MTB news & racing round-up for April 25, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to firstname.lastname@example.org
and results, reports & photos to email@example.com.
Edited by Sue George
Surprise winners take cross country World Cup opener
China's Ren Chengyuan wins her first World Cup
By Rob Jones
Ren Chengyuan (China National team),
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The first cross country round of the 2007 UCI World Cup in Houffalize,
Belgium, brought together top riders from all parts of the globe and provided
a glimpse of who's going fast early. The international season opener brought
some new and different faces to the podium's top step in the men's and
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Ren Chengyuan, a Chinese woman who beat
the almost unbeatable Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida). Over
the past few years, the Chinese women have been steadily climbing the
ranks on the world circuit, and Chengyuan showed she has reached the top.
Her teammate Jingjing Wang also finished fifth - an indication that the
Chinese women will have a strong and deep team going into their home-turf
Olympics in 2008 in Beijng.
Marga Fullana (Spiuk-Tau Ceramica), reveling in the heat, the climbs
and the lack of technical sections, bolted off the front in the women's
four lap race. She was marked by Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida),
Ren Chengyuan (China) and Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Haywood),
the two-time World Cup winner last year in her first race so far this
Fullana and Dahle-Flesjaa traded places the first few laps, with Chengyuan
just a few seconds behind. Sabine Spitz (Ghost international) was chasing
solo at one minute, with Premont dropping back. By the start of the final
circuit, Dahle-Flesjaa and Chengyuan had caught and dropped the Spanish
rider. Spectators were witnessing something unusual - Dahle-Flesjaa was
not out on her own, cruising to another victory. The duo came through
the final corner onto the finishing straight with Chengyuan a few metres
in front of a disappointed world champion. Chengyuan crossed the line
first, with a small smile and raising her arms briefly to mark her historic
"Second is not too bad at a World Cup," noted Dahle-Flesjaa.
"The problem is that people expect me to always win, and that is
not possible. I did my best, I had to fight all day for this position.
It is not surprising to me that the Chinese riders did so well here because
they get better and better every year."
Hermida sets up for strong 2007
A jubilant Jose Hermida
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Although World and World Cup champion Julien Absalon was the clear favorite
going into the World Cup opener, another rider would stand on the top
step of the podium, José Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida).
After local Belgian favourite and former Houffalize winner Roel Paulissen
(Cannondale-Vredestein) suffered a mechanical that would drop him from
an initial leading spot to an ultimate fourth place, Hermida, Absalon
and perennial fast starter Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale-Vredestein)
soon separated themselves from the rest of the field.
Hermida had 30 seconds advantage over Absalon by lap two and 45 seconds
by the end of lap three. Absalon caught him back, when Hermida had a stuck
chain and later had to pull his bike from underneath the lead moto after
it crashed and took out Hermida, too.
"When I looked at my bike, it was under the moto, so I thought that
was it, but the spectators pulled the moto off my bike and it was okay,"
said Hermida, who did not give up and attacked Absalon on the downhills,
eventually opening a gap he would hold until the end.
Hermida said, "I didn't expect to win today, it was the sort of
day you always dream of having, and to have it here in Houffalize - I
have always dreamed of winning here, so words cannot properly describe
Read full coverage, including a detailed report, photos, and full results
for the men's
World Cup race.
Cohutta 100 kicks off National Ultra-Endurance Series
By Sue George
Six time 24 Hours of Adrenalin
solo world champ
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
Not many 100 mile (161 km) races come down to a sprint finish, but that's
exactly what happened in the women's race at the Cohutta 100, the first
100 mile race of the seven-race National Ultra-Endurance (NUE) Series
held on Saturday, April 21.
After more than 8.5 hours of racing, Danielle Musto (Slingshot) outsprinted
Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store). Her margin of victory was only two seconds
or about the diameter of a wheel. Musto had been leading the race for
nearly the last 35 miles when she was caught from behind by Lowery. The
two women have raced against each other before - twice last year, Lowery
won and once Musto won, so Musto knew she was in for a tough fight.
"It was one of the best finishes ever. There was a climb, everyone
was screaming for us. I won by a wheel length. I've never had to sprint
for a finish in my life, let alone at the end of 100 miles. It made it
that much better," said Musto.
On the men's side, experienced 24 hour endurance races contested a relatively
short race. Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) won the men's race ahead of Tinker
Eatough initially pulled away from his competition in the early singletrack
section of the race, but on the road, a small group eventually formed
and caught him. That group included racers like Juarez and Brandon Draugelis
(Bare Naked / Cannondale). Eatough later attacked and got away for good
around the midpoint of the race.
