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MTB News & Racing Round-up, October 8, 2009

Date published:
October 08, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • 24-hour junkies flocking to Fort William

    Just a few days remain until the Relentless 24 near Fort William, Scotland.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2009, 15:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Relentless 24 coming up this weekend, October 10-11

    Hundreds of mountain bikers will flock to the Outdoor Capital of the UK this weekend, October 10-11, for the Relentless 24, a 24-hour race in the Nevis Range and Leanachan Forest, near Fort William, Scotland.

    Just making it around the testing course in one piece will not be enough for racers; instead they will aim to complete as many laps as possible throughout the day and on into the night and next morning.

    "With the huge diversity of routes available to us we have conjured up another cracker this year," said Frazer Coupland of No Fuss Events. "It includes sections of the World Cup Witch's Trail and even some sections from the first Relentless back in 2006."

    "The technical climbs are hard but fair and there are brilliant singletrack descents as a reward. I am so chuffed with this year's course I have entered a team myself. Why should I miss out on all the fun?"

    Organizers have planned a course that should hold up in wet or dry conditions.

    Solo racer and teams of two, three or four may compete. The action will kick off at noon on Saturday with a Le Mans start including up to 300 riders.

    For more information, visit

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  • Record numbers attend Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

    This kid tries out some trails.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2009, 15:30 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Participation doubles for events held in 12 countries

    Thousands of kids participated in events around the world as part of the International Mountain Bike Association's Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TAKMBD). On Sunday, October 3, local clubs organized 167 community events to get more kids on mountain bikes on their local trails.

    Events were held across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and New Zealand.

    At least 7,100 kids participated according to IMBA's Communications Director, Mark Webber. That's how many kids were signed up as of September 15, the deadline for official registration. "We had events in 12 countries and in just about every state in the Lower 48 of the US," said Webber to Cyclingnews. It was the largest turnout in the TAKMBD's six-year history.

    "The program has been so successful that we can barely keep up," said Webber of the administrative and event planning support provided by IMBA. "We'll have to look at what we'll do next year. We want to bring in additional sponsor dollars to support the program." From 2008 to 2009, participation in terms of riders doubled and the number of events grew 39 percent.

    Each event is slightly different - details of the organization are left up to local promoters. For example, at a TAKMBD in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 40 kids of all ages participated in a bicycle safety exercise sponsored by city police before joining local Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition volunteers for a mountain bike ride on singletrack and some time on the pump track. Some kids were loaned helmets and bicycles so they could participate while others rode their personal bikes. Kids could participate in rides of varying lengths and difficulties.

    TAKMBD celebrates the life of Jack Doub, an avid teenage mountain biker from North Carolina who had a true passion for the sport from an early age to the time when he passed away in 2002.


  • Mulally and Bourque lead Gravity East Series

    The 2009 Gravity East Series is almost ready to ride into the sunset.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2009, 17:20 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Plattekill hosting final round this weekend, October 9-11

    As racers prepare to battle the trails at New York's Plattekill Mountain for double points and season championships at this weekend's Gravity East Finals on October 9-11, it's useful to not only look at the who's on top of the chart, but also how they got there.

    When the chairlift was turned on at Massanutten, Virginia, back in the beginning of May, few realized the impact the sophomore year of Gravity East would have. Since then, 94 men and women have scored points in the pro downhill classes alone. A total of 1,620 entries (up 32 percent from last year, with one race still remaining) have pulled to the start of at least one Gravity East race this year in both pro and amateur categories. The best of the best, however, have been Dawn Bourque, Karen Eagan and, of course, Neko Mulally.

    After her win at last week's race at Mount Snow, Eagan has a commanding lead in the women's dual slalom standings. With only a 10th place finish needed for Eagan to clinch, the season title could be decided in qualifying.

    On the downhill side of the women's standings, Bourque missed the first three races of the season before going on a five-race win streak, eventually finishing with six wins and a second place out of seven races. Bourque needs only a fifth place finish to clinch the Gravity East trophy, but first she needs to show up and survive a run on the treacherous trails of the mountain nicknamed "Splattekill". Eagan is waiting in the wings. The likely dual slalom champ has shown she's capable of winning the championships in both disciplines when she beat Bourque, and everybody else, in the downhill at Blue Mountain, Pennsylvania, two weeks ago.

