August 9, 2007 (Snowmass, Colorado) – The National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) comes to its crescendo at the Snowmass National Finals, presented by LUNA, at Snowmass Village, Colorado, August 9-12.
Acknowledged worldwide as one of the world’s leading national mountain bike series, dirt talent from across the globe travels to compete in the fiercely contested events of the NMBS, which has taken riders in seven rounds from desert to rain soaked mountains, and from the Rockies to suburban parks in Southern California.
At the penultimate round in the series, at Sugar Mountain, NC, July 26-29, wet course conditions helped an overall standings shakeup in several of the disciplines, but not so in the cross country where superbly consistent riding by the top talent has made changes unlikely in the main podium results as we head into the finals.
Located 220 miles west of Denver, the all-year resort of Snowmass is at 8,104 feet, so altitude will certainly be a factor in the racing. The Colorado based riders are likely to excel in the rarified air and with the home state advantage.
The series’s final overall points are calculated by throwing out the lowest score. This benefits most those riders that have had some bad luck, or whose form has been up and down. Those riders that have performed consistently throughout do not gain a lot in this system, but it makes for an exciting finale and reduces the ‘bad luck’ factor in the results. Please note that calculations made in the following analyses are based on having already removed the lowest scoring race.
The event website is: www.snowmassnational.com
online registration is at: www.sportsbaseonline.com
Who to watch (scroll down for schedule information):
KENDA Cross Country Pro Men
The cross country course is routed on a 13-mile loop, with almost 3500 feet of climbing. The terrain includes tough climbs, exhilarating descents, and an abundance of sweet singletrack. Pro riders will complete 1.5 laps of this demanding course, amounting to approximately 20 miles and 7,000 feet of climbing.
At Round 5, in Sugar Mountain, Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW), of Harrisonburg, Virginia, showed great form to hold of the immensely powerful Canadian champion, Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) and win the race. At Snowmass, regardless of his result, Kabush is likely to emerge as the series champion with a commanding 718 points from his four best results. The 2005 US national champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski aka ‘JHK’ (Subaru-Gary Fisher), of Boulder, Colo., lies second in the series, with 681 points from his best four races, but that will not likely be enough to surpass Kabush. However, since it is close to his place of residence, we should see a concerted effort from JHK to claim line honors at least.
KENDA Cross Country Pro Women
The 2006 women’s national champion Georgia Gould (Luna) of Missoula, Mont., has reigned supreme in the 2007 National Mountain Bike Series, winning all five races she has entered so far. Gould’s experienced team-mate, Shonny Van Landingham, from Durango, Colo., lies second in the series, while ex-pat Czech Katerina Nash, now living in Truckee, California, completes a Luna Women’s MTB team domination of the top three spots. Expect to see VanLandingham and Nash make the most of the thin air of Snowmass
KENDA Short Track Pro Men
The Short Track Cross Country discipline has always been a great crowd pleaser, and this track is said to be one of the best. Featuring wide open pavement, off-camber grassy slopes and water crossings, this two-minute lap around the expo area should produce a nail-biting race in which the outcome is uncertain right to the end.
While the cross country looks cut and dried, the short track series is still a very close call between Kabush, JHK and Todd Wells (GT Bikes) of Durango, Colo. With one result thrown out, these three are separated by only nine points. With 182 points going to the winner of the race, the entire series is going to come down to the final lap of this most exciting of disciplines.
KENDA Short Track Pro Women
After closing the gap on Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash produced the win she needed at Sugar Mountain and now leads the series. As with the men, the series winner is far from clear entering the final race. It is far from certain that Gould, having bagged the Cross Country title, will simply hand over the Short Track Cross Country to Nash. Expect to see fierce racing all the way to the line. Third and fourth places, are close too, after Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Asheville, NC, passed VanLangingham after the Sugar Mountain race. Like the men’s Short Track event, this is expected to be one of the highlights of the weekend’s racing.
FOX Racing Shox Downhill Pro Men
The Snowmass downhill course is another new course for 2007. A mixture of high speed open sections and narrow, tree-lined singletrack descents, this course rewards the rider who can be both patient and daring, and is one that organizers say will stick in riders’ minds for years to come.
Australians Jared Rando (Giant/Michelin) and Amiel Cavalier (Giant), have dominated the downhill series, and in all likelihood it will come down to a two-horse race. Going into the final these two – sans worst result – have 525 and 512 points respectively. Yet recently crowned US champion, Cole Bangert (Morewood), of Twin Lakes, Colo., took full points at Sugar Mountain to move up to 496. Racing in his home state, and on a roll, he could just go and cause an upset.
FOX Racing Shox Downhill Pro Women
Consistently great riding by Melissa Buhl (KHS), of Chandler, Ariz., after a slightly shaky first round has left her with three wins and an almost unassailable position in the series lead. Second and third places, however, are wide open. Lisa Myklak (Leelikesbikes.com), of Boulder, Colo., and last year’s series champion, Joanna Petterson (Brodie), of South Africa, have traded places in recent rounds. Just 13 points separate these two entering the final round, and Myklak, racing in her home state, has the home ground advantage.
FOX Racing Shox 4X/Dual Slalom Pro Men
The course builders at Snowmass reckon they’ve created the finest 4X course in the USA. Finishing with a 4′ roller, then a 5′ roller, followed by a 20′ double and a 25′ double, they have good cause to be pleased with their efforts. The course promises head to toe action, with tight, stuttery sections for the elbow-to-elbow racing near the top, giving way to spectacular jumps near the bottom.