"It was the fastest 100 mile mountain bike race," said Eatough
referring to the quick times. He finished in 6:45:42. "I rode a lot
of it by myself. I probably rode eight miles at beginning and middle with
small groups. The rest of it, I did by myself."
Eatough finished about fifteen minutes ahead of Juarez, but he never
knew the full magnitude of his gap, so he had to push the entire distance.
"I knew it was a least a minute and a half because of places I could
see back on the climbs, but beyond that I didn't know," said Eatough,
who rode with confidence and good fortune, meaning no mechanicals, to
Click here for full results
and report. Look for both Eatough and Musto at several of the other upcoming
NUE series races. The next event is the Mohican 100 on June 2.
Test race set for World championship cross country course
Women start at 2006 Fort William
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The third round of the Scottish Cross Country Series, to be held May
19 - 20 in Leanachan Forest, Fort William, will be the official test event
for the new course built specifically for the upcoming 2007 UCI World
Mountain Bike Championships scheduled for September 3 - 9.
A one lap time trial will be held Saturday, May 19, and a cross country
race with a C2 classification will let Worlds hopefuls not only preview
the course under race conditions, but also earn some UCI points at the
The course features 4km of new singletrack, built by the Forestry Commission
Scotland as part of the Witch's Trail network.
For details, go to www.sxc.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UCI mountain bike rankings updated
The UCI updated mountain bike rankings on April 24. Current standings
for cross country, downhill, four cross, and marathon disciplines are
listed below. The rankings are particularly important for cross country
as they will determine the number of starting spots for each country at
the 2008 Olympics as well as individual selections to national Olympic
teams for many countries.
1 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) 390 pts
2 Jade Zoli (Ita) 380
3 Geoff Kabush (Can) 375
4 Julien Absalon (Fra) 320
5 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) 300
1 Australia 777 pts
2 Spain 667
3 Canada 659
4 France 626
5 United States 599
1 Cannondale-Vredestein 723 pts
2 Dolphin Bike Team 661
3 Orbea 624
4 ASD KTM International Team 547
5 Multivan Merida Biking Team 423
1 Sabine Spitz (Ger) 370 pts
2 Ren Chengyuan (Chn) 360
3 Georgia Gould (USA) 340
4 Mary McConneloug (USA) 334
5 Margarita Fullana (Spa) 310
1 United States 864 pts
2 China 790
3 New Zealand 712
4 Australia 640
5 Chile 626
1 Luna Women's MTB Team 562 pts
2 Ghost International Racing Team 450
3 Halls Professional MTB Team 405
4 Subaru - Gary Fisher 391
5 Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 351
1 Oscar Yunge (Chi) 240 pts
2 Nathan Rennie (Aus) 240
3 Sam Hill (Aus) 235
4 Markolf Berchtold (Bra) 220
5 Jared Rando (Aus) 190
1 Veronica Mirando (Chi) 350 pts
2 Scarlett Hagen (NZl) 280
3 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) 280
4 Amy Laird (NZl) 202
5 Diana Marggraff (Ecu) 200
1 Alex Lloyd (Aus) 310 pts
2 Juan Fernando Franco Navarro (Col) 200
3 Luke Strom (Aus) 180
4 Jared Rando (Aus) 165
5 Cristian Araya (Chi) 150
1 Caroline Buchanan (Aus) 310 pts
2 Sarsha Huntington (Aus) 210
3 Maria Belen Dutto (Arg) 200
4 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) 150
5 Patricia Roxo (Bra) 150
1 Hectro Leonardo Paez Leon (Col) 250 pts
2 Thomas Dietch (Fra) 200
3 Alban Lakata (Aut) 176
4 Marzio Deho (Ita) 160
5 Roman Peter (Sui) 146
1 Pia Sundstedt (Fin) 250 pts
2 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 200
3 Fabienne Heinzmann (Sui) 162
4 Helene Marcouyre (Sui) 160
5 Esther Suss (Sui) 140
NMBS Round #2 heads to Santa Barbara
Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) won NMBS
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Round #2 of the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) continues this weekend,
April 27-29, at the Ted Chamberlin Cattle Ranch and the Firestone Vineyard
in Santa Barbara County, California.
