Thursday, August 31, 2006

2006 Caspar Classic

I was kinda asleep on this one . . . The Mendocino Coast Cyclist is holding the inaugural
Caspar Classic on September 10th, 2006 in Caspar, CA
[ MAP ]. An XC race for the whole family, there will be a 12 and under course for the kids, a beginners and a sport/expert one. The beginner’s race is 15 miles and the sport/expert 26: "The course starts out with a short course circuit before heading out on the cross-country leg. Bring your cheer squad and spectators. " The entry fee is $25.00 for the race.

Racing starts at 10am at the intersection on roads 500 and 600 in Caspar, Mendocino County. No NORBA license is required. You can enter online here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Tonight was the first race of the Prairie City Race Series' Fall Flash. The Fall Flash races are shorter, slightly flatter versions of the Spring Series (due to dwindling daylight). We had about 100 MTB riders tonight along with 15 or so Cyclocross racers for the new CX division.

The course was a good starter after the two month layoff since the Spring Series. It ran about 2.1 miles with 200' of climbing per lap and more turns than usual. We started north, down into valley at start. In addition to the standard XC course, there was also a few CX alternate course parts with a dismount obstacles.

I had hoped for a good start to the fall series, since I had a good fall series last year. Unfortunately, tonight was not that good start. After hanging with the middle of Sport pack through the first half of the course, I snapped my chain climbing the second major hill. Cr*p. I rang up another DNF, and my second XC DNF in a row.

I've got some pictures from the race posted over at my Google Album page:
PCRS Fall Flash
Aug 30, 2006 - 17 Photos

Results are usually posted the day after the race. I'll update this post when I see them. Results and photos are posted here.

Sand Hill Racing Announces Fall Schedule

P&R Sports has announced the tentative dates for their Fall Gravity Series:
  • October 7, 2006: Dual Slalom
  • October 21, 2006: Mountain Cross
  • November 11, 2006: Dual Slalom
The races cost $30/race (with $5 for park). NORBA licenses are required. More details when they are posted.

UPDATE (09/24/06): They've added an October 14th MTX race to the series.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Norcal Racing This Week(end): Aug 30 - Sep 3, 2006

After a few quiet weeks in August, we are back to weekday racing and some weekend action:
I'll see you out at PCRS on Wednesday night.

Monday, August 28, 2006

MTB Worlds: XC and DH Results

The US continued their tough luck Worlds this weekend, enduring multiple mechanicals and injuries during the downhill and cross country competitions. In the Men's XC, top-ranked Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, US Champ Ryan Trebon, Michael Broderick and Todd Wells all succumbed to broken parts (mostly chains) or injuries. However, Jeremiah Bishop ran a strong race and came in eighth, giving the US their first top 10 finish since 1995. The Women had a little bit better time of their XC race, putting four riders in the top 20. Mary McConneloug was the highest placing American in 6th place. Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesja and France's Julien Absalon won their respective XC championships.

The Women's DH team came cose to getting the US their second medal, but Melissa Buhl came up just 2.6 seconds short to finish in 4th place. The US Men DHers posted two top 20 finishers, Duncan Riffle (19th) and Luke Strobel (20th). Australia's Sam Hill and France's Sabrina Jonnier won their respective DH championships.

Congrats to NorCal riders Evan Thurpen (33rd in DH from Aptos, CA) and Mary McConneloug (6th in XC from Fairfax, CA).

USA Cycling has posted some pictures of the events in their photo album.

Elite Women’s Downhill
1. Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) 3:50.32
4. Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) +10.08
10. Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif.) +17.21
19. Jacqueline Harmony (Tucson, Ariz.) +43.82

Elite Men’s Downhill
1. Sam Hill (AUS) 3:11.93
19. Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif.) +16.54
20. Luke Strobel (Renton, Wash.) +16.66
24. Cody Warren (Alpine, Calif.) +17.74
29. Christopher Herndon (Etowah, N.C.) +21.52
33. Evan Turpen (Aptos, Calif.) +22.37
34. Cole Bangert (Twin Lakes, Colo.) +22.62
37. Justin Havukainen (Castro Valley, Calif.) +26.27

Elite Women’s Cross Country Race
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle-Fleesja (NOR) 1:55:19
6. Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.) +10:07
17. Willow Koerber (Horseshoe, N.C.) +15:20
18. Dara Marks-Marino (Flagstaff, Ariz.) +15:20
20. Georgia Gould (Ketchum, Idaho) +16:01
23. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.) +17:29
33. Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.) +23:15
DNF. Sue Haywood (Davis, W. Va.)

