Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for October 20, 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

Crocodile Trophy heats up

By John Flynn

David Wood at the 2006 Crocodile Trophy
Photo ©: John Flynn
Click for larger image

The leader of Australia's Flight Centre Scott Team, David Wood, is predicting a hot 2007 edition of the Crocodile Trophy, both in terms of furnace-like temperatures as well as a record-sized peloton. The race starts in just a few days, on October 23, and wraps up ten stages later on November 1.

Wood lives, works and trains on the merciless Australian Outback roads of Far North Queensland. The three-time protagonist and stage winner is ready to race after a recent confidence-boosting podium placing with his team at the Australian 24 hour mountain bike championships last weekend in Canberra.

"They've got to be the best blokes going," Wood said of his Croc Trophy team-mates Tim Bennett and rookie Ryan Hawson. Wood and Bennett also have the experience of marathon world cup events in their legs. They don't know how their form will hold up over the multi-day Crocodile Trophy, but the team is aiming for an overall podium win.

"This year there are more contenders for GC than there ever have been," Wood said after studying the start list. He added as warning to those travelling from cooler climates, "Unlike last year it's hot already up here. It's going to be hotter and harder than any Crocodile Trophy in history I suspect."

Organizer Gerhard Schoenbacher made one key change to the course for 2007. He cancelled a stage from Mount Mulgrave to King Junction, deeming it unfit for travel for the event support vehicles.

"We would like to have included the stage, but there was no safe way for our support vehicles to reach the finish of the stage and be there in time for the riders," Schoenbacher said. "You might call the stage 'horse categorie'. That is not a spelling mistake; the track was only safe for horses or brumbies as they call them here."

The 2007 edition will follow the path of the 2006 race over its final days, including a key 148km stage from Mount Mulgrave to the mythical Quinkan country of Laura. The journey from Cooktown to the finish line at Cape Tribulation will be broken into two stages, mirroring last year's race finish. In total, protagonists will cover 1234 kilometres over a six-day stretch between Woombinoo and The Daintree, averaging almost 140 kilometres per day. Last year's race was won by Christoph Stevens of Belgium.

Stayed tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage including reports, photos, results and videos.

NMBS 2008 draft schedule released

Barry Wicks (Kona) leading at the 2007 Snowmass NMBS round
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

According to a draft schedule, next year's 2008 National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) will visit eight American venues throughout the season, including new locations - one East coast venue in New York and one in Idaho for the finals. The series jumps up from seven to eight venues. One stop not on the docket for 2008 is in Angel Fire, New Mexico.

The season will open at warm weather venues starting the final weekend of March in Fontana, Calfornia, with Round #1, which will include cross country and gravity events. The next weekend, April 5-6, it will move to Fountain Hills, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix, for a cross-country and Super-D only Round #2. The NOVA national will be the only one without a full slate of gravity events.

A May 17-18 Round #3 stop will take racers back to Los Olivos, California, for the Santa Ynez National. Then June's Round #4 will be hosted in Deer Valley, Utah. Back to back East coast stops follow during the first two weekends in July, including July 5-6 Round #5 at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina, and July 12-13 Round #6 at Windham Resort, New York. The latter is a new venue for the NMBS Series in the Catskill mountains.

After a break for US Nationals, which will be held again in Mount Snow, Vermont, the penultimate round is set for Snowmass, Colorado, on August 16-17. Snowmass hosted the finals in 2007 when Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) won both the short track and cross country overalls for the men. Team Luna dominated the women's series with Georgia Gould taking the cross country and Katerina Nash winning the short track classification.

2008 finals will conclude in at Tamarack Resort in McCall, Idaho, on September 6-7.

The Fontana, NOVA, Santa Ynez Valley, Deer Valley and Final rounds will offer UCI cross country points. Santa Ynez and Tamarack will award C2 points while the others will award C1 points.

