Pro Gravity Tour: Plattekill Mountain. Roxbury, NY.
Giant Northeast riders Seamus, Brian, and Collin got to enjoy all kinds of weather during two days of racing at Plattekill Mountain.
Pro downhill rider Brian Scolforo describes the racing conditions on both days:
“Saturday was filled with rain showers and muddy trails. Rain suits and tear offs were essential. A gnarly track with one of the steepest chutes on the mountain provided a great Plattekill experience. Sunday brought us a gorgeous day, clear skies and warm temperatures dried the track up by the end of practice. The run was a completely different pace while dry. Came down the hill with a good run and held together for a 33rd spot in another stacked event.”
Grassroots rider Collin McBride grabbed a fifth-place podium spot in his downhill class:
“Plattekill Pro GRT Round #2 was so far my best finish in a Pro GRT… I missed a small berm up top and lost a few seconds but still pulled out a very solid race run and couldn’t be more happy about it. The course was super steep, rocky, and you really had to pedal to get a good run. I loved the track but I’m sure it would have of been even more fun if it was dry!” (Collin)
Seamus Powell enjoyed another weekend on the top step with wins in both Pro Super-D and amateur downhill events.
Root 66: Coyote Hill MTB Classic. West Fairlee, VT
Junior Grassroots rider Ryan Beliner’s racing plans were foiled by a lingering cold combined with allergies. Unsure of his racing form after a week of nose-blowing, he decided skip the long haul north to the second Canada Cup and to race locally instead. Racing at Coyote Hill meant a different race format; instead of the one-hour races Ryan was most used to, he’d be racing for over two hours. Ryan’s strategy going into the race was to keep his pace as controlled as possible, try to rest on the climbs, and gain as much ground as possible on the descents.
From Ryan, on his race:
“Every time I went out for another lap, I was almost at 46 minutes on the dot every time. It was awesome… I was definitely pleased with how I had executed the race, and got in some good skills practice on the greasy single track. Can’t wait for some high speed races in the future, and am looking forward to preparing for them in the following weeks!”
Appalachia Outdoors Adventures: Mayhem Enduro. Cumberland, OH.
Grassroots rider Amy Alton enjoyed the “BEST Enduro ever” last weekend in Ohio:
“Now thoughts of Southern Ohio don’t automatically bring to mind killer mountainous downhill typical to the Enduro scene. However, Mayhem has taken Southern Ohio’s rolling hills and abrupt ravines and maximized all its potential… Mayhem had five timed stages each offering a few serious features including a road gap jump; the ‘death’ drop; a wall ride into a rocky gap jump; and at the end of it all a creek jump starting with a ramp that abruptly ended above a creek 8 feet below and 16 feet across. With some luck and lots of speed, you launch to the other side in between cow-bell ringing spectators and on to the finish.”
I was stoked to be ‘Enduro-ing’ among the best as the Solo Female division was stacked with the likes of a mountain biking legend and two rockstar professional downhillers. The format at Mayhem had the four of us riding together throughout the 13 mile loop and gave us ample time to do what we love – ride bikes and connect with other cool chicks. Through to the end, I was pleased that my performance gave me a Top 5 finish among such a strong field.”
Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic (TSE): Seven Mountains, PA
For those of us who admire the Absa Cape Epic but prefer to race in higher humidity, there’s the Trans-Sylvania Epic, right plop in the middle of Giant Northeast territory. Seven stages; seven days; an average of thirty-two miles of berooted PA trails per day.
Who better to represent Giant Northeast at a seven-day endurance-fest than Jess and Joël? That’s right. Competing as a coed duo, Jess and Joël are just three stages away from the race’s culminating stage on Saturday.
But don’t feel too sorry for them: after every stage, Jess and Joël return to their cozy cabin at base camp where they have access to two warm showers and two flushing toilets… which they share with twenty cabin-mates.