Elite Men’s Cross Country Race
1. Julien Absalon (FRA)2:09.07
8. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va.) +6:21
17. Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.) +9:16
47. Barry Wicks (Corvallis, Ore.) -1 Lap
61. Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.) -2 Laps
65. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) -3 Laps
DNF. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.)
DNF. Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

MTB Worlds: Kintner Takes MTX Gold

As the 2006 UCI MTB Worlds start getting to the major events, the U.S. has brought home their first gold medal. Jill Kintner has successfully defended her MTX/4X world title, "Kintner led from start to finish in a flawless final run against Anneke Beerten (NED), Anita Molcik (AUT) and Jana Horakova (CZE) to take her second title in as many years and give the U.S. National Mountain Bike team its fifth world 4-cross title since 2002." Unfortunately, fellow US team members Tara Llanes (crash), Melissa Buhl and Jessica Vogt didn't make it through to the finals.

The U.S. men also had their share of disappointment. None of the team advanced to the finals, with defending champion Brian Lopes going out with a crash in the semi-finals.

Women’s 4-Cross
1. Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.)
2. Anneke Beerten (NED)
3. Anita Molick (AUT)
6. Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.)
7. Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.)
8. Jessica Vogt (Boulder, Colo.)

Men’s 4-Cross
1. Michal Prokop (CZE)
2. Roger Rinderknecht (SUI)
3. Guido Tschugg (GER)
4. Dan Atherton (GBR)
8. Brian Lopes (San Clemente, Calif.)
13. Lars Sternberg (Vashon, Wash.)
14. Cody Warren (Alpine, Calif.)
22. Rich Houseman (Temecula, Calif.)
32. Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif.)

2006 Whiskeytown Classic

Since it's a quiet weekend, I decided to post some updates on September's race schedule. It's time to look to the north again and see what Team Bigfoot has in store for us.

Next up on their schedule is the Whiskeytown Classic which will be held on September 23rd, 2006 in Whiskeytown Lake, CA [ MAP ]. This is a NORBA event and part of the California State Championship Series XC (it's race #10), just like the Bigfoot Classic. The course is described as "The course is 10 miles of singletrack and fireroads with about 1400' of climbing. One lap for beginners, two for sport and three laps for expert/pros. It's a fun and challenging course, without being to brutual or scary. Beginners and pros will love it." With a little digging, I found last year's results and some video.

The entry fee is $30/adult and $25/juniors. You can mail in your registration (with the below flier) or register onsite.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

RACE REPORT: 2006 Sky Tavern

Although I haven't seen any race reports for this yet, the results have been posted here (since they are in MS Excel attachment, I've posted them in HTML here also). I'll post more as I get more on this.

UPDATE (08/23/06): The good folks at dhReno has posted their race report and pictures.

2006 US MTB Championship on TV

You'll need to find this on your local cable/satellite channel:
For the second consecutive year, cycling fans will have a chance to relive the Infineon Cougar Mountain Classic when Fox Sports Net Bay Area broadcasts a one-hour show on the event.

The one-hour show will premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 12:30 p.m. with two additional airings scheduled for Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 14 at 11:30 a.m. (all times Pacific). The show will feature highlights from each event, as well as features on riders and key figures in the foundation of the sport of mountain biking.
I saw last year's coverage and it wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

2007 Cougar Mountain Classic Scheduled

Tentative 2007 dates for the Cougar Mountain Classic have been announced:
The 2007 Infineon Cougar Mountain Classic tentatively will be held July 6-8, subject to the granting of our final permits. We will confirm the event dates at a later time.
I'll keep on this.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Since I couldn't get out of some home obligations to get up to Tahoe for Sky Tavern, I got up extra early this morning and set out for the Monterey debut of the CCCX Downhill (CCCX DH #1). And I wasn't disappointed.

We had about fifty racers (pure guess on my part) one hundered racers signed up by noon. Although we were all assigned start times, by the time the start rolled around, they were quickly scrubbed for a first-come, first-served policy. The organizers just wrote your start time on your racing number and then sorted it out at the bottom. Suprisingly, this worked really well -- they had results posted promptly and accurately.

The course a mix of flat out speed and loose turns. After the considerable hike a bike to the start line, you queued for your countdown. The course went straight down a fireroad across a few waterbars (there were a lot of these all through the course) from the starting line. Then left onto singletrack through a reverse S curve, back onto the fireroad with a hard left and up a hellish 100' climb (that no one was in the correct gear for). That section basically decided the race as far as I was concerned. To finish it out, there was a sharp switchback, then screaming down a fast and loose left bender to the finish. It totaled out to 1.61 miles with 879' drop with 129' of climbing.

