MTB & 'Cross news & racing round-up for October
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking
and 'cross. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Edited by Sue George, Laura Weislo and Paul Verkeulen
European mountain bike marathon champions crowned
Moritz Milatz (Germany) after the
Photo ©: Armin Küstenbrück
In one of the final major races of the 2007 mountain bike season, Christoph
Sauser (Switzerland) and Sabine Spitz (Germany) added European marathon
championship titles to their already successful 2007 seasons. Both the
men and the women tackled wet and muddy conditions over a 118km course.
Reigning marathon world champion Sauser finished a sloppy race in a time
of 4:57:15 ahead of second place Christoph Soukup (Austria) by 13 seconds
and ahead of Moritz Milatz (Germany) by 50 seconds.
Milatz and Sauser drove the action at the front together for much of
the race while Soukoup chased. Sauser's late-race attack on a hill was
too much for Milatz, who commented on the muddy course. "Conditions
were everything but pleasant," said Moritz on his website. With the
starting gun came rain which, after several recent days or rain, only
made the already muddy conditions more so." It was the same rain
that threatened the UCI Road World Championships all last week.
In the women's race, Spitz, who recently finished second in the World
Mountain Bike Championship cross country race in Fort William, showed
she can carry her short race fitness through over longer distances. She
finished nearly seven minutes ahead of second placed Dutchwoman Arielle
van Meurs. Esther Süss of Switzerland came in third.
"It is great to win the second European Championship title this year,"
said Spitz, who also won the European
cross country championship this summer. "That is a nice end to
the season and this evening I can have a drink."
Fidea ready to take on 'cross world
Fidea Team manager Hans van Kasteren
Photo ©: AFP
On Tuesday, October 2 at 'the Ark' in Antwerp, Fidea presented its 2007/2008
cyclo-cross team. This year the team features ten riders, six of whom
are pros with the remaining four riding in the U23 ranks. The team features
no fewer than three championship jerseys in it ranks: current world champion
Erwin Vervecken leads the squad which also includes Belgian champion Bart
Wellens and Czech champion Petr Dlask.
"It is the fourth year that we are presenting the team to the media.
Every year we want to present ourselves as more professional," commented
Fidea team manager, Hans van Kasteren to HLN. "We no longer have
any 'elite without contract' riders in our squad, which is new this year,
because I want to make sure that the U23 riders can make the transition
directly to the pros. Our goal for this season is to win 25 races with
our elite riders. It makes no difference if they are won in the Superprestige
or the GVA trophy. But there has to be at least one championship jersey
among them, either the Worlds or the Belgian tri-colour. In the U23 we
are aiming for 10 wins," said Van Kasteren of the team's season goals.
One may be excused for thinking that the team goals are set somewhat
high, but with riders of the calibre of Wellens and Vervecken they are
certainly achievable. "Sven Nys may have won 30 races last year but he
didn't get the cherry on top because Erwin Vervecken took the world champions
jersey, and Bart Wellens is riding in the black yellow and red jersey
[of Belgian champion] - they are two jerseys that stick out. I can see
my team achieving the goals that we have set."
The team's presentation included a video that took a look back at the
2007 Worlds. That race which featured the crash that caused Wellens to
break his wrist, an injury that is still causing some problems. "I had
been warned that that this injury could act up as the weather becomes
cold and damp" Wellens said. "They were right. I hope that this injury,
tendonitis in my right wrist, gets better quickly, as I may ride for a
whole season in the National champion's jersey again. It is a nice piece
of clothing," he said proudly.
Photo ©: AFP
Wellens has yet to stand atop the podium this season, but that is not
something that is worrying him. "That has been calculated into my program.
From Ruddervoorde later in the month, I want to slowly get better and
better. Besides, the season is still long," he explained. "I was severely
held up in my preparations for the season by an insect bite and spent
a week in the hospital which caused me to miss the Tour of China," he
"I compensated for that by riding a number of post-Tour criteriums. I
still have pain, but I can suppress that like the burden of a mild cold,"
he said referring to his right wrist. "I wouldn't be the only one that
is affected by that after the nice weather that we have had the past few
After winning his three World Championships, first in Tabor,
then in Zeddam
and finally last year in Hooglede-Gits,
Erwin Vervecken is not setting his hopes too high for claiming a fourth
world title in Treviso. "Treviso, where the title will be decided in 2008,
doesn't suit me so well," explained Vervecken.
"The race will be a lottery. Hofstade suits me better, and that is where
the Belgian championships will be decided. Naturally, I want to ride around
in this jersey [the world champion's jersey] for another year, but taking
over the jersey that now belongs to Bart Wellens wouldn't be a tragedy
Vervecken is scheduled to race in America this coming weekend - an experience
that he is looking forward too. "I will maybe take my first and second
win of the season. I am looking forward to riding there," he explained.
Vervecken and the rest of the Fidea team have enjoyed a gradual build
up to the 'cross season, one which included riding the Tour of China at
altitude under the guidance of Sports Director Danny de Bie, himself an
ex-world champion. Vervecken believes that this approach suits him the
best and will see him come into form at the business end of the season.
