Friday, February 6, 2009

News: Short Track Not Included at Some US Cup Races, Heather Holmes has Wrist Surgery

After several years of inclusion in the national race series the Short Track Cross Country (STXC) will not be included at some events on the 2009 U.S. Cup circuit, including races that are part of the Pro XC Tour. Tom Spiegel, Director of west coast operations at the U.S. Cup said, "putting together a new series was a big undertaking time, money and energy were directed toward cross country [Olympic distance cross country]."

For that reason, races on the U.S. Cup and Pro XC Tour schedule will have the option of including Short Track in their events at the promoters discretion, it will not be required. According to USA Cycling's Kelli Lusk, "The Pro XCT is structured around XC-Olympic (XCO), so it’s the only discipline being tabulated into the rankings." Although Short Track will not be included in the Pro XC Tour it will be included in the Mountain Bike National Championships in Sol Vista, Colorado.

After years on the national scene Short Track will no longer be a priority for racers on the circuit. Despite a surge in popularity just after Short Track was introduced, participation has been dwindling in recent years. Amateur events on last year's National Mountain Bike Series routinely registered fewer than 10-20 racers, although the Professional events were still heavily contested.

At this point, the Sea Otter Classic is the only race on the Pro XC Tour that will be hosting a Short Track race. The events in Fontana and Birmingham will not be including Short Track. Event schedules for the race dates in Colorado Springs, Mount Snow, Windham, and Las Vegas are not available at this time.
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Kenda Team rider and former Collegiate Short Track National Champion Heather Holmes underwent surgery on a wrist fracture she suffered last August. Holmes originally injured the wrist in a crash while pre-riding a mountain bike course in Evanston, Wyoming. Despite having just crashed and suffering an injury to the wrist she participated in the race, taking first place.

The recuperating Kenda rider said, " I had crashed right before the race started and I had a lot of adrenaline going so I didn't notice it. After the race it really started bothering me."

After months of splinting and rehabilitation Holmes still had wrist pain. An MRI in January showed an unhealed fracture in the radius which would require surgery to heal. Holmes underwent surgery at the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center two weeks ago and is recuperating well. Heather reported feeling good and anxious to get back on the bike after close to five months off of riding due to the wrist injury.

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