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MTB news & racing round-up for May 3, 2007

Date published:
May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Lumberjack 100 early registration ends soon

    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    Organizers of the Lumberjack 100 announced that early registration will end May 5. To save US$25,...

    Organizers of the Lumberjack 100 announced that early registration will end May 5. To save US$25, mail your registration with a postmark of May 5 or sooner.

    The Lumberjack 100, held in Michigan, is the third event of the seven-race National Ultra-Endurance (NUE) series. It will be contested June 16. The next and second event in the series, the Mohican 100, will happen June 2 in Ohio. Chris Eatough and Daniele Musto are leading the series after one event, the Cohutta 100, held two weekends ago.

    For more information, visit www.lumberjack100.com.

  • Barbara Howe diary: Epicenter of Belladom

    People huddle under tents
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    After racing at the season opening NMBS #1 event in Phoenix, Howe went on to Sea Otter, where the...

    After racing at the season opening NMBS #1 event in Phoenix, Howe went on to Sea Otter, where the Velo Bella presence was strong. Blue and pink jerseys were spotted everywhere, with road and mountain bikes always nearby.

    Sea Otter is a special race because it's located at the epicenter of the Bella kingdom, or queendom if you like. The team was started in and around Monterey and many of the very first Bellas still live in the area. It's the race where the Bella vibe can clearly be seen and heard by all. For all of the years that I've raced Sea Otter, Velo Bella has had a large team booth decorated with pretty sparkly things and blasting disco music. The booth expands a bit each year, this year it was a continuous extension from the Kona trailer through the Bella booth to Vanderkitten and Zeal Optics. This year, the Bella Queen, Sabine, envisioned roller disco and her subjects obliged. There were crazy outfits and many sets of roller skates.

    My weekend started by driving to the home of long time Bella Laura, her husband Steve, and two dogs after work on Thursday. I've stayed with Steve and Laura for most of my Sea Otters, and it was really good to see them again. Friday morning, I woke up to sunny skies and fast trails. Natasha and I pre-rode the course enjoying clear ocean views and wildflowers. Saturday was short track but I hadn't registered in time for it so I became a spectator. I went to the venue with the Bellas who were racing short track so I could ride afterwards. A light sprinkle of rain started when we left Salinas. Upon reaching the Bella booth the light sprinkle turned into a deluge of biblical proportions. Buckets of rain threatened the integrity of a thousand EZ Ups, rivers of mud canceled the women's NRC race, and plunging temperatures goose bumped countless arms and legs.

    Back at Bella HQ, Queen Sabine stood strong in the face of pending disaster by digging a drainage ditch with a plastic wine glass to prevent the creation...

  • Mike & Mary diary: Heating it up

    Mary & Mike enjoyed some great views
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    After our South American adventures, we boarded a sensibly cheap yet stupidly long flight to Puerto...

    After our South American adventures, we boarded a sensibly cheap yet stupidly long flight to Puerto Rico. We could almost see our destination through the plane's window as we flew first to Dallas then Tampa and finally to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was a considerable 30 hours before we arrived at our accommodations but the sound of the crashing waves and the balmy tropical climate helped to blunt the pain. Adding to our dismay, we were locked out of our prearranged accommodation, and the owner of the bungalows was nowhere to be found.

    Now totally exhausted, and unable to come up with a better plan, we crashed out on the front deck, utilizing the insides of our bike travel cases for a mattress, towels for blankets, and a healthy lathering of bug spray . It was not ideal, but a flat space to lie down after all that travel was all we needed! The red marks on my hips the next morning were proof enough that I slept, at least for some time.

    We had come to Puerto Rico for The Ultimate Dirt Challenge, a unique Category 1 UCI race / dirt jump expo that is that is held in Rincon each year. It was our second year competing here, so we knew what we were getting into, and it was nice to return to a familiar venue; especially one with such fantastic promoters. We were looking forward to our time in Rincon not only because of its warm tropical climate but also because it has status as a world class surf destination. Mike showed incredible resolve and held back from the surf until AFTER he fulfilled his goal of getting on the podium here.

