MTB news & racing round-up for August 2, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Bishop comes into form at NMBS
Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) took top honours at the National Mountain
Bike Series (NMBS) round 5 event held last weekend in North Carolina.
The "Showdown at Sugar" was more like a showdown in mud, but
that didn't deter Bishop, who had finished second behind Adam Craig at
the wet and slippery USAC National Mountain Bike Championships cross country
event the previous weekend in Mount Snow, Vermont.
Jeremiah Bishop finished a strong
second at US Nationals
Photo ©: Chris Gardner
In the mountains of western North Carolina, 31 year-old Jeremiah Bishop
logged his third-ever NMBS win, and his first in 2007. He won the final
NMBS series event last year in Aspen, Colorado, and his first win came
in Waco, Texas, in 2004. This latest victory marked a return to form after
battling a mid-season illness; Bishop is aiming for a strong remainder
of 2007, during which he hopes to show himself one of the top American
contenders for the 2008 Olympic team.
"It was kind of a surprise. I didn't expect the win would be here
of all places - after I had a rough June," said Bishop, who sat out
both World Cups in Canada due to a respiratory illness. "While [Geoff]
Kabush was winning a bronze medal at Mont Ste. Anne, I was sitting in
bed. Last weekend [at US
Nationals in Mount Snow], I got second, but I felt like my legs weren't
really there yet."
The illness had only added to his motivation. "To look at the bright
side of the coin, I had planned on taking a mid-summer break anyway to
recharge. When you have to sit on a bench, it really drives home how much
you want to be out there racing and how much you really miss it and want
When national champion Adam Craig (Giant) charged off the start line
in North Carolina, Bishop knew he had to follow and not let him get away.
"The racing started right away. There was no drafting or sitting
on. I knew I had to mark Adam. I followed him. He was scorching the first
lap, and we immediately started to pull away from everyone."
At the top of the 1,300 foot climb, at an elevation of 5,100 feet, the
duo disappeared into the fog, getting ready for a slippery descent to
be negotiated during each of the six mile laps. "It rained in the
days prior to the race. The course was treacherous," said Bishop.
"The two main sections of singletrack were the hardest in the national
series so far this year, even harder than Mount Snow. It was nasty. There
were a lot of crashes. It made for some hair raising moments."
"We started the downhill. It was like octopus feet everywhere. I
could tell Adam was loving it," said Bishop. "I was trying not
to crash. We came through lap one near each other."
To read the complete feature, click
here. To check out full results from all categories and disciplines
of the Showdown at Sugar NMBS, click
US 24 Hour Nationals award solo and team endurance champions
Pua Sawicki (Team Mata)
Photo ©: Mark Moore
This year's men's podium at the USA Cycling 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike
National Championship looked familiar. Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) won,
with 20 laps and 285 miles ahead of Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) and
Mark Hendershot (Santa Cruz Syndicate) with 271 miles and 19 laps.
"Nat was pretty aggressive at the beginning of the race. He was
setting the pace," said Eatough. "He had a lead for the first
four hours, but never more than 90 seconds. I was sitting in second and
just working my rhythm. I caught him and we stayed pretty close for another
three or four hours. Then I started to pull away - I think my lap times
stayed more consistent than his during the middle part, during the night
None of the other men really challenged Ross and Eatough. "It was
a two man race from the early stages," said Eatough. His steady pace
paid off, and as Ross began to fatigue, Eatough passed him and eventually
opened a gap during the night.
"I knew I couldn't catch Chris and Nat. I just wanted to keep a
good lead over the rest of the field," said 43 year-old Hendershot.
"Heck, at my age I have to pace myself."
The weather was much more favorable this year, with moderate temperatures
and no major tornado-like storms. "The track was in great shape,"
said Hendershot. "That was really appreciated because it sure is
a long one."
Endurance specialist Pua Sawicki (Team MATA) took victory in the women's
race ahead of Rebecca Rusch and NUE Series Contender Danielle Musto. Sawicki
finished an amazing fourth overall.
Sawicki made up for 2006, when she was forced out of the national championships
after succumbing to injuries sustained in an earlier mountain bike accident.
She quickly built a three-minute advantage over second-place Rusch (Specialized/Red
Bull) in the first lap, and she never relinquished her lead.
For complete coverage of the 24 Hour National Championships, click
Eatough passes on 24 Hour Worlds for NUE Series
Chris Eatough (Trek / VW)
Photo ©: Mark Moore
Two days after being crowned US National 24 Hour Solo champion for the
fourth time, six-time 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Champion Chris
Eatough (Trek / VW) told Cyclingnews he would not attempt to re-capture
his title at the championships this year in California. Last year, Craig
Gordon (Cannondale) ended Eatough's six-year run as World Champion in
"I'm not doing the World Solo championships this year. I'm going
to finish up the 100 miler [National Ultra Endurance (NUE)] series and
the [final] Shenandoah race conflicts with the 24 Hour solo worlds,"
"Going to do the series is something I really wanted to do, so I'm
going to Shenandoah. I wanted to do something different this year. Then
I'm going do the 24 hours of Moab. I haven't done Moab in many years because
the 24 Hour Worlds have always conflicted or been too close. I've always
had to go to defend a title."
