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MTB news & racing round-up for August 2, 2007

Date published:
August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Dirt Sweat and Gears plans for another year

    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    The organizers of Dirt Sweat & Gears, a 12 hour endurance race which celebrated its inaugural...

    The organizers of Dirt Sweat & Gears, a 12 hour endurance race which celebrated its inaugural running this spring, are already planning for next year. Notable for 2007, the race offered a US$10,000 purse, split equally between men and women. It also offered the richest singlespeed purse in the US.

    The second annual event will happen May 3, 2008, and organizers will cap entries. Registration opened August 1, 2007.

    "We're limiting the field this year because the goal is to keep the race challenging and competitive while keeping things running smoothly on-course," said Race Director Clay Higgins.

    Already committed, Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) said, "Talk about Southern Hospitality at its finest. I'm already signed up for next year."

  • Trek and Gary Fisher aim to retake piece of mountain bike pie

    Gary Fisher Superfly
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Sue George After (perhaps a few too many) years of basking in the 'Lance era', US bicycle...

    By Sue George

    After (perhaps a few too many) years of basking in the 'Lance era', US bicycle monolith Trek and dedicated MTB division Gary Fisher refocuses its attention to the mountain bike world with new ideas and innovations for the 2008 model year. Cyclingnews headed to Sun Valley, Idaho, to sample the company's newest wares.

    Inasmuch the Trek Madone was inspired and shaped by Lance Armstrong and his United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, many of the 2008 mountain bikes from Trek and Gary Fisher are heavily influenced by their sponsored racers. No longer content to just react to the actions of its competitors, Trek now intends to portray itself as a trendsetter and is using the experience of those riders to help hone its range. The new lineups from Trek and Gary Fisher include a heavily revamped Fuel and expanded 69er offerings from Trek and a wealth of 29" bikes from early big wheel adopter Gary Fisher.

    Gary Fisher continues to win over racers to the 29" cause

    "Anything we do with two-niners flows through product manager [and semi-retired pro racer] Travis [Brown] on the R&D side and Nat Ross on the race side," said Aaron Mock, Brand Manager for Gary Fisher. "[Pros] Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger are both racing two-niners."

    Brown and Ross were already 29" wheel converts (with Brown being more of a 'half convert' with his preferred '69' format), but winning over Horgan-Kobelski and Irmiger required a more convincing argument, especially given Irmiger's decidedly diminutive size. Gary Fisher has demonstrated its commitment to making the alternative wheel format a viable option for the die-hard racing crowd for 2008 with an all-new carbon fiber 29er hardtail aptly named 'Superfly'.

    Gary Fisher claims the Superfly is not only lightweight at just 1229g for a medium frame, but also delivers ample drivetrain and torsional rigidity to match its impressive showing at...

  • Barb Howe diary: Heading for the hills

    Headed for adventure
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    This weekend it was back to my favorite swimming hole, back to the mountains and the Downieville...

    This weekend it was back to my favorite swimming hole, back to the mountains and the Downieville Classic. I've been fired up about this race since I started riding again this past winter. This race is of the old school epic variety--point to point with loads of climbing and descending in between.

    I've also been excited to go back to my favorite swim hole in the Yuba River. Friday morning my legs felt heavy and slow, so I cut my normal prep ride in half. Sam, Rachel Lloyd's boyfriend joined me for the drive up. He chose Downieville for his first cross country race and only owns a single speed mountain bike. We stopped at Ikeda's in Auburn for fruits, veggies and cookies before heading into the mountains. I bought a bag of the best nectarines ever. No joke, these were like eating pure ambrosia straight off the dessert cart on Mt. Olympus. They were much better than the cookies, and I have a terrible fondness for cookies.

    Next stop was the swimming hole on the Yuba and not a moment too soon, the heat was starting to make me cranky. The water was still cool and clear and this time Sam and I did a bit of exploring down river. We could float from pool to pool in deeper rapids or get out of the water and hop along sun baked granite boulders when the rapids were too shallow. Sometimes I'd spot trout circling the deeper pools, other times my swimming disturbed water bugs flitted across the surface on their endless aquatic travails. We finally made it to our forested campsite in the early evening and met up with Rachel just in time for dinner.

