MTB news & racing round-up for May 19, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Craig & Decker singlespeed to victory ahead of local Cascade challengers
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
If you're a pro racer with a weekend off from national-level competition,
what do you do? Racers like Adam Craig and Carl Decker don't just sit
around waiting for the next NMBS event or World Cup.
In the name of good fun and training, Team Giant's Craig and Decker tackled
the 10th Annual Cascade Chainbreaker mountain bike race near their hometown
of Bend, Oregon last weekend. As if the race itself would not have been
hard enough, the duo elected to race their singlespeeds for a little extra
"It's good for your legs," Decker told The Bulletin.
"It's a better workout.
"I was pedaling at a million rpm's," Craig said. "That
was a lot of work. I haven't done an effort like that in awhile. That
was some getting in shape - just waiting for the last 20 minutes and going
The singlespeeds didn't slow either racer down too much. Craig took first
place ahead of Decker. The two stayed together for awhile, then Craig
stopped for a nature break, he caught back up. With a few miles to go,
Craig pulled away for a victory in 2:27:38. Decker followed 44 seconds
back. In his trademark fun-loving approach to racing, Craig crossed the
line while doing a wheelie.
Ross Schnell (Trek / VW) and local Brig Brandt, last year's winner, were
the only two to challenge the Giant riders. They often caught the lead
duo on the descents because they lacked the large gears, but they would
fall behind on the climbs.
"That was a bit demeaning," joked Schnell to The Bulletin.
Schnell is staying with Craig during his visit to Bend.
Simmons visits Nepal
Rocky Mountain Freeride Pro Wade Simmons spent two weeks on a photo and
video adventure trip in Nepal. Fresh off 16 days of riding in Costa Rica,
Simmons was joined by two mountain bike legends, Hans Rey and long time
friend and former teammate Richie Schley, photographer Blake Jorgenson
and a UK film crew consisting of Seb Rogers and Rob Summers.
Late winter weather thwarted some of the group's plans to tackle one
of highest passes in the world, Throng la, in the Annapurna region. Instead
they started on the west side of the pass and landed in a town called
Jomosom. From there, it was 1000m up to Muktinath, at 3768 meters, toward
the pass. The group executed a plan to head up over a southern ridge topping
out at 4100m before dropping into a parallel valley back to Jomosom.
Simmons said, "This route, according to our guides, had never seen
bikes and they were a little wary because none had been this way, but
the map never lies right? And the route was chosen. The trail ended up
being the best of the trip: tight foot-wide single track contouring the
slopes and an exciting visit to Lupra, a rarely visited medieval hamlet."
Another day, the group passed through the Valley of Marpha, a place you
don't want to be during monsoon season. The Annapurna range was on one
side, with Annapurna 1 at 8091m, and the Dhaulagiri range was on the other
Simmons said he rode the biggest bike of the group, but he was glad to
have erred on the conservative side. At one point, "The trail consisted
of 500m of the sweetest trail anywhere, followed by 300m vertical descending
stairs that caused even trials guru Hans Rey to walk. Just to be followed
with 200m vertical ascending stairs with again the sweetest single track
peppered in between."
The Annapurna leg finished at the town of Beni. The group also visited
the Langtang region, a lesser known trekking area than the Annapurna or
Everest but equally spectacular. There they charted a helicopter and did
a run off Kyanjin Gompa, which measures in at 3730m.
While on the trip, Hans Rey and the group gave away 30 bikes from Rey's
Wheels 4 Life charity.
Route set for inaugural Trans Germany
Racers enjoy the scenery at events
like the TransRockies
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
One month before the start of the new Trans Germany event, promoters
have announced the route. The first-ever German mountain bike stage race
will take participants from west to east in eight stages spanning 800km
and 18,000m of climbing.
Race director Uli Stanciu said of the course, "It demands not only
muscular strength in the legs but also brain." Every stage is different,
ranging from flat passages, which will encourage drafting, to lonely singletrack,
gravel roads, and even some pavement.
One highlight of the race is the "Eselsweg," an old road was
used for transports that won't pass a single village for more than 40
kilometres. Others include the "Rennsteig," an old carrier route,
and the "Fichtelberg" mountain, at 1214 meters above sea level.
The race finishes in Oberwiesenthal.
It took Stanciu twelve months to set the course, verify infrastructure,
and get towns to buy in. With many details to be sorted out, the route
actually grew longer with time. "Every detour has enlarged the original
planned stage courses. We started the route setting with an average of
80 kilometres for each leg and ended with an average of 100 kilometres,"
Registration for the event is still open. Visit www.bike-transgermany.de
for more info.
British National 4X series round postponed
British National 4X series organizer Chris Roberts has postponed the
round three event at Bridgnorth due to recent bad weather. The event was
originally scheduled for May 20.