    The star of this Gravity East season, though, is unquestionably Neko Mulally. With 300 points in the dual slalom championship, compared to just 133 for second-place Kyle Sanger, the only way Mulally can lose the championship is if his competitors can keep him off the property, since Gravity...

  • "Best Stage Ever" to open Croc Trophy

    The Crocodile Trophy will hit the hills for stage one of the 2009 edition.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2009, 21:40 BST
    John Flynn

    Plenty of climbing on tap for the race's highest stage yet

    Crocodile Trophy Supremo Gerhard Schoenbacher gave a spirited seal of approval to the opening stage for the 2009 edition of Australia's iconic international mountain bike race, which is set to take the event to new heights as it tests protagonists from October 20-29.

    Conducting his traditional pre-race reconnaissance, Schoenbacher joined rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for a personal tour of the stage one parcours, which will take in a hand-picked selection world heritage-listed wet tropics rainforest.

    The 90-kilometre journey from the tropical oasis city of Cairns to Lake Tinaroo on Australia's Tropical Tableland will include close to 2,400 metres of climbing, making it the highest mountain stage in the history of the race and one that can only be described in its purest form as cross country mountain biking.

    "Over the 15 years of the race, I think this is our best stage ever," Schoenbacher said as he surveyed the backdrop for the stage one campsite at Downfall Creek on Lake Tinaroo.

    "This stage has everything and I mean everything for the riders."

    When the international peloton, headed by former World and Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens, rolls out of Cairns on October 20, riders will be confronted with what is arguably the toughest climbing assignment ever served up in an Australian mountain bike stage race.

    The ascending will begin with a comparatively easy 15 kilometres on the famed "Copperlode" climb to Lake Morris, in the heavily rainforested mountains behind Cairns. From there, the gradient will double as riders are confronted with pitches of close to 20 percent gradient when they negotiate the Bridle Creek track en-route to Davies Creek National Park.

    There will be some brief respite as the race rolls across the farmland of the Tropical Tableland, but the best will be saved for last on the climb of Mount Edith, the highest unsealed road in Queensland, with the summit at 1,200...

  • Crowne Plaza Canberra team challenging at Scott 24-hour race

    The countdown is on for the Scott 24-hour race in Canberra, Australia.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 20:06 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Henderson, Haas, Braunsteins, McConnell want elite title

    Local favourite Ben Henderson has teamed up with Nathan Haas, Daniel Braunsteins and Daniel McConnell to ride for Crowne Plaza Canberra as a men's four-man elite team in this weekend's Scott 24-Hour mountain bike race in Canberra, Australia.

    Henderson, Haas and Olympian McConnell are in fine form after riding in the recent UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, also held at Stromlo Park, Canberra, in September.

    The hotly contested four-man team category was dominated last year by Team GU SRAM Niteriders, who will this year be without the controversial rider Chris Jongewaard.

    Jongewaard was last year's winner of the GU Prologue, and his absence will open the floor for a new king of speed. Sid Taberley placed second to Jongewaard in last year's prologue and will be flying back from the US to claim his place as the fastest man on the mountain.

    Paul Shaw, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Crowne Plaza Canberra, is confident in the ability of the new team. This is the first year that Crowne Plaza Canberra has entered an elite team in the Scott 24-hour race, and it could be the first year a non-bike industry team takes the title.

    "The Scott 24-Hour is a stalwart of the Canberra cycling scene, and Crowne Plaza Canberra is excited to be putting forward such a strong team. If I was a betting man, my dollars would be on the Crowne Plaza team to dominate!" said Shaw.

    The Scott 24-Hour will kick off with a prologue on Saturday morning, October 10, followed by the main endurance race. There are over 400 solo riders and over 2,000 team riders competing.

    Over the weekend riders and spectators alike will enjoy a range of exciting entertainment including demonstrations, kids races as well as a trade show showcasing the latest mountain biking accessories, gadgets, and bikes.

