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MTB news & racing round-up for October 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

UCI World Cup revised for 2009

Julien Absalon (Orbea) is a familiar World Cup Winner
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
(Click for larger image)

At the UCI Road World Championships last week in Varese, Italy, the UCI released the 2009 calendar of World Cups and Continental Championships. Missing from the list were two rounds of the downhill and one round of the cross country World Cups, but on Wednesday, those holes were filled.

La Bresse, France, will host the second round of the downhill World Cup on May 9-10. This is a first for La Bresse, which makes its debut on the World Cup calendar. Bromont, Canada, will host a triple UCI World Cup event on August 1-2. In 2008, Bromont returned to the World Cup Circuit after a hiatus of nine years.

The complete, revised 2009 UCI Major Events calendar is below.

2009 UCI Major Events Calendar
March 20-22: American Continental Championships, Chile
March 21-22: Oceania Continental Championships, Threadbo, Australia
April 11-12: UCI World Cup XCO 1 / DHI/4X 1, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
April 25-26: UCI World Cup XCO 2, Offenburg, Germany
May 2-3: UCI World Cup XCO 3 / 4X 2, Houffalize, Belgium
May 9-10: UCI World Cup DHI 2, La Bresse, France
May 16-17: UCI World Cup DHI/4X 3, Vallnord, Andorra
May 23-24: UCI World Cup XCO 4, Madrid Spain
June 6-7: UCI World Cup DHI/4X 4, Fort William, Great Britain
June 13-14: European Championships DHI, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
June 20-21: UCI World Cup DHI/4X 5, Maribor, Slovenia
June 27-28: European Championships 4X, Ajdovscina, Slovenia
July 9-12: European Championships XCO, Zoetermeer, Netherlands 
July 10-12: African Continental Championships, Mankele, Nelsruit, South Africa
July 25-26: UCI World Cup XCO 5 / DHI/4X 6, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada 
August 1-2: UCI World Cup XCO 6 / DHI/4X 7, Bromont, Canada
August 23: UCI Marathon World Championships, Graz-Stattegg, Austria
August 25-30: World Masters Championships, Praloup, France
September 1-6: UCI XCO/DHI/4X World Championships, Canberra, Australia
September 12-13: UCI World Cup XCO 7, Champéry, Switzerland
September 19-20: UCI World Cup XCO / DHI/4X 8, Schladming, Austria
September 20: European Championships XCM, Tartu, Estonia
November 5-8: Asian Continental Championships, Melaka, Malaysia

Marathon World Cup wrapping up this weekend

Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

The 2008 UCI World Cup series comes to a close this weekend with its final event, the second marathon World Cup in Ornans, France, on October 5. The cross country and gravity World Cups have already closed for the season after wrapping up in mid-September in Austria.

The marathon final will also served as the French Marathon Championships and the top draw as part of a festival running in Doubs from October 1-8. Going into the second and final marathon round, the race is also known as the Xtrem Loue Race. Frenchman Thomas Dietsch and Finn Pia Sundstedt are leading the World Cup standings.

The men will compete 83km while the women will race 60km.

2008 Hall of Famers inducted at Interbike

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inducted six new members for 2008 at the Interbike trade show last Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada: Oakley's Steve Blick, inventor and pioneer John Finley Scott, suspension designer Bob Girvin, advocate Philip Keyes, four time World Champion Brian Lopes and endurance racer Nat Ross.

According to BikeRadar.com, the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame now totals 107 inducted individuals and four groups. Three to seven new members are selected each year.

To read bios on this year's inductees, visit www.completesite.com/mbhof.

TAKMBD celebrates fifth year

The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) will celebrate its fifth annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TAKMBD) on Saturday, October 4. IMBA-affiliated clubs and patrols around the globe will take anywhere from just a few to a few hundred kids out on bikes to give them a taste of mountain biking.

In addition, the two Subaru / IMBA Trail Care Crews will be participating. Kelly and Collins will join the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) at Middlesex Fells Reservation near Boston, and Anna and Jason will be partnering with the Southwest Idaho Mountain Bike Association (SWIMBA) at the Idaho Velodrome Park in Boise. Organizers are expecting close to 100 participants each and some special guests like Gary Fisher, Eric Carter and Randy Drielling.

For a complete list of TAKMBD registered events, visit www.imba.com.

Mountain Bike conference coming to London

The UK chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has teamed up with the CTC to host a conference in London, on October 9 looking at the state of mountain biking across the United Kingdom and beyond.

Conference attendees will look at lessons learned during recent years, which have seen a boom in the construction of mountain bike trails nation-wide. Questions such as "How sustainable are the trails we are building?", "Is health and safety killing the future of mountain biking?", "Will mountain bike tourism dwindle with the rising costs of fuel?" and "Where will trails be built in the future?" will be addressed.

IMBA-UK Chairman Karl Bartlett, IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel and CTC Director Kevin Mayne are just three of the ten invited speakers.

For more information, visit www.ctc.org.uk/mtb.

Geoff Kabush diary: Teaching Yao Ming about beer drinking at the Olympics

Big air in front of big buildings
Photo ©: Keri Pink
(Click for larger image)

Welcome to another Kabush Report.

The season is almost over and I am trying to hold it together for another week. I have one more trip to Europe for World Cup Finals at which point I may figuratively drop off the side of the earth. Actually, I am going to go to Belgium for a week to visit a friend and, well, that's where all my favourite beer is from. I thought it would be a good idea to put together a race report before that.

