Sunday, April 30, 2006

ROADTRIP: Somba Spring Thaw (Oregon)

Since it is a light week of racing here in NorCal this weekend (not a slight to the Coolest 24 people, I'm just figuring that there are a limited number of nuts who do 24 hour racing :> ), I'm featuring a few non NorCal MTB racing events.

The Southern Oregon Mountain Bike Association welcomes mountain bikers for two days of racing at the 2006 SOMAB Spring Thaw in Ashland, OR on May 6th and 7th, 2006. Part of the BreakAway MTB Racing Series, the races are Southern Oregon's largest MTB events. The cross-country (XC) race on Saturday is 10 - 25 mile events (depending on category) consisting of singletrack, rolling hils and screaming descents. The downhill (DH) race covers 1.7 miles consisting of "course has plenty of technical sections, tight switchbacks, a couple of all-out straight sections, and the last 60 yards is a slight uphill to the finish."

Registration is available at until May 4th, 2006.

Slippery Eel Results Posted

The Trinity River Pirates have posted the results from this weekend's Slippery Eel chainless downhill event.

Congratulations to Jared Delong (Lost Coast Art Gallery) who posted 4:00 and 4:01 runs to beat Hank Matteson (SWD Racing / Trinity River Pirates) and Jake Todd (Revolution Bicycle Repair).

I'll update this post if I see any pictures. Pictures are up !

Friday, April 28, 2006

Norcal Racing This Weekend: Apr 29 - Apr 30, 2006

Just a few races on the schedule this weekend and they are all up north:
Billy Cross Racing has events on both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is for high schoolers.

The Lemurian is on Saturday. If you are riding XC this weekend, you should be up there.

The Slippery Eel downhill race is also up north.
Good luck everyone.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


While I couldn't race this week (I'm travelling through Argentina at the moment), it looks like they had another great weeknight of racing out at Prairie City. Results up here and photos over there. It looks like another set of aerial photos too.

2007 Sea Otter Dates

Yes, it's never to soon to plan for next year. And in that spirit, the 2007 Sea Otter Classic will be held from April 12 - 15 in Monterey, California.

In fact, as bad as my season has gone, I am actively looking forward to 2007.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2006 Shasta Lemurian Update

Just wanted to post some updated information about this weekend's 2006 Shasta Lemurian.

The race organizers have posted some great course maps. Here is a link to the KML file for the Lemurian long course. KML files load in Google Earth (coolest. free. program. ever.) GPS plots the course against the terrain. Below is a terrain projection of the course (click to enlarge).

Organizers have also posted some great pictures of the course over at MTBR. Take a gander at this thread for the pics. They also have some PDF course maps over at the registration site.

The 2006 Shasta Lemurian will be held April 29th (this Saturday) at Whiskeytown NRA near Redding, CA. It is a variable distance XC race (between 8 and 26 miles depending on category) and costs $35 per rider. More details are available here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Norcal Racing This Week: Apr 25 - Apr 28, 2006

Go get a nice mid-week tune-up before this weekend's heavy race schedule:
Tomorrow (WEDNESDAY) marks another Prairie City Race (PCRS#4). Last week's race was perfect and it doesn't look bad this week, so get there early to register if you haven't raced before. Riders do a varying amount o 4 mile laps (course varies weekly) depending on category. Registration starts at 4:15 PM and costs $25 (subsequent races cost $10). Make sure to come out to Prairie City (near Folsom, CA) for your enduro-style XC racin'.

THURSDAY night is the second race in the Reno Wheelmen's Twilight MTB series in Reno, NV. This week's XC race will be held at Keystone [ MAP ]. The race costs $10 with onsite registration and starts at 6:30 PM.
Keep the rubber side down.

HubTV Player with Brian Lopes

So I hate to do this since Macromedia Flash players don't seem to work very well on all browsers, but the Bay Area-based HubTV has started posting more MTB videos that can be embedded on blogs. This one, an interview with Brian Lopes during the 2006 Sea Otter Classic, seemed especially cool.

