MTB news & racing round-up for November 6, 2006
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Paez holds lead to the end of La Ruta
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Costa Rican pride was salvaged on the final day of La Ruta de los Conquistadors,
when Andrei Amador (BCR-Pizza Hut) broke away in the final kilometres
to win the third and final stage while Hector Leonardo Paez (Full Dynamix)
cruised in fourth, secure in his lead of nearly 30 minutes, to take the
overall title. Marga Fedyna (bungalowboys.com) took her third consecutive
stage to dominate the women's competition.
The third stage, at 122 kilometres, is the longest, but in some ways
the easiest - since it generally slopes downhill to the finish at the
Caribbean beach resort of Playa Bonita. However, the riders still climb
1720 m (5650 feet), with 17% pavement, 12% mud and 51% gravel. The kicker
is the 25 kilometres of train track - with the rail bed still in place.
This is 21% of the total distance. Last year, riders caught a break, when
one of the trestle bridges over a river was out of service and the race
had to detour around on a long section of road but that bridge is now
fixed. These bridges are high, over rivers containing Caiman alligators
and have big gaps of 30-60 cm between each trestle as the riders walk
across with bikes over their shoulders.
The Costa Ricans pooled their efforts, with a ferocious attack by former
winner Paolo Montoya (Super Pro-Banco Cuscatlan) in the opening kilometre
of the stage. This stage began with the riders heading back up the five
kilometre descent they finished on yesterday. By the first two kilometres
there was already a front group away, containing Montoya, Amador, Federico
Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut), Deiver Esquivel (IBP) and Paez - four Costa Ricans
and the lone Colombian leader. Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) and Marizo
Deho (Olympia) were chasing at 30 seconds, but didn't catch on until near
the top of the first section of climbing.
Read the complete Stage
3 race report here. Click here for full La
Belgian Christophe Stevens wins Crocodile Trophy at third attempt
By John Flynn
Photo ©: John Flynn
At the end of 1,400 kilometres and thirteen stages, across hundreds of
thousands of corrugations, from the vastness of the Australian Outback
to the magnificent rainforest of the Daintree, the strongest rider in
the Crocodile Trophy of 2006 crossed the finish line as the ultimate victor.
His name - Christophe Stevens of Belgium.
And what a way to end a cycling career!
Stevens, who will officially put his bike in the garage for good after
today, crossed the finish line on the beach in beautiful Cow Bay, where
wife Anita, the bride he met at his first Crocodile Trophy two years ago,
The Belgian finished more than a half an hour (33.08) in front of his
nearest rival Attila Marton of Hungary, with Stefan Rucker of Austria
(1.05.58 in arrears) - one of the most improved riders in this event,
third in the General Classification.
When the final standings are etched into Crocodile Trophy history it
will go down as a victory well deserved. Stevens proved himself the best
cyclist in the race - one which demands skills across all areas of cycling,
riding on tarmac roads, dirt roads, mountain tracks, across corrugations,
sand, rocks, mud, steep ascents and gnarly descents.
"It's nice to finish on a beautiful location like this and it's so nice
to win the Croc Trophy," Stevens said at race end. "That's it for me,
no more competition for me, if I ride my bike now, it's to the bakery
- if it's not raining and if the car's not there - just to bike for fun."
For those who witnessed Stevens' first assault on the Crocodile Trophy
two years ago, it was an inspiring turnaround. He came to the race in
2004 as an accomplished road racer, but the Australian Outback almost
destroyed him. Bravely, the Belgian returned in 2005 - riding strong,
but without luck. His return this year might have come with a lesser preparation,
but the knowledge he had gained over two previous Crocodile Trophy experiences
clearly shone through.
