A JOURNEY FUELED BY PASSION FOR US CYCLING.
The road to hosting America's first HC races has been a long one fueled with passion for the sport. It is that same fire that drives us to push the boundaries of cycling in the US even further.
Scott Tedro president of Sho-Air International, a freight company located in Huntington Beach, California agreed to come on board and help jump-start the NMBS at the end of 2008. The long standing National Mountain Bike Series was struggling financially and it appeared the former version of the iconic NORBA series would not be returning 2009 due to lack of industry interest and support.
During the months-long discussions there were times when it appeared no top-tier racing would exist in the US in 2009. But the parties involved eventually rallied around Tedro’s US Cup model and with that the US Cup was born. 2009 would kick off at Bonelli Park for newly formed t Pro XCT series presented by Sho-Air.
Tedro leaned heavily on Ty Kady, a former A.M.A. SX/MX racer and a member of his Sho-Air amatuer cross-country team to help him navigate the murky waters that were elite national racing and event promotion. Ty would take over as the new US Cup series manager.
Tedro worked along side USA Cycling to develop the Pro XCT presented by Sho-Air. The Pro XCT would act as a calendar of events awarding UCI points. The series would be a seven-race collection of UCI-sanctioned events replacing the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) as the premier cross-country series in North America.
The new organization of cross-country racing would mark a union between the movers and shakers of elite racing: USA Cycling, the elite racing teams and Scott Tedro, owner of Sho Air International, a SoCal-based shipping company. Throughout late 2008 and early ‘09, all three would engage in discussion on how top-tier mountain bike racing should progress following the demise of the NMBS and what mountain bike racing would look like moving forward.
A NEW CHAPTER
The US Cup kicked off at Bonelli Park for the 2009 season, hosting the opening round of the Pro XCT Presented by Sho-Air. Tedro put up the lion’s share of the cash for the US Cup series alongside Specialized and Kenda. The series would include 13 races across the United States, and would be split into two regional sub series, the Kenda Cup West and Kenda Cup East. The two dueling series were designed for aspiring regional pros and weekend warriors alike. USA Cycling, along with Tedro, singled out seven of the US Cup events for the ProXCT. The pro category at these events would offer UCI points, and would be aimed at attracting the continent’s best riders.
Also put into action was the newly formed Sho-Air/Specialized Pro team. The team would be managed by Ty Kady and its main function was to provide opportunity for more professional cross-country riders to enter the sport. The team would take to the road with Sid Taberlay, Manny Prado and Max Plaxton to challenge the best established factory teams, racing the full Pro XCT calendar. With great success that no one could have predicted, Sid Taberlay and Max Paxton would go on to finish second and third overall in the Pro XCT series along with the team capturing the Pro XCT team title.
A PROVEN CONCEPT
With now a proven concept and a successful team, Scott decided to keep the progress moving in a positive direction. For 2010 the US Cup would further support US pro riders by stepping up to host a UCI sanctioned C1 round of the Pro XCT in Fontana. Also new for 2010 would be the Triple Crown All Mountain Series, which included three American mountain bike races for 2010 with a $35,000 pro purse. The events would consist of super D, short track and cross-country racing and riders would have to compete in a minimum of two events to win.
The US Cup would continue as a network of Kenda Cups, that acted as local and regional qualifiers for the shootout at the end of the season at the Massanutten HooHa. The Kenda Cups featured over 15-race venues across the US, from Ashland, Oregon to French Lick, Indiana.
Cemented as one of the strongest US domestic professional cross-country mountain bike teams around in 2009 Specialized stepped up with factory support for 2010. Sid Taberlay, Manny Prado and Max Plaxton would be a strong arsenal focused on the US Pro XCT and the Triple Crown series.
TAKING IT NATION WIDE
After a successful year one, the Triple Crown expands East, adding stand-alone events in Massanutten, VA and Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, PA. Also an addition for 2011 would be the US Cup East Series featuring nine events partnering with the already established SERC Series. Now hosting over 25 events the US Cup would be a true national effort to support US mountain biking.
