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MTB News & Racing Round-up, November 1, 2010

Date published:
November 01, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • La Ruta de Los Conquistadores announces 2010 route

    A rider carries his bike across the railroad tracks.
    Article published:
    October 26, 2010, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    All new stage 2 course revealed

    La Ruta de Los Conquistadores organizers revealed the 400km race route, with almost 12,000m of climbing for 2010. The four-day Costa Rican stage race is coming on on November 17-20.

    The 2010 course appears to live up to the event's reputation as a challenging stage race with features such as the Irazu volcano, train trestles and the sticky mud of the Carrara National Forest ready to test racers' resolve. What's new for 2010 is a completely re-designed stage 2 course.

    Plenty of talented endurance racers are already on the roster for next month's event including Alex Grant, Sam Schultz, Rebecca Rusch and last year’s winner Manuel Prado.

    A description of stages follows:

    Stage 1: Jaco to Santana, 106km (4500m climbing)

    In a four-day stage race with as much dirt, distance and elevation gain as La Ruta offers, no stages count as easy days. However, despite the early wake-up call on day one, the first stage will begin in a relatively civilized manner.

    Racers will roll out with a short neutral start from the resort town of Jaco, a favorite of surfers for its waves and culture. The course, through the first checkpoint, will quickly build the confidence of la Ruta rookies, with its gradual climbs, wider trails and good road conditions.

    But la Ruta will throw its first punch right after that, guiding racers into Carrara national park and its seemingly countless steep, slippery climbs and descents. The 13km between checkpoints two and three will take racers almost twice as long to cover as the first 25km of the stage. After checkpoint three, with the most difficult sections of the day in the rear view mirror, it will become a race of attrition - 54k and a significant amount of climbing remain to the finish.

    Expect a group of the race's elite eight to 10 riders to emerge from Carrara together. But expect no more than three to make the final selection on the day and separate...

  • 2010 Race Across the Sky movie premiering in early November

    Rebecca Rusch (Specialized) wins and breaks the course record.
    Article published:
    October 26, 2010, 23:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Leadville 100 winner Rusch among athletes participating in pre-screening panel

    With a lead role in the 2010 Leadville 100 "Race Across the Sky" documentary, Rebecca Rusch will discuss her record-breaking 2010 Leadville win alongside other top placers. The mountain bike race documentary will be showing simultaneously at 500 theatres across the United States on November 4, with an encore presentation on November 9.

    Prior to a VIP screening in Denver on November 4, the two-time Leadville winner Rusch will join the 2010 men's champion Levi Leipheimer and other top racers in a live athlete's panel. Last year, the live panel only included male riders.

    In its second year documenting the stories and challenges of the 100-mile Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, "Race Across The Sky 2010" delves into the boom in the race's popularity among amateurs and professionals and illustrates riders' most inspiring stories of trial and triumph. The race is notoriously difficult for being run at terrain at up to 14,000 feet altitude. In 2010, approximately 1,500 athletes from 48 states and 21 countries took to the start line.

    After appearing in the original "Race Across the Sky 2009" film, Rusch is featured more thoroughly in the 2010 documentary with a film crew following her in the days leading up to the race and throughout the entire competition.

    Rusch won Leadville for the first time 2009 and then again this year. Speaking of her experience the second time around, Rusch told Cyclingnews, "The big difference was that I knew what was going on this year. Last year, I did the race as an afterthought. The 24-hour solo Worlds was my priority, and Leadville was three weeks later.

    "I didn't know the course, I hadn't pre-ridden. I didn't know anything, but what was on the printed out course profile. Yet, I rode blind but had a good ride and surprised myself."

    In contrast, Rusch chose to focus her 2010 season around Leadville. "This year it was my 'A' race for the year. I'd pre-ridden all the...

  • 2011 Cape Epic route revealed

    Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt of team Bulls 1 celebrate winning the 2010 ABSA Cape Epic during the final stage (stage eight) of the 2010 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held in and around Oak Valley in the Western Cape, South Africa.
    Article published:
    November 01, 2010, 15:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two time trials featured in eighth edition of mountain bike stage race

    Organizers have announced the route for the eighth edition of the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, and it is expected to be as challenging as in previous years. Local enthusiasts and international stars will compete from March 27 to April 3, 2011, over 707km from Tokai to Lourensford with 14,550m of climbing. 

    The route, which changes significantly each year, will lead 1,200 cyclists through vast distances of territory not previously visited by the race. With its challenging and exhilarating landscapes, new stage hosts Saronsberg (Tulbagh), Worcester and Oak Valley await racers before the finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate, where the race has concluded for the past five years. One of the most visited tourist attractions in the southern hemisphere, the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, will again play host to the opening celebrations and registration.

    "The Cape Epic has again selected some of the best terrain that the Western Cape has to offer. Our route designer, Leon Evans or as he is best known amongst riders, Dr Evil, has again found the perfect balance between exciting trails, challenging terrain and wider vistas in the pursuit of the ultimate mountain biking experience," said Kevin Vermaak, Race Director and Founder.

    "Our aim is definitely not to make the route tougher each year just for the sake of it," said Vermaak. "We aim to offer participants from around the world an awesome trail that showcases the best that the Western Cape has to offer. We want new routes, with suitable technical and challenging riding, that take the riders to new towns whilst at the same time giving the riders the most beautiful and remote scenery, and with wild animals to boot. Without the incredible support of Cape Nature Conservation, this would not be possible as they give us access to their reserves.

