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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 22, 2009

Date published:
July 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Dombroski hears the call of the dirt

    Amy Dombroski (Webcor Builders) had about a 15-second gap at the top of the first climb.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 13:31 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cyclo-cross national champion earns U23 mountain bike title

    Amy Dombroski of the Webcor Builders team, heard the call of the dirt on Friday when she won the Under 23 women's cross country race at the US Mountain Bike National Championships in Granby, Colorado. Dombroski won the woman-to-woman battle including her and defending champion Chloe Forsman (Luna). The two were together nearly the entire race, with a sprint finish determining the outcome.

    After her win, she said, "I hope this is the start of more mountain bike racing. I love the mountain bike. I love the mountains, and I like dirt. I like dirt better than pavement, I think."

    "I haven't done much mountain bike racing," confessed Dombroski. "I live in Boulder, so Colorado is my home state and I had some friends who live in (nearby) Winter Park, so I could crash with them. Since there's been a break in the road calendar for the past month, I did a lot of training on my mountain bike." Earlier this month, she raced to 10th in the Firecracker 50, the US Marathon National Championships.

    "It's helped my time trialing for the road," she said of her off-road training.

    Dombroski is already a cyclo-cross national champion. She's won three Under 23 championships (2006-2008). Last year, she was the Colorado state road racing champion and she finished third in both the Under 23 road and time trial championships.

    She found her road experience useful on Friday. "I was on Chloe's wheel - trying to stay on there like glue. From road racing, I know there's always a little draft. It's not much in mountain biking, but it's something."

    On Saturday, the day after winning the Under 23 mountain bike national championship, Dombroski headed with her road team to race a six-day stage race in the Cascades. After that she is headed to the US road national championships in Bend, Oregon.

  • Bad weather cancels TransAlp's first stage

    Bad weather cancelled stage one of the TransAlp.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2009, 16:47 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Race will commence on Sunday instead with shortened stage 2

    For the first time in the history of the TransAlp race, a stage had to be cancelled. Organizers made the decision due to bad weather conditions including heavy rainfall in the start town Mittenwald and some snowfall in higher altitudes where temperatures were at 0 degrees Celsius. They were concerned about the safety of participants.

    An improvement in the weather was not expected, so the cancellation of stage one was chosen over postponement.

    "It would have been too dangerous to run this stage. We didn't want to take a risk," said Heinrich Albrecht, CEO of the organising event company Plan B. "Of course it is pitiful to make this decision. But the participants' health is the most important thing. It would have been to dangerous to let them ride downhill all wet."

    The new official start will be on Sunday in Austria. A shuttle will take riders to Reith im Alpbachtal for an 11:00 am start (postponed from 9:00 am). Racers will finish the day in Mayrhofen in what will be a shortend stage - reduced from 87.6km to 50km since participants will not be going over the Geiseljoch after all.

    "We are looking forward to the possibility of a better weather forecast."

  • Overend still mixing it up with the pros

    Hall of Famer Ned Overend (Sho-Air/Specialized)
    Article published:
    July 19, 2009, 16:05 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Crowd favorite rides in top half of field at US Nationals

    The loudest cheers during the elite men's cross country race at the US Mountain Bike National Championships race may not have been for the winnner, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru / Gary Fisher), but for mountain bike legend Ned Overend (Sho-Air Specialized).  Every time he passed through the finish line, the fans roared their encouragement.

    Overend at age 53, makes Lance Armstrong seem awfully young. On Saturday, in Granby, Colorado, the mountain bike master, who raced the discipline's first World Championships in Durango, Colorado, in 1990, took on a field of elite men, many of whom were about half his age, and put in an impressive performance, finishing 21st out of 62 finishers. Seven men did not finish and two did not start.

    Afterward Overend, still breathing hard, was all smiles - clearly having a good time. "The downhill (portion of the cross country course) was super hard core. It was a fun nationals course," said Overend, a Mountain Bike Hall of Famer who knows plenty about national championship courses after winning many titles over the years.

    Since ending his career as a full-time pro racer, Overend has stayed very involved in the business and advocacy aspects of cycling. He's often raced since retiring, but said he was lacking the racing he would have liked to have done to prepare for this national championships.

    "I needed more racing. You can do a lot of training, but it's so hard when you have to pedal on the downhills, too, like at this race," said Overend.

    When asked how hard it was for him racing the next generation, he joked, "There were some unpleasant moments. I blew on the fourth lap big time. Then I was just trying to recover - using low gears and drinking as much as I could. It was just survival after that."

    "Hopefully, I'll have a race her this summer with some better results, and then racing these guys won't seem so hard," he said, laughing.

  • Husband and wife double up with US national cross country victories

    US Cross Country Champions Heather Irmiger and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru).
    Article published:
    July 19, 2009, 17:33 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Second set of titles just two weeks after US marathon nationals wins

    Saturday was the perfect day for husband and wife Jeremy Horgan Kobelski and Heather Irmiger (Subaru / Gary Fisher) of Boulder, Colorado. Racing in Granby, Colorado, both added US National Cross Country championship titles to their palmares - just two weeks after each won a US Marathon National title.

    The day got off to a good start when Irmiger overcame a flat tire on the first lap to regain the lead and eventually win in the elite women's cross country race ahead of teammate Willow Koerber and Katie Compton (Katie Compton Racing / Independent Fabrication). Hours later, Horgan-Kobelski rode to a win in the men's cross country race, which wasn't decided until the final lap. He beat Adam Craig (Giant) and teammate Sam Schultz.

    "This is as good as it gets," said Horgan-Kobelski after his win, referring to the joint victories by Irmiger and himself.

    "It was no extra motivation or pressure to watch Heather win. I'm happier for her to win than for myself. I was so excited for her. I hardly even warmed up because I was busy watching her race."

    Irmiger said watching Horgan-Kobelski win was not easy. "I was so nervous. I almost didn't want to watch the last two laps. Todd (Wells, who spent most of the race in second until he had a mechanical on the final lap - ed.) was riding so strong," said Irmiger. "We talked about how the race would go down. Jeremey said Todd would be so hard to beat."

    A few very important family members were on hand and enjoyed watching both race. "We are here for team support. We ring bells really well," said Heather's dad from the sidelines.

    "Yes, we have lots of experience watching bike races," said her mom, who also got to watch the pair win at the Firecracker 50 US Marathon National Championships on July 4. "It's easier than racing," she joked.

    Horgan-Kobelski's parents and brother were also on hand to watch the couple win double titles.

    Irmiger said the family would...