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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 27, 2010

Date published:
July 27, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Paxson turns heads in US mountain bike community

    Spencer Paxson (Team S&M Young Guns) put in an impressive breakout performance to finish seventh in the elite men's cross country race
    Article published:
    July 23, 2010, 10:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    25-year-old narrowly misses podium at nationals in career-best performance

    "Who is that guy?" asked many last weekend at the US Mountain Bike Nationals whenever Spencer Paxson (Team S&M Young Guns) rode past.

    "I've been racing for a long time and nobody really knows what I am," said the 25-year-old Paxson, who lives in Seattle, Washington.

    Paxson had his best race ever in the elite men's cross country national championship race, in which he finished seventh. For much of the race, he was battling for the final podium spot with Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale); however, a charging Peter Stetina (Tokyo Joes / Garmin Transitions) passed them both on the final lap.

    "This is the best performance of my career, definitely," said Paxson. "I raced the US Pro XCT finals in Colorado Springs the previous weekend and had a good rhythm. I tried to repeat everything today, but a little more aggressively. I was super motivated because it was nationals and I felt great."

    Paxson rides for Team S&M Young Guns, a team out of Portland, Oregon, backed by the bike shop of pro racer Eric Tonkin.

    "He's taken some riders under his wing," said Paxson of Tonkin.

    Paxson has an unusual set of goals for a top elite men's cross country racer at nationals, where most top finishers are full-time racers. "My goal was to keep my job and race and be competitive." He works full time for a wind energy development company, Ridgeline Energy.

    Next up for the promising rider, who finished eighth overall in the US Pro XCT, is the Windham World Cup in New York in August.

    "I'm on the bubble for the worlds in Mont Sainte Anne. I turned in my petition, and if I make it in, that'll be good. If not, it's been a great season, and this has got me motivated for next year."

    Perhaps Paxson will have to submit an amendment to his petition to race worlds - one with his new career-best result.

  • Compton tunes up for 'cross season at mountain bike World Cups

    Katie Compton (Planet Bike,Stevens, Kenda) rails the downhill on her way to winning her second short track title
    Article published:
    July 23, 2010, 17:47 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    National champ address recently diagnosed health condition

    With her eye toward cyclo-cross season, Katie Compton (Planet Bike / Stevens / Kenda) has been honing her form in some mountain bike races this summer. Most recently, at the US Mountain Bike National Championships in Granby, Colorado, last weekend, Compton made the trip to the podium twice. She backed up a fifth place in the elite women's cross country race with a gold medal winning ride in the elite women's short track the following day.

    Compton's victory gave her a second short track national title. She also won in 2008 in Mount Snow. The short, painful effort - 20 minutes plus three two-minute laps - was a perfect match for Compton's proven talent as one of the best cyclo-cross racers in the world.

    "If that race had been an hour, it would have been different. But I can suffer and go hard for this amount of time," said Compton after winning.

    The path to a second national short track championship wasn't easy for Compton, who has battled with health issues such as asthma and leg cramps. In March, she was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition which she has been trying to manage ever since.

    She described her experience with hypothyroidism. "I don't have any energy and I'm weak as a kitten most of the time. I have an hour of effort in me and then I just shut down. I think it's been there for awhile, but I didn't notice until it got bad enough."

    Compton thinks the condition may have related somehow to her asthma. Severe past attacks have forced Compton to drop out of races and at least at one US Pro XCT race - the 2009 Bump 'n' Grind in Alabama, she ended up at the hospital.

    "I'm seeing an endocrinologist to find out exactly what's wrong and get the medecine worked out," said Compton. "Right now, I'm not really training, just racing and recovering and just trying to get healthy for 'cross. It's hard to keep racing when I want to do better. I'm going through it now and trying to not lose fitness."

  • 2011 New Zealand Mountain Bike Calendar announced

    New Zealand racer Rosara Joseph.
    Article published:
    July 23, 2010, 20:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Downhill and cross country national series and national championships set

    Mountain Bike New Zealand (MTBNZ) announced its New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup and National Championship schedule for the summer of 2011.

    The organization confirmed a mix of well established venues having long histories of hosting events at this level and new hosts who will utilise the opportunity to boost their own event management capability as well as to showcase their regions' mountain bike facilities.

    BikeNZ's principal partner Raboplus will again have naming rights of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup and National Mountain Bike Championships, with associate sponsor Nature Valley also back on board for 2011. The New Zealand Community Trust also continues its long support of New Zealand mountain biking's competitive national series next summer.

    MTBNZ's 2011 Event Coordinator Chris Mildon views the confirmed schedule as a good fit for the sport. "As a national series for New Zealand's best mountain bike athletes, there is no greater test than to measure yourself against your peers on quality race courses."

    But the events aren't only for elite athletes. "MTBNZ provides all age group categories from 13 year olds through to masters 50+, to compliment the elite class. So all mountain bikers have the opportunity to enter and compete with like minded riders from around New Zealand and increasingly, from outside New Zealand - all on the same race courses our elite stars will be using".

