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MTB news & racing round-up for July 14, 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

Great Divide race record shattered

Jay Petervary of Jackson, Wyoming, set a new record while racing the fourth annual Great Divide Race in late June and early July. The 35-year-old finished in 15 days, four hours, and 18 minutes breaking the previous record set by current race organizer Mike Curiak of 16 days and 57 minutes.

The Great Divide race runs 2,490 self-supported miles over jeep roads and trails. That means racers must carry all needed food, water, and supplies and restock themselves en route. There is no entry fee and there are no prizes. The route climbs 200,000 feet runs along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. A record-setting 24 racers lined up at the start this year.

Matthew Lee (Cannondale), winner of the last two editions of the Great Divide Race, also broke a record of his own when he broke Curiak's record, too, but it wasn't enough for the overall win. As if the official route wasn't long enough, Lee added the 221 mile Canadian portion before the main race event ever started. His cumulative time was 15 days, 22 hours, and 40 minutes.

Alex Field finished third in 21 days, 3 hours, and 26 minutes. Female racer Trish Stevenson gave the Great Divide a pass this year; she was spotted at the Tour de 'Burg instead; however, she retains her women's record of 21 days, 23 hours, and 47 minutes.

World Cups set for 2008

A sea of bodies starts a men's world cup XC race
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
(Click for larger image)
Organizers of the Maribor World Cup won't get much of a break. The 2007 World Cup gravity racing finishes in the Slovenian locale, and that's just where the gravity action picks up again in 2008.

The UCI announced its World Cup schedule for 2008, and many eyes are already checking out the calendar in what will be an Olympic year. For many nations, World Cups will play a role in final team selection or preparation for cross country events.

In 2008, the World Cup will visit 13 venues in 11 countries on three continents. There will be no less than six triple events in the series. The Maribor event will, in fact, be the only gravity-only venue--it'll be the fourth World Cup for the year. All other events with gravity events will share the spotlight with cross country.

Downhill and 4X riders will end their 2008 World Cup quest in Styria, too. Maribor lies in the Slovenian Styria region and Schladming, while the final cross country / downhill / 4X event will be in Austrian Styria, just 240 km away.

Looking ahead, Maribor organizer Iztok Kvas said, "There will not be much of a break for our organizing team between this year's final and next year's opener, but we are happy to have the opening since there is a special charm to it. We are hoping for a short winter so we can get our venues in perfect shape on time."

The 2008 schedule has been shuffled slightly into a sort of split season to accommodate the Olympic Games, which run August 8 through 24. One Canadian venue is still to be decided while a new World Cup event heads to Canberra as Australia prepares for its bid to host the World Championships in 2009.

2008 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2008
March 15-16: Manavgat/Antalija (Tur) XCM 1
April 19-20: Houffalize (Bel) XCO 1
April 26-27: Offenburg (Ger) XCO 2
May 3-4: Madrid (Spa) XCO 3
May 10-11:. Maribor (Slo) 4X/DHI 1
May 31 - June 1: Vallnord (And) XCO 4, 4X/DHI 2
June 7-8: Fort William (GBr) XCO 5, 4X/DHI 3
July 26-27: To be decided (Can) XCO 6, 4X/DHI 4
August 2-3: Mont Sainte Anne (Can) XCO 7, 4X/DHI 5
August 9-10: Oisans (Fra) XCM 2
August 30:31: Canberra (Aus) XCO 8, 4X/DHI 6
September 13-14: Schladming (Aut) XCO 9, 4X/DHI 7
October 4-5: Innsbruck (Aut) XCM 3

2008 UCI Mountain Bike and Trial World Championships

June 17-22: Commezzadura/Val di Sole (Ita) 4X/DHI/XCO/Trial
June 7: Villabassa (Ita) XCM

Transalp clock ticks

Team Bulls
Photo ©: Trans Germany
(Click for larger image)

The tenth annual TransAlp race starts Saturday in Mittenwald, Germany. As one of the races that helped define the genre of multi-day mountain bike stage events, the TransAlp will draw 600 teams, all headed for Riva del Garda, Italy. Racers will cover 628km and 20,836m of climbing.

Favorites going into the race are the so far unbeaten German-Austrian duo Team Bulls including Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. If they win this one, they will make it three so far this year, adding to wins at the Cape Epic and Trans Germany.

Platt and Sahm will be challenged by another German–Austrian pair Andi Strobel and Silvio Wieltschnig from Team Fiat-Rotwild. "Since we didn't start last year, we really want to bring it once more this year," said Strobel.

On the women's side, reigning champions Sandra and Peggy Klose of team Zwilingscraft are the favorites for the victory. Their strongest opponents could be the Germany's Kerstin Brachtendorf with her French teammate Danièle Troesch, racing as Team Fiat-Rotwild. They led TransGermany until Brachtendorf had to quit the race due to stomach problems.

In the mixed category, look for Germany's Carsten Bresser who is again teamed up with Canadian teammate and three-time World Champion Alison Sydor on Rocky Mountain/Haywood.

This year's route is identical to the track used in 1998. The race will visit Reith im Alpbachtal, Mayrhofen, Brixen, San Vigilio Marebbe-Enneberg, Arabba, Predazzo/Val di Fiemme, and Folgaria along the way.