HubTV regularly airs MTB videos over at their site, many times focusing on the NorCal freeriding scene.

Monday, April 24, 2006

RACE REPORT: 2006 Iron Angels

So I haven't seen any actual results on this, but there are some good photos over at MTBR. I'll update this with results as soon as they are posted.

RACE REPORT: 2006 Napa Valley Dirt Classic

So they have posted the results from the 2006 Napa Valley Dirt Classic. In the Pro category, Aren Timmel (Soulcraft) edged Jason Moeschler and last year's winner Mark Weir by one and two minutes respectively. I like how the NVDC has all the racers run the same course so that you can compare all the times -- I like how some of the begineers would have placed in the top five in some of the sport divisions. They've all posted some of the official photography.

There are also some race reports over at MTBR.

Below is the satellite map following Mark Weir's race.

UPDATE (04/25/06): The SFist has a race report.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cool Race Against Cancer 24 hr Race

I kinda forgot to update the details for the Coolest 24 Hour “Race Against Cancer” that I announced last month. This 24 hour endurance XC race will be held in Cool, CA (east of Sacramento near Auburn) on the Olmstead Loop trail (same as the Cool MTB race course). Held between noon on Saturday, May 6th and the following noon on Sunday May 7th, teams (or solo riders) will compete to complete the most number of laps (per 24 Hours of Andrenalin rules).
Event: The Coolest 24
Dates: May 5th - 6th, 2006
Location: Cool, CA [ Directions ]
Competition: MA (Endurance)
Cost: $130/rider
License: none
This event benefits the Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Downieville DH Registration Closed

That was fast. According to the online registration page, The Downieville Classic downhill (DH) competition is already closed to amateurs. From the website:
Registration for the Downieville Downhill is closed to all DH classes, except ALL-MOUNTAIN PRO CLASS. We have held a few spots for the ALL-MOUNTAIN PRO CLASS to ensure a high level of competition.
Well, you still can enter the XC point to point race.

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Rainbow Ridge TV Commercial ?

So I don't know if I should be in awe or simply stupified by this. Behold the Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge TV commercial:
Watch the Rainbow Ridge TV Commercial
So, sure it's in Windows Media Player format (if your on a mac you may have to save it to your hard drive before viewing), but how many MTB races have you actually seen with their own TV commercial ? That desert singletrack making me think about driving into Nevada this weekend.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Norcal Racing This Weekend: Apr 22 - Apr 23, 2006

Four different races in three different directions from my house, but all on Sunday (4/23/06):
In the North Bay, we have two XC races: The annual Napa Valley Dirt Classic and third weekend of Billy Cross races (Billy Cross #4 at Boggs for those of you keeping track). This weekend's Billy Cross race will be held at Boggs Mountain (near Cobb, CA) and will be another XC race. Registration is held onsite and costs $30 (no NORBA license needed).

The Napa Valley Dirt Classic is a 22 mile circuit XC race held in Angwin, CA (north of Napa, CA). Registration is $35 (plus $5 NORBA one day license if needed) and online registration at closes Friday night just before midnight. There is also race day registration available. Check out some trail condition pictures over at MTBR.

Moving north of here, the Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge (the first race in the Northern Nevada MTB Cup series) will be held in Fallon, NV (just east of Reno). This XC race is being held on a 6.1 mile track with multiple laps depending on class. Online registration at closes tomorrow (4/21/06) just before midnight.

