MTB news & racing round-up for August 9, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Olympic Games - take three for Hermida
By Sue George
Spain's Jose Antonio Hermida,
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Jose Antonio Hermida won a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens,
Greece four years ago. Now he's got his eyes on a gold medal in Beijing,
China. As an enduring and consistent Spanish cross country mountain bike
racer, he will be counting on experience and hoping for a little good
luck at his third Olympic Games.
Hermida (Multivan Merida) isn't new to the Olympic Games. In fact, with
this year's event in Beijing, China being his third appearance, Hermida's
Olympic career has outlasted that of many others. While the Beijing test
will feature some new faces, Hermida is depending on experience for his
gold medal ambitions.
"Probably the younger riders will be more explosive and more competitive
than me, but I have a card to play - experience, and that is also important,"
said Hermida, who will celebrate his 30th birthday one day after the Olympic
cross country race. "I'll be arriving at the Olympics at a good age.
have experienced two past Olympics, and I'm at the age when most of us
guys are at the top of our careers," added Hermida, who finished fourth
at his first Olympics in Sydney, Australia in 2000. "This experience card
is one that I have to play."
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Hermida hasn't won any World Cups so far in 2008, but he's been steadily
building his form going toward the Olympic Games. At the World Cup in
Madrid, Hermida came close to a win with a second place, just 12 seconds
behind French National Champion Julien Absalon (Orbea).
In Mont-Sainte-Anne in late July, Hermida was riding in third before
the "crash of his life" sent him and his bike flying. After landing on
his head and losing his seat, along with over a dozen places, Hermida
worked his way back up to 11th. At the Bromont World Cup last weekend,
he finished fifth, earning a spot on the podium after a blazing fast start.
"It is not a secret that I want to win," he said. "Most people put me
on the favourites list based on my past results in the Olympics. Now it
is the time to fight for the gold, but of course, it is the Olympics and
racing is racing, so you never know. You can make everything perfect,
but your result still depends on luck."
Hermida lives in Puigcerdā, Spain, with his wife and two year-old son,
whom he is teaching to ride when he's not away travelling. His home is
in the mountains of the Pyrenees, only 500 meters from the border in Spain,
and he does most of his training in France.
With two Olympic appearances under his belt, Hermida's approach will
be a little different this time around. "In my last two Olympics, I had
a lot of fun," he said. "I was there for racing and tried to do my best,
but I also had fun enjoying the Olympic experience. I was lucky. There
are many riders that go to the Olympics and see nothing and have no time
to enjoy the ambiance.
"These Olympics will be different as I will be pushing myself to go for
the gold medal, so I will probably need to remove some of the fun part
of the Olympics and focus more on my goal," added Hermida.
Read the complete
Armstrong returns to racing in Leadville
Since his retirement, Armstrong
has turned his attention to marathon running
Photo ©: AFP
Three years after the end of his career, seven-time Tour de France winner
Lance Armstrong hopes to finish a cycling race again. On Saturday, August
9, Armstrong will line up in the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile mountain
bike race through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
The Texan has been keeping fit in running marathon races since he retired
from racing in 2005. Still, he pointed at last year's winner Dave Wiens
for the likely Leadville victory. Wiens won his fifth straight title at
the mountain bike race in 2007, beating Floyd Landis by two minutes.
"A race like this takes a lot of experience and endurance. He has that.
So, I guess he's the odds-on favourite," Armstrong said to AP on
Wednesday. "I would reiterate that I'll be happy if I'm Top 5. I don't
think I'm in it to win it, as they say."
The 36 year-old hasn't finished a competitive bike race since winning
his seventh straight Tour de France title. In spring, he dropped out of
the "Miles of DisComfort" mountain bike race in Texas with nine miles
to go before the finish.
The Leadville Trail 100 begins at the old mining town of Leadville with
1,000 participants setting out at 10,500 feet and climbing to a maximum
elevation of 12,600 feet. En route, racers tackle 14,000 feet of climbing
in total. "I fully expect to get beat up," Armstrong said.
Armstrong's longtime personal coach, Chris Carmichael, is also signed
up for Saturday's race and hopes to beat his personal best time of just
over nine hours. "I don't know if I can beat Wiens, but I'm 100 percent
sure I can beat Carmichael," Armstrong said. "I will be home, showered
and probably three beers in by the time Carmichael gets back."
Schalk gets new challenger at Fool's Gold
Jeremiah Bishop will join his Cape
Epic team-mate Chris Eatough at the Fool's Gold 100
Photo ©: Sven Martin
Trek / VW's Jeff Schalk has won four of the four National Ultra Endurance
(NUE) series events he's contested this year, and he's well on his way
to the overall title. Only one other rider, Josh Tostado (Bach Builders),
has won an NUE round this year, but that may be about to change. Schalk's
team-mate Jeremiah Bishop, the current marathon and short track national
champion, will race the next NUE round, the Fool's Gold 100, in Dahlonega,
Georgia, on August 16.
"It will be my first opportunity to rock the Stars and Stripes jersey
at an epic long-distance mountain bike race, and it's a great reason to
explore the legendary trails of north Georgia," said Bishop.
Newly re-crowned 24 hour solo US National Champion Chris Eatough (Trek
/ VW), Tinker Juarez (Monavie Cannondale), Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication)
and local Thomas Turner will all be on hand to ensure the men's race is
a tough one.
"It's going to be an awesome competition; the most competitive endurance
race in the southeast. I look forward to it, and I'm really excited to
see all the trails," he said. "A race like this is a really
cool way to see a region's best trails. One hundred miles really highlights
an area. Without even having to use a map, you get a great tour of the
best riding in the region."
In the women's race, Cheryl Sornson will be racing for another NUE win.
There is no word yet on whether last year's winners Trish Stevenson (Independent
Fabrication) and Sam Koerber (Gary Fisher) will attend.
The Fool's Gold Festival will include a 50 mile race option as well as
a festival with organized rides, games, bands, and on-site food and lodging
from August 15-17.
The TransWales summary
Camping at the TransWales
Photo ©: TransWales
After a Scottish sojourn last year, the MTB Trans concept returns to
mid-Wales for the second-ever TransWales from August 16 to 23. The event
will start and finish in BuilthWells.
Taking its cues from the epic TransAlps and TransRockies point-to-point
races that cross the Alps and the Canadian Rockies, the Merida Bikes TransWales
will mix seven daily non-competitive marathon linking stages - varying
from 55km to 83km in distance - together with a selection of special stages
on the cream of Wales' purpose built trails for singletrack speed shakes.
Cwmrhaedr, Brechfa Forest, the Cli-Machx trail, and Nant yr Arian and
will all see riders tackling rally style time trials in pairs and in relay,
both during the day and at night. All in all this uniquely epic challenge
demands that the riders - split amongst six categories - complete a total
of 550km (344miles) of riding with 15,500m (50,840feet) of climbing off-road
in just seven days.
The event is known for its high percentage of singletrack.
Sunday, August 17: Linking Stage 1 - Builth Wells to Cilycwm, Llandovery
(67.5km, 1,812m of climbing)
Sunday, August 17: Special Stage 1 - Exposure Lights Maxx night time-trial
Monday, August 18: Linking Stage 2 - Cwmrhaedr to Llansawel via Brechfa
Forest (71.5km, 1985m of climbing)
Tuesday, August 19: Special Stage 2 - Brechfa Forest (Abergorlech Trail)
Tuesday, August 19: Linking Stage 3 - Abergorlech to Tregaron (71km, 1856m
Wednesday, August 20: Linking Stage 4: - Tregaron to Machynlleth (82km,
2045m of climbing)
Thursday, August 21: Special Stage 3 - Cli-Machx trail (Corris)
Thursday, August 21: Linking Stage 5 - Cli-Machx trail to Ponterwyd (55.5km,
1683m of climbing)
Friday, August 22: Special Stage 4 - Nant yr Arian
Friday, August 22: Linking Stage 6: Nant yr Arian to Strata Florida (68.5km,
1968m of climbing)
Saturday, August 23: Linking Stage 7: Strata Florida to Builth Wells (83.5km,
2560m of climbing)
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
SoCal Interscholastic cycling league launched
The Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League (NorCal
League) will launch the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League
(SoCal League) for the 2009 academic year, with grant support from the
Easton Sports Development Foundation II (ESDF II). The new league is based
on the successful model of the NorCal League, now in its eighth year,
with 400 high schoolers, 150 coaches, and 35 schools involved.
