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MTB news & racing round-up for December 3, 2008

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

NUE Series set for fourth season

By Sue George

NUE Series women's winner Cheryl Sornson (Trek / VW)
Photo ©: Jonathan Bruck
(Click for larger image)

The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series, a popular American series of 100-mile mountain bike races, will return for its fourth season in 2009. Organizers announced the complete schedule, again with eight events as in 2008.

Winners will be tallied from the best four event results compiled by each racer. Ties will be broken at the finale in California.

Unlike some events and teams which are facing sponsorship shortages for 2009, the NUE will carry forward its current support. "All 2008 sponsors are returning in 2009," said one of the co-organizers, Ryan O'Dell, who also promotes the Mohican 100 in Ohio.

Jeff Schalk and Cheryl Sornson (both of Trek / VW) won the men's and women's categories of the series in 2008.

NUE Series for 2009
Saturday, April 25: Cohutta 100 (Tennessee)
Saturday, May 30: Mohican 100 (Ohio)
Saturday, June 20: Lumberjack 100 (Michigan)
Saturday, July 18: Breckenridge 100 (Colorado)
Saturday, August 1: Wilderness 101 (Pennsylvania)
Saturday, August 15: Fool's Gold 100 (Georgia)
Sunday, September 6: Shenandoah Mountain 100 (Virginia)
Saturday, September 12: Tahoe-Sierra 100 (California)

Davison's breakthrough season

By Dave McElwaine

Lea Davison
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

After six years racing as a professional mountain biker, this season the affable Lea Davison (Trek / VW) started to see results that seemed to her a long time in coming. With her accomplished teammate Sue Haywood retiring from World Cup and national series racing scene, the 25-year-old Davison is the most likely heir-apparent to fill the void.

Davison first raised eyebrows earlier this year when she won both the short track and super D races at the Sea Otter Classic in April. Although some top racers were away at the UCI World Cup round in Houffalize, Belgium, the wins boosted Davision's confidence. She followed with several podium appearances throughout the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS).

At the World Championships cross country race in Val di Sole, Italy, in June, Davison surprised many with a 19th place finish in a field stacked with Olympic hopefuls. In fact, she finished one position ahead of Mary McConneloug, who represented the US in Beijing, China.

Racing in July on her home course at Mt. Snow, Vermont, amid deafening cheers from her large cadre of fans, she finished third in the short track behind Katie Compton (Spike) and Olympian Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven). She also beat the nearly invincible Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB Team). What followed her performance was a sort of "coming out party" with her supporters on hand.

In Bromont, Canada, Davison then notched her first top-ten World Cup result. Horrific, deeply muddy conditions must have reminded Davison of racing in her native Vermont. The course was so treacherous that multi-time World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa opted not to race rather than risk injury that could affect her Olympic goals.

Davison also clocked an impressive third overall at the inaugural American Mountain Classic stage race held at 11,000 ft. in Brian Head, Utah. Finally, in her proudest accomplishment of the season, she won the NMBS short track there ahead of one of the best racers of that discipline, Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB Team).

Growing up racing

The well-liked, good-humored Davison often jokes around and seems to take disappointment in stride. She has inspired her peers and up and coming young racers with her infectious smile and friendly personality.

"One thing that I really love about Lea is her level of enthusiasm. As, I was winding down my career, she really infused her youth, energy and work ethic into mine. She is humble, but she doesn't hide it when she has done well. She pumps her hands in the air, gives a big smile and then says how stoked she is," said teammate Haywood.

"She makes everyone want to share her joy when she does well," said Haywood. "You will never see Lea throw her bike in a tantrum like some racers her age. She is a great sportswomen and a real role model for younger riders."

Lea Davison rides at the World Championships
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Davison credits her sister and training partner, Sabra, with much of her success. Growing up in a small Vermont town, the pair often raced against the boys because the women's fields were small. In local races, the two were determined to beat the boys. "They used to start us with the boys, so catching and passing them fuelled the fire," said Sabra.

"Lea and I have always been competitive. Whether it was sidewalk chalk or running around the neighborhood when we were younger, it was a battle to the death," she said of her relationship with Lea.

"There are two things that our coach can say that get Lea and me going fast: 'Work together or attack each other'. I have never, in my life, pushed harder on the bike then on workouts that I've done with Lea."

Growing up, the Davisons raced as the only women on the 17-person Team Devo junior squad. Coach John Kemp motivated everyone by telling the boys that if the girls clocked faster laps, the boys would owe them a meal. "Lea ate well that season," joked Sabra.

Read the complete interview.

2009 Canadian National Mountain Bike Calendar announced

Matthew Green (Rocky Mountain/Different Bikes) racing in the Canada Cup at Mont Tremblant
Photo ©: Marek Lazarski
(Click for larger image)

The Canadian Cycling Association unveiled is 2009 National Mountain Bike Calendar with twelve events which will host top mountain bikers from Canada and elsewhere.

The Canada Cup cross country season will be one of the best in the recent years with six events on the calendar, five of which are UCI category one (C1) sanctioned. More than CAN$40 000 will be awarded during the series, making it one of the most lucrative domestic series in the world. The season will open in Baie-St-Paul on May 17 and the final will conclude in Bromont on July 5.

The Canada Cup downhill will feature three events, starting in Mont-Tremblant on May 24 and concluding in Sun Peaks on August 23.

Two World Cups will return in 2009. Mont-Sainte-Anne will host its usual round on July 25-26, and Bromont will return for its second consecutive running on August 4-5.

The Canadian National Championships will be held prior to the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. New for 2009, 4X national titles will be presented for the first time in Bromont on July 4. The cross-country event will follow in St-Félicien, on July 11-12 and the downhill at a venue to be confirmed on July 18-19.

2009 Canadian National Mountain Bike Calendar
May 17: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Baie-St-Paul, Quebec, XCO (C1)
May 23-24: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Mont Tremblant, Quebec, XCO (C1)/ DHI (C2)
May 31: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Oro-Medonte, Ontario, XCO (C1)
June 13: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Edmonton, Alberta, XCO (C2)
June 20: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Canmore, Alberta, XCO (C1)
July 4-5: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada - Bromont, Quebec, XCO (C1)/ DHI (C2) / 4X (CN)
July 11-12: National Championships, St-Félicien, Quebec, XCO (CN)
July 18-19: National Championships, TBC, Quebec, DHI (CN)
July 25-26: World Cup, Mont-Sainte-Anne, XCO/4X/DHI (CDM)
August 1-2: World Cup, Bromont, Quebec, XCO/4X/DHI (CDM)
August 17: Canada Games, Brookvale, Prince Edward Island, XCO (NE)
August 23: Canada Cup / Coupe Canada , Sun Peaks, British Columbia, DHI (2)

For more information, visit www.canadian-cycling.com/cca/racing/nat_calendar.shtml.

O'Shea takes step toward Olympic dream

Katherin O'Shéea on her way to a win
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)
After her best finish to date, Bendigo's Katherine O'Shea has her sights firmly set on the next Olympic Games in London. The 29-year-old business analyst won the cross country race at the Australian national mountain bike series round held in the Gold Coast hinterland on Saturday.

The former softballer switched to mountain biking just three years ago after being selected for a development program for mountain bikers. The "Dirt Roads to London" program aims to prepare Australian female riders for the London 2012 Olympics.

O'Shea praised the program aimed at building Australia's depth in women's cross country. "It's been fantastic. It got me into the sport and it's great having the other girls around to encourage you to turn up to these races."

She will head overseas to race internationally next year and when asked if her long term goal of making the London Olympics was now closer she said, "Yeah for sure. Bring it on."

In the race Saturday, O'Shea defeated series leader Jodie Willett and Jo Wall.

Couple takes downhill double

The winning couple, Chris Kovarik and Claire Buchar.
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)
World ranked downhiller Chris Kovarik won the Australian National Downhill Series men's race on the Gold Coast on Sunday while his fiancée Claire Buchar took top honors in the women's race.

The 30-year-old Australian Kovarik was fastest in both the qualifying and final rounds. "I qualified fastest to see where I was at which always takes a lot out of you," Kovarik said. "At the top, I was pretty confident I could pull it off if I got through those slippery woods."

After heavy rain the day before, riders had to negotiate a slippery rocky section near the top of the 1.7 km course. "For everyone it was treacherous," said Kovarik. "You couldn't get through there with your feet on!" Despite the wet conditions, Kovarik praised the course saying it was as good as any on the international World Cup circuit.

Buchar's win came despite a fall n the slippery forest section. "I was trying to go a bit too fast," the Canadian Buchar said. "The conditions are really unpredictable."

Joshua Button and Baker rounded out the men's podium while Leigh Douglas and Caroline Buchanan completed the women's top three.

The third round of the national series will continue in Geelong in two weeks.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Australian National Mountain Bike Series round two.

Trek World Cup team signs Moseley

Tracy Moseley celebrates a World Cup win in front of the home crowds.
Photo ©: Luke Webber
(Click for larger image)

The new Trek World Cup team announced its final signing for 2009. Tracy Moseley, 29-years-old and formerly of Team Kona, became the team's sixth rider. As the only female rider on the team, she joined downhillers Justin Leov and Andrew Neethling, as well as cross country racers Lukas and Mathias Flueckiger and fellow Brit and near neighbor Liam Killeen.

Moseley is one of just five downhill riders, male or female, to have won 10 or more World Cup races in their career. Her wins span from 2002 to 2008, with the two most recent victories at the rounds in Fort William, Scotland, and Canberra, Australia.