South of here in the Central Valley, Velo Promo's Iron Angels (also called the Glory Hole race) is being held south of Angels Camp, CA. Held on a seven mile loop, this XC race will also have multiple laps depending on category. Registration is $25 (I think) plus NORBA one-day fees (if applicable) and can be handled onsite. There is also a high school racing event held that day. Check out some recent pictures of the course on MTBR.
The weather might be a little iffy, depending where you are racing this weekend. I've seen forecasts ranging from dry with intermittent rain to full on downpours, so plan accordingly.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006


So this will be an extended race report for the Prairie City Race Series #3 since (a) I had someone with me to take pictures (thanks kelly) and (b) I got a new GPS unit that mapped this week's course. Let's start with the track: PCRS#3 was a dry, fast and short course. Measuring only 2.72 miles and 315 feet of climbing per lap, the pace was fast and ferious from the initial downhill. The only real problematic area were a set of rollers towards the last third of the course - it often piled up with slower riders and/or crashes. There was also a small bit of mud but nothing to complain about.

With the nice weather (temps in the mid sixties), there was a huge turnout. I think I heard over the PA that there were 216 riders tonight. I seemed like the everyone had decided that today was the day to try their hand at the beginners category. Kelly said there were scads of them tonight.

PCRS#3: Final Stretch

However, like any good race, I had to lay my bike down somewhere. Today, I had my most terrifying crash this year -- I tiggered over a set of whoop-dee-doops went headlong into a erosion ravine and stacked at about 25 miles per hour. In fact, I crashed so hard (a) I believe the woman behind me gasp'd when I hit and (b) I thought I might have taco'd my front wheel (or head). Luckily, it looked far worse than it was, and after a few seconds to figure out which way I should be riding, I was back on my way. On the minus side, my crash happened right in front of a bunch of photographers, so you might see some graphic pictures over on the Race MTB site. Overall, I thought this was one of my better race -- mostly because the shorter, less climbing courses favor my larger size, but also because I felt that I was in better shape after the last week or two of solid good weather and racing. I even had negative lap times for the last two laps (yeah).

PCRS#3: Crossroads

Oh yeah, when they post the results, you need to check out the aerial photos page to see the UFO camera footage.


More photos from PCRS#3 are posted at the PCRS site. I'll link to results when they get posted (usually Thursday night). Results are posted here.

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Norcal Racing This Week: Apr 19 - Apr 21, 2006

Only one race on the mid-week schedule this week:
Tonight (WEDNESDAY) is the third Prairie City Race Series (PCRS#3) race. After two weeks of overcast (but dry) conditions, this week is going to be just perfect. Forecast for the Sierra hills are high 70s with lots of sunshine. So you may not get double points tonight, but you will get a great race. The PCRS is a Sacramento area local XC race series held on Wednesday nights. Riders do a varying amount of 4 mile laps depending on category. Registration starts at 4:15 PM and costs $25 (subsequent races cost $10). Make sure to come out to Prairie City (near Folsom, CA) tonight for your enduro-style XC racin'.
There's talk of rain in the forecast this weekend, so don't miss your chance to race on actual dirt instead of mud this spring.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Iron Angels Is On

So after calling them out that I didn't think they were going to have the race this weekend, Velo Promo has posted details for the 2006 Iron Angels MTB race this morning. This XC race will be held south of Angels Camp, CA (east of Stockton) at Glory Hole Recreation Area. The course is described as "a 7+ mile rolling loop starting & finishing at the parking lot. Most of the loop is single and double track established mountain bike trails (that hold up well even wet)." Begineers will do two laps, Sport will do three laps and expert/pro will do four laps. Racing begins in waves at 9:00 AM, registration opens at 8 AM.
Event: Iron Angels
Dates: April 23rd, 2006
Location: Angels Camp, CA [ approx MAP ]
Competition: XC
Cost: $25 (?)
License: NORBA (one day licenses available)
Registration: onsite
For those of you wondering, the Iron Angels race takes the place of the previously scheduled Glory Hole race. Iron Angels was cancelled back in March due to poor trail conditions.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Downieville Registration Opens Tonight!

the Downieville Classic, NorCal's and America's premiere downhill event, opens registration for the 2006 race tonight at 8:00 PM PDT. Electronic registration is available at:
The Downieville Classic is a weekend festival of riding and racing, featuring possibly the world's most famous downhill and a point-to-point XC course. You can view record holder Mark Weir's 2005 downhill run over at Motionbased's blog.

