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MTB news & racing round-up for June 2, 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

Mohican 100 brings NUE Round 2 to Ohio

100-mile podium from 2006
Photo ©: Jymme Perrone
(Click for larger image)

Saturday morning, endurance racers will take to to the trails in the Mohican State Park and State Forest near Loudonville, Ohio, for round two of the US. National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series. Round one was the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee in mid-April.

This year's race will have some big guns contesting for the win including two-time Olympian and former national champion Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), six-time 24 hours of Adrenaline World Champion Chris Eatough (Trek/VW), 2006 NUE Series champion Harlan Price (Independent Fabrications), and Josh Tostada.

Eatough is leading the NUE series after one event ahead of Juarez, but Price will be looking to capture both the overall series title again this year as well as defend his victory at the 2006 Mohican 100. Challenger Tostada has twice won the Breckenridge 100 in Colorado.

Former Ford Motor Pro Tiffany Kenny (Suma Health Care) will likely be a force to be reckoned with in the women's race, won last year by Tricia Stevenson.

Tiffany Kenny
Photo ©: Jymme Perrone
(Click for larger image)

Course records will mean nothing this year; both the 100 mile and the 100km option courses have changed significantly, with more singletrack added to both courses due to the recent completion of the new 24.5 mile mountain bike trail in the Mohican State Park/Forest. The winning time for the Mohican is expected to be around eight hours and 30 minutes. Dry course conditions could lead to times as fast as eight hours for the pro men.

Promoter Ryan O'Dell, also race director for the Ohio Mountain Bike Championships (OMBC) series, is partially responsible for developing and implementing the concept for the NUE series, now in its second year.

The race will start and finish at Camp Nuhop, a non-profit camp for special needs kids that offers a host of challenging activities for both kids and corporate groups. The course connects trails into a single loop that spans four counties that make up Mohican Country. Racers will be treated to support at five aid stations manned by volunteers.

The NUE Series will also make stops in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Utah before heading to Virginia in September for the final race. The series is scored from each racer's best four (of seven total possible) events.

Jeep King of Mountain Series set

Jeep KOM Series Racer Wade Bootes ©: John McBain
(Click for larger image)

The Jeep King of the Mountain Series selected three western host sites in Utah, California, and Colorado to host its 2007 series. Started in 1993, the series features 16 of the world's top riders competing head-to-head for a share of the richest cash payout in the sport, topping US$100,000, and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep.

The winners are determined by cumulative points from each event staged again on an innovative Y-Cross race course, which combines the two popular forms of gravity racing into one unique discipline. Competitors begin the race on separate sides of the course (the prongs of the Y) before converging midway into a single course (the crux of the Y). In the bottom section, racers must navigate a series of banked turns, tabletops, step-down jumps and rollers before the track climaxes with an all-out sprint to the finish.

The daredevil courses have been described as the ultimate format for gravity racing, as the overall winners must have a diverse set of skills to win. Select athletes participating in the series will be asked for input in the design of the racecourses. The "athlete inspired" racecourse design concept proved successful last year with racers like Mike King and Brian Lopes helping create them. CBS sports will televise each round.

2007 Jeep KOM Schedule
August 4 - Canyons Resort (Park City, Utah)
August 18 - Madonna Inn (San Luis Obispo, California)
September 1 - Beaver Creek Resort (Beaver Creek, Colorado)

In addition to an elite field of pre-qualified national and international pro racers, each event will add two local racers as well as two wildcard participants based on UCI and NORBA standings. Information regarding local and wild-card entry will be available at www.jeepsports.com prior to each race.

Price wins inaugural Manhattan race

By James Bogner

Harlan Price
Photo ©: Cathy DeSanto
(Click for larger image)

Keeping busy in between endurance mountain bike events, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrications) won the race celebrating the grand opening of the first legal mountain bike trails in NYC. Ultra 100 series champ Price took the win in the pro class after setting a blistering 11 mph pace in his first lap of the grueling and technical 2.25 mile course.

Situated in the northern tip of Manhattan, the Highbridge Park trails are the result of years of collaboration between NYCMTB (New York City Mountain Bike Association), IMBA, and New York City Parks. The trail system includes three miles of cross country trails ranging from rocky and technical to swoopy and fast, plus a double-black diamond "freeride" trail and a dirt jump park built by IMBA and pro riders Jeff Lenosky and Kyle Ebbett.

Price bested a pro/semipro/open field that included former U23 US National Cyclo-cross champ Troy Wells (Tokyo Joes/X-Fusion), and top regional pros Christian Favata (Verge/Overlook Mtn Bikes) and Ed Ceccolini (Campmor). He established a two-minute lead in the first lap, and bumped the margin up to four minutes by the end of the eighth and final lap. On the women's side, pro Jane Peason (Maverick) took home the victory over Connecticut pro Mary Lynn Wikar.

Starting in the shadow of the elevated #1 train subway station, climbing up a paved park path above Harlem River Drive, the course then climbed the difficult "Rough Ryder" trail (named for the rollercoaster that occupied the same site at the turn of the century), looped around and down the flowy trails of Fort George Hill, and descended the wickedly fast "Hessian Hill" trail, named for the German mercenaries who captured the Revolutionary War fort on this site.

In a friendly tongue-in-cheek move, Maxxis provided free tubes to all racers who found themselves victims of the trail hazards.

Pro Men
1 Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication)                     1.45.50
2 Christian Favata (Verge Sport / Overlook Mtn Bikes)           3.23
3 Troy Wells (Tokyo Joes / X-Fusion)                            5.40
4 Ed Ceccolini (Campmor/Schwalbe/American Classic/No Tubes)     8.10
5 Maurice Gamanho (Cycle Craft / Yeti)                         12.18
Pro Women
1 Jane Pearson (Maverick)                                    2.29.50
2 Mary Lynn Wikar                                               6.00

Minnesota celebrates new singletrack

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, residents of Savage, Minnesota, celebrated the opening of new mountain bike trails in the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve.

A seven-mile advanced loop, a two-and-a-half-mile intermediate loop, and an eight-tenths of a mile easy loop are among the new trails, which feature a varying level of difficulty. The trails offer sustained climbs through a wooded area and views of a wetland complex tucked between the more difficult trail loops.

The sustainable trails were designed through a partnership between the Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and were partly funded by a grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). MORC volunteers will assist Park District Maintenance and Public Safety staff in maintaining and patrolling the trail.

Blue trails go beyond blue

A group of Melbourne cyclists has pledged to help the Australian Beyond Blue foundation maintain its work to increase awareness of depression in men and a group of Melbourne cyclists has pledged to help the foundation maintain its work.

Former St Kilda Cycling Club President Dean Langenberg has recruited an enthusiastic group of men, mostly from the Melbourne suburb of Beaumaris, to complete a three-day Blue Trails mountain bike ride that will raise funds for the foundation.

The idea for the ride evolved from a discussion between Beaumaris butcher Steve Sutherland and Langenberg after both men had helped employees suffering from depression.

"My involvement in cycling naturally led me to organise this ride as a vehicle to raise money," said Langenberg.

A group of eight riders will attempt the difficult and unchartered ride along the Murray River from Yarrawonga to Echuca during the three-day Queen's Birthday weekend (June 8-11), and it's no coincidence that the difficulties presented on the ride are synonymous with those presented by depression.

"Completing the ride will require some of the same attributes that are needed to fight depression - it will take a lot determination and hard work for us to succeed." For more information, email langenberg@bigpond.com.

Mike & Mary diary: Home for a few hours

An odd, but quiet camping spot.
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
(Click for larger image)

Actually, it's just another campground in another unfamiliar European town, but it has almost all the comforts of home-- a place to get off the road and take a coin-op shower, tune the bikes, do a bit of laundry, and in this case, since we are really lucky, find an unguarded wireless signal.

Home really seems to be an abstract term, with the meaning up for interpretation and subject to constant evolution for each individual. Home could be something you own, rent, has a roof, garden, leather couch, TV, or possibly just where you are for a few hours while on the side of the road in an unfamiliar continent. This is a good thing for Mary and I since we have been driving practically non-stop for the past month competing in races around Europe.

The past weeks' destinations included Templice, Czech, for a Saturday race then a quick 800km drive down to an unusual, but well attended Tuesday race in Nalles, Italy, and then back over the Alps to for a high category race in Heubach, Germany, on the following Sunday. Driving and lots of hard racing has been taken up all our time in the dry and dusty spring that has so far prevailed for most of our time here in mainland Europe.

After a bit of a delay at the border where we discovered that not having an international drivers license could actually present a bit of a problem, we really enjoyed our time in the in Czech republic. We were treated so well by the race promoters and staff. The promoters had an English translator on hand to help with the international racers which consisted only of Mary and me, the Chinese women's mountain bike team, and Spaniard Jose Hermida. It was definitely much appreciated since we don't speak Czech, and we have found that there are very few similar crossover words that sound somewhat the same in English.

To read the complete diary, click here.

British series to Margam Park

Margam Park’s sprawling estate grounds will welcome over 1,000 racers to the beautiful surrounds of South Wales for round three of the Trek British Mountain Bike Series, June 2-3.

The stage is set for a tough race with the climbers hoping to make their mark on a series, which for the opening two rounds has seen flat courses and close racing. At Margam expect the current formbook to be re-written and a host of new names at the sharp end of the action.

Saturday is the cross country, where the lap course will be similar to the 2006 race, with granny ring climbs, river crossings and a stunning descent back down to the arena sure to be a crowd pleaser.

After tasting defeat at Sherwood Pines, National Champion Oli Beckingsale will start as the favourite on a course sure to suit him more than the previous two rounds. Expect to see him locked in battle with South African Burry Stander, Ian Bibby, and Simon Richardson who is coming back strong in 2007. Local racer Anthony O'Boyle also has his home trail earmarked for a strong result on his birthday weekend.

Rosara Joseph will be hoping to claim her first UK win after being runner-up at rounds one and two, and it will be interesting to see how Jenny Copnall fares in the hills as she continues to face her toughest domestic campaign yet. Kate Potter will have hopefully recovered from illness to return fully race fit, with Jenn O'Connor looking to open her podium account with new sponsors.

Sunday, racers will contest the Trek Marathon with the usual options of 100, 50 or 25km. Camping is free, with showers are onsite. For more info, see www.xcracer.com.

Trips for Kids Bike Swap to Cougar Mountain Classic

The16th Annual Bike Swap to benefit Trips for Kids is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The ever- popular event will be part of the Cougar Mountain Classic, an annual festival of pro and amateur road and mountain bike racing, with a large sports expo and special events for the whole family.

The swap features hundreds of donated new and used adult's and kids' bicycles, accessories, clothing, and novelty items.

"Each year individuals and companies within and outside the bicycle industry donate product to or participate in our annual fundraiser," said Trips for Kids' Director Marilyn Price. "We are delighted to offer cyclists one of our biggest swap meets ever."

Supports of the swap may reserve a space to sell used and overstocked bikes and bike-related products, donate items for Trips for Kids to sell (tax deductible), or simply make a financial contribution. Proceeds from the Swap support Trips for Kids cycling programs for underserved youth in the San Francisco Bay Area and across North America. The sale of donated merchandise covers sixty percent of Trips for Kids annual operating budget.

Admission is free; parking is $10 per vehicle. For more information on the swap, visit www.tripsforkids.org. For more info on the Cougar Mountain Classic, visit www.cmclassic.com.

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