MTB news & racing round-up for December 15, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Peat still getting better
By Tym Manley
Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Steve Peat manages to find the balance between fun and seriousness. He's
sane, mature, and grown-up, with solid convictions and a strong moral
code, but he also knows how to party, go fast downhill and have a good
The 33 year-old gravity rider has an impressive list of accomplishments
on his resume. When asked if he could still get any better, he said, "Always.
I wasn't really on top of my game last season [in 2006]. I started a lot
of World Cups with niggling injuries. I was pretty consistent and happy
with my season, but wasn't at my best."
The downhill scene is only getting more competitive over time. "I
think we're always pushing to go faster and there are always ways to improve
on everything and make everything faster," said Peat, a veteran competitor.
"We keep pushing the boundaries - that'll go on forever."
On top of the tougher competition are the demands of his personal life.
Peat said having a wife and child doesn't change how he races. "But
it has affected the way I think about my whole life."
"It definitely gets harder. My life's a lot busier. I've got so
much other stuff going on that it's harder to get the motivation to train
in the winter."
Winning is just as important to Peat, but his family helps him keep it
all in perspective. "At the end of the day I can go back to my wife
and Jake and everything's rosy. The race just gets put behind me."
"Downhill racing is my job; it's definitely a job for me now,"
said Peat about his vocation. "I wouldn't say it's less important,
but there are just other things that I have to do. I have to prioritise
The Mental Game
Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
One of Peat's greatest assets has been his steadiness, even during times
of stress. "I think one of my strengths is dealing with all the stuff
around a race meeting; the things that can make you nervous or mess with
your mind a little bit."
"I can put that behind me," said Peat, who said his approach
just happens. "Nothing bugs me once I get in that start gate; I just
get on with the job in hand. That's definitely one of my mental strengths."
Peat's focus is on the positive rather than the negative when the going
does get tough. "When I start feeling nervous, there are little things
I can do that will take my mind off it. I actually know what I've got
to do if I start feeling nervous and start thinking about the competition
or about a place on the track that I'm crashing on, so I can turn that
round to positive thoughts."
In fact, it's all about converting negative thoughts into positive ones.
"Say if I'm going through the track in my head and I keep getting
stuck on a place where I've had trouble in practice, then I can get around
that in my head and visualise the perfect run. People do it in their own
little ways, but most people don't even know they're doing it."
To read the complete interview, click
Juarez to return to Australia
Thomas Dietsch and Tinker Juarez
at La Ruta
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Cannondale's Tinker Juarez is planning his first return trip to Australia
since the Olympics in 2000. The three-time US National Champion, two-time
Olympian, Pan Am Games Gold medallist and current 24 hours of Adrenaline
Solo World Champion will race the Lowan Otway Odyssey on February 23.
"It's been a while since I've been to Australia and the last trip
was one of the best experiences in my career since it was the 2000 Olympics,"
said Juarez. "I've always wanted to come back and race and this race
is the perfect reason."
The Lowan Otway Odyssey will cover 100km starting on the Great Ocean
Road in the town of Apollo Bay and finish in the township of Forrest.
The race will take riders over roller coaster singletrack, fireroads,
and doubletrack. Juarez will compete against last year's champion, Murray
Iron Horse expands sponsorship to endurance racing
Sam Hill is a mainstay on the Iron
Horse gravity team
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Iron Horse, a US manufacturer best known for its gravity bikes, will
join forces with top British endurance racing team Extreme-endurance.com
for the 2008 season.
Iron Horse is hoping to transfer its success on the gravity circuit,
with elite athletes like Sam Hill and Sabrina Jonnier, to the world of
endurance racing. "We are all really excited about this collaboration;
it marks an important point in the history of Iron Horse as we attempt
to carry our success from the downhill arena in to other market,"
said Martin Astley, Iron Horse UK Brand Manager.
Managed by 2005 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Masters Champion Rob
Lee, the team, which specializes in 12 and 24 hour solo racing, will get
a new name in its fourth season: Iron Horse Extreme. "This is a great
move for our team and also a great move for Iron Horse. We have some of
the best 24 and 12 hour soloists riding for us next year and it is fitting
that we are teaming up with Iron Horse, who are clearly an innovative
company with great products," said Lee, who won the solo races at
the Nightrider 12 hour and the Bontrager 24 hour this past summer.
In 2007, the team won first and second places in the men's solo 24 at
Mountain Mayhem and also won the men's and women's solo events at the
Bontrager Twentyfour 12. In 2008, the team will be riding Azure Expert
Iron Horse Extreme for 2008: Gavin Atkins, Clive Forth, Josh
Ibbett, James Leavesley, Rob Lee, Fi Spotswood, Anthony White.