At last check I was out in Quebec racing two World Cups. I finished fourth in the second race in Bromont, which was quite a nasty affair, but I liked it. It was also polar opposite to the conditions I would soon face over in Beijing. In final preparation for Beijing I headed back to Victoria, where the weather was spectacular; I wouldn't know, because I was doing a bunch of training indoors with the water boiling and the heat cranked up to 35 degrees Celsius.

I was also staying up until 3:00 am watching the Olympics; it was a little surreal knowing I was going to be over there in a few days. At around twelve each morning I would roll out of bed and make my way over to Pro City Cycles and pull myself some espresso; it was a pretty simple life for a while but I was glad to finally hit the road again for Beijing.

So, Beijing was a pretty big deal, I guess.... and I had my hopes up pretty high when I headed over. Obviously it didn't work out for me, which was frustrating; mountain biking is a complicated and unforgiving sport. It is not as easy as just trying hard; usually we have another chance the next weekend, but the problem with the Olympics is the next chance doesn't come around for four years.

Read the complete diary entry.

Interbike Coverage, Part 10 - Hitting pay dirt in Las Vegas

By James Huang

Rocky Mountain revisits hardtail roots

Rocky Mountain jumps into the carbon hardtail fray
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Rocky Mountain arguably made its name with racing hardtails and now brings a carbon platform to the range with the Vertex RSL.

Not surprisingly, Rocky Mountain's goals for its premium race bike were stiffness and weight. While we don't have official weight figures just yet (though it's apparently the company's lightest frame to date), the stiffness claims seem well founded with the pronounced lateral ribbing throughout, heavily reinforced seat cluster and enormous down tube.

Details include a stainless steel chainsuck guard, continuous seat stay/chain stay assemblies that are hollow throughout (even at the dropout), and a new direct-mount front derailleur that allows for more material around the bottom bracket shell. In typical Rocky Mountain fashion, the dropped top tube offers plenty of standover clearance.

Rocky Mountain will offer the Vertex RSL as a complete bike in two men's and one women's model plus a frame-only Vertex Team that uses higher modulus carbon fibers. All of the Vertex models are slated to be available this January.

New on the road side is a carbon fiber time trial bike called the Solo 90 SST. Though it's Rocky Mountain's first foray into the aerodynamic arena, the usual array of currently hot technologies are still included such as the shielded rear wheel, dropped down tube, two-position seatpost and internal cable routing.

Ellsworth reaches for lower price point

Ellsworth brings the price down with the new Glimpse.
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Ellsworth hopes to tap into new markets with a new, lower-priced full-suspension rig called the Glimpse. Unlike the rest of the Ellsworth line which will continue to be US-made, the Glimpse will be built overseas but the upside is that complete bikes with Shimano SLX will go for as little as US$3,299.

Rear travel is set at 130mm (5") and Ellsworth's excellent ICT (Instant Center Tracking) design will be faithfully maintained to retain the company's trademark pedaling performance. Slightly less fancy rockers will be used, though, and all Glimpse frames will be powdercoated, not anodized. As a result, quoted frame weights are said to be just a bit higher than the current Epiphany.

Remember that ultra-stylish Ride cruiser? Well, Ellsworth not only keeps it in the lineup but builds on it with two new Rides: a seemingly over-the-top Ride 2 tandem and a commuter-oriented Ride 3. The Ride 3 will be available with either a NuVinci CVP or traditional three-speed internal hub and will offer the now-familiar Ride look but in a more utilitarian format. Geometry is based on the Evolve 29" mountain bike.

Commuter-friendly details include a chain guard, front and rear fenders, cable-actuated disc brakes, 700c wheels and yes, even a custom kickstand. Anyone up for some errands?

Ellsworth will also expand its charity efforts after successfully launching its Project Pink initiative in 2006 to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. The new Project Rainforest will offer the same terms as Project Pink: for no upcharge, customers can opt for a special green anodized finish complete with a laser-etched tree frog on the top tube on any Ellsworth frame (the new Glimpse excepted with its powdercoated finish). In return, Ellsworth will donate US$50 to a rainforest charity that is still to be determined.

Read the complete feature or see more Interbike 2008 coverage.

Countdown to North Brisbane 8 hour

An 8 Hour Enduro race will happen in North Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, on October 5, and will feature solo racers and teams of two, three and four racers.

Thanks to some local trail work, riders will enjoy a new section of singletrack at Kurwongbah and a sweeping, switchback descent called "The Serpent's Tail". The track is also expected to be drier than that used for past races due to extensive work on new sections that will allow organizers to omit traditionally boggy sections in the case of heavy rain.

9th Poor Mountain Hill Climb

Roanoke County will host the ninth annual Poor Mountain Hill Climb challenge in Roanoke, Virginia, just ten miles west of the city.

On October 5, racers will tackle a 6.75 mile long climb with 3,000 feet of climbing. For the first 1.5 miles, the course is paved and climbs gently. A wall of a half-mile of 13% grade (paved) then follows before a final four miles of hard packed dirt with some rocks over a grade ranging from 7 to 10%, with a few shorter, steeper sections. At the end, racers climb 0.75 miles with grades of 15 to 16%.

Last year's event was won by US national marathon and short track champion Jeremiah Bishop, who set a course record of 37 minutes and 16 seconds.

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