It will be the eighth annual Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Mountain Bike
Classic, but the first time the event is part of the NMBS. History buffs
may recall that the first-ever NMBS race was held in Santa Barbara, in
1983, when the series was known as the NORBA National Championship Series.
NMBS points are offered for the cross country, the short track, and the
Super D, but not for the downhill, although that event will still be contested.
Pros including Krista Park (Team Colavita/Sutter Home) and Barry Wicks
(Kona Factory Team) will make their way to the event. Wicks won last year's
pro men's cross country event and he scored an eighth place at NMBS #1
in Arizona one month ago. The NMBS points will draw a larger and more
competitive field than in previous years.
Greenbriar ready as path to US Nationals
Katie Compton (Spike) will head
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
The USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are coming to the
East Coast for the first time since becoming a one-race event July 17-22
at Mount Snow in Vermont. To get to nationals, racers must qualify at
pre-selected events which are limited to state championship races, AMBC
races, Mountain Bike National Calendar races, USA Cycling Junior Development
Camps, Alison Dunlap Junior Olympic Mountain Bike Series races, and the
2006 national championships.
One such opportunity to get to nationals will happen at the Greenbriar
State Park in Maryland on April 29. The long-running race will serve as
the Maryland state championships at which the top 15 licensed finishers
in every age category will automatically qualify for Nationals. Given
that only a few East Coast races provide qualifying opportunities and
Maryland is centrally located in the populous mid-Atlantic region, the
race will likely draw large fields.
Look for a collection of pro racers to make a strong showing, too. Greenbriar
is awarding UCI Points, which will determine Olympic starting spots for
each nation. Furthermore, UCI points will be the primary factor in selecting
individuals to the US Olympic Long Team at the end of 2007.
Already confirmed are Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW), highest placed American
at a World Championships in over a decade at the 2006 World Championships,
former Olympian and multi-time national cycling champion Todd Wells (GT),
perennial front-runner Sue Haywood (Trek / VW), and recent Sea Otter Classic
short track winner and Katie Compton (Spike), who took second place in
the World Cyclo-cross Championships in early 2007.
Leading up to the event, organizers were reporting record-breaking pre-registration
numbers. "We already have 197 entries with nearly two weeks to go
before the race," said the race's publicist Ken Getchell. The race
will award over $10,000 in prizes.
24 Solo premieres at Sea Otter
By Sue George
In conjunction with a weekend of cycling at the Sea Otter Classic, Gripped
Films hosted the world premiere of its newest film, 24 Solo at the historic
Golden State Theatre in downtown Monterey. The cast and crew attended
the Friday night showing along with many top past and current racers and
industry representatives like Gary Fisher.
24 Solo follows six-time 24 Hour Solo World Champion Chris Eatough
(Trek VW) on his quest for a seventh consecutive title. En route, travels
take him to places like China and Wisconsin where he logs two victories
before heading to the world title race. At the championship race in Conyers,
Georgia, five cameras capture the action. Eatough and Australian Craig
Gordon (Cannondale) push themselves to near life-threatening exhaustion.
The film, set to a soundtrack by composer Haik Naltchayan, gives insight
into the very intense but thorough support team of Eatough and in particular,
Eatough's relationship with lead crew coordinator and close friend Jon
Posner. Riders narrate the chain of events at the title race that ends
up with one of the two protagonists hospitalized with severe blood poisoning.
Most cyclists never have a chance to be movie stars, but Eatough handled
his new role with aplomb. He and wife Alison got a red carpet welcome
into the theatre on preview night, complete with many flashing cameras,
but nothing really prepares you for seeing yourself on the big screen.
"It was a strange experience. It was something I appreciate and
enjoy because it's so unique, but it's definitely something I'm not used
to," said a humble Eatough.
"The movie was real. It was how it went down. I don't think they
missed anything." said Eatough who indicated that seeing his lost
epic battle for seventh title played out in great detail for the general
public wasn't upsetting. "Obviously I've gone over things many times
myself already. It didn't affect me too much to see it on the screen."
24 Solo was produced by Gripped Films, who was also behind Off Road to
Athens, a documentary about several mountain bikers' attempts to make
the 2004 US Olympic team.
Stay tuned for a full review coming soon on Cyclingnews.
Sevenvision's Monterey opening
A second film, this one called Sevenvision, premiered one evening after
24 Solo at the Sea Otter festival. The movie, produced by CUT in
conjunction with DH Productions, follows the team's inaugural season as
riders travel the globe, all following their passion to ride.