"The track is very wet and muddy and rather then risk running event
on what would be a very wet weekend we have taken the decision to postpone
until June 2-3. We want everyone to enjoy themselves at our events and
feel that spending the weekend in a very wet muddy field is not going
to be fun for anyone, least of all the all spectators and riders,"
"I know some would of you would love the race in the rain, but with
this being a new track, we really want to save it and for it to be an
amazing weekend on racing on a really dry and sunny June 3rd! We are sorry
for any inconvenience caused and will transfer or refund any entries already
New York City gets more trails
New York City and mountain biking are two words not often occurring in
the same sentence, but New Yorkers will soon have a new place to practice
dirt jumping at Inwood on Manhattan, a new three-mile trail system.
"On the face of it, it sounds preposterous," admitted city
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to the New York Daily News. "But
we really do have it, and it takes advantage of the terrain that was always
there. It's probably the only mountain-bike course in the country you
can get to by subway."
The trails are result of 18 months of work and a US$100,000 state grant.
They are aimed at BMX jumpers, casual riders, and hard-core experts. The
Parks Department was looking for an area appropriate for cyclists.
"It's pretty impressive for mountain biking in the middle of New
York City," said Jamie Bogner of the New York City Mountain Bike
Association to the New York Daily News. The club helped plan and
build the paths and will host a cross-country race Sunday after the trails
open Saturday. "We look for the longest way from point A to point
B, with every technical obstacle we can find."
The Fort George Hill Trails twist and turn through a section of Highbridge
Park once considered unsafe by park goers and littered with stolen cars.
New York City Parks Department officials are also looking at trail opportunities
at Cunningham Park in Queens and at capped landfills in the Bronx's Pelham
Bay and Staten Island's Fresh Kills.
NMBS Round #4 to head to Angel Fire Resort
A hot and dusty start in Angel
Fire World Cup 2005
Photo ©: Marek Lazarski
Next weekend, May 23-28, the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) makes
its fourth stop of the 2007 calendar at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico.
The event is the 19th annual Chile Challenge, although it's the first
year the event is included in the NMBS. The Chile Challenge is one of
two new events brought into the series for 2007; the other was the Firestone
Classic (NMBS #2) in Santa Barbara, California. The two events split the
NMBS points across the disciplines after the Sonoma NMBS was cancelled.
The Chile Challenge awards NMBS points to the gravity events (mountain
cross and downhill) while the Firestone Classic awarded NMBS points only
for the endurance disciplines.
In addition the NMBS-sanctioned gravity events, the Chile Challenge will
offer a full suite of endurance events, including a cross country, a short
track, and a super D. The race doubles as the second stop on the Mountain
States Cup Series.
At 11,000 feet elevation, Angel Fire previously hosted the World Cup
in July of 2005. While many top gravity racers are expected to attend
the late May event, most endurance pros will be in Offenburg, Germany
contesting the World Cup.
After Angel Fire, Deer Valley, Utah will host round #5 of the NMBS, a
joint gravity and endurance disciplined event.
Nick Martin diary: 30 square miles surrounded by reality
Testing the prototype
Photo ©: Nick Martin
The more I travel, the closer I hold true the timeless saying, "There
is no place like home." If only these carbon soled Nikes could harness
Dorothy's magic powers. Somewhere in between my road trip to NORBA's opener
(Note: The series is now called the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS)
- ed.) in Arizona and my 40 hour round trip trek to the infamous Sea Otter
Classic, I lost my travel legs (despite the efforts of our new Volkswagen
Maybe I am getting soft and old at the ripe age of 28, but after only
a month of racing I have opted to abort my original plan to drive to most
of the NORBA's and take the path of least resistance, United flight 1161.
Home for the past three years has been one of America's cycling paradises,
Boulder, Colorado. From the parking lots littered with roof racks to the
hundreds of miles of bike paths that are plowed before the city streets,
cycling is in this city's blood. So much so that it is the only place
I have ever been where it is border line acceptable to sport the casual
chamois in the grocery store (For the record, I don't condone such behavior).
To read the complete diary, click
Barb Howe diary: NMBS #3 - Out of the frying pan into the fire
Finding the candy
Photo ©: Barbara Howe
The second NMBS race had been rescheduled from Sonoma to just north of
Santa Barbara or in terms of temperatures out of the frying pan and into
the fire. Nationals in Sonoma last year were toasty and so was this race.
I enjoyed a leisurely drive down to Santa Ynez with Rachel Lloyd (winner
of the pro Super D) of the Proman team. This was the second time I've
used my newly installed Craig's List special roof racks. If at all possible
I put my bikes inside my little Honda so as not to ruin the gas mileage,
also I prefer not to use the A/C but sometimes it's inevitable.
We made it to the venue on one tank of gas and the very first thought
upon stepping out of the car was that it's a bit warmer here than at home.