"This year I don't have a title to defend, so I don't have to go
to 24 Hour Worlds, and I'm really looking forward to doing the 24 Hours
Eatough is looking for a win at the Shenandoah Mountain 100. Although
he's won previously, last year's Shenandoah 100 was the only 100 miler
he has entered and not won. Team-mate Jeremiah Bishop took top honors
NUE #5 Wilderness 101 draws top talent
By Zayne Braun
Harlan Price won the 101 in 2006
Photo ©: Cathy DeSanto
The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series will make its fifth stop in
State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 4 for the Wilderness 101.
Professionals and first-time riders will challenge themselves on some
of central Pennsylvania's famed technical singletrack and topography.
It's shaping up to be a knockdown, drag-out slug fest for the leaders
with plenty of action anticipated in all fields.
Current series leader Chris Eatough (Trek/Volkswagen) will be racing
just one week after his a victory at the 24 Hour Solo National Championship.
The question is will he have recovered enough to take on some of his challengers
which will include last year's winner and defending NUE champion, Harlan
Price (Independent Fabrication), winner of the Breckenridge 100 (round
four in the NUE series) Josh Tostado (Giant/Smith/Redbull/Dakine/Michelin),
and last weekend's NMBS #5 cross country winner Jeremiah Bishop (Trek
The last time Eatough and Price met was in July at the Curse of Dark
Hollow 100 km race, just north of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in Michaux
State Forest. Price was able to take advantage of Eatough's minor mechanical
issue and ride an inspired race to put a little over seven minutes into
Eatough by the finish. Price will try to build on that momentum and keep
his winning trend going.
When asked how he would recover between the 24 hour solo nationals and
a 100 miler on back-to-back weekends, Eatough said, "I don't think
I've ever done it before to be honest. It's a new thing for me. I'll try
to rest and sleep as much as I can. I probably won't ride more than an
hour at a time this whole week. I really don't need any training this
Current NUE women's series leader Danielle Musto (Slingshot) will be
looking to continue her winning streak and extend her lead in the series,
but some other ladies will also be seeking the top podium spot. Carey
Lowrey (Outdoor Store) and Paula Figura (Founders Racing) are close behind
Musto in the series standings and hungry for a victory. Psuedo-local Michelle
Schneider (VisitPA.com) is on form and excited for her second Wilderness
101 experience. Schneider is fresh off victory last weekend at the 50
Rattling Miles in Lykens, Pennsylvania.
Several of State College's finest and fastest locals will be racing in
the Mt. Nittany Wheelworks kit: Chip Kogelmann, Rich Straub, Rich O'Neil,
Joe Gore, and Matt Ferrari. These boys are eager to put their local knowledge
to work and represent as the best local. VisitPA.com's Weston Schempf
will also be throwing his hat in the ring for his first 101.
Weather could be a deciding factor this weekend. The forecast calls for
temperatures in the mid to upper 90's, which would favor the racers used
to hot conditions. Staying hydrated and avoiding cramps will be top priority
for all competitors.
British amp up for weekend of 4X racing
The British National 4X Championships take place this weekend on August
4 on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean. The purpose built track winds
downhill from the top of a steep hill, to descend 300m.
Top contenders include Will Longdon defending champion from last year,
Scott Beaumont who took second at the Mount Ste. Anne World Cup, and Dale
Holmes, who's flying in from the US just for the event. Look out also
from some newer faces on the British 4X scene including Will Evans, Duncan
Ferris, Steve Atkins, Lewis Lacey, Steve Taylor, and Dan Yeomans.
Practice starts at noon with seeding at 3:00 pm and racing at 3:30 pm.
Racing then continues Sunday with Round 6 of the National 4X series in
Canadian cross-country team picked for World Championships
The Canadian Cycling Association selected riders for the cross-country
events at the 2007 Mountain Bike World Championships team, to be held
in Fort William, Scotland, on September 4-9. Thirteen athletes will compete
in the cross-country events in Fort William. The team relay will be chosen
on site by the head coach.
