MTB news & racing round-up for September 5, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Tahoe-Sierra last stop on the 2008 NUE series tour
By Harlan Price
Jeff Schalk will claim the overall
NUE title this coming weekend
Photo ©: Chris Scott
The Tahoe Sierra 100 will mark the end of the 2008 NUE series coming
up this weekend on September 6. Look for some of the stiffest competition
to show with every winner of the men's 2008 NUE series races in attendance.
US National Marathon and Short Track Champion Jeremiah Bishop will be
coming from two weeks at high elevation in Brian Head, Utah. Josh Tostado
will be driving out from Breckenridge, Colorado. Jeff Schalk and US 24
Hour Solo Champion Chris Eatough will be trekking from the East, as well
as Harlan Price, who will be returning to his first race since fracturing
his wrist a month ago. Evan Plews, who has been absent from the hundred
milers since Lumberjack 100, also plans to attend.
A US$2,500 for first place will be sure to pull a couple more heavy hitters
to the line-up.
After last weekend's record-breaking women's attendance at the Shenandoah
Mountain 100, the women's field in California will have fewer of the top
women, but Cheryl Sornson, who has the women's series locked up, has committed.
There is no word yet on the other favorites.
Though the top overall spots are filled, there are still some battles
for second and third overall positions in the series. Eatough will have
to keep behind him by the finish line to keep his small lead for second
In an exciting series battle, the men's singlespeed class features a
tie between Fuzzy John Myline and Chris McGill going into the final race.
All ties will be decided at the California finale.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage.
Olympians headline next Swisspower Cup
Sabine Spitz (Germany)
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
The final race of the Swisspower Cup heads to Bern for its final round
of the season on September 6-7. Saturday will feature a marathon with
45 and 23km options plus kids' events, and the elites, amateurs and masters
will race a cross country Sunday. The race is drawing several of the top-placing
In the men's race, World Champion Christoph Sauser will take on Swedish
Champion Frederik Kessiakoff, Florian Vogel and Olympic bronze medallist
Nino Schurter. In addition, last weekend's World Cup winner Ralph Näf
will be on hand as will the Flückiger Brothers, Martin Gujan will
join the fray, and Thomas Frischknecht will tackle his in his last professional
race on Swiss soil.
Gujan goes into the final with the lead over Vogel. Italian Marco Aurelio
Fontana and Schurter will battle for third.
In the women's race, Olympic champion Sabine Spitz will make the trip
from Germany, and she will face bronze medallist Russian Irina Kalentieva,
Austrian champion Elisabeth Osl, Italian champion Eva Lechner and Swiss
racers Petra Henzi, Nathalie Schneitter, Maroussia Rusca and Kathrin Leumann.
Rusca leads the series for the ladies going into the finale.
For more information, visit www.swisspowercup.ch.
Bikes Belong awards $33,000 in grants
Industry coalition Bikes Belong announced three more grants benefitting
mountain bikers and worth US$33,000 to build community paths in Pennsylvania,
Minnesota, and Oklahoma and to build singletrack in Colorado.
A $10,000 grant will support the Centre Region Bicycle Coalition's Musser
Gap Greenway project in State College, Pennsylvania. The greenway will
connect the Penn State campus and downtown State College to the great
trails and natural beauty of the Rothrock State Forest, a popular venue
for mountain biking. The partnership also expects to receive a grant from
the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to help fund the
Groundwork Minneapolis will receive a $10,000 grant to help complete
the Ryan Lake Trail in north Minneapolis, Minnesota. They'll use Bikes
Belong's grant as a match for DNR and community funding to construct a
highway underpass, completing the first phase of the multi-use path. This
project will serve bike commuters and recreational riders in north Minneapolis
and nearby inner-ring suburbs, who currently have no safe way to access
the regional trail system to the south.
An $8,000 grant will support Team Evergreen Trailblazers' trail work
in the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area of the Pike National Forest. A major
destination for mountain bikers from the Denver and Colorado Springs metro
areas, the trail system at Buffalo Creek is well lovedand well used.
Trail expansion there will help mitigate user conflict by giving equestrians,
mountain bikers, and hikers more room to ride and roam.
The City of Enid, Oklahoma, will use their $5,000 grant to begin to
construct its comprehensive multi-use trail system. Enid, a rural community
north of Oklahoma City, currently has no trails for active transportation
and recreation-and 98% of its street infrastructure is without sidewalks.
