MTB news & racing round-up for February 19, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
NMBS adds two events after losing one
Heather Irminger at NMBS in North
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) organizers announced the loss of one venue
for 2007, but offset the news by adding two new replacement events.
Coming up on
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
The Cougar Mountain Classic in Sonoma, California, has been cancelled
as an NMBS event. Instead, series contenders will compete at the Firestone
Santa Ynez Valley Mountain Bike Classic, in Santa Barbara on April 27
29 and the Chile Challenge at Angel Fire Resort, in New Mexico May 26-28.
Both venues feature all the disciplines, but for 2007, points will only
be offered for a selection of disciplines at each of the two new races.
Endurance points will be awarded at the Santa Ynez race while gravity
points will be given for the Chile Challenge.
"I was a little worried with that unexpected void to fill in the
calendar," said Jeff Frost, NMBS organizer, "but it's worked
out way better than I could have imagined. Having The Chile Challenge
and the Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Classic join NMBS is just a dream."
The Santa Ynez Valley event is now in its eighth year. The event will
take place on the Ted Chamberlin Cattle Ranch and on Firestone Vineyard,
outside of Los Olivos, California, in Northern Santa Barbara County. Over
the past few years, "The Classic" has averaged 900 race participants
and over 2,500 spectators. It's grown consistently since 2000.
Angel Fire Resort has previously served as the venue for major mountain
bike events. Most recently, it hosted the US collegiate mountain bike
nationals last fall.
The revised NMBS calendar is given below:
Mar 30-Apr 1: NMBS #1 - XC (Phoenix, AZ)
April 27-29: NMBS #2 - XC (Santa Barbara, CA)
May 4-May 6: NMBS #3 - XC/DH/4X (Fontana, CA)
May 26-28: NMBS #4 - DH/4X (Angel Fire Resort, NM)
June 15-17: NMBS #5 - XC/DH/4X (Park City, UT)
July 27-29: NMBS #6 - XC/DH/4X (Banner Elk, NC)
Aug 10-Aug 12: NMBS #7 - XC/DH/4X (Snowmass, CO)
Canada sends only elite men to Pan Ams
Seamus McGrath (Canada)
Canada will send Max Plaxton, Seamus McGrath and Geoff Kabush to represent
the nation at the Pan Am championships in Villa la Angostura, Argentina,
on March 11, 2007. The three from Victoria will make the trip with the goal
of bolstering their chances to make Canada's 2008 Olympic team, the selection
to which is based on the accumulated UCI points of each nation's top three
ranked riders at the end of 2006 and at the end of 2007.
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
"Our men were ranked 11th at the end of 2006, which is dangerously
close to dropping from two starters at the Olympics to one starter: the
cutoff is 13th place," said High Performance Director Kris Westwood.
"We need to gather as many points as feasible in 2007 to ensure we
don't fall off the map; the Pan Am championships are worth a lot of points;
and realistically it's only Max, Geoff, and Seamus who will have enough
points to be counted when it comes to qualification."
National coach Michel Leblanc will manage the team, with the support
of mechanic Chad Grochowina. Canada will send no other athletes to the
championships, including any women.
"On the women's side, we were ranked third at the end of 2006, and
we just need to make sure we stay top eight to keep our two Olympic spots,"
said Westwood. With Marie-Hélène Prémont doing a
full world cup schedule, we aren't likely to have any problems doing this,
and Alison Sydor and Kiara Bisaro will also be picking up plenty of points
without needing to travel to Argentina in March."
"We debated including development athletes in the projects as well,
but the event is very early in the season, so preparing for it would be
disruptive for younger athletes. Also, travel to southern Argentina is
very expensive, so we need to focus our limited resources on areas that
will help us achieve our mandate of achieving Olympic performances."
Kenda, X-Fusion and Titus sign Aussie Miller
Photo ©: Chris Fox
The Kenda, X-Fusion and Titus mountain bike team signed Australian rider
Brent Miller, who recently took fifth in the short track at the 2007 Australian
national championships. In 2006, Miller finished eighth overall in
the men's US National Mountain Bike Series and logged a top six finish
in the short track at the Brian Head, Utah event.
