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MTB News & Racing Round-up, August 19, 2009

Date published:
August 19, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • 12 hours of Humboldt this weekend in California

    Dozens of riders from out of the area travel to Arcata to participate in the 12 Hours of Humboldt. With a course that’s almost entirely under the shade of redwoods the event is especially popular among the Redding, Chico and Sacramento cycling crowd.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 13:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Escape the heat in Arcata

    With temperatures throughout California reaching into the 90s (degrees Fahrenheit) and beyond, many endurance racers are looking forward to visiting Arcata for the 12 Hours of Humboldt on August 22, as a means of getting in some racing while escaping the sweltering heat-wave.

    The average August daily temperature in this corner of the north coast is in the high 60s, and the race course is almost entirely in the shade of giant redwood trees.

    The main venue is in Arcata's Redwood Park.The eight-mile course will run through the Arcata Community Forest using a variety of trails and covering 1,400 feet of elevation gain per lap.

    Mountain bike endurance pro Tinker Juarez has called the course, "one of the best I've ridden."

    Racers may compete in solo and two-, three-, and four-person team categories.

    The event will benefit the Humboldt County Search and Rescue Team. For more information, visit www.teambigfoot.net, or call (707)845-3095.

  • IMBA supporters step up

    The 2009 Dirt Sweat and Gears was extremely muddy!
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 14:45 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Syncros and Dirt Sweat & Gears help out international mountain bike advocacy group

    One company and a race organizer have been working on efforts to support the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA). Dirt, Sweat & Gears will be contributing cash to the organization while Syncros is supporting IMBA with discount programs.

    Dirt, Sweat & Gears promoter Clay Higgins will be presenting IMBA and the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) with funds raised at the 2009 edition of the race this spring. Higgins will present a check for US$3,205 to the advocacy organization on Friday, August 28 at the Yazoo Tap Room in Tennessee. Jeremiah Bishop and Rebecca Rusch won this year's edition of the race, which was run in extremely muddy conditions.

    In addition, the Canadian-based Syncros Applied Technologies recently announced a program to offer IMBA members and volunteers discount coupons for Syncros products as reward for their support of mountain biking communities and infrastructure.

    IMBA members will receive 25 percent off Syncros products' MSRP, and trail builders will get 40 percent off while IMBA-member retailers will get a whopping 65 percent off if they organize shop employees to work on an IMBA-sanctioned project.

    "Syncros appreciates all of the time and resources that mountain bike enthusiasts give to help IMBA maintain the trails that we all benefit from riding," said Steve Parke, general manager of Syncros.

    IMBA member retailers can submit their IMBA project proposals starting next month to the password-protected portion of IMBA.com. Project proposals should include evidence of six hours of project work per team member; Team name, contact phone number, e-mail address and mailing address; the project's "who, what, where, when, why, how"; and supporting photos, maps or other visuals.

    For details on the program, visit www.imba.com.

    See Cyclingnews'' full coverage of the very muddy 2009 Dirt, Sweat & Gears at

  • Paulissen set to defend rainbow stripes at marathon worlds

    Roel Paulissen figures out his lines.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 15:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Belgian continues to focus on marathon and cross country events

    On Sunday, Roel Paulissen (Cannondale Factory Racing) will race to defend his marathon world championship title in Graz, Austria. He won in 2008 in a tight sprint finish with world cross country champion Christoph Sauser.  Both riders were involved in a controversial crash, and after protests were filed and reviewed, Paulissen was awarded the title.

    "It was a special feeling to ride around in that jersey!" said Paulissen in an interview on www.cannondalecommunity.com. "Since I was a young rider, that was one of my big dreams - to get the World Champion jersey."

    The Belgian says that becoming world champion changed his life. "The people look at me in a different way... . From that moment, I was known as one of the long distance specialists, which is strange, because I was a cross country racer my whole life and still feel like one."

    A year ago at the marathon worlds, Paulissen had an almost home-town advantage, as the race was run near his Italian base. This year, he's less familiar with the course, which he described as difficult and featuring a mix of short, steep uphills and long, gravel road climbs.

    "Last year I could tell you before the race how it would go in the race. This year there are a lot more critical points where you can attack and you have to pay attention for the whole time. Especially on the first 50km it is very difficult."

    Paulissen will face off against Sauser, Leonardo Paez, Urs Huber, Alban Lakata, Wolfram Kurschat and Massimo Debertolis, to name a few of the top contenders.

    When asked about the key to success in marathons, Paulissen said, "I think you have to do both cross countries and marathons to win the marathon worlds. First, you need the endurance to come through the long distance and second, you have to be explosive for the attacks to win." Paulissen spends most of his time contesting the shorter...

  • Sauser leads team to marathon worlds

    Christoph Sauser has a tough time on the challenging circuit.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 15:03 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    15 Swiss racers to compete in Graz, Austria, on Sunday

    Christoph Sauser will lead the Swiss national team at the marathon world championships in Graz, Austria, on Sunday, as he attempts to regain the marathon championship he lost last year to Belgian Roel Paulissen. Sauser was the marathon world champion in 2007.

    Sauser commented on the higher level of the competition in marathon racing. After completing the Eiger Bike Grindelwald on Sunday, he said, "With my race time, I would have won four years ago, when I raced (here) the last time. This year, the three podium finishers all smashed the race record time by about 10 minutes!" Alexander Moos won the race, in which Sauser finished fourth.