    Saturday was clear and sunny, what better way to start a race. The race starts up a long steady grade on a paved road that turns into a gravel road then into a loose rocky road. It's a mass start event--all pro's, singlespeeds, and experts start at the same time. I pushed up as far as possible trying to keep an eye on the other female competitors. I can't remember if there was a whistle, a gunshot or just some...

  • Canadian cross-country team picked for World Championships

    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Canadian Cycling Association selected riders for the cross-country events at the 2007 Mountain...

    The Canadian Cycling Association selected riders for the cross-country events at the 2007 Mountain Bike World Championships team, to be held in Fort William, Scotland, on September 4-9. Thirteen athletes will compete in the cross-country events in Fort William. The team relay will be chosen on site by the head coach.

    Junior men: Jeff Clarkson & Francis Morin
    Junior women: Andréanne Pichette
    U23 men: Max Plaxton, Neil Kindree, & Raphael Gagné
    U23 women: Emily Batty
    Elite men: Geoff Kabush, Seamus McGrath, & Ricky Federau
    Elite women: Marie-Hélène Prémont, Kiara Bisaro, & Catharine Pendrel

    Team Staff: Sean O’Donnell (Manager), Houshang Amiri (Head Coach), Sébastien Travers (Assistant Coach), Cara Ewert (Doctor), Richard Robinson (Chiropractor), Sylvie Raymond (Massage therapist), and Chad Grochowina (Mechanic).

  • British amp up for weekend of 4X racing

    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    The British National 4X Championships take place this weekend on August 4 on the outskirts of the...

    The British National 4X Championships take place this weekend on August 4 on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean. The purpose built track winds downhill from the top of a steep hill, to descend 300m.

    Top contenders include Will Longdon defending champion from last year, Scott Beaumont who took second at the Mount Ste. Anne World Cup, and Dale Holmes, who's flying in from the US just for the event. Look out also from some newer faces on the British 4X scene including Will Evans, Duncan Ferris, Steve Atkins, Lewis Lacey, Steve Taylor, and Dan Yeomans.

    Practice starts at noon with seeding at 3:00 pm and racing at 3:30 pm. Racing then continues Sunday with Round 6 of the National 4X series in Gloucestershire.

  • NUE #5 Wilderness 101 draws top talent

    Harlan Price won the 101 in 2006
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Zayne Braun The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series will make its fifth stop in State College,...

    By Zayne Braun

    The National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series will make its fifth stop in State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 4 for the Wilderness 101. Professionals and first-time riders will challenge themselves on some of central Pennsylvania's famed technical singletrack and topography. It's shaping up to be a knockdown, drag-out slug fest for the leaders with plenty of action anticipated in all fields.

    Current series leader Chris Eatough (Trek/Volkswagen) will be racing just one week after his a victory at the 24 Hour Solo National Championship. The question is will he have recovered enough to take on some of his challengers which will include last year's winner and defending NUE champion, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), winner of the Breckenridge 100 (round four in the NUE series) Josh Tostado (Giant/Smith/Redbull/Dakine/Michelin), and last weekend's NMBS #5 cross country winner Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW).

    The last time Eatough and Price met was in July at the Curse of Dark Hollow 100 km race, just north of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in Michaux State Forest. Price was able to take advantage of Eatough's minor mechanical issue and ride an inspired race to put a little over seven minutes into Eatough by the finish. Price will try to build on that momentum and keep his winning trend going.

    When asked how he would recover between the 24 hour solo nationals and a 100 miler on back-to-back weekends, Eatough said, "I don't think I've ever done it before to be honest. It's a new thing for me. I'll try to rest and sleep as much as I can. I probably won't ride more than an hour at a time this whole week. I really don't need any training this week."

    Current NUE women's series leader Danielle Musto (Slingshot) will be looking to continue her winning streak and extend her lead in the series, but some other ladies will also be seeking the top podium spot. Carey Lowrey (Outdoor Store) and Paula Figura (Founders...

  • Eatough passes on 24 Hour Worlds for NUE Series

    Chris Eatough (Trek / VW)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Two days after being crowned US National 24 Hour Solo champion for the fourth time, six-time 24...

    Two days after being crowned US National 24 Hour Solo champion for the fourth time, six-time 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Champion Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) told Cyclingnews he would not attempt to re-capture his title at the championships this year in California. Last year, Craig Gordon (Cannondale) ended Eatough's six-year run as World Champion in Conyers, Georgia.