    "The Cape Epic has grown in popularity worldwide and is increasingly becoming an iconic endurance event. Finishing the...

  • 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike course launched

    British National Champion Maddie Horton tackles the drop.
    Article published:
    November 01, 2010, 18:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Essex course given thumbs up by UCI

    The London Organising Committee (LOCOG) revealed the partially completed mountain bike course for the 2012 London Olympic Games late last week. The 550-acre Hadleigh Farm, near Basildon, Essex, in the United Kingdom will host the race.

    Construction began in July and is expected to be finished in the spring of 2011. The venue consists of open, grassy hillsides and has few natural technical features.

    "It is fantastic to be able to see the course taking shape as our Olympic dream becomes a reality," said Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for the 2012 Games. We are committed to delivering a first class London 2012 Olympic discipline and a course that will test the world's finest Mountain Bike riders. I look forward to seeing further developments as we get closer to the 2012 Games."

    Hadleigh Farm was chosen to host the mountain bike racing after the originally proposed course in Weald Country Park was rejected in 2008 as not challenging enough.

    The UCI's Technical Delegate Peter Van den Abeele said, "Following a recent visit to the ... venue, we are extremely happy with the work that is happening on site. Great progress has been made which reflects exactly where we want to take the sport over the coming years, making the course more accessible to spectators and improving television images. We are confident that the combination of technical climbs and steep rocky descents will provide a stunning, challenging course for mountain biking and that it will be a great event in London 2012."

    Organizers have brought in 500,000 tonnes of rock and are building technical obstacles and drops to challenge racers.

    The course will have 70m in elevation gain - more elevation change than that of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, according to Bike Radar. In total, the course will cost 800,000 pounds to build.

    The course, which is on land owned by the Salvation Army and Essex County, will be...

  • Huber over the moon with second consecutive Croc Trophy win

    Urs Huber celebrates his second consecutive Crocodile Trophy win
    Article published:
    November 01, 2010, 21:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Reflections on the 2010 edition of Australia's most epic mountain bike stage race

    Around lunchtime last Thursday, 66 riders finished up the 10-day, 1200km Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race in Australia with a time trial ending at Cape Tribulation. The podium may have ended up the same as last year, with Urs Huber ahead of Bart Brentjens and Mike Mulkens, but the journey toward the podium was more suspenseful.

    "This was the most adventurous Trophy ever, with many ups and downs," said event organiser Gerhard Schönbacher. Overshadowed by the tragic death of 59-year-old Dutch rider Weit Heuker, who passed away during his sleep due to cardiovascular and circulatory failure, the race seemed plagued by all kinds of occurences that challenged the organizing crew's ability to improvise. There were course changes and a re-start due to a mudslide and high water levels in rivers and damaged support vehicles... just to name a few incidents.

    However, it may have been the most challenging edition of the race to date. "Considering the quality of riders in the lead bunch, this was probably the best Trophy of all times," said Schönbacher. In total, there were six different stage winners.

    Huber walked away with his second consecutive Croc Trophy overall title. "I am over the moon to have won the Trophy for the second time," said Huber. "After a long season with lots of highs and lows, this finish makes up for everything."

    Huber gained the lead during stage 1 and controlled the race from the front. By the final time trial, the 25-year-old Stöckli team rider had won with an advantage of 5:17. Huber raced this year without a personal support team, but said he had no regrets about sleeping in a tent and doing all the preparatory and wrenching by himself, from washing the bike to preparing his bottles in the morning. "Of course it is a lot of work. But I think, this way it suits the spirit of the Trophy even better."

    Brentjens was enthusiastic about his second attempt at the Croc Trophy....

  • Tech news: New commuter lids from Bell

    The Bell Sequence is carryover for 2011 except for new colours and graphics.
    Article published:
    November 01, 2010, 22:44 GMT
    James Huang, technical editor

    It's all about visibility with light system integration

    Successfully and safely commuting by bicycle long-term is often a matter of making sure motorists know you're there along with being aware of your surroundings and Bell's new Muni and Arella urban helmets are designed to help with both.

    As with Bell's previous Citi and Metro urban helmets, the Muni - and the smaller but similarly styled Arella women's version - sport built-in loops to accommodate optional add-on rear flashers but these models go one step further by already cleanly integrating a pair of LED lights directly into the retention system.

    Up front, the removable visor also doubles as a mount for the surprisingly bright Flea LED light from sister company Blackburn (we're trying to find out if this visor fits Bell's mountain bike helmets, too, as it'd be great for nighttime trailside repairs).

    If you're into that sort of thing, you can also attach the optional Flip Mirror, which clips directly to the visor and folds discreetly out of the way when not in use. Even without anything attached, the visor is still all-weather, commuter-friendly with channels along the periphery to funnel rainwater off to the sides.

    When all the aforementioned pieces are used together, it makes for a greatly reduced chance of accidentally leaving your lights at home. Once you're at the office, you can even charge the lights right at your computer with Blackburn's slick USB adapter.

    Bell will offer both the Muni and Arella in one size each although well thought-out strap setups look to accommodate a reasonably wide range of head shapes. Borrowing from Giro's minimal Roc Loc SL - as seen on the ultralight Prolight model - the Muni and Arella's OneStep Plus system features a simple elastic strap that stretches across the base of your skull and simplified attachments at the ears.

    Unlike the Roc Loc SL, though, the OneStep Plus will offer three different positions to help dial in the fit in lieu of multiple shell sizes. Adding to this...