MTB news & racing round-up for March 22, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Emmett signs with Giant
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Kelli Emmett has traded her Ford Cycling gear for that of Team Giant.
She joins fellow Giant cross country racer Adam Craig and Carl Decker.
Emmett talked to Cyclingnews as she prepared to depart for the
Medalla Light Ultimate Dirt Challenge, a UCI race in Puerto Rico this
"It'll be my first race of the season," said Emmett, who will
celebrate her 30th birthday in two weeks. "I'm very excited about
Last season was a tough one for Emmett, who calls home Colorado Springs,
Colorado. "I got third at short track at nationals, and I had some
decent races in Europe, where I was third American. I did have a top-five
NORBA at Sugar (Mountain in North Carolina).
"Then I broke my arm mid-season. I was in July at Crankworks. I
was downhilling. I learned a lesson last year: no downhilling in July,
during the season."
Yet she kept her year in perspective. "It was one of those seasons
where I had a lot of mechanicals and flats. But there were a couple of
good results, and many times I was in good position when something did
"This is my third year doing the World Cup circuit. I did it the
last two years. Last year, I didn't do all the races. Both years, really,
I missed one or two races. It's important to get that experience. It just
takes time getting your butt kicked and learning how to race over there."
Emmett hopes to build on international success from 2005, during which
she took eighth at the Mont St. Anne World Cup and finished 12th in the
World Cup overall. Along with Craig, she will be attending plenty of races
in the quest for UCI points.
"I'm interested in making the long team for the Olympics, which
will be determined by UCI points at the end of the year." Emmet is
targeting the NMBS series in the US and the World Cup races internationally.
Both Craig and Emmett are trying to cut back on the total quantity of
racing they undertake. "Every year, I say I'm not going to do as
many races, but I always do too many. Adam is the same way." Decker,
on the other hand, will likely undertake a slightly different program.
"He's not concerned with chasing points this year."
Emmett and Craig will get to test their form this weekend in Puerto Rico.
Then look for them at the NMBS #1 in Phoenix and Sea Otter subsequent
Marathon opened World Cup season
Pia Sundstedt (Fin) crosses the
Photo ©: MTB World Cup
The UCI World Cup opened this weekend with no surprise winners from its
first round, a marathon in Gran Canaria, Spain. Columbian Leonardo Paez
won the elite
men's race with a time of 3:27:24. He took second just over a minute
ahead of Frenchman Thomas Dietsch and 3:25 ahead of Austrian Alban Lakata.
The men's podium at this year's marathon World Cup opener was exactly
like last year's opener in Naoussa, Greece, but with the second and third
places switched. Paez is a proven endurance racer; he convincingly won
the Costa Rican La Ruta de los Conquistadors stage race in November.
In the women's
race, Finland's Pia Sundstedt won with a time of 3.27.17. She beat
German Ivonne Kraft by over five and a half minutes and Frenchwoman Helene
Marcouyre by six minutes. Sundstedt regularly visited the steps of the
podium last year, and we'll likely see more of her this year.
The presence of several former and current roadies did not go unnoticed.
Sundstedt herself is a former roadie, who renewed
her love for the sport through mountain bike endurance events after
she walked away from a successful road career.
Abraham Olano at the starting line.
Photo ©: MTB World Cup
Though still riding as a current pro for Saunier Duval, Gilberto Simoni
finished sixth place, 8:35 behind Paez. Adrian Montgomery of Scott USA
confirmed to Cyclingnews Simoni's intentions to retire from the
road after the Giro d'Italia in May and convert to mountain biking in
an attempt to make the 2008 Italian Olympic Mountain Bike Team.
Montgomery believes Simoni stands a good chance of making a successful
transition from road to mountain given his phenomenal bike handling skills.
Alexander Moos, former Kelme and Phonak road pro now riding for Team
BMC, also completed the circuit, finishing in 26th. Moos is doing a complete
slate of mountain bike races this year, and will join his team for select
Finally, road fans may also have noticed Abraham Olano, who turned up
at the start in his old, pink ONCE kit. Olano raced the 90km amateur edition
of the race, run at the same time as the elite race. After the race, Olano
said, ""It was very hard, but as well as the wonderful experience,
I never thought it would be so demanding."
