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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Sunday, November 14, 2010

Date published:
November 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • WORS wins five straight titles at the Midwest Mountain Bike Championship

    Theodore Rauh at the Ohio Mountain Bike Championships race, two weeks before the Iceman Cometh
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 13:10 GMT
    Ryan O'Dell

    A race within a race at the Iceman Cometh

    For five years, The Kenda Midwest Mountain Bike Championship has been offering division winners an opportunity to compete with rival state series champions in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.

    Following the regular season, division leaders who compete in the WORS, Wisconsin Off-Road Series, Kentucky State Series, Michigan Tailwind Series, Indiana DINO Series, and Ohio OMBC Series become eligible to represent their division and state series at the Iceman Cometh Challenge. MMBC scores each state series based on the finish times of each representative, individually and collectively ranking racers in each division and each state series as a whole.

    From its inception in 2004, The Iceman has hosted the MMBC. Iceman is a 27-mile point-to-point race from Kalkaska to Traverse City, Michigan. Under the outstanding leadership of race director, Steve Brown, The Iceman celebrated its 21st anniversary becoming the largest single day mountain bike event in North America with nearly 4,000 racers making the pilgrimage to the Great Lakes state of Michigan.

    In this "lowest points wins" format, the WORS Series, with just 44 total points, topped all five participating state series. Led this year by 30-year-old Patryk Limanowicz (PACT-Dish Network) who took second in the Men's 30-31 division at 1:51:25. 14-year-old Rachel Jensen (Gear Grinder) placed third in the MYC Scholarship division for Women 12-18. Also placing third and leading his racers to 5 straight MMBC victories was none other than WORS Series Director, Don Edberg who placed third in Men 58-60 with an impressive time of 2:05:09.

    For two years now, the Ohio OMBC Series placed second led by 26-year-old Theodore Rauh (IDUTRI/Chamois Butt'r) who captured first placed in the Men's 25-27 in just 1:51:53. Four OMBC racers each placed fifth in their divisions, helping Ohio squeak past Michigan's Tailwind Series. Last year's Women's MYC Scholarship winner, 16-year-old...

  • The Smiths prepare for first stage race together in Brasil

    Brian and Jenny Smith at Flag Pass
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 21:45 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bike couple competing as a duo team for first time

    The 565km Claro Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race will kick off on Sunday, November 14 and run through November 19. It starts and ends in Mucugê - Bahia and includes over 11,000m of climbing in six days. Many racers are making the trip from abroad, including the husband and wife team of Brian and Jenny Smith. The pair will be blogging about their race experience on Cyclingnews.

    "We've both been to Brasil," said Jenny Smith, "Brian three times for Xterra Brasil events and me for Xterra Amazon. However, this is our first time together and it will be our first time racing a stage race together as a mixed team too." The couple, who lives in Gunnison, Colorado, has been married for 10 years.

    Jenny is a New Zealander, who competes in Xterra off-road triathlon and elite mountain biking events. In 2010, she finished fourth at the USA Xterra championships and was a member of the New Zealand team for the UCI mountain bike world championships. She also won the Xterra Amazon and finished first, with Rebecca Rusch in the TransAndes mountain bike stage race. Smith has previously blogged her stage race adventures for Cyclingnews at events such as the Cape Epic.

    Brian is a two-time USA Triathlon winter triathlon champion, two-time winter Xterra world champion and one of America's top off-road cyclists and triathletes. He tore his pectoralis tendon in May, requiring surgery and a summer of rehab. But the Brasil race has provided motivation for him to work back into form.

    Some of the other international riders attending the race include Martin Gujan and Christof Bischof, Ivonne Kraft, Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney.

    In late breaking news, organizers announced earlier this week that they had changed the final stage by extending it from 50km to 107km. "The cost benefit got better for the racers. They will have 50km more of riding and fun!" joked Mário Roma, organizer of the race.

    In addition to...

  • Highland Fling marathon will attract thousands

    Canberra's Shaun Lewis (Rockstar Racing) focused on the job at hand
    Article published:
    November 11, 2010, 22:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Past winners Lewis, Hatton, Russell among the favourites racing

    Two thousand mountain bikers from across Australia will travel to the Southern Highlands to race the Highland Fling on Sunday, November 14. Racers have the option of the 112km Full Fling, 100-mile and 60km Half Fling, with its snaking singletrack through the forest and farmland.

    The Highland Fling starts and finishes in the Highlands town of Bundanoon, Australia's first bottled water-free town, with an extremely competitive field vying for the Maillot Tartane (the Tartan Jersey) which goes to the winner of the Full Fling.

