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MTB News & racing round-up for June 17, 2006

Date published:
June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
  • Excuses, excuses; the Keith Bontrager diary

    Keith rides in Wales
    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Now it feels like the year of riding is really starting. I flew to London and hopped on a train...

    Now it feels like the year of riding is really starting.

    I flew to London and hopped on a train straight to Wales (as soon as I had recovered my lost luggage – the bag with all of my cycling clothes, of course) for a marathon in Margam Park. It was a great course, with lots of climbing and some good singletrack descents.

    There was a long section of the novel course surface the Brits seem to incorporate into every race I participate in, and I've never ridden in anything like it anywhere else. Treacle is what they call it. I'm not familiar with treacle, though, and I figure most folks in places that weren’t part of the empire recently aren’t either, so, in Yank terms, it’s soft underneath but dry on top, not gooey, but massively power robbing (like sand). It looks fairly innocent until you realise you are a gear slower than you should be and working very hard to do that. It’s not as bad as soft beach sand, but it hurts.

    Instead of the Fat Possums I’d grown so accustomed to, this time I rode a no-excuses bike, a very light Trek carbon hardtail. I am pretty creative with my excuses though, so it was not a problem at all. I won’t go through the details of the difference it made on the climbs.

    The race was part of the UK national championship series and there were people who took it pretty seriously, so it started fairly fast for me - excuse number one – don’t get off an airplane after crossing the Atlantic, hop on a bike and expect to be able to go at full speed from the gun. I settled into a reasonable pace and held the power level steady at that point. That’s what I would be doing next week in Portugal, so it was good to get into the rhythm now.

    Read the entire Keith Bontrager diary here.

  • Back from Europe; the Geoff Kabush diary

    Riding hard in Madrid
    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Europe schmuurup! I tried to go get a result in Europe at the world cups again and it didn't really...

    Europe schmuurup! I tried to go get a result in Europe at the world cups again and it didn't really happen; maybe next year. Madrid I was pretty happy with after starting row 11 and moving my way up to 37th.

    So Belgium was next and it ended up being more about bike running instead of bike riding; I would say they probably should think about the possibility of rain in Belgium and maybe, just maybe, design a course that can handle it. I definitely like it when I can ride my bike a bit more; I ended up slogging away to scrape into the top 50 or something.

    The best thing about Belgium is always the beer; they like their beer so much they sell "table beer" instead of "table wine" at the grocery store. The "frites" are pretty good too but it was kind of ridiculous that they didn't have drug testing for the second time this year at a world cup; what's up with that?

    After Belgium it was off towards the North Pole where it was mixed rain and snow in Fort William, Scotland. After eating too much dirt and the near freezing temperatures it was hard to get motivated to get on the bike again. I did get to the start line in a full sleeve windproof undershirt and long-sleeve skinsuit and barely managed to stay warm; I think some people had cracked before the gun even went off. I had a few small issues, rode pretty average and was looking forward to getting back home after another barely top 50 finish. Once again we failed to catch a glimpse through the fog and clouds of the top of Ben Nevis; maybe next year.

    Read the entire Geoff Kabush diary here.

  • Global guest speakers expected at IMBA International Summit

    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    From June 20 to 23, 2006, guest speakers from around the world will be gathering in Whistler,...

    From June 20 to 23, 2006, guest speakers from around the world will be gathering in Whistler, British Columbia to present to a global gathering of mountain bike advocates, trail builders, land managers, tourism professionals, ski resort managers, and members of the mountain bike industry. The unique three-day IMBA Summit/World Mountain Bike Conference will include seminars on mountain bike tourism, trail design, and other topics related to the rapidly evolving sport of mountain biking.

    Coming from as far away as Wales, Israel and the Netherlands, presenters will touch on the conference’s major themes including Communication, Collaboration and Clubs — raising the level of communication among trail users, government officials, and land managers for the benefit of local trails; Planning Successful Trail Communities — to promote healthy, active and outdoor lifestyles; Managing Risks and Trails — innovative trail management solutions; and Where do we Ride from Here? — from family free-ride parks to women’s clinics, what will be the emerging trends of the sport.