2008 NMBS Schedule

March 29 - 30: NMBS #1
Fontana National, Southridge Park, Fontana, California (XCO/DHI/ST/4X/Super D)

April 5 - 6: NMBS #2
NOVA National, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona (XCO/ST/Super D)

May 17- 18: NMBS #3
Santa Ynez Valley National, Ted Chamberlin Ranch, Los Olivos, California (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super D)

June 28 - 29: NMBS #4
Deer Valley National, Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super D)

July 5 – 6: NMBS #5
Showdown at Sugar National Sugar Mountain Resort Village, Sugar Mountain, North Carolina (XCO/DHI/ST/DS/Super D)

July 12 – 13: NMBS #6
East Coast National Windham Resort, Windham, New York (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super D)

August 16 – 17: NMBS #7
Snowmass National, Aspen-Snowmass Resort Snowmass, Colorado (XCO/DHI/4X/ST/Super D)

September 6 - 7: NMBS #8
National Mountain Bike Series Finals, Tamarack Resort, McCall, Idaho (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super D)

Final confirmation of the 2008 schedule is expected soon from Blue Wolf Events.

Vanlandingham switches focus to multi-sport

Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Three-time US National Series Champion and former US Short Track national champion Shonny VanLandingham (Luna Women's Team) will shift her competitive focus for 2008 from mountain bike racing to the multi-sport XTERRA Series.

It's not the first time the versatile athlete has switched sporting disciplines. Before pro cycling, she played basketball seriously and enjoyed riding motorcycles growing up.

"[Coach] Rick [Crawford] and I are excited about taking on this new challenge to transition from full time mountain bike racer to XTERRA racer. We have had a successful partnership thus far in mountain biking and have our sites set on podiums in XTERRA for '08. I am personally excited about the new challenge of swimming and running. I feel like a rookie pro again...motivated and ready to learn!" said the 38 year-old VanLandingham, who splits her time between Durango, Colorado, and Hawaii.

Her short term goals will be to develop her swimming skills and maintain her cycling form while also stepping up her running. "When Shonny gets her sights on something, the girls in front of her better watch out," warned coach Crawford. VanLandingham will be aiming for the championship win in her new discipline.

Lehikoinen's recovery continues

Matti Lehikoinen in Maribor, Slovenia
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

As the first signs of snow arrived in Finland, Matti Lehikoinen reported excellent progress in his rehabilitation. Just 23 days following his crash and after undergoing a series of weekly x-rays, his vertebrae are "well-stabilized". Lehikoinen is walking around the house and is able to stand for 30 minutes at time. He is now only taking painkillers at night to sleep and friends and family are delighted with his recovery. The young downhiller crashed while filming with friends in Helsinki just three days after he signed with a new team for 2008.

"I really feel the difference every day," said Lehikoinen. "Last Sunday was probably one of my worst days, fighting the boredom and also trying to kick the pain killers, but since then, each day I have felt the progress. For example ... I have been able to cough without severe pain. And as for sneezing, I have sneezed twice since the accident and you just don't want to know what that was like. Normally you never remember sneezing, but those two bastards will stay with me forever.

Looking forward he said, "I will start working with my new Intense team on projects for next year which will help the time fly by." He will continue his recovery throughout the long Nordic winter and hopes to return at the opening downhill World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, next spring.

Buhl & Graves win overall USAC Gravity Calendar titles

Australian Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) and Melissa Buhl (KHS) were crowned overall champions of the inaugural USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Gravity Calendar at the Gravity East Finals in Plattekill, New York, which marked the conclusion of the 22 event season-long calendar.

Graves edged countryman Amiel Cavalier (NSW-Giant) in the men's division by just 19 points, with a score of 495 points to 476. New Zealander Justin Leov (Yeti-Fox) was third overall with 334 points, followed by Cole Bangert (Morewood) and Eric Carter (Mongoose) who scored 319 and 308 points respectively.

In the women's division, Buhl dominated the calendar with 1,054 points while second-place finisher Jacqueline Harmony (Team Cactus) finished with 648 points. Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) notched 445 points throughout the season to place third, while Lisa Myklak (Morewood) finished fourth with 439 points and Darian Harvey (Durango Rough Riders) rounded out the top five with 424 points.

Dual slalom national champion Buhl's large margin of victory came from several key victories including the Chile Challenge (downhill and 4X), the Deer Valley Nationals (downhill and dual slalom), the Infineon Cougar Mountain Class (downhill), the Sugar Mountain National (downhill and dual slalom), and Snowmass Nationals (downhill and 4X), just to name a few.

Graves 495 point total came as a result of victories in the 4X event at the Blast the Mass and dual slalom wins at the Deer Valley and Snowmass Nationals. Graves also scored a pair of second-place finishes in the downhill and dual slalom competitions at Sea Otter and finished second in the downhill races at both Blast the Mass and the Snowmass National.