RACE REPORT: Reno Wheelmen's TMTB#1 Results

The Reno Wheelmen have posted the results to Twilight MTB race #1 from last week. This race was held at Hidden Valley outside Reno, NV.

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2006 Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge

Okay, so I kinda missed the boat on this one, but I figure its better to post it late than never: The Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge will be held this weekend, April 23rd, 2006 in Fallon, Nevada (just east of Reno). A NORBA sanctioned event, this XC race is also the kickoff of the Northern Nevada MTB Cup series. The course is stated as "This event is Cross Country with 6.1 miles loop with Pro/Semi-pro riders 3 2 laps, Expert & Sport riders 2 laps, Beginners riders 1 lap, and Junior riders ½ lap. This is very technical course with some climbing over jeep trails and extreme drops over single track." Entry is $45 with NORBA license.
Event: Jetway Chevrolet Rainbow Ridge Challenge
Dates: April 23rd, 2006
Location: Fallon, Nevada (just east of Reno)
Competition: XC
Cost: $45
License: NORBA (one day licenses available)

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Late April Race Updates

Here are some updates on some of the races scheduled through the end of this month:
I'm heading out to the Napa for the Dirt Classic next weekend (assuming that it isn't raining buckets like today), so I should have some more updates this week.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006

2006 Pine Nut Cracker

The Alta Alpina Cycling Club has announced their 2006 Pine Nut Cracker will be held on Saturday, May 20th, 2006 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Gardnerville, Nevada. The race, the second competition in the Northern Nevada Regional Championship series, will be a NORBA sanctioned cross country (XC) event.

The course is described as "great epic loops with plenty of climbing, exciting single track, exhilarating descents, and some of the best dirt Mother Nature has to offer." It will vary in length between 10 and 30 mile depending on category: Beg / Sport / Clydes will do 1 lap, Pro / Semi / Exp / SS will do 2 laps.
Event: Pine Nut Cracker
Dates: May 20th, 2006
Location: Gardnerville, NV [ MAP ]
Competition: XC
Cost: $30 ($10 for juniors)
License: NORBA (one day licenses available)
Registration: via mail (see site)
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Friday, April 14, 2006

PRODUCT REVIEW: Cannondale Rush

So this isn't NorCal related, but the folks over at The Biking Hub have posted a review of the Cannondale Rush under race conditions. This is a lot better than the usual "I rode it through the parking lot off a few curbs" kinda review -- he actually used it in the Paris To Ancaster race in Canada last weekend.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


So I fought off my sore body, radar-induced rain fear and piles of work to haul my ass out to Prairie City for the PCRS #2 race tonight. I hadn't made the first race last week (I was sick), so I felt too guilty to skip another one.
PCRS#2 Finish Line
And I am glad I did. Weather radar said that a storm front was moving in, but it was slow moving and we didn't have a drop of rain until most of the people had already finished. The course had muddy parts, but the organizers kept us off many of them, making for a enjoyable course. I had forgotten how much fun these races are, but as soon as it started I remember instantly.
PCRS#2 Finisher
The week's course was the "to the right and down the hill" layout, which makes for a really fast start (all swoopy downhill for about 1 mile, then a short steep climb to string every one out). The course was only about 3.5 miles tonight and I thought I did alright -- I certainly didn't end up walking anywhere and I would say I passed more people than passed me. I only kept with my categories lead group for the first 3/4 of the first lap, but I don't think that is that bad since I raced Sea Otter on Sunday. My only real regret is that I didn't get any big air off the jump where one photographer was laying for an ant's perspective.