    Sauser will be joined by eight teammates in the men's race. Ralph Näf, 2006 World Marathon Champion, was not listed as part of the men's team.

    Veteran racer Petra Henzi, who was marathon world champion in 2007, and Esther Süss, who won the women's race at the Eiger Bike Grindelwald last weekend, will lead the Swiss women's team of six total riders. Henzi has also won a silver medal (2006) and a bronze medal (2005) at marathon worlds.

    Swiss National team for Marathon World Championships

    Men
    Stefan Roffler
    Thomas Zahnd
    Urs Huber
    Thomas Stoll
    Lukas Buchli
    Christoph Sauser
    Andreas Kugler
    Friedrich Dähler
    Lucien Peterhans

    Women
    Esther Süss
    Petra Henzi
    Erika Dicht
    Antonia Wipfli
    Milena Landtwing
    Catherine Lohri

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  • Hannah headlining Triple RRR Classic

    Michael Hannah (GT Bicycles) just missed out on the podium with his sixth place.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 15:06 BST
    By:
    John Flynn

    Downhiller takes on cross country stars at World Championship warm-up

    Some racers take weeks off to taper for the World Championships while others race right up until the big day. Downhiller Mick Hannah (Team GT) will do a point-to-point cross country race in Cairns on August 30, just days before the World Championships in Canberra.

    Hannah, a regular on the UCI World Cup downhill circuit, was a surprise inclusion in the 19th edition of Australia's Triple RRR Classic from Mount Molloy to Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland. Currently ranked fifth in the UCI World Cup downhill, Hannah will start the point-to-point race as a final hit-out. He'll be among 300 cyclists, the largest field in the race's history.

    The Triple RRR is one of a few cross country events in the mountain biking world to feature an overall negative gradient, which offers both endurance riders and downhillers opportunities for the overall prize.

    "It's awesome to welcome back one of the Cairns Mountainbike Club's favourite sons for the Triple RRR," said race organizer and co-founder Peter Blakey.

    "Mick Hannah brings to the race an ideal skill set, with a combination of pure power and world class descending and we expect him to be right up there when the leaders reach the Bump."

    Australia's longest running point-to-point MTB event, the Triple RRR Classic was established almost two decades ago when two of Australia's mountainbike legends Glen Jacobs and Blakey set off on a journey to re-discover the historic "Bump Track". The perilous descent to ritzy Port Douglas was originally carved out of the rainforest with picks and shovels by gold miners in the 19th Century.

    The seed was planted for a unique race incorporating the Rural outback and the world heritage Rainforest, before finishing on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.

    Several of Australia's greatest downhillers have attempted the event in the past including Michael Ronning and Chris Kovarik, who made trips to the podium. Cross country specialists have...

  • Sawicki to leverage cross country fitness at marathon worlds

    Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) has been near the front all year.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 17:50 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    After fifth in US ProXCT series, Ellsworth pro ready to go long

    Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) didn't have a lot of time to get herself to the marathon world championships this weekend. She raced this weekend at the US ProXCT series finals in Windham, New York, just before heading across the Atlantic to Graz, Austria, where worlds will be held on Sunday, August 23.

    "Leading into this last race, Pua has been putting long hours on the bike to prepare for the Marathon World Championships in Austria next week," said husband Ron Sawicki. "While this caused her to not feel as strong and snappy as normal (at Windham), she is now primed and ready for next week's 53-mile race."

    Despite crashing out of the US ProXCT race in Mount Snow, Vermont, Sawicki still earned enough points for a top-five finish in the series. She was eighth in Saturday's cross country race.

    "This was Pua's first year fully focusing on a top pro cross country finish," said Ron Sawicki. "She was able to endure a mid-season sinus infection, a crash giving her 11 stitches in her shin, another crash that slammed the previous injury and she was still able to stay at the top."

    Sawicki, an accomplished endurance racer, finished fifth overall in the US ProXCT.

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  • Näf's start at mountain bike worlds questionable

    Ralph Näf lost his brakes completely in the final lap
    Article published:
    August 19, 2009, 20:26 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Injury may jeopardize Swiss cross country rider's plans

    A recent injury may jeopardize the participation of Switzerland's Ralph Näf in the upcoming UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, on September 1-6. The Swiss riders is one of the favorites for the podium, but a crash last weekend during training sent him to the hospital.

    Näf sustained a serious wound to the flesh on his elbow. He was taken by helicopter to the hospital for immediate treatment.

    "I want to win in Canberra, and if this injury keeps me from training properly, it does not make sense to participate at the Worlds," said Näf.

    He has already cancelled his participation in the team relay for Switzerland, but he hasn't decided about the cross country race.

    "I have to see how quickly I can recover during the next few days," said Näf, who will decide by August 27 whether he will fly to Australia. He said he'd only travel that far if he could feel competitive in the battle for the world title.

    Fortunately, Näf had no serious injury to his muscles; however, the deep cut on his elbow required ten stitches.

    "The elbow is probably the worst place for such an injury as I cannot move my entire arm now - which means that I cannot train on my mountain bike."

    This year, Näf finished third at the Houffalize and Bromont World Cups and second at the Offenburg World Cup. Last year, he won a bronze medal at the world championship cross country race.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed.