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MTB news & racing round-up for August 17, 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

Californians ready for next Jeep KOM round

Jill Kintner
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

The Golden State has long been a hotbed for mountain bike racing, with favorable conditions for year-round training, plenty of trails, countless multi-discipline competitions and a line-up of homegrown talent that has brought home national and world titles; however, no Californian has yet won the Jeep King of the Mountain Series.

Round two heads to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, Saturday, August 18. This marks the third consecutive year that the series has hosted a leg in San Luis Obispo. The line up features no fewer than seven in-state standouts who will battle for a share of the record US$100,000 cash purse and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty.

With the Czech Republic's Michal Prokop and Australia's Jared Graves competing in the UCI BMX World Cup in Beijing, China, Temecula's Eric Carter has the opportunity to gain control of the standings with only one race remaining. Blocking his path will be fellow Californians Cody Warren, Rich Houseman, Brian Lopes, Dale Holmes, and hometown favorite Travis Collins. But not to be forgotten are veteran Wade Bootes of Australia and American Chris Del Bosco

One the women's side, current leader Jill Kintner of Seattle will also be gone racing in Beijing, thus opening the door for a talent laden field led by fellow American Melissa Buhl. Right on her heels is Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, who has two World Cup titles already in 2007 and Californian Tara Llanes. Great Britain's Fionn Griffiths, South Africa's Joanna Petterson, and Americans Leana Gerrard Neven Steinmetz round out the line-up of favorites.

Series champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned in each of three events. The season kicked off at The Canyons in Park City Utah on August 4, and following the event in San Luis Obispo, the series will head to Beaver Creek, Colorado, for the grand finale on September 1. The San Luis Obispo round will air on CBS Sports on September 23 from 5:00 - 6:00 PM EST.

Five American Olympic hopefuls selected for Beijing Test Event

Newly crowned US cross country national champion Adam Craig
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Three men and two women were selected this week by USA Cycling to represent the US at the upcoming mountain bike Olympic Test Event to be held in Beijing on Saturday, September 22. The riders are expected to make the trip to Beijing directly from the UCI World Cup Finals which will take place on Saturday, September 15 in Maribor, Slovenia.

Adam Craig (Giant), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru - Gary Fisher), Todd Wells (GT), Willow Koerber (Subaru - Gary Fisher), and Georgia Gould (Luna) were chosen based on their 2007 UCI World Cup Performances.

Craig, recently crowned US national cross country champion, is the top American in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup standings, ranked 18th. Horgan-Kobelski and Wells, who represented the US in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, are ranked second and third respectively among Americans.

Koerber and Gould are ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the World Cup standings, and both have notably posted top-five finishes at World Cups this season.

Absent from the selections are riders like Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW), who's recently regained form following illness that kept him out of two June World Cups and national cross country champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven), who represented the US at the 2004 Games.

Fellow cyclists team to help injured Murray

Shaun Palmer's donated jersey
Photo ©: 23 Degrees Sports
(Click for larger image)

Several mountain bikers are teaming up for a fundraising effort to help Stephen Murray, a rider injured during competition in June.

On Friday, June 22, dirt jumper Murray took a horrific fall on the final set of a dirt section while sending a double back flip at the AST Dew Tour BMX Dirt Finals in Baltimore, Maryland. He suffered career-ending injuries to his spinal cord and vertebrae. Murray has won the X-Games gold medal and back-to-back Gravity Games Gold medals.

Nigel Page and Steve Peat are among the riders and friends who are trying to help Murray pay for the special treatments he is receiving. "Medical bills can reach huge amounts in the USA, so here is where we can all help," said Peat.

A group of mountain bike pros have donated signed jerseys which will be auctioned at the Fort William World Championships, but bids are being accepted in the meantime at nigel@nigelpage.com. Whoever has the highest bid for each jersey at the end of the auction wins it.

