who showed glimpses of her best in the recent Sunshine Series event at Hinze Dam. Building up for her expected peak at the Rotorua World Championships,

Mathison will be pushed all the way by the likes of Narelle Ash, who recently steered Team Spyder to victory in the Raid World Cup adventure race in Western Australia.

The Marathon starts and finishes at the Kooralbyn Hotel Resort. Riders will endure 85 kilometres of tough going and steep hills on a course of single trail, animal trail, farm trail and fire trail. Start time is schedule for 8a.m. Sunday.

Shimano reveals final pieces of new XTR puzzle

By John Stevenson and James Huang

The new XTR crank
(Click for larger image)

Component manufacturer Shimano has officially announced details of the crank and front derailleur for its new XTR mountain bike group. Some details of the new parts leaked earlier this year, but the announcement reveals new information including a change in the attachment of the left hand crank to the axle.

The cranks has several significant new features. To save weight, the pinch bolts that held the left hand crank in place in the previous Hollowtech II design are gone. According to Shimano's Devin Walton the change is intended to "create a lighter interface without all of the extra metal that was designed just to handle the stresses of the opposing pinch bolts, let alone the pedaling forces."

However, one advantage of the old design was that it allowed bearing pre-load to be set by lightly tightening the preload nut in the end of the crank, in a similar manner to the way the bearing in a threadless headset is adjusted. The new design separates crank attachment and bearing preload.

"Once the crank arm is fixed to the spindle with the end bolt, the adjustable lockring behind the arm adjusts out the play and actually provides for more precise bearing adjustment than the threadless headset-like set up," Devin told Cyclingnews when we asked for clarification of the new design.

According to Biketesting.com, a third-party test lab, eliminating the pinch bolt setup should also increase the rigidity of the non-drive crankarm relative to Shimano's existing setup.

Read the entire article over in the Tech News section.

2006 Kona Global 24 Hours series scheduled

24-Hour camp at night
Photo ©: Kona Bikes

The Kona Global 24-Hour Series is back for 2006. Participants in this year's version of the only global 24-hour race series will have four opportunities to race their mountain bikes for an entire day, with 24-Hour events planned at Redesdale, Australia, Eschlikon, Switzerland, Catton Hall, England and Snow Mountain Ranch, USA .

All events will feature winner's purses and amenities such as showers, catering, mechanical support and technical support from leading brands, which will vary depending on venue. And, again depending on venue, racers can expect to ride through Aspen or Eucalyptus groves, in the shadow of snowcapped mountains, or on the grounds of a fifteenth century estate.

For more information, visit the series website at www.konaworld.com

Kona Global 24 Hour Series event dates:

  • Eschlikon , Switzerland – August 12-13
  • Catton Hall , UK – August 12-13
  • Snow Mountain Ranch , USA – September 9-10
  • Redesdale , Australia – December 2-3

Mayhem Festival set for end of July

The first week of August is set for the 4th annual Mayhem Festival, in Åre Sweden. Located in the heart of Scandinavia, the Mayhem Festival is the largest freeride mountain bike event in the Nordics.

Held on an improved network of trails at the venue, the event program includes an open Four-Cross competition, training camps, Extreme Biking School, open Slopestyle comp, a film festival, plus the Eric Wållberg Street Jam.

Wanderlust; the Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug diary

By Michael Broderick

Race Day
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
(Click for larger image)

Our 2006 spring trip to Europe began well before we boarded the eleven-hour nonstop flight from San Francisco to Munich. The voyage had been on our minds for some time. We were mostly looking forward to the unique and fun aspects but also had a healthy dread of the physical toll of the travel and difficult racing that lay ahead.

Mary and I made the trip across the pond with four enormous overstuffed bags meticulously packed, containing the absolute limit of 32 kilos (70 pounds) each. The logistics of packing race equipment and essentials that are otherwise not available always proves to be a mental strain. The longer the trip the more you need to make sure things are perfect and the longer you will go without what you need if you pack wrong. Bringing the right gear is a critical component in being ready for the races and is especially important if your teammate is relying on you!

We tried not to sweat it as we towed our enormous luggage towards the airport check in, even as the other airport patrons felt obliged to comment on the size of our bags. A great tip for the airline traveling cyclists (with accompanying bike bag) who would rather not have to hear the endless “ what is in your bags” comment from total strangers, carry a helmet exposed on your luggage to give a visual aid. My other favorite trick is to just look back vacantly and ask “what's in your luggage?”

We were a little nervous about the flashing sign that clearly stated “one 8 kilo carry on per person” but we smiled extra big and struggled to make our four separate 35 pound carryon bags look light. I definitely don't recommend it, but we made the trip with a total of 400 lbs of gear and somehow only a $100 overweight fee.

We were picked up at the airport (along with our luggage thanks to the nonstop flight) by our friend and rv rental connection michael www.rv-rental-germany.com. As we were in no condition to travel onward, he brought us out to a thai food restaurant in his town of Ingolstadt for a spicy meal and and of course to sample a few local German beers.

Read the entire Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug diary here.

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