Sunday, October 12, 2008

2009 USA Cycling Gravity Calendar

Well, here we go. USA Cycling posted their 2009 Mountain Bike National Gravity Calendar (MBNC) a few weeks ago. This season's calendar has some major changes from seasons past. There are a few things to consider when you look at this calendar.

First, this calendar represents the select few races that USAC has decided to call theirs. The full Mountain States Cup schedule hasn't been released yet. I've contacted Sho-Air, who is promoting a new version of what was previously the National Mountain Bike Series, about whether or not they'll be including gravity events in their calendar. Their series makes up a good portion of the MBNC-Cross Country, but we have yet to see which, if any, venues will also host gravity events.

The National Championships have been relocated to Sol Vista, CO. This change should be awesome. No one was going to Vermont for the Championships there, so we should see a larger crowd and higher level of competition at Sol Vista. Second, although it's in CO, where half of the MBNC is located, it should be pretty easy for riders from all over the country to get there. And the riding at Sol Vista is so rad, that riders from across the country should want to get there.

You'll also notice that there are no UCI points races currently on the calendar. I wouldn't count UCI options out, though. I've contacted Keith at RPM, to find out whether or not they're still finalizing the UCI races, or if there really won't be any options for gravity racers in 2009 (Snowmass, CO and Angel Fire, NM would be the two possible UCI venues).

Other major changes for 2009 include a super-early first race in Boulder City, NV in February; a 4X race at Crested Butte, CO, which usually does not offer a gated racing event; a 4X race at the National Championships, which usually offers dual slalom at the venue; a downhill race at Nathrop, CO, which has traditionally only offered gated racing; and no overlapping dates, which should allow rabid points chasers to make it to each race on the schedule.

I'm not trying to get all nit-picky on a calendar that I know took a lot of time and effort to put together, but I think it's important to take a good look at the schedule in order to make smart decisions about how we'll all spend our time and money next season. USAC's series points are less important than picking the races that we want to attend and can afford to attend. I'll post updates about the Sho-Air schedule, UCI points, and local series calendars as they emerge.

For now, though, here's your 2009 USAC Mountain Bike National Gravity Calendar:

Feb. 14-15 All Mountain Cyclery Mob 'N Mojave Boulder City, NV DH
May 2-3 MSC Chalk Creek Stampede Nathrop, CO DH, 4X, SD
May 9 Massanutten Yee-Ha! McGaheysville, VA DH
May 23-25 MSC Chile Challenge Angel Fire, NM DH, 4X, SD
June 13-14 MSC Wildflower Rush Crested Butte, CO DH, 4X, SD
June 27-28 MSC Blast the Mass Snowmass, CO DH, 4X, SD
July 16-19 USAC National Championships Sol Vista, CO DH, 4X, SD
Aug. 30 4th Annual Whiteface 5K Downhill Lake Placid, NY DH

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