Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for December 27, 2007

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

Edited by Sue George

Planning for a new Colorado epic stage race

By Sue George

Riders at the 2007 TransRockies
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
(Click for larger image)

The popularity of multi-day off-road stage racing is on the rise, with events in Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, South Africa, France, Austria and Italy, just to name a few. Soon the United States may be able to add to the list. Planning is underway for a new event in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

"We've been talking about it for 18 months. We're far along in the planning work," said Michael McCormack, Director of Bigfoot Productions, the same company that hosts the Mountain States Cup Events in and near Colorado. "We're in Colorado and the whole state is a destination in mountain biking. There are amazing trails with unbelievable access."

A first edition of the race is possible for 2008 or 2009, but whether it happens at all hinges on winning the approval of land managers and the local trail user community.

"To operate from the position of a done deal is counterproductive," said McCormack about trail access. Referring to the land managers, he added, "They hold the keys."

"There are amazing trails with unbelievable access. We don't have a lot of user conflict like the West Coast has. It's a let's get along kind of dynamic. Here in Breckenridge where I live, every trail group is recognized. Mountain bikers are the largest perhaps."

MeCormack explained that some portions of the trail are endangered when it comes to mountain bike access - largely because mountain bikers were not around when many of the trails were created in the 1970s and some of the language used to define or protect endangered areas therefore does not explicitly consider bikes.

McCormack is planning an approach to the race very different from that of the Mountain States Cup (MSC). "It will be small, unlike most of our other events which are participation based. Most events are participation based or sponsorship based. The MSC has always relied on participation numbers. The Colorado epic can't have big numbers because the impact on other user groups would be inflammatory."

"What we'd like to do is stay small, keep our costs down and keep participation to a size that the trail network can sustain and that is not alarming to other [user] groups. We think we can make it work."

A birdseye view of the Northern Rockies during the TransRockies
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
(Click for larger image)

"We're probably not going to subscribe to the model like the TransRockies where there are a lot of a la cart options," said McCormack who envisions that racers will do a lot of self-supporting between stages. "We think we can provide people with the great information on how to get around within the local community - things like where they can get organic coffee, where they go can go to get Torx bolts for their rotors, where to get the best burrito, etc. We want people to have the info they will need."

A few route options are under consideration but at least one will have to win approval by the forest service in order for the race to happen. McCormack would like to change up the route every year to keep it interesting. He's looking at five days of cross country riding.

Getting approval for a race can be a long process. "There are a lot of race promoters out there running races and not everyone is well organized and accountable. One bad promoter out of 100 good ones can really color a land manager's perspective. We battle that perception at every venue and every race. Everyone in our company has put in their time on advocacy over the years and we are brothers in arms although we're not always looked at that way."

So how does a promoter reduce potential user conflict? Plans for the Colorado epic include staging the race Monday through Friday and early morning starts - before many other users are out and about and in time to beat the afternoon thunderstorms. "Some of the terrain we'd like to race is popular and sees 95% of its use on the weekend." In addition having time to travel to and from the race on bookending weekends means easier travel for those coming from afar.

"We have no doubt in our ability to execute a great race on, but we're in the stage of navigating the political waters. We're at a point where we need to fish or cut bait in the next four weeks. We need to have endorsement, if not approval [from land managers] within four weeks. If they say it is possible … then we'll officially announce. If we can't get that, then we'll start planning for 2009."

Expect a race of almost all singletrack covering 250 to 300 miles sometime in late July. The organizers are looking at possible trails in Summit County, Park County, Chaffee County and Eagle County. Thanks to the legacy left behind by those in pursuit of precious metals in the 1850s and 1860s, there is a network of roads and trails throughout the area.

"I think that our chances of having the race in 2008 are modest. If we can't feel good about everyone being happy at the end, we'll pull back and give ourselves more time," finished McCormack.

UCI holds World Cup seminar

Jean-Christophe Peraud (Orbea) at the award-winning Houffalize World Cup
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Major players including organizers, sponsors, commissaires acting as Presidents of the Commissaires' Panel as well as its Secretaries and Technical Delegates of the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup attended a two-day seminar at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, last week according to a UCI press release.

Attendees discussed practical aspects of the mountain bike sport as well as the new regulations for 2008 and each organizer introduced his event before tackling the theme "sports, organization and marketing."

UCI President Pat McQuaid presented the trophies for the best events of the 2007 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to Mr. John Lindstad of Houffalize, Belgium, for the best cross country event and to Mr Werner Madlencnik of Schladming Planai, Austria, for the best downhill/4-cross event.

The 2008 World Cup features 12 events and begins on March 16 in Manavgat, Turkey, with a cross-country marathon. It then moves to Houffalize on April 19-20 for a cross-country round.

Nys' coach with Olympic training plans

By Susan Westemeyer

Sven Nys racing the 'cross World Cup
Photo ©: Joel Roberts
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys' coach is already making specific training plans for the Beijing Olympic Games. "On March 31 Sven will start his preparations for the Games. His first pick is planned for the mountain bike European championships in Saint Wendel," Paul Van den Bosch told Sporza.be.

"After that there are two big competitions on the agenda: The World Cup in Fort William and the World Championships," he said. "July and August will be entirely dominated by specific training and adaptation to the extreme heat."

"The signs are now all pointing in the same direction: direction east. Hopefully we will return at the end of August satisfied: direction west."

