MTB news & racing round-up for October 18, 2006
Edited by Sue George & Steve Medcroft
Ross wraps weather-hampered season with 24-Hour series win
By Steve Medcroft
Photo ©: Xavier Fane
At last weekend's 24 Hours of Moab, Cyclingnews diarist Nat Ross
became the winner of the first-ever 24 hour national points series. In
the series, promoted by Laird Knight (Granny Gear Promotions), a rider
had to collect points at three of the six Granny Gears races to win a
cash prize estimated at $5,000.
Even though he won all of the three Granny Gear races he entered in 2006,
and podiumed in two other 24-hour events, Ross hasn't had an easy season.
For the first time, the veteran solo endurance racer has been in races
that were called for weather. And not just one; three events Ross was
in have come to a screeching halt.
"At the 24
Hours of Nine Mile," Ross said by phone on Tuesday, "lightning
storms and torrential rains at 5:30 in the morning stopped the race. At
the 24 Hours of Landau the terrain became impassable after a deluge of
rain some time between two and six a.m.,." Then again last weekend,
at the 24
Hours of Moab, rain dumped over the course; this time causing flash
floods that washed sections of the course out from under rider's wheels.
"It was insane," Ross said. "It was cold. I heard that
Search and Rescue had pulled 21 people off the course for hypothermia
and injuries from crashes."
When he wrote his original season plan, Ross had not intended to race
in Moab. "I showed up a (the 24 Hours of) Temecula (the first event
in the Granny Gear series, held April 21st) to test myself at the beginning
of the season. Laird (Knight, race promoter) said there was a series but
I didn't think it would fit my schedule. But I won Temecula, and Laird
said that 30% of the overall prize money (Granny Gear donates a portion
of every solo entry to a pool from which he pays five riders deep in the
solo class) would go to the series category and it got me thinking."
The final nudge that caused Ross to shift his schedule contend for the
Granny Gear series was "going to Wisconsin (the US national championship
race at the 24 Hours of 9 Mile in Wassau) and getting my ass handed to
me by Chris (Eatough). I decided to concentrate on Moab instead of (24
hours of Adrenalin) Worlds in Georgia, and in order to win the series,
I had to have three races so I jumped into (24 hours of) Landahl (in Missouri
Having recently completed the Race Across America in the four-man competition
Ross says he found himself with good legs at Landahl and took his second
series win. All he needed was a high placing at Moab. After recon rides
in Moab by his pit crew, and warnings of possible bad weather, Ross geared
up for wet conditions. "When it rains in Moab, it gets cold,"
he said. "I brought rain gear and even modified my stuff with shower
caps and water proof vests and rubber gloves - everything I could think
of to keep me dry."
"And," Ross adds, "after the previous two races (that
were affected by severe weather), I knew it would be an advantage to go
out fast early; if the race got stopped and restarted I wanted to be in
Ultimately, after flash flooding tore the Moab course apart, racing was
called after less than nine hours. Ross was four minutes ahead of Josh
Tostada (Giant) at the time. As anticipated, the solo class competition
never resumed and Ross was declared victor. Once the total attendance
is calculated, Ross expects a series payout of about $5,000. "That's
a pretty good payday."
Ross says the series will impact the way he designs his 2007 racing schedule."I
think it can be good for the sport, something a lot of racers could get
For now though, Ross is hanging up the rain gear and turning his attention
to "taking the whole month of December off" and riding in a
few select cyclo-cross races.
See also, the Nat
Ross diary, www.grannygear.com
and our 24
Hour of Moab race report.
McConneloug and Paez Leon capture continental
By Sue George
Mary McConneloug (USA) won the women's cross-country Pan Am Championships.
She clocked a winning time of 1:35:36 over the 13.17-mile course to beat
silver medalist Catherine Pendrel (Canada) and bronze medalist Jimena
Florit (Argentina). Pendrel learned she would replace Alison Sydor on
the Canadian team only one week prior to the race, but told her coach
the morning of the race that she felt like she would medal.
Hector Leonardo Paez Leon (Colombia) won the men's 19.76 mile race in
front of silver medalist Mathieu Toulouse (Canada), and bronze medalist
Cristobal Silva (Chile).
