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MTB news & racing round-up for June 7, 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

Eatough and Lowery win Mohican 100

By Sue George

Winner Chris Eatough
Photo ©: Guru Graphix
(Click for larger image)

Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) made it two for two in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series when he won the second event, the Mohican 100 in Ohio Saturday in sultry, 90 degree (Fahrenheit) conditions. Behind him, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) and Shawn Adams (October Lake Effect) rounded out the podium. Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store) won the women's race ahead of round one Cohutta 100 winner Dannielle Musto (Slingshot).

For 2007, the Mohican 100 got a new and improved course, including starting with about 25 miles of technical singletrack almost from the gun. Winner Eatough commented on the challenging beginning. "The first half was pretty tough. There was 25 mile singletrack section from mile four to 29. It was pretty hilly and quite technical. Everyone had fresh legs, so some people were riding really fast. It made the second half tough even though the course was not as tough as the first half. The second half was more about gravel road and farmland."

Eatough credited Price and Michael Simonson (Bell's Beer) for driving the pace early in the race. "I was kind of following along. Michael and Harlan were pushing the pace at the beginning. I went to the front a couple of times. I thought they were going pretty fast." Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) was also with the lead crowd before he later dropped off the pace. Simonson put the hammer down and gapped Eatough and Price on a hike-a-bike, but Price and Eatough were taking a more measured approach, biding their time.

"I wasn't too worried, it wasn't a big gap," said Eatough. "I was able to bridge across to him at halfway point. I dropped him soon after. I rode last 35 miles alone." Price lost Eatough at aid station 3. Both would catch Simonson, who later took a wrong turn and lost one more place to finish fourth.

Only a few miles until
Photo ©: Guru Graphix
(Click for larger image)

The women's race would shape up to be a two-woman battle. Musto took off hard in the early singletrack, but wasn't able to hold off the technically talented Lowery, who passed her and would lead solo until the end.

"Carrie is an amazing singletrack rider. And she passed me and that was it," said Musto, who rode the rest of the race by herself in no-woman's land. Her only company would be a thunderstorm, which lasted for about 15 minutes. "I was happy to get wet because it was so hot."

Round three of the NUE will be the Lumberjack 100 on June 16. For complete coverage of the Mohican 100, click here.

Dahle Flesjå forced to pause racing season

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Reigning World and Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Multivan-Merida) took a break from her racing season to return Norway Monday. For several weeks, Dahle Flesjå has been suffering from inexplicable stomach problems and will return home to undergo comprehensive medical tests in Stavanger.

The Norwegian has spent her time since Offenburg's World Cup race in Champéry, Switzerland, where the next World Cup race is scheduled to take place this weekend without her.

"This decision to pause in the middle of the season has been very hard to take for me," said 25-time World Cup winner Dahle Flesjå about her situation. "But I know from experience that my health is the most important element on the road to success." She has also won seven World Championship titles.

She hopes to return to racing with her best form in plenty of time to defend her two world championship titles.

Trans Germany debuts this weekend

The Trans Germany will make its debut on Saturday, June 9 in St. Wendel. Approximately 300 teams of two, consisting of hobby bikers, ambitious amateurs and mountain bike pros, will head towards Oberwiesenthal in the Erz Mountains for the beginning of what will be 837 km and 18,313 meters of climbing in eight stages.

The race features five categories including men, women, master men, grand master men, and mixed. Top hopes for the men's win are last year's TransAlp winner Karl Platt and his team mate Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls) who won the 2007 Cape Epic. In addition, Swiss riders Sandro Spaeth and Thomas Zahnd (Team Texner-Stoeckli) as well as the German-Austrian duo of Andreas Strobel and Silvio Wieltschnig (Team Fiat Rotwild) are aiming for the podium.

On the women's side, the Klose twins Sandra and Peggy (Team ZwillingsCRAFT) will pedal for victory against Frenchwoman Danièle Troesch and German Kerstin Brachtendorf from Team Fiat-Rotwild.

Carsten Bresser will tackle the route together with Canada's own Alison Sydor as part of the team Tea, Rocky Mountain / Haywood in the battle for the mixed title.

The race will visit St. Wendel, Neustadt, Erbach im Odenwald, Frammersbach, Bischofsheim a. d. Rhoen, Oberhof, Bad Steben, Schoeneck and Oberwiesenthal.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage.