Pua returns home to the Sho-Air/Specialized squad to focus on US Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET). "Scott Tedro signed me to my first pro deal and he has consistently been there for me over the years, and it feels great to come home," said Mata. "I get to return to my true passion and concentrate on endurance based racing, and I know with the backing that I will get from my teammates at Team Sho-Air, I will be back on the podium and having a great time doing so." Also making a summer debut would be Brendon Davids. Newly added to the team for the 2012 season Brendon would fly the Sho-Air flag for the latter parts of the 2011 summer adding to the strong efforts of Manny Prado and Ty Kady.
Following a successful 2011 the Triple Crown would invest in having a East and West series for 2012. The US Cup's East Coast Triple Crown would include events in Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. On the west the US Cup Triple Crown would feature a C3 event at both Bonelli Park, followed by Fontana with the final in Santa Ynez, CA. The Rock N Road Cup West Series presented by Specialized would feature a seven round series based on the west coast giving amateurs the opportunity to compete at the highest level.
Finally, the addition of the Catalina Island MTB Grand Fondo on May 12th. This would be the first time in the island's history it had hosted a mountain bike event, and gave riders a special one-time access to sections of the TCT (Trans Catalina trail).
Team Sho-Air/Specialized signed African continental cross-country junior champion Brendon Davids for the 2012 season. Davids ranked as the number six junior in the UCI World Rankings would have his team debut at the Mountain Mike World Championships in Champéry, Switzerland. Manny Prado would retire from professional racing and Pua Mata would continue her endurance dominance.
With new support of Cannonade the US Cup hosts two stops of the Pro XCT calendar as part of the 2013 Triple Crown Series. After a sold out Catalina Island Gran Fondo it would return for 2013 as one of the premier events. And for the fifth year straight the Kenda Cup East and West were the nations premier amateur race series with record attendance.
Team Sho-Air announces a partnership with Cannondale forming Team Sho-Air/Cannondale for 2013 season and beyond. The team represented Cannondale’s factory mountain bike effort in North America with an all new roster of Max Plaxton, Pua Mata, Alex Grant, Jeremiah Bishop, Tinker Juarez.
PASSION TO DO MORE
Sho-Air Cycling Group announces world-class cross country mountain bike series in partnership with USA Cycling. A four-race series, which would be known as the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group. The USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series included the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Texas; Bonelli Park in California(2014 marked the first time an HC-category mountain bike race was held in North America.); Fontana in California; and a final round in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Along with this amazing new series came elite competition, first of its kind live streaming and the most UCI points ever offered on US soil.
Even with the addition of the Pro Series the Sho-Air Cycling Group was still able to keep the Kenda Cup and Catalina Island Gran Fondo thriving with record attendance.
Sho-Air Cyclery is born, a flagship retailer for Dorel's Cycling Sports Group brands in Orange, California, at the intersection of Santiago Canyon Rd. and Jamboree Rd., a popular cycling route in Orange County.
2014 marked the second year of Team Sho-Air/Cannondale this year with a new addition, Sam Schultz. With his motivation higher than ever Sam made a comeback to professional cycling after sitting out the 2013 season with back problems. Also new to the roster was Ryan Trebon splitting his time between Cyclocross and Cross Country.
New for 2014 was the Ridebiker Alliance, a national club team lead by professional national representatives Alex Grant, Sam Schultz, Tinker Juarez and Larissa Connors.
THE MOUNTIE RETURNS
The US Cup hosted six UCI events in 2015 with three HCs, a C1 and a C3. With the success of the first HC in Bonelli Park in 2013 Sho-Air Cycling Group was granted two more making it the most UCI points ever offered by a since series. The Kenda Cup East and West were ran in conjunction with the US Cup giving amateurs the opportunity to compete on the highest level.
The Catalina Island Gran Fondo in its third year was rated one of the countries top Gran Fondos and attendance supported the claim.
Canadian National Champion Max Plaxton returns to Team Sho-Air/Cannondale after being on loan to Cannondale Factory Racing during the 2014 season. In addition, up and coming women’s athlete Evelyn Dong also joins the team along with 2014 cross-country national champion, Steven Ettinger. The complete 2015 squad consisted of Jeremiah Bishop, Max Plaxton, Alex Grant, Steven Ettinger and Evelyn Dong.
On the retail front a partnership is made with Incycle Bicycles and Sho-Air Cyclery to help them expand into the Orange County market.