In the men's Under 23 race, Max Plaxton (Canada) took home gold over
Dario Alejandro Gasco (Argentina) and Sam Schultz (USA). Plaxton, 21,
said, "I wanted to win this race so badly, as I took the silver as a junior
in 2002 and the bronze in 2005. It was pretty hard for me in the first
couple of laps, but after a while I succeeded in catching the leaders
and I passed them. I soon got a lap ahead and was feeling better at every
lap." Plaxton added that he did not suffer much in the oppressive heat
thanks to drinking a lot of water.
Francisca Campos (Chile) and Jenna Zander (USA) took first and second
in the women's Under 23.
The Continental Championships follow only the World Championships and
World Cup events in terms of races that offer the most UCI points on an
annual basis. Hence, many nations send their best athletes to win valuable
UCI points. Overall country rankings determine the number of 2008 Olympic
Games starting positions per country.
For full results from the Pan
American MTB Championships, click here.
Wet and windy start to Crocodile Trophy 2006
This pair decided
Photo ©: John Flynn
In a repeat of his 2005 performance, Belgian Christophe Stevens kicked
off his 2006 Crocodile Trophy Campaign with a tempting 15km prologue victory
on the palm-fringed beach at Townsville in Tropical North Queensland on
October 17. Under dark, wet skies in the sweaty tropics, the former Chocolade
Jacques pro road cyclist, who was unsure of his form until the midday
race start, answered his own questions and those of fellow competitors
by joining Austrian powerhouse Heinz Zorweg in a two man breakaway.
The pair, who on today's form, shape up as the two serious contenders
for the 2006 Croc Trophy, blasted away the field of 43 riders (from 14
countries), to gain more than a minute on GC, not that the margin will
matter with twelve punishing stages and 1400 kilometres ahead. "It
was really hard compared to last year, the wind was just the opposite,"
Stevens said. "The beach was so hard on the legs."
Austrian Dominique Angerer, one of two women competing in this year's
Croc Trophy was the first woman to finish in 23rd place outright.
The race through Australian Outback runs through October 29th.
Read the complete Stage
1 report and results. Race preview and links to reports on remaining
stage can be found here.
Extreme conditions affect 24 Hours of Moab final standings
Martin and Ross
Photo ©: Xavier Fane
Nat Ross (Subaru/Gary Fisher) overcame extreme conditions and confusion
at the 12th Annual 24 Hours of Moab to win the men's solo division and
the entire National Points Series sponsored by Granny Gear Productions.
Lynda Wallenfels took the women's race.
According to local sources, a 105 year-old record for rainfall was broken
by Friday before the race, and while the rain backed off to a drizzle
for Saturday's race start, a torrential downpour resumed around 7 PM.
The desert could not absorb so much water so quickly, so water ran everywhere,
eroding the course so that lines differed from lap to lap.
Ross led four contenders at the end of lap one. At only eight seconds,
Nick Martin (Trek/VW) followed. The two would stay within only 14 seconds
for the next six-and-a-half hours.
Martin said, "My plan was to stick to Nat's wheel - to be that annoying
pest behind Nat, but we're really good friends, and I made my intentions
clear to him. Our first laps felt pretty comfortable. Nat was setting
the pace the whole time and I was just respecting the fact that it was
For a full race report, photos and as many results as we have from the
Hours of Moab, click here.
Brentjens wins his own Challenge
For the second time, Bart Brentjens has won his own Bart Brentjens Challenge.
In the last kilometres of the 104km mountain bike marathon, Brentjens
flatted and was overtaken by his teammate Martin Kraler, who gained a
minute. Yet, Brentjens regained Kraler and then beat the Austrian in the
final sprint. Brentjens said, "This is the Amstel Gold Race for mountain
bikers. In the sprint, I showed who was best. Kraler asked me to go together
over the finish, but thats not my mentality.
Comas crowns in Larch trials world cup
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish rider Daniel Comas won the fifth and final race of the UCI Trials
World Cup. Comas also took the 2006 individual overall title after dominating
his rivals, Poland's Rafal Kumorowski and the Spanish Carles Diaz Codina,
who finished second and third in the final general respectively.
On the women's side, Swiss Karin Moor won after taking control of the
world title. Mireia and Gemma Abant finished second and third, but they
did not dispute the claim by some that second and third ought to have
gone Frenchwoman Julie Pesenti and German Ann Christine Bettenhausen.
US Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships happening this weekend
Top American collegiate mountain bike racers will compete for the NCCA
Mountain Bike Championships Friday, October 20th through Sunday, October
22nd in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
The short track and mountain cross events happen on Friday. Saturday
will test the fitness and bike-handling skills of cross-country riders
on the technically demanding, ten-mile course which will wind through
the breathtaking hills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Competition
wraps up Sunday with the downhill, which drops 1,500 feet over rough volcanic
terrain in just under six minutes. Overall team and individual champions
will be crowned Sunday afternoon.
English downhill championships
English downhillers will head to Headon Plantation in Bratton for the
championship event to be held this weekend. First contested in 2005, the
English Downhill Championships was cancelled last year. After practicing
on Saturday, racers will do a seeding run to determine start order on
Sunday to determine starting order on the final run.
Bootes to attend Australian Mountain Cross Cup #1
Wade Bootes, fifth-ranked BMX racer worldwide and current mountain cross
champion, will attend this weekend's first round of the Australian Mountain
Cross Cup in Sydney Olympic Park. Bootes recently broke his collarbone
at World Championships Mountain Cross in Rotorua, New Zealand. Western
Sydney Mountain Bike Club and Mountain Biking Australia host the event.
Other riders expected to attend include Caroline Buchanan, third last
year and reigning mountain cross champion; Alex Lloyd, defending champion;
Luke Strom, Oceania Champion; Amiel Cavalier, last year's junior world
downhill winner; and Grace Ireland, defending women's champion.
Santa Cruz Team Syndicate happy with 2006 season.
Santa Cruz Syndicate wrapped up a successful season after achieving many
of its objectives set forth early in the year. The team climbed atop 42
podiums, and of the six UCI World Cup Downhill events and overall podiums,
Syndicate took ten spots.
Steve Pete and Nathan Rennie took first and fourth overall in the UCI
World Cup downhill. Rennie also earned the bronze medal, his first as
a senior, at the downhill world championships in Rotorua, New Zealand.
In a breakthrough year, Jamie Goldman won the indoor dirt jump competition
at the Kona Out of Bounds Weekend in Leogang, Austria, placing 1st in
the indoor dirt jump comp. After recovering from a broken hand mid-season,
he won the Red Bull VOZI BRE slopestyle in Belgrade, Serbia and the slopestyle
and dirt jump at Rock D'Azur, in Provence, France.
Klaus, Kramer win iXS German Downhill Cup finale
Marcus Klaus (Ghost) won the final German Downhill Cup last weekend in
front of several thousand spectators in Northwave Bike Park. The 1.7km
course dropped 220m. Antje Kramer (Giant) won the women's race.
Vink crowned as new Belgian downhill champion
An international field of racers took part in the open Belgian championships
downhill in Namur. Favorite Nico Vink (Dolphin) won the title ahead of
compatriot Christoff Lensens and German rider Nino Antic.
Yorkshire, here I come; the Keith Bontrager diary
My plan was about the same this year as it was last year - get up north
with a few days to ride, shake the air miles out, get used to the area
and the rocks, enjoy the weather and some fine ale, and get ready to race.
Other than new wheels, tires and a new handlebar set up, I had a new bike.
The bike I rode last year was an Empella with a 1" aluminum steerer. That
was a bit too flexible for the descents. I talked Zap out of a Trek XO
cross bike, and it was working well. I also added a layer of tape to the
bars the evening before the race to help soften the blows on my
blistered hands a little.
Descending one of the Dales.
Photo ©: Keith Bontrager
This year I hiked up the back of Whernside with some friends on the Saturday
before the race. This is the evil section of the course that has been
my undoing every year, so a preview would be good. Ray hadn't raced here
before and Julie didn't race last year, so it would be good for them to
see it up close and in all of its gory detail. It's a good hike, and it
was a sunny day so there were a lot of people taking advantage of the
The August rain they'd had there had eroded the dirt around the stones
in the trail, so they were a lot more prominent than they had been before.
Instead of wasting words on this I am including some shots of the rocks,
stones and scenic views of the fell for your enjoyment. It will give you
a good idea of how challenging this race is technically, and how beautiful
the area is. It was nice to get a chance to see it at a leisurely pace,
too - it's much tougher to enjoy it on race day, of course. Keep in mind
that it rained on Sunday and these were wet all the way down. It is the
north of England, you know.
For the full Keith
Bontrager diary, click here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)