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MTB news & racing round-up for July XX, 2008

Date published:
January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Dirty weekend in the UK

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com

    The United Kingdom will host a multi-sport adventure sports festival this weekend, July 5-6. In...

    The United Kingdom will host a multi-sport adventure sports festival this weekend, July 5-6. In addition to an adventure race and trail run, a mountain bike orienteering race will also be held in the surroundings of the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

    Along with the racing, those attending will be able to enjoy Landrover demonstrations, mountain bike skills demos, biking workshops, a climbing tower, sheepdog trials and a host of kids' activities. The weekend will be based on the grounds of a Scottish baronial stately home, the Traquair House.

    The Polaris Challenge, a mountain bike navigation event, will span two days during which competitors will have to reach as many checkpoints as possible within the allotted times. Riders will be given a list of checkpoints and sent out from the base camp at Traquair where they ride for between five and seven hours before returning to base to receive further instructions. As a two-day event riders will camp over night before taking on the second half of the challenge and will finish mid afternoon allowing plenty of time to enjoy the festival atmosphere at the event village.

    For more information, visit www.dirtyweekendadventure.com or for mountain bike competition specific information, visit www.polarischallenge.com.

  • Racing from mountains to beach in Australia

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com

    Imagine a week of racing from the highest mountains of Australia, across snowgum lined plains, down...

    Imagine a week of racing from the highest mountains of Australia, across snowgum lined plains, down along rainforest lined creeks and out to finish in the sand and surf. Event promoter Wild Horizons announced the inaugural BMC Mountains To Beach from March 1-7, 2009

    In a "tour" style event, solo racers or pairs will complete 400km in a journey from the mountains to the beach, from Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains to Narooma on the South Coast of North South West. The majority of the riding will be in race stages that will test the full range of skills - uphill, downhill, cross country, marathon, riding under lights. A short navigation stage and a potential task or two en route will also keep riders' mental facilities sharp. Timed race stages will range from 5km to 100km, and they will be interspersed with a number of non-race cruising stages en route.

    "When we announced the retiring of our 11 year old Polaris Challenge event in 2007, the reason was to allow us to run a stage race on mainland Australia in the month of March," said Wild Horizons' Huw Kingston. "Our Course Director Wayne Byard and myself have been working on Mountains to Beach for well over a year now."

    "We're really excited by the route and the riding we've pulled together and the partnerships we're forming with host communities along the way," said Kingston. "As with all our events, we're putting on a professionally organized, challenging and fun race with the usual Wild Horizons slight offbeat elements included."

    "Our hope is that the event will establish itself as a 'must do' event on the Australian and international MTB calendar," said Kingston. Further details will be available on www.wildhorizons.com.au this month.

  • Gunn-rita diary: Rough day at the worlds

    Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com

    A very demanding World Championship race track in 30 degrees (Celsius), meant a really tough day at...

    A very demanding World Championship race track in 30 degrees (Celsius), meant a really tough day at the office. Still, it was a valuable experience with good feel and flow. An acceptable seventh place at this year's World Championship is a step in the right direction.

    A seventh place in a World Championship, seen against the backdrop of my previous merits, certainly isn't an outstanding result in and of itself. We work in order to make an impact at the very top of the world's elite, and this will continue to be the case as long as I am a professional cyclist. Yesterday's race was primarily an important training session during which my machinery really got a run for its money, which in time will make us stronger.

    Many were expecting a lot more of me yesterday, and I noticed a degree of disappointment amongst people I spoke to after the seventh place. Kenneth and I had both spoken openly about the fact that we weren't good enough to take a medal at this championship, even with strong legs and a good feeling.

    I lost most time to the best girls up the steepest climbs where sheer strength is essential. That's exactly what we didn't get to train enough through the winter, and it takes time to build up those qualities. For this very reason, yesterday's race was a highly valuable session of training which will doubtlessly pay off later on in the season.

    Read the complete diary entry.

  • Teenage mountain biker mauled by bear

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com

    By Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com A teenaged girl competing in a 24-hour mountain bike event near...

