Pro-level racing in the U.S. will kick-off this weekend with the Kenda Cup West Series opener east of San Diego.
The Sage Brush Safari, which was won by Sho-Air/Specialized rider Sid Taberlay in 2009, is the first event under the US Cup/Kenda Cup banner for 2010 and is attracting a strong field. Along with Taberlay, 2010 Austrailian National Short Track champ, Sho-Air/Specialized rider and 2009 La Ruta winner Manny Prado is set to race. Also listed as starters are newly signed Cannondale Factory riders Jeremiah Bishop and Tinker Juarez.
The 2009 women’s race winner, Pua Sawicki of Team Mata/Okle Stuff.com, looks to repeat this weekend. Sawicki will have a solid line up of women racer’s with Rock N Road’s Allison Mann and others trying to knock off the six time National Endurance Champion.
In additon to the US Cup Triple Crown series is the network of Kenda Cups, including the Sage Brush Safari, that act as local and regional qualifiers for the Specialized Invitational Finals set for Sept. 11-12. The East and West Kenda Cups feature 15 locations from Ashland Oregon to French Lick Indiana.
The US Cup Triple Crown opener, which also incorporates Kenda Cup #2, is at Bonelli Park in Southern California March 13-14. The second race of the Triple Crown is in Northrop, Colorado on May 15-16 and the final is June 19-20 in Massanutten, Virginia.
Meanwhile, the Sage Brush course is east of San Diego and includes distances ranging from 26.8 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing for the Pro and CAT 1 loop, to a shorter 18 mile loop for the CAT 2 and 3 riders. The course uses exsisting jeep and motorcycle trails of the Lake Morena OHV park and offers racers a wide variety of terrain.