NATIONAL MARATHON AND CROSS‐COUNTRY MOUNTAIN BIKE RACES COME TO DAVIDSON AS THE 2009 COWBELL CHALLENGE

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Charlotte‐Davidson, NC‐In an area better known for motorsports racing, human‐powered racing takes center stage at the 2009 Cowbell Challenge, June 20‐21, 2009, at Fisher Farm Park in Davidson, NC. The Cowbell Challenge Mountain Bike Marathon, a USA Cycling National Ultra‐Endurance Calendar (NUEC) event, takes off from downtown Davidson at 10 am on June 20, and is followed on Sunday, June 21 with the Cowbell Summer Solstice Cross Country, one of six races in the US Cup/Kenda Cup East Series.

“We’re thrilled to have the Cowbell Challenge back in Davidson again this year,” said Steve Fraher, Director of Recreation and Parks for the Town of Davidson. “Having the marathon start from downtown will be exciting for residents and spectators.” Davidson Mayor John Woods will serve as “Celebrity Bellringer” to start the race at 10 am. More than 200 racers will follow a 5+ mile route to Fisher Farm Park where they will complete 5 laps on a 9 mile course.

“Cowbell Challenge has always been a racer’s race, and this year is no exception,” remarked Taylor Sullivan, the race director. “Starting the race from downtown will test the cyclists’ road skills, and it also gives folks in the area a chance to be part of the fun. The trails at the Park are a great combination of flowing single‐track, two ‘rock gardens’ and some surprising climbing. The pros who’ve competed here before rave about how much fun it is to race here.” The Pros already committed include Rebecca Rusch (Specialized/Red Bull), current 24‐Hour World Solo Champion, who is looking for her third consecutive win at Cowbell Challenge. 2009 Ultra‐Endurance points leader Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) will be looking to extend his lead over Ernesto Marenchin (Asylum Cycles) in the 2009 points standings.

Saturday’s festivities conclude with a showing of “Freedom Riders,” a movie produced by Gravinetic Productions that tells the story of a group of free riders who move from building trails covertly, to working with the National Parks Service to create some of the best free‐riding trails in the country. Tickets for the showing, at the Homewood Suites Hotel in Davidson, are $10 in advance, $20 at the door, and proceeds benefit PASA (Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance) a local mountain biking club.

Summer officially begins the Cowbell Summer Solstice Cross Country (XC) Race, the fourth event in the US Cup/Kenda Cup East Series. “With points races in all classes heating up, we know we’ll see some fierce competition,” Sullivan noted. “Racers from Maine to Florida have all ready registered, and we’ll see some great battles in every class, from beginners up to the pros. From Youth classes to 60+ riders, the Kenda Cup shows how mountain biking, and competitive racing become lifelong habits.”

Kenda Cup races begin at 9 am on Sunday, with Youth classes. Pro Women’s and Men’s races begin at 1:30 pm. In between official Kenda Cup starts, racing newbies, wannabes and dreamers can take part in the Just for Fun Ride, an easy‐going race of approximately 2 miles. “It’s a great way to get a taste of mountain bike racing without the perils of full‐on competition,” said Sullivan. Kid’s races, especially for the 10 and under set are also scheduled for Sunday.

Proceeds from the 2009 Cowbell Challenge benefit the Town of Davidson’s Recreation & Parks Youth Scholarship Fund, which provides funding for more children to participate in the full range of programming, and the parks’ capital improvement fund. Presented by Lomax Tire & Marble, the Cowbell Challenge is sponsored by Kenda Tire, Organic Systems, LLC, The Right Words, LLC, Visit Lake Norman, Hammer Nutrition, MTBPath, The Cycle Path, Specialized, Davidson Chocolate Company, Toast Café, Carolina Bicycle Company, Brawley’s Beverages, and Me & My Shadow Independent Distributor. Information on registering, schedules and routes can be found at www.cowbellchallenge.org.

source: Connie P. Giordano, The Right Words, LLC

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