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MTB News & Racing Round-up, August 24, 2010

Date published:
August 24, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Racers head south for Fool's Gold 100

    Cheryl Sornson leads Sue Bulter during the climb at the start of the second loop.
    Article published:
    August 19, 2010, 20:00 BST
    Ryan O'Dell

    Penultimate NUE 100-miler happening this weekend

    Racers are already making their way down to the Deep South to contest the seventh race in the Kenda National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE), the Fool's Gold 100. The race, now in its fourth year, traverses the rugged North Georgia mountains with a combination of gravel roads, doubletrack, and classic Georgian singletrack. The 100-mile course consists of two 50-mile loops and totals over 14,000 feet of elevation gain. The Fool's Gold also offers a single, 50-mile loop for those not up to the full distance.

    The forcast for race day is calling for mixed clouds and sun with scattered thunderstorms and high humidity. A high temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit, with light and variable winds is expected. And the chance of rain? 40 percent.

    This year's race begins with an immediate 10-mile climb to spread out the field from the very start. The King and Queen of the Mountain will be decided at the top of the first major section, Cooper Gap, just three miles into the race. From there, racers will enjoy the historic Bull Mountain trail system, the original International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Epic route, plus more great trails in the Dahlonega, Georgia area.

    According to Race Director Eddie O'Dea, this year there will be a slight course change resulting in racers descending Bull Mountain instead of climbing it.

    All current NUE Series leaders are registered, which will make race seven an interesting one for certain. After Saturday's race, just one more round remains to determine the series champions. Division champions will be crowned and awarded at the finale at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Virginia over Labor Day weekend. All NUE division winners will receive complimentary entry into all NUE events in 2011 as part of their reward.


    In the men's division, current NUE series leader Jeff Schalk (Trek Mountain Co-Op) will be challenging the 2009 Fool's Gold winner, Christian Tanguy (Team CF)....

  • Breck Epic kicks off Sunday

    Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) on a technical descent
    Article published:
    August 21, 2010, 17:20 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Updated: Second edition returns with longer, harder route

    The Breck Epic mountain bike stage race will kick off for a longer edition in its second year on Sunday, August 22 and will run until Friday, August 27.  The race takes place in and around Breckenridge, Colorado.

    Last year's winner Jeremiah Bishop will be on hand to defend his title. He'll face tough competition from Breck 100 winner Josh Tostado, 100-mile racer Evan Plews, Dejay Birtch, Colin Cares, Blake Harlan, Colby Pearce, Matt Shriver and Ross Schnell. Defending women's champion Jen Gersbach is not on the pre-registered list, but some folks to watch for sure are Leadville 100 runner-up Amanda Carey, Colorado Trail Race winner Eszter Horanyi, last year's third place Jen Hanks, German star Ivonne Kraft, Pua Sawicki and Sonya Looney in the women's race.

    "Josh Tostado knows every single rock on this course like the back of his hand. He'll be tough to beat," said Bishop, who is bringing some Cannondale Factory Racing teammates along to help him including Alex Grant, Ben Sontag and Garth Prosser.

    "Last year we put together a little over 200 miles of superb backcountry riding over five days plus a prologue," said Race Director Mike McCormack. "Best guess is that about five percent of that was road. The rest? Primo high-alpine singletrack, overgrown mining roads, game trails and ancient foot paths - the four staples of a Summit County mountain biker's diet."

    "This year's course is a little more ambitious. Total mileage gets upped to around 245 of so over six days, and we've got a new stage that quietly morphed into 'Queen Stage' status while we weren't really paying attention."

    The Pennsylvania Gulch (stage one) got longer and harder. "The climb to Little French Flume? Get earmuffs on your kiddos if you hike up there to spectate because you're sure to hear some profanity. And some wheezing," said McCormack.

    The Colorado Trail (Stage Two) also got a bit longer with the addition of a section called "Vomit...

  • South African ultra marathoners ready for next round

    Kevin Evans on his way to second place overall at the MR Price Karkloof marathon in KwaZulu-Natal.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2010, 10:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Cullinan course features climbing and technical sections

    The next MTN Ultra marathon will take place on Saturday, August 28 in Cullinan, South Africa. Above average climbing ability and good technical skills are what it will take to win the race.

    Riders likely to contend for the win are Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade), Brandon Stewart and Max Knox (both DCM), Francois Theron (Garmin-adidas) and Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized/MR Price). Evans has already mentioned that it is important for him to achieve a good result at Cullinan, because he would then be the overall winner of the series again.

    Wessel van der Walt, who is responsible for the planning of the routes for the MTN series, readily admits that the ultra marathon in Cullinan will certainly not be a walk in the park.

    "I think the riders may be in for a rude awakening. Because the race takes place in Gauteng, they may expect that there will not be many climbs, but they will soon find out that they were wrong. Roughly estimated, I think the riders who compete in the ultra marathon will have to face between 1800 and 2000 meters of climbing.

    "The route is also very technical. The riders will probably have to stop more than once to fix mechanical problems. Because of this, there will be three technical zones on the route where the riders will be able to repair their mountain bikes if necessary.

    "The technical zones will be roughly about 30 kilometers apart and they will also serve as viewing points for spectators. We fully realize that it can become very boring for spectators if they have to wait at the finish for four hours or longer for a loved one to reappear. We want to encourage spectators to rather go to the technical zones to support their riders. This will also help to give them a better idea of what the riders have to endure before they finish their races.

    "We will supply GPS coordinates of the technical zones on the websites and we will also give a briefing at the start, explaining how to get there."

  • Hermida extends Multivan Merida Biking Team contract

    Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) races to 10th.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2010, 18:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard aims for gold at Worlds

    Spanish mountain biker José Hermida has re-signed with the Multivan Merida Biking Team for two more years. The Spaniard has ridden for the team for seven years in an illustrious career.

    Hermida won Houffalize’s classic World Cup cross country race earlier this year and has been part of a select group of contenders for the victory on an international top level for many years.

    "We're looking forward to two more years with José. He is an extremely consistent and reliable racer, and his light-heartedness is literally infectious," said team manager Rottler.

    "Thanks to his big successes and his very open nature, he has a huge following all over the world."

    The biggest win missing from Hermida’s trophy cabinet is a World championship gold medal and the Spaniard will be hoping to rectify that at the World Championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne on September 4.

    In his career, Hermida has won six World Cup races, an Olympic silver medal and participated in three Olympic Games.. He has also picked up three bronze medals at the Worlds, three gold medals at the European championships and two silver.

  • No Worlds for Cole

    Cameron Cole (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2010, 20:45 BST
    Cycling News

    New Zealander still sidelined with injury

    After a good start to the season with two podiums and a top 10 finish in three races, Cameron Cole (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) decided to withdraw from this weekend's World Cup in Windham, New York, and next weekend's world championships at Monte-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada. Cole broke his scaphoid at the Champery, Switzerland, round of the World Cup and the bone has not properly healed yet.

    "I have been to both of my surgeons and am continuing the rehab. I have also ridden my bike which was ok but not 100 percent," said Cole. "I am disappointed, but there will be more opportunities for me to achieve my goals in the future. The annoying thing is that if Worlds was a week later I probably would have been okay."

    "My wrist is strong looking from the outside but the bone has not healed and there is a small risk I could affect the repair if I were to crash on it. I am still very young, and I feel there is no need to risk on going problems to my right wrist."

    Cole also cited a lack of preparation - physically and mentally - since his engeries have been going fully toward rehabilitation rather than training. "Therefore I can not represent my sponsors nor myself to my full potential as I have earlier in the season."