"I always take it a little easier in the beginning of the season.
I want to be 100% when the real races come around. My motto is: build
up slow and steady," Vervecken concluded.
Fidea cycling team for 2007 / 2008: Elite: Erwin Vervecken, Bart
Wellens, Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout, Zdenek Stybar (Cze) en Petr
Dlask (Cze). U23: Vincent Baestaens, Quentin Bertholet, Tom Meeusen and
Jempy Drucker (Lux).
Vervecken ready for America
World Champion Erwin Vervecken
Photo ©: AFP
World Cyclo-cross Champion Erwin Vervecken will get his first taste of
America's rapidly improving cyclo-cross domestic scene at the Whitmore
races in Southampton, New York on October 6-7. The event will be his first
American race since 2001, when he raced in Las Vegas and Gloucester. Back
then the American scene was considerably smaller, but now, Vervecken acknowledges,
things are different. "You used to hear not so much about cyclo-cross
in America," he said. "Now we read about it all the time."
Vervecken made it clear what motivated him to endure jet-lag in order
to race in the US. "America has the money," he said with a smile, but
added that the growing American 'cross scene is another motivator. "Of
every place in the world, cyclo-cross is growing fastest in America. It
used to be that Europeans laughed at American bike racers, then came Greg
Lemond and Lance Armstrong. Now road bike racing is so big in America
that European riders want to go to America to work."
The 'cross scene, Vervecken theorised, could catch up with the road
scene because it's more practical. "There are not so many places in American
where you can shut down road traffic for a bike race; the economy has
to keep going. Even in Europe this is becoming a problem for cycling.
But there are lots of places to do cyclo-cross." With spectator-friendly
venues, the racing is easier to follow and more exciting - something that
presents increased business opportunities. "In America they don't even
charge people to watch, crazy! For me, this is the future. There are big
companies in America. When cyclo-cross gets big in America like road cycling,
then it means more money for everyone -- even in Belgium."
More money is just what the women who head to New York will be getting
- the race will have the unprecedented status of having a higher prize
purse for the elite women than for the men.
Location: Southampton Youth Services Park, 1370a Majors Path, Southampton
Daily Schedule -- Saturday:
11:00 Amateur Race, Novices and Juniors age 10-14
12:00 Semi-Pro Race, Masters age 35+ and Juniors age 15-18
13:15 Domestic Race, Men
14:30 International Race, Elite Professional Women (World's Richest Women's Cyclo-cross)
15:45 International Race, Elite Professional Men, Category C1
Daily Schedule -- Sunday:
9:00 Amateur Race, Novices and Juniors age 10-14
10:00 Semi-Pro Race, Masters age 35+ and Juniors age 15-18
11:15 Domestic Race, Men
12:30 International Race, Elite Professional Women, Category C2
13:30 Kids Challenge, Free Children's Race
13:45 International Race, Elite Professional Men, Category C2
Upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross races
- October 6: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 1, Southampton (USA)
- October 7: Jim Horner Cyclo-cross Grand Prix, Edmonton (Can) C2
- October 7: National Trophy Series 1, Abergavenny (GBr) C2
- October 7: Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup 2, Southampton (USA)
- October 13: Gran Prix of Gloucester 1, Gloucester, MA (USA) C2
- October 13: Grand Prix de la Région Wallonne, Dottignies (Bel) C2
- October13: Java Johnny's - LionHearts' Cross, Middletown, Ohio (USA)
- October13: TOI TOI Cup, Hlinsko (Cze) C2
Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day set for weekend
The third annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is set for on Saturday,
October 6. IMBA encourage mountain bikers to share their passion for off-road
riding with the next generation.
Interested participants - kids or adults - may join any of more than
70 scheduled events around the globe as listed on IMBA's website, or instead,
they may opt for their own ride. Not all club TAKMBD rides are registered,
so check also with your local club for other rides and events.
Ten youth-sized mountain bikes from Schwinn which will be awarded by
raffle to both individual kids and to participating clubs who registered
their event. For a list of the 80 officially registered events, visit
NorCal high school league summit goes national
The NorCal High School Mountain Bike League announced its first national
Leaders' Summit, which will be open to others interested in starting high
school mountain bike programs.
The NorCal League is partnering with USA Cycling to bring high school
mountain biking to other states in the US. Taking place October 26 through
28 in Fairfax, California, the Leaders' Summit will bring together high
school mountain bike coaches, assistant coaches, ride leaders, and parent
volunteersand those interested in starting youth cycling programsand
to further develop skills and knowledge, share strategies, and offer support.
The focus of this year's Leaders' Summit, Integral Coaching for Positive
Youth Development, will promote comprehensive coaching that creates an
environment in which young people can grow and thrive.
The conference has been held annually since 2001. It combines on-the-bike
clinics with professional development seminars. The "Learn the Skills
to Teach the Skills" clinic offers a "behind the scenes"
look at the NorCal Leagues mountain bike skills clinics. Participants
will learn the progressive steps needed to teach anyone both basic and
advanced mountain biking skills. They will also learn about experiential
teaching techniques, how to accommodate different learning styles, and
how to create a positive learning environment for young riders.