Click here to see results and photos from the men's
Puerto Rico to host cross country in Rincon
The Medalla Light Ultimate Dirt Challenge will happen this weekend on
March 25 in Rincon, Puerto Rico. It is the only class one UCI race in
Latin America; with its points and warm weather, it is expected to draw
many top racers from North America.
Last year, more than 300 racers and 2,500 spectators converged upon the
island. Already confirmed for the women's cross country are Americans
Mary MacConneloug (Team Kenda Seven), Heather Irmiger (Team Subaru-Gary
Fisher), and Kelli Emmett (Team Giant), and Chilean Francisca Campos (Team
Zenith), and Mexican Lorenza Morfin (Team Turbo).
For the men, look for Americans Todd Wells (Team Hyundai-GT), Jeremy
Horgan-Kobelski (Team Subaru-Gary Fisher), Adam Craig (Team Giant), Jeremiah
Bishop (Team Trek-Volkswagen), and Michael Broderick (Team Kenda Seven)
and Mexicans Octavio Vicente Chetto (Team Alubike) and Ignacio Torres
Acosta to vye for the podium.
This year, a dirt jump contest will add to the action. Dirt Jumpers Cameron
Zink (Haro Freeride Team), Kyle Strait (Team Specialized), Jamie Goldman,
Adam Hauck (Team Black Market), Nate Adams (Team Santa Cruz), Carter Holland
(Team Black Market), and Cameron McCaul (Team Trek) are international
riders who will mix it up with locals Pedro "Pulito" Marrero
(Marrero Guaynabo Ciclomundo), Christian Reyes (Ponce Ciclomundo), Alejandro
Cortes (Ponce Ciclomundo), Anthomy Vazquez, Orlando Fuentes (San Juan
Ciclomundo), and Victor Figueroa (Guaynabo Ciclomundo).
Australia selects marathon championship venue
Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) awarded Brisbane-based Two Wheel promotions
the opportunity to host the 2007 MTB Australian Marathon Championships
on Sunday, July 1. The championship race will be the Maxxis Coffs Mountain
Marathon. The race will happen at a new venue, Pine Creek Forest, in Bonville,
15 minutes south of Coffs Harbour.
95% of the course will be off-road with lots of flowing singletrack and
fire trails. 500 racers will be allowed entry into the main event, although
others will be allowed to enter an associated shorter marathon and recreational
ride. Registration opens April 1.
Gary Fisher rolls out the 29er crew
In 2001, Gary Fisher played around with the notion of a 29" wheeled
mountain bike. Six years later, the company is sponsoring a 29er team.
The The inaugural 29er Crew is a mix of half a dozen cross country racers,
single-speeders, and endurance junkies.
Brothers Jesse and Mark LaLonde head up the team. They have been testing,
abusing, and winning on their single speed Fishers for several years.
Graphic designer Jesse won the Single Speed World Championships Race in
2005 in Pennsylvania, but lost the overall title in a go-kart showdown.
Younger brother Mark can be found at cross country races and regional
cyclo-cross events. Mark will be rolling a new Ferrous 29 this season
starting with the Wisconsin Off Road Series opener.
They will be joined by Breckenridge native Tim Faia, who has been racing
on the cross country and cyclo-cross scenes in Colorado for the past 12
"Desert Dan" Cain is an endurance specialist that rides a Fisher
hardtail with a rigid Bontrager Switchblade. The 49-year old Borrego Springs,
California, resident has been a regular presence on the podium at SoCal
endurance races, both in solo and team relay categories since 2003. He
has won the 12 Hours of Temecula and 8 Hours of Idyllwild multiple times.
Travis Saeler will tackle the races in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series,
Ohio's OMBC Series, and a few endurance events while his fellow eastern
teammate TJ Platt will challenge at endurance events like the Michaux
Monster Series and those in West Virginia's WVMBA series.
Mary & Mike diary: Making the most of winter
Cross training, Massachusetts style.
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
Mary and I spent the majority of the winter in my hometown of Chilmark,
Massachusetts, kind of by mistake. We came off a huge year of travel and
racing in 2006 and were talking and planning as if we were ready for more.
