MTB News & racing round-up for March 16, 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 email@example.com
Stepping on twenty-nine inch landmines
One of the most heated debates in bike technology at the moment is between
adherents of the relatively new "29-inch" wheel size for mountain
bikes and users of regular wheel sizes. Over the next couple of weeks
we'll be taking a look at the pros and cons of the new format. To start
with, Cyclingnews mountain bike editor Steve Medcroft looks
at the passions stirred by a recent article on the topic.
After we published a
short feature about Durango-based ultra-endurance mountain biker Dave
Harris' performance test between his 26-inch and 29-inch format bikes,
Harris received a lot of feedback. “I got quite a few comments on my
blog,” he says. “There were a hundred-ish emails in my in-box too
(all but a couple are positive, thank goodness), and the (mountain biking)
forums are going nuts over it.”
Cyclingnews received its fair share of feedback too. Ryan Atkinson,
assistant brand manager for Gary Fisher, Lemond and Klein Bicycles, wrote
that he felt Harris' study lacked scientific credibility. He alluded to
way Harris' went about his comparison of the two formats with a point
summed up pretty well by reader Jay Parkhill of Menlo Park, California.
“…it sounds like this test was run between a full suspension bike and
a soft tail. It is very nice that Mr. Harris tried to normalize gearing
and tire choices, but the difference in frame designs seems like
a huge uncontrolled variable.”
Click here for the full
Absalon on track for strong 2006
Julien Absalon wasted no time proving he was carrying the same kind of
form and prepration that he used to win the World Championships in 2005;
the twenty-five year old Frenchman lit up the the Liquigas
Cup in Sinnai, Sardegna, Italy February 24th, proving that he has
been careful with his off-season.
"My winter preparation was very good," the 2004 Olympic Gold
Medallist said early this week. "I have participated in two races
in Mexico and the Reunion (Megavalanche; held on a French-owned island
just off Madagascar in the Indian Ocean). I also raced some cyclo-cross
and practiced cross country skiing."
Absalon says the cross training has paid off. "Right now, I'm ahead
of my preparation compared to other years." Absalon says his aim
for 2006 is to carry that fitness to World Cup and World Championship
title. He plans to open his World Cup campaign April 1st in Curaçao.
Sweet az in Kiwiland; the Geoff Kabush diary
Hello again to everyone; the 2006 race season has officially started
for me with some frequent flyer miles and a trip to NZ for the Oceania
Champs. Sweet az...as they say down here, but why am I doing the Oceania
Champ's you might ask? Well a Canuck normally isn't allowed to do the
Oceania Champ's, but seeing as Rotorua is the site of the World's later
this year, the organisers decided to let a few internationals come down
to check it out. It's also really nice as I get in a first little race
effort of the year before I head over to Australia in a couple of weeks
to do a little race called the Commonwealth Games.
The "offy" or winter went pretty smoothly this year; had a good little
travel break after World's last year and actually got to be a tourist
in Europe for a couple of weeks with Keri. After that I came back to America
for Interbike and then messed around for a couple of cyclo-cross weekends;
going to do a few more of those this year. I then avoided any real training
and getting too fat by running and swimming in preparation for Xterra
World's; I figured it was a pretty good excuse to go to Hawaii. It made
sense as my whole family was over there watching my sister compete - I
did manage to beat my sister by the way. I also managed to survive a few
pummelings on the boogie board and surfboard and made it back to home
base Albuquerque to start training "for reals" in November.
After that things rolled along through the winter months with a trip
with Keri up to home base Victoria to scout wedding locations (Oct. 7th,
2006 is our date), and see a Canucks game, followed by a mid-winter mental
break trip to Mexico in January with the Pink family. Oh yeah, and another
trip to Phoenix to check out wedding stuff for Keri and a Canucks game
for me; the Canucks are undefeated when I watch and I figure they are
going to go all the way this year. I managed to stay healthy all winter
I am a bit worried as the good weather has followed me everywhere and
I have only had to train in the rain for half an hour. I am wondering
if I might be getting a bit soft.
Read the entire Geoff
Kabush diary here.
The season starts in Italy; the Gunn-Rita Dahle diary
It's great to be on the go again with a new season of cycling. The menu
for first race of the year included lots of mud and freezing cold weather,
but even so it was wonderful to take part in the Italian winter championships
in cross country today. I won the race, here in the town of Volpago del
Montello, just outside Treviso - a very positive start to the season.