    Race day came before we even had the chance to hit the beach. Instead, we had put our attentions towards some serious training time on the steep, winding roads found in the interior of the island. Unfortunately each afternoon was accompanied by incredible lightening-filled downpours that severely limited our beach time.

    To read the complete diary, click here.

  • Bikes Belong grants to benefit mountain bikers

    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    Bikes Belong awarded six grants to cycling projects on Wednesday, including two mountain bike trail...

    Bikes Belong awarded six grants to cycling projects on Wednesday, including two mountain bike trail systems in Oregon and South Dakota.

    The City of Vernonia, Oregon, will receive US$5,000 to help build a bicycle skills park. The grant will go toward construction of the skills development trail, the first element of the park. When complete, the skills park will include also a BMX track, pump track, cyclo-cross course, and singletrack trails. Most of the project will be funded through volunteer time and in-kind donations. Riders will help design and build their track and trails, and a 20-hour trailbuilding class held by the Community Learning Center, adjacent to the park, will also harness local elbow grease.

    The Black Hills Mountain Bike Association (BHMBA) in South Dakota will receive US$5,000 expand the singletrack in the Cowboy Hill trail system. The funding helps match a federal Recreational Trails Program grant for the project. BHMBA has hired IMBA Trail Solutions to assist with sustainable trail design and initial construction, and the rest of the job will be handled by dedicated volunteers. In addition to regional recreational use, the new trails will be used by a local Trips for Kids chapter and the YMCA, and will also host thousands of riders at the annual Black Hills Fat Tire Festival.

  • Sauser to lead star field at Bike the Rock

    Christoph Sauser (Specialized).
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    Swiss world championship runner-up Christoph Sauser (Specialized) will ride his first Bundesliga...

    Swiss world championship runner-up Christoph Sauser (Specialized) will ride his first Bundesliga race at the seventh annual edition of Bike the Rock in Heubach, Germany, May 5-6. Heubach is located at the eastern edge of the Schwäbische Alb.

    Ever since his first World Cup win in 1999, Sauser has been one of the most dominating cross country riders. He has eleven World Cup wins under his belt, and snatched the World Cup overall win in 2004 and 2005. He just missed out to Frenchman Julien Absalon at the last two World Championships. But despite his years of experience, this will be Sauser's first Budesliga race.

    Sauser will be joined by a star studded field including Sweden's Fredrik Kessiakoff, Switzerland's Florian Vogel, Spain's Josè Antonio Hermida, Dutchman's Bart Brentjens, Belgium's Roel Paulissen, and Switzerland's Ralph Näf and Nino Schurter. Hermida won the opening cross country World Cup two weekends ago in Belgium.

    The women's field is just as impressive. Norway's Gunn-Rita Dahle is among the favorites along with Russia's Irina Kalentieva, China's Ren Chengyuan, America's Mary McConneloug, Germany's Nina Göhl, Swizterland's Petra Henzi, and Norway's Lene Byberg. Chengyuan is among three Chinese riders, including also Ying Liu and Jingjing Wang, who will make their first appearance in Germany. Chengyuan is the U23 world champion and the winner of the Houffalize World Cup.

  • First year endurance event draws top American pros

    Nat Ross (Subaru/Gary Fisher) held off Giant's Josh Tostado
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    The inaugural Dirt Sweat & Gears event in Tennessee drew top American endurance racers. About 1,000...

    The inaugural Dirt Sweat & Gears event in Tennessee drew top American endurance racers. About 1,000 spectators were treated to a battle in the pro race, as racers piled on lap after lap. Racers were drawn by the US$10,000 in cash awarded to the pros and the US$15,000 worth of prizes awarded to amateurs. In the spirit of many NORBA cross country races of the 1990s, a schwag toss rounded out the awards ceremony.

    Favorite Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) suffered double flats early in the race and was passed by Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Josh Tostado, who eventually took first and second after over 11 hours of racing, but Juarez battled back to hold on for third.

    Endurance guru Monique Sawicki (Ergon / Ellsworth) controlled the women's race from start to finish. Main challenger Rebecca Rusch (Red Bull / Specialized) suffered a flat that cost her a considerable amount of time.