    By Mark Appleton, Bikeradar.com

    A teenaged girl competing in a 24-hour mountain bike event near Anchorage, Alaska has been critically injured in a bear attack. The animal, believed to have been a female Grizzly, struck in darkness at around 1.30am in the town's Bicentennial Park yesterday morning, leaving the un-named victim with bite injuries to her head, torso and thigh as well as a "sucking chest wound." The latter typically occurs when an object penetrates the body and punctures the lung cavity.

    Medics, accompanied by shotgun-carrying police officers, entered the park to retrieve the rider. According to the Alaska Daily News, she was found by Peter Basinger, a fellow competitor on the Arctic Bicycle Club event which began at noon local time on Saturday, using an 8 mile loop of groomed trails. Basinger is said to have waited with the girl until rescuers trekked the half mile into the forested park to reach them before she was stretchered back to a waiting ambulance.

    The teen, who according to some reports is just 14 years-old, underwent surgery at the Providence Alaska Medical Center and is expected to survive according a spokeswoman for the Anchorage Fire Department.

  • Kelli Emmett's bike: A lighter option for Giant

    Kelli Emmett's Giant
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    James Huang

    By James Huang Full-carbon hardtails seem to be making a comeback on mountain bike cross country...

    By James Huang

    Full-carbon hardtails seem to be making a comeback on mountain bike cross country circuits worldwide and Giant Bicycles is among the latest sponsors to outfit its team riders with the ultimate in light weight for when conditions allow. For many races this year, second-year Giant MTB pro Kelli Emmett has traded in her trusty 1.9kg (4.2lb) Anthem Advanced short-travel full-suspension platform for an XTC Advanced frame that undercuts that already-light figure by nearly half; claimed weight for her second-generation prototype is just under 1kg (2.2lb).

    "It is just awesome!' said Emmett shortly before winning the cross country event at this year's Sea Otter Classic. "It feels so light and amazing on the climbs. It is crazy how noticeable [the weight loss] is."

    The new frame borrows a few design features from the road-going TCR Advanced SL, notably the oversized rectangular-profile down tube and beefier top tube for better front triangle rigidity. However, there's no press-fit bottom bracket shell to be found here (at least for now) and the head tube is designed around a conventional 1 1/8" steerer tube.

    Unlike some other race-specific hardtails, though, Giant at least built the XTC Advanced around a 100mm-travel fork for more predictable handling on rougher terrain. As it turns out, Emmett used an 80mm-travel Fox Racing Shox F80 RL at Sea Otter but the extra 20mm proved handy later in the season.

    "The frame is built around a 100mm fork so you know what that means: more party on the downhills! Usually with most lightweight hardtails, handling on the descents is compromised but this bike can climb and remain stable on the descents. I have found myself choosing this bike more this year than I expected because it feels so good climbing and can descend. It is also a great bike for racing out west, where the...

  • BC Bike diary: stage two's Dog Day

    Somewhere in the middle of the pack.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Jon Posner I love it when a term can have two completely different meanings. Today [stage two -...

    By Jon Posner

    I love it when a term can have two completely different meanings. Today [stage two - ed.] was the dog day of the BC Bike Race.

    Meaning 1:

    We've all heard of the "dog days of summer" when it is so hot you don't want to move, much less ride a 125 km stage of a mountain bike race. Today the temperatures hovered around 34 degrees [degrees Celsius]. That's Canadian for 93 degrees [Fahrenheit]. That's a reeeeeal hot day for these parts.

    Meaning 2:

    Have you seen 24 Solo? There's a great scene where the Aussie Craig Gordon is talking about his racing strategy. He rides in "the dog" or, the big ring of the crankset. In fact, we quote him all the time from that scene..." It's in dog...eh...I say, 'Have you got it in the dog?'" Today's stage consisted of 122 km of open gravel logging road surfaces, with about 2.5 km of singeltrack trail at the tail end. It was really good trail. But the gravel road was a mind-numbing five hour slog in the big ring at high speed with very little shelter from the sun. I estimate we spent 90% of the day "in the dog".