The list of riders donating jerseys includes: Steve Peat, Shaun Palmer, Sam Hill, Nathan Rennie, Greg Minnaar, Cedric Gracia, Brian Lopes, Michael Prokop, Gee Atherton, Dan Atherton, Brendan Fairclough, Chris Kovarik, Matti Lehikoinen, The Kona Team, Tracy, Fabien and Kamil, Rob Warner, Jill Kintner's Number one Jersey, Kirt Voreis, Andrew Neethling, Josh Bryceland, Mik Hannah, Nico Vouilloz, Marc Beaumont, Will Longden, Neal Donaghue, Nico Vinc, and Claudio Calouri. Donations are still being accepted.

Wiens sets Leadville 100 record

Dave Weins at 40 miles into the race,
Photo ©: Wesley & Garrett Geer
(Click for larger image)

Dave Wiens (Ergon Grips) of Gunnison obliterated the course record in the 2007 running of the Leadville Trail 100 mile mountain bike race. Weins finished in 6:58:47. The old course record was set by Mike Volk in 1997 with a time of 7:05:45.

Weins came close to the record in 2004, but fell seven seconds short (7:05:51), so the old record stood for 10 years.

Embattled 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis took second place in a Colorado marathon mountain bike race this weekend, clocking in just over seven hours to finish, and coming home less than two minutes behind five-time event winner Wiens.

The result showed that Landis is taking riding a bit more seriously these days. He rode considerably better than at the Teva Mountain Games in June, where he was passed by women's division winner Shonny Vanlandingham and finished five minutes down on the winner. He still awaits a verdict from his May arbitration hearing.

Landis, riding on a surgically repaired hip, finished the race in 7:00:30, one minute and 44 seconds. Top endurance racer Mike Kloser finished third, down 11'37".

In the women's event, Gretchen Reeves won in 8:05:29, with a 26 minute margin over Amanda Riley and 38 minutes ahead of Keri Nelson.

For full Leadville 100 results, click here.

Pua selects pit crew contest winner

Pua Sawicki announced the winner of a contest to work in the pits as member of Team MATA at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo World Championships in Monterey, California, August 31 to September 2.

Terry Crandell of La Mesa, California, will support Sawicki in her bid for the world championship title. The mechanical engineer was chosen from mechanics, policemen, fans, and more who wanted to be there. All wrote letters saying why.

Crandell's wife Bethany actually wrote the letter for him, and it really touched Sawicki's heart. She really felt this reward would mean so much to Terry and his family including daughters Grace, 4, and Rebecca, 2, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The Crandells both work full time and care for their children, including juggling countless appointments for their youngest daughter, but Terry maintains a wonderful attitude and always finds time to pursue his passion on two wheels.

The runners up were Lyna Saffell of Sandy, Utah, and Jonathan Puskas, of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Zink out for rest of the season

Following Cam Zink's hospitalization in Canada for a ruptured spleen, and an upcoming scheduled surgery for his problematic knee, the Haro/Oakley rider has terminated his season and is now focusing on regaining full fitness for the 2008 season.

Zink's internal injuries were suffered at the Bearclaw Invitational at Mt Washington, Canada, when he crashed on a practice run on the first day the course was open.

"I was riding pretty mellow, just making my way through all the course features when I second guessed myself," said Zink.

"I came up to the first of two dirt jumps which were pretty massive. After the log drop I braked to stop but then decided to still go for it. I came up short and almost saved it. The logical way out would have been to jump over the bars, but with my knee being torn, I decided to hold on and hope for the best. The "best" definitely isn't what happened."

"I flew over the bars from the top of the nine foot landing to flat ground on my side. There was nothing sharp to jab my spleen, though the impact alone was too much for it to take. After the crash my wrist hurt, so I sat on the side of the course for a little bit. After 10 minutes or so, my stomach started to hurt from all the blood filling up in my abdomen. This was a familiar feeling as I've suffered the same injury riding downhill six years ago."

"Then soon after my shoulders started hurting because of pressure points that pass through the abdomen. This was the tell tale sign," finished Cam from his hospital bed soon after the incident.

The injury is a level two out of four rupture, which fortunately means his body will heal on its own without surgical intervention, but with a lot of down time. Following his release from hospital Zink headed home to Reno to begin his rehab, which his wrist also needs, and then plans will be made for his all important knee surgery.

