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Mountain bike notes: Burgers in Bonelli, Spitz starts season in Cyprus, U.S. 24-hour nats in Moab.

Written by: Fred Dreier

Free Burgers in Bonelli

A cookout trailer provided by California restaurant chain In N Out Burger will be on hand at the opening round of the U.S. Cup on March 1 at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California. The burger chain will provide a free cheeseburger, drink and bag of chips to the first 500 registrants.

The Bonelli Park event kicks off the 2009 U.S. Cup, which is a nationwide cross-country series sponsored by Specialized, Sho-Air International and Kenda. The event is also the first race of the Kenda Cup West, a California and Colorado-regional series of cross-country races. The second event in that series is the March 28-29 U.S. Cup National race in Fontana, California.

For more information go to www.mtb-uscup.com.

No extra day for La Ruta

Organizers of Costa Rica’s La Ruta de los Conquistadores race have decided not to add a fifth day to the grueling 235-mile cross-country race from that country’s west to east coasts. At the end of the 2008 event, which was held in mid November, race organizers announced they were extending La Ruta to five days, limiting the field to 350 riders, bumping accommodations up to five-star hotels and upping the registration fee to $1800.

Due to the economy, organizers have decided to take a smaller step in that direction. For 2009 La Ruta will boast the same four-day route as in 2008, however the race will feature mechanical service and additional race dinners for all registered riders. La Ruta will cap its registration at 450 riders for 2009, and the entry fee is $1299.

The news comes after La Ruta’s race management won an International Arch of Europe prize from the Business Initiative Directions (BID) convention in Frankfurt, Germany. The award recognizes “the prestige of the outstanding companies, organizations and businessmen in the business world.” The award is selected through a series of polls and recommendations by the BID.

“We don’t know who nominated us. However I must say it is an honor for us to be taken into account for such a prestigious present,” said Diego Viquez, La Ruta’s race director.

Olympic Champ to Start Season off in Cyprus

German Sabine Spitz, winner of Olympic gold in cross-country mountain bike racing at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, will start her 2009 campaign on the island of Cyprus in that country’s annual Sunshine Cup series.

Spitz (Ghost International) is a regular on the Sunshine Cup, and in 2008 won two rounds of the series, which is the preferred early-season racing grounds for many of Europe’s top professionals.

The 2009 Sunshine Cup kicks off February 22, and has rounds on February 27, March 8 and March 15.

Familiar Faces at Kona

The Kona mountain bike racing squad welcomes newcomer Joe Smith to its roster for 2009. The Welsh downhiller has posted top results in the junior ranks on the 2008 World Cup, and finished 11th in the junior downhill at the 2008 UCI world championships in Val di Sole, Italy.

Smith joins Kona’s veteran cross-country squad which is comprised of Ryan Trebon, Barry Wicks, Wendy Simms, Kris Sneddon and Erik Tonkin.

Trebon, winner of the USA Cycling national cyclocross title and NACT cyclocross series title, will focus on select stops on the new USA Cycling cross-country mountain bike ProTour, the Downieville Classic and select World Cups.

Wicks and Sneddon won the 2008 BC Bike Race and will return to defend that title in 2009. The two men will also race select European World Cup cross-country races in their quest to represent the United States and Canada at the UCI world championships.

Simms, who grabbed her fourth Canadian cyclocross title in 2008, will team up with husband Norman Thibault to race the 2009 BC Bike Race and other endurance mountain bike events.

Tonkin, a nine-year veteran of the Kona squad, will attempt his first 24-Hour solo race in 2009 at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo on February 14.

24 Hour Nats for Moab

USA Cycling will hold the 2009 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championship at the 24-Hours of Moab in Moab, Utah on Oct. 10-11, 2009.

The 2010 24-Hour nationals will then be held in conjunction with the 24-Hours of Big Bear in Hazelton, W.Va., June 12-13, 2010.

Originally slated to be held in Arizona, the USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships were re-scheduled due to schedule and location conflicts. The event will now be run through Granny Gear Productions for the next two years.

The national championship competition in Moab will be open to American riders only. The 24-Hours of Moab event however will offer more than 20 divisions open to various age groups, skill, levels and team sizes.

The 24-Hours of Moab, run for 14 years, draws more than 4,000 racers, support members and spectators.
Email Fred Dreier

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