By Dave McElwaine in Windham, New York
Round five of America's National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) will take place this coming weekend, July 11-13, at Windham Mountain in the Catskills just 140 miles north of New York City. With the US National Championships at Mt. Snow, Vermont only a week away, it is expected that all the top ranked racers will use Windham to test their fitness. Many Canadians will be on hand also to prepare for their national championships in Mont-Saint-Anne, Quebec the following week.
Windham Mountain is new to the mountain biking scene, but they have been preparing new trails for over a year in anticipation of this NMBS race. They have built a 4.8 mile cross country course, complete with man-made bridges, roots, rocks, and short steep climbs. It reportedly has about 1,100 feet of climbing per lap.
Windham Communications Director, Joan Oldknow, said to Cyclingnews, "Everyone who comes down the new cross country course seems to have a smile on their face at the bottom."
Racing will take place on Windham's 730 acres and make good use of the mountain's 1,500 vertical feet of drop. With the summit only at 3,100 feet, it will level the playing field for many of the endurance cross country racers who do not live at altitude. It is expected that the terrain at Windham Mountain will be very similar to Mount Snow. At the time of this writing, the trails are reported to be relatively dry.
Three newly named US Olympians will compete at Windham, including Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB), Todd Wells (GT/Pacific Bikes), and Adam Craig (Giant). Canadian Olympians Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) and Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB) will also be in attendance. Newly crowned 4X World Champion Melissa Buhl is expected to compete as long as her thumb injury is healing properly.
The current US National short track and cross country champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven) will not attend Windham to focus on her training. It is widely expected that McConneloug will be named to the final discretionary spot on the US Olympic Mountain Bike Team.
Read the complete preview for more information on the cross country, short track, downhill, super D and dual slalom events. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage from Windham Mountain all weekend.