"The knee surgery I'm looking into is not approved in America, so I will have to look outside the country for specialist surgeons to have it performed. I heard about it being performed on skateboard legend, Danny Way, and it's supposed to be bomb proof! They replace the ACL with a Kevlar rope and will also replace the meniscus with a whole new one. This will most likely be the last knee operation for my poor knees."

After only six to eight weeks rehab for this type of knee surgery, compared to the usual six months for conventional surgery, Zink will resume training for 2008.

Top mountain bikers to inaugural Netti Enduro

Ready for the Netti Enduro?
Photo ©: Mark Watson
(Click for larger image)

World 24 hours of Adrenaline solo mountain bike champion, Craig Gordon, will be dusting off his Cannondale and going head to head with Matt Fleming, winner of the Central Australian Bike Challenge, and Saul Britton, winner of many 24 hour events at the inaugural Netti Enduro on Saturday, September 1-2 in Australia.

The trio will have serious competition from Dennis Van Hill, winner of the 2006 Lithgow 8 Hour, Blair Martin, winner of the 2006 Kooralbyn Marathon, or David McMurdo. On the women's side, Trek rider Kimberley Fleming, Australian development team member Zoe King, and recent second in the Noosa Enduro Naomi Hansen are the favorites.

A few guests from other disciplines will be looking to disrupt the plans of the favorites: singlespeeders Rob Parberry and Paul Lidgard, adventure racers Matt de Belin and Matt Koerber, and orienteer David Simpfendorfer.

Racers can choose between The Angry Doctor 100km or The Irate Intern 50km on September 2. The Nasty Nurse Prologue (10km) on September 1 is also an option.

Race entries close online on Monday, August 20, and participation is limited to 500 riders. For more information, visit www.arocsport.com.au/mtbenduro/mtbenduro_home.htm.

Simpson Desert Classic set for battle among sand dunes

For the last 20 years, the annual Simpson Desert Bike Challenge has been an annual adventure for the select group of endurance riders who can organise themselves and a support crew for an ultra-marathon in one of the most remote areas of the world in South Australia.

The event comprises nine stages, almost 600km, over five days, and the route uses the old Rig Road across the Simpson Desert. While the first part of the race is focused on climbing and descending through sand dunes with all but the strongest riders doing their share of walking and carrying their bikes, the second half of the race challenges riders with claypans, gibber plains, and the uncertain conditions of Goyder's Lagoon.

In 2007, the race has been picked up by the specially incorporated Desert Challenge Inc. Led by president Ed Bourke, himself a former winner, Desert Challenge has comprehensively reviewed race rules and every aspect of the race organisation. They have affiliated with Mountain Bike Australia and have re-established links with Outback communities.

One special feature of the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge is that there is no big prize pool even for the winners. All proceeds are donated to charity. For 2007, the beneficiary will be 4Wheels4Sean charity recently relaunched by the cycling peak bodies in Australia. The spirit of the event is personal achievement, contribution to the community and appreciation of the environment.

This year's edition starts October 2 at Purni Bore in the west and finishes at the historic Birdsville Hotel on October 8. Online entries, up to 50 riders, are open until the end of August. Visit www.desertchallenge.org for more info.

Tour of White Mountains sponsorship extended

The Tour of the White Mountains endurance event announced a three year sponsorship extension. Show Low Bluff Development Corporation, which was title sponsor of the Tour in 2006, will remain the title sponsor through the 2009 event.

Show Low Bluff is major mixed-use development in the city of Show Low that is being designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. The community, unique to Arizona's White Mountains, is oriented toward people who like to walk, run, bike, canoe, kayak, and climb.

The 2007 edition of the race will be held October 6 on the trails within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest located near Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona.

"I guess you could call this a no-brainer for us," said Jim Showalter, manager of marketing for Show Low Bluff, "sponsoring one of the premier mountain biking events in the Southwest that attracts the very people who would enjoy the community we're developing."

The event, now in its 12th year, is the oldest endurance mountain bike event in Arizona. "Part of its popularity is due to its trail selection and time of year," said Todd Sadow, President of Epic Rides, the organizing company. "We expect this year's event to attract over 1,200 participants and spectators to the White Mountains for event weekend."

For more information about the event, visit www.epicrides.com/towm/towm.htm.

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