MTB news & racing round-up for August 11, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Behind the NMBS scenes
There are so many acronyms in mountain biking that even the pro racers can't
keep them all straight; however, "NMBS" is worth remembering since
it represents the highest profile national series of off-road races and
the majority of the UCI points-awarding mountain bike events in the US.
The series' races comprise the meat of most major domestic teams' programs
and are also part of the USA Cycling National Mountain Bike Calendar.
Photo ©: Sue George
Jeff Frost is main man behind Blue Wolf Events, the company that now
owns and runs the NMBS. He's based in Salt Lake City, Utah, but his first
taste of the national series came back East.
Frost started his racing career in the Maine mountain bike series. "I
started as a sport and then won and upgraded to expert," said Frost.
"I raced expert for four to five years in New England."
"My first national series experience was in the expert race at Mount
Snow. I just loved it: the music, sounds, competition, and the caliber
of the competition. It was great to race the guys from all over the nation.
It sold me on the value of the national series as a racer."
"I was working in the ski business and riding in the summer. The
ski business was figuring out how to keep people employed year-round.
I ended up going into management with something I love. For me, it was
mountain biking because I raced mountain bikes. The ski resorts embraced
the sport, starting in 1989, at Sunday River Ski resort in Bethel, Maine.
We began lift serviced mountain biking in the summer. I ran the New England
Mountain Bike Series called Trail 66 for years."
"From my race experience, I learned what I liked about events and
what I didn't. I started promoting very grass roots events and working
my way up."
In a way, you could say Frost graduated to his current position as NMBS
director. "I ran many world cups at Mount Snow. I started with the
national series about eight years ago as a crew person - banners, signage,
technical director stuff. I've grown with the series as it's grown to
the point where I own the property."
When not running the NMBS, Frost spends time working for the Sea Otter
Classic. "I've been director of athlete services. I run all the competitive
events. It's one of my most satisfying experiences. That's my other hat
that I wear."
"In this business, it's difficult to make a living off of one event.
You try to put your skill set to use at a bunch of different events. I'm
working with the Danskin women's triathlon series and am working to develop
an event for the city of San Jose, California."
"I've had to learn the business side. It's been hard for me. I've
had to learn that you don't always have the resources available to do
all the things that the athletes want you to do."
To read the complete feature, including all about the NMBS, click
NMBS Finals head to Snowmass
Georgia Gould at the St. Felicien
World Cup (Luna Womens MTB Team)
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmüller
The National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) will wrap up with its seventh
and final round on August 10-12 in Snowmass Village, Colorado.
Unlike the last round, held at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina, July 26-29,
where wet course conditions helped shake up the overall standings in several
disciplines, Snowmass is likely to provide a different kind of advantage
to some competitors: high altitude (8,140 feet / 2,428 m) and dry conditions.
The one discipline whose overall podium looks set going into the finals
is the cross country, which will see a 13 mile (20.9 km) loop with 3,500
feet (1,067 m) of climbing per lap. The pros will complete 1.5 laps of
the demanding course, covering roughly 20 miles (32.1 km) and 7,000 feet
(2134 m) of climbing.
At Sugar Mountain, Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW) showed great form to hold
of the powerful Canadian champion, Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) and win
the race. Last weekend, Bishop showed his form extends to long distances,
too, by winning the Wilderness 101. At Snowmass, regardless of his result,
Kabush is likely to emerge as the series champion with a commanding 718
points from his four best results. The 2005 US national champion Jeremy
Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) lies second in the series, with 681
points from his best four races, but that will not likely be enough to
surpass Kabush. However, look for a strongly motivated Horgan Kobelski
as he will be racing in his home state.
2006 women's national champion Georgia Gould (Luna) has reigned supreme
in the 2007 National Mountain Bike Series, winning all five races she
has entered so far. Gould's experienced team-mate, Shonny Van Landingham
lies second in the series, while ex-pat Czech Katerina Nash, now living
in California, completes a Luna Women's team domination of the top three
spots. Expect to see VanLandingham and Nash, both with a history of strong
high-altitude performances, make the most of the thin air of Snowmass.
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
Downhillers will race a new course this year that features a mix of high-speed
open sections and narrow, tree-lined singletrack. Australians Jared Rando
(Giant/Michelin) and Amiel Cavalier (Giant), have dominated the downhill
series, and in all likelihood it will come down to a two-man race. However,
recently crowned US national champion, Cole Bangert (Morewood) took full
points at Sugar Mountain and will be looking to rock and roll in his home
The consistent riding of Melissa Buhl (KHS) has left her with three wins
and an almost unassailable position in the series lead. Second and third
places are wide open. Lisa Myklak (Leelikesbikes.com) and last year's
series champion, Joanna Petterson (Brodie) are separated by just 13 points
separate these two entering the final round.