    "I'm not doing the World Solo championships this year. I'm going to finish up the 100 miler [National Ultra Endurance (NUE)] series and the [final] Shenandoah race conflicts with the 24 Hour solo worlds," said Eatough.

    "Going to do the series is something I really wanted to do, so I'm going to Shenandoah. I wanted to do something different this year. Then I'm going do the 24 hours of Moab. I haven't done Moab in many years because the 24 Hour Worlds have always conflicted or been too close. I've always had to go to defend a title."

    "This year I don't have a title to defend, so I don't have to go to 24 Hour Worlds, and I'm really looking forward to doing the 24 Hours of Moab."

    Eatough is looking for a win at the Shenandoah Mountain 100. Although he's won previously, last year's Shenandoah 100 was the only 100 miler he has entered and not won. Team-mate Jeremiah Bishop took top honors instead.

  • US 24 Hour Nationals award solo and team endurance champions

    Pua Sawicki (Team Mata)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    This year's men's podium at the USA Cycling 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike National Championship looked...

    This year's men's podium at the USA Cycling 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike National Championship looked familiar. Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) won, with 20 laps and 285 miles ahead of Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Mark Hendershot (Santa Cruz Syndicate) with 271 miles and 19 laps.

    "Nat was pretty aggressive at the beginning of the race. He was setting the pace," said Eatough. "He had a lead for the first four hours, but never more than 90 seconds. I was sitting in second and just working my rhythm. I caught him and we stayed pretty close for another three or four hours. Then I started to pull away - I think my lap times stayed more consistent than his during the middle part, during the night part."

    None of the other men really challenged Ross and Eatough. "It was a two man race from the early stages," said Eatough. His steady pace paid off, and as Ross began to fatigue, Eatough passed him and eventually opened a gap during the night.

    "I knew I couldn't catch Chris and Nat. I just wanted to keep a good lead over the rest of the field," said 43 year-old Hendershot. "Heck, at my age I have to pace myself."

    The weather was much more favorable this year, with moderate temperatures and no major tornado-like storms. "The track was in great shape," said Hendershot. "That was really appreciated because it sure is a long one."

    Endurance specialist Pua Sawicki (Team MATA) took victory in the women's race ahead of Rebecca Rusch and NUE Series Contender Danielle Musto. Sawicki finished an amazing fourth overall.

    Sawicki made up for 2006, when she was forced out of the national championships after succumbing to injuries sustained in an earlier mountain bike accident. She quickly built a three-minute advantage over second-place Rusch (Specialized/Red Bull) in the first lap, and she never relinquished her lead.

    For complete coverage of the 24 Hour National Championships, click here.

  • Bishop comes into form at NMBS

    Jeremiah Bishop finished a strong second at US Nationals
    Article published:
    August 02, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Zayne Braun

    Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) took top honours at the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) round 5...

    Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) took top honours at the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) round 5 event held last weekend in North Carolina. The "Showdown at Sugar" was more like a showdown in mud, but that didn't deter Bishop, who had finished second behind Adam Craig at the wet and slippery USAC National Mountain Bike Championships cross country event the previous weekend in Mount Snow, Vermont.

    In the mountains of western North Carolina, 31 year-old Jeremiah Bishop logged his third-ever NMBS win, and his first in 2007. He won the final NMBS series event last year in Aspen, Colorado, and his first win came in Waco, Texas, in 2004. This latest victory marked a return to form after battling a mid-season illness; Bishop is aiming for a strong remainder of 2007, during which he hopes to show himself one of the top American contenders for the 2008 Olympic team.

    "It was kind of a surprise. I didn't expect the win would be here of all places - after I had a rough June," said Bishop, who sat out both World Cups in Canada due to a respiratory illness. "While [Geoff] Kabush was winning a bronze medal at Mont Ste. Anne, I was sitting in bed. Last weekend [at US Nationals in Mount Snow], I got second, but I felt like my legs weren't really there yet."

    The illness had only added to his motivation. "To look at the bright side of the coin, I had planned on taking a mid-summer break anyway to recharge. When you have to sit on a bench, it really drives home how much you want to be out there racing and how much you really miss it and want it."

    When national champion Adam Craig (Giant) charged off the start line in North Carolina, Bishop knew he had to follow and not let him get away. "The racing started right away. There was no drafting or sitting on. I knew I had to mark Adam. I followed him. He was scorching the first lap, and we immediately started to pull away from...