We dreamed of an incredible winter off-season in New Zealand or Hawaii,
certainly somewhere warm and beautiful, until we made the trip to the
quiet island off the east coast of Massachusetts and rediscovered how
much we enjoy not traveling. Having a full size kitchen complete with
breadmaker and ample room to do yoga was enough to keep Mary occupied
between cold training rides and body ball workouts. For me, the lure of
my own semi-set-up bike shop along with my family's metal and wood-working
shop was a welcome chance to tap into some creative energy and get involved
in a few crazy projects.
The highest point on Martha's Vineyard island is 311 feet--actually
more like 305--but someone piled a bunch of stones up on the top of one
of the local hills to edge out another for the bragging rights. So the
climbing is a bit limited, but we found plenty of ways to keep ourselves
occupied and in good condition throughout our longer than anticipated
winter stay (November to February). Global warming was kind enough to
keep things mild and snow free through the end of December before the
frigid temps came.
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
At this point, we enjoyed a rare chance to skate the local ponds, break
out the carbide studded Kenda winter tires and do some performance testing
in our Adidas cold weather cycling gear. Though it was a bit brutal, the
training was always possible, and we made the most of it. Luckily for
us (and for all those who live in the flat lands), it seems that it is
possible to stay in shape without the huge climbs and radical trails that
you read about and crave to ride. Just plain old hours of suffering on
the windy flats and hours and hours on the knobbies on the same old trails
seem to work.
We made the trip out to northern California for a two week training
block in early February and only there realized how tough things had been
out East. It was so much easier to put in the long rides without the limiters
of frozen feet and icing water bottles. Here the mountainbiking is so
good that most of it has rules, restrictions, speed limits, and etc. attached
to it to keep people from hurting one another or themselves. Although
this tends to limit some of the enjoyment, Mary and I were more than happy
for the transition to the balmy 50 degree weather.
To read the complete diary entry, click
Jamis Bicycles team for 2007
Jamis Bicycles announced a team for 2007 which consists of three Pro
cross country /marathon racers and one Semi-Pro cross country racer. Racers
will target the NMBS as well as the Downieville Classic for the 2007 season.
They will race aboard the new XCR MP3 suspension bike, the Dakota Elite
aluminum hardtail, and the Reynolds 853 steel Dragon.
2007 Team Roster
Dave Yakaitis Pro XC, Marathon, Single-Speed
Kenny Burt Pro XC, Short track and Super-D
Shane Deal Pro marathon
Olivier Bock Team Manager, Semi-Pro Cross Country, Pro Super-D
Three events remain in Kona 24 Hours Global Series
The Running start
Photo ©: James Mandolini
Kona's 24 Hour Global series is already underway. It kicked off with
the 24 hours of Old
Pueblo in Arizona in February. however three more events are on the
schedule for the rest of 2007: Anglesea (Melbourne, Australia), Catton
Hall (Derbyshire, United Kingdom), and Levi 24 (Finland). The later race
may be the only 24 hour race where competitors don't need lights. Due
to its location and time, above the Arctic Circle in June, the race receives
light for the entire duration.
Tennessee opens series
The Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA) has opened up its 2007
series to all racers with a valid USA Cycling mountain biking license.
In the past, the series was limited to those who belonged to a TBRA club.
However, the change opens the door for the series to step up in regional
The series winner will receive free entry into all series' races for
the following season and also a series winner's jersey. For more information
on all 14 races, visit www.tbra.org.
Saugy's Cape Epic Diary: The countdown begins
I took some time to enjoy the scenery
Photo ©: Myriam Saugy
Departure in 10 days! I am feeling more and more excited as it gets closer.
So what has happened in the last two weeks? As I told you, I first went
to the South of France for a week-long training camp. This was my last
chance to have a lot of volume [training] and I am really happy that I
could stick to my training plan.
I trained mainly on my mountain bike, which was really good as I had
not found the perfect position on my full suspension before that. I had
to make quite a few stops at first but in the end I was really feeling
comfortable on it. The place was very nice, the temperature was mild and
on top of everything I had just a few drops of rain in the whole week,
whereas it rained a lot back in Switzerland.
The comeback was hard.
To read the complete diary entry, click
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