POC Eastern States Cup New England DH Cup and MA State Championship. Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, MA.
The Eastern States Cup downhill series is drawing toward its close with just two races remaining on the calendar. Last weekend’s race in the Berkshires was the whole package: gorgeous fall scenery, a mash-up of weather conditions, and a solid crowd of enthusiastic racers. Three Giant Northeast riders competed in the race, and you can see glimpses of their Fox jerseys in the sweet video Pinkbike put together (scroll down to see some great photos, too, at the same link).
From Pro rider Brian Scolforo, who’s been enjoying a season of podium-earning downhill skill:
Finally! The local race that we’ve been waiting for all season was upon us. It’s been the luck of the peak, the two previous years were plagued with wet rainy weather. This year brought us another rainy Saturday practice. A treacherous, beat up track left us soaked and covered from head to toe in mud. Sunday brought blue skies and gorgeous temps. The track quickly dried up. Pulled together a strong run for a second place finish.
Brian wasn’t the only GNE racer at Jiminy Peak: Enduro champ Seamus Powell was also on scene, as was Grassroots racer Collin McBride. Seamus put in a run that was fast enough to grab him a seventh place finish in the Pro Men’s class, while Collin fired out another consistently strong run and finished sixth in his juniors field.
Foundry Cycles/NoTubes Iron Cross XII p/b High Speed Cycling. Michaux State Forest, PA.
Hot off the press from D-Flat:
“I decided that after 3 years of living on the east coast, I would take a crack at the well established Iron Cross, America’s largest Ultra Cross race. It was certain to be a stacked field, and with lots of gravel, and rolling road sections, it was sure to be a tactical race. I chose to ride my XTC 27.5 hard tail simply because of 2 of the very technical single track sections during the 68 mile race. Going through the first section of single track, I looked back to realize it was only my coach Jeremiah Bishop, and training partner Cole Oberman, with almost no one else in sight. Cole lost his contacts and took a little spill going over one of the built up dirt piles. Jeremiah and I got to the road and we had about 30 seconds on the chase group. We got about as aerodynamic as possible and set a nice steady tempo pace. We knew our move was not going to stick, but we had enough of a gap that the chase group was certain to burn a few matches bridging up to us. Our plan worked. The group caught us which included teammate Jordan Kahlenberg after a screaming fast road descent before we took a right hand turn back into the state park.
“The group sat up for about 3 miles before we hit the next section of dirt. The general attitude of the group was calm and relaxed. It seemed like at this point in the year, everyone is in the mind set of less suffering is better. At mile 20 and about 1.5 miles from a 10 minute 25-40% run up, I put in a big attack which Jeremiah and Cole responded to immediately. We made it over a steep climb together, and hit the base of the run up together. Cole attacked on the run up and put nearly a minute into Jeremiah and I by the time we got to the top. We caught him about 5 minutes later going up the 2nd run up which was not nearly as steep, however the loose, large rocks made it impossible to ride. For about the next 35 miles or so, Jeremiah, Cole and I worked together to ensure we would not get caught. Jeremiah attacked in a section of single track. Cole and I decided to keep it steady and we were certain we would catch him in an up coming road section. This was not the case! Cole and I spent the last 17 miles of the race working together to try and catch him. The race finished with a 2.5 mile climb where Cole put in a very hard attack. I kept it steady and had him in sight all the way to the top, but could not quite seal the deal. I came in 12 seconds after Cole, for 3rd place when it was all said and done. Happy to be on the podium with these caliber of athletes!”
Richmond Festival of Cyclocross. Richmond, VA.
Day 1: Presented by Altius Cycling. Chimborazo Park.
Day 2: Presented by Full Spectrum Racing at Bryan Park.
This report from Lester, who churned out not one but TWO fast races on Sunday to earn himself a pair of top-ten finishes:
“Saturday’s race was held in Chimborazo park, located in Church Hill, offering great overlook views of the city. The course included a stair run-up and hill climb each lap along with some technical descending and a make of dirt, pavement and grass. This day I chose to spectate and save my legs for the following day that suited my strengths better.”
On Sunday, Lester decided to go for a doubleheader and race both the 4/5 and the 3/4 races. After an emergency wheel change just moments before the start of his race, Lester lined up and waited for the whistle.
“I got a pretty good start hanging with the lead group for first lap or so… I tried to stay in the chase and close time where I could. The course was technical enough that I kept or gained positions and time. A long road stretch broken up by several off shoots into grass and trees kept things interesting. At times it read more like sprint repeats. As we came through the finish, I kept looking for lap cards. At some point the bell was rung but I didn’t distinguish it from all the other noise inherent to a CX race. Not realizing the race time, I got nipped on the line by a guy who I expected to reel back in on what I thought would be the last lap. Finishing 8th place out of 44 felt good and I rolled around to cool down and prep for the next race.”