    For more information, visit

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  • Granny Award nominees selected

    Sven Nys (Belgium) continues to improve as an XC rider. He was challenging for fifth until the final two laps.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 20:34 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Best Dutch and Belgium mountain bikers of the year nominated

    Nominees for the Granny Awards, which go to the best mountain bikers of the year in Belgium and the Netherlands, have been announced. Final winners for each category will be revealed on November 7.

    On Thursday, award organizers released a list of nominees in two categories: one is a Belgian national-level award based on performances at Benelux national-level series races and another is for both Dutch and Belgian racers racing well internationally. For 2009, more Dutch than Belgian riders were nominated for the international award.

    International - Level Award Nominees

    Elite men
    Sven Nys (Bel)
    Rudi Van Houts (Ned)
    Bas Peeters (Ned)
    Roel Paulissen (Bel)
    Jelmer Pietersma (Ned)

    Under 23 men
    Sebastien Carabin (Bel)
    Henk Jaap Moorlag (Ned)
    Tom Meeuwsen (Bel)
    Irjan Luttenberg (Ned)
    Niels Wubben (Ned)

    Elite women
    Laura Turpijn (Ned)
    Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)
    Githa Michiels (Bel)
    Arielle Van Meurs (Ned)
    Kristien Nelen (Ned)

    (Belgian) National-level Award Nominees

    Elite men
    Patrick Gaudy
    Jimmy Tielens
    Hans Urkens
    Nicolas Vermeulen
    Kevin Van Hoovels

    Elite women
    Nancy Bober
    Sanne Cant
    Joyce Vanderbeken
    Kristien Nelen
    Petra Mermans

    Jens Scheurmans
    Laurens Sweeck
    Jens Vandekinderen

    Under 23 men
    Olivie Labie
    Tim Wijnants
    Sebastien Carabin
    Nick Daems
    Tom Meeusen

    Junior men

    Bart De Vocht
    Jeff Luyten
    Ruben Scheire

    Master 1 men
    Gerrit Delfosse
    Telly Parys
    Peter Verstraete

    Master 2 men

    Patrick Wellens
    Erik Evers
    Ronny Geerts...

  • Danielson heads to Roc d'Azur

    Tom Danielson (Garmin - Slipstream).
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 20:50 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Garmin-Slipstream road pro will enjoy some time on the dirt

    Garmin-Slipstream's Tom Danielson will be spending a little time getting dirty this weekend. The American professional road racer is travelling to the Roc d'Azur in France, where he will participate in some of the non-competitive, organized mountain bike rides.

    Danielson is not planning to race. Instead, the weekend will be all about riding for fun.

    "I'd like to race it, but I'm going to do the Giro di Lombardia next, and I'm just coming off some broken ribs at the Vuelta a Espana, so racing probably isn't the best idea," said Danielson to Cyclingnews from the airport as he prepared to travel to Europe.

    Danielson lives in Durango, Colorado, a well-known destination among mountain bikers. Last month, Durango hosted the Singlespeed World Championships. The Garmin rider had heard about the Roc d'Azur from another Durango legend, former mountain bike pro Ned Overend. "I'm excited to check it out," said Danielson.

    "Racing the Roc d'Azur is on my list for the future," said Danielson. "Mountain biking is one of my favorite off-season activities. I grew up mountain bike racing, and it's a passion of mine. I'd love to do some races again... maybe if my season ever ends sooner..."

    It will be Danielson's first time at Roc d'Azur, a multi-day festival of racing and non-competitive events and expos. Elite racers will compete in a marathon on Friday, October 9, and in cross country races over the weekend, October 10-11. Amateur races and rides are scheduled from Wednesday through Sunday.

    Racing mountain bikes for what little is left of the 2009 season is out of the question for Danielson, though.

    "With my racing calendar, I've been racing (on the road) since the beginning of February," said Danielson. "The Giro di Lombardia isn't until the end of October, and then I will have to let my body recover given that it's such a long season."

    Danielson will be riding a new mountain bike from his road...