Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Xperience Necessary

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Xperience Necessary

Article excerpt

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!!!!

We can see all the scrunched-up noses and raised eyebrows of readers who have seen that phrase before - and maybe even been burned by it, in previous careers as alumni associaton phone solicitors and vacuum cleaner salespeople. A look of skepticism, a shake of the head and a dismissive wave of the hand later, and the opportunity is gone and forgotten.

Not Jennifer Zeuner, a New Jersey native who has spent most of the last decade in the area. A professional mountain biker who participated in the original X-Games, Zeuner will be competing in the Winter version this weekend in Big Bear Lake, Calif., in an event called dual slalom. Think Alberto Tomba shushing beside and crashing through the gates, only on two wheels instead of two skis, and you're on the right track. Her performance on the mountain biking circuit this past season caught the eye of the X Game powers-that-be. She finished sixth overall in dual slalom competition and 16th in downhill competition. "They called in December, and since the winter is a quiet time, I jumped at it," Zeuner said. When asked about experience in snow mountain biking, though, she has "absolutely none," which puts on her equal - albeit slippery - footing with the competition. "Only two or three people have actually raced a mountain bike on snow," said Zeuner. So many of the 15 women invited to compete have spent the last few weeks gathering information on the sport, making their best guesses about what will work and sharing what little they can cull. "None of us have any clue," she said. "We've all been calling each other up, asking `Where are you getting your tires,' or `What kind of chain do you think will work best?' " Among the few tips they've picked up: You need studded tires to make the cuts and turns at what the competitors estimate at 50 to 70 mph. Get ready, girlfriends. X Game promoters are touting speeds of 80 mph. "We're not sure really how fast we'll be going," she said. …

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