"I am really excited to have this great opportunity," said a happy Moseley. "The new bike, the team support and my teammates, will make a big difference to me. I'm also happy to have two great guys to ride with as I believe that is important for my ongoing development as a racer."

"It's a thrill for us to be able to announce Tracy in our line up," said Team Director Martin Whiteley. "We've been excited about the idea of having three downhill riders and even more so to be back in the game of women's downhill racing... . It's clear that women's World Cup racing will continue to get more competitive and exciting."

"Tracy showed everyone what she can do on the physically demanding and pedaling courses like Fort William and Canberra this past season, and looking at 2009's venues, she will be well positioned for a great season with us."

Moseley will race a Session 88 downhill bike for her new team.

Rotorua declines option to bid for marathon worlds

Due to the rising cost of event fees, New Zealand's Rotorua, which hosted the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, will not bid for a chance to hold the UCI World Marathon Championships in 2012. The popular mountain biking city on the North Island unsuccessfully bid for the 2006, 2009 and 2010 world marathon championships, but did not submit a bid for 2011.

"When we last bid, for 2010, the marketing rights fee was 50,000 [Swiss francs] (NZL$76,000)," said bid organizer Dave Donaldson to The Daily Post. "We went in at 100,000 and missed out but now, for 2012, [the UCI] hiked the price up to €490,000 (NZL$1.15 million). We quickly came to the conclusion that we couldn't entertain the event at that up-front cost, particularly in the current [economic] climate."

When Rotorua hosted the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, with a week of cross country, downhill and 4X events, about NZL$400,000 was required to secure the rights. The same bid would now cost about €1 million ($2.35 million).

However, the city will host the fifth and final round of the UCI Trials World Cup in September of 2009.

Man dies in New Zealand mountain bike race

Police identified local racer James Stuart Kennedy as the person who died after crashing during a mountain bike race in New Zealand. Kennedy was racing the Moa Mountain Bike Challenge in the Kekerengu Valley "when he failed to take a slight right hand bend on a downward section and went over a bank," according to Radio New Zealand.

Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the family of Mr. Kennedy.

Costa Rica to host pre-Pan-Am event

Round one of the Endurance Pipasa MTB Series will take place in Patarrá, Costa Rica, just one week before the Pan American Championships next spring. The UCI category C1 event is scheduled for March 15 and will serve as a warm up for the Continental Championships as well as a chance to collect extra UCI points for racers looking to improve their starting positions at World Cups.

Racers will tackle a 39 mile (63km) single-lap event with 6,100 feet (1860m) of climbing. The race is being promoted by Rafael Pacheco of Eventos Deportivos. Pacheco has been promoting events for seven years.

For more information, visit www.mtbalfa.com.

Trips for Kids partying at 11th Annual "Brews, Bikes and Bucks"

Trips for Kids will host its annual "Brews, Bikes and Bucks" party at the Broken Drum Brewery (1132 Fourth Street, San Rafael, California) on Sunday, December 7, from 2 pm to 6 pm. The popular event will feature local beer, raffle prizes, food and a chance to hobnob with famous mountain biking pioneers.

Now in its 11th year, this fundraiser has become a much-anticipated tradition. Legends likely to attend include Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, Joe Breeze, Ned Overend, Scott Nicol, Jacquie Phelan, Otis Guy, Ross Shafer, Charles Kelly, Mert Lawwill and Chris Lang.

"Many of us take for granted the pleasure of getting out in Marin parks and wild areas and enjoying a bike ride. That simple experience isn't available to everyone, though - especially to a number of vulnerable, inner-city kids," said Marilyn Price, Trips for Kids founder. "Our goal has always been to help set that straight a little bit. This fundraiser lends a big hand by supporting our entire program."

Admission is free and all proceeds will benefit Trips for Kids, the award-winning, Marin-based non-profit that has improved the lives of disadvantaged kids through trail rides and earn-a-bike programs for more than 20 years.

For more information on the event, raffle items and tickets, visit www.tripsforkids.org.

Twenty four hours Sydney registration opens

Organizers announced registration is open for the Twenty Four Hours Sydney race scheduled for February 14-15 at the Del Rio Riverside Resort in Wiseman's Ferry, about 1.5 hours north west of Sydney.

"Expect a pure twenty four hour race," said says Rocky Trail Entertainment's Martin Wisata. "The track for the race will be finalised in the coming weeks, some parts even newly built, completing a totally new mountain bike track in the Sydney-area. The transition zone and timing will be located directly at the Del Rio resort, which we have hired out for the entire weekend." The resort is set on the lush meadows of the Hawkesbury River with lodging ranging from camping to deluxe cabins.

The race will run from Saturday at noon to Sunday at noon for solo athletes and teams of two, three, four, six or ten.

For more information, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com.

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