MTB news & racing round-up for January 25, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Schnell joins Trek VW 2007 team
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
Trek Bicycles and Volkswagen of America announced a continued partnership
in support of the 2007 Trek-VW mountain bike racing team. The team represents
more than a decade of racing partnership. For 2007, all riders from last
year return; however, they will be joined by "Rad" Ross Schnell,
who makes the leap to factory team from the ranks of the regional teams
program. Returning members include Jeremiah Bishop, Susan Haywood, Lea
Davison, and endurance specialist Chris Eatough.
Schnell made headlines in 2006 by showing his face at the front of many
NMBS events over the course of the season. His most notable performances
included a top five placing at the Deer
Valley event, several Super-D wins, and racing in character as "Rad
Ross" at the Snowmass
short track where he sported a mullet hairdo, mustache, and vintage
helmet, and sunglassesand he cleared double jumps on the course
with enough panache to gather a cheering crowd. Schnell expects to challenge
for the podium at all US events and looks forward to tackling the World
Cup circuit as well.
Bishop won the NMBS final at Snowmass and placed 8th (top American)
at the world championships in New Zealand, capping the most consistent
season of his career. He plans to attack the World Cup circuit as a top
American contender with the hopes of securing a spot on the American Olympic
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
Haywood won national championships in both the short track and super
D, and then won the 24-Hours of Adrenalin solo
world championship in October. She, too, is gunning for UCI cross-country
races, in a bid to land a spot on the US Olympic team.
Eatough took the 24-Hour solo national championship. The six-time 24
hour solo world champion will focus on 100 mile endurance events and regaining
the 24-Hours of Adrenalin solo world title he lost in 2006.
Davison, sidelined for much of last year due to injury and illness, plans
to prove herself in the NMBS national series and crack the top five at
cross country and short track races.
These racers will be joined by more than 35 grassroots riders who are
members of the regional teams program.
Dean Gore Team Director
Zack Vestal Manager
Chris Furer Soigneur
Steve Borkoski Mechanic
Dusty LaBarr Mechanic
Pua takes top overall at 12 hours of Temecula
Monique Pua Sawicki
At the 12 hours of Temecula last weekend, Monique "Pua" Sawicki
(Team Mata) took the overall win - besting not only all the other women,
but all the men, too.
Photo ©: Team Mata
The event drew more people than ever (over 200 racers) to its 17.7 kilometer
(11 mile) course, featuring 457 meters (1,500 feet) of climbing per lap.
The course was in excellent condition throughout the race.
Pua took the solo lead on the first lap, coming through the gate with
the top four team male racers and 5.5 minutes ahead of the nearest male
solo competitor. On the second lap, she broke her chain a little over
half-way through. After about eight minutes of fumbling with the chain
and getting some help from another racer, the chase pack caught her. She
fixed it and took off after them, eventually passing all but one pro male
on the next lap. Within two more laps, she recaptured the lead and opened
a five minute gap over the entire field. A few laps later, the gap grew
to ten minutes.
Later, she caught a glimpse of a bike off the side of the trail. She
stopped and called down to see if the rider needed help. She heard a young
voice squeak out, "yes." It was a young male racer who had fallen
down into the bushes with his bike landing on top of him. She pulled him
up and got him going again.
Going into the night, her lead grew to 15 minutes. She bounced up quickly
after a small spill, but on the following technical descent, her primary
light's connection to its battery failed due to crash damage. Fortunately,
her backup helmet light was still working, and in fact, she led another
racer back with exhausted lights to the finish.
The light incident shrunk her lead to only four minutes, but by the end
she was back up to ten minutes when she took the overall win.
She set not only the female course record, but also the male course record:
11 laps in 10 hours and 55 minutes.
Australia holds mountain bike nationals this weekend
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Many of Australia's top mountain bike athletes will converge upon Canberra
for the 2007 MTBA Australian Mountain Bike Championships from January
26-28. The five-day festival includes cross country, downhill, mountain
cross events, observed trials, and a crit.
The races are being held at a purpose-built mountain bike park, Mt. Stromlo
Forest Park, designed by Glen Jacobs. Entry for spectators will be free;
however a parking fee, which will go toward charity, will be charged.
World Champion Sam Hill will race downhill for the first time in Australia
since winning the gold
medal in New Zealand last August. He will take on defending national
champion and bronze medalist from the world championships, Nathan Rennie.
Recovered from a serious
injury in 2005, after which she was told she would never race again,
Tory Thomas will race a tough field in the cross country race, including
Kate Potter and defending national champion Dellys Starr. Sid Taberlay,
1996 Olympian, will race against fellow Commonwealth Games rider Chris
Jongewaard, an in form Aiden Lefmann, current national series leader,
and locals Dylan Cooper and Shaun Lewis.