Sevenvision is produced and directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Don
Hampton and co-directed by front man Aaron Chase. Chase is joined by fellow
cast members Mick Hannah, Carlo Dieckmann, Wayne Goss, Chris Van Dine,
Christopher Hatton and George Ryan.
The film was shot on location in Utah, New Jersey, New York, California,
Pennsylvania, Colorado, British Columbia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain,
United Kingdom, and Austria.
Ridley Factory Cyclo-cross Team announced
Ok, so it's not exactly mountain biking, but we're still talking about
mud and dirt in a growing form of off-road racing.
The Ridley Factory team is busy planning for the 2007-2008 cyclo-cross
season. Formerly known as the Alan Factory Team, the Minneapolis-based
squad has announced it will be led by 2007 'cross world championship team
members Bjorn Selander, Nick Weighall, and Jerome Townsend
The fifth-year team has forged a new alliance with Ridley Bikes, but
management stays the same with Paul Schoening, President of GSG-USA (Custom
Bike Wear) as Team Director. Dag Selander will serve as Team Manager and
Five elite racers will contest the USGP circuit, major UCI events across
the US, and the nationals in Kansas City, Missouri. Several members also
plan to race in Europe in preparation for the 2008 world championships
in Treviso, Italy. However, the team will also continue to field a grass
roots squad. Interested racers or potential sponsors should contact the
team at email@example.com.
Mary & Mike diary: Going far South
Hola! Greetings from Chile.
Here is a recap of our 20-day trip to South America for our official
season opener, the Pan American Championships. We flew into Santiago,
Chile, rented a dated four-door, short bed truck and drove it over 3,000km
to the Patagonian region of Chile and Argentina. Our main priority was
going well at this critical race, but after a little research, we decided
that this was a great opportunity for some epic travels.
March 1 - Getting there
Does this Chilean bike shop
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
We arrived in Santiago, pretty worked over from 25 hours of buses, planes,
and layovers. Still we felt as if this were more of a chance to rest when
compared to the previous weeks of careful outlining, planning, and logistics.
We were committing to packing everything necessary for our three weeks
in South America followed by a week in Puerto Rico for an C1 race and
finally a week in Arizona for the first NORBA (Technically speaking, this
was NMBS #1 - ed.) national. We are not super picky with foods, so we
didn't have to haul five weeks of soy milk or anything, but it is amazing
how much equipment and supplies are necessary for training and racing
abroad the "right way." Even though Mike brought nylon strapping
to substitute for a bike stand and a sturdy road frame pump in place of
the heavier but oh so much nicer floor pump, it still cost us around $200
in excess baggage charges just to get it all on the plane.
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
Communicating in Espanol, just off the red-eye was a colorful experience.
I pried my tired brain for vocabulary. Getting directions out of the city
from the rental car agent with charades brought the humbling realization
that I was going to have to study my Spanish dictionary more. We got it
all worked out after a few wrong turns that offered us an unplanned tour
of this hectic city. It was just enough of a peek to make us feel really
good about deciding to drive on rather than follow our cravings to go
the nearest hotel and to sleep.
We had done enough preliminary research to find a quiet town that would
be the perfect place to rest, build the bikes, and get in some all important
training in the week leading up to the race. Pichilemu, a small town on
the coast known for its epic surf and quiet back country feel did
not disappoint. Although it is only about 300 km away from Santiago, a
bit of being lost, overtired, and driving on back roads made our trip
a long seven hours. We were both pushing our limits to be cheerful by
this point, but happily made it to "Pichi" just before dark.
To read the complete diary entry, click
Chris Davidson diary: Off to the races
The author gets to work
Photo ©: Chris Davidson
Well now that the off-season is over, it is time to head to the races.
Convenient for me is the fact that the team that I have been coordinating
all the off-season frame and parts selection for [Kenda/X-Fusion/Titus],
happens to have its frame sponsor [Titus] in the same town as the first
race of the NMBS calendar. So while parts started to accumulate at my
house over the winter, some of it had to be forwarded to Titus, so I could
assemble the last remaining bikes before the first event.
I am fortunate in that I have a close friend now working at Titus, Foye
Troute, from my days at Shimano. Foye and I worked together for three
years doing the Multi-Service support work at mountain bike races, and
now he is the inventory and QC manager at Titus, and this would be the
first opportunity that I would have to see him since Interbike last year.