With three hours to kill between races, Lester washed his bike, reset his race wheels, and even managed a nap before it was time to line up for the 3/4 race. Putting in a moderate sprint off the start, Lester entered the woods in second place and held position through the first lap, at which point he recalled his morning race and decided to back off and ride a little more conservatively.
“A group of 6 of us formed at the front and I was hanging with them until a dropped chain through the barriers costing me a few seconds to sort out. The group was within eye shot but ramping their pace quickly. I rode in no mans land for a lap before two guys latched onto me. I encouraged them to work and see if we could bring the leaders back but we never got much closer than 5-8 seconds. I was feeling good and still handling very well, having pretty much dialed in my strategy throughout the course. My front derailleur was having issues and would eventually cause me to change my approach. I opted to leave it in the big ring on the bell lap and try to dig deep on the slower re-accelerations after remounts and turns. On the last lap we came through a wooded section and I sat on the wheel of one guy while the other seemed to straggle. With good strategy, the straggler attacked and I jumped to cover the move. As we came by the tennis courts the other guy came around me just as a nasty head wind kicked making it slightly easier to catch his wheel. As we approached the last uphill 180 he went inside and I swung wide trying to pull ahead on the hill. He kept a wheel distance and by the time we hit the last turn he had just enough to jump me on the sprint. Finished up 7th in a field of 26 feeling good about the effort.”
Lester’s Soundtrack: Incubus – Circles
Hometown: Lee, MA
Number of Years Racing: 4
Number of Years Racing Pro: This will be my second full season
Race bike setup: Giant Glory 0
Riding Strength: Tight and tech
Favorite Race Course: Mammoth mountain pro grt course
Favorite Place to Ride: Jiminy Peak
What is your “Ride Life”?
As much time as i’m able to spend on a bike, continuously keeping a smile on my face.
What do you want to be if you grow up?
I thoroughly enjoy landscaping, property maintenance will surely be my go to.
Any advice for young riders?
Keep striving for your goals, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
Best part about racing mountain bikes?
Always changing locations and tracks, experiencing incredible moments with great friends.
Most Played Song: Nas- I know I can
Tight jeans or baggy: Tight
Big spoon or little spoon: Little!
What was your first car?
Chevy corsica, an awesome hammy down from grandma
Pets? A chocolate lab, Mia
Triple Crown Enduro Series: Kingdom Enduro at Burke Mountain, Vermont.
The last weekend in September brought the 2014 Triple Crown Enduro Series to a close. Two races earlier in the series were held at Highland Mountain and Mountain Creek Bike Park. Giant Northeast Pro riders riders Seamus Powell and Amy Alton competed at Burke Mountain (both also competed at Highland but skipped Mountain Creek).
The report from Amy:
The peak of fall foliage in northern Vermont, nearly 80 degrees and sunny, plus hero dirt on the mountain made this girl a happy camper for her final race of the 2014 season. The final stop for the Triple Crown Enduro series, Kingdom Enduro was a 13 mile course with 3 timed stages, which for the Pros included a 2800′ climb from base to the top of Burke Mountain. Once at the top, we dropped in on Upper J-Bar a double black diamond singletrack that taxed you both mentally and physically with its steep descents, seemingly endless off camber rock gardens, and sharp switchbacks and then down onto Lower J-Bar a rooty cross-country trail that begged your legs to keep pedaling.
After 2 spectacular crashes on the final stage, including an almost save when I came in too hot for the final tabletop and over shot the landing into the top of the berm where I forced my rear wheel down hoping to manual out which I held for a few seconds then…to no avail. I jumped up, rotated my handlebars back around, and cruised over the finish one second out of 5th place. In only my 3rd Enduro as a Pro and competing in 2 of the 3 Triple Crown, I was stoked to close out my season with a 4th overall in the series.
The report from Seamus:
What a weekend. The final Enduro of the year… 3 awesome stages… sneaky ninja lines all over the place… a deep field of 50 pro men… fall foliage… A Irish rock band post race and ultimately a WIN at the end of the weekend. One of the best races I’ve done in a while… oh and I didn’t get hurt and my knee stayed in one piece!
Congrats to both riders on some great racing. As usual, Pinkbike has some great coverage and gorgeous photos.
Guayasamin XCO. Quito, Ecuador.
Pro racer Abbey Alexiades is wintering in Ecuador, and you can bet she’s riding and racing her mountain bike. Last weekend, she hopped into Guayasamin XCO, the fourth of seven races in the the Valida Copa Provincial, a XC Cup series in Ecuador. Abbey’s report:
I have been living in Quito, Ecuador for a month now and I had my first race last Sunday. For many reasons, I was very nervous about this race. It was my first race in a new country, racing women who I had never raced before and my first race at altitude (aprox. 9200ft above sea level). Fortunately, I live only a mile from the start line so I was able to practice the course all week and I had ever line dialed before hand. This was a new experience for me because back in the US I had to drive 3 to 6 hours to every race!