Junior men: Jeff Clarkson & Francis Morin
Junior women: Andréanne Pichette
U23 men: Max Plaxton, Neil Kindree, & Raphael Gagné
U23 women: Emily Batty
Elite men: Geoff Kabush, Seamus McGrath, & Ricky Federau
Elite women: Marie-Hélène Prémont, Kiara Bisaro,
& Catharine Pendrel
Team Staff: Sean ODonnell (Manager), Houshang Amiri (Head Coach),
Sébastien Travers (Assistant Coach), Cara Ewert (Doctor), Richard
Robinson (Chiropractor), Sylvie Raymond (Massage therapist), and Chad
Barb Howe diary: Heading for the hills
Headed for adventure
Photo ©: Barb Howe
This weekend it was back to my favorite swimming hole, back to the mountains
and the Downieville Classic. I've been fired up about this race since
I started riding again this past winter. This race is of the old school
epic variety--point to point with loads of climbing and descending in
I've also been excited to go back to my favorite swim hole in the Yuba
River. Friday morning my legs felt heavy and slow, so I cut my normal
prep ride in half. Sam, Rachel Lloyd's boyfriend joined me for the drive
up. He chose Downieville for his first cross country race and only owns
a single speed mountain bike. We stopped at Ikeda's in Auburn for fruits,
veggies and cookies before heading into the mountains. I bought a bag
of the best nectarines ever. No joke, these were like eating pure ambrosia
straight off the dessert cart on Mt. Olympus. They were much better than
the cookies, and I have a terrible fondness for cookies.
Photo ©: Barb Howe
Next stop was the swimming hole on the Yuba and not a moment too soon,
the heat was starting to make me cranky. The water was still cool and
clear and this time Sam and I did a bit of exploring down river. We could
float from pool to pool in deeper rapids or get out of the water and hop
along sun baked granite boulders when the rapids were too shallow. Sometimes
I'd spot trout circling the deeper pools, other times my swimming disturbed
water bugs flitted across the surface on their endless aquatic travails.
We finally made it to our forested campsite in the early evening and met
up with Rachel just in time for dinner.
Saturday was clear and sunny, what better way to start a race. The race
starts up a long steady grade on a paved road that turns into a gravel
road then into a loose rocky road. It's a mass start event--all pro's,
singlespeeds, and experts start at the same time. I pushed up as far as
possible trying to keep an eye on the other female competitors. I can't
remember if there was a whistle, a gunshot or just some one yelling go,
but the group surged forward, stopped, surged and stopped again before
we really got rolling. This seemed a prudent time to move up as quickly
as possible to avoid later traffic jams and people stopping on the hill
in front of you.
To read the complete diary, click
Trek and Gary Fisher aim to retake piece of mountain bike pie
By Sue George
Gary Fisher Superfly
Photo ©: Sterling Lorence
After (perhaps a few too many) years of basking in the 'Lance era', US
bicycle monolith Trek and dedicated MTB division Gary Fisher refocuses
its attention to the mountain bike world with new ideas and innovations
for the 2008 model year. Cyclingnews headed to Sun Valley, Idaho,
to sample the company's newest wares.
Inasmuch the Trek Madone was inspired and shaped by Lance Armstrong
and his United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, many
of the 2008 mountain bikes from Trek and Gary Fisher are heavily influenced
by their sponsored racers. No longer content to just react to the actions
of its competitors, Trek now intends to portray itself as a trendsetter
and is using the experience of those riders to help hone its range. The
new lineups from Trek and Gary Fisher include a heavily revamped Fuel
and expanded 69er offerings from Trek and a wealth of 29" bikes from
early big wheel adopter Gary Fisher.
Gary Fisher continues to win over racers to the 29" cause
Gary Fisher Hi Fi
Photo ©: Sterling Lorence
"Anything we do with two-niners flows through product manager [and
semi-retired pro racer] Travis [Brown] on the R&D side and Nat Ross
on the race side," said Aaron Mock, Brand Manager for Gary Fisher.
"[Pros] Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger are both racing
Brown and Ross were already 29" wheel converts (with Brown being
more of a 'half convert' with his preferred '69' format), but winning
over Horgan-Kobelski and Irmiger required a more convincing argument,
especially given Irmiger's decidedly diminutive size. Gary Fisher has
demonstrated its commitment to making the alternative wheel format a viable
option for the die-hard racing crowd for 2008 with an all-new carbon fiber
29er hardtail aptly named 'Superfly'.
Gary Fisher claims the Superfly is not only lightweight at just 1229g
for a medium frame, but also delivers ample drivetrain and torsional rigidity
to match its impressive showing at the scale. According to Gary Fisher,
the Superfly derives its stiffness from key design evolutions that include
a carefully engineered lay-up schedule in its new all-carbon frame, larger
head tube junctions courtesy of a semi-integrated headset, asymmetric
chain stays, a wider and flatter down tube underside near the bottom bracket,
a beefier-looking reinforced seat cluster design, and a return to a wider
73mm bottom bracket shell.
To read the complete tech feature, click
Dirt Sweat and Gears plans for another year
The organizers of Dirt Sweat & Gears, a 12 hour endurance race which
celebrated its inaugural running this spring, are already planning for
next year. Notable for 2007, the race offered a US$10,000 purse, split
equally between men and women. It also offered the richest singlespeed
purse in the US.
The second annual event will happen May 3, 2008, and organizers will
cap entries. Registration opened August 1, 2007.
"We're limiting the field this year because the goal is to keep
the race challenging and competitive while keeping things running smoothly
on-course," said Race Director Clay Higgins.
Already committed, Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) said, "Talk
about Southern Hospitality at its finest. I'm already signed up for next
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)