    John "Fuzzy" Mylne took the singlespeed win.

    For full coverage, click here.

  • Wells and Compton collect Greenbrier wins

    Katie Compton (Spike)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the US, more than 550 pro and amateur racers competed at Maryland's...

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the US, more than 550 pro and amateur racers competed at Maryland's Greenbrier State Park Sunday although only the elite categories were racing for coveted UCI points. Trek / VW racers dominated the top 10 in both the men's and women's races, but despite their strong presence, the team could not claim victory in either event. Canada was also represented by a large contingent of racers; many had headed south to collect the required 20 UCI points needed to start the two summer World Cups coming up on their home turf.

    World cyclo-cross silver medalist and track standout Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) is making her presence known on the mountain bike circuit this season. After winning the short track at Sea Otter, Compton came out blazing at Greenbrier. Her only true challenger was Sue Haywood (Trek/VW), but Compton could boast a one minute advantage by the end of the first lap. Perhaps those fast track and 'cross starts were paying off? Though Compton faded at Sea Otter's cross country race, she held on strong at Greenbrier for the win, with more than two minutes's advantage over Haywood.

    On the men's side Todd Wells (GT) battled Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) in what became a two-man race. Wells established an early commanding lead, but Bishop applied the afterburners and closed to within 46 seconds with one lap to go. However, fate put the stops on Bishop's plan when he flatted part-way around the course. Although Wells would flat, too, he was close enough to the finish to hold onto victory. Meanwhile Bishop dropped to fourth place as he rode in on his shredded tire.

    For complete race coverage, click here.

  • Gould and Kabush tops in NMBS racing

    Georgia Gould (Luna),
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    Georgia Gould (Luna) and Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) retain their spot at the top of the National...

    Georgia Gould (Luna) and Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) retain their spot at the top of the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) standings. Both racers won NMBS Round #2 at the Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Mountain Bike Classic in California April 28-29 last weekend as well as the opening NMBS Round #1 at the NOVA race in Arizona in March 31-April 1.

    In last weekend's race, the Canadian Kabush outsprinted Americans Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Barry Wicks (Kona) in an exciting finish. Meanwhile, Gould continued her dominance over the women's field by finishing over 1.5 minutes ahead of Luna teammates Shonny Vanlandingham and Katerina Nash.

    Round #3 of the NMBS series will continue this weekend May 4-6 in Fontana, California.

  • British racers ready for Worlds on home turf

    Steve Peat
    Article published:
    May 03, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gerry McManus

    By Gerry McManus Last week, downhillers Steve Peat and Tracey Moseley were among a group of top...

    By Gerry McManus

    Last week, downhillers Steve Peat and Tracey Moseley were among a group of top racers who visited London to promote the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials world championships scheduled for Fort William, Scotland, from September 3-9. Peat and Moseley were joined by Oli Beckingsale, Rachel, Dan and Gee Atherton, Ben Savage, Duncan Shaw, and Helen Gaskill on the steps of the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square. The launch was also attended by organizers and the Right Honourable Charles Kennedy MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber on behalf of his constituency in Scotland.

    Only four months remain until the world championships come to Fort William, which has previously hosted rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The popular venue is expected to draw crowds of up to 40,000 people in September.

    "We have got a couple of test races on the cross country and downhill courses," said organiser Mike Jardine. "But the course is accessible anyway as most of it is part of the Forestry Commission network of trails, and we expect teams will go out there."

    British racers are looking for good performances on their home turf. Lesley Beck, from Fort William World Championships Ltd, who is organizing the race, said, "The British riders are not household names yet but they are heroes to mountain biking enthusiasts not just in Britain but all over the world. The cross country race is going to be two hours of intense endurance racing on a tough course over six laps of 7.6km. Over the course of the race the riders will climb and descend the equivalent of the height of Ben Nevis."

    It was in Fort William where Moseley won her first downhill World Cup. The current world champion is excited about racing on home soil. "The atmosphere makes so much difference," said Moseley. "Being on home soil in such a big event is really exciting. Especially when you know the crowd are willing you on to win. I am really looking forward to it."...