The result is very encouraging and shows that we've been working correctly
through the winter and are headed in the right direction.
It's been raining hard all night, and it was bucketing down as we stood
lined up at the start of the race, so we didn't have to spend long deciding
what tyres to use today. Maxxis Medusa 1.8 mud tyres are very trustworthy
in such conditions, but braking, however, is a different story on days
like this. I had to make some adjustments along the way, but managed to
stay on my bike most of the time. However, on the last lap there wasn't
much rubber left on my brake pads. Today I should definitely have used
disc brakes instead. So it was a somewhat uncontrolled Gunn-Rita on the
way in to the finish, but I had no major crashes.
We were already in the north of Italy (Montebelluna, 50 miles from Venice)
on Friday afternoon and both thought it was great being back here again.
Italy is one of our very favourite countries, and it's really nice to
be spending a good two weeks here. The final week on Mallorca gave us
mostly good weather for training, and we were able to have many effective
and important exercise sessions before we left. We can look back on three
good and enjoyable weeks at Hotel Sol Antillas in Megaluf, with lots of
great help from the Phillips Bike Team. I've written this before, but
am glad to mention it once again. If you would like to take a wonderful
and exciting holiday combined with biking activities, this is the best
place you can go.
Read the entire Gunn-Rita
Dahle diary here
Hill and Jonnier headlines 2006 Team MadCatz/Iron Horse
The Monster Energy/Iron Horse/Mad Catz racing announced its team for
the upcoming 2006-competition season.
The team led thing off by signing twenty-one year old Australian Sam
Hill to additional three years. A two-time Junior World Champion (2002-'03)
and two-time US Open Champion, Hill finished second in the UCI World Cup
downhill standings the past two years (2004-'05). Hill has also won medals
at the World Championships the past two seasons, collecting a Bronze in
'04 and a silver this past summer. Hill will again focus on the UCI World
Cup series this summer, the UCI World Championships (Aug. 22-27 in New
Zealand) and at select ‘big time' events throughout the world.
Joining Hill in men's competition will be fellow Australian Justin Havukainen.
In his sophomore year on the team, the twenty-two year old cracked the
top ten last year on the UCI World Cup tour and blazed to a podium finish
in the US Open. This summer Havukainen will focus on North American events,
including the NCS National Series, North American World Cup races and
the US Open.
Also joining the team is Sabrina Jonnier. Considered to be a lock on
the podium in any race she enters, Jonnier, 25, was last year's US Open
Champion, placed second overall on the UCI World Cup Series and scored
a silver medal at the UCI World Championships.
Haro's new Sonix platform
Photo ©: Haro
Demo a Haro at the NORBA Marathon opener in Phoenix
Haro is letting people get their hands on their latest MTB models at
the Nova Desert Classic March 24-26. "Just stop by the Haro pit area
and take one for a test ride," says company spokesperson Jill Hamilton. "We'll
have all three Sonix models available to demo in a variety of sizes. Just
make sure you bring your helmet and pedal of choice (if you don't use
The Sonix, in case you haven't seen one, features Haro's patent pending
Virtual Link suspension technology; a virtual pivot that moves in a half-orbit
around the bottom bracket. Haro claims the design eliminates pedal-induced
bobbing while leaving the rear wheel free to respond to the terrain.
For more information on the Sonix, visit www.harosonix.com.
Ray's MTB Park to be featured on CNN
On February fifth, Ray's Indoor MTB Park (Cleveland) hosted the "3Ride
Pro Invitational" featuring freeride and MTB stars such as GT pros Brian
Lopes and Hans Rey. The event was covered by a CNN reporter and will air
in the U.S. as a segment on the 'Anderson Cooper 360' show multiple times
Saturday March 18th and Sunday March 19th.
As ridden by Fabien Barel
Photo ©: Kona
Kona offers World Championship replica bike
In 2005, Kona team rider Fabien Barel captured the Downhill Mountain
Bike World Championship title for the second year in a row. To celebrate
the accomplishment, Kona is releasing a limited edition run of replicas
of his Championship-winning Stab Supreme. The bike features the team paint
scheme (complete with World Champion stripes) and comes with team sponsor
decals in the parts kits.
The replicas are available through Kona dealers.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)