Click on the picture to get a larger view where you can see the course more clearly. The course is also on Google Maps.

My run started well considering that it was my first downhill. I cruised down the fireroad at 25 MPH, but had to brake hard for the S curve. I ran a little off course there, but recovered to charge uphill. Unfortunately, after I crested the hill and got back onto the singletrack, I made a poor line choice (following the hub deep rut) and washed out. Picking the bike back up, I tried to make my time back but that just led to a sloppy missed turn. Undaunted, I got my composure back together to at least look fast through the final bender towards the finish line. My 05:30+ time put me 3rd in my class when I left (some people may have still been on the course). The fastest time I saw was 04:11 by one of the pro/semi-pro guys. It was getting late and I need to get on the road for my 3+ hour ride home before the awards were past out.

A cool race all the way around. I haven't seen any results yet Results are up here, and here are my pictures from today (I've added a few since this afternoon; Some even have preliminary results):
Aug 20, 2006 - 34 Photos
Congratulations to Curtis Beaver who won the Semi-Pro/Pro event with a scorching 04:11 ride. Other notable sub 04:20 times included: Jimmy Amaral (Pro / 04:17), Erik Barton (Pro / 04:19), Jeff Kendall-Weed (Pro / 04:19), Micah Mozal (Expert 19-34 / 04:17) and Nicholad Barton (Expert 19-34 / 04:19).

UPDATE (08/22/06): Some more pictures have been uploaded:
Pictures from the practice runs:
Pictures from the actual race:
Pictures of Awards:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

NorCal Racing This Weekend: Aug 19 -20, 2006

After many dry weekends for the downhillers out there, the gravity crew finally has reason to celebrate. Two, count them, two downhill events are on tap this weekend. The question here is "Do I go North to the pristine wilderness of Lake Tahoe? Or south to witness the birth of the CCCX DH series?"
Saturday's racing is high in the Sierra Nevada, where the University of Nevada Cycling team is hosting the Sky Tavern DH and XC races. The XC race will be a 6 mile circuit with plenty of climbing and the DH promises to be rocky and steep. Both races will be held at the Sky Tavern on Mount Rose [ MAP ].

Sunday brings the inaugural CCCX downhill (CCCX DH #1). To be held inside Toro Park in Monterey, CA (near Laguna Seca), the DH will will be a 1.7 mile course aimed at medium range bikes. There are more course details here. It goes without saying that since this is a CCCX event, expect a good turnout and lots of cowbell.
Of course, all enlightened people know that the correct answer to the question is "I hit Sky Tavern on Saturday, then hightail it to Monterey for CCCX on Sunday." And since I got a new derailleur from the guys at Bicycles Plus (Thanks Brad!), you'll see me down in Monterey.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

CCCX DH #1 Update

It's downhill update day! I got an update from the CCCX DH organizer (thanks Keith!) about this weekend's kickoff race down in Monterey:

  • Race #1 is about 1.7 miles in length and features fire roads, single track, switch backs, tight sections and open sections. The dirt is hard packed and there is loose sections and tire choice will be at a premium. Most of the trail is on fun riding sections and there is one small pedaling section to check your fitness. There is also water bars on most of this course so be sure and pay attention when on route.
  • This weekend's course is a mixture of everything in the 4 minute plus run. Keith estimates that "most racers will take around 4:30 or so to do this course. Some will be closer to 4 minutes, others closer to 5 minutes."
  • To get to the start, you hike up Barlow Canyon trail. There will be maps provided at registration for the course route and the hiking route to the start.
  • There will be registration and course inspection on Saturday (8/19/06) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The course will not be fully marked until this time(2:00 p.m.). Riders must follow all park rules when inspecting the course on Saturday before the Sunday race. Toro Park bicycle speed limits are in effect and riders must control speed and share trails with other park users.
  • Race day practice on Sunday (8/20) is from 8:00 am to 11:45 am. First time trial run is 12 noon. This is a time trial format. One rider will be sent on course at a time, time gaps will be 1 minute between starts. It takes approximately 30-35 minutes to hike to the start. Be sure and allow enough time when leaving parking/registration area to make it to the start and your selected start time. You should head to the start 40 minutes before your scheduled start time just to allow enough time.
Subsequent races may use different course or areas within the park. See the full details for the race series over at CCCX DH page.

