Downhill World Champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) had been having a rough time in races in 2010. While competing in the rainbow stripes throughout the early part of the season, he kept crashing himself out of contention.
In Leogang, at the World Cup last weekend, Peat tried a new way of removing the curse of the rainbow jersey. At the Austrian World Cup, he decided to "crash" first before the start to get it out of the way. That meant diving to the ground and rolling around on the ground to get his jersey dirty before the start. It seemed to work; he didn't crash, and he finished sixth in the finals, narrowly missing a podium spot.
Peat tried the same tactic at the US Pro GRT in Tahoe this past weekend. Again it worked. He put in a fast run, one that was two seconds quicker than the fastest person's qualifying run. It was good enough to get him third overall.
There is no word yet on whether Peat will continue to deploy his new tactic at future races. He'll have to wear the rainbow jersey until at least the next World Championships in early September of 2010.
Groundwork laid for growth of US High School cycling
In an unprecedented meeting of the United States' fully-established high school cycling leagues, the boards of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and both the NorCal and SoCal High School Cycling Leagues came together on Sunday, June 27 to incorporate NICA and agree on a governance model for the association's chapters.
NICA is now an incorporated 501(c)(3) organization with bylaws, a board of directors, and a participatory process for governing state leagues.
NICA executive director, Matt Fritzinger said, "We spent 10 years creating the model with the NorCal League, and we would not be in the position we're in now without the vision and dedication of the NorCal Board. The national foundation is strong, the NICA board contains a wide range of highly relevant talent and experience, and we have tremendous support from our sponsors: it's hard to imagine a better start."
To assist with chapter governance, an advisory board will be set up comprising two members of each state league: a board member and the executive director. This board will advise the NICA Directors on NICA-League policy matters.
"As a service organization, we need a governance structure that involves direct input from our state league chapters," said Fritzinger, who founded the NorCal League and remains its executive director until August 1 when he transitions entirely to directing NICA and Vanessa Hauswald takes over at NorCal. His focus will shift to supporting existing leagues and building new programs in other states, starting with Colorado and then other states that are currently vying to be among the next NICA project leagues.
The NICA board of directors comprises
Gary Boulanger, president
Ben Capron, vice-president (Specialized Bicycle Components)
Trevor Thorpe, secretary (Thorpe Law)
Tom Zirbes, treasurer (North Star Resource Group, SCG)
Forrest Arakawa (Mtbr.com)
David Curtis (Curtis Design, San Rafael Bulldogs - high school MTB racing team)
Sara Ecclesine (Sidi USA)
Gary Fisher (Trek Bicycles)
Mary Monroe (Trails 2000)
Eric Russell (Clif Bar & Company)
Kozo Shimano (NICA Trailblazer)
Dave Wiens (Topeak-Ergon Racing Team)
Series leader faces talented field for round three at Northstar-at-Tahoe
Some of the world's best downhillers are headed to the next round of the US Pro GRT at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in Truckee, California, on June 25-27. It will be the third stop of the five-race American national series.
Reigning downhill World Champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), current downhill World Cup points leader Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), former US National Champion Duncan Riffle (Giant), former New Zealand national champion Kieran Bennett (DRD Tomac) and current Pro GRT points leader Bryn Atkinson (Transition Racing) will all be battling for the men's win. Minnaar will be fresh of his World Cup victory at Leogang, Austria, this past weekend.
The women's contest is also shaping up to be an exciting one with BMX Olympian Jill Kintner (Transition Racing), reigning US National champion Melissa Buhl (KHS), former US National champion Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) and mountain bike legend Leigh Donovan (Intense) fighting it out for victory.
The following video footage, provided by Brandon Turman (Team Geronimo Racing), is of Cody Eichhorn and Graeme Pitts cruising down Gypsy on the downhill course on a preview ride.
Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) event expected to draw hundreds for penultimate round
For the first time in many years, round four of USA Cycling's Pro XCT series will visit Wisconsin this weekend for the Subaru Cup presented by Trek Bicycles. The Subaru Cup is the largest race in the highly successful Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS). Pros will be competing in cross country racing on Saturday and short track racing on Sunday. Amateurs will be racing cross country, short track, and super D.
Whereas the series leader, Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain), will be competing in the BC Bike Race this weekend with Catherine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team), Todd Wells (Specialized) will be coming in as the de facto series leader. He currently is only five points behind Kabush in the standings, and 125 points ahead of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek). JHK raced in his first ever 100-miler last weekend, It will be interesting to see if it has an effect on his racing this weekend. Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) who won the Mellow Johnny's race is expected to be racing this weekend as well.
The course at Mt. Morris is four miles long, designed to fit into the UCI standards for course design. Riders will climb the 265 feet to the top of the ski hill on each lap, but because the course winds up and down the mountain the climbing per lap could be nearly double that figure.
"The race at Nordic Mountain will offer a real taste of Midwest mountain biking, with wooded singletrack, fast descents and short, steep climbs," said Clair Cannon, Media Coordinator for WORS.
Other racers who are expected to be in the mix this weekend are Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized), who is coming off a spectacular weekend or racing at the Harrisonburg, Virginia, Triple Crown. He crashed hard in last Saturday's short track, but wasn't seriously injured and should be good to go for this coming weekend. Adam Craig (Team Giant) will be continuing to ramp up his racing after ACL-reconstruction surgery earlier this year.
On the women's side, Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) has been virtually unbeatable for the past couple of months in the US. She is currently ranked 12th in the world and seems to be exceeding the form she exhibited in the 2008 season when she represented the United States at the Beijing Olympic Games. She currently holds a 95-point lead over Willow Koerber (Subaru-Trek).