    The series includes four cross country rounds and six downhill rounds spread across the North and South Islands in January and February. The New Zealand National Mountain Bike Championships will wrap things up from February 24-27 in Dunedin.

    2011 Cross country New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup
    January 9: Round 1 - Tauranga
    January 16: Round 2 - Napier
    February 13: Round 3 - Nelson
    February 20: Round 4 - Christchurch

    2011 Downhill New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup

  • Schurter, Vogel renew with Scott Swisspower

    World champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) dismounting for some mud.
    Article published:
    July 27, 2010, 11:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Four more years for two Swiss racers

    World Champion Nino Schurter and Champery World Cup winner and last year's bronze medallist at the World Championships Florian Vogel renewed their contracts with the Scott-Swisspower Mountain Bike racing team for another four years each, running through 2014.

    "I like the team's good spirit and the familiarity among the crew. The trust we have in each other makes me feel very comfortable," said Schurter. "We have everything it takes to be successful."

    Both mountain bikers have been part of the team run by former World Champion Thomas Frischknecht since its inception. The squad is coached by Nicolas Siegenthaler.

    The team often signs young riders and brings them up as their careers mature. "The concept of the team gives younger riders a chance to develop slowly and benefit from the experience of the team leaders," said Vogel, who won this weekend's cross country World Cup in Champéry. "Nino and I were lucky to grow up in such an environment. Now it's time to give something back and help the younger generation to develop. I'm excited to continue with this program for another four years," said Vogel.

    Both riders have their long-term sights set on the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

    Along with Schurter and Vogel, the team plans to sign four junior and under 17 talents, including Frischknecht's son, Andri.

  • Muddy, slick conditions challenge racers at Champéry World Cup

    A rider is taken away by helicopter for further medical treatment
    Article published:
    July 27, 2010, 15:55 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Some riders airlifted off course after crashes on treacherous tracks

    Conditions at the mountain bike World Cup in Champéry, Switzerland, tested racers' patience and bike handling abilities this past weekend. Heavy, sustained rains leading up to the final downhill and cross country events meant riders were forced to battle thick mud and slick tracks. It was worst for the downhillers, who raced Friday and Saturday and experienced many crashes with some riders being airlifted off the mountain following the most severe incidents.

    The rain, which had turned the steep 1,500-metre course into a slippery mudslide during qualifying, finally backed off for the finals on Saturday, but the damage had been done and, in some ways, the drying conditions made things worse. As the thick mud began to dry, it clung to bikes and turned to the consistency of peanut butter, doubling the weight of bikes and slowing forward momentum to a crawl. Even in the dry, the downhill course is considered to be one of the toughest on the circuit.

    "Plagued by bad weather all weekend the Champéry course looked more like a battlefield than a race track with the three days of heavy rain in the lead up to Saturday's finals not helping matters," said Dan Brown, the manager of downhill winner Gee Atherton's Commencal team.

    "My run was far from great but I don't expect anyone's was down there. It was way more physical than qualifying with the mud making the bikes feel so heavy," said Gee, who now sits as runner-up behind Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in the World Cup standings after four of six rounds.

    "It was so steep it ended up being one line, just get in the slot and ride," said World Champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate). "The track is steep and technical, with lots of tight turns, some good jumps, not too rocky, but plenty of roots came out. It was sticky in the finals due to weather conditions and it was very hard to carry speed anywhere. The track is so steep and in case of injuries, they must airlift...

  • Cole out with broken wrist

    Cameron Cole (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
    Article published:
    July 27, 2010, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    New Zealander hopes to return to action in time for worlds

    Rising World Cup downhiller Cameron Cole, of Christchurch, New Zealand, broke his wrist in the muddy conditions at the Champéry World Cup in Switzerland this past weekend.

    A small crash left the 22-year-old Maxxis-Rocky Mountain team rider with a broken scaphoid in his right hand, derailing his UCI World Cup downhill campaign for 2010. But the laconic Kiwi says there is a chance he could be back in time for the World Championships, which will be held at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, at the beginning of September.

    Cole has had three top-10 finishes and two podiums in the first three downhill World Cups of 2010 and, despite finishing 35th after snapping his scaphoid at Champéry, still sits sixth in the overall standings.

    "It was just a stupid crash," said Cole. "I was trying one of the gnarlier lines at the bottom of the course - it was quite a bit quicker - a high line on the outside of a corner and I got the line okay, but when it joined back onto the mainline it was very boggy, and I just got sucked up in it and went over the handlebars and flying down the track, over the top of my bike."

    "I put my hands out, and the right one must have gone straight into a rock because there was a big cut in the palm just before the wrist. I landed on my head as well. My bike went flying over me - luckily the bike was still on the track and not down the bank, so I sprinted to the finish line and did all the big jumps at the bottom and didn't feel too much pain.

    "Then I saw the cut and thought I would just need to get it cleaned out, then about an hour afterward it started to get sore so I decided to go to the doctor. At this stage every day is valuable for healing, so I thought it would be better to know if it was broken."

    After a long wait at the hospital, Cole and his Kiwi racing partner Amy Laird were given the verdict. "So now I have a massive cast on and heaps of stitches in my hand."

    Cole will...