Back on the bright side, there is no reason to go hungry at the TSE. As Jess describes:
“Food is supplied by the camp cooks. We get breakfast and dinner daily. And what the spread of food it is. Every meal is buffet style, which is great for hungry racers who need to take in a lot of calories. Breakfast includes things such as oatmeal, pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Dinner is meals such as pulled pork, BBQ chicken, lasagna, beef roast; along with an array of side dishes, veggies and salads.”
Now that we know about the food, expect to see more Giant kits on course next year.
Visit Jess and Joël’s blog for their full report on prepping for the Epic.
From Jon Lombardo on his Anthem Advanced 27.5
This is an awesome bike!! There are many aspects of this bike that I’m impressed with, mainly the crisp handling. The suspension works flawlessly, soaking up all the northeast has to offer. I feel the bike climbs very well and the 27.5 wheels make accelerating a joy.
My personal race bike is set up close to stock. So far I really like the XT components, and have only changed the rear derailer and crankset to XTR. I changed the seat post to a carbon giant one, and left the seat( feels comfy). I added a carbon riser bar to open up the cockpit. For now I’m running the stock wheels. On the crank I’m running black spire chainrings and a stages power meter on the other side. Schwalbe Racing Ralphs front and rear for this guy, at @24psi depending on the conditions. I haven’t raced much yet but am looking forward to this season aboard my new whip. The bike is truly confidence inspiring.
And from Tyler Berliner on his XTC Advanced 27.5
Things to note about the bike include the brilliant stiffness, cornering, and the shear race bike feel. Giant is a brand founded on evolution and innovation and this bike encompasses both. The bike includes thru-axles on both the fork and frame. Not only is the bike stiff, but it’s also compliant where needed. When I first saw the bike I noticed the odd geometric shape connecting the chain and seat stays. I later learned that the XTC advanced frames were designed that way in-conjunction with the smaller seatpost diameter to give the bike a good ride quality, it does. Most race bikes I have owned in the past do two things; race and go fast. The XTC has a special third attribute which puts it above all in my mind, the ride quality.
From the Pro Gravity Tour to the Canada Cup, Giant Northeast riders were out on the trails en masse this past weekend racing endurance, XC, downhill, and Super-D.
Pro Gravity Tour: Mountain Creek Spring Classic. Vernon, NJ
Giant Northeast Pro riders Seamus and Brian attended the second race of the Pro GRT series to compete in Super-D and Downhill events.
“This weekend was the first downhill race of my season. An incredibly fast and fun track this left all of us downhillers with plenty of smiles on our faces and high fives all around. I had a very smooth race run and came out with 33rd place in a stacked pro class.”
From Seamus, on his Super-D race:
“Super-D is always a blast and having the National title and racing super-D… even better. A bit stressful but reassuring at the same time. The track at Mountain Creek was laid out perfect with plenty of passing and included some of the classic “Creek” flow trails like Tempest and the classic rocky stuff as well. The race played out like any mass start super-D, jockey for position find your opening and “GO!” I grabbed the lead before the real descent started and never looked back taking my first Super-D win for 2014!”
Seamus also decided to try racing amateur Downhill for the first time ever:
“Downhill racing is a different animal. Unlike any bike racing you’ll ever compete in. People yelling and screaming in the technical rock section… perhaps for encouragement but most likely they want a show… meaning you falling off your bike. All packed into roughly 3 to 5 minutes of racing… Oh Baby am I in love.”
MASS XC and Endurance: Greenbrier Challenge. Elkton, MD.
Excitement among the Cat 1 racers was a little higher than usual since Greenbrier was the first USAC sanctioned race in the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Super Series and would serve as one of only three Nationals qualifiers in the region. All Cat 1 riders wishing to compete at Nationals would need to qualify.