Sky Tavern Update

Some updates for the Sky Tavern XC & DH race this weekend:
  • Tonight (Wednesday, August 16th) is a pre-ride and clean-up day. The course is in part of the Tahoe Wilderness and its important to leave no trace behind.
  • Friday, the course will be marked starting at 4 PM.
  • There is a topo map of the XC course posted.
  • Directions to Sky Tavern are also posted.
  • Sky Tavern will not have drinking water for the day of the race. There is currently a boil order in place for the area. They will have a lot of water available, but please bring some of your own.
The folks over at dhReno also have some more information on the race.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2006 Bidwell Bump

The Cal State Chico Cycling Club has announced the 2006 Bidwell Bump will be held on September 16 & 17th, 2006. Sponsored by WTB, Dragon Graphics, Cyclesport and Silvertree, the event will consists of a XC and a SuperD race. Both races will be held in Bidwell Park just east of Chico.

Saturday (9/16) will begin the festivities with the cross country race: "The XC race is short but punishing. We will most likely shorten the course for sport and beginer riders. Make sure you bring alot of tubes, and run high psi if your on a hard tail . . . It is a point to point 13 mile course."

Sunday (9/17) brings the Super D in the time trail format: "The Super D will start from the top of the south ridge in Bidwell Park. The course will be a mix of single track and fire road with some climbing. It will finish at the same place as the XC race."
Event: Bidwell Bump
Dates: September 16 - 17th, 2006
Location: Bidwell Park, Chico, CA [ MAP ]
Competition: SuperD, XC
Cost: $35/event, $50 for both events
Registration: Onsite race day only
License: NORBA

2007 Trans Iowa Announced

This has nothing to do with NorCal MTB racing. However, we are big fans of the Trans Iowa race, I just bought a CX bike and Jeff does advertise on this website . . .
Trans Iowa III will be held in late April 2007 on a currently undefined course (There is a thread over on MTBR where the course is being thrashed out): "The Trans-Iowa Mountain Bike Race V.2 is a non-stop, self-supported, solo competition along the gravel roads of rural Iowa. Competitors must carry with them ALL necessary equipment ... Prearranged outside support is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to assistance with navigation, delivery of supplies, lighting, or lodging."
Check out last year's event here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

RACE REPORT: Howell Mountain Challenge

After missing this spring's Napa Valley Classic, I had circled today on the calendar to make sure that I got down to the Howell Mountain Challenge. From what people had told me, this was a slightly smaller, shorter and less strenous race. And with this morning's weather it looked cool and dry. So everything was good: nice ride down with Zon, easy parking, hassle-free registration and even some free swag (Clif bars and Cytomax if you must know). And shockingly, the race started exactly on time with military precision.

I got out fast in my group and soon found myself with another guy off the front by the first climb. The course was great: swooping, tricky singletrack, a few fireroads, switchbacks here and there, even some tough hills. And I was riding well. So well, that by time I got out of the second set of singletrack, I was well up on everyone in my class. And then it all came completely f***king apart. Literally.

On the uphill near the 6.5 mile mark, I downshifted and heard a crack. And a rattle. Like spokes being torn. As I skidded to a stop, it was obvious that my race was over. My rear derailleur was resting on the ground, attached to the bike by only the shifter cable. I had snapped my derailleur hanger completely in half. So I did what anyone would do: I swore for a minute, threw my helmet a few times and then tried to triage my wounded steed. No luck -- I didn't have my chain tool so all I could do was strap broken bits to my bike with twist ties.

So I walked my bike out of the forest, all 5 miles to the finish. It sucked. On the brightside, I did get a great GPS map of the course -- moving at 3 MPH really helps the accuracy.

My carpooler, Zon, had much better luck. He caught me around mile 7 on the way in from his second lap and powered to 2nd place in his class. I guess he was only 30 seconds behind the winner. Below is a picture of him getting his medal.

Even with my bad luck, this was one of the best races that I went to all year. Great course, top notch organization, low price and a good vibe. I haven't seen Here are the official race results (they promised to have them up tonight), and I posted my pictures over on Google Albums:

2006 Howell Mountain Classic
Aug 13, 2006 - 26 Photos

Friday, August 11, 2006

SCOUTING REPORT: Howell Mountain Challenge

So I am planning on heading up to Napa this weekend for the Howell Mountain Challenge (since I missed the Napa Valley Dirt Classic) and I thought I would post as much scouting information as I could find. Now, most of this information is based on last year's race, but I have on good authority that the course is substantially the same this year.

First up is the GPS data from last year's race. While the overall data isn't the greatest (probably due to the tree coverage), it does show that it's about 1500' of climbing and 10 miles per lap

The complete GPS data is available over at Motionbased.

