MTB news & racing round-up for August 15, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Mechanics support US Teams abroad
By Sue George
Photo ©: Sue George
When the US National Team travels to a major cycling competition like
the World Championships or the Olympics, it means a lot of behind-the-scenes
logistics and support to be planned and executed. Calvin Jones, a mechanic
with the US Team at events like the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships,
explained to Cyclingnews how he and his crew keep the athlete's
bikes running smoothly before and on race day.
Calvin Jones saw a need for better mechanical support for the athletes
representing the US and went about filling it.
"In the first [mountain bike] worlds in 1990 [in Durango, Colorado],
I was volunteering for Shimano, and I saw a long line of people like Steve
Tilford waiting in line for [mechanical] work. Being an old roadie, I
thought, that's not how it should be. So I talked to [USA Cycling's] Brian
Stickel, and I proposed that we get some support for them at the hotel."
What Jones proposed decades ago has evolved into a finely tuned support
operation for athletes of all ages.
Beginning in 1994 at the World Championships in Vail, Colorado, Jones
and his team worked out the approach. "We service any US rider in
and out of the hotel. We are neutral support for everyone," said
Jones, underlining the philosophy of his talented team of mechanics.
The US Team mechanics had set up
headquarters in this parking garage
Photo ©: Sue George
While at non-World Championship events, most riders receive mechanical
assistance from their professional teams, or they do it themselves on
the road. Some lucky top-level pros can also bring their mechanics with
them to the worlds, but lesser known pros and juniors would otherwise
have to fend for themselves.
"The US team only exists during Worlds and some people have corporate
mechanics, too. But if those riders can't find their person or they need
back up or their mechanic needs help, they come to us. We don't charge
anything to the US riders."
Jones asks the racers to bring some equipment with them, but the mechanics
also come prepared.
"We had a list of spares for all the athletes to bring - like mud
tires. We like them to bring some of the spares so we don't have to bring
everything, but the reality is that we still bring a lot."
"We brought two boxes of parts weighing 48 pounds each, and we shipped
another 28 pounds. Then we had all our tools," said Jones of the
trip to the World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy in June. "We
can be expert mechanics here, but we need the spares."
Jones, who works for Park Tool, was able to leverage his connections
and save the shipping of some items. "We had a Park Tool distributor
in Italy who got us all the stands and helped us with tools."
In Italy, Jones headed up a team of four other mechanics, including Brad
Cole, a service trainer at Eric's Bike Shop in Minnesota; Than White of
Shimano; Chris Magerl, a Utah ski instructor and mechanic for multiple
teams; and the recently retired TJ Grove.
Read the complete
Italians maintain lead mid-way through TransRockies
A rider negotiates a water passage
in the TransRockies
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
Racers at the TransRockies in Canada are just over halfway finished with
their week of racing. After stage four, Italians Marzio Deho and Johnny
Cattaneo of Team Olympia have proven themselves the men to beat. They
are in the overall lead with a time of 10:06:36. Their next closest competitors
are Kris Sneddon and Max Plaxton of Team Kris & Max at 19:37 behind.
Stefan Widmer and Marty Lazarski of Team Rocky Mountain - Milliken Developments
On the women's side, Cary Lowery and Lisa Randall (Outdoor Store / Outspokin'
Bikes) are leading with a time of 15:18:19. Team Guidi-Up's Amy Guidinger
and Meghan Osborne are over an hour and a quarter behind while Angie Bryans
and Inga Ivany (Evolution) are in third, just over three hours back from
The mixed category is seeing some World Cup women's competitors participating.
Wendy Simms and partner Normon Thibault (Kona) are leading with a time
of 12:27:46 while Katerina Nash and Steven Wallace of Team Clif Bar are
in second, 32 minutes back.
The final stage seven will wrap up the race on Saturday, August 16 in
Fernie, British Columbia.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the TransRockies.
Barnes and Gaskell win in mid-Wales
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in last weekend's British National Points
Series (NPS) downhill round on August 9-10 was showing up at the proper
Moefre in Wales. Apparently, some racers found out the hard way that there
is more than one such named town. Then, tough weather conditions only
added to the challenge.
Saturday morning saw heavy rains soaking the course and 40-50 mph wind
gusts up top, where it was almost impossible to stand upright. Conditions
were so tough that the UCI's officials decided to drop the start to a
stone alcove 200 yards further down the course - which would give everyone
more shelter. The seeding was run through tough conditions - with lots
of mist and fog reducing visibility to almost nothing.
Racing took part on Sunday after open practise with full runs all morning.
