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Photo ©: Bettini

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MTB News & racing round-up for May 2, 2006

Edited by Steve Medcroft

2006 Singlespeed Worlds announced

Superman! - from '05 Worlds
Photo ©: Ryan Atkinson
Click for larger image

Details for the 2006 singlespeed world championships were posted online this week.

Scheduled for August 19-20 in Stockholm, the Capitol of Sweden, the exact course location (as well as the rules of competition which, in true singlespeed worlds form will be anything but the first person across the finish line in the race is the winner) is being kept secret until the day of the race.

What has been announced is that the event will be centered out of an establishment called Street. According to promoters, "Street is a bar/event place/gallery for street art, contemporary design and art, and all other forms of modern cultural activities in a big city and it will also be the hub for the race, where we meet, hang in the bar, meet all the new faces, where we hook up guided rides to the trails and where we consume our cold post ride beers in the evening sun at the waterfront."

Registration will be available through an online auction. Information about hotel, camping and hostel accommodations are also listed on the site.

For more information, including details about the pending registration auction, visit the promoter's Web site at www.sswc06.com.

TransRockies Challenge releases stage locations

With just over three months left until the next chapter in North America’s toughest mountain bike race, the organisers of the TransRockies Challenge have released this year’s stage locations along with the final block of available team spots.

The men's podium in 2005
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
Click for larger image

This year, the TransRockies Challenge will tackle a new route which traverses the high peaks of the Kootenay Rockies in Southeastern British Columbia and finishes at the world-class four-season resort of Panorama Mountain, just outside Invermere. While much of the route is new, the two-person team format and wilderness camping will remain vital parts of the unique TransRockies experience.

With the new routing for 2006, the TransRockies Challenge has been able to open registration to a limited additional number of teams. The additional spots were first offered to the waiting list which accumulated after the race reached the initial capacity on January 13th. That deadline for Waiting List registrations has passed and the limited number of remaining team spots has been released for general registration on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’re really excited to be able to release our list of Stage Locations,” said Event Director Aaron McConnell, “this year’s route is going to set a new standard for great riding and rider experience.” “We’re also really pleased that we still have a few spots left to offer the riders who weren’t able to secure a spot during our first round of registration—and there’s still ample time for riders to train properly to take on the epic challenge of our event.”

2006 Stage Locations:

  • Stage 1 - August 6: Fernie to Sparwood, BC
  • Stage 2 - August 7: Sparwood, BC to Blairmore, AB
  • Stage 3 - August 8: Blairmore, AB to Elkford, BC
  • Stage 4 - August 9: Elkford, BC to Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park
  • Stage 5 - August 10: Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park to Nipika Mountain Resort
  • Stage 6 - August 11: Nipika Mountain Resort to Invermere, BC
  • Stage 7 - August 12: Invermere to Panorama Mountain Village

USCF issues automatic cyclo-cross licenses

USA Cycling recently announced that all NORBA and USCF category racers will now see a cyclo-cross category designation on their licenses.

Beginning with the 2006 season, all USA Cycling licensees now have a cyclo-cross category on their license. The additional designation is the first phase of a new system where cyclo-cross is counted as a separate racing category and upgrade points are awarded in cyclo-cross events for that category.

If you are a new racer, then your cyclo-cross category will start as a 4. Just as in road and track events, you can upgrade to a 3 by earning points in cyclo-cross races. If you had a 2005 USCF or NORBA license, then you were issued a 2006 cyclo-cross category when you renewed.

If you had both a USCF license and a NORBA license in 2005, and your USCF road and NORBA cross-country categories would lead to two different cyclo-cross categories, the higher of those two was used for your 2006 cyclo-cross category. This change was made to acknowledge the tremendous growth and specialization in cyclo-cross, and the fact that road categories are often not indicative of cyclo-cross ability.

For more information about the new cyclo-cross licensing designation and upgrading through the next cyclo-cross categories, visit USA Cycling's Web site - www.usacycling.org.

MTBA clarifies full-face helmet rule

Australia mountain bike governing body MTBA recently announced that from July 1 2006, full-face helmets will be mandatory at all MTBA sanctioned DH events. This week, the organisation further clarified the rule by releasing a list of compliance standards. In short, the organization states that competition helmets must carry the Australian Standards compliance sticker or an international equivalent. The first list of standards that MTBA will accept as an international equivalent to the Australian/New Zealand Standard 2063 is as follows:

(1) ANSI Z90.4;
(2) Snell "B" or "N" series;
(3) ASTM F-1447.
(4) Canadian CAN/CSA-D113.2-M;
(5) U.S. CPSC standard for bicycle helmets;
(6) European CEN standard for bicycle helmets (EN1078)
Other international standards may be added from time to time.

