MTB news & racing round-up for October 20, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Crocodile Trophy heats up
By John Flynn
David Wood at the 2006 Crocodile
Photo ©: John Flynn
The leader of Australia's Flight Centre Scott Team, David Wood, is predicting
a hot 2007 edition
of the Crocodile Trophy, both in terms of furnace-like temperatures as
well as a record-sized peloton. The race starts in just a few days, on
October 23, and wraps up ten stages later on November 1.
Wood lives, works and trains on the merciless Australian Outback roads
of Far North Queensland. The three-time protagonist and stage winner is
ready to race after a recent confidence-boosting podium placing with his
team at the Australian 24 hour mountain bike championships last weekend
"They've got to be the best blokes going," Wood said of his
Croc Trophy team-mates Tim Bennett and rookie Ryan Hawson. Wood and Bennett
also have the experience of marathon world cup events in their legs. They
don't know how their form will hold up over the multi-day Crocodile Trophy,
but the team is aiming for an overall podium win.
"This year there are more contenders for GC than there ever have
been," Wood said after studying the start list. He added as warning
to those travelling from cooler climates, "Unlike last year it's
hot already up here. It's going to be hotter and harder than any Crocodile
Trophy in history I suspect."
Organizer Gerhard Schoenbacher made one key change to the course for
2007. He cancelled a stage from Mount Mulgrave to King Junction, deeming
it unfit for travel for the event support vehicles.
"We would like to have included the stage, but there was no safe
way for our support vehicles to reach the finish of the stage and be there
in time for the riders," Schoenbacher said. "You might call
the stage 'horse categorie'. That is not a spelling mistake; the track
was only safe for horses or brumbies as they call them here."
The 2007 edition
will follow the path of the 2006
race over its final days, including a key 148km stage from Mount Mulgrave
to the mythical Quinkan country of Laura. The journey from Cooktown to
the finish line at Cape Tribulation will be broken into two stages, mirroring
last year's race finish. In total, protagonists will cover 1234 kilometres
over a six-day stretch between Woombinoo and The Daintree, averaging almost
140 kilometres per day. Last year's race was won by Christoph Stevens
Stayed tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage including reports,
photos, results and videos.
NMBS 2008 draft schedule released
Barry Wicks (Kona) leading at the
2007 Snowmass NMBS round
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
According to a draft schedule, next year's 2008 National Mountain Bike
Series (NMBS) will visit eight American venues throughout the season,
including new locations - one East coast venue in New York and one in
Idaho for the finals. The series jumps up from seven to eight venues.
One stop not on the docket for 2008 is in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
The season will open at warm weather venues starting the final weekend
of March in Fontana, Calfornia, with Round #1, which will include cross
country and gravity events. The next weekend, April 5-6, it will move
to Fountain Hills, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix, for a cross-country
and Super-D only Round #2. The NOVA national will be the only one without
a full slate of gravity events.
A May 17-18 Round #3 stop will take racers back to Los Olivos, California,
for the Santa Ynez National. Then June's Round #4 will be hosted in Deer
Valley, Utah. Back to back East coast stops follow during the first two
weekends in July, including July 5-6 Round #5 at Sugar Mountain, North
Carolina, and July 12-13 Round #6 at Windham Resort, New York. The latter
is a new venue for the NMBS Series in the Catskill mountains.
After a break for US Nationals, which will be held again in Mount Snow,
Vermont, the penultimate round is set for Snowmass, Colorado, on August
16-17. Snowmass hosted the finals in 2007 when Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis)
won both the short track and cross country overalls for the men. Team
Luna dominated the women's series with Georgia Gould taking the cross
country and Katerina Nash winning the short track classification.
2008 finals will conclude in at Tamarack Resort in McCall, Idaho, on
The Fontana, NOVA, Santa Ynez Valley, Deer Valley and Final rounds will
offer UCI cross country points. Santa Ynez and Tamarack will award C2
points while the others will award C1 points.