Other data points are race reports. I think the best ones are Team WrongWay's 2005 coverage. Multiple people talk about their race in great detail.

Finally, for those visual learners, check out the photos from last year.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

NorCal Racing This Weekend: Aug 11 - 13, 2006

With the cancellation of the only DH race on the weekend schedule, we are left with two XC races in the North Bay on Sunday:
  • Howell Mountain Challenge will be held in Angwin, CA on the Pacific Union College grounds. The ten mile circuit will feature lots of heavily tree'd singletrack. Riders will do a variety of laps depending on skill level. The race starts at 10:30 AM.
  • Billy Cross #9 brings the race back to Bogg's Mountain. It's the last XC race until October.
If you are up for a last minute roadtrip, you should hit the road for Aspen, Colorado for the NORBA Finals at Snowmass.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

RACE RESULTS: Tour de Granite

The folks over at have posted the 2006 Tour de Granite race results. Congrats to Stephen Ray (Clovis, CA) who won the elite men's race. Derek posted a good race report on MTBR.


It looks like Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski picked up two wins at NMBS #5 in Brian Head, Utah over the weekend. He beat Geoff Kabush in both races (XC and Short Track). It was a big weekend for the entire JHK household as wife Heather Irmiger also won the women's XC race.

In the gravity events, Ross Schnell and Susan Haywood won the SuperD events (Team Motionbased has a great writeup on their experiences), while Ameil Cavalier and Melissa Buhl took the Dual Slalom. Melissa Buhl picked up another win in the DH competition, while Sam Hill took the men's.

UPDATE (08/08/06): Mountain Bike Action also has a round up.

Friday, August 04, 2006

NorCal Racing This Weekend: Aug 4 - 6, 2006

It's a slow start to August here for NorCal MTB racing. Just one race on tap this weekend and that's only if you count Fresno as NorCal:
  • SATURDAY: Spatdog presents the Tour de Granite near Shaver Lake (outside Fresno). An 8 mile XC circuit course featuring a massive granite rock climb. It's $40 - $45 and there is onsite registration.
Everyone else should be getting ready for the Howell Mountain Classic next weekend.

Interesting Article On Downieville

Very good article on the Downieville Classic posted on the SFist today. It's rare to see an article from a non-MTB specific news outlet that really gets the MTB racing scene and isn't just a "hey these crazy people are out riding their bikes" kind of story. Well worth the read.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

2006 CCCX DH Series

So the folks at CCCX have come through on the details about their 2006 downhill series. To be held monthly starting in August at Toro Park near Monterey, the series will have five races. Courses will vary from month to month but are described as "Courses will consist of Single-track, Fire Roads, Natural Obstacles, Technical Sections, Some routes may have Pedal Sections, The trails in this park have Steep Sections and lots of Elevation, Most trails will favor a Medium Range Bike and not a Ski Resort DH Rig. Routes will feature Fun DH riding and good overall practice for DH Fitness and Skills." There will be medals for top finishers in each group, money for top 3 fastest times each race and plaques for series winners (5 deep).
Event: CCCX DH
Dates: Aug 20, Sept 17, Oct 8, Nov 5, Dec 16 17 (finals)
Location: Toro Park (Monterey, CA) [ MAP ]
Competition: DH
Cost: $35 ($25 juniors) + $6 park entry fee (per vehicle) (parking waived for racers)
Registration: race day onsite
License: none
This is super sweet. For those of you who didn't make it down for the CCCX XC series, they put on a great race. And this course sounds like I might be able to race it on my trailbike . . .

UPDATE (08/16/06): Here are some more details on DH #1.
UPDATE (08/20/06): Race report for CCCX DH #1.

2006 US 24 Hour Nationals

With all the Downieville preperations (and bike problems), I kinda spaced the US 24 Hour MTB Championships:
... Chris Eatough (Ellicott City, Md.) bested a field of 27 for the Men’s Solo Open title, riding 17 laps with an average lap time of 1:08:38. He completed the event in 19:26:55 to finish ahead of Nat Ross and Mark Henderson who completed 15 and 16 laps respectively.

Rebecca Rusch fulfilled her Stars and Stripes dreams in the Women’s Solo Open category. Toeing the line with a field of 13, she rode 14 laps with an average time of 1:20:32 to best Slingshot Bikes and Sue Juedes, who each completed 14 laps of the 9 mile course . . .

Complete results for National Championship and non-championship categories can be found here.
Solo Goat has some pictures on his blog.