2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Gravity Calendar Final Standings


1 Jared Graves (Aus)          495 pts
2 Amiel Cavalier (Aus)        476
3 Justin Leov (NZl)           334
4 Cole Bangert (USA)          319
5 Eric Carter (USA)           308
1 Melissa Buhl (USA)         1054 pts
2 Jacqueline Harmony (USA)    648
3 Kathy Pruitt (USA)          445
4 Lisa Myklak (USA)           439
5 Darian Harvey USA)          424

2008 TransRockies Challenge Registration to Open November 1st

River crossing are a Trans Rockies essential.
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
(Click for larger image)

The popular TransRockies Challenge announced registration will open to 300 teams on November 1 at 10:00 am MDT. The race will be held in its traditional early August time slot, from Panorama Mountain Village on Sunday, August 10 to Fernie on August 16. In-between, riders will travel through the rugged British Columbia Kootenay Rockies on the North to South route which was debuted in 2006. The final routing will not be announced until race time, but the course team is working on different routing options to improve the course and give multi-time participants something new to ride.

In 2006, the race attracted 600 racers from 24 countries to British Columbia and was won by Tim Heemskerk & Roddi Lega (United Cycle Team), Hillary Harrison & Susan Haywood (Trek VW - Giant) and Normon Thibault & Wendy Simms (Frontrunners-KONA) in the men's, women's and mixed divisions.

Visit www.transrockies.com for more information.

Trail Tune Up Grants available

USA Cycling and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) have teamed up again to offer seven US$500 Trail Tune-Up Grants to mountain bike groups undertaking trail improvement projects. Awards favor projects that create or improve trails for racing, but funding can also be used for trails used for training or recreational riding.

Applicants must be IMBA members and USA Cycling sanctioned clubs or race promoters. Submit applications, including a one-page typed description and justification of the proposed project, a budget, club name (and membership numbers), and contact information, by November 15, 2007 to scott@imba.com. Winners will be announced in late November. For more information, visit www.imba.com.

Noon-to-noon on the new Rock Shox SID

By James Huang

A fleet of Rock Shox SIDs, ready to go!
(Click for larger image)

Beautiful weather conditions and an outstanding course at the 2007 24 Hours of Moab provided a marked contrast from last year's event as well as the perfect setting for Rock Shox's official on-dirt debut of its new SID fork platform.

Rock Shox turned the suspension world on its head in 1997 with the introduction of its first SID suspension fork. Back then, users admired the fork's then-remarkable low weight and wide range of tuning options (arguably too wide on that first version by some measures), but the relatively tiny 28mm diameter stanchions and correspondingly small chassis dimensions resulted in a lot of flex and somewhat loose handling characteristics, especially as trail conditions roughened.

In many cross country circles, though, 'light makes right' is still the golden rule, and the SID's paltry mass has kept it firmly planted on the front row of the World Cup circuit (and the top step of the podium) and on the front of weight weenie machines Rock Shox has performed five major updates of SID since then, but the basic layout honestly hasn't changed much.

The 2008 Rock Shox SID will mark the first ground-up redesign of the venerable cross-country suspension fork since its introduction ten years ago. As the mountain biking market has evolved and matured, being light as the expense of other performance metrics just doesn't cut it anymore and as a result, Rock Shox's engineers have managed to match the existing SID's low weight, but equip it with far more rigidity and overall capability. In theory, this will mean that racers will no longer have to put up with old SID's compromises and general cross-country riders will have another viable option in the true lightweight category to choose from.

We've already covered the technical details of the new SID a while back so we won't revisit it too heavily here, but the new model is essentially a lighter version of Rock Shox's very capable Reba. The top-end SID reportedly weighs just 1425g (with a full-length steerer, no less) courtesy of an aggressively optimized chassis design that now also sports a beefy 32mm chassis for vastly improved rigidity. Internally, the new SID is equipped with an updated version of Rock Shox's proven Dual Air spring system that now offers a more linear spring curve, and enhanced Motion Control damper guts on the top model. Additional structural reinforcement is given by the new Power Bulge-equipped lower legs and a forged AL-66TV crown.

To read the complete feature, click here.

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)