2008 NMBS Schedule
March 29 - 30: NMBS #1
Fontana National, Southridge Park, Fontana, California (XCO/DHI/ST/4X/Super
April 5 - 6: NMBS #2
NOVA National, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona
May 17- 18: NMBS #3
Santa Ynez Valley National, Ted Chamberlin Ranch, Los Olivos, California
June 28 - 29: NMBS #4
Deer Valley National, Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super
July 5 6: NMBS #5
Showdown at Sugar National Sugar Mountain Resort Village, Sugar Mountain,
North Carolina (XCO/DHI/ST/DS/Super D)
July 12 13: NMBS #6
East Coast National Windham Resort, Windham, New York (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super
August 16 17: NMBS #7
Snowmass National, Aspen-Snowmass Resort Snowmass, Colorado (XCO/DHI/4X/ST/Super
September 6 - 7: NMBS #8
National Mountain Bike Series Finals, Tamarack Resort, McCall, Idaho (XCO/DHI/DS/ST/Super
Final confirmation of the 2008 schedule is expected soon from Blue Wolf
Vanlandingham switches focus to multi-sport
Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Three-time US National Series Champion and former US Short Track national
champion Shonny VanLandingham (Luna Women's Team) will shift her competitive
focus for 2008 from mountain bike racing to the multi-sport XTERRA Series.
It's not the first time the versatile athlete has switched sporting disciplines.
Before pro cycling, she played basketball seriously and enjoyed riding
motorcycles growing up.
"[Coach] Rick [Crawford] and I are excited about taking on this
new challenge to transition from full time mountain bike racer to XTERRA
racer. We have had a successful partnership thus far in mountain biking
and have our sites set on podiums in XTERRA for '08. I am personally excited
about the new challenge of swimming and running. I feel like a rookie
pro again...motivated and ready to learn!" said the 38 year-old VanLandingham,
who splits her time between Durango, Colorado, and Hawaii.
Her short term goals will be to develop her swimming skills and maintain
her cycling form while also stepping up her running. "When Shonny
gets her sights on something, the girls in front of her better watch out,"
warned coach Crawford. VanLandingham will be aiming for the championship
win in her new discipline.
Lehikoinen's recovery continues
Matti Lehikoinen in Maribor, Slovenia
Photo ©: Rob Jones
As the first signs of snow arrived in Finland, Matti Lehikoinen reported
excellent progress in his rehabilitation. Just 23 days following his
crash and after undergoing a series of weekly x-rays, his vertebrae
are "well-stabilized". Lehikoinen is walking around the house
and is able to stand for 30 minutes at time. He is now only taking painkillers
at night to sleep and friends and family are delighted with his recovery.
The young downhiller crashed while filming with friends in Helsinki just
three days after he signed with a new team for 2008.
"I really feel the difference every day," said Lehikoinen.
"Last Sunday was probably one of my worst days, fighting the boredom
and also trying to kick the pain killers, but since then, each day I have
felt the progress. For example ... I have been able to cough without severe
pain. And as for sneezing, I have sneezed twice since the accident and
you just don't want to know what that was like. Normally you never remember
sneezing, but those two bastards will stay with me forever.
Looking forward he said, "I will start working with my new Intense
team on projects for next year which will help the time fly by."
He will continue his recovery throughout the long Nordic winter and hopes
to return at the opening downhill World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, next
Buhl & Graves win overall USAC Gravity Calendar titles
Australian Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) and Melissa Buhl (KHS) were crowned
overall champions of the inaugural USA Cycling Mountain Bike National
Gravity Calendar at the Gravity East Finals in Plattekill, New York, which
marked the conclusion of the 22 event season-long calendar.
Graves edged countryman Amiel Cavalier (NSW-Giant) in the men's division
by just 19 points, with a score of 495 points to 476. New Zealander Justin
Leov (Yeti-Fox) was third overall with 334 points, followed by Cole Bangert
(Morewood) and Eric Carter (Mongoose) who scored 319 and 308 points respectively.
In the women's division, Buhl dominated the calendar with 1,054 points
while second-place finisher Jacqueline Harmony (Team Cactus) finished
with 648 points. Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) notched 445 points throughout the
season to place third, while Lisa Myklak (Morewood) finished fourth with
439 points and Darian Harvey (Durango Rough Riders) rounded out the top
five with 424 points.
Dual slalom national champion Buhl's large margin of victory came from
several key victories including the Chile Challenge (downhill and 4X),
the Deer Valley Nationals (downhill and dual slalom), the Infineon Cougar
Mountain Class (downhill), the Sugar Mountain National (downhill and dual
slalom), and Snowmass Nationals (downhill and 4X), just to name a few.
Graves 495 point total came as a result of victories in the 4X event
at the Blast the Mass and dual slalom wins at the Deer Valley and Snowmass
Nationals. Graves also scored a pair of second-place finishes in the downhill
and dual slalom competitions at Sea Otter and finished second in the downhill
races at both Blast the Mass and the Snowmass National.
2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Gravity Calendar Final Standings
1 Jared Graves (Aus) 495 pts
2 Amiel Cavalier (Aus) 476
3 Justin Leov (NZl) 334
4 Cole Bangert (USA) 319
5 Eric Carter (USA) 308
1 Melissa Buhl (USA) 1054 pts
2 Jacqueline Harmony (USA) 648
3 Kathy Pruitt (USA) 445
4 Lisa Myklak (USA) 439
5 Darian Harvey USA) 424
2008 TransRockies Challenge Registration to Open November 1st
River crossing are a Trans Rockies
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
The popular TransRockies Challenge announced registration will open to
300 teams on November 1 at 10:00 am MDT. The race will be held in its
traditional early August time slot, from Panorama Mountain Village on
Sunday, August 10 to Fernie on August 16. In-between, riders will travel
through the rugged British Columbia Kootenay Rockies on the North to South
route which was debuted in 2006. The final routing will not be announced
until race time, but the course team is working on different routing options
to improve the course and give multi-time participants something new to
the race attracted 600 racers from 24 countries to British Columbia and
was won by Tim Heemskerk & Roddi Lega (United Cycle Team), Hillary
Harrison & Susan Haywood (Trek VW - Giant) and Normon Thibault &
Wendy Simms (Frontrunners-KONA) in the men's, women's and mixed divisions.
Visit www.transrockies.com for more information.
Trail Tune Up Grants available
USA Cycling and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA)
have teamed up again to offer seven US$500 Trail Tune-Up Grants to mountain
bike groups undertaking trail improvement projects. Awards favor projects
that create or improve trails for racing, but funding can also be used
for trails used for training or recreational riding.
Applicants must be IMBA members and USA Cycling sanctioned clubs or race
promoters. Submit applications, including a one-page typed description
and justification of the proposed project, a budget, club name (and membership
numbers), and contact information, by November 15, 2007 to email@example.com.
Winners will be announced in late November. For more information, visit
Noon-to-noon on the new Rock Shox SID
By James Huang
A fleet of Rock Shox SIDs, ready
Beautiful weather conditions and an outstanding course at the 2007 24
Hours of Moab provided a marked contrast from last year's event as well
as the perfect setting for Rock Shox's official on-dirt debut of its new
SID fork platform.
Rock Shox turned the suspension world on its head in 1997 with the introduction
of its first SID suspension fork. Back then, users admired the fork's
then-remarkable low weight and wide range of tuning options (arguably
too wide on that first version by some measures), but the relatively tiny
28mm diameter stanchions and correspondingly small chassis dimensions
resulted in a lot of flex and somewhat loose handling characteristics,
especially as trail conditions roughened.
In many cross country circles, though, 'light makes right' is still the
golden rule, and the SID's paltry mass has kept it firmly planted on the
front row of the World Cup circuit (and the top step of the podium) and
on the front of weight weenie machines Rock Shox has performed five major
updates of SID since then, but the basic layout honestly hasn't changed
The 2008 Rock Shox SID will mark the first ground-up redesign of the
venerable cross-country suspension fork since its introduction ten years
ago. As the mountain biking market has evolved and matured, being light
as the expense of other performance metrics just doesn't cut it anymore
and as a result, Rock Shox's engineers have managed to match the existing
SID's low weight, but equip it with far more rigidity and overall capability.
In theory, this will mean that racers will no longer have to put up with
old SID's compromises and general cross-country riders will have another
viable option in the true lightweight category to choose from.
We've already covered the
technical details of the new SID a while back so we won't revisit
it too heavily here, but the new model is essentially a lighter version
of Rock Shox's very capable Reba. The top-end SID reportedly weighs just
1425g (with a full-length steerer, no less) courtesy of an aggressively
optimized chassis design that now also sports a beefy 32mm chassis for
vastly improved rigidity. Internally, the new SID is equipped with an
updated version of Rock Shox's proven Dual Air spring system that now
offers a more linear spring curve, and enhanced Motion Control damper
guts on the top model. Additional structural reinforcement is given by
the new Power Bulge-equipped lower legs and a forged AL-66TV crown.
To read the complete feature, click
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)