Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Mountain

Big changes for 2004 NORBA series

There are still lots of details to be worked out and some contracts to be signed, but all indications are pointing to a dramatically revamped NORBA National Championship Series in 2004. The biggest change will come in the determining of U.S. national champions. Instead of the season-long series format that’s been in place since 1989, next year’s stars-and-stripes winners will be decided at a one-day, American-riders-only national championship, which will be contested at Deer Valley, Utah in August. That event will be part of a nine-day cycling event that will also include road national

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Jason Sumner, VeloNews associate editor

There are still lots of details to be worked out and some contracts to be signed, but all indications are pointing to a dramatically revamped NORBA National Championship Series in 2004.

The biggest change will come in the determining of U.S. national champions. Instead of the season-long series format that’s been in place since 1989, next year’s stars-and-stripes winners will be decided at a one-day, American-riders-only national championship, which will be contested at Deer Valley, Utah in August. That event will be part of a nine-day cycling event that will also include road national championships for masters, juniors and espoirs.

Also new for 2004 will be an expanded NORBA series (where foreign born riders will still be welcome) that will include a cross country/short track only stop in Austin, Texas, as well as traditional four-discipline events (XC, STXC, downhill and mountain cross) at longtime venues in Big Bear Lake, California; Snowshoe, West Virginia; and Mount Snow, Vermont. Mount Snow will actually be hosting two stops, one midway through the series and the series finals in August.

All told the plan is to have eight NORBA national events, with other venue possibilities including Telluride, Colorado; Durango, Colorado; Sandpoint, Idaho; and Sun Valley, Idaho.

The driving force behind these changes are Team Big Bear’s Tom Spiegel and Blue Wolf Events Jeff Frost, who together have been tabbed by USA Cycling to take over the day-to-day management of the NORBA series for the next three years.

“We’re going to be managing the nationals from top to bottom,” said Frost, who has a longstanding relationship with NORBA, acting as a venue coordinator and competition director in previous seasons. Spiegel’s Team Big Bear puts on numerous events in California, has been the longtime host of the NORBA NCS opener at Snow Summit, and served as the timing company for the series this year.

“We’re going to have sole discretion on venues, formats, everything,” added Frost. “We’re not going to just stick to the old format anymore.”

Among the possibilities being tossed around is the inclusion of 12- and/or 24-hour cross-country and downhill races, as well as stage and point-to-point races for the cross-country pros.

“We’re not going to limit ourselves,” said Spiegel. “We’ve talked to a lot of the team managers and they’re okay with trying new things.”

Indeed, reception to the changes seems to be positive so far.

“The one-day thing is great,” said Trek-Volkswagen team manager Eric Wallace. “It will finally get us in line with the rest of the world.”

Among the issues that still need to be addressed are television, sponsorships and prize money. Right now, said Frost, prize money is sill up in the air, and may not be a goal until 2005. Television, for now, also remains limited, with OLN only committed to showing highlights on its weekly recap show.

As for sponsorship, Shimano and Gatorade have been retained, but there is still much work to be done. That task will be put in the hands of Lindsey Richter, who has been hired to handle sponsorship sales. Richter’s previous claims to fame include a spot on the TV show “Survivor.” She is also the fiancée of pro downhiller Kirt Voreis.

Richter has spent the 2003 season traversing the country with Voreis as part of Team All Ride, a Fox Racing sponsored promotional tour that started in June and runs all the way to the end of October. Frost said he hopes to have most of the details for the 2004 NORBA series worked out by the Interbike trade show in October.

“We feel like we have a lot of momentum right now,” he said. “We just need to keep it going.”