Cyclingnews was on hand for ever brutal mile of the 2006 Crocodile
Trophy. Check out our full race reports, results and photos here:
1 - October 17: Townsville - Townsville, 15 km
2 - October 18: Herveys Range - Hidden Valley, 120 km
3 - October 19: Hidden Valley - Lake Lucy, 170 km
4 - October 20: Lake Lucy - Blencoe Falls, 124 km
5 - October 21: Blencoe Falls - Koombooloomba, 75 km
6 - October 22: Koombooloomba - Irvinebank, 125 km
7 - October 23: Irvinebank - Chillagoe, 156 km
8 - October 24: Chillagoe (time trial), 30 km
9 - October 25: Chillagoe - Mt. Mulgrave, 136 km
10 - October 26: Mt. Mulgrave - Laura, 148 km
11 - October 27: Laura - Cooktown, 142 km
12 - October 28: Cooktown - Daintree, 135 km
13 - October 29: Cow Bay - Cow Bay, 30 km
Bishop La Ruta injury update
Jeremiah Bishop finishes
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Early Saturday, American racer Jeremiah Bishop (Volkswagen-Trek) was
transferred to CIMA Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica after he crashed
5 kilometres from the finish of Stage 2 at the La
Ruta de Los Conquistadores.
At the time, Bishop was second in the overall standings to Hector Leonardo
Paez (Full Dynamix) but leading the stage and appeared to press his advantage
on a technical downhill in order to gain time on his rival. The Trek dealer
in Costa Rica, Ignacio Pasos, said that Bishop was descending at high
speed on the last downhill and lost control of his bike. Bishop still
managed to finish the stage in second place.
Bishop was treated in a local medical centre before being transported
to the CIMA Hospital in San Jose, where he continues to recover from the
accident. In an update, Bishop was reported in stable condition after
undergoing surgery to treat two fractures on his nose and jaw that he
suffered in the accident.
Buchanan wins Aus MTB Series round one
Bryn Atkinson finishing second
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
By Sharon Payne
The Men's final run down the State Mine Track at Lithgow was cancelled
in an unprecedented decision by officials at the Australian National Mountain
Biking Series opening round. The decision saw elite men and under 19 riders
unable to complete their final run today. Record numbers of riders, delays
in accessing a section of the track to assist injured rider and concern
over safety as light began to fade led to the organiser's decision.
"The decision was based on the injured rider's safety and the number
of competitors yet to go down the track," said Chief Commisaire Grant
Medlock. "It's the first time I've had to make that type of decision.
In the 20 years of mountain biking it's the hardest decision I've had
Tony Scott, the CEO of Mountain Biking Australia added, "There is a technical
rule that allows the winners to be recorded from their qualification times."
World bronze medallist, Nathan Rennie (Gold Coast), qualified in tenth
place and had no chance to improve his position or breaking his course
record of 2.58.0 due to the cancellation. Brad Kelly (Sydney) qualified
the fastest in the seeding run, posting a time of 3.05.59, and was the
eventual winner. Bryn Atkinson (Victoria) was second fastest and second
overall while Adam Smithson (Newcastle) and Dave West (Adelaide) qualified
third and fourth respectively. The 2005 World Junior Champion, Amiel Cavalier
(Wollongong) qualified fifth fastest.
Read the entire race report from round two of the Australian
MTB National Series here.
Vaude Highland Fling set for November 12th
Entries for the Vaude Highland Fling MTB Marathon on 12 November have
now closed with 1,100 riders descending on the Southern Highlands of New
South Wales to take on their own challenge through forest, farmland and
Around two thirds of the field will take on the Full Fling of 104km with
the balance doing the Half Fling and a few teams getting it together in
a Flinging Threesome. 40 Elite men and 10 Elite Women will battle it out
for the cash, the titles and the glory with the winning time expected
to be around 4 hours. A mere 6 individuals will take on the 100Mile(160km)
Fling due to the extremely tight required finishing times of no more than
Now in only its second year, The Vaude Highland Fling starts and finishes
in the village of Bundanoon on Sunday November 12 with the leg warming
5km Bundanoon Dash taking place on the Saturday evening. Bundanoon is
2 hours south of Sydney.