Events in Australia and Colorado go carbon neutral

Two mountain bike events happening in opposite hemispheres have something in common besides bikes. Both are going carbon neutral for the first time in 2007.

The Breckenridge Singletrack Festival will bring mountain bikers together in Colorado September 7-9. This inaugural festival will feature riding on local trails, games, cold beer, live music, and free clinics.

Organizers are partnering with Sustainable Travel International, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote sustainable development and eco-friendly travel, to offset 100% of the carbon emissions arising from the production of the festival. They will track carbon emissions and purchase carbon credits, which support projects that prevent carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, to offset them.

Participants will also have the opportunity to purchase carbon credits to offset their own carbon production related to attending the festival at the festival. Other green initiatives at the festival include using biodegradable beer cups and supporting recycling. Breckenridge is the site of the Firecracker 50, which this year will host the USA Cycling National Marathon Championships.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, the VAUDE Highland Fling will also be going carbon neutral for its November 10-11 marathon in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

"We've always been a little concerned about the resources our events use and the amount of fuel used by riders travelling to them," said Event Director Huw Kingston. "We've justified this by the fact that if people weren't riding one of our events they'd still be doing something else for the weekend - driving, riding, eating and drinking - and the fact that such events offer huge health and social benefits. We have employed a consultant to calculate the CO2 production involved with running the event itself and the transport to the event by the 2000 riders and supporters and to select an accredited business through whom we will purchase Carbon Credits."

Just like Breckenridge, organizers will cover the cost of credits for the event, and racers will be able to pay for credits to cover the effects of their own travel.

For more info on the VAUDE Highland Fling, see www.wildhorizons.com.au (registration opens June 20). For more info on the Breckenridge festival, visit www.brecksingletrack.com.

[Cyclingnews incorrectly published that this Highland Fling would determine the Australian MTB Marathon Champions. In fact, the marathon national champions will be decided at the Maxxis Coffs Mountain Marathon, sanctioned by Mountain Bike Australia, on July 1. - ed.]

Keith Bontrager diary: TransScotland final wrap

The last stage was not the typical short party stage that these races often end with. There was no big hurry to finish, but it was a long route with some big climbs so it wasn't going to be easy.

I'll avoid dragging you through the repetitive descriptions that I have fallen into. It was a good day, with a lot of fine singletrack, amazing views, good weather and very little time off the bike. The only bad thing that I came across was a very surly horsefly that smashed into my jaw within a few km from the finish. It nipped me somehow and now my jaw looks like I got punched. How can a fly bash into you like that and still find a way to bite you at the same time?

There was no change in the GC. I ended up 9th. I'll take it.

Keith Bontrager
Photo ©: TransScotland
(Click for larger image)

I really enjoyed this race. The quality singletrack and the TT scoring format are really fun. There is more good singletrack in this route than in any other Trans-XXX race by far, maybe a factor of 10 or more. That definitely makes for a better race for me. At this point I am pretty sure I'll be back for more.

Some of these events start off on the notion that they have to go from here to there, in a more or less straight line. The TransAlp goes south from Germany to Italy. The Cape Epic crosses the cape. That's a fine idea and it works well in some cases, especially the Alps. But in some cases connecting the start and finish towns with interesting race routes every day is not too easy to do. You can end up with some very long stages that could be done on a road bike. That's also not that bad if you are into it, and I can usually work it out. But it is not the same as racing on a fair amount of sweet singletrack everyday.

So why not develop stage races that optimize the quality of the course rather than going from here to there? Loop it around as required to make each day hard, but a good MTB race. Don't call it Trans-XXX. Call it the MTB Tour of XXX or 7 days of XXX. You get the idea.

You could even base the entire race in one spot and have the course go off in a different direction each day, along the lines of Montezuma's Revenge, but over a week instead of in one seriously insane day. Mix in time trials, hill climbs, down hill TTs, etc. This would not be possible everywhere, but there are spots in many places where it would be possible. I can rattle off ideal locations in the Alps, Dolomites and in the States where it could work. (These comments are here for a small audience - you know who you are and I know you are reading this...)

To read Keith's complete diary entry, including advice on how to survive a multi-day stage race, click here.