I flew to Phoenix on Wednesday morning and went straight from the airport
to Titus to get working on some assembly. Titus has amazing facility in
Tempe where the bulk of the work takes place in building their legendary
Ti and Exogrid ti/carbon frames. During my time there I got to take a
look around and see the creation of their proprietary ti/carbon tubing
and the welding of frames. It was interesting to find out that Titus'
parent company, Vyatech Sports, uses the Exogrid and Isogrid technologies
for many other sports applications, I saw ti/carbon golf shafts, sailing
booms and softball bats while there.
After all the show-and-tell, there was work to be done, namely building
bikes for the weekend's races. Each rider on Kenda/X-Fusion/Titus gets
a custom ti Exogrid hardtail, and Racer-X dual suspension and an Oseo
carbon Isogrid road bike.
To read the complete diary, click
Whiskey Off-Road returns to Arizona
More than 600 riders are expected to converge at the Fourth Annual Whiskey
Off-Road kicks on May 19 for a 25 or 50 Proof race or a 15 Proof fun ride
in the 1.25 million acre Prescott National Forest. The "Proof"
theme pays homage to the infamous Whiskey Row element of downtown Prescott,
Arizona, an entire city block of watering hole type of establishments;
a "proof" in this case represents one mile (1.6km).
Among those attending will be Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Keith
Bontrager and endurance pro racer Mike Janelle (Tokyo Joe's/X-Fusion Shox),
who won the four-person division of the 2006 Race Across America.
"The Prescott National Forest has been very supportive of mountain
biking, and this is helping make Prescott a destination mountain bicycling
community, with all the economic benefits that accrue," said Todd
Sadow, president of Epic Rides, Inc., the event's organizer. "We're
pleased to be a part of showcasing the great trails and friendly community
For more information, visit www.epicrides.com.
E100 is alive and kicking
Race organizers dispelled rumors of the demise of Endurance 100, scheduled
for August 25 in Park City, Utah. The 100 mile solo race also offers 100km
and 50 mile distance options. Due to major construction projects at the
resorts, the race course will look different this year, but organizers
promised it will be "just as challenging."
To hone their endurance, two other area races are being held: The 12
Hours of Endurance on June 23 and The E100 Team relay and 50 Mile Solo
Race on July 21. For more information, visit http://www.thee100.com/.
Blue Ridge Triple Threat Series continues
Many Virginians competed in the first of three races in the Blue Ridge
Triple Threat series near Charlottesville on Sunday, April 22. The event
was held at the Blue Ridge School, where local students had logged many
hours building trails for their school's team and the race.
The final two races in the three-race series will be the O'hill Meltdown
in Charlottesville on April 29 and the Chimney Challenge at Walnut Creek
Park on May 20. Proceeds benefit the World Bicycle Relief, an organization
dedicated to providing access to independence and livelihood through the
power of bicycles to help with disaster relief and healthcare mobilization.
For more information, visit www.cvilleracing.org/Triple_Threat.html.
Granogue race to benefit cancer research
The "Escape from Granogue in Honor of Andrew Mein" mountain
bike race, to be held in Montchanin, Deleware on May 20, will raise money
for the HERA Women's Cancer Foundation through Team Bury the Dragon. Specifically,
fund raised will be directed to the gynecological cancer research.
Held on a private estate, the race will feature a course with many technical
sections. A marathon race option will be available for those who want
to go the extra miles. For more information, visit http://www.racegranogue.com.
Philadelphians "Rally in the Valley"
The Philadelphia Mountain Biking Association, in cooperation with the
Fairmont Park Commission and the Friends of the Wissahickon will be hosting
the first annual Rally in the Valley on April 28, a day of mountain biking
in the Wissahickon section of Fairmont Park to raise money and awareness
for ongoing trail preservation efforts.
Wissahickon has been previously cited as a success story by IMBA; mountain
bikers have worked for years with other types of users of the park and
park administration to preserve and legitimize mountain bike access. A
campaign is underway to re-construct many older, unsustainable trails
to better server all users.
The Rally in the Valley is not a race, but a ride on any of three courses.
Half of the proceeds will be donated to the Friends of the Wissahickon
to support their long term effort to repair, maintain and rebuild the
trails. This event will serve as an opportunity to educate cyclists who
use the park about rules, trail conditions, and how they can volunteer
throughout the year. For more information and directions, visit www.phillymtb.com
or contact David Haberstroh at david.Haberstroh@Verizon.net.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)