Matt Fritzinger, executive director of both leagues, said, "We are
tremendously grateful for the generosity of Mr. Easton and his foundation.
The grant allows us to launch a new league, and that has been a dream
of ours for several years. With the SoCal League, we'll be fostering the
same values of life-long physical fitness, community, and self-confidence
combined with athletic competition that has been so successful in Northern
Jim Easton, President of Easton Sports Development Foundation II, which
provides grant support to a range of youth sports, said, "Sports
have been very good to me throughout my life, and my hope is to help provide
sporting opportunities to young people everywhere. We feel that a great
place to start creating those opportunities is right here in Southern
The ESDFII was set up in 2006 and plans to give back to the development
of the four sports for which the Easton Companies developed innovative
equipment: archery, softball and baseball, hockey and cycling. The SoCal
League is one of the first few recipients of an ESDF II grant in part
because of the proposal's emphasis on coaching, community, and making
cycling a mainstream high school sport.
"We know that good coaching means working closely with families,
and helping athletes create a balanced life perspective. We aim to take
the SoCal high school mountain bike teams in the same direction as we
have in Northern California working to make cycling as important
as baseball, football and soccer in the fabric of our high schools,"
The SoCal League will draw from the NorCal League's pool of experience,
human resources, equipment and technology while it gets established. It's
schedule will include a winter-spring five-race series, including participation
with NorCal riders in the May state championships; a fall coaching conference;
rider training camps; an annual benefit gala (tentatively planned for
November 22 at Ca Del Sole and hosted by mountain bike pioneer Gary Fisher);
and promotional outreach events at bicycle stores and pre-existing cycling
For more information, visit www.socaldirt.org
Boulder Mountainbike Alliance launches bike park fundraising campaign
The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) and the city of Boulder's Parks
and Recreation Department launched a fundraising campaign to support the
development of Valmont Bike Park. The 45-acre bicycle park is a significant
component of the development plan for Valmont City Park, adopted earlier
this year by the Boulder City Council.
The city of Boulder, Colorado purchased the 132-acre in 1995 with sales
tax revenue, and Phase One development, including the bike park, will
begin in the spring of 2009. Construction should be completed at the end
of the summer.
The bike park will feature singletrack mountain bike trails, a permanent
cyclo-cross course, a children's skills area, a pump track, amenities
for BMX and other facilities to suit beginning to experienced athletes.
The park's Front Range setting and terrain will provide a backdrop for
daily riding, learning and teaching. The bike park will accommodate programming,
ranging from youth cycling development programs to world-class bicycle
BMA is looking to raise US$500,000 through grants, private donations
and corporate sponsorships to supplement the construction budget. Contributions
from the public are welcome. For more information, visit www.valmontbikepark.com
British NPS Downhill #4 to Moelfre
Round 4 of the British NPS Downhill heads to Moelfre this weekend, August
9-10. The venue offers views of the rolling Welsh hillsides and a unique,
fast, wide-open track that is all about maintaining over flowing grass
corners and natural undulations. Practice is scheduled for Saturday with
seeding Sunday morning and racing Sunday afternoon.
For more information, visit www.npsdh.com.
Konka Crunch Mountain-bike Challenge
The Konka Crunch MTB Challenge will take place for the first time on
the outskirts of Magaliesburg, South African on Saturday, August 9. Organizers
have put together two options, a 50km event primarily on singletrack,
jeep track and fire roads and 20km option.
The 50km event will take place predominantly on single track, jeep track
and farm roads and encompasses three farms that border on Konka. The route
will begin with a serious two kilometer climb, but the rest of the event
is expected to be only mildly challenging -suitable for reasonably skilled
For more information, visit www.cyclingnews.co.za.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)