Tory Thomas diary: My first World Cup

Well I've done it. I've started and completed my first ever World Cup mountain bike race. The race was the cross country World Cup #2 in Offenburg, Germany, and WOW it was awesome!

Pre-race relax…

The week leading up to the race was surprisingly relaxing. We stayed at a lovely farm in Durbach, a cute town with buildings that look like gingerbread houses, surrounded by rolling green hills crammed full of grape vines, apple trees and berries. Our hosts, the Laible family, were really generous with their time not to mention their freshly bakes bread, jam and strawberries. They were very chatty and hardly seemed to notice that we couldn't understand German - charades can get you a long way in a foreign country!

Scoping the Course…

Practising repairing a flat tyre in the tech zone.
Photo ©: Tory Thomas
(Click for larger image)

We had a sneak preview of the course on Wednesday evening when we stumbled across some bunting on our jetlag recovery spin. Being World Cup first-timers, travelling buddy Jo Wall and I were mighty impressed by the fancy double-bunting on both sides of the track (seasoned competitor Dellys Starr was a little less impressed, although suitably entertained by our awe and wonder!). We slipped our way down a tiny section of flowing singletrack, which was made surprisingly technical by the afternoon's rain. I was more than a little concerned by the way my front tyre was pinging off slippery tree roots, however reassured myself that of course it won't rain again before race day.

The following day we headed out for our first ride of the course. My first impression of the course was WOW. It was seemingly a heap of singletrack weaving through the sort of forest you see in the movies (think Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), spiced up with a few descents, made interesting by the steep gradient and/or tree roots. As we rode around we laughed about how epic the course would be if it rained. I also saw my first ever squirrel which was a very big deal for me!

To read the complete diary entry, click here.

Trans Alp team wins most votes

Team Shannifer was voted winners of the 2007 UXC Trans Alp competition. Jennifer Hanks and her husband Shannon Boffeli will represent Race Face on their way to cross country glory. Team Shannifer will be flown to the races with all entry fees paid. They will be outfitted with components and clothing and be given tech support throughout the multi-day epic race.

The Trans Alps is scheduled to begin July 16.

Stoopid 50

The inaugural Stoopid 50 heads to State College, Pennsylvania June 8-10. The area may be better known for hosting the Singlespeed World Championships or the annual Wilderness 101, but this time mountain bikers will converge on the Roth Rock State Forest for an entire weekend, which features two fun rides (including one at night), an informal three stage competitive event with a time trial, hill climb, and a "don't put your foot down" trial. Camping and movies are also included before Sunday's highlight, a single 50 mile one-lap race hosted by Nittany Mountain Bike Association and Shenandoah Mountain Touring.

Promoters estimate the course will take five to eight hours to complete. It is a potent mix of forest roads, trails (including some trails that have never before been used in competition) and a 15 minute hike-a-bike. One race volunteer described it, "This ain't no race for a Beginner."

Showing a sense of humor, Mid Atlantic Super Series promoter Ken Getchell said, "Well, when you think about it rationally, every sport is 'stupid', it's just that (race promoter) Frank Maquire and his crew are smart enough to recognize it." The race's name also alludes to the way a person speaking one of Pennsylvania's many dialects might pronounce "stupid."

Croatian race set for national park

Five years ago, Rajko Malojcic convinced the Senj tourist committee in Croatia to start an amateur mountain bike race. This year's edition will happen Saturday, June 16, starting from the town of Sv. Juraj and climbing up to Zavizan at 1594m. An easier option starts from Oltari and only climbs to 1,000 meters.

The race is one way to see the Sjeverni Velebit National Park. The record winning time is 2 hours and 27 minutes. For more information, visit www.tz-senj.hr/Hr/Biciklijada_2007/Biciklijada_Zavizan_2007.htm.

Durango MTB 100 offers prize to break nine hour mark

Durango will host the fifth annual Durango 100 miler on Saturday, August 4. The race venue offers one of the world's highest 100-mile courses on which racers will clear elevations of 11,500 feet during the event while tackling 18,000 total feet of climbing. A US$500 bonus prize will be awarded to the first person who can break the nine hour mark on the 100 mile course.

100km and 50km options are also available. For more information, please visit www.mtb100.com.

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