    Previous winners such as Shaun Lewis and Peter Hatton will be keen to take back the crown held by Craig Gordon for the past two years. Gordon is out, injured for 2010. The favourites will face stiff competition from the likes of Jason English, Matt Fleming, Andy Blair and 40 others in the elite category whilst in the women's category, Stephanie Russell will make the journey across from Western Australia to defend her title.

    While the big money goes to the Full Flingers, it's the 100-mile Flingers who win further respect, enduring an additional 55km of tough off road riding in Australia's original 100-mile mountain bike race and for the first time, there are two women in the 100-mile Fling: Katrin Van Der Speigel is going up against Vanina Vergoz.

    Undefeated four-time 100-mile men's champion Dennis Van Mil has dropped out of the race this year citing a lack of time on the bike. It will be hard to pick a winner in 2010 although Mark Fenner, John Blankenstein and local rider Brendan Den will no doubt be in the mix.

    Not all the action will be on two wheels. Two unicyclists will battle it out on the Full Fling. That's 112km on one wheel. They are competing in different categories - one in singlespeed and one in open (as his unicycle has two gears).

    For more information, visit

  • TX Active-Bianchi team roster confirmed for 2011

    Stéphane Tempier (TX-Active Bianchi) wins the French Cup in Meribel.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2010, 16:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Squad says goodbye to Paez, Caro

    With the additions of Gerhard Kershbaumer and Tony Longo, the TX Active-Bianchi team will include five men for the 2011 mountain bike season. The two will join Stephane Tempier, Cristian Cominelli and Ricardo Marinheiro, who are returning to the squad for next season.

    Kershbaumer and Longo take the place of two riders, who are leaving the team at the end of 2010: Colombians Leonardo Paez and Julio Caro. Both are marathon specialists and will return to their home country. After a successful three-year relationship with TX Active-Bianchi, multiple-time national champion Paez will try his luck at road events. He is also looking forward to recovering from an accident in April, when he fractured his left hand. Paez has yet to return to full competitive form following his injury.

    "We've enjoyed a very good time with both Leonardo and Julio and we are grateful for their commitment to our team," said team manager Massimo Ghirotto. "The TX Active-Bianchi team is proud to have had these two solid cyclists on the roster, and we wish them all the best for the future."

    Racing on Bianchi Methanol SL model bikes, the team counted 15 victories in 2010 and numerous podium appearances. The team is now committed to preparing for the next season with the long term goal of sending its riders to the 2010 Olympic Games.

    With its 2011 roster, the team is a young one, with an average rider age of just 22.

  • Armstrong racing off-road at Mellow Johnny's six-hour

    Wobbling across on a fully flatted rear, Lance Armstrong crossed the line in first, a new record of 6:28 at the 2009 Leadville.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2010, 18:01 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Updated: Seven-time Tour de France winner does endurance mountain bike race

    Lance Armstrong headed off road for a mountain bike race on Saturday near his home in Texas. The RadioShack rider was competing in the Mellow Johnny's six-hour mountain bike race, sponsored by his Austin-based bike shop, however, he ended up abandoning the race with knee trouble.

    The event kicked off at 10:00 am at Juan Pelota's ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas. In the six-hour race format, riders must complete as many laps as they can with the last rider allowed to head out for a final lap at 3:59:59 pm.

    "Psyched to race the @mellowjohnnys 6hr tomorrow @juanpelota's ranch. 6hrs on a mountain bike?? May not survive it!!" said Armstrong said in a tweet on Friday.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner has plenty of off-road racing experience, including winning the Leadville 100 in 2009. He has also competed previously at races held at the ranch.

    There are only three categories for the USAC-sanctioned event: solo men open, solo women open and two-person 80+. Armstrong is contesting the solo men's race and he was apparently headed into it well rested.

    "Getting ready for the @mellowjohnnys 6hr. Slept in so now I'm late! 10hrs of great sleep ain't bad tho," tweeted Armstrong on Saturday morning.

    Later in the day, he reported his own status as a DNF after abandoning the race.  "Been having a few knee issues of late and they flared up today. Quite a bummer. Was feeling pretty good," tweeted Armstrong.

    Juan Pelota's ranch hosted the US Pro XCT series stop on May 30. Max Plaxton (Team Sho-Air) and Georgia Gould (Luna) won. Armstrong did not compete. Last November, the ranch also hosted the Mellow Johnny's Classic, won by Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger. Armstrong did race that one and was at the front with JHK until he had to withdraw after a flat tire.

  • New Brasil stage race about to kick off in Chapada Diamantina

    Two racers on an ascent.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2010, 21:04 GMT
    Jason Sumner

    Photo gallery of pre-race images included

    Brazil's standing as a world sporting power will rise yet another level Sunday, as the first annual Claro Brasil Ride kicks off from the picturesque mountain town of Mucuge in the sprawling northeastern state of Bahia.