Miller has represented Australia at worlds seven of the last eight years,
and he is aiming for the Australian Olympic team in 2008. Along the way,
his goal is a top 3 overall in the US NMBS series this year and high placings
world cup events and worlds.
Joining Miller in the team will be Texas-based Bryan Fawley who finished
2006 with a collection of regional wins and a second place in the Texas
State cyclo-cross championships.
USAC names U23 team
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Two Colorado-based riders, Sam Jurekovic, 21 and Colin Cares, 19, will
return for their second and third seasons respectively with the USA Cycling
U23 national mountain bike team while fellow Coloradoan, 18-year-old Tad
Elliott will join the squad in May as the newest recruit.
Jurekovic and Cares both had successful seasons with the team last year,
representing the U.S. at the world championships and claiming second and
third respectively in the U23 race behind 2006 teammate Sam Schultz. Jurekovic
also placed 13th overall in the 2006 National Mountain Bike Series pro
Newest member Elliott is just as fast on skis. The top junior Nordic
athlete was chosen by the US Ski Association to represent his country
at the nordic junior world championships in the Italian Alps next month.
The recent high school graduate will turn his focus toward mountain biking
after the end of the Nordic season. Elliott spent last year on the junior
Devo squad, where he was noticed by USA Cycling national mountain bike
coach Matt Cramer.
"Tad is a very well-rounded athlete who performed well in 2006 domestic
events, and I have a feeling that his personality will mesh well with
the team," Cramer said. "He wants to focus on mountain biking
after his Nordic season is over, and hopefully if his season goes well,
we can give him a reason to stick with it."
Elliott joins the program as a project athlete, meaning he will ride
with the team part-time at domestic events, but won't be a resident athlete
at the Olympic Training Center and won't travel with the team abroad for
World Cup events.
"Tad's focus will be at North American races," said Cramer.
"Competing against the pros in top domestic events will assimilate
him into the pro field without any pressure on results or performance."
One rider noticeably absent from the team for 2007 is Sam Schultz, one
of the team's original members. He was signed by Subaru/Gary Fisher, becoming
the fourth graduate to secure sponsorship since the program's inception
in 2004. Others were Nick Waite (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Alan Obye
(Jamis), and John Devine (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team).
Before Schultz moves on for good, he'll join Jurekovic and Cares for
the team's first event of the 2007 season the Continental Championships
in the Patagonia region of Argentina during the second weekend of March.
2007 U23 National Mountain Bike Team Race Calendar
Mar 8 Continental Championships - Argentina
Mar 31 NMBS #1 Phoenix, Arizona
Apr 15 Sea Otter Classic Monterey, California
Apr 21 World Cup Houffalize, Belgium
May 5 NMBS #2 Fontana, California
May 26 World Cup Offenburg, Germany
Jun 16 NMBS #3 Park City, Utah
Jun 23 World Cup Mont Saint Anne, Canada
Jul 17 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships
Mount Snow, Vermont
Jul 28 NMBS #5 Banner Elk, North Carolina
Aug 11NMBS #6 Snowmass Village, Colorado
Sep 3 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Fort William,
Gunn-Rita Diary: Press camp on Majorca
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The interest in our professional team, Multivan Merida Biking Team, caused
all of 43 journalists and photographers from 13 different countries to
come to Majorca last weekend. We've had action-packed days filled with
press conferences, interviews, and a lot of photographs! As always, it
was great being able to show off my bike's radical new frame for 2007.
As a matter of fact, I'm spending the great "day of love,"
Valentine's Day, in bed. I'm sick, as I always am at this time of year.
For the past three years, I've caught a cold during the press camp in
February, always here on Majorca. My consolation is that Kenneth is also
lying in bed with the same symptoms as me. However, three slow-paced days
are no catastrophe for us, so I'm trying to see the positive sides of
the situation. At least it affords me the opportunity to finish off loads
of office-work on my dearly beloved PC.