USA Cycling announces new national mountain bike calendar
USA Cycling introduced for 2007 a new mountain bike calendar that is
designed to recognize and support top-level regional, national and international
events through a season-long calendar similar to the National Racing Calendar
model currently utilized in road cycling. This series is not to be confused
with the "National Mountain Bike Series" (NMBS), which has been owned
and operated by Team Big Bear and Blue Wolf Production for the past three
The new Mountain Bike National Calendar is an attempt to increase interest
in US mountain bike racing and will include events that have not participated
in the traditional "NORBA National Series" model. Events will be grouped
into categories: endurance, gravity and ultra-endurance. Endurance will
consist of cross country, short track cross country, time trials and stage
races. Gravity is defined as downhill, dual slalom, 4-cross and super
downhill. Ultra-endurance will include marathon, ultra-marathon and 12-
and 24-hour races.
Later today, USA Cycling will release pro purse requirements and bidding
documents for the three categories. The documents are expected to explain
the requirements and process for solidifying a spot on the calendar, prize
money requirements, event guidelines, rights and responsibilities, and
Steve Johnson, USA Cycling chief executive officer, called the calendar
an attempt to "build a true national event ladder to support and sustain
the continued development of American mountain bike racing."
See also: our 2006 coverage
of the sport of mountain biking.
Red Bull Road Rage cancelled
Mountain biker Myles Rockwell
Photo ©: Red Bull
Due to fire safety prevention precautions, organizers of the 2006 Red
Bull Road Rage have cancelled their event. After close evaluation of the
current fire danger conditions by the Malibu, California fire chief, the
decision was made yesterday to call off the 2nd edition of the downhill
Il Falco Bergamasco, Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel, had
planned on attending the event to showcase his descending skills as Cyclingnews
reported on October 22.
Savoldelli was to face the 2005
winner and former world downhill mountain bike champion Myles Rockwell.
"While disappointed, everyone at Red Bull is in full support of whatever
action is necessary for the safety of the local community. Red Bull would
like to thank all of the athletes, media and bike industry for their support
of the event," said organizers in a released statement.
Fast and flowy; Orbea Alma 29er on test
The Orbea Alma 29er
Photo ©: James Huang
Orbea's Alma 29er is a big-wheeled offshoot of the company's race-ready
Alma carbon fiber hardtail, currently piloted by the Luna professional
team. With all of the hype surrounding its introduction, James Huang
finds out if the Alma 29er lives up to its high expectations:
Orbea made a big splash earlier this year with the announcement that
it would be making a 29er version of its high-zoot Alma carbon fiber hardtail.
Sure, there were lots of lightweight XC-specific 29" hardtails already
available (including Orbea's own aluminum version), but the Alma 29er
was to be, and still is, the first one crafted from carbon fiber.
If its aluminum 29er was the proverbial toe in the water, this new model
is, by comparison, a veritable cannonball. Unlike aluminum which can easily
be cut, mitered, and welded in whichever way necessary, the Alma 29er's
true monocoque construction requires a major commitment involving expensive
molds and associated tooling. Two-niner advocates are undoubtedly thrilled
with the Alma 29er's 1300g final production weight (for a medium frame),
but will Orbea's gamble pay off in what is still a relatively nascent
segment of the mountain bike market?
Read the entire Orbea
Alma 29er review here.
TransRockies 2007 registration opens
The TransRockies Challenge opened registration for it's sixth edition
recently. In 2007, the event will be held from August 12-18 and the field
is being capped at 275 2-person teams. Those 275 places will be allotted
on a first-come, first-served basis and entries can either be submitted
electronically through the promoter's website (www.transrockies.com) or
by faxing in the entry form; also available online.
The teams will be competing in six categories based upon age and gender,
and can sign up for three event packages based upon the level of service
provided by the organizers. The promoter expect the TransRockies Challenge
to reach full capacity quickly once again, so if the TransRockies is on
your to-do list for 2007, be sure to reserve your spot early.