The morning started, as usual, with the endurance races. Jed, Jess, and Joël headed out with gusto. Jess describes the terrain and conditions:
“The course started off with a decent climb on some gravel double track, a great way to break up the field. Then it was a fast and fun descent that lead into some rocky sections. The rock garden at the bottom of the hill was probably my favorite part of the course; spectators were gathered there cheering and it felt great to clear it every time and give them something to cheer about. After this the course included some gigantic mud puddles and a creek crossing which made for soggy shoes and dirty bikes.” (Jess)
Riders on the Giant Northeast Team try to make it a priority to be friendly, approachable, and helpful, and do their best to keep things in perspective, even during the heat of a race. This week’s Best Giant Attitude Award goes to Jess for saving a toad during her race. Jess stopped in the middle of a challenging, technical climb, to pick up a toad and relocate it safely off the trail. Thanks, Jess!
Despite devoting some seconds to amphibian rescue, Jess continued her podium streak with a second place finish in the Endurance Women’s class, while Joël and Jed finished fourth and fifth in the Endurance Men’s class.
Amy continued a double-header weekend to race in her Cat 2 age group. Not surprisingly, Amy maintained her perfect MASS record with yet another win. Are you sure Enduro is your primary discipline, Amy?
Giant Northeast riders were everywhere during the Pro and Cat 1 races. Jordan, Andy, Abbey, April, Ryan, Lester, and Mike shared fist-bumps on the start line, encouragement during the race, and cheers on the finish line. Sections of trail that were watery in the morning were positively muddy by mid-afternoon, but despite the muck and mess all of the bikes and riders pulled through with solid races.
To read Jess and Joël’s full race report and to see Joël’s video from the race, visit their blog.
Jess: 2nd Endurance Women
Joël: 4th Endurance Men
Jed: 5th Endurance Men
Abbey: 4th Pro Women
Jordan: 6th Pro Men
Andy: 8th Pro Men
April: 4th Cat 1 Open Women
Ryan: 6th Cat 1 Senior Men
Mike: 7th Cat 1 Masters Men
Lester: 8th Cat 1 Masters Men
Amy: 1st Cat 2 Masters Women
Jamis H2H Series: Rumble in the Jungle. West Milford, NJ
After watching the recent MTB World Cup race in Cairns, Australia, mountain bikers around the world have been itching to ride some jungle. Wendi and Jon got their chance at Rumble in the Jungle, a race held at Jungle Habitat, a long-defunct Warner Brothers drive-through safari theme park.
“I registered to race Pro/Open and was anxious to race my heart out. Jungle Habitat consists of mainly tight, very rocky single-track, which tends to be my favorite type of riding. The race started off fast on some non-technical trails and once we were in the rocky single-track, I was in my element, enjoying all the rock gardens and some slick mud mixed in. Normally, I’m a decent climber, but lately I feel like I’m becoming just as fast descending, rolling smoothly through the rock gardens on my Lust Advanced 0. I enjoyed every minute of it.” (Wendi)
Jon rode in the Pro/Cat 1Open men’s race. After a great start and strong efforts early in the race, the fast pace began taking its toll as the race wore on, and Jon finished farther back in the field than he’d hoped.
“Though an 11th place finish wasn’t what I had hoped for, the real joy was two of my sons Rocco and Bryce were working the feed zone. There’s nothing that makes me want to push on more than seeing those guys jumping up and down screaming daddy. After the race The three of us devoured burritos and laughed about the day. It’s not always about the result but the journey to get there and the friends that surround you.” (Jon)
MTB Canada Cup: Mont-Tremblant
Vermont rider Tyler Berliner competed in his first UCI race since moving up from the junior field. More than seventy men lined up for the start of the Elite men’s race; Tyler drew a spot in the second-to-last row by luck of a random draw. Hard rain in the days leading up to the race made for extremely muddy racing conditions made worse by the heavy traffic upfield. Tyler ran most of the first lap, and later described his race as “discouraging encouragement.”