Fortunately, the weather on Sunday was much kinder. The sun shone and
the wind was lighter yet still blowing which meant many riders took off
their peaks in order to combat the speed destroying gusts that destroyed
the legs. The course was 99.9% open to spectators and the elements - making
for a high speed course with rolling grass along a Welsh hillside.
Only a handful cleared the huge road gap due to the windy conditions.
Natural whoops and greasy corners meant many a comedy moment before the
launch off the BC jump and onto flat out wet and grassy corners. high
speed right hand corner and a jump led to the finish.
Joe Barnes (MTBcut.tv/Orange) won the elite men's race by just a fraction
of a second ahead of Ben Cathro (Mojo Orange) and 1.37 seconds ahead of
Matt Simmonds (CRC Intense).
Helen Gaskell (Halfords Bike Hut) took the women's race with a healthy
4.056 second margin over Katy Curd (Giant) and 12 seconds ahead of Haby-Blu
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the British Downhill NPS
round in Moelfre.
Fool's Gold continues NUE Series this weekend
By Sue George
Round six of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series will head to the
mountains of northern Georgia this Saturday, August 16. The second-year
Fool's Gold 100 will see racers tackle two loops of a 50 mile course.
In the men's race, Jeff Schalk and Jeremiah Bishop (both Trek / VW) are
the two favorites although Tinker Juarez (MonaVie Cannondale) may also
make an appearance. Schalk has already won four NUE rounds this season
and is well on his way to an overall series win while Bishop won both
the US National marathon and short track championships in July. Local
Thomas Turner is expected to challenge Schalk and Bishop.
The race will be without 24 hour solo champion Chris Eatough (Trek /
VW) and past NUE Series winner Harlan Price. Price recently broke his
wrist and will likely also miss the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in two weeks.
In the women's race, Cheryl Sornson is the favorite, but she will face
last year's winner Trish Stevenson and Namrita O'Dea.
"We are really excited to be hosting such a talented field of riders
for both the 50 & 100 milers," said promoter Eddie O'Dea. "Cheryl
Sornson will no doubt be challenged by Trish Stevenson and Namrita O'Dea.
Bishop & Schalk could be very surprised by Turner's abilities."
The 50 mile race is expected to draw 200+ racers and more will be on
hand to participate in the weekend's festival, which is doubling as a
fundraiser for local trails.
"We are stoked about raising funds to help IMBA-SORBA and the US
Forest Service build more trails and improve the ones we have. If all
goes well, I'll even get join in on one of the festival rides on Sunday!"
said Eddie O'Dea.
The O'Deas reported that the weather is likely to be much milder than
the inaugural edition in 2007. Forecasted temperatures are for 80 degrees
Fahrenheit and a very slight chance of rain.
American MTB Classic draws top talent
The American Mountain Classic is drawing some top American and international
talent to Brian Head, Utah for the stage race from August 21 to 24, just
one week before the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) finals.
Riders like current US National Marathon and Short Track National Champion
Jeremiah Bishop, along with Trek / VW team-mates Lea Davison, Jenny Smith
and Brian Smith have committed to race. Also on the start list are Subaru/Gary
Fisher's dynamic duo of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger, along
with Kona's Ryan Trebon, who won Utah's Deer Valley national cross country
race in June. Finally, U23 racer Tim Allen America and Sue Butler of Monavie/Cannondale
throw their names into the hat.
Five-time Australian National Champion and Santa Ynez NMBS cross country
winner Sid Taberlay and his Sho-Air/Specialized team-mate Costa Rican
Manuel Prado will add an international flavor to the race. Prado is fresh
off a third place at this year's Leadville 100 last weekend.
Specialized's 24 Hours of Adrenalin World solo champion Rebecca Rusch
and three-time La Ruta Women's Champion Louise Kobin of Sho-Air/Specialized
will bring their endurance skills to Brian Head to compete for the US$20,000
professional prize purse.
For more information, visit www.americanmountainclassic.com
Stevenson and Passant finish first in unsupported Colorado race
Racers who enjoy the experience of competing over long distances, navigation
and riding self-supported, had another chance to compete in late July
and August in the Colorado Trail Race, which kicked off at noon on July
28. Ethan Passant and Trish Stevenson were the first to finish the 530
mile event, which started at the Waterton Canyon Trailhead in Denver and
finished at the Junction Creek Trailhead in Durango.
Passant finished in five days, two hours and 26 minutes. Jason Shelman
was second in five days, three hours and 49 minutes while Chris Plesko
ended up third in five days, six hours and 27 minutes.