Jeep KOM announces field

Jill Kintner at the 2006 Jeep KOM
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

The Jeep King of the Mountain Series announced its line-up for the summer. The first round event begins Saturday, August 4 at The Canyons Resort in Utah. Racers will compete head-to-head to capture the coveted the series championship title named the "World Professional Champion". In addition, athletes will battle for a share of the richest cash payout in the sport, topping US$100,000. The lucky winner also gets keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty.

Champions will be determined by a system of cumulative points earned throughout the three-race Jeep King of the Mountain Series. This year's schedule includes stops at three destinations in the Western US.

Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah
Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California
Saturday, Sept. 1 at Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Michal Prokop (Cze)
Brian Lopes (USA)
Wade Bootes (Aus)
Rich Houseman (USA)
Eric Carter (USA)
Jared Graves (Aus)

Jill Kintner (USA)
Melissa Buhl (USA)
Tara Llanes (USA)
Anneke Beerten (Den)
Joanna Petterson (South Africa)
Fionn Griffiths (GBr)

BMXA and MTBA reach membership agreement

BMXA and MTBA recently signed a long-awaited agreement to allow cross membership.

MTBA members with more than three months of life left on their membership can now join BMXA directly without joining a BMXA-affiliated club and pay AUS$36. Similarly BMXA members with more than three months on their membership can remain a member of their BMX club but get a full MTBA membership for the same cost.

"This arrangement completes the triangle of discounted memberships between all the competition cycling disciplines and in particular between the 'dirt' disciplines of BMX and MTB," said Tony Scott, Executive Officer for MTBA. "These arrangements will now allow greater access for BMX riders to contest MTB events in a completely seamless manner as if they were full cost MTBA members (and vise versa) and reflects an arrangement MTBA has had for the last three years with the parent body Cycling Australia."

Regarding MTBA and BMXA, Scott said, "We have a lot in common especially at the 4X and BMX interface." He hopes the arrangement will strengthen the 'dirt' cycling disciplines".

Gunn-Rita diary: Loooooong days at home

Five weeks usually disappear in a flash, but these days that I've been forced to spend at home in Stavanger in the middle of the cycling season have really dragged by. A lack of energy and strength has meant that I haven't been able to exercise or do much of anything else.

I've just completed a week of strong antibiotics against the stomach bacteria which were discovered in my tests just after our arrival at home. We had to wait for the results of those tests for two whole weeks. I prefer to avoid taking this kind of medicine, but right now I simply have to do as the doctor says so that I can get well again.

I've experienced a little improvement this week. I can feel my strength and energy levels slowly rising again, which should be expected after such a long rest! Now the challenge for me is to not become too excited and eager, and avoid exercising too hard and too much these coming weeks. This week will be a sort of warming up week, with about 10-12 hours of exercise at low intensity.

If my body can cope with these doses, I can increase the intensity a little the following week, and maybe be able to take part in the Norwegian championships in Drammen in two weeks. It would be great to just get to take part and complete a race now with a good feeling. Top results will have to wait.

To read the complete diary, click here.

Mike & Mary diary: Euro round up

This Czech town
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
(Click for larger image)

Mike and I could feel the end of our Euro trip coming fast. Although we really do enjoy the Euro RV travel, the coming of summer in Europe brings staggering crowds to our quiet spring campgrounds and just about everywhere else outdoors as well. Now that schools were starting to get out for the summer, it was starting to feel like time to head back to the States.

Thumbing through our print out of the UCI race calendar, we decided to head back to the Czech Republic for a national race just 600km away in Ceska Kamenice. We were looking forward to returning to this beautiful region in northwestern Czech, but were especially drawn since we heard that the race course was going to be technical and fun.

The massive hemotoma covering my right quad was healing quite nicely mostly since I had been focusing the majority of my energy on a regimen of icing, elevating, massaging, changing bandages, and light spinning. The swelling was dissipating but as race day approached, it was clearly still not right. I needed more time to heal to be ready for the next World Cup in Switzerland now just ten days off. It was difficult to refrain from racing since I knew I could push myself to compete at the lightly attended race and still have a good shot at the podium even with my injury, but after checking out a lap I knew racing here would not be a good idea. I was resolved to rest, take my first weekend off in six weeks and enjoy the day supporting Mike from the feed zone

Strong riders from all over Europe and even fellow Americans Adam Craig, Kelli Emmett and part of the Luna Chix squad showed up for this category 1 race. The scene was flavorful, complete with banners, a loud speaker, beer tent, and grilled sausages. There was a solid crowd of spectators including rowdy locals who could watch from the porch of their nearby nursing home. The course was almost as good as promised, though the major feature was the solid climbing. It also included some really technical bumpy sections, a hike a bike over huge boulders and some challenging sandy transitions to top it off.

To read the complete diary, click here.

New home for the Kona 24hr

Australia's Kona 24 race, set for December 1-2, is moving to new trails surrounding the township of Forrest, in the heart of the Otways National Park. The course will comprise of three varied circuits; a rollercoaster singletrack to get things started, a speedy flowing loop for night laps and then something fresh to test riders' skills in the morning.

The Forrest Mountain Bike Trails have been developed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, with many of the tracks designed and constructed by world renowned trail builder Glen Jacobs. Race Director Kristjan Snorrason is excited about the new trails.

Registration opened July 11 at 09:00 local time. Fields are strictly limited to 800 racers. For more information, visit www.kona24hour.com.

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