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MTB news & racing round-up for November 22, 2008

Date published:
November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
  • TransAndes race set for February

    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    The TransAndes, held in the Patagonian Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina, will be held...

    The TransAndes, held in the Patagonian Andes Mountains between Chile and Argentina, will be held February 3-8, 2009. A maximum of 400 teams will race singletrack, jeep roads and technical terrain starting and finishing in Pucón, Chile. Racers will cover six stages ranging from 60 to 90km each and will pass six volcanoes and 10 lakes en route.

    Organizers likened the race's format to that of the TransAlp Challenge and the TransRockies Challenge. For more information, visit www.transandeschallenge.com.

  • Intermontane Challenge drawing top talent

    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    The inaugural Intermontane Challenge, set for July 27-31, 2009 in British Columbia, Canada, has been...

    The inaugural Intermontane Challenge, set for July 27-31, 2009 in British Columbia, Canada, has been drawing some high profile entrants to compete for a top prize of CAN$10,000 for the overall win in the men's and women's solo categories.

    Former Olympian David "Tinker" Juarez confirmed his participation in the solo category along with former Kamloops native Chris Sheppard. They will race the cloverleaf style course, with all racers staying in the same place throughout the event as each stage heads out in a different direction.

    The Intermontane Challenge is 25% filled and offering 300 total spots for solo or team entrants.

    For more information, visit www.intermontanechallenge.com.

  • Colorado's trails organization awarded

    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    A Durango, Colorado-based trails organization was recently recognized by the US Forest Service. The...

    A Durango, Colorado-based trails organization was recently recognized by the US Forest Service. The Rocky Mountain Regional Forester presented the Recreation Partner of the Year award to the Trails 2000 group according to IMBA.

    The non-profit volunteer organization has worked for two decades to engage the public in the planning of trail proposals on federal lands in southwestern Colorado. Since 1990, the group has provided annually up to 3,000 hours of volunteer work for trail maintenance and public involvement, valued at more than US$500,000.

    "This award recognizes all of the work our volunteers have contributed to our trails for the past 20 years and the importance of volunteer work on public lands," said Mary Monroe, Trails 2000 executive director. "We are honored to receive such a prestigious award on behalf of our volunteers."

  • Filipino race to include "Expat" category

    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Organizers of the Puerto Princesa Mountain Bike XC Challenge to be held on January 29-31, 2009, in...

    Organizers of the Puerto Princesa Mountain Bike XC Challenge to be held on January 29-31, 2009, in the Philippines, are considering the addition of a new "Expat" category, for foreigners participating in the event according to balita.ph.

    Race Director Joey Mirasol said the event was created for the citizens of the Phillipines, but foreigners would also be welcome. Mirasol has been fielding inquiries from citizens of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong.

    He consulted with the only UCI-accredited Mountain Bike Commissaire in the country about how to handle foreign competitors. According to the current plan, the race will host an "Expat-Am" category for amateur foreigners to compete with each other. However, licensed elite racers will instead contest the race's elite category open to all genders, ages and nationalities.

    The race will be run at the Magarwak Integrated Recreation & Nature Park of Puerto Princesa City.

  • McMullen documentary screenings coming to California

    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Visually impaired downhill mountain bike racer Bobby McMullen is the subject of a documentary which...

    Visually impaired downhill mountain bike racer Bobby McMullen is the subject of a documentary which will be screened in the Bay Area to benefit the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League and Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Bobby.

    The 60-minute "The Way Bobby Sees It" was produced by Davis, California, based Poison Oak Productions. A mountain biker before he lost his vision, McMullen remains as true to the sport as ever.

    "Mountain biking is truly a test of your own abilities. Just like life, it is only you out there when it comes down to it. You can go as fast and as hard as you want to. You are not sheltered behind your team. It teaches life lessons, sometimes you just have to eat it. I think it is a great sport for high schoolers for many reasons; it is a great outlet for communication with peers and coaches, unlike other sports there are no bench sitters, mountain biking is for everyone," he said.

    Open captioning and open description will enable individuals with hearing and visual impairments, such as McMullen himself, to enjoy the experience along with everybody else.

    The film documents one man's determination to live an active life even when the path is partially blacked out and completely out of focus. Not totally blind, McMullen has described his vision as looking through a long tube with a smeared lens. He lost his eyesight as a result of diabetes in 1993. Several years later his kidneys began to fail. He can't drive a car, grocery shop, or read a menu without help. He relies on others to see and takes 32 pills a day to stay alive. Despite these limitations, he is on a mission to race the most difficult downhill course in the country.

    The schedule of screenings is listed below. For more information, including advance tickets, visit www.norcalmtb.org.

    December 2, 7:00 pm: Sundance Kabuki Theater in San Francisco
    December 4, 7:30 pm: Cinema...

