US Cup race organisers have announced a complete schedule of affiliated mountain bike events for 2011, including a revamped Triple Crown series, some stand-alone Triple Crown-style events, an East Coast regional series and a West Coast regional series.
The Triple Crown returns for this year but instead of featuring one race each in three regions of the country, all three races will be in California. The series starts in Bonelli Park in San Dimas on March 12-13, then moves to Soutridge Park in Fontana on March 26-27. Both of these first two rounds will double as the opening two rounds in the US Pro XCT.
The Triple Crown, with its format of super D, short track and cross country racing, will wrap up with the Santa Ynez Valley Classic in Los Olivos, California, on June 4-5.
Additionally, the US Cup has awarded some stand-alone Triple Crown-formatted events for 2011 on the East Coast. First up is the 23rd annual edition of the Massanutten HooHa! at Massanutten Resort near Harrisonburg, Virginia. The HooHa! is returning to its first weekend in June spot on the calendar, June 4-5.
"Last year, Massanutten hosted the Triple Crown Series Finals. I was blown away with how good the riding trails, short track and resort layout were," said Ty Kady, Marketing Director of the US Cup. "This year, although they won't be a final in the Triple Crown Series, [Promoter] George Willetts and staff will still put on a first class, US Cup Triple Crown stand-alone event. We are excited to be working with them again."
The second stand-alone US Cup branded Triple Crown event has been awarded to Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania. The event is slated for August 13-14, and unlike the California-based Triple Crown Series, the Bear Creek Triple Crown race format is looking to be open to both pro and amateur riders, according to events director Gary Kline.
"The beauty of co-opting with these stand-alone events is that each venue gets to keep its current scheduling, age groups, classifications and spirit of the event intact. The Bear Creek resort has a great network of riding trails, as well as first class facilities and we are excited to enter our second year with Gary Kline and his staff," said Kady
New partnership adds to regional series
New for 2011 is a partnership between the US Cup and the SERC Series, operated by Dave and Terri Berger and resulting in a 2011 US Cup East Series featuring nine events.
The already established series will still offer riders the same quality venues and events that Gone Riding Inc. is known for, but participants can also expect to see some extra US Cup branded items and awards brought to the series for 2011.
"We are pleased to have finalized our agreement with the SERC Series for 2011 and beyond. Gone Riding has been doing a great job since 1993, and we hope that with the additional US Cup support, riders and participants will walk away with a great experience." said Kady.
"This partnership is great way for the 'Cup' to give back to East Coast riders and still make financial and logistical sense for us at the same time. Riders can expect additional US Cup branded items such as awards, water bottles, national marketing and number plates, along with a 2011 SERC/US Cup East series branded champions jersey at the end of the year banquet awards."
On the left coast, the Kenda Cup West Series, a California-based series will return for 2011 and include seven events.
Finally, the US Cup will also offer select "Kenda Cup Qualifiers", races across the nation for any rider wanting to qualify for its Specialized Invitational Finals set for October 2. Official Kenda Cup Qualifiers include Clifton Forge, Virginia's Middle Mountain Momma on May 1, the Spring Thaw in Ashland Oregon on May 14 and the Test of Endurance in Blodgett, Oregon on June 19. More qualifiers may be added.
A complete schedule of stand-alone and series events is below.
US Cup Events and Series for 2011
US Triple Crown
March 12-13: Round 1 - Bonelli Park, San Dimas, California
March 26-27: Round 2 - Southridge Park, Fontana, California
June 4-5: Round 3 - Santa Ynez Valley Classic, Los Olivos, California
* will be run in conjunction with US Pro XCT series
US Cup East / SERC Series
March 20: Gainesville, Florida
April 2-3: Bryson City, North Carolina
April 17: Spartanburg, South Carolina
May 1: Winder, Georgia
May 15: Ducktown, Tennessee
May 29: Jackson, Georgia
June 12: Chattanooga, Tennessee
June 26: Clemson, South Carolina
August 6-7: Fontana, North Carolina
US / Kenda Cup West
February 27: Sage Brush Safari, Lake Morena, California
March 13: Bonelli Park, San Dimas, California
March 27: Southridge Park, Fontana, California
April 3: Sycamore Canyon Park, Riverside, California
May 22: Big Bear Shootout #1, Big Bear, California
June 5: Santa Ynez Valley Classic, Los Olivos, California
June 19: Big Bear Shootout #2, Big Bear, California
US Cup-Affliated Events (not part of any US Cup series)
May 1: Middle Mountain Momma, Clifton Forge, Virginia
May 14: Spring Thaw, Ashland, Oregon.
June 4-5: Massanutten Hoo Ha!, Harrisonburg, Virginia**
June 19: Test of Endurance, Blodgett, Oregon
August 13-14: Bear Creak, Macungie, Pennsylvania**
** Features Triple Crown Format of super D, cross country and short track
US Cup Invitational Fall Finals
October 2: Bonelli Park, San Dimas California
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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