“Encouragement this weekend came from the Giant Anthem I was riding… Any people that I passed this weekend were on the descent. The bike rips. I have never been out of control so much and had the confidence the bike will keep me rubber side down.” (Tyler)
Thule Urban Assault: Richmond, VA
Amy began her double-header weekend at the Urban Assault MTB race offered as part of the Dominion Riverrock outdoor lifestyle festival; an event that that draws several thousand outdoor enthusiasts to Richmond’s urban riverfront to participate in a variety of outdoor sports.
“The Urban Assault course covered a 10 mile loop leaving the crowded venue and heading into single track along the wooded bank of the James River. With all the people and energy, I hammered the start keenly focused on being the first to the single track. The single track led to a paved street connector to a local park system chock full of punchy climbs, quick descending switch-backs, and roots galore. The trail spit you onto a bridge over the roaring James and up an armored rock climb.
“The opposite side of the James proved just as delightfully challenging with both natural and made-made technical features. And then finally back over a massive bridge and around to the finish. Re-entering the venue with all the loud cheering, made me stand and sprint all the way through to the finish as the announcer gave props to Liv/Giant and shared that I had won the Sport Women class!” (Amy)
WORS: Crystal Lake Classic. Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Pro Team rider David Flaten decided to travel to his home state to compete in the second race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series.
“Waking up Sunday morning I did not have the greatest expectations considering I had been sick all week with a nasty head cold. It certainly affected my training over the week. The goal was simple. Be aggressive during the first lap, and settle into a position. Maintaining a smooth flow through the rough single track, and hammering to the limit on the double track. I accomplished all of these things.”
After an exciting and tactical race, David obtained his best-ever finish of 7th place in the Men’s pro field.
You can read David’s full race report on his blog.
Photo Credit: David Tufino
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame”
John Wooden (perhaps one of the greatest coaches of all time) : “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable”
You get out what you put in. Not just in athletics but in life as well. Success should never be defined by whether you win, lose, have wealth and or fame. The process in which you achieve the goals should be the success; enjoy it and respect it. If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s LAZINESS.
Meet one of our Grassroots riders, Amy Alton.
Hometown: Cleveland, OH, but currently residing in Baltimore, MD.
Number of Years Racing: 2 (Enduro, XC)
Race bike Setup
Modified Lust Advanced 2 including a Fox Talas 140 fork, Industry Nine wheels, and dropper post.
Gravity-assisted bliss & being able to drop the watts when its hammer time.
Favorite Race Course
I’m not much on favorites – its more about who I am and how I feel on the bike on race day. I do typically enjoy courses with a great deal of technical terrain – rock gardens, log overs, etc – as it helps me stay focused.
Favorite Place to Ride: the woods, especially when the wildflowers are in bloom.
What is your “Ride Life”?
Its the evolution of just merely pedaling my bike a few weekends a year into a committed and active lifestyle surrounding my bike(s) and community. It is the evolution into a commitment to being present and going further on my rides; to understanding that killer trails and bike lanes don’t just magically appear; to recognizing that riding my bike is not a solo endeavor but welcomes me into a larger community with a shared passion. Bike fast, live slow…Ride on!
What do you want to be if you grow up? Happy
Any advice for young riders?
Just keep pedaling…your bike will free you in ways that few other worldly objects can
Best part about racing mountain bikes?
Challenging your physical and mental rigor. It allows you to go to battle and afterwards enjoy a brew with fellow competitors.
Boxers or briefs: I dig my dude in boxer briefs
Big spoon or little spoon: it depends if we’re sleeping on our sailboat, then little spoon
What was your first car?
The Green Hausser – Sweet mint green Ford LTD that had hood for days and trunk for weeks
What was your best Halloween costume? About 4 square inches of electrical tape…
Your best cycling hack/tip?
During XC competitions, I like to use small zip ties facing upward on my handle bars that I can attach easy-access single CLIF shot bloks, gu chomps, etc.