Koerber has been the revelation of the past year. She has two second place finishes this season in World Cup competition, and is currently ranked fourth in the world. At one point this year, she held the number one ranking. While Koerber has only won two national races over the past five years, she has proven she is a serious threat to win any race she enters.
USA Cyclo-cross National Champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) has slowly but surely been improving her mountain biking skills. She finished second to Georgia Gould in the Teva Games in early June.
Kelli Emmett (Team Giant) is coming off impressive short track and cross country wins at the Triple Crown in Virginia. She is having the best year of her career, and is certainly a good bet to be on this week's podium.
Short track action
With Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) not expected to race, Georgia Gould would normally have clear sailing. However, former US Short Track National Champion Katie Compton is ramping up her fitness and can be expected to give Gould a run for her money. In addition, the Trek-Subaru duo of Heather Irmiger and Willow Koerber always seem to find their way onto the podium. Irmiger won the US Pro XCT short track race in Colorado Springs last season at altitude.
In the men's short track race, Sid Taberlay, the Australian Short Track Champion, has been on fire this year. Todd Wells, winner of the short track at Sea Otter, will certainly be near the front of the race as well. US Short Track National Champion, Adam Craig, will be testing his legs to see if he is on track for a repeat performance at the Granby, Colorado National Championships next month.
Cyclingnews spoke with Subaru-Trek's Team Manager Jon Rourke about the significance of this weekend. The former Subaru / Gary Fisher team has a new name as of last week. "The team is very excited to be racing in the mid-West and Trek's backyard. It's been a long time since a national series event was in Wisconsin. There is some extra pressure on the riders to perform since Subaru and Trek are both presenting sponsors of the race. Adding to the atmosphere & excitement is debut of the Subaru Trek team's new look, and the re-designed 2011 Gary Fisher collection Superfly and Superfly100."
WORS will offer a large prize list at the Subaru Cup, with an increased size and depth of awards totaling nearly $7,000 for top finishers in the Pro XCT. Cash prizes will be awarded over 30 places in the elite men's field and over 20 places for the elite women. The elite Short Track, presented by Wheaties Fuel, will also offer racers the chance to compete for cash payouts. In total, nearly $10,000 in cash prizes will be distributed.
"WORS continues to focus on creating the ultimate environment for as many mountain bikers as possible to explore their potential through safe, fun, friendly competition," said WORS Series Director Don Edberg to Cyclingnews. "Whether you are looking for a great individual race to motivate your riding or want to immerse yourself, family and friends in the complete social and competitive experience that is WORS, we have you covered."
The Subaru Cup will be a major cycling industry gathering for the Midwest and include bike demos, displays, and free gifts for those in attendance. The WORS organization and sponsor will be offering a full slate of festival activities including tours of the race course, wake boarding, onsite camping, food, and entertainment.
Cyclingnews will be on-site to provide full coverage of the racing this weekend. Stay tuned.
International Mountainbike Race, also known as the Swiss Bike Trophy, in Bern, Switzerland, is set for this weekend, June 26-27. The HC-categorized race has attracted a talented field of World Champions, Olympic Champions and World Cup contenders to the start line. 20 nationals and all continents will be represented.
Olympic Champion Julien Absalon will race World Champion Nino Schurter, European champion Ralph Naef and World Cup stars such as Jose Hermida and Christoph Sauser in the men's cross country.
In the women's race, Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz will take on World Champion Irina Kalentieva.
The pros and amateurs will race cross country on Sunday, June 27. Amateurs can participate in a six-hour race or an uphill time trial the previous day, when kids races and a trials show with Roger Keller will also be held.
Weekend will award Colorado state gravity racing champions
The fourth round of the Mountain States Cup (MSC) heads to the Wildflower Rush in Crested Butte, Colorado, this weekend, June 26-27. Cross country racers will have 40 miles of challenging singletrack to test their endurance; gravity racers will compete for the Colorado State Championship title in downhill and four cross; and super d contestants will have an all-new course for 2010.
This year, the Wildflower Rush is being held in conjunction with Crested Butte's Fat Tire Bike Week from June 22-27, which includes an expo, clinic, yoga classes, free concert, chainless races and parties.
Cross country and the Fat Tire 40
The pro and Cat. 1 cross country racers will be treated to an epic course while Cat. 2/3 and juniors under 15 will have a proportionately challenging course with singletrack and plenty of climbing. Those looking to go big in the old school way, can compete on the Fat Tire 40 course, which is expected to take 3:15 to 3:30 to complete for pros with some amateurs taking up to six hours.
The all-new course will start in the same area at the top of the Red Lady Express chairlift.
"It will have a Leman's start to a doubletrack power climb then a sweet roller to another small power climb followed by a left turn onto the 'LUGE'," said the race director. "This is a fun, fast, flowing singletrack that is quite wide, and I'm sure a few passes will be made. This dumps you onto a road that descends for a short spell and then flattens out. After a sharp left hand turn you will have a short power climb 75 to 100 yards to Westside Trail, a singletrack that will bring you to a double track that brings you to the finish line via a short slightly ascending climb."
"I'd recommend goggles and a face mask as it is going to be a dusty one if you're not out front leading the race."
Downhill / four cross
The downhill and four cross races will serve as the 2010 Colorado State Championships. State Championship jerseys and medals will be awarded in each downhill class.
The downhill course is the same as the 2009 course with a few added rock gardens and a new finishing area with a man-made wooden step down. The trail care crew has put in quite a bit of hours improving the track.
The mountain cross course is all new this year. It will be in the same area as last year, however, numerous changes will allow for more passing and better racing. A new format will eliminate the need for qualifying and allow racers a minimum of four heats.
Hot and dry conditions are predicted for the race weekend with temperatures in the lower 70s and upper 80s (degrees Fahrenheit).