Their "Master Trail" system, as it has come to be called, will
improve the quality of life in Enid by providing residents with a safe,
inviting route for walking, running, and bicycling. Bikes Belong's grant
will help match OK DOT grants and local funds for path construction.
IMBA hiring new Trail Care Crew
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) announced a search
for a full-time, professional two-person team to join the Subaru/IMBA
Trail Care Crew program. This job requires a passion for mountain biking,
excellent communication and volunteer organizational skills, and team
compatibility. The Crew will travel nearly all year in a specially outfitted
2009 Subaru Outback.
The Trail Care Crews work to grow the mountain bike community, improve
the social and environmental sustainability of trails, and motivate mountain
biking volunteers to give back to the sport. Couples that enjoy travel
and adventure, love to work outside and want to help improve trails and
mountain biking are encouraged to apply for this two-year commitment.
The application deadline is Oct. 3, 2008.
For more information, including detailed job responsibilities, visit
Tour de France organizers go off road
The Amaury Sport Organization, organizers of the Tour de France, have
created an off-road race, the Merrell Oxygen Challenge scheduled from
May 21-24. ASO already promotes motorsports, equestrian and golf events
in addition to road cycling. Seven events will fill four days of competition.
The prologue, cross country marathon and enduro results will be combined
to determine an overall winner.
Registration will open September 15. Visit www.oxygenchallenge.com for
Diablo Free Ride Park gets new partner
On its 30th birthday, Jamis Bicycles announced further sponsorship of
the Diablo Freeride Park, in Vernon, New Jersey. The park, which hosts
the US Open of Downhill, is just one hour from Jamis headquarters, and
the company's product managers regularly take advantage of Diablo's network
of jump lines, ramps, wall rides and downhill trails to bang up product
and initiate new office staff.
"We've spent the better part of the past year testing prototypes
of this bike at Diablo," said Jamis MTB product manager Craig Hoyt
"so it only made sense to partner up with the park and make something
happen. Those guys and gals do such a great job and it's right in our
backyard. We're really excited to see how Jamis and Diablo can work together
to invigorate East Coast mountain biking."
Bennett & Gordon lead Aussie attack on Crocodile Trophy
Il Campioni Mauro Bettin won the
2007 Crocodile Trophy
Photo ©: John Flynn
The strongest and best-credentialed line-up of Australians yet to contest
the Crocodile Trophy will face-off against the Europeans when Australia's
legendary outback classic hits the dirt and dust of remote Tropical North
Queensland on October 21.
Confirming its participation, the Merida Flight Centre team, led by Perth's
Tim Bennett, will return for a second shot at winning what will surely
be another long, hot and tough stage race.
Bennett became only the second Australian to make the podium of the
Crocodile Trophy last year, when he finished an impressive third behind
former World Cup Champion Mauro Bettin of Italy and Ondrej Fojtik of the
Czech Republic. In 2008, Bennett will once again be joined by Merida Flight
Centre team-mate Nick Both, who showed superb form to finish second in
last weekend's 2008 edition of the Flight Centre Epic at Peppers Hiddenvale.
Both was beaten by Australian Champion Chris Jongeward, on a day when
the Merida Flight Centre Team did enough to suggest the goal of winning
the Crocodile Trophy is not beyond reach.
"Yeah sure, I think I can finish higher on the podium this year
at the Crocodile Trophy," Bennett said after battling illness to
finish fifth on Sunday. "I learnt a lot last year and know what I
have to do; it's a tough race."
The Merida Flight Centre Team won't just have the Europeans to worry
about at this year's Trophy, with the announcement that 2006 24 hours
of Adrenaline World 24 Hour Solo Champion Craig Gordon will be putting
an end to the talk and showing up to contest the race many of his fellow
Australians have long been frightened to enter. Gordon, who has been rumoured
to start many times previously, will finally get his opportunity to "show
the Euros how it's done", after being handed a wild-card entry.
With Australia's "Croc Man", two-time champion Adam Hansen
(Team Columbia) unlikely to make it home from Europe in time to race his
beloved Trophy, the opportunity awaits for another home-grown talent to
earn international gravitas on the dusty corrugated roads of Australia's
steamy tropical north. "It's great to see the Australians getting
hungry and with the Merida Flight Centre Team returning I believe Bennett
could be a chance for the overall classification if circumstances go his
way," Race Supremo Gerhard Schoenbacher said. "If you ask Adam
Hansen, Christophe Stevens or Mauro Bettin, the former champions will
all tell you that you must experience the hardship of the Crocodile Trophy
before you can win it."
The start-list for the fourteenth staging of The Trophy, from Mareeba
to Cape Tribulation in Australia's remote Far North, has been capped at
a record 100 riders, with the Belgian contingent alone expected to number
close to forty when the final marquee signings are made public.
On the other side of Europe, a dozen battle-hardened mountain bikers
from the Czech Republic have confirmed their attendance at the iconic
race. They include triple stage-winner Ondrej Fojtik, who will enter as
provisional favourite. The two-time runner-up (2004 and 2007) made a vow
at the end of last year's Trophy to "one day come back and win this
great race." Fojtik's 2008 campaign has raised the stakes to a new
level. He will return as part of a ten-man contingent from Czech team
VIG+ Racing, fronting a lineup stacked with Marathon World Cup talent.
"We always welcome the Czech riders at the Crocodile Trophy, they
bring with them a strong work ethic and survival instincts, especially
Fojtik," said Schoenbacher. "As Fojtik and Radoslav (Radek)
Sibl have also shown us in recent years, the Czech mountain bikers have
strong endurance qualities and are always threatening in the final days
of the race."
Cyclists from 13 nations have already signed on from Australia, Germany,
The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Austria, The United States, Spain,
The Czech Republic, Great Britain, Denmark, and Switzerland.
2008 Crocodile Trophy
October 21: Stage 1 - Mareeba - Irvinebank 86km/1100m
October 22: Stage 2 - Irvinebank - Koombooloomba 128km/1400m
October 23: Stage 3 - Koombooloomba-Gunnawarra 122km/2235m Thursday, 23.
October 24: Stage 4 -Gunnawarra-Chillagoe 130km/900m
October 25: Stage 5 - Chillagoe-Chillagoe 120km/850m
October 26: Stage 6 - Chillagoe-Mount Mulgrave 138km/800m Sunday, 26.
October 27: Stage 7 - Mount Mulgrave-Laura 148km/1100m Monday, 27. October
October 28: Stage 8 - Laura-Cooktown 142km/1050m
October 29: Stage 9 - Cooktown-Ayton 128km/1900m
October 30: Stage 10 - Ayton-Cape Tribulation 48km/520m
For more information, visit www.crocodile-trophy.com.
Fort William to host unusual downhill endurance race
Around 120 downhillers are set to participate in the inaugural Fort
William Downhill Endurance event in Fort William, Scotland, on Sunday,
September 7. The event will be staged on the internationally renowned
downhill track at Nevis Range, home to the 2007 UCI Mountain Bike World
As one of the longest and most physically demanding courses on the international
race circuit, riders will need physical strength, quick reflexes, superb
bike control and an unerring eye for the right line as they speed down
the 2.82km Nevis Range track. They will also need huge amounts of stamina
in order to ride the track as many times as possible in six hours.
The Nevis Range Downhill course is a full-on, flat-out, no-compromise
charge down the face of Aonach Mor, the ninth highest mountain in the
United Kingdom. A succession of big jumps and bumps, berms, drop-offs,
rock slabs and technical natural sections provide plenty of challenges
for the riders, all the way from the top gondola station (at 655m) to
the finish section above the Nevis Range car park (100m).
Local elite rider Chris Hutchens (Team Mojo Orange) has signed up and
will lead a strong field including Stu Thompson and Iain Cookson
'The Fort William Downhill Endurance is a new and totally unique event
to the UK and it has already captured the imagination of some of the key
players in the downhill community," said organizer Frazer Coupland.
"It is a fresh, new and different event, whilst challenging enough
to be completely in keeping with the gnarly hardcore scene normally associated
with downhill riders.
Although it is a downhill race, it will start with an uphill Le Mans
style start, which will separate the field in the early stages. After
a short run to the event tech area downhill bikes will be collected and
ridden uphill to the Nevis Range Gondola's Tower Nine about three
quarters of the way down from the top. Riders will then race as fast as
possible to the bottom where they will catch the gondola to the traditional
start of the track at the top station. Each descent will be timed with
the cumulative descent times counting in cases of equal total numbers
The event will test not only endurance but reliability. Participants
will only be allowed one bike and a list of itemised spares to see them
through the whole event. There will be time penalties for riders who have
to change wheels, forks, bars, frames and other major components and riders
will not be allowed assistance outside the tech area.