  • Industry reps network & grapple with cycling's issues at US summit

    USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson
    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    By Sue George Promoters, officials, team managers, NORBA board members, USA Cycling CEO Steve...

    By Sue George

    Promoters, officials, team managers, NORBA board members, USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson and representatives of the mountain bike industry converged for a three-day, first-time mountain bike summit held November 14-16 at USA Cycling's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Forty-five attendees met to discuss changes and issues within the sport, share best practices, offer their suggestions about how to promote mountain bike racing in the US.

    USA Cycling opened Saturday's session with an overview of its programs and a presentation on relations between promoters and officials. Race publicity, insurance, athlete development, race sponsorship, relationship building, trends and the future of mountain biking were among other topics on the agenda.

    "It brought a variety of different aspects of the sport together, connecting people from around the country and offering amazing opportunities for networking and sharing best practices," said USA Cycling's Mountain Bike Events and Program Director Kelli Lusk according to the USA Cycling website.

    A similar summit involving National Racing Calendar promoters also took place over the same weekend. Both groups met Saturday evening to share an informal dinner.

    "Mostly I was there for the road summit, but I dropped into the mountain bike side to see what was going on," Iceman Cometh promoter Steve Brown told Cyclingnews after he returned home from the summit. Brown has promoted the Iceman for 19 years and also puts on the Tour de Leelanau, a UCI category 1.2 road event.

    "I'm completely removed from a lot of the mountain bike scene - living in my own little insulated world up here in northern Michigan, so I wasn't aware that there was so much interest in the gravity events. I knew about 4X and downhill, but I wasn't aware that it was that big of a scene. That was interesting to me," said Brown. "There is a culture difference between the cross country and the...

  • Brentjens to fill dual roles

    Bart Brentjens (The Netherlands).
    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Marcel Slagman In addition to continuing to race for another year, Bart Brentjens will take on...

    By Marcel Slagman

    In addition to continuing to race for another year, Bart Brentjens will take on the responsibilities of team manager with the Brentjens Mountain Bike Team, currently known as the Dolphin-Trek team. Brentjen made the decision after current team manager, Ralf van Heugten, resigned his post effective December 31 after five years as manager.

    When asked why he is taking on the additional role, Brentjens replied, "So I can hang on in the sport I love. I will give young and ambitious riders the chance to become top riders. Holland needs that.''

    "For me, the Olympic Games in Beijing was a nice completion of five years of intense work on a beautiful team!" said the departing van Heugten. "It's been a great time with many ups and downs on a great team. I'm super proud of what we have achieved ... and the riders that I've been able to work with."

    Brentjens, who won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1996, will reveal more information about the team's sponsors and racers in the coming weeks. He is expected to contest events such as the Cape Epic stage race and the Bart Brentjens Challenge, named after himself.

    Brentjens said that he regretted not being named the new national coach after Dutch federation coach Leo van Zeeland left the job recently. Had he been offered the opportunity, he said, "I would love to do that, even with the new job I have. But it would have been more logical to work one or two years together with Van Zeeland to learn the job.

    "Now Van Zeeland is not the coach anymore, I don't know who can handle the role. He had 18 years of experience and knowledge in mountain biking.''

  • South Africans check out home courses for Pietermaritzburg 2009 World Cup opener

    Greg Minnaar
    Article published:
    November 22, 2008, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Marcel Slagman

    Greg Minnaar celebrated his 27th birthday last week while inspecting the course for the first round...

    Greg Minnaar celebrated his 27th birthday last week while inspecting the course for the first round of the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to be held in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Minnaar, who was crowned the 2008 World Cup Champion, was all smiles as he chatted to media and local dignitaries at a launch function that gave a glimpse of what the midlands city can expect next April, when the world's best and their entourage arrive to contest the prestigious cycling event.

    "It's awesome to be able to race a World Cup event right in my hometown and I'm looking forward to it. I will of course be under a lot of pressure as the current World Cup champion, but I relish the prospect of racing against the world's best riders in front of my friends, family and home fans," said Minnaar.

    With heavy overnight rain making the downhill course extremely muddy and slippery, Minnaar opted to serve as a tour guide to local media, international and local cycling officials and Pietermaritzburg city officials by walking them through sections of the downhill course, nestled on the steep forested slopes to the west of the city, just above the Cascades Shopping Centre.

    "It's a fantastic course that's going to offer a very solid all-round test to riders," said Minnaar. There is no time to recover really, and there are some spectacular drops and jumps that will definitely thrill spectators!"

    Burry Stander, who finished second at the 2008 UCI World Championship U23 cross country race, also offered praise. He was as thrilled as Minnaar in looking forward to such a high profile international event coming to his home province.

    "I rode sections and it felt no different to being on any other World Cup cross-country course I've raced overseas" said Stander, who lives in Port Shepstone, just 100km from Pietermaritzburg. "What it does have is a lot of short steep climbs and is quite similar in toughness to the Beijing Olympic Games course, which...