Ridebiker Alliance is it's second year supported National Professional Representatives, Tinker Juarez, Alex Grant, Larissa Connors, and Sam Schultz who would click off some top performances.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Building on past success the US Cup offers a complete calendar of HC races with Bonelli Park, Sea Otter, Missoula and the Boston Rebellion. This was again run in conjunction with the Kenda Cup East and West as well as the Catalina Island Gran Fondo.
Back at home with Rock N' Road Cyclery, Ridebiker Alliance signs on as title sponsor of Team Velosport to help support the community as well as youth cycling.
2016 was the year focused on the Ridebiker Team and empowering athletes to create their own personal teams. The Ridebiker Alliance was able to help subsidize 16 athletes, which enabled them to gather their own sponsorships and compete at the national level.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
For 2017 SCG has stripped things back to it roots and is focused on US cycling events. With a country-wide reach the US Cup and Kenda Cup East and West series are experiencing record participation and it is a very good sign of things to come. The US Cup is again producing must attend events offering top UCI points with HC level events at both Bonelli Park and the Boston Rebellion.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
For 2018, SCG’s mission was to get more people experiencing the fun of bicycle racing. We feel this healthy, family oriented sport should be on everyone’s radar!
With the help from industry leader Specialized bicycles, the Charged series was born.
The evolution of electric pedal assist bikes into the market place has seen rapid growth over the past year. This niche is allowing more people to get out on trails and ride with cyclists that may be above their ability level or simply allow someone to cover more ground than a conventional bicycle.
The three round Charged series presented by Specialized gives people a chance to test the newest Specialized pedal assist line up at no obligation, in a low key, fun race environment and see what these bikes are all about. And if you already have an E-Bike, this race is open to you as well.
We have also created a true “first timer” class for someone that has never lined up for a race, or has maybe been too intimidated to try. This new addition to the Gold State series will allow someone to test the waters of mountain bike racing in a non-pressure race environment and hopefully catch the racing bug and join us for more.
In order to insure there’s absolutely no barrier to racing with the Gold State series, our partner Specialized bicycles has agreed to comp every first-time racers entry into their very first race with us. There’s literally no cost, no obligation and no excuse not to come on out and race a round of the Gold State series on us.
A CHANGE IN THE LANDSCAPE
2019 marked a change in the Southern California mountain bike racing landscape.
For over 30 years, Southridge park in Fontana, CA had been hosting races. The venue has been an iconic spot, hosting legends like Tinker Juarez, John Tomac, and legends of the sports who used the park to sharpen their skills and fitness. And since 2009, the Fontana City National had been a stop on the U.S. Cup pro series.
But a dispute with a new landowner and the City of Fontana over access to the public open space created a situation where hosting cross-country racing was no longer an option.
In the 11th hour, SCG event director Ty Kady along with Team Big Bear operations manager Tom Spiegel had to pivot and find a new venue to host a U.C.I. stop on their calendar. With limited time, and limited venue options Kady spent countless months trying to sort and identify a new venue. But what has become more and more common in the Southern California landscape, finding open space suitable for an event as large as the US Cup hasn't become increasingly impossible.
Then the duo agreed to make Vail Lake Resort in Temecula the new spot on their US Cup U.C.I. calendar. The Vail venue has been hosting races well over 15 years, but this would be the first time the venue would host an international U.C.I. C1 event.
After the dust had settled on the inaugural US Cup event, the feedback from riders and team was overly positive and grateful.
THE ROAD TO TOKYO
The road to Tokyo starts in Southern California.
For 2020 the U.S. Cup with be the only series in North America with two U.C.I HC (Hors Category) events on their race calendar. Why is that important?
The Olympics are the pinnacle of mountain bike cross-country racing. Every four years, each country sends their best riders to compete on the world stage and as an athlete, to represent your country is one of the highest honors of sport.
To qualify yourself or your country, racers must collect U.C.I. points throughout the season, often traveling abroad to Europe and other countries. This is highly expensive and demanding on riders and teams.
But with two U.C.I. HC races in the riders "backyard", the US Cup offers valuable UCI points for North American and international athletes to garner precious points as they vie for a spot on the grand stage at the 2020 summer games.
Don't miss the opportunity to come out and cheer on the sports best this spring and watch history in the making.