24 hours of Adrenaline to return to roots
The 2008 World Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships celebrate its
10th anniversary by returning to the site of its first running in Canmore,
Alberta in Canada. That year, Rishi Grewal and Chloe Lanthier took top
honors. Canmore also hosted the UCI World Cup from 1998 to 2000.
Next year's championship event is scheduled for July 26-27, 2008 and
will follow a figure eight layout.
Gripped Films sponsors regional team & stars in Banff festival
Gripped Films and Kenda have joined forces to sponsor the American GFK
Racing team for 2008. The team is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle
of racing through training and competition with friends. Team members
will race mountain bike, road and some triathlon events on the East Coast.
Gripped Films produced both Off Road to Athens, a documentary
about the US Olympic Team Selection process for 2004, and 24
Solo which captured Chris Eatough's epic battle with Australian
Craig Gordon at the 2006 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Championships
in Conyers, Georgia.
"The race team is more of a fun thing," said Gripped Films
Producer Ken Bell to Cyclingnews. "There are about half a
dozen guys who can race the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in under 10 hours.
It's not like an East Coast Trek Factory Team. It's that we met all these
people in the industry doing these films. The main thing is to have a
place we can come together as a group of riders all wearing the same jersey."
Cameraman and movie star Nick Alexander and director Jason Berry travelled
to the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November with 24 Solo and
screened it a packed house. "Just making the festival was an honor,"
said Bell. The film came close to winning the "People's Choice Award"
and will be on tour with the Banff film festival, visiting over 200 cities
world wide. 24 Solo also recently won the "Director's Choice"
award at a film festival in Florida.
The team's top riders will likely be David Olson and Shawn Mahal, but
the team's goal will be to win bragging rights in a regional team competition
featuring four or five key races like the Shenandoah Mountain 100, the
Massanutten Hoo Ha and the 24 hours of Big Bear.
Full-Dynamix RSM Team signs two more
Tony Longo (Italy)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
After signing former Cannondale rider Fredrik Kessiakoff, the Full-Dynamix
RSM Team added Tony Longo and Emil Lindgren to its roster The team will
kick off racing at the end of February with the Sunshine Cup in Cyprus.
It will also race marathon and cross country World Cups, national championships,
and the Olympic Games.
22 year-old Swedish rider Lindgren, from Falun, has raced for the Bianchi
Team for four years. Lindgren has twice won the Internazionali d'Italia
Challenge and twice taken a bronze medal in the Team Relay of the European
championship (2005 - 2006). Highlights of his career have included a bronze
in the junior race at the World Cup in Houfaflize and a fifth in the European
Championship in 2003.
23 year-old Tony Longo has been competing with the Italian National Team
since 2002. He is a candidate for selection for the 2008 Olympic Games
in Beijing. In addition to four national titles (two as junior and two
as an U23 rider), Longo won silver at the 2006 World Championships in
Rotorua and another medal in the Team Relay. As a junior, he won bronze
at the World Championships in Kaprun, Austria.
Full Dynamix RSM for 2008: Fredrik Kessiakoff, Emil Lindgren, Tony Longo,
Marco Bui, and Massimo De Bertoilis under manager Mauro Bettin.
Barel joins Subaru
After departing the
Kona Team, Fabien Barel has joined with the Subaru Mountain Bike Pro
Team. The team recently signed Mondraker Bicycles for 2008-2009. The company
makes frames for all mountain bike disciplines, but focuses on downhill
Barel will be joined by riders Florent Payet and Damien Spagnolo. The
trio will ride the Kaiser frame.
Playbiker - Iron Horse previews 2008 gravity courses for Worlds
Rolling clouds and impending snowfalls didn't prevent the Team Playbiker
- Iron Horse riders from hopping on their bikes one cold, snowy November
weekend to check out the downhill course in Val di Sole Italy for the
2008 World Championships in June.
Riders Elisa Canepa, Elias Somvi and Luca Bertocchi, all members of
Italy's sole UCI mountain bike trade team, with the assistance of team
manager Romano Favoino, managed to put together a few solid runs on the
course, which is largely completed, except for the start area and finish
arena. A few downed trees in the middle of the course slowed progress,
but most of the track was clearly visible for the first time. At the end
of their run, riders entered the 4X course which is almost complete, too.
Ex-mountain biker returns to racing
Miguel Martinez, Olympic gold medallist and mountain bike world champion
in 2000, has decided to return to racing after more than one year spent
out of competition. The Frenchman has signed a one-year deal with the
Italian Continental Pro team Amore&Vita and will be racing on the
road as well as on his mountain bike during next season.