    For more information about the conference or for registration details (including bios on the speakers) visit www.worldmountainbikeconference.com

  • Kona adds relationship sweetener to bike purchase

    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Kona is bringing back the Groove Approved Bike Park 2 for 1 Lift Pass Promotion for 2006. Which...

    Kona is bringing back the Groove Approved Bike Park 2 for 1 Lift Pass Promotion for 2006. Which means that when you buy a Kona Bike (with 5” of travel or more, or any dirt jump model), you and a ‘friend' are eligible for a 2 for 1 lift pass at any of the Groove Approved Bike Parks in North America.

    Groove Approved bike parks exist everywhere from Killington, VT; Snowshoe, WV; Winter Park, CO; Calgary Olympic, Alberta; Panorama, British Columbia; and Whistler, British Columbia.

    To see Kona's new bikes and all the Groove Approved Bike Parks, check out www.konaworld.com and www.konabikeparks.com.

  • What? Cyclo-cross already?

    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Due to the growth of cyclo-cross in the United States in recent years, it was only a matter of time...

    Due to the growth of cyclo-cross in the United States in recent years, it was only a matter of time before the sport began to expand formats and its place on the calendar. The Carbondale Cyclo-cross Classic is a two-day, three-stage omnium set in Evergreen Park in Carbondale, IL. Set along a lake, the race to be haled from July 8-9 includes a short track race at dusk on Saturday night, a time trial on Sunday morning, and a full Cylo-cross race on Sunday afternoon.

    "We look forward to seeing this event grow in future years," said race director Mike Pease. "I've already had interest from riders on both coasts of the U.S., not bad for a first year event."

    The Web site for the Classic is: www.smartendurance.com/cross.htm.

  • U.S. Nationals moves to Mount Snow in '07

    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    USA Cycling announced this week that Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont. will host the 2007...

    USA Cycling announced this week that Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont. will host the 2007 and 2008 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships. The two-year agreement brings the event to the east coast for the first time since the inception of a single-event national championship format in 2004.

    Scheduled on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) designated mountain bike national championship weekend, the 2007 edition will be held July 19-22. Dates for 2008 have yet to be determined.

    “Mount Snow has a solid and rich history of hosting world-class mountain bike events for nearly two decades,” said Steve Johnson, chief executive officer of USA Cycling. “The decision to award the national championships to Mount Snow was an easy one across the board. The courses are traditionally challenging for all disciplines, the venue and organisation is second to none, and an Eastern United States location is something that should be well received by our membership after three years in California.”

    The American-only, “winner-take-all” format will feature a full slate of disciplines and categories. The event schedule, as well as qualifying events and procedures, will be announced at a later date.

    The 2006 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships brought to you by X-Fusion will be held July 13-16 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. as part of the Infineon Technologies Cougar Mountain Classic.

  • Jeep KOM kicks of in San Louis Obispo

    Giant checks for 2005 winners
    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    The Jeep® King of the Mountain Series ( www.jeepsports.com ) announced that San Luis Obispo, Calif.,...

    The Jeep® King of the Mountain Series (www.jeepsports.com) announced that San Luis Obispo, Calif., has been selected for the second straight year as the launch site for its 2006 season. The city will host the first race in the three-event summer series, which is slated for Saturday, July 8, at the historic Madonna Inn.

    The 2006 premiere is shaping up to be even larger than last year’s event, with a wealth of spectator-friendly events planned for the entire family. In addition to serving complimentary sandwiches to the first 1,000 attendees, the Mountain Biking World Professional Championships will feature an interactive sponsor expo for race fans and prize giveaways throughout the day.

    The Jeep King of the Mountain Series features 16 of the world’s top riders competing head-to-head to capture the coveted title of World Professional Champion. In addition, the athletes will be battling for a share of the richest cash payout in the sport, topping $100,000, and the keys to a new 2007 Jeep Compass.

    Each event in the 2006 season will be televised to a national audience on CBS Sports, representing the most extensive national coverage offered to professional racing in recent history. The race from San Luis Obispo will air on CBS Sports on August 13.

