January 27, 2005 – Ford Cycling is pleased to announce its roster of riders and sponsors for the 2005 season. Dara Marks-Marino and Sara Bresnick-Zocchi will both return to ride under the Blue Oval and are joined this season by Kelli Emmett and Jay Henry. Ford Motor Company, title sponsor of the team, has supported the program from its start in 2000 as a grass roots initiative to its current level as one of the top teams in the U.S. K
Kelli Emmett, of Colorado Springs, CO, is the newest addition. Finishing 5th Overall in the 2005 NORBA Cross Country standings, Kelli won the 24 Hours of Moab solo division, as well a 12-hour solo race which took place recently in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Her 10th place at the Mt. St. Anne World Cup automatically placed her on the U.S. National Team for the Mountain Bike World Championships, an honor she hopes to repeat in 2005. Kelli is an active USA Cycling Expert Level Coach and helps many cyclists tap into their own potential.
Jay Henry, of Avon, Colorado, is entering his 8th year as a Professional rider. He finished the 2004 season ranked 5th in the NORBA National Series and also had the honor of competing for the U.S. National Team at the Mountain Bike World Championships. Jay also won the 24 Hours of Moab Duo division, the Beaver Creek Ultra 100 and two of the Mountain State Cup races. Jay will be competing in marathon events in search of the NORBA Marathon Series title.
Returning rider Dara Marks-Marino, 4th Overall in the 2004 NORBA Cross Country standings, capped an incredible season by taking two silver and one bronze medal at the U.S. Mountain Bike Championships in Mammoth, CA. She has set her sights on the number 1 spot for 2005. Dara also had the honor of representing the U.S. at the Mountain Bike World Championships for the second time. In addition to her racing, Dara is very active in her community, mentoring young cyclists in the NOVA Youth Program, and participating in many school cycling programs.
Sara Bresnick-Zocchi from Boston, MA, joined the Ford family mid-season 2004. Sara made an instant impact by placing 10th at the Snowshoe STXC, her first race with Ford Cycling. She went on to post several more Short Track top 10’s in only her 3rd Pro season and will be looking to break the top 5 in 2005. Recently married, Sara has made the bold decision to take a leave of absence from her position as a physical therapist to focus solely on cycling. “We’re very happy to have a structure in place that allows us to continue our support of this cycling program.” said Jack Palazzolo, Ford’s Director of Marketing Communications. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to the continued growth and future of mountain biking as a sport, a recreational activity, and a lifestyle. These women and men embody the spirit of that lifestyle and Ford is proud to supply vehicles to support them in achieving their goals, such as the new Escape Hybrid, that can take you anywhere you want to go.” The team has also hired a logistics manager and a full time mechanic for the upcoming season.
Jerry “Fast Hutch” Hutchinson will be at the helm for the team, literally, as they cross the country in their Ford Explorer Limited AWD. Equipped with leather bucket seats, a premium sound system and a DVD player, the team will travel in style. Also joining the crew to lend his expert mechanical skills will be Billy Holmes of Colorado Springs, CO.
The team will kick off the season in Tucson with a training camp and photo shoot. From there, they begin the quest for top rankings on the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series in Tapatio Springs, TX. In between races on the NORBA schedule, the team will also compete at the Sea Otter Classic and on the road at the Redlands Classic Stage Race and the Tour of the Gila. In addition to racing, the team will continue to promote mountain biking through a series of pre-race clinics to be held at selected venues on the NORBA schedule.
These one hour roundtable discussions will provide an opportunity for beginning to advanced women riders to meet the team and ask questions regarding nutrition, tactics, warm-up, and visualization, and get some tech tips from the team mechanic. Look for the team to continue their other extra-curricular activities such as school safety programs, mentoring young athletes, coaching, and appearances at Ford dealerships around the country. Ford Cycling is also proud to announce our equipment sponsors for 2005. Specialized is the official bike, helmet, tire, shoe, and apparel supplier for Ford Cycling. The team will be riding S-Works Epic mountain bikes this season.
The bikes will be equipped with a fine array of equipment including SRAM drive train, RockShox suspension, Avid brakes and Truvativ cranks and seat posts. Mavic will supply the wheels and Crank Brothers will provide pedals. For the hot and dusty trail, GU2O will fill the bottles. Compex muscle stimulators will provide much needed recovery at the end of the day. Ford Cycling is also fortunate to receive generous support from Hillenbrand Racing, of Tucson, AZ. You can find more information about the Ford Cycling program on the team Web site: www.fordcycling.com Ford Cycling is owned and managed by Quick Release Racing, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI. In addition to the Ford Cycling Mountain Bike Team, Quick Release manages a variety of cycling programs including the Ford-Basis Women’s Road Team, the Built Ford Tough NORBA Series of races in Michigan, Ford Midwest, Orlando Velo and Ann Arbor Velo.
The partner company, Quick Release Event Promotions promotes road and cyclo-cross racing in Michigan and its partners serve on the board of the Michigan Bicycle Racing Association.