I'll post results and photo links as soon as I see them. Photos are posted here. Results are posted too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Norcal Racing This Week(end): Apr 12 - Apr 16, 2006

So we have a nice schedule of racing this week(end) for people of all abilities living in different parts of NorCal:
Tonight (WEDNESDAY) marks the second Prairie City Race (PCRS#2). Last week's race was relatively dry, but it's scattered rain today, so it might get a bit muddy (double points!). Riders do a varying amount of 4 mile laps depending on category. Registration starts at 4:15 PM and costs $25 (subsequent races cost $10). Make sure to come out to Prairie City (near Folsom, CA) for your enduro-style XC racin'.

Tomorrow (THURSDAY) is the opening race in the Reno Wheelmen's Twilight MTB series in Reno, NV. This week's XC race will be held at Hidden Valley [ MAP ]. The race costs $10 with onsite registration and starts at 6:30 PM.

This weekend (SATURDAY) features the delayed start of the Billy Cross XC Racing Series at Lake Sonoma [ MAP ]. Registration starts at 8 AM, racing at 10 AM and onsite registration costs $30. This is a NORBA sanctioned event, so 1 day licenses are available for an additional $5.
Let's stay dry out there.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

RACE REPORT: 2006 Sea Otter Final Roundup

So after four or five days of all Sea Otter, all the time, this is the last (I hope) post about the event. Below is a list of link for photos, race reports and news on this year's Sea Otter Classic:
If I missed anything, drop me an email at norcalmtbracing AT gmail DOT com.

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2006 Sea Otter Product Roundup

So I have really just focused on the racing for most of my posts, but the Sea Otter is far more than just a race. With about 100 vendors on hand, many manufacturers take the chance to show off their new 2006 wares. Both of the major trade magazine sites had some good roundups:

Sea Otter Marketplace

I also staggered around the marketplace for a good while on Sunday (trying to stay out of the rain). Here is a sampling of my picture and thoughts about some of the new kit:
  • Shimano had their 2007 XTR on display. Aside from the new "X" aesthics, Shimano hopes that it will start to reclaim some of the industry buzz away from SRAM's X0 series. Overall, I don't get that excited by the super high end bling components, as I was much more interested what was going to trickle down to the more affordable XT or LX lines. It looks like a lot -- already were are seeing external bearings on the LX cranks. The one XTR component addition that I really liked was the new XTR pedals. It's about time that Shimano started producing a pedal comparable with some of the smaller vendors. SRAM also intro'd some new kit, but I didn't get a chance to see it. The Biking Hub has some good links to news about both the Shimano and SRAM components.
  • Crank Bros new Smarty pedal: $59 sealed cartridge platform pedal that was advertised to weigh in around 289g per pedal (which are lighter than the Candy SL). Unlike the Candy pedals, these pedals aren't rebuildable. The rep at their tent said that these pedals were a low end entry into the market.
  • My favorite booth for the high end bikes was the Titus Cycles tent. They not only had my current wish bike (Titus RacerX), they even had it in the ultra-pricey ExoGrid frame. Nice.
  • I didn't get a chance to slip into Santa Cruz for Saturday night's premiere of Roam, but Pink Bike got the pictures.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

RACE REPORT: 2006 Sea Otter (Day 4)

Pro XC Starting Line

So by the time I had finished my XC race, stuffed a burrito the size of a football into my face and grabbed a Sierra Nevada, the Pros were lining up to start their race. While it had been beautiful all morning, it started to turn ugly as it approached noon. The temperature dropped sharply and a cold drizzle started to fall. I siddled up close to the retaining bar and snapped a few pics of the top pros as they lined up. The one thing that struck me was, Geoff Kabush is big guy. I mean I don't shop in the petite section, but Geoff looked like football player next to the other riders. It was heartening to see someone who didn't weigh 150lbs doing well as a pro.

Geoff Kabush @ Sea Otter

Alas, this didn't appear to help him as Liam Killeen came in to the finish almost alone with a lot of chase riders a minute or so back. The race must have been a test for the riders, as both the course and the weather conspired against them. I was going to stick around for the ladies race, but between the beer and the weather it just got too cold.