    The race started innocently enough, with a police escorted, rolling start out of town. We must be a sight to see, our unruly mob of 450 or so brightly clad lycra covered bike racers, about a city block's length and taking up nearly the full width of the road. Most people pulled over to let us go by and just watched with mouths agape, wondering just what is was they were witnessing.

    Read the complete diary for this stage two entry. Or check out entries from other stages of the BC Bike race. Jon Posner, Jason Berry, Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk are taking turns writing the diary.

    Also see Cyclingnews' full stage-by-stage coverage of the BC Bike Race.

  • Firecracker 50 to decide American marathon champions

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Firecracker 50 will host the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships on...

    The Firecracker 50 will host the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships on Friday, July 4, the Independance Day holiday in the US. In its eighth year, the Breckenridge, Colorado, race is hosting the nationals for the second consecutive year.

    "The course was one of the best I've raced, with super fun singletrack and challenging climbs," 2007 Marathon National Champion Shonny Vanlandingham said to the Denver Post.

    The race begins at 11 am, and racers will tackle two 25-mile loops with a total of 10,800 feet of climbing. Given the high Rocky Mountains location at more than 9,000 feet, the altitude is expected to play a role in the race.

    Last year's event was won by Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix) and Jay Henry (Tokyo Joe's).

  • Gujan and Saner triumph in Champéry

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Martin Gujan and Marielle Saner won round five of the Swisspower Cup in Champéry. The race too place...

    Martin Gujan and Marielle Saner won round five of the Swisspower Cup in Champéry. The race too place under fantastic, summery conditions on a technical course that saw many changes in positions, crashes and mechanicals.

    Gujan (Athleticum MTB Team) and Marco Aurelio Fontana (Hard Rock FRW) dictated the pace at the front. At the beginning, Gujan's team-mate Mathias Flückiger also played a role, but he later withdrew and did not finish the race. Gion Manetsch (Athleticum MTB Team) was in third place after the split was made on the second last lap. That's when Gujan got away with Fontana and went on to a solo win in 1.46.46. Fontana ended up second at 50 seconds while Manetsch finished third in 1.45. With his victory, Gujan also took over the overall lead.

    In the women's race, Marielle Saner Guinchard (Bikepark.ch / BMC) took an unquestionable home victory with a time of 1.30.48. She was in the front after lap one and never looked back. Behind her was second-placed Maroussia Rusca (Scott Allianz Suisse), who would finish 59 seconds back, and third placed Katrin Leumann (goldwurst-power / Sputnik) at two minutes.

    The next round of the Swisspower Cup takes place in two weeks in Savognin on July 12-13. See Cyclingnews' full coverage of round five of the Swisspower Cup.

  • Jongewaard not selected for Olympics

    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Chris Jongewaard, one of Australia's top mountain bikers has been left off the country's team for...

    Chris Jongewaard, one of Australia's top mountain bikers has been left off the country's team for the Beijing Olympics over behavioural issues, Cycling Australia announced Friday. The mountain bike spots were awarded to Daniel McConnell and Dellys Starr.

    While Jongewaard is the country's highest ranked rider, he was not considered for the Games because he is facing charges over a hit-and-run incident last year.

    In February of 2007, Jongewaard had been celebrating the birthday of his friend and training partner Matthew Rex when he accidentally hit Rex with his car. Rex sustained head injuries and was temporarily placed in a coma, but has since recovered.

    "The committee believes it cannot in good faith nominate Chris Jongewaard," the Cycling Australia statement read. "We acknowledge he met the performance criteria but nomination for selection in the Australian team for the Olympic Games is based on more than results."

    Jongewaard had until July 1 to file an appeal with final selections to be determined on July 4.

  • Four Canadian Olympians selected

    Marie-Helene Premont (Canada)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Paul Verkuylen

    The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) announced its team of two men and two women for the 2008...

    The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) announced its team of two men and two women for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in August: Marie-Hélène Prémont, Catharine Pendrel, Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath. The women and men will race August 22 and 23 respectively.