For more information, visit www. nofussevents.co.uk.
Gunn-Rita Diary: No success at the Olympics
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
It's tough having to drop out of the Olympics because of technical problems,
but the disappointment would have been even greater if I had been in the
lead when I had the accident. Realistically speaking, I really wasn't
a candidate for the gold medal this time, but very few believed us.
Now it's four years until next Olympics. Time flies and I'm happy to
have a long term goal to be working towards again. But right now I'm looking
forward to a solid winter of proper foundation training. It will give
me strength and stability so I can compete at the top through a whole
season again. Now we're looking back on a fantastic comeback season which
has given us one World Cup win, a medal in the European Championships
and a World Cup title. At the beginning of this season, we couldn't even
have dreamed about such great success.
I encountered a lot of disappointed people after the race in Beijing.
With my limited foundation, it just wasn't realistic to expect the same
kind of success as I had in Athens. We've repeatedly tried to convey in
great detail to the media and people in general what my physical condition
has been through the season, but it's been difficult getting them to actually
believe what we've been saying.
I'm thrilled about the season this year. I'm back at the top again.
I find no reason to be depressed because of a bad day in Beijing, technical
problems and a bit of drama while training in the preceding days - it's
all part of being an athlete. I've experienced unbelievably many gold
medals through my career, and there will be more of them. We quickly put
bad days behind us, only paying attention to the experiences which can
be used for further improvement.
Read the complete
Tour of the White Mountains changes for 2008
The 13th annual Show Low Bluff Tour of the White Mountains presented
by Cellular One is taking on a new look and picking up some new trails
The endurance mountain biking event, which will be held Saturday, October
4, still will be on trails in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest located
near Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, but some of those trails are new. More
recent additions to the forests' trail system including Timber Mesa, Panorama,
Ice Caves and Ice Caves connector trails will be added this year, with
the previously more enjoyable sections of the route including Los Burros,
Country Club and Blue Ridge trails remaining part of the course.
"The Apache Sitgreaves National Forest and TRACKS, the local trail
construction and advocacy club, have worked hard to rehab the Ice Caves
trail and build the new Ice Caves-Timber Mesa connector trail, called
the Osprey Trail. With completion of the Osprey Trail, people will be
able to get on the White Mountain Trail System at the Timber Mesa trail
head and hike, mountain bike, or ride horses all the way to the Los Burros
Trail," said Nick Lund, TRACKS president. "These trails exemplify
the best of Northern Arizona riding, with climbs, fun and challenging,
groovy singletrack, and of course spectacular mountain scenery."
The Show Low Bluffs property will also be a new venue for the race.
"The site offers amazing camping, and it's close to town," said
promoter Todd Sadow, who mentioned it's also close to the official race
The weekend kicks off with an inaugural White Mountains Jam Session on
Saturday evening including Xtra Ticket, Arizona's longest standing Grateful
Dead cover band, and Kindread a Reggae band from Glendale
To support the International Mountain Bicycling Association's "Take
a Kid Mountain Biking Day", also October 4, organizers will offer
all youths 18 and under a 50 percent discount on entry fees for the eight
and 15 mile rides
For more information, visit epicrides.com/towm/towm.htm.
Widmer Brothers Rivers Edge Marathon to Charlotte
North Carolina's Charlotte Sports Cycling and the US National Whitewater
Center have teamed up to host the Widmer Brothers Rivers Edge Mountain
Bike Marathon. The 50 mile mountain bike race on Sunday, September 7 will
serve as the USA Cycling's Southeast Marathon Championships for determining
The 50 mile race will consist of six 8.4 mile laps of tough singletrack.
The course terrain at the US National Whitewater Center is rolling with
three tough climbs gaining approximately 750 feet each lap. Neutral food
and mechanic support for all racers will be provided.
For more information, visit www.charottemtnbike.com
Highland Fling sells out
Australia's Highland Fling marathon has sold out. The event, which doubles
as the marathon championship, will run on November 8-9. In three weeks,
all 1400 entries were sold, breaking a record for the popular event in
the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Endurance junkies who missed the Highland Fling opportunity may want
to sign up for another event from these promoters. Wild Horizons recently
introduced the inaugural BMC Mountains To Beach, five-day stage race,
set for March 1-6, 2009.
For more information, visit www.wildhorizons.com.au.
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