In the mountain cross, Luke Madill and overall national series winner
Terrance Scarrare the favorites. On the women's side, look out for national
series winner Caroline Buchanan (Canberra), who hopes to defend her national
On Friday, racers and fans alike will receive news of the UCI's choice
for the 2009 world mountain bike championships venue. Canberra is one
candidate still in the running.
New Zealand nationals to Nelson
Marcus Roy (Aunt Betty's)
Over 300 riders from all over New Zealand are expected to take part in the
national championships races this weekend in Nelson.
Photo ©: Karyn McQueen
Clinton Avery will be making the switch from the road to the mountain
bike this weekend as he rides in the cross country national championships
on Sunday. Avery was riding with the New Zealand national team at the
Tour Down Under in South Australia last week and immediately prior to
that rode in the U23 road and time trial national championships in Upper
Hutt, in which he finished third.
Avery will be challenged by Marcus Roy, who has won two National Series
rounds this year and beat Avery into third at the 2006 championships on
the same course.
Throughout the national series this season, the downhill fields have
been setting attendance records, and this weekend is expected to prove
no exception. In the elite mens race, 2006 junior world champion
Cameron Cole and runner-up Sam Blenkinsop are expected to give reigning
champion Nathan Rankin a tough battle for the champion's jersey. Scarlett
Hagen has been dominating the elite womens down hill racing so far
this year, and is the favorite on the women's side.
Friday, January 26 - Hill Climb
Saturday, January 27 - Downhill, Four Cross
Sunday January 28 Cross Country
Ross and Juarez to Dirt Sweat & Gears
Nat Ross (Subaru/Gary Fisher) and Tinker Juarez (Siemens mobile/Cannondale),
long time friends and professional racing rivals, plan to duke it out
at the inaugural Dirt Sweat & Gears 12 hour races in Fayetteville,
Tennessee on April 28. At 43-years-old, Juarez is known for ability to
go long in difficult terrain year after year while Ross is a seven year
veteran of ultra-endurance racing.
The race, part of the USA Cycling Ultra Endurance calendar, is drawing
attention by offering not only a large payout of US$10,000, but one that
is equal for men and women.
Race Director Clay Higgins describes the event as "part endurance
race, part concert and part picnic, wrapped up in a festival that's held
on a spring weekend at the Cotton Mill Preserve."
NMBS corrects NMBC calendar
The NMBS #1 event in Phoenix will not feature DH, 4X, or Dual-Slalom
races. Organizers spread the word that the inclusion of those races was
a mistake on USA Cycling's recently released National Mountain Bike Calendar
(NMBC). However, racers will still contest the cross country, time trial,
downtown Fat Tire Criterium, and Super D events in Phoenix.
Scott USA signs Hill
Photo ©: Scott USA
Current downhill world champion Sam Hill signed with Scott USA for eyewear
sponsorship for the upcoming season. Hill has been testing Scott's 89xi
goggles for several months.
"Scott has been very supportive throughout the change and I look
forward to a great season with them," said the Australian.
Phil Vega, Eyewear Team Manager, said Scott has been working with Hill
to adapt goggles originally designed by the Motorsports division for Supercross
racing to downhill mountain bike racing.
National champion breaks neck downhill skiing
John Fisher, a three time expert national downhill champion, broke his
neck in a downhill skiing accident last weekend.
The 42-year-old experienced skier, from Oakhurst, California, was involved
in a slow-speed crash at the bottom of a run while on his way to join
family members for lunch. Fisher was airlifed to University Medical Center
in Fresno and placed in intensive care after the accident.
"It's just a freak thing," Mark Fisher told the Fresno Bee.
"He even told the Ski Patrol: 'I can't believe I got so hurt going
so slow.' But he didn't know who he was either. Over 24 hours later, I'm
still blown away this happened."
Immediately after the accident, Fisher lost feeling and movement in his
body, but limited movement was beginning to return to his arms one day
Fisher placed second in his age group at the world masters downhill championships
last September at Sun Peaks resort in British Columbia after friends and
family raised funds to help defray his expenses.
Regarding John's initial outlook, brother Mark said, "It could get
better or it could get worse."
Athertons join Commencal team
Commencal announced that Rachel, Dan, and Gee Atherton have joined the
Animal-Commencal team for 2007. They will ride alongside world cup competitor
Cedric Gracia. All are looking forward to the World Championships at Fort
William from the September 3-9, 2007. In the meantime, look for the team
at all the world cup events, Sea Otter, the Crankworx Festival, and numerous
Red Bull events.
24-year-old Dan is the oldest family member. He's a former national champion
and one to watch in downhill, 4X, and slopestyle competitions. Younger
brother Gee has an outstanding 2006 with five trips to the world cup podium
and a win in the European championships. Former junior world champion
and younger sister, Rachel, completed her first year in the senior women's
ranks during which she won her first world cup and took a bronze at the
De Brink Direct Mail sponsors Ten Tusscher Team
Dutch mountain bike team Jan ten Tusscher found a new title sponsor for
the next two years with De Brink Direct Mail. De Brink takes over from
Heijdens as the main sponsor, and the new squad will be called the De
Brink Ten Tusscher Team.
