MTB news & racing round-up for July 27, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
East coast riding experience pays off at Mount Snow
By Jackson Weber, in West Dover, Vermont
Adam Craig (Giant),
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
The Northeast welcomed its riders home for the USA Cycling Mountain Bike
National Championships. Already renowned for trails dominated by roots
and rocks that break rhythm, bikes, and even riders, this weekend, the
Mount Snow venue added mud. Thick, greasy, wheel-sucking mud - the kind
that turns easy sections into danger zones and transforms what was in
past years rideable climbs into long, painful hikes and runs. In short,
it made the already-difficult Mount Snow course into a rider-slaying monster.
Local boy Adam Craig (Giant) looked to be at home in the sticky Vermont
terrain as he romped his way to his first ever men's cross country national
title. Well behind him, Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW) showed surprising power
to take second only weeks after struggling with illness that kept him
from racing the Canadian World Cups. Another local Mike Broderick (Kenda/Seven),
rounded out the top three, putting his New England-bred technical skills
to good use to hold off the chasing Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary
Fisher) and Todd Wells (GT Bikes).
The mud seemed to slow down everyone but Craig, the Maine native for
whom Mount Snow might as well be an extension of his own backyard. "I
rode a couple laps Wednesday evening in the pouring rain and was like,
'This is awesome.'" While other riders looked concerned with the
prospect of an already technical course being turned into a mud bath,
Craig was beaming like a kid in a candy store.
Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Of the pre-race favorites, the only one who ever came close was Bishop,
who even by his own admission, was surprised to be there after having
missed both Canadian World Cup races that preceded the Nationals. "I
had a lower respiratory tract infection," said a glazed-looking Bishop
after the race. "I was so sick I didn't want to walk outside of my
room." Bishop rode an unconventionally outfitted bike, with a single
32 tooth front chainring.
Third place finisher Broderick, said, "I've raced here probably
10-15 times in the past, and I just look forward to when the conditions
get tougher. It was pretty boggy and I could just hang in there on the
climbs and make time on the descents."
It was Broderick's partner Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven), who would
use a combination of speed and finesse to leave the rest of the women's
field far behind on her way to her third national title. McConneloug defeated
2006 national champion Georgia Gould (Luna).
Women's cross country podium (left
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
"This course was really hard to get in any kind of rhythm - there's
no real sustained climbs...so that was more the problem for me,"
said Gould after the finish.
After the first, smaller loop of the course, it became clear that it
was going to be a three-woman race. McConneloug, fresh of her silver at
the Pan Am Games last weekend, was the first into view, followed by Willow
Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and then a hard-charging Georgia Gould. McConneloug's
lead appeared only a temporary one as both Koerber and Gould seemed to
be reeling her in as they moved back out of sight and into the back single
track of the course. It turned out that was the closest they would get
to the on-form McConneloug.
Instead of letting Gould and Koerber back into the race, McConneloug
shut the door, thriving in the muddy singletrack that she would bubble
about after the race - terrain which her fellow riders had very few positive
things to say about.
McConneloug crossed the line in near tears with a smile breaking through
her mud-blackened face. "This is my focus race of the year,"
explained the new national champion. "To come here and get the national
championship title back, it was my season goal." Gould and Koerber
took second and third.
For complete coverage of all disciplines of US Nationals, click
France awards national titles
By Wendy Booher in Montegenevre
Elite Women's Podium
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
Defending national champions Laurence Leboucher (Sarthe-Gasseau) and
Julien Absalon (Orbea) won gold again at the French National Mountain
Leboucher won by than a minute and half ahead of Sabrina Enaux (Lapierre
International) and almost three minutes in front of Christel Ferrier Bruneau
(Scott Valloire Galibier). She sustained a cautious lead going into the
first lap until she forged a comfortable pace that negotiated speed and
Leboucher collected her sixth red, white, and blue jersey to go with
the other five she already has and, while French mountain bikers get to
wear the stripes of a national champion for life, more distinguishing
on Leboucher are the rainbow colors for winning the World Mountain Bike
Championships in 1998. She has represented France at every summer Olympics
since 1992, first on the road then on the mountain bike, and she hopes
to claim the only spot available to France in the women's cross-country
event next year in Beijing. Despite her impressive palmares that include
two world champion cyclo-cross titles and four national cyclo-cross titles,
Leboucher - like Absalon - will take aim at an Olympic medal before she
retires at the end of 2008.