    In mid-June, Prémont finished fourth at the World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy. Showing her consistency on the international scene, she also medalled at all five World Cup events this season so far. In 2004, she won silver at the Olympics in Athens.

    "There's more attention on me than four years ago," said Prémont according to the Canadian Cycling Association's website. "But I'm prepared and I will go there to do the best I can. That's the approach I had in Athens and I hope it'll work again this time too. But this year I know what the Olympic Games are about and I think I’ll be more relaxed and more confident."

    Her Olympic team-mate Pendrel finished sixth at the World Championships. She raced last year's Test Event in Beijing and liked the course. "It's physically demanding, there's absolutely no rest on it," she said.

    The North American country will field two men with proven international records. Although battling a recent cold, Kabush placed as high as third in a World Cup round earlier this season while McGrath claimed ninth at the Olympics four years ago.

    Sean O'Donnel, the CCA's High Performance Manager, believes the team has plenty of potential. "We go into Beijing with a strong chance of earning at least one medal in both the men's and women's event. It's a very experienced team and a very strong team and that bodes well for Canada."

  • Three of four US Olympic mountain bikers chosen

    Todd Wells (USA).
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jon Posner

    USA Cycling named three-quarters of its Olympic team on Tuesday including Todd Wells, Adam Craig and...

    USA Cycling named three-quarters of its Olympic team on Tuesday including Todd Wells, Adam Craig and Georgia Gould. One women's spot remains to be filled.

    Wells was the only men's automatic nomination by virtue of earning the highest cumulative placing in his best three UCI Mountain Bike World Cup events of 2008. His finishes included sixth in Vallnord, Andorra, 11th in Houffalize, Belgium, and 13th in Fort William, Scotland. His placing in Andorra was the best of any American male at the World Cup this year.

    Craig joins Wells after being selected as a discretionary choice. Craig was the only other American to finish in the top-ten at a World Cup this season, with an eighth in Offenburg, Germany. He logged four total top 20 World Cup finishes including also Houffalize, Andorra and Fort William.

    On the women's side, Gould was the only automatic nominee after she earned the highest cumulative placing in her three best 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup performances. Gould logged dual fifth-place finishes in Houffalize and Madrid. She also finished 11th at Fort William.

    USA Cycling Director of Athletics and Team Leader for the Beijing squad, Pat McDonough, called the American team "one of the strongest we've had in recent history" and claimed the squad had medal-winning potential.

    The remaining selection to the women's team will be announced by July 15.

  • Nash powers to first NMBS cross country win

    Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB) winning
    Article published:
    January 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Dave McElwaine in Park City, Utah

    By Dave McElwaine in Park City, Utah Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB), a frequent visitor to the...

    By Dave McElwaine in Park City, Utah

    Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB), a frequent visitor to the second step on the podium, finally beat out her powerful Luna team-mates to win her first National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) cross country race in Deer Valley, Utah. Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB) rode in third position for much of the race, but nailed down second place with a massive surge on the last lap.

    "I've been riding well," said Nash. "I just tried to be patient. I was climbing well and it just all came together. It was a good day.

    "Catherine let me take the lead on a downhill and she made a small mistake [behind me]," she added. "From that point on I just tried not to make any mistakes."

    Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB) led for much of the race, but finished third after over-shooting a corner on a fast descent. The Luna Women are the top ranked women's team in the world, due to strong World Cup performances this season.

    "On the climb after the feed zone it started breaking up and Katerina and I were rolling off the front," said Pendrel. "I was feeling good so I went to the front on the climb and was going to let Katerina lead on the descent because she was descending better than me.

    "I actually made a mistake on the descent," she added. "I was hoping to put in a strong last lap but Georgia put in a stronger last lap."

    Many of the racers, including the Luna squad, traveled back from the World Championships in Italy this week. It was uncertain how everyone would respond to racing so soon. The question was answered in the few seconds of the race as Pendrel and Gould shot to the front and led the entire field up the mountain in a side-by-side effort.

    For Nash, the Czech National Champion, the victory was sweet after some disappointment this season. At the NMBS race in Fountain Hills she sustained a knee injury that resulted in her...