The bowl shaped valley reflected the heat from the hills into the exhibition
After picking up our numbers Rachel and I went to check out the course.
I had raced here a few years ago, it was my last race as an expert and
the course has changed a bit. The start was in a new area and there's
much more single track than before. About fifteen minutes into our ride
we hit the first little hill; it was steep with a few switch backs. It
was at this time that I noticed a ringing in my ears and a rather uncomfortable
feeling in my stomach. Not good signs; my legs didn't want to work either.
To read the complete diary, click
Marathon Challenge visits Offenburg
Anna Enocsson of Team Ghost International
Photo ©: Team Ghost
One week before the World Cup comes to Offenburg, Germany, more than
2,000 pros and amateurs will get to race the Worldclass Marathon Challenge
May 19-20. The marathon covers 110km with 3,300m of climbing, and will
be documented by film-makers.
Anna Enocsson (GHOST International) and Sansdra Hober are among the favorites
for the women while Swiss riders Peter Roman, Sandro Späth, Thomas
Zahnd, Lukas Kubis are among top picks for the men along with Lukas Kubis.
Winning times are expected to be about four hours for the men and under
five hours for women, but all participants will win free entry into next
weekend's UCI World Cup.
Lisboa Downtown goes urban
Photo ©: Lisbon Downtown 2007
The neighborhood of Alfama welcomes the Lisboa Downtown, an urban downhill
race, on May 19
Steve Peat, five-time Lisboa downtown champion, #1 ranked Sam Hill, and
Cedric Gracia are some of the sixty racer expected to contest the Portuguese
race. They will be joined by Cláudio Loureiro, the best Portuguese
rider in the world ranking and compatriots Márcio Ferreira, Emanuel
Pombo, and Paulo Domingues.
On the women's side, last year's second place Fionn Griffith will match
up against Sabrina Jonnier, ranked #2 in the world and the winner in 2002
and two-time winner Marielle Saner. Portuguese rider Margarida Algarve
will get lots of support from her home crowd.
23 teams head to NorCal High School Mountain Bike State Championships
Oakland, California's cowbells will be rung loudly by parents, coaches,
and cycling fans alike Sunday, May 20 to cheer on the high school teams
that compete at the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League's State
Championship and Series Final. Starting in early March, this six-race
series began in Monterey and has seen tremendous growth of new teams and
tight competition across eight boys' and girls' categories.
Photo ©: John Mallory
Each race this season, at locations including Grants Ranch and Folsom
Lake, has been a unique test of skill and endurance. While some riders
preferred flat and fast, other prevailed on the courses with major hill
climbing, and still others found their glory in the slick mud at Angels
Camp. Both the team and individual competition will come to a head on
the longest and most rugged course of the season at Boggs Mountain Demonstration
Forest north of Calistoga.
Division I has been dominated by the Miners (Nevada City) led by the
stellar performances of Sarah Ely who's been undefeated this season and
also Nate Byrom, the League's first sophomore to compete at the varsity
Miners Coach, Jason Moeschler said, "The final race is the most
suitable course to our kids' riding styles, and they all know that. The
kids are amped to make an attempt at winning finals. Harbor High School
(Santa Cruz), has been at their heals all season long, but a start line
mishap shuffled the results at the last race giving reigning State Champs
Drake High School a renewed taste for victory."
Jesse Nickell, coach of the nascent Division I Harbor High team commented
"We have had an awesome season so far and I could not have asked
for more from our small power house team. Everyone has been riding at
their best and I am proud of them all. Both Berkeley High and Los Gatos
High have also been coming into great form and should be watched closely."
In Division II, the Calvary Chapel Warriors have gone undefeated all
season long as Nick Kintz made an incredible come back after breaking
his collarbone on a December training ride. Coach Mark Kintz said the
Boggs course "has heaps of variety and a whole chorus of strategic
risks and opportunities" and will have to watch out for Sierra Foothill
Composite (Colfax) and Tamalpais High (Mill Valley) who have also been
on the podium all season long and hoping for a State Championship title.
Escape from Granogue
The Mid-Atlantic Super Series heads to a hilltop estate north of Wilmington,
Delaware, for the Escape from Granogue race. New this year is a four-hour
enduro to compliment the Olympic-style cross country races for pro and
amateur categories. Races will be held rain or shine.
The event is held to honor and celebrate the life of Delaware resident,
racer, and bike mechanic Andrew Mein, who perished in a hit-and-run accident
while cycling home from work in nearby Newark in 1998. Though he characterized
himself as grumpy, his friends remember him as someone who very funny,
yet with a serious side that always encouraged other riders to be ambassadors
of the sport. According to the event's promoter, Marc Vettori, "Andrew
was warm and caring; a budding trials rider who won his intermediate class
in mountain bike trials (earlier) that spring."
A portion of every entry fee will go toward the HERA Women's Cancer Foundation.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)