Swanguen signs with MS-Intense Factory-Racing

John Swanguen
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

17 year-old J.D. Swanguen signed with MS-Intense Factory Racing where he is joining Matti Lehikoinen of Finland, Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, and Mio Suemasa of Japan. He finished second in the junior's downhill finals at the 2007 World Championships in Fort William, Scotland, and earlier in the year, he took the overall win at Ray's 3 Ride mountain bike contest.

MS-Racing owner Markus Stöckl and team manager Lukas Haider see promise for the young American downhiller for the 2008 World Cup racing season. Challenging the world's racing elite will give the American young gun a chance to improve and grow into a serious contender within the mountain bike racing scene.

"Intense is thrilled to have J.D. on the Factory Racing program. My goal is to help develop a US rider to the top ranks in World Cup racing and I think J.D. is an excellent choice," said Intense owner Jeff Steber. Swanguen will open his 2008 season at the Sea Otter Classic in April.

Strobel returns to Team Maxxis

US downhiller Luke Strobel has opted to return to the Maxxis team after his successful 2007 World Cup campaign which saw three top 20 results in only his second season of international competition.

"The team has really stepped it up for next year," said Strobel. "That, and the fact we're on Iron Horse bikes, had a lot to do with me re-signing. I'm really looking forward to doing all the World Cups next year and lifting my world ranking into the top 10. That's my primary goal."

The 2008 Maxxis Team gravity roster will include defending back-to-back World Champion and 2007 World Cup Series Champion Sabrina Jonnier and 2006 Junior World Champion Cameron Cole. Team Maxxis will compete on the UCI World Cup circuit, the NMBS series events, and other selected top-tier events throughout the world. They will race the Iron Horse Sunday for downhill events and the MkIII for mountain cross races.

Gunn-rita diary: Christmas present of the year

A stealthy black color
Photo ©: Gunn Rita Dahle FlesjŚ
(Click for larger image)

The most incredible Christmas present is already standing gleaming in our living room. This package of surprises was torn open a whole week before Christmas Eve, and inside I found the prototype for the Merida "Beijing" full suspension bike. This Christmas present will be flying along with us to Boulder, where we'll be training in a week from now.

It was on Monday evening that Kenneth came home to me with the most amazing Christmas present of all, a dazzling bicycle which will hopefully contribute to a sizzling season of 2008. I've sat on the bike, adjusted it here and there, but the fine adjustments necessary for the best possible positioning will be done with Andy Pruitt in Boulder in the beginning of January.

Kenneth's trip to Germany and Merida Europe on Monday was super-quick this time. He made a good exchange, I'd say. Norwegian chocolate in return for a mind-blowing bicycle.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the building site of our new house together with the construction manager, John, and representatives from the company building the house, KleppHus, the kitchen manufacturers (Helge from Scandinavian Kjøkken) and our own fathers, "Father" and "Dad". The house is now up, windows in place, and we got to clamber through the various levels, imagining how it's all going to be when it's finished. Next time we see the building site won't be before the beginning of March. By then most of the outside of the house will be installed, so it'll be very exciting to see it.

To read the complete diary entry, click here.

Bike the Rock to host European trials championships

Bike the Rock, part of the Heubacher Mountain Bike Festival on May 24-25, 2008, in Heubach, Germany will host the European Trials Championships for the first time and will award five titles for competitors on 26" and 20" wheels. The event was chosen in part due to its ability to draw large crowds. As part of the Bundesliga German series, cross country racers will also compete in a UCI Category HC event.

MTBA makes some Australian Nationals changes

With less than one month to go until the 2008 Australian MTB Championships, registration is open and organizers announced a few changes. The Championships are scheduled for January 24-28 in Canberra.

Organizers added more downhill practice time on Friday for Groups C and B, changed the U19 women's cross country race to Sunday following the elite women's race and moved the U15 men's race to an earlier start time Saturday. The changes should allow more equitable practice sessions for Group B & C downhillers. Saturday's women's race will use a truncated course as a group while all other start groups will used the full course.

For more information, visit www.mtbnationals.com.au.

Test of Metal registration opening soon

General registration for the 2008 edition of the popular Test of Metal is about to open. The 2007 race entries sold out in under an hour, and organizers expect this year's race to sell out as quickly. A local's only registration for 200 people sold out in two hours on December 1, 2007.

"It was crazy last year," Race Director Cliff Miller said, "but this year with local racers already taken care of, we hope that we really open this up to get as many of those who want to ride into the race as possible. This our attempt to try to create as fair a process as possible."

Registration will open at 6 pm January 1, 2008. "If you want race this year, you need to be ready to register on-line right at 6 pm" Miller said. This year again, the 800 spots available will be filled on a first come, first served basis; but unlike in the past, there will be no waiting list.

"We've heard from riders that they want certainty, this should address that. We will over-sell by 20% and anticipate that many not to make the start line," Miller said. For more information, visit www.testofmetal.com.

Fool's Gold

Registration is open for the Fool's Gold 100, Georgia's first and only 100 mile mountain bike race, held in conjunction with a festival set for August 15-17, 2008. Fully supported 50 and 100 mile races are options for competitors. The second-year event will join the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series in 2008. It will be the sixth of eight events in the series. For more information, visit 55nineperformance.com/100.html.

Coronet Peak gears up for season

New Zealand's Coronet Peak is gearing up for hosting several mountain bike races and events in 2008 including the South Island Downhill Cup and the NZCT South Island Cross Country Cup January 4-6, the Vertigo Chain Free Downhill January 19 and the Nzone Brake Burner endurance race on February 2.

Mountain bike champion Scarlett Hagen will also host training for riders of all levels and age between January 15 and 30. For more information, visit www.nzski.com or www.mtbperformance.com.

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)