There are a whole lot of magazines within mountain biking. We've been
visited by 30 different bike magazines from various European countries
this weekend. Along with the rest of the team and some of the team's sponsors,
there's been a gang of 80 people. All of them have been staying at the
new hotel of Phillip's Bike Team, Iberostar Suites Hotel Jardin del Sol,
situated in the town of Costa de la Calma. The hotel is right down by
the shore, only a few minutes' drive from Magalluf, where we've usually
stayed on previous trips to Majorca.
To read the complete diary entry, click
Simoni to MTB world cup
Two time Giro d'Italia champion Gilberto Simoni will once again take
to the dirt alongside the world's best mountain bikers at the World Cup
race in the Canary Islands, Spain on March 17. Simoni, who normally races
on the road with the Saunier Duval team, confirmed his participation in
the race, and wants to do the whole World Cup circuit this year. "Mountain
biking is very motivating to me, and to race the marathon World Cup is
a challenge", said Simoni. According to todociclismo.com, the 35 year-old
is considering trading his slicks for knobbies for good after this year's
Natt Ross diary: Winter tri guy
Winter triathlon start
Photo ©: Nat Ross
This winter Colorado has experienced a white, wet, cold one -- especially
in the Front Range where I reside. The nasty weather has made for an interesting
winter training regimen. Like most cyclists in the state, I have spent
my fair share of time on the trainer and rollers. However, at some point
in January, I cracked. Enough was enough, and I found myself cross country
skiing, running, and snow biking more and more. Guess what? Those outdoor
activities comprise the exact categories of the USA Triathon National
Championships that were slated for my hometown of Winter Park the first
week in February. Naturally, this race really intrigued me.
Back in the day, I was an All American NCAA Division I skier. A combination
of skiing, running, and academic scholarships paid for college. After
school, I was completely burned out on ski racing, so I coached the Western
State College team and Summit High School teams before leaving the scene
completely to focus on bike racing.
Photo ©: Nat Ross
I love to classic ski and find time every winter to kick and glide for
hours on end. It is a peaceful workout that completely taxes one's body.
It's probably the best exercise you can get period. Over the past ten
years, I have ski raced less than ten days. Talk about burned out on nordic
racing, there are so may great races in my backyard, but I just didn't
have the desire to put on a race bib and line up at the start.
My motivation changed big time this winter with the horrific weather
that gave me a bad case of "Cabin Fever." I was running again
and had a bad-ass setup for a snow bike.
To read the complete feature, click
Last weekend, in the midst of a cold, icy, and snowy Midwest winter,
freeriders descended upon Cleveland, Ohio for the second annual Ray's
3Ride for a two day competition, which involved a sport course, a pump
track, a street park, and jumping.
Things heated up when JD Swanguen beat Brian Lopes in a head-to-head
battle on the pump track. JD boosted a never-before-ridden line in the
Subaru Street Park; as he linked the two jumps, he got so much height
that he knocked out one of the fluorescent lights that was mounted above
At the end of the weekend, 17-year-old San Diego rider JD Swanguen, who
rides for Cove Factory Team, was crowned overall champion. When asked,
Swanguen said, "My bike worked perfect the entire weekend. It allowed
me to relax, have a good time, and focus on my runs."
Sport course: 1. Brian Lopes, 2. Kirt Vories, 3. JD Swanguen
Pump track: 1. JD Swanguen, 2. Brian Lopes, 3. Cody Warren
Street park: 1. Phil Sundbaum, 2. JD Swanguen, 3. Adam Hauck
Jump competition: 1. Phil Sundbaum, 2. Omar Romero, 3. Adam Hauck
Ray's 3RIDE Overall: 1. JD Swanguen, 2. Greg Watts, 3. Phil Sundbaum
Beskidy stage race
Photo ©: Marek Tyniec
The three-stage, Polish Beskidy MTB Trophy will feature plenty of singletrack,
climbing, fast and technical downhills from June 7-10. The race will take
participants through Polish, Czech, and Slovakian mountains. To reduce
logistical complications, all three stages will feature their start and
finish in one place: a small ski resort Istebna.