"I still love the bike too much to give up my career altogether,"
said Martinez to L'Equipe on Wednesday. The 31 year-old also spent
two years in pro road cycling, 2002 with Mapei and 2003 with Phonak, without
being very successful. "I was being told that I had nothing to do
in that scene," he added. "I always did the best I could in
my profession, without doping, and they quickly made me understand that
I didn't perform as they wanted. But today, I really think that things
have changed. I'm convinced that cycling evolves in the right direction
and I want a second chance at top level."
Besides road racing, Martinez will target the World Marathon Championships
on July 6 in Italy next season.
NZCT National Mountain Bike Cup Series 08 explained
New Zealand racer Rosara Joseph.
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The New Zealand National Mountain Bike Cup kicked of in early December
and will continue throughout the summer season down under. The Cup series
comprises of the Subaru South Island Downhill Cup, Subaru North Island
Downhill Cup, NZCT South Island Cross Country Cup and NZCT North Island
Cross Country Cup. Each Cup has three rounds with overall cup winners
being announced at the end of the final round.
Following on from the Island Cup Series will be the NZCT National Championships
in Wellington on February 21-24, 2008, and the NZCT Oceania Championships
in Nelson on March 13-16, 2008.
Although the Island Cup series is new for 2008, interest has been high
and a number of top local riders have pre entered for the Island Series.
Downhill events kick off this weekend in Hawkes Bay with 2006 Junior World
Champion Cameron Cole and Sam Blenkinsop confirmed starters.
Subaru North Island Downhill Cup
Round 1: Hawkes Bay, December 14-15, 2007
Round 2: Rotorua Sat, February 2-3, 2008
Round 3: Auckland, February 16-17, 2008
Subaru South Island Downhill Cup
Round 1: Coronet Peak, January 4-5, 2008
Round 2: Dirt Park NZ, January 8-9, 2008
Round 3: Nelson (Class 1), January 12-13, 2008
NZCT North Island Cross Country Cup
Round 1: Opotiki, January 26-27, 2008
Round 2: Rotorua (Class 1), February 1-2, 2008
Round 3: Palmerston North, February 9-10, 2008
NZCT South Island Cross Country Cup
Round 1: Arrowsmith, December 8-9, 2007
Round 2: Coronet Peak, January 5-6, 2007
Round 3: Waipara, January 19-20, 2007
2008 NZCT National Championships
Wellington, Febraury 21 - 24, 2008
2008 NZCT Oceania Championships
Nelson, March 13-16, 2008
Gunn-rita diary: Focus on training and resting
These days I'm focusing on doing as little as possible which isn't directly
related to training, restitution and recovery. We finished off Christmas
present shopping in one afternoon, but Christmas cooking and baking will
have to wait until Christmas of 2008. It feels very good to be back into
the routine of training again, completing the days of training exactly
as we want them to be.
It's Friday afternoon already and the weekend is almost here. Some of
us are looking forward to some days of relaxation, while others have to
work, and some are looking forward to long bike-rides and maybe a hike
in the mountains, on both Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend Kenneth asked
me an unusual question. We were sitting in the car on our way home from
a particularly rainy hike in the mountains. He asked me how I would have
spent a Saturday if I had a normal job and was free each weekend. Shopping
at the local mall?
I had to think a bit, trying to imagine a weekend without long distance
cycle rides or dramatic hiking in wild nature. I ended up concluding that
we will definitely continue to fill our weekends with the same things
as now, also when we put our days of professional cycling behind us some
day…after 2012. A trip out in the weekend fills you up with energy, it
makes you feel great, it gives you extra oomph, and it's a good source
These past weeks have naturally also included other activities than just
hard exercise. I'll start by telling about what I remember best.
To read the complete diary entry, click
SORBA gets support from DS&G
Organizers of the Dirt Sweat & Gears will give some extra support
to Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) by giving US$10 on behalf
of every SORBA/IMBA member who competes in the May 3, 2008, event in Fayetteville,
Tennessee. In addition, the first 25 entrants will receive a free pair
of grips from Ergon.
"Dirt, Sweat and Gears is all about sharing good times with like-minded
cyclists while supporting a good cause. As SORBA/IMBA members, we support
SORBA's efforts and recognize their vital importance in the effort to
create trail opportunities for mountain bikers," said Race Marketing
Director Grant Castle.
Tom Sauret, SORBA Executive Director, said "This partnership is
an example of how race promoters, the bike industry, and advocacy groups
all recognize that we are essentially one family working as one to fertilize
the bike culture."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)