I raced in Elite women and there was only three of us, so no matter what I was guaranteed a spot on the podium. The first lap of the course was hectic with people falling and messing up on the trail. I tried to stay calm but it was hard because I was trying to keep up with the other girls. I fell at the bottom of one of the technical decents and lost touch with them. After the first lap, I was able to settle into a rhythm and each lap I was able to ride faster. It wasn’t my best race but it was so much fun!
See a map of the course and find out more about Guyasamin XCO (if you speak Spanish).
Bryce All-Mountain Festival Enduro at Bryce Resort. Basye, VA.
Team boss and Pro racer Jordan Kahlenberg decided to venture south for some mountain bike fun at the Bryce All-Mountain Festival. From Jordan:
Stopped down at the Bryce All-Mountain Festival in VA this past weekend. Signed up for Sunday’s Enduro just for fun. Trails at the park were fantastic. Buffed out roller-coasters with wooden features and jumps thrown in to keep things interesting. 5 stages of this never got old, and the day went by so fast I couldn’t believe it. I’m not the best at jumps, so this was a great place to work on that skill, as they were perfect for beginners. The group of racers were awesome and the weather was perfect to top it off. Highly recommend this one to anyone looking to end their mtb season with a fun laid-back event!
Find photos and more info at the Fast Forward Racing facebook page.
So crashes suck PERIOD!!! Especially ones that injure you, land you in a hospital getting X-Rays and stitches. For the most part crashes are a regular part of racing and training and we walk away un scathed. But its the bad ones that take the wind out of your sail… I was lucky in a lot of ways. It’s good that my coach and I do a lot of weight room and flexibility training so when your card is pulled from the deck and you hit hard the damage is hopefully minimized. Thanks Matt Miller!
I had a conversation with a fellow rider who experienced these things. He told me in a career of downhill you’ll have crashes. They come as your one year, five year and ten year crashes. They are dependent on what type of injury you accrue. I laughed… Its ridiculous…and true at the same time… in the back of my mind I know this and that’s right where those thoughts will stay. This was a relatively small crash and had me off the bike for over a week and possible longer from proper training. Recovery on my knee is pending day to day. I think my big take away is that you can’t let it get in your head. Shit happens. Racing mountain bikes is inherently dangerous and you have to be willing to push hard and take those risks…and the percentage of crashes that will land you in an ER is relatively small. All things I know.
I find it comforting that the harder you hit the ground the less it hurts… the body is amazing at masking pain…some primitive coping mechanisms goes into effect… we are just animals after all…
so the only thing to do is go faster and send it.
“only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Eastern States Cup: New England Downhill Cup. Attitash Mountain, NH.
Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride attended the sixth of eight New England Downhill Cup events. Pro rider Brian continued his podium streak with second place finish while Grassroots rider Collin earned a fifth place finish in his class.
This weekend we attended the eastern states cup race at Attitash Mountain in New Hampshire. A tight and technical mountain, Attitash has an all natural approach to their trail system. They provided us with an amazing track for this weekend. A bone dry weekend made for lots of fun laps with friends. Pinned it down the track for a 2nd place finish. Happy for the young gun Collin to be back in the groove and up on the podium.
This weekend I raced the downhill race at Attitash mountain in New Hampshire. The course was rocky, tight, and super sandy. Was suppose to rain which would’ve made the track terrifying but Mother Nature decided to stay sunny! My race run was good until one of the sandy berms at the bottom caught me and I slid over the berm. Didn’t lose much but seconds are seconds. Happy with my 5th place result and can’t wait for Jiminy Peak next weekend!
As usual, Pinkbike has some excellent coverage of the event (text, photos, and video), including a great photo of Brian flying over some rocks. Check it out!
USAC Pro CX Series: Charm City Cyclocross. Baltimore, MD.
Cyclocross racers in the Mid-Atlantic region had a two-week break between local UCI calendar events with Nittany Cross (PA) on September 6-7 and Charm City CX (MD) September 20-21.
Charm City Cyclocross is hosted by Twenty20 Cycling Company and their Twenty20 Cycling Team. If you don’t follow cyclocross (or, sadly, don’t pay attention to the world of women’s cycling), you might not know that last fall, Twenty20 Cycling announced that it would be a 2015 title sponsor of Koppenbergcross in Belgium, thus making it the first European cyclocross event to award equal prize money to men and women. If any of this comes as a surprise to you, you should read more about it. A big thanks to Twenty20 for for walking the walk.
Lester Brown, April Nabholz, and Ryan Fawley represented Giant Northeast over the weekend.
Lester enjoyed the experience of competing at his first UCI Cyclocross event:
The weather forecast was perfect for the weekend and I looked forward to enjoying the race and hanging with some teammates. The course was technical enough that my MTB skills kept me moving up and my fitness seems pretty good right now. However the climbs and the sandpits (4 consecutive pits with 180 degree transitions in grass – now that’s an interval set to work out!) kept the bigger, power riders honest.
Lester’s starting position both days was near the back of the starting grid, which makes for a challenging race when