Here is a roundup of the other news:

RACE REPORT: My 2006 Sea Otter XC

So after a few days of watching other people race, Sunday brought my Sea Otter event, cross country (XC). After days of me predicting doom and gloom about a soggy course, Saturday was a beautiful, dry day and Sunday started off the same. Although cold (it was barely 40F when I stopped for coffee in Seaside at 6:00 AM), there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It would stay this way all Sunday morning for the amateur races.

The race organizers had done wonders with the course. Other than just a few bogs of mud scattered around the course, the ground alternated between moist pack, sand and hardpack in a nice variety. The idiot announcers said that the promoters had trucked in a bunch of dirt, but I have no idea if it was true. Whether it was that, or two days of dry weather, it was hard to complain about the course itself.

The course starts on the Leguna Seca raceway, curves up and around the corner then heads for singletrack. For anyone that does large NorCal XC races, it follows the standard layout: starting on asphalt, narrow to singletrack climb, swoopy descent, rolling hills, big sustained climb bringing you to downhill finish. Clocking in at 20 miles per lap, the Sea Otter was no different.

I started off pretty well. Middle of the pack for my cat/age group on the track, moved up on the short singletrack climb, and barrelled through the descent. Unfortunately as we started to hit the first of the uphill climbs, my front wheel started to wobble. A simple tightening of the quick release solved it, but cost me a few seconds and let some slower climbers ahead of me.

Although it had been cold at the start of the race, it quickly got pretty warm and humid. I must not have been drinking/eating enough because around mile 10, I got caught behind someone who stacked going uphill and when I dismounted, I could barely stand due to cramps. I walked it off (and it was better pedaling than walking), but I couldn't shake them the rest of the race. Several times, I had to unwind my calf on the sustained climbs. It would have been really nice to have more than one water aid stand.

Mile 15 was the start of the real test. Basically, from there to the finish is a series of steep, sustained climbs meant to crush your spirit. And it did. At one point, bodies were strewn alongside the trail of people who had either blown up or cramped out. I was able to take all this in well, as I was only pedaling about 4 miles per hour. I think the worst part of the last climb wasn't even the climb itself. It was really the people who kept telling the riders "last hill, push for it", when they knew damn well we had 2 miles of climbing left. Ignoring them, I dug deep, finished the climb, raged through the short swoopy section that led back to the racetrack and sprinted downhill to the finish with a group of about 5 guys.

While I finished well, well back in the standings, I thought I had a decent race for the first major of the season. Of course, the guy in the Otter costume in the picture to left probably beat me, but everything is relative.

Race results for the amateur XC are posted here.

RACE REPORT: 2006 Sea Otter (Day 3 Roundup)

Okay, so I got really lazy last night after a really long day at the Sea Otter. But it was such a nice day (probably the best day in the last month or so), that I am sure I wasn't the only one. In fact, the race results are still waiting to be posted, but I did see the Dual Slalom finals. Kathy Pruit won the Pro Women's Dual Slalom over Katrina Miller and Nicholas O'Neil beat Luke Strobel in the Men's Pro Dual Slalom.

I'm getting prepared for the XC this morning (why do we start at 8 AM ?), so just one quick link:
I'll post my pictures and have a proper wrap up tonight. Promise.

Friday, April 07, 2006

RACE REPORT: Sea Otter 06 (Day 2 Roundup)

So the sunshine just couldn't last forever. It is now monsoon-ing (complete with thunder), but we did get a lot of the day in before the clouds opened up. This is not going to bode well for any of the courses, as many of them have standing water and major goop. I think tomorrow will really determine how bad the XC will be -- if it rains again, it will be ugly.

I got a chance to see the DH course. It's a lot less steep than I anticipated, there are some pedal parts and it's slick. Some place just don't have any traction. I heard a lot of people saying they would/would like to ride their trailbikes for this course.

Here are some other people's roundups of the day:
I'm bagging it for tonight, more updates tomorrow.