Stevenson became the first woman to complete the race in a time of seven
days, one hour and 46 minutes. She was sixth of the nine total finishers
- no doubt her experience racing the much longer Great Divide race paid
Trek's best trail bike yet
By James Huang
The Trek Fuel EX 9.5 sits at the
Trek's full-suspension designs have made giant leaps forward as of late
and the carbon-framed Fuel EX can now finally be considered a serious
contender. Cyclingnews put one through the wringer for the better
part of six months and it still comes out (mostly) sparkling.
Trek's mountain bike lineup has undergone a dramatic transformation as
of late with new models that are highly competitive in each of their respective
segments, including the Session DH and FR, Remedy, and newly revamped
Top Fuel. Leading the charge though, was the 120mm-travel Fuel EX trail
bike which was the first to integrate all of the company's new technologies
into one platform and is arguably responsible for restoring Trek's reputation
as a mountain bike company.
While the Active Braking Pivot, Full Floater or EVO Link features each
would have improved the Fuel EX predecessor on their own, the combination
yields an end product that is more than the sum of its parts.
Trek's unique Active Braking Pivot places a concentric suspension pivot
right at the rear axle, rather than above or below it as is more common.
While this still setup maintains the Fuel EX's status as a single-pivot
layout in terms of axle path, having the disc caliper mounted on the seat
stay effectively yields a built-in floating brake mount that is better
able to track the ground.
The Full Floater concept is equally clever. Instead of having one static
mount and one dynamic mount for the rear shock, neither mount is fixed
in space, leaving new Trek suspension designer Jose Gonzalez more freedom
to tune the shock rate at a particular point in the travel.
Tying this all together is a one-piece EVO Link that Trek claims is twice
as rigid, twice as strong and yet substantially lighter (and better looking)
than the old three-piece bit. Further bolstering things is an asymmetrical
all-aluminum back end.
Our top-end, medium-sized Fuel EX 9.5 tester includes a magnesium version
of the EVO Link as well as a svelte OCLV carbon front triangle that brings
the actual frame weight to just 2.53kg (5.57lb) including the rear shock,
bottle cage hardware and seat collar. Add in a gaggle of premium spec
from Fox Racing Shox, Avid, SRAM, Shimano and (of course) Bontrager and
the end result is a relatively light 11.25kg (24.8lb) package (without
Read the complete
4Xers ready for next British rounds
British 4X riders will head to the UK Bike Park this weekend for National
Points Series (NPS) rounds six and seven on August 16-17.
Purpose-built for the NPS, the course is run on a hard-pack stone surface
and is fast when dry or wet. It also features a fast and long starting
straight after launching from the highest wooden platform in the country.
Riders will fly toward a big quad jump before slamming on the brakes and
hitting the burm at the end of the longest straight on this year's course.
A few corners and hip jump later and riders will be crossing the line
to be crowned 2008 Series Champions.
For more information, visit www.nps4x.com.
Juarez to National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest
Two-time Olympian and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer David Tinker Juarez
will lead the pack at the Oktoberfest 8-Hour Endurance Race, part of the
National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest, at Fisher Farm Park in Davidson, North
Carolina, on October 24-26.
The three-day, family-oriented mountain bike festival will include the
final race on USA Cycling's 2008 National Ultra Endurance Calendar, as
well as a short track, time trials, and children's races. The race venue
takes advantage of the early sunset, giving racers the opportunity to
ride the trails at night.
The festival will kick off on Friday night and races for kids get going
Saturday morning. The featured event of the weekend, the Oktoberfest 8-Hour
Endurance Race, will start at noon on Saturday. Time trials and a special
combination event known as "the Beast" round out the weekend
"This is a true mountain bike festival with something for everyone
with a bike and a little energy," said Taylor Sullivan, president
of Cowbell Challenge, a non-profit, which is promoting this event and
has also promoted the Cowbell Challenge 12-hour race. "We're designing
an endurance course that will challenge the top pros and amateurs, and
the whole weekend will be filled with chances to ride for fun and for
The eight-hour endurance race boasts equal cash payout for men and women
in the solo (open) categories. When not racing, participants will be able
to participate in a Halloween costume contest and bike demos.
Proceeds from the festival benefit Davidson Recreation & Parks Youth
Scholarship fund. For more information, visit www.NationalMtbOktoberfest.org.
Durango to hold trails fundraiser
Durango will host a non-competitive event on Sunday, October 12, to serve
as a fundraiser for the Trails 2000 and the Southwest Conservation Corps,
two non-profit organizations that maintain Durango's trails.
The tour will feature singletrack including River Trail, Horse Gulch,
Animas Mountain, Dalla Mountain Park and Durango Mountain Park. Mountain
biking and run/hike options are available in distances of 13, 26 or 32
miles. Participants will finish at a block party in downtown Durango.
For more information, visit www.tourofdurango.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)