The team, a feeder for the Cannondale Vredestein Mountain Bike Racing
Team, will focus on races in Benelux and Germany and national championships.
Riders to come through the team's ranks include Maarten Tjallinghii, Daphny
van den Brand, Maarten Nijland, and Jakob Fuglsang.
New to the squad for 2007 is Belgian grassroots rider Joris Massaer.
In 2006, he took fourth at the Belgian marathon championships marathon
and fifth in the Belgian cross country championships. Also joining the
squad are Dutch riders Axel Bult, Tim Lemmens, junior champion Jelmer
Jubbega, and the German U23 rider René Tann, who was second in
the U23 German national championships.
24 Hours in Old Pueblo
The eighth annual 24 Hours
of Old Pueblo, one of the largest 24 hour races in North America,
will happen February 17-18 north of Tucson, Arizona. Promoters attribute
the race's popularity to its emphasis on celebrating mountain biking.
Its late winter time slot also draws racers from colder climates looking
for warmer weather.
"We like to think of the event as a huge party that happens to have
a mountain bike race going on nearby," said Todd Sadow, president
of Epic Rides, the promoting company. "The event has grown to attract
more than 3,000 people, including participants and spectators, each year
and that is a testament of its ability to appeal to a wide range of cyclists
- not just the serious racers."
The 24 Hours in Old Pueblo will be the only American race in the 2007
Kona Global 24 hour series (G24) thanks to a recent three-year sponsorship
agreement signed by Epic Rides and Kona.
"The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo has a solid reputation and the vibe
that Kona has been looking for in an around-the-clock event," said
Kona's Mark Peterson. "A portion of the proceeds is donated to a
non-profit that promotes economic development for old mining communities
(Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition). This fits right in with
our belief that bikes can help make the world a better place."
As the title sponsor, Kona earns special privileges. Peterson said that
Sadow "pretty much sealed the deal" when he noted in his sponsorship
proposal that Kona would "receive intimate one-on-one time from within
the port-o-lets throughout 24-Hour Town."
Registration is closed, but for more information or to volunteer, visit
Rays MTB to host second 3 Ride Pro Invitational
Ray's MTB, the 82,000 square foot Cleveland-based indoor mountain bike
park, announced the running of the second annual 3 Ride Pro Invitational
from February 9 to February 11.
New for this year is an open qualifier session. Riders who want a shot
at some cash and a chance to compete against the best can come out February
9th and try to make the cut for the finals. Trials consist of one timed
lap around their cross country course combined with a jumping contest.
Other events for the weekend include a pump track dual slalom, a sport
course time trial, a street park jam, and a jumping competition.
For more information, see www.raysmtb.com.
Michaux Series for 2007
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
Gettysburg Bicycle and Fitness is once again putting on its endurance
race series for 2007 in Pennsylvania. The highlight of the three-race
monster series will be a different point-to-point 50 mile for each. 15
and 25 mile loops will still be available. Each 50 mile loop will have
fully stocked aid stations to give riders opportunities to refuel, rest
and regroup, and to promote the "epic ride" aspect of the day.
Gettysburg Bicycle has a reputation for hosting some of the most technically
challenging races on the east coast. Over the past ten years, racers have
come to expect demanding courses, free camping, the participation of nationally-ranked
racers, well-stocked aid stations, and free beer at the finish.
In 2006, top national endurance racers battled for the Monster Series
Championships, with the lead changing hands like a hot potato. NUE Series
Champion, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), 24hr National Champion
Chris Eatough (Trek/VW), and rising east coast star Brandon Dragaulis
(Cannondale/ Bare Naked) exchanged the top three places although Price
eventually emerged victorious at the final race, The Terror of Teaberry.
In a scene where single lap cross country races are becoming rarer, organizers
have stuck to their philosophy that mountain biking is about adventure
and exploration by offering three different endurance courses in the Michaux
State Forest with none of them overlapping. Shop owner, Jes Stith, saw
the tide of cross country racing shifting several years ago when he started
including a Monster category in addition to the normal beginner, sport
and expert classes.
Series races will be held May 6, July 15, and September 16.
Virginia series returns
The Virginia Mountain bike series, which featured classic races in the
southern and western portion of the state, is returning, albeit with fewer
races than in the past. The series will kick off on April 1, 2007 with
Dragon's Back (near Roanoke). It continues with the Middle Mountain Momma
(Douthat State Park) on May 6, 2007, and wraps up with the Massanutten
Hoo Ha! (near Harrisonburg) on June 3, 2007.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)