Professional development seminars are designed to help coaches and leaders
successfully manage, lead, and work with high school mountain bike teams.
These seminars will cover numerous aspects of coaching and leadership,
from managing risk, to developing appropriate training programs, to effectively
working with teenagers, and much more.
For more information, visit www.norcalmtb.org.
Haro bikes stolen
Haro reported about 30 mountain bikes, nearly its entire demo fleet,
stolen over the weekend of September 29-30. Thieves broke into the company's
trailer and rental Penske van while parked at its Vista, California headquarters.
The bikes were just back from the On Dirt Demo at Interbike last week.
Models stolen include Werx Sonix (crema), Sonix LT (Grey), Sonix S (copper),
Werx Xeons (Pearl White, two with 650b wheels), Xeon S (Grey), Mary SS
29er (in ginger, light blue and green), Mary XC 29er (in tangerine and
green), Thread One (green/black fade), Flightline Expert (cream), alloy
29er hardtail prototype (black with green graphics, green RST M29 fork,
and one non-Haro bike, a Masi CXR 'cross bike.
The bikes may have identifying marks on them. If any has information,
contact Jill Hamilton at 800-289-4276.
Barbara Howe diary; Cross-training with an Xterra
With my medal and arm numbers
Photo ©: Barbara Howe
Saturday my brother, Rush, his dog Helmutt, his friend, Sam, and myself
loaded into the VW van and headed up to the Xterra venue for a pre-ride.
This was all Wendy Simms fault, she suggested I do an Xterra as I have
run, swam and cycled competitively and Xterra have prize lists the likes
of which are not even dreamed about in mountain biking.
After arriving at Yellow Creek state park and securing a campsite at
a shady (not just from trees) campground we headed out for a preview of
the mountain bike course. For the most part things went really well. Along
fire roads, up some single track, down some more fire roads across a creek
... then it all went wrong. Not with my bike but with Sam's bike. He ripped
his derailleur right off the bike. My brother was off the front somewhere
so I told Sam to start walking while I caught my bro and got a chain tool.
Several miles later I caught up to Rush and we headed back to find Sam.
Another racer had stopped to help with the singulation of Sam's bike.
This took a long time and it didn't work out so well because the hanger
had broken off high up and the quick release did grab enough so the wheel
kept going crooked. Rush and I realized that the course went right past
the campground so we sent Sam to the campsite then headed off to the van.
At this point the sun had set and the evening was just getting started.
I had told my brother that I was taking care of the food, assuming that
he would bring kitchen stuff for cooking. He did, kind of. As Sam worked
on his bike and Helmutt wandered off, I made the discovery that we had
no pot for cooking our pasta. Crap. It was wonder doggie to the rescue,
Helmutt had packed a stainless steel bowl for drinking which us humans
quickly conscripted as a pasta cooking bowl. With dinner out of the way
it was time for bed, three of us and the doggie squeezed into the tent
in hopes of a few hours of shuteye.
Morning came much too soon with not enough sleep. At registration I asked
how we started, being a complete newbie I wasn't sure if we split up between
men and women or age groups or beginner and expert. Mass start was the
answer, we can walk into the water then it's a free for all. That's something
I can deal with, it couldn't be nearly as hectic as the start of a World
Cup cross race or bunch sprint in a crit.
To read the complete diary entry, click
God's Country Marathon wraps up MASS
The Mid Atlantic Super Series for mountain biking comes to an end Saturday,
October 6 with a double points race for the endurance sub-series. Coudersport,
Pennsylvania, will host the 50 mile marathon race, just in time for peak
autumn colors in the mountains of the north central portion of the state.
Beginning and ending at the Ski Denton resort, the 50-mile course will
consist of a mix of singletrack, trail, and forestry roads. Elevation
at the ski lodge is 1,825 feet (556 meters ) and the summit of the resort's
mountain is at about 2,500 feet (760 meters) so riders should expect plenty
of climbing and descending.
For more information, visit www.skidenton.com
Show Low Bluff Tour continues in Arizona
Arizona's longest standing endurance mountain bike event, the Show Low
Bluff Tour of the White Mountains, will run again in the Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forest on Saturday, October 6.
At 7,000 feet, riders will discover the challenges of rugged terrain
amongst a Ponderosa pine forest backdrop plus witness the beauty of the
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The onset of fall should bring racers
and spectators more comfortable temperatures and changing leaves. The
race will benefit the Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center.
Pick 'n Pay challenge registration opens
Organizers announced registration is now open for the sixth annual Cape
Argus Pick 'n Pay Mountain Bike Challenge scheduled for Sunday, March
2, 2008. The 2007 edition of the race broke attendance records, with a
50% jump, and similar demand for entries is expected for next year.
The event comes with both a 55km race and shorter tours through the scenic
Boschendal Wine Estate and surrounding area. New for next year is a series
of seeding events so that late entrants can still have the opportunity
to land a better starting spot. Seeding events include the Argus Rotary
Knysna MTB Challenge and the Stellenbosch MTB Challenge, as well as the
Lourensford Classic, the latter is scheduled for October 6. For more information,
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)