RACE REPORT: Sea Otter 06 (Day 2)

Sea Otter Track

So it's day 2 already here at Sea Otter 06, and we are defying the rain gods with some pretty nice weather. Not that this is helping the course at all. The Dual Slalom practice was limited to two runs per racer yesterday and the Amateur finals just got started a little while ago. The Pro Stage race has moved from yesterday's Super XC (eh ? Isn't this short track for us mortals ?) to time trials today. Haven't seen any of it - been watching the dual slalom (they need to have more of these).

This afternoon is the Amateur Short Track, but I think I may go scout the XC course and drink some beer. I hope to have a later roundup of the day -- but it is Friday and Sierra Nevada is onsite (with the road team) . . . so it may slip.

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So not to forget our hometown race series in the midst of Sea Otter madness, here are the results to the not-as-muddy-as-I-thought-it-may-be PCRS #1:
  • Race Results (they are still matching names to riders so you may have to check back later this weekend)
  • Brian Yoder's photos
  • Big Rick's photos
  • Mike Romero photos
Looks like a good start to the series out in Prairie City.

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ROUND UP: 2006 Sea Otter (Day 1)

So, I shared my views of yesterday's festivites last night. Here is a round up of everybody's else views and photos:
Oh, and I should give a shout out to Katarina Nash (Luna Women MTB Team), NorCal'er from Truckee, who scored 8th place in Stage 1 of the Pro Women's Stage Race. That should keep you going until I can post more stuff.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

RACE REPORT: 2006 Sea Otter (Day 1)

So I just got back home after spending Day 1 at the Sea Otter. All in the all, it was pretty much like I had thought: soggy course, high enthusiasm but well organized event. It was kinda like the calm before the storm being there today. Everything was just getting organized, with some Pro races going (see the wrap up tomorrow morning), but very low key. For me, I got my registration taken care of (yes, I ignored my own two posts about pre-registration) and scouted a little bit of the courses.
Sea Otter Reg
Surprisingly, registration wasn't a zoo. In fact, I would say I got in and out within 7 minutes, timing chips and all. They've got the marketplace up (but it's already a complete mudpit) and the courses marked off. There's kids (okay, not kids but teenagers) everywhere hovering around for the gravity events.
Sea Otter marketplace

After I checked out the MTX course, I looked over the cross country course. Oh boy. Muddy. And going to get worse. As I watched the Pro Women start the MTB Stage race (race 1 is the Super XC -- kinda a short track ++ event), people didn't even get 100 yards from the start before a bunch of people went down. I think Alison Syndor ended up coming in second to the reigning XC world champion that the idiot announcers kept hyping.
XC Practice
Hell, I even got a brush with a cycling celebrity (I almost hit Jill Kitner with my bike as she was commenting on how "form fitting" her new GT jersey was). All in all, a pretty good day. I'll be posting more early tomorrow morning -- rounding up all the other people's reports. G'night.

SCOUTING REPORT: Sea Otter 06 MTX Practice

So first thing after registering was to to hike up the hill to see the kids put some runs down the mountain cross (MTX) course. The course seems to be pretty challenging, a few long doubles and some tall berms, but people were already railing it. A few people certainly took some big falls, but all in the all the wet weather has probably really helped this course be a little forgiving.
MTX Practice
Judging from the amount of people taking practice runs, I think there will be a huge turnout for the Pro finals and the overall amateur competition.

Off To Sea Otter

Off To Sea Otter
So as you can see from the photo, I am in Monterey at the Sea Otter Classic. I drove in this morning and found it refreshingly free of traffic or hassle. It's well marked once you hit Seaside and although it narrows to one lane at points seems to be well managed.

I'll be blogging live from the race all weekend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

iCal Updated For Sea Otter 06

I've updated the NorCal MTB Racing iCal Calendar with all the important race times for this year's Sea Otter Classic. Remember to sync up before you leave for Monterey!