Eric Carter (GT Bikes), of Temecula, Calif., even though he missed the Sugar Mountain round, retains the series lead (if we drop the low scoring round). The 37 year-old, who was the 2004 world champion, and 2006 national champion, should finish comfortably ahead in the series of Australians Jared Rando and Amiel Carver. 21 year-old Luke Strobel (Maxxis), of Renton, Wash., recently won the national Dual Slalom title, and currently lies third in the NMBS 4X series standings. A win at Sugar Mountain will have boosted his confidence, and if he continues on his roll, he could well turn some heads.
FOX Racing Shox 4X/Dual Slalom Pro Women (round 4)
Melissa Buhl is all lined up to claim the title of 2007 NMBS Gravity Queen, with three straight wins and a second place from the four races she has entered. She will add another title to her national championship wins from 2002 and 2005. As in the Downhill, Joanna Petterson is a contender for second place, and she has a reasonably comfortable 36 point cushion over her team-mate, Jackie Harmony (Brodie/Bike and Bean), of Tucson, Ariz.
Alison Dunlap and Marla Streb Skills Clinics, Shimano Youth Series
Join World Champion and two-time Olympian Alison Dunlap for an up close and personal look at the cross-country course. On Saturday join former National downhill champ Marla Steb and Alison for a downhill oriented clinic. Work on technical sections, talk race strategy, and analyze the course for your upcoming event.
– Clinics are free and open to anyone
– Sign up at event registration
– You don’t have to be a racer to participate
– Rides begin at the Luna truck in the venue area
– Clinics last approximately 1-1/2hrs
– The acclaimed Shimano Youth Series race for children 10 and under has free entry and the emphasis is on getting out and having fun.
Another ‘do not miss’ event is the pro athlete autograph signing session, 4-5 p.m. at the Mountain Dragon, in the Snowmall Village Mall.
Wednesday August 8, 2007
– 4:00pm-6:00pm – Pro Athlete Registration and Packet Pick-up, Two Creeks Base Area, Snowmass
Thursday August 9th, 2007
– 7:00am-6:00pm – Athlete Registration and Packet Pick-up, Two Creeks Base Area, Snowmass
– 8:00am-8:00pm – Cross Country Course inspection and practice
– 9:00am-11:00am – Pro/Semi-Pro Downhill inspection and practice
– 9:00am-11:00am – All non-Pro 4X inspection and practice
– 11:30am-1:30pm – Expert Downhill inspection and practice
– 2:00pm-4:00pm – Pro/Semi-Pro 4X inspection and practice
– 2:00pm-4:00pm – Beginner/Sport/Older Expert Downhill inspection and practice (Older Experts are women 40+, men 50+)
Friday August 10th, 2007
– 7:00am-6:00pm – Athlete Registration and Packet Pick-up, Two Creeks Base Area, Snowmass
– 8:00am-9:00am – ALL non-pro 4X inspection and practice.
– 8:00am-11:00am – Pro/Semi-Pro Downhill inspection and practice.
– 9:00am – ALL non-pro 4X Qualifying.
– 11:30am-1:30pm – Expert Downhill inspection and practice.
– 12:00pm – Athlete and Professional Team Managers meeting.
– 1:30pm-3:30pm – Beginner/Sport/Older Expert Downhill inspection and practice (Older Experts are women 40+, men 50+).
– 2:00pm – Semi-Pro/Junior Expert Men 18/16 and under KENDA Cross Country Race.
– 4:00pm-5:00pm – Pro/Semi-Pro 4X inspection and practice.
– 5:00pm – Professional /Semi-Pro Fox Racing Shox 4X Qualifying
– 6:00pm – ALL Non-Pro Fox Racing Shox 4X Finals
Saturday August 11th, 2007
– 7:00am-4:00pm – Athlete Registration and Packet pick-up, Two Creeks Base Area, Snowmass
– 8:00am-9:00am – Beginner/Sport/Older Expert Downhill inspection and practice (Older Experts are women 40+, men 50+).
– 9:00am – Professional Women’s KENDA Cross Country Race.
– 9:30am – Beginner/Sport/Older Expert Fox Racing Shox Downhill Finals. (Older Experts are women 40+, men 50+).
– 12:00pm-2:00pm – Pro/Semi-Pro Downhill inspection and practice.
– 12:00pm – Professional Men’s KENDA Cross Country Race
– 2:30pm-3:30pm – Expert Downhill inspection and practice.
– 3:30pm – Beginner/Sport Category KENDA Cross Country Race.
– 4:00pm – Expert Category Fox Racing Shox Downhill Finals.
– 4:00pm-5:00pm – Pro Athlete Autograph Session, Mountain Dragon – Snowmass Village Mall
– 5:00pm – Pro/Semi-Pro 4X course inspection and practice.
– 6:00pm – Professional /Semi-Pro Fox Racing Shox 4X Finals.
Sunday August 13th, 2007
– 7:30am-8:30am – Athlete Registration and Packet pick-up, Two Creeks Base Area, Snowmass
– 7:30am-8:45am – Pro/Semi-Pro Downhill inspection and practice.
– 8:30am – Expert Category KENDA Cross Country Race (including Junior Expert Women 18 and under)
– 9:15am – Professional Category Fox Racing Shox Downhill Qualifying.
– 10:30am – Semi-Pro Category Fox Racing Shox Downhill Finals.
– 12:00pm – Professional Women’s Fox Racing Shox Downhill Finals.
– 12:30pm – Professional Men’s Fox Racing Shox Downhill Finals.
– 1:00pm – Shimano Youth Series Race – FREE (Kids 10 and under only)
– 1:30pm – All Category Short Track inspection and practice.
– 2:00pm – Junior Expert Men KENDA Short Track Race.
– 2:30pm – Semi-Pro Men KENDA Short Track Race.
– 2:30pm – Super D course inspection and practice.
– 3:00pm – Professional Women’s KENDA Short Track Race.
– 3:30pm – Professional Men’s KENDA Short Track Race.
– 5:00pm – Super D Race (all Categories)