Avid introduces Juicy Ultimate

Avid announced the release of its newest member of the Juicy family this week. The new brake was designed to incorporate all the benefits of the Juicy 7 but optimized for the ultra weight conscious cross-country rider. Designers shaved 80 grams with the combination of a thinner walled carbon lever blade, super-light, low-profile magnesium lever body, and their new one piece Monoblok™ caliper design.

Athletes like Thomas Frischknecht (Team Swisspower), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), and Julien Absalon (Motorex-Bianchi) are all expected to be racing on the Juicy Ultimate this season.

for more information, visit www.sram.com.

IMBA seeking board members

IMBA announced this week that it is accepting applications for new members to its Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee seeks individuals who are passionate about the activity of mountain biking and have the unique skills and insight that will help us guide IMBA and grow mountain bike access worldwide.

If you know someone who fits the job description, or you believe you are that person, please forward a résumé and the completed application to www.imba.com form by May 30, 2006, to executive director Mike Van Abel.

Global MTB racing round-up

Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick; Peaceful Warriors

McConneloug and Broderick training in Marin County
Photo ©: Jeff Jungsten
Click for larger image

U.S. National Champion Mary McConneloug is a familiar name in the sport of mountain biking. For six seasons, she steadily rose through the sport's global ranks reaching UCI World Cup podiums and representing her country at multiple World Championships. More famously than that, she also earned the single U.S. women's spot at the Olympics cross-country race in Athens in 2004. McConneloug recently told Cyclingnews MTB Editor Steve Medcroft that she owes all her success to an unusual team structure.

What many people may not know about Mary McConneloug is the off-the-beaten-path way she has managed her career. Instead of signing with a factory team and having handlers and coaches take care of all the details of her day-to-day racing life, she chose the freedom of signing individual sponsorship agreements and taking responsibility for managing every aspect of her career.

That structure is only possible, McConneloug says, because she has a partner; her only teammate, on the road support crewmember and longtime boyfriend Mike Broderick.

Read the entire Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick interview here.

Time to travel again; the Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa diary

Riding at Sea Otter
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Click for larger image

A brand new 'round-the-world' ticket is lying in my suitcase, and we’re very much looking forward to the upcoming exciting period of competing and racing. After a good week on Norwegian soil with relaxing days at home in Stavanger, we are now looking forward to nine weeks of travel again.

Sunday evening has arrived here in our little sitting-room, in a town called Heubach-Lautern, south of Stuttgart in Germany. My body is feeling strangely knackered and very relaxed as we sit here in the little nook on the sofa after another day on our bikes. I’ve taken part in the Bundesliga in Münsingen today. The results were way above what we had expected, and we simply won the race. It’s great to feel that my body is beginning to work normally and properly again.

We’ve had some tough days since we got back from USA almost two weeks ago. The trip from Curacao to Monterey in California was long and tiring, and we were stressed out at the Sea Otter Classic. It was very demanding to take part in four races after a difficult world cup in the Caribbean. But with a strong focus on restitution, and with Kenneth’s good help, we did surprisingly well.

Read the entire Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa diary here.

Breaking records; the Nat Ross diary

Earlier this winter, when I was formulating my race schedule for this season, I put in a race that I have wanted to do for quite some time. I figured that it would be best to stay in California for a good chunk of April since Colorado typically has some big snowstorms that get in the way of riding. Looking back, I should have stayed in Cali after the Sea Otter instead of driving back to Golden for a week in between races. I always seem to forget how many miles separate the two states. Luckily, one of my main sponsors, Subaru, always makes traveling more enjoyable. This trip, I had the luxury of breaking in a brand new Tribeca. This car is made for guys like me, complete with an in dash GPS Navigation System to keep one from getting lost or off track.

At Sea Otter
Photo ©: Bruce Hildenbrand
(Click for larger image)

In Phoenix, I picked up Myron Billy. We met at our friend Jake's house and went out big Wednesday night. The hangover drive to Temecula on Thursday was rough. The plan was to pre-ride the race course in the afternoon but as usual, I mistimed our arrival (thanks to an unexpected wicked hangover). We ended checking out the course at night with our lights. Laird, the Granny Gear race promoter, was also out riding at night so we were able to chat with him for quite a while on the course. After riding in the dark we had a late dinner and then headed back to the hotel to grab a good ten hours of sleep.

Friday always ends up as a crazy day. Too much to do in too little time! Myron and I set up my Gary Fisher 10X10 tent and dialed it in. Jake had given us several cases of Fat Tire when we left Phoenix, so we put the beers on ice, set up the workbench, prepared my race food, and organized the pit. Our campsite was styled out before dinner, so we went to Sizzler to feast on the buffet. After stuffing ourselves, we went to see Scary Movie 4. It was me, Myorn, and all the high school kids in the state of California. All and all the movie was pretty lame, so save your dollars for something else if you haven't seen it yet.

Read the entire Nat Ross diary here.

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