Thursday, February 5, 2009

KONA Factory Team Packs Usual Oregon Punch

The Kona Factory Racing Team will feature familiar Oregon faces on its 2009 MTB cross country line up.

Bend's Ryan Trebon (pictured here at the USGP Portland Cup in December) will return, along with fellow Oregon "Twin Tower" Barry Wicks and Portland homeboy Erik Tonkin, who will ride his ninth season with the team.

Filling out the roster are Canadian Wendy Simms, who is also returning from 2008's team. Downhiller Joe Smith has been added for this season.

Trebon, nicknamed "Tree Farm" because of his 6'5" length, rode away from the nation's top 'crossers at the last race of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross, which finished on a slippery, rain-slogged PIR course. He also won the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championship in Kansas City and the overall North American Cyclocross Trophy series. Trebon is schedule to compete at several stops on the Kenda U.S. Cup MTB Series, as well as starting the Downieville Classic, Kona's 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo and a several World Cup mountain bike events.

Wicks will focus on World Cup cross country races. He also plans to return to the BC Bike Race to defend his title along with teammate Kris Sneddon. He'll race at the Old Pueblo as well.

Tonkin will complete in several Kenda U.S. Cup Series races and will attempt his first solo 24-hour race at Old Pueblo.

Wendy Simms (pictured at the USGP Portland Cup in December), has won four Canadian national cyclocross titles. She plans to focus on multi-stage events and will look to defend her BC Bike Race title with husband Norman Thibault.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

National Road Race Championships Headed For Bend

Just six weeks after deciding Bend will host the cyclocross national championships for the next two years, USA Cycling announced today that the central Oregon city will also host the 2009 and 2010 junior, under-23 and elite road championships.

"Bend is a top destination for both recreational and competitive cycling, and USA Cycling is excited to be bringing another national championship race to Oregon," said Steve Johnson, CEO for USA Cycling. "Bend's long tradition of community-wide support and passion for cycling convinced us to award them two national championships in the same year."

The 2009 USA Cycling Road Championships will run from July 28 through Aug. 2. The six-day event will bring about 1,000 racers to Bend, where they will compete for national titles in the individual time trial, road race and criterium.

Because of the timing of the event, which begins just two days after the conclusion of central Oregon's Cascade Cycling Classic, a USA Cycling National Calendar race, many competitors, media and spectators are expected to remain in town for both events.

Bend's tourism officials are excited about the opportunities to show off their city.

"The road national championships are a perfect fit with Visit Bend's efforts to attract large events that will help our destination weather uncertain economic times," said Doug LaPlaca, president and CEO of Visit Bend. "We are thankful to USA Cycling for the trust they have put in us by awarding not one, but two national championships to Bend."

This marks the first time in recent history that two USA Cycling National Championships will take place in the same city in the same year.

The 2009 cyclocross championships are slated for Dec. 10-13

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sheppard, Sager Join Jamis MTB Team

2008 Oregon Bicycle Racing Association members Jason Sager and Chris Sheppard will ride for the Jamis Bicycles Factory Mountain Bike Racing Team for 2009, according to a team press release.

Sager (pictured) was the 2008 OBRA BAR points champion for cyclocross. He won the 2008 Cross Crusade overall title and a handful of one-day cyclocross events. Sager won the 2008 Falls City Firecracker MTB race. He also battled on the road, finishing 7th in the 2008 Oregon Cup on the strength of one second-place finish at the Banana Belt. He has been racing in Oregon since the end of 2007.

Sager will be a manager/athlete and will bring to the team several wins, including a stage from 2008’s BC Bike Race, and endurance and UCI wins in Puerto Rico, including Rincon’s Ultimate Dirt Challenge.

Sheppard, a former Canadian National Team member, won stages at both the 2008 BC Bike Race and the Trans Rockies, according to the team press release. For 2009, he will be targeting the U.S. national series and epic single-day events, such as the Downieville Classic and the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, in addition to partnering with two-time Canadian Olympian, Commonwealth Games medalist, and former NORBA STXC champion Seamus McGrath for the 2009 BC Bike Race and Intermontaine Race in British Columbia.

Sheppard (pictured) has been an OBRA member since 2006. He finished fourth overall in the 2008 OBRA Bar points, winning Cross Crusades 4 and 5 and the Silverton Road Race.

Sheppard, who previously rode professionally for the Haro mountain bike team, returns to the professional ranks following a two-year suspension for doping, according to After testing positive for EPO in 2005, he admitted to his wrongdoing and in 2006 spoke to junior and U23 riders about the perils of doping. Sager returns to the pros after he was suspended for one year for missing a post-race test in July of 2006, even though he had dropped out of the race before the finish and even though the USADA determined Sager was not significantly at fault for the violation.

Team Jamis' primary race weapon will be the full-suspension, high-modulus carbon fiber Dakar XCR, outfitted with Edge Composites XC UL Tubular wheels with Geax tubular Saguro tires, Chris King hubs and Fox suspension systems.

"This has been a true collaborative effort," team manager Sager said via the team press release. "Working with mountain bike product manager Craig Hoyt and Jamis President Carine Joannou has proven to be a hands-on and family effort in picking the riders, equipment and our schedule."