In the men's race, it was Julien Absalon's (Orbea) title to lose. The
Frenchman held onto it firmly. Olympic gold medalist Absalon's all-around
talents in climbing, technique, and power yielded an error-free race to
deliver him his seventh consecutive national title.
"Next year is an Olympic season so it's more important than the
other seasons and I'll be focusing on defending the gold medal,"
said Absalon. "It's a dream for me; I won it one time and I would
like to do it another time - it's not a race like any other."
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
The six-kilometer course humiliated racers who lacked the fitness and
technique to climb steep, gravel-littered singletrack and that humiliation
stung even more on a saddle-to-chest descent that forced racers lacking
confidence to dismount. Absalon's flawless execution of technical sections
plus a power output that consistently outpunched second place, Cedric
Ravanel (Lapierre International), and third place, Jean-Christophe Peraud
(Orbea), left no question as to how Absalon won again.
For complete coverage of all disciplines of French mountain bike nationals,
Brentjens collects 10th national title
Enduring top pro Bart Brentjens (Dolphin) won his 10th national title
in the Dutch village of Noorbeek this weekend. His success was made sweeter
only by the second place finish of his young teammate Rudi van Houts who
Overall, it was a good weekend for Team Dolphin. Under 23 rider Frank
Beemer also won the U23 title. At the same time in Belgium, rider Bjorn
Brems won the U23 title while also taking third in the elite category.
Prémont and Kabush garner more titles
Geoff Kabush at recent St. Felicien
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Marie-Hélène Prémont and Geoff Kabush overcame poor weather conditions
to successfully defend their elite cross country titles on Saturday at
the Canadian Mountain Bike Nationals at Mt. Washington, British Columbia.
"It was a difficult race with the mud, wind, rain and the fact it was
only five degrees," said Prémont (Rocky Mountain / Haywood), who earned
her fifth straight national title. "There was a lot of running on the
course, still I'm pleased with my race. I didn't have any mechanical problems
and it went well for me on the difficult parts of the course. I managed
my race well and I felt in control."
Last week's Pan American Games champion Catharine Pendrel (Norco Factory
Team) of Kamloops finished second 4'45" behind Prémont. Kiara Bisaro
(Opus), also from British Columbia, was third.
In the men's race, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) finished ahead of Max Plaxton
(Rocky Mountain / Haywood) by just under 30 seconds. Kabush logged his
third national title. Derek Zandstra (Rox Racing/Scott) won bronze.
"The weather caused a lot of trouble because it rained here all week,"
said Kabush. "It's hard on the body and the bike. It was an exciting race
and I focused on staying in control. "This is my hometown and I adored
racing here. It was really important for me."
For more coverage of Canadian nationals, click
Tostado breaks record, makes it three total wins at Breckenridge 100
By Thane Wright
The ever-recognizable Tinker Juarez
Photo ©: Warren Howell / Vast Action
Josh Tostado (Tostado) not only won the Breckenridge 100
for the third time, but also set a course record of 9:05:08. Mike Janelle
and Tinker Juarez followed him in at 10:06:10, and 10:08:24 respectively.
Paul Clark and Mark Thompson were fourth and fifth. The Breckenridge 100
was serving as stop number four of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE)
After five days of thundershowers and inclement weather,
race day for the third annual Breckenridge 100 and its little brother
the B-63 greeted athletes with cloudless blue skies and only a hint of
a breeze. Starting at 6:00 am at the Riverwalk Center in downtown Breckenridge,
the racers began their quest to race three distinct cloverleaf style loops
among the high alpine terrain of Summit County. Loop one took riders over
Wheeler Pass at 12,374 feet and onto the Colorado Trail to traverse the
Ten Mile range at 12,500 feet. Total elevation gain for the three loops
is 13,010 feet.
Course conditions were ideal, and Tostado, two-time defending
champion, along with newcomers Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), Mike Janelle
(Tokyo Joe's / X-fusion), and Travis Brown (Trek / FRS) separated themselves
from the rest of the field early and finished loop one tightly grouped
together at about 2'55". Tostado later distanced himself from the
rest on loop two, looking like a man on a mission on his way to the win.
Hometown favorite Monique Merrill (Amazing Grace) won the
women's race with a winning time of 10:49:47. She was followed by Kelley
Mattingly and Julie Minahan (Jans) in 11:25:59 and 11:41:26 respectively.
Erika Tieszen (Giant) and Erin Johnson (BPN) rounded out the top five.
Round 5 of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) is the Wilderness
101, set for August 4 in State College, Pennsylvania.
For complete coverage of the Breckenridge 100, click
Palma Push grows in popularity
Six years ago, Palma Push founders Peter Mclean and Haydn Tilley had
an idea for an event. The first year saw 68 riders participate, but by
this year, totals were up to 409 riders. The North Queensland, Australia,
event happened Sunday, July 22.
The Paluma Push is really two events in one. It's both a race and a recreational
ride. Every rider was responsible for raising a minimum of AUS$10 for
the Rural Firies of Hidden Valley and Paluma. This year, the total raised
will exceed f $7,000.
Tim Odwyer won the open men's division in a time of 1:59:10 with Cameron
Single from Mackay only one minute behind while Jennifer Macrow took the
open female category in creditable time of 2:26:29. 50+ winner Peter Stuart
put all his years of good training to use to finish in 2:20:50. Other
winners included Jason Vaughan (in the largest field, veteran male), Aaron
Ross(juniors), William Draffen (young guns), and Scott Mclennan (40-49
The event has become so popular, organizers will limit participation
next year to prevent venue overcrowding.
Georgia gets 100 miler
55nine Performance announced The Fool's Gold 50 and 100 mile races and
accompanying mountain bike festival near Dahlonega, Georgia, for August
17-19, 2007. Georgia's first and only 100 miler will be run by the organizers
of the well-known Burn 24 hour challenge. Racers will tackle one or two
loops of a 50 mile lap through the Chattahoochee National Forest. For
more information, visit 55nineperformance.com.
50 Rattling Miles marathon
The 50 Rattling Miles marathon is coming to Pennsylvania's Weiser State
Forest on Saturday, July 28. The race is being billed as an ideal first
time marathoner's course that is sprinkled with trails that will challenge
the most experienced and fastest racers. The course is reportedly more
balanced than the other, more extreme, races on the Mid Atlantic Super
Series (MASS) calendar, with entertaining obstacles, outstanding views,
and the actual distance is a little shorter than the named 50 miles.
Promoter Mike Kuhn points to the race's venue as an example to all mountain
bikers. "While we mountain bikers constantly find ourselves facing
new restrictions on trail usage," said Kuhn, "the crew at Rattling
Creek Single Trackers (RCST) has engaged in a cooperative relationship
with Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
that has led to more and more miles of trails being built and opened every
year since RCST's inception.
In the event of inclement weather, the race will still be held, but course
detours will be made to protect the trails. A portion of the proceeds
from the race will benefit the Blue Butterfly Fund (bluebutterflyfund.org)
which assists the families of victims of childhood cancer.
The fifth annual Galena Grinder comes to Galena Lodge in Sun Valley,
Idaho, on Saturday, July 28 at 9:00 am. The races is part of both the
USA Cycling Mountain Bike National cross country and ultra endurance calendars
and also serves as the state championship race for the marathon and the
Marathon racers will do two laps of a 22.5 mile one-lap course, 50% of
which is singletrack and 3,200 feet of climbing per lap. Experts will
do one lap. US$2,000 of prizes is being offered to pros.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)