    The six-day mountain bike stage race adds luster to a year that's already seen the globe's fifth largest country honoured as host of the next World Cup soccer cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

    Racing kicks off at noon local time with a 13km prologue. Top riders are expected to complete the technical loop in around 40 minutes.

    The real action begins on Monday, with what's arguably the event's hardest day, a testing 86-mile trek from Mucuge to Rio de Contas. According to the race bible, total climbing on the day will exceed 11,000 feet. Ascending is spread equally across a knife-edged profile that's almost never flat. The last 40km finishes with a brutal 1772-foot grind.

    All told, racers will take on 565km challenge with over 33,000 feet of climbing.

    The first-year event is the brainchild of Mário Roma, a veteran of the mountain biking endurance game and owner of a sports communications company based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Among Roma's accomplishments are finishes at Cape Epic in South Africa, Canada's TransRockies and the BC Bike Race, Costa Rica's La Ruta, and TransAlps, which criss-crosses Europe's highest mountains.

    Roma's taken his experiences and observations from that list of great mountain bike stage races and used them as the starting point for his own creation.

    "Racers can expect a very professionally run event and a very challenging race," said Roma, who along with his wife, sister and a staff of 80 will be doting on 109 teams of two over the next week.

    The entire race is set within Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina, a massive 1520-square kilometer national park that's considered among Brazil's top scenic sights. But unlike many of North...

  • Trans Germany announces host cities

    Christoph Sauser (Specialized) wins stage 3 of the Trans Germany
    Article published:
    November 14, 2010, 17:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race to finish in new Austrian location

    The Trans Germany mountain bike stage race announced the host towns for its 2011 edition of the race on June 1-4. The specific routing between those towns is still to be determined although one new host town and a new route overall are planned.

    The race will begin in Sonthofen with stage 1, which will take racers from the Upper Allgau district capital to Pfronten. In the second stage, all participants will cross the German-Austrian border while heading to Lermoos. Stage 3 will depart from the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena and head back to Germany - specifically Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which hosted the start of the 2010 event. The final stage will go again to Austria, where the race will finish in Achensee/Maurach, which will be part of the event for the first time.

    "In 2011, we will provide high alpine routing in the German-Austrian Alpine foothills," said Anika Stephan, project manager for the Munich-based event agency in charge, Plan B. "We are glad that we can rely on the help of our experienced 2010 stage towns as well as having found an Austrian finish town again, Achensee/Maurach."

    With detailed route planning still in its early stages, Stephan gave one hint on what is coming. She said racers should expect major changes to the stage from Pfronten to Sonthofen, which will be ridden in the opposite direction of last year.

    For more information on the race or to register, visit 1,200 total spots are open for racers on a first come, first served basis.

  • Best-ever women's field for La Ruta

    Angela Parra Sierra (Colombia)
    Article published:
    November 14, 2010, 21:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four-time winner Kobin to be challenged by Rusch, Rojas, Parra, Madrigal

    The women's race at La Ruta de los Conquistadores, a four-day mountain bike stage race that traverses Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Carribean coast, promises to be a great battle. The race starts on Wednesday, November 17 and finishes on Saturday, November 20.

    This year top endurance athletes, including Americans Rebecca Rusch and Louise Kobin, Colombian Angela Parra and local Costa Rican favorites Adriana Rojas and Ligia Madrigal, will compete in one of the toughest mountain bike stage races in the world.

    La Ruta co-owner, Pipa Leon, is very excited about the great line-up of women competing in La Ruta. "La Ruta is an adventure that is a perfect fit for the mind and body of an extreme female endurance athlete. It is an experience that women will enjoy, and a race where they can excel year after year."

    Kobin, Rojas, Parra, Madrigal, and Rusch have won many extreme endurance races around the world and each of them has experience riding in the diverse and challenging terrain found in Costa Rica.

    Kobin has the most direct experience as a four-time La Ruta winner (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009) and she finished second twice (2006, 2007). The six-time participant missed one year, when she had a broken foot.

    Another American, Rusch took fourth when she raced La Ruta in 2005. This summer, she won the Leadville 100 and set a new women's course record.

    Rusch is looking forward to the La Ruta challenge this year. "Now that I have more experience and knowledge of bike racing, I want to come back and see if I can improve on my placing," said Rusch. "La Ruta is also one of the oldest and most known endurance mountain bike events, so I have to come back and try again."

    Rojas took first place at La Ruta in 2009 while her compatriot Madrigal is the Costa Rican marathon national champion and she previously finished second at La Ruta in 2005. Madrigal is a key member of top adventure racing teams in the area.