The race is composed of three classic mountain bike marathons, one each
in different part of Beskidy Mountains. It starts with a prologue - a
short uphill time trial on the day before first stage's start. 220 km
and 8,700m of climbing later, a winner will emerge.
The race climbs mountains such as Trzy Kopce, Skrzyczne, Salmopol, Wielka
Racza, Javorovy and Magura for a total seven peaks over 1,000m.
Beskidy MTB Trophy 2007 route
Prologue - 07.06.2007: Istebna (Time Trial) 4,8km, ~320m ascent
Stage 1 - 08.06.2007: Istebna - Skrzyczne (POL) - Istebna 65km, ~2400m
Stage 2.1 - 09.06.2007: Istebna - Velký Stoek - Jablunkov
Stage 2.2 - 09.06.2007: Bocanovice - Javorový (CZE) - Istebna 80km,
~3000m ascent (2.1+2.2)
Stage 3 - 10.06.2007: Istebna - Wielka Racza (SVK) - Istebna 70km, ~3000m
For more information, visit www.MTBtrophy.com.
Chase the sun
Building on his past experience as coordinator for the 2006 Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne, managing Director Kristjan Snorrason announced a schedule
of events organized by Full Gas Promotions (FGP) for 2007.
The Chase the Sun series is oriented toward racers of all levels. Spread
throughout the year, with varying amounts of sunlight available, each
event is a challenge to ride as many loops of the sensational Lysterfield
trails as possible before the sun sets. A unique format, Pro Teams of
two riders each will race each other for the overall. ProTeams may nominate
a team roster of up to four riders at the start of the series and may
chop and change from within that roster prior to each round. Other categories
include Corporate for teams up to three riders, Solo, and Husband &
Wife although the promoter said "No marriage certificates needed!"
to prove marital status. Those too young or not yet married can race the
Just Good Friends category or the Young Guns category. The Chase the Sun
series will happen April 8, May 20, July 1, and August 19.
FGP also organizes a few other events: a weekly Kona Dirt crit Thursdays
at 6:30 pm at Westgate Park in Melbourne; Subaru Interactive @ Docklands
Melbourne 12hr in Werribee, Victoria, on September 15; and the Kona 24hr
Global Series Race in Anglesea, Victoria, on December 1-2.
2007 Nevada Cup
Organizers announced the 2007 Nevada Cup series, which will determined
the northern Nevada state mountain bike champions. Brent Hart of Reno
Wheelman spoke about the series, "These courses were specifically
chosen to challenge the advanced riders and at the same time allow beginning
riders to feel comfortable to compete."
The top 15 riders in each category/age class of the first three races
will qualify for the US national championships in Mt Snow, Vermont, on
July 17-22, 2007. The Sky Tavern Classic race serves as a qualifier for
the 2008 US national championships
Nevada Cup Locations and Dates
April 22nd, 2007 - Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge, Fallon, Churchill
May 6th, 2007 - Pine Nut Cracker, Gardnerville, Douglas County Fairgrounds
June 2 - 3 Peavine Challenge, Reno, Washoe County
Aug 18 - 19 Sky Tavern, Reno, Washoe County - Reno, NV
The Susquehanna Valley Velo Club (SVVC) will host the 5th annual Cat
Classic Mountain Bike race on May 5 at Logue Farm, in Cascade, Pennsylvania
(near Williamsport). The race gets its name from its start/finish location,
at the "Cat barn" located on the farm, a barn which houses one
of the world's largest collections of antique Caterpillar Tractors owned
by George Logue.
The course will include a mix of wooded singletrack section, double track,
rolling flats, and technical sections. Male and female pro/experts will
compete for a US$1,000 cash purse. A raffle will be held to benefit the
Mark Reynolds Memorial Bike Fund, which purchases bikes for needy kids,
and racers may come early to camp out and enjoy a spaghetti dinner the
night before the event.
For more information, visit www.catclassic.net.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)