    World Professional Champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain Series. An elite field of international professional racers – six women and six men – will be pre-qualified to participate in the World Professional Mountain Biking Championships. The balance of the 16 athlete field - two men and two women - will be invited from the local community or based on results from other national and international mountain bike competitions, allowing these wild card entrants a chance to compete against the best of the best for the coveted...

  • Top biathlete turns to MTB

    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Top Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Björndalen is turning his talents to mountain biking, starting in...

    Top Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Björndalen is turning his talents to mountain biking, starting in the next Swisspower Cup. Björndalen clean swept the Olympics in Salt Lake City and is the Merckx of biathlon (cross country skiing and target shooting combined). He sometimes drops the gun and wins Norwegian Championships in ordinary cross country skiing as well.

  • SRAM goes big; '07 freeride and downhill rollout

    Syndicate rider Kirt Voreis gets ready for SRAM's big drop into the freeride/downhill sector
    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    Rounding out its series of 2007 product launches, component maker SRAM unveiled its new range of...

    Rounding out its series of 2007 product launches, component maker SRAM unveiled its new range of components - aimed at the demanding all-mountain, freeride and downhilling segments of the mountain bike world - last weekend in Moab. James Huang braved the steep and rocky Utah trails to get the low-down:

    SRAM introduced a wealth of MTB products at its Sea Otter Classic mini-event earlier this year, but noticeably absent were products designed specifically for freeride and high-end hardcore all-mountain riders. The company openly admits to being last to the party, but has clearly made a big effort to fill in the gaps for the 2007 model year with a second product launch held in picturesque (and borderline other-worldly) Moab, Utah. With the help of a few of its sponsored pros, SRAM unveiled three completely new long-travel single-crown fork platforms, a new freeride-specific brake, and updates to its drivetrain offerings.

    Totem fills 'extreme freeride' void

    At the top of Rock Shox’s new freeride lineup sits the Totem which offers 180mm of travel housed in a gargantuan single-crown chassis. Along with the new long-travel-specific Mission Control damper (see sidebar for more information), the new platform features 40mm diameter 7000-series aluminum stanchions, a forged Al-66TV crown, and cast magnesium lowers that are said to contain enough material to make two sets of SID lowers. The lowers are heavily braced not only in the arch area, but also around the lower bushings where a pair of Power Bulge reinforcements combat bushing slop and increase overall chassis stiffness. In addition, Rock Shox has integrated a set of SpeedLube ports that offer the ability to rapidly change oil bath lube as well as a clearly-defined disc hose mounting location on the arch.

    Totem will be offered in coil, Solo Air, and 2-Step Air spring options with either 1 1/8in or...

  • Mount Snow NORBA preview

    At Mount Snow in 2005, Kabush had a secret bottle
    Article published:
    June 17, 2006, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Steve Medcroft

    By Steve Medcroft Spirits should be high in Mount Snow this weekend for round 3 of the NORBA...

    By Steve Medcroft

    Spirits should be high in Mount Snow this weekend for round 3 of the NORBA National Series (June 17-18). Many of the racers are either back from tough schedules chasing UCI points at World Cups or are grooving into the middle of their domestic seasons. Last weekend's NORBA at Sugar Mountain was marked by good weather and premium courses and we saw such exciting results as a seventeen year-old winning the downhill (Tracey Hannah, Team Edge), a four-woman Luna Chix sweep of short track, a return of Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) to winning form (also short track) and American JHK (Subaru/Gary Fisher) putting a stamp on men's cross-country with a three-minute win over the second placed competitor (Jeremiah Bishop, Trek/VW).

    Mount Snow, a ski and summer resort that offers hiking and mountain-biking among other activities, was also just named the venue for the 2007 and 2008 US National Championships (see below) - which raises its profile on the domestic scene. Even the weather in Vermont seems to be willing to co-operate in the love-fest; predicted temps should hit the high eighties and besides the threat of isolated high-mountain thunderstorms on Saturday, the forecast calls for clear skies.

    What will all this sweetness and light produce in terms of action on the mountainside? Last year, when Mount Snow was the site of the NORBA Series finale, Geoff Kabush (a.k.a. Mr. NORBA) wrapped up a double series championships with a win in cross country and second in short track. Retiring Luna...