To read the complete preview, including all events, click
TransRockies heads in new direction
By Paul Done
Racers gather at the start
Photo ©: TransRockies
In 2007, the TransRockies Challenge will reverse its traditional northerly
direction, and will travel south for the first time. After starting on
August 12 at Panorama Mountain Resort in the rugged Purcell Ranges of
the Rockies, the 600 participants from 25 countries will face 600km of
riding with 12,000 metres of climbing over the course of seven epic days
before finishing in the historic downtown of Fernie on August 18. During
the week on their bike, the nearly 300 teams of two riders will travel
through the 3,000m peaks and steep valleys of the spectacular Kootenay
"We're really excited to have the finish line in Fernie this year,"
said TransRockies Event Director Aaron McConnell. "They were one
of the first, and have been one of the greatest, supporters of the race.
As our start line for the first five years, they have seen the event quadruple
in size as it has grown from an idea to become one of the monuments of
Four riders ride amongst a backdrop
Photo ©: TransRockies
Unlike most other endurance events, the athletes of the TransRockies
Challenge spend the full duration of the event together -- whether on
their bikes, or eating, sleeping and recuperating in the moving rider
village which is built and staffed by a dedicated crew of staff and volunteers.
The entire infrastructure to support the 1,000 racers, crew members and
friends is moved in, built and moved in an enormous feat of logistics.
The crew work first thing in the morning and deep into the night, preparing
meals, fixing bikes, marking the course, setting up and tearing down tents,
and doing the hundred other things necessary for the smooth operation
of the event.
To read the complete preview, click
Brentjens uncertain for marathon worlds following crash
Bart Brentjens' participation at the UCI's Marathon World Championships
this weekend is in question. The Dutch rider broke the head of a metacarpal
bone in his right hand after crashing while training in the Belgian Ardennes.
The Team Dolphin rider crashed on a descent when his front wheel suddenly
Brentjens received treatment and a brace at the Geldrop hospital in The
Netherlands, and his bike is being repaired. "But only he can decide
whether or not he's able to ride on Sunday." said team manager Ralf
Hoping fill in a gap in his impressive collection of titles, Brentjens
had hoped to contest for a win in Verviers. He's previously finished second
and third at the marathon worlds.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage of the UCI Marathon
World Championships this weekend.
Barrel's injury makes worlds downhill questionable
Fabien Barrel (Kona) crashed and injured himself just a few weeks before
the world championships in Fort William, Scotland. His participation and
level of performance at Worlds depend on a speedy recovery and are in
"After the race in Crankworx, I stayed an extra two days to ride
and enjoy the tracks at Whistler," said Barrel. "But on the
last day, two hours before leaving, I came around a corner and two riders
were stopped in the middle of the track. I went off the track to avoid
hitting them, and when I tried to get back, a rock on the path made me
fly out to the other side and onto a bank.
"My right foot hit hard and I broke three of the metatarsal bones.
This week can take up to eight weeks to recover, but Worlds are in five."
"The doctors and I agreed to try a three week cast with one week
for therapy to get back on the bike for Worlds. The odds are tough, but
I am 100% committed to do everything reasonable to make this happen. Adapting
to these situations and coming out strong is part of the job."
IMBA warns of possible Continental Divide Trail bike ban
The Forest Service is advocating a new directive that would limit or
even prohibit bike access on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), which
runs the length of the US, from Montana to New Mexico. Some anti-bike
groups have embraced the move.
A statement from IMBA explains the Forest Service's actions, "The
CDT is currently managed under guidelines from an outdated 1985 Comprehensive
Plan and the agency believes it's time to update that document by clearing
up any ambiguity regarding the purpose of the trail and its allowed uses.
As part of this effort, the Forest Service is focusing on a hiking and
The CDT includes the famous Monarch Crest, many sections of the Colorado
Trail, well-known Steamboat Springs singletrack, trails around Butte and
Helena and much more.
It is a 3,100-mile shared-use route from Canada to Mexico, traversing
scenic high-elevation terrain. Unlike other long distance trails such
as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, mountain biking is
currently permitted on the CDT in most non-Wilderness areas and has occurred
on some sections for 25 years. About 70% of the route is completed.
IMBA has called concerned mountain bikers to action by filing comments
with the Forest Service, spreading the word, and encouraging riders local
to the trail to become involved in caring for it. For more information,
Unhinged movie set for release
Unhinged, the latest addition to the Anti Gravity series, will
be released on August 20. The film captures top mountain bikers in action
all over the globe.
Unhinged isn't a film about freeride or downhill, it's a film
about mountain bikers and flat out riding. It features some of the biggest
names in the sport such as Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Fabien Barel, Mickael
Pascal, Damien Spagnolo, and Matti Lehikoinen. Other riders making appearances
include Andrew Neethling, Jonty Neethling, Ben Reid, Oscar Saiz, David
Vazquez Lopez, Marc Beaumont, Neil Donoghue, Thomas Braithwaite, Bob Jones,
Ralph Jones, Grant Fielder, Lance McDermott, Chris Smith, Jim Davage and
The film was shot in South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Austria,
and all over Great Britain. It will be distributed worldwide by Xtreme
video and Video Action Sports and will be available at bike shops. For
more info, visit www.unhingedthemovie.com.
