Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking.

Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking, and all things rough and dirty.

BC Bike Race includes new Vancouver Island and Squamish stages

The seven-day BC Bike Race mountain bike event, July 6-13, will start with a new stage in 2018. Stage 1 will feature Mt. Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain on a 25-mile day split into two timed segments. After stage 2 at Cumberland, also on Vancouver Island, the race will head over to the mainland for a stage in Powell River, then the race’s longest day, a 38-mile stage 4 from Earl’s Cove to Sechelt. After stage 5 from Sechelt to Langdale, racers face a short but technical 12-mile stage 6 in North Vancouver. Things wrap up with a 33-mile stage 7 in Squamish. There’s only one problem: The race has sold out already. BC Bike Race does have a waitlist if you’d like a chance at racing what organizers call “the Western Hemisphere’s largest MTB stage race.”

Trek Factory Racing cultivates ‘cross talents for XC World Cups

Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) captured her first elite cyclocross World Cup in Namur, Belgium. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File)

As you may have heard, young cyclocross star Ellen Noble has a new team and new goals for 2018. The American will be racing UCI mountain bike World Cups with Trek Factory Racing in addition to her full ‘cross program. She’ll be in good company with Trek. The XC mountain bike team also includes Anton Cooper, Emily Batty, and Sergio Mantecon. Plus, like Noble, Evie Richards also will be branching out from her cyclocross schedule to race MTB World Cups with the Trek program. “It’s going to be a really busy year with the Commonwealth Games and two World Cups outside Europe, but I like being busy so I can’t wait!” said Richards, the under-23 world cyclocross champion. “It will also be my first full World Cups series, which will give me the chance to race in so many amazing locations and enable me to learn from the team to be the best I can be on the MTB.”

‘Beyond Trails’ in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Well outside the race courses, Osprey Packs premiered a new bikepacking film at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, “Beyond Trails: Atacama.” In it, Lorraine Blancher and Robin Munshaw take on a multi-day expedition following unmapped trails and canyons in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. The desert is the driest non-polar region on earth — this not exactly your everyday cruise on local singletrack!

Transition Bikes-Muc-Off DH team keeps the ’80s alive

Eat your heart out, Cru Jones. The Transition Bikes-Muc-Off mountain bike team is keeping the spirit of the 1980s alive. The funny thing is that team’s three riders, Tahnee Seagrave, Kaos Seagrave, and Jamie Edmondson, were all born well after George H.W. Bush’s presidency. No matter, these downhillers are embracing the vibe and having fun. They’re also pretty fast — Tahnee Seagrave is third in the UCI’s downhill rankings and won three World Cups in 2017.

World Cup XC talent tunes up in Greece

Thomas Litschter
Thomas Litschter, third at 2017 world championships, will race the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. Photo courtesy Cyprus Sunshine Cup

With the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup starting March 10 in South Africa, top riders are heading to the Cyprus Sunshine Cup stage race in Greece to race. Jaroslav Kulhavy, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2011 world champion, headlines the men’s field. “I had a good winter, similar to last year. Now there are three more weeks of intensive training on the program,” said the Specialized rider. Yana Belomoina (CST Sandd American Eagle), is the favorite in the women’s race, along with Annika Langvad (Specialized) and 2004 Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Merida). “I’m always optimistic,” said Belomoina ahead of the race that runs February 22 to 25.

Got some news you’d like to share in The Dirt? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me your news and updates on all things gravel and mountain biking.