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

NorthStar Cancels Summer MTB Park

So I got this press release on some of the forum boards and email aliases I subscribe to. I don't see it posted on the NorthStar at Tahoe site, but it looks pretty official:
Northstar Village Announces Summer Operations Plan
TRUCKEE, Calif. – To assure a high quality guest experience during
construction of the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe and other mid-mountain
improvements, Northstar will suspend its mountain biking programs and some
lift operations during the summer of 2006, Northstar Village announced
.... yada yada yada ....
Silva explained that the Mountain Bike Park and program will reopen next
summer following its "one-year hiatus." With the first phase of the new
Northstar Village nearing completion, summer guests will still have a wide
variety of other recreational options from which to choose, including golf.
.... yada yada yada ....
"Next summer, Northstar it is our plan to have improved mountain bike
terrain and parks with access to some of the best mountain biking in the
country," he added.
If this is legit, this is quite sad news.
UPDATE (04/07/06): It's official, NorthStar has closed their MTB park for 2006. See here for their announcement.

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Norcal Racing This Weekend: Apr 5 - Apr 9, 2006

So we're getting a jump on this weekend's MTB racing action with the start of mid-week local races and then the big Sea Otter event.
  • The racing starts tomorrow (WEDNESDAY) at the kickoff of the Prairie City Racing Series near Folsom, CA [ MAP ]. Come down for enduro style XC racing as a tune up for your season.
  • The racing moves from local to international and foothills to coast with the first day of the Sea Otter Classic. Held in Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, CA [ MAP ]. THURSDAY at the event is mostly pre-riding practice and registration type stuff for the Amateurs, but the pros start Stage 1 of their MTB race with the Super XC (Women at 10:00 AM, Men at 11:30 AM).
  • On FRIDAY, the Sea Otter begins in earnest. Pro time trials and amateur dual slalom in the morning, amateur mountain cross qualifying and short track XC in the afternoon.
  • SATURDAY brings more amateur short track in the morning, the short track race in the MTB Stage race and the dual slalom finals.
  • SUNDAY is the amateur XC and mountain cross competition, the semi-pro and pro downhill finals and the final XC race of the MTB stage race.
You can see the whole Sea Otter schedule here. It should be a big week(end). And don't forget to pray for sunshine.

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Nevada Passage "Bloody Shins Trail"

Okay, so this is a little outside of NorCal, but Nevada doesn't get much MTB love . . . As part of the made-for-TV Nevada Passage "adventure series", Nevada Commission on Tourism will be hosting a NORBA sanctioned Bloody Shins Trail MTB race on May 6th, 2006. The race will be held outside of Winnemucca, NV and consist of multiple laps (depending on category) of a 14 mile XC course. The MTB race is part of a larger race series which also includes trail running, kayaking and an ATV jamboree (?).
Event: Bloody Shins Trtail MTB Race
Dates: May 6th, 2006
Location: Winnemucca, NV
Competition: XC
Cost: $20
License: NORBA ($5 one day lic available)
Registration: or mail [ PDF ]
UPDATE (04/20/06): A thread over at MTBR has some more details. Looks like 1300 ft of climbing per lap.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

RUMORS: NorthStar Closed to MTB This Summer ?

According to rumors on both RideMonkey and MTBR rumor mills forums, NorthStar at Tahoe will not be opening their bike park this summer to make way for condo construction. We'll be watching this closely as in year's past, they have offered weekend DH races, Thursday night XC racing and a few NORBA events.
UPDATE (04/07/06): It's official, NorthStar isn't opening for mountain bikes this year. See here for the details.

RACE REPORT: Real MTB Triathlon

Results are in from the TBF Racing's Real MTB Triathlon (Xterra event). They have also posted pictures of the race.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

CCCX Adds More 2006 Races !

The Central Coast Cyclocross (CCCX) MTB Race series has added three new races to the series. The new dates are:
  • Race #5: Sunday, June 4, 2006
  • Race #6: Sunday, June 18, 2006
  • Race #7: Sunday, July 2, 2006
Woo-hoo! More June XC racing.

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