Gran Canaria cleans up trails after fire
Organizers of the marathon and world cup on Gran Canaria Island report
that several forest fires have been overcome. Team Canary-Bike.com and
other locals are working to clean up the damage.
"First of all, we will form a group of volunteers that works in
close collaboration with the forest and environmental authorities to clean
up our forests," explained marathon organiser Petra Wonisch. The
"Ciclistas Solidarias" group consists mainly of friends and
participants of the Open Gran Canaria mountain bike marathon. "Of
course, anyone who wants to help is welcome. Our activity will start in
September when all necessary actions have been thoroughly coordinated."
In the fall, organizers will announce whether and how the marathon route
has to be adjusted. "We want to work closely with our forest and
environmental authorities to determine the perfect route," said Wonisch.
Gunn-Rita diary: back on my bike
Northern Italy and southern Tyrol are fantastic areas for those with
a penchant for beautiful nature, mountaineering, wine, cycling, good food
and lots of sun. It's paradise for me as I now am back in training and
cycling a bit again.
We've already been down here for a week and I'm feeling better every
day. We've had one overcast afternoon and a couple of rain showers, but
apart from that the sky has been blue with temperatures approaching 30
(degrees Celsius). We're living in the outskirts of Bolzano and we're
really enjoying ourselves.
This last week I've been able to exercise for 10-12 hours and at present
that's more than enough for me. After two months with almost no exercise,
I'm in very poor shape. Even though my latest tests have shown normal
levels again, it doesn't mean that I can just start up training as usual.
This break has been very long and my body isn't ready for normal doses
of exercise quite yet.
The good thing is that I feel great and have made a start on the exercise
again. It's difficult to tell whether I'll be able to take part in any
races before this season is over. The biggest mistake we can make is for
me to start up too hard and get sick again. We're hurrying slowly. If
we fall for the temptation of starting too hard, we run the risk of not
being able to get going on our winter training programme, which will in
turn have grave consequences for the Olympic season.
Even if the result is no more races this season, both of us have at least
learned a lot from this experience. When, at the end of May, we decided
to suspend the season for a while in order to go home and run some tests
to find what was wrong, we imagined it would take a maximum of two to
three weeks to get me back on my feet again.
To read the complete diary entry, click
Contessa Girls celebrate July podiums
Podium: Women's Duo Team
Photo ©: Mark Moore
The Scott Contessa-sponsored Tough Girl Cycling team spent July racking
up their share of podium real estate while making themselves known in
Wisconsin, Colorado, and North Carolina.
They started off with two teams at the Wausau, Wisconsin at the 24
hours of 9 Mile for the USA Cycling 24 Hour Mountain Bike National
Championships. Janis Sandlin and Amy Robillard completed eight laps each
to win the duo women's category and claim the national title. Defending
champions in the in the four person team category Lisa Matlock, Jane Rynbrandt,
Holly Harveno, and Lynn Bush fought a fierce battle, but came in just
short to finish "a respectable second place" according to Tough
Girl Team Manager Lynn Bush.
Meanwhile, Sonya Looney finished fourth in the women's pro cross country
and third in the hill climb at the Mountain States Cup #5 in Telluride,
Colorado. She finished the cross country covered head to toe in mud.
Gravity rider Cathy Cantway logged a third place at the women's dual
slalom at the National Mountain Bike Series #6 in Sugar Mountain, despite
racing with an injured hand.
Czech 4X cup crosses borders
On August 11-12, the Czech 4X Cup will cross the borders of the Czech
Republic, and for the first time, round three will be held on the well-known
course in Szczawno Zdrój, Poland.
Three years after his victory at European 4X Championships, Michal Prokop
will return to Szczawno Zdrój to challenge current series leader
Tomas Slavik of GT Czech, Kamil Tatarkovic of Kona Les Gets and Prokop's
team-mate Lukas Tamme to fight for leader's jersey that Slavik captured
while Prokop was away battling for another Jeep King of the Mountain victory.
One more spot remains on the Czech 4X team for Worlds - it will be awarded
based on performances at Szczawno Zdrój.
The next round is scheduled back in the Czech Republic for August 25-26
as the Prague Polis XIII. For more information, visit www.4x.cz.
King of the Hill brings 4X and slopestyle to the Netherlands
Bikepark Groningen will host the King of the Hill competition on Sunday,
August 26. The race will serve as Dutch 4X national championship and Dutch
4X series finale and also include a slopestyle competition. The two 4X
races will be run simultaneously, but a new slopestyle course is being
built just outside the 4X track. Riders of the King of Slopestyle will
be judged on altitude, style, tricks and flow throughout the whole course.
The rider that collects the most points will be crowned with the title:
King of Slopestyle the First!
For more information please check www.bikeparkgroningen.nl.
Hinze Dam race
Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club will host the Hinze Dam cross country race
this Sunday, August 12 in Illinbah. Racers will tackle a new track developed
for the Australian nationals round in November. The race will not be run
if the track is wet. For more information, visit www.gcmtb.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)