New Dates, New Venues Spotlight NORBA Nationals|
Thursday, March 28, 2002
REDWOOD CITY, CA Ė After an enthusiastic meeting with promoters, the National Off Road Bicycle Association is preparing for a five-race National Championship Mountain Bike Series.
The series kicks off May 9-12 with its traditional season-opening venue at Snow Summit, Calif. Organizers have moved the date one week earlier than an initial positing to avoid a conflict with a World Cup event in Madrid.
"We understand that the NORBA Nationals remain a focus of international teams. Thereís so much heritage and prestige associated with these events that riders from Europe, Canada, Africa and Asia want to be competitive in this series," said Rick Sutton, president of GaleForce Sports Marketing which organizes the series. "Thereís a lot of pressure from sponsors to do well in both, the World Cup and the NORBA series."
Organizers and sponsors were heartened to discover that in 2001 the NORBA series saw an increase in participation. With two new venues added to the mix for 2002, thereís reason to believe there will be another increase as promoters position the events closer to metropolitan areas.
"Whether youíre putting on a bike race or a billiards tournament, it helps to be closer to where folks live," said Sutton, noting the success of last yearís inaugural NORBA event at Snowshoe, W. Va. "Those folks put a lot into their event, but look at the map. West Virginia is an afternoon drive away from a lot of big cities. That eliminates a lot of barriers to participation."
The second stop on the NORBA circuit will be one of those new settings. East Troy, Wisc., will host its inaugural event June 13-16 at the Alpine Valley Resort. The venue is just a 40-minute drive from Milwaukee and close to Chicago.
The following week itís back to Snowshoe Mountain, W. Va. for the June 20-23 event. With no events in July, riders will study the standings and adjust their training to prepare for the final two events. The series moves back to its roots with events in Durango, Colo. The mountain town has hosted the series three times before, 1986, 1987 and 1992. This yearís Durango event will be Aug. 1-4.
Then itís back to Mount Snow, Vt., for the finals to be held Aug. 15-18. This will be the sixth time that Mount Snow, with a strong history asthe mountain bike capital of the east, hosts the NORBA finals. There the pros get a final shot at series points while junior and master riders have a one-day shootout for their stars and stripes jerseys.
There are two notable absences from the calendar. Deer Valley, Utah, was left off due to scheduling conflicts; and Mammoth Mountain Resort in California is undergoing a renovation to its main lodge area.
"When you map out this schedule youíll see an extraordinary geographical balance," said Sutton. "We hit every time zone and offer something to just about every region."
2002 NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series
May 9-12 Snow Summit, Calif.
June 13-16, Alpine Valley Resort, E. Troy, Wisc.
June 20-23, Snowshoe Mountain, W. Va.
Aug. 1-4 Durango, Colo.
Aug. 15-18, Mount Snow, Vt.