New Canadian multi-day MTB race
Throwing it's hat into the multi-day mountain-bike stage race ring (alongside
races like TransRockies, Trans Alps, La Ruta, Crocodile Trophy and Cape
Epic) SEVEN - a new MTB stage race - is scheduled to begin July 1st, 2007
amid Canada Day celebrations in Victoria, British Columbia.
150 two-person teams will race from the southern tip of Vancouver Island,
to the Sunshine Coast, to the mountainous Whistler Valley. SEVEN founder,
Dean Payne, has extensive experience in the Adventure Race industry, having
started the successful Sea2Summit race series and run it for more than
11 years. "B.C. is the premier place on the planet to mountain bike,"
Payne says. "Everyone behind SEVEN wants it to be a challenging race
that excites the senses. Simply put, our goal is to provide the best stage
race experience in the world."
Race registration opens on January 1, 2007 and will be restricted to
just 150 teams of 2 competitors.
Otway Odyssey offers $40,000 purse
The inaugural Otway Odyssey Mountain Bike Marathon will be held on February
3rd, 2007 and will lead competitors from the ocean shores of Apollo Bay
(South-West Victoria, Australia) to the township of Forrest and return,
totalling a distance of 100km in the Otways National Park.
Riders will pass through some of the regions best kept secrets
by riding along the bush tracks and trails hidden deep within the rainforest;
passing giant tree ferns, towering mountain ash, picturesque lakes and
spectacular views over the coast and surrounding ranges. The mid way point
of the ride will be the Forrest football ground where a massive festival
will be under way to welcome cyclists.
The Otway Odyssey may be completed as an individual riding the whole
100km, as a team of 2 riding half each or as a shorter 50km ride from
Forrest back to Apollo Bay for those newer to the sport. With $40,000
in cash prizes spread across a range of divisions.
Gohl and Milatz re-sign with Multivan-Merida
Germanys top mountain bike racers Nina Göhl and Moritz Milatz
will continue to race in the colours of the Multivan Merida Biking Team
for 2007. They both signed a two-year contract; completing the teams
line-up heading for 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Despite being absorbed by her studies of medicine, Nina Göhl managed
to win her first World Cup race in 2006, to become the German marathon
champion, and to further climb up the world ranking; occupying eighth
position by the end of the season. Moritz Milatz secured himself Germanys
national champion jersey in the Olympic cross country discipline, thus
solidifying his position as Germanys strongest male mountain bike
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa, José Hermida and Ralph Näf had already
extended their contacts to the year 2008.
Bart Brentjens signs with Dolphin Bike Team
Bart Brentjens has signed with the Dutch trade team Dolphin in a deal
that extends beyond his expected participation in 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Brentjens will be accompanied on the team by several top talented riders
from The Netherlands and Belgium. Current vice-champion, Rudi van Houts
and Jelmer Pietersma are also contracted with Dolphin.
The Dolphin Bike Team will be divided in three divisions in 2007: An
international Cross-Country team, an international extreme sports team
representing downhill and four-cross disciplines, and a satellite development
team called 'BEJAN-Dolphin'.
IMBA announces trail-building grants
Ten $500 USA Cycling/IMBA Trail Tune-Up Grants are now available to mountain
biking groups seeking to jump-start trail improvement projects.
Projects that create or improve trails used for mountain bike racing
will receive the highest consideration, but funding can also be used to
improve trails for race training and recreational riding. Applicants must
be current members of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA)
as well as USA Cycling member clubs or race promoters.
Trail Tune-up Grants are completely funded by USA Cycling members through
an optional land access checkbox on USA Cycling license applications and
renewal forms. The program is administered through a partnership between
USA Cycling and the IMBA.
The application deadline is November 15, 2006. Grant winners will be
announced in late November.
Cutting new trail in Minnesota
Minnesotas largest mountain bike advocacy organization, the Minnesota
Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) has partnered with bicycle parts and accessories
distributor, Quality Bicycle Products, and Three Rivers Park District,
to help create 10-miles of new singletrack mountain bike trails for Minnesota
The existing trail system at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, in Scott County,
MN, had recently come under review due to issues of erosion and conflicts
with protected bird nesting areas. MORC approached the land managers of
Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, Three Rivers Park District, and proposed
a new trail system in the undeveloped areas of the park that would provide
a sustainable solution to the areas unique environmental factors.
After years of discussions, MORC and Three Rivers Park District reached
an agreement in 2004.
We are pleased to be able to take the negative of an impending
trail closure and turn it into a positive with new, sustainable trails
being created, said MORC President Scott Thayer. The agreement
allowed MORC to start from scratch to design the sustainable trails where
the best features already exist in the 2,400-acre park, Thayer continued,
This as an opportunity for MORC to use our experience and knowledge
gained from previous projects to create a masterpiece for Twin Cities
Included in the agreement was a substantial upfront financial commitment
from both Three Rivers Park District and MORC. In order to offset the
cost of its commitment, MORC reached out to a long time supporter: Quality
Bicycle Products (QBP). Owner and President of QBP, Steve Flagg saw this
as a signature opportunity to support mountain biking in Minnesota. Flagg
developed an in-house fundraiser where every $1 donated by his employees
was matched with a $5 donation from the company. At the end of the 2005
summer-long fundraiser, Flagg and his employees had successfully raised
$20,000 for MORC and the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve project.
Construction of the trail began in late July of 2006 and is scheduled
to be completed and open in 2007.
Rays Indoor MTB Park opens November 3rd
While some people dread the gloom of the winter months, people in the
know look forward to Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Located in
Cleveland, Ohio, Rays MTB has become a premium destination during
the fall and winter months.
The 82,000 square foot facility has grown and several new features have
been added. Theres even a new Cross Country loop that finds riders
pedaling up above the rafters. Rays Grand Opening for this season
is November 3rd 5th. The park remains open until April 1. Check
out www.raysmtb.com for up to the minute details.
The short version of the 2006 24 Hours of Moab; the Nat Ross diary
Photo ©: Xavier Fane
That's right. Mother Nature moved in quick to drastically shorten the
Hours of Moab for soloists by two thirds. My winning finishing time
was eight hours and eighteen minutes. Although soloists wanted to race
the full 24, a freak storm prevented any nighttime laps, which in turn
had soloists voting not to restart in the morning. Follow my play-by-play
for the last race in the 24 Hour National Point Series.
I drove my Subaru Outback to Moab on Wednesday evening without my crew.
My plan was to clear my head and prepare for the big day with out too
many stresses or distractions. My crew manager, Mike Reed, had been riding
in Moab twice in the past month and had told me just how wet it had been.
Mike informed me to watch the weather closely and bring lots of rain gear
and warm riding clothes.
The plan was to pre-ride two laps on the course Thursday in the morning.
I was riding new prototype Bontrager tubeless 29-in tires. I had raced
the proto tubeless rims all summer, but had not raced the tires and tubeless
rim strips yet. I hammered out my first lap in one hour and fifteen minutes.
This was five minutes slower than I wanted to be so I opted not to ride
another lap on my second Gary Fisher (Race Day) SuperCaliber 29. The tires
felt bombproof and I wanted to conserve my energy for Saturday and Sundays
My amazing support staff arrived later that evening. My crew returned
from last year and consisted of: Myron Billy as my mechanic, Mike Reed,
my sister Niki, and her friends Stephanie and Andie. They kick ass. We
laughed our selves silly as the vibe between us is all about having a
good time. Everybody brought his or her bikes to ride prior to the race,
but the weather was too crappy.
My bikes were dialed and I showed up on Saturday morning earlier than
planned - which was great as I had a scheduled interview. It also never
hurts to have extra prep time when it's raining. Keeping everything dry
is extremely difficult even in the tents. Another difficult task was to
maintain my motivation. These races are miserable enough in dry conditions.
Typically, I wish for bad weather, but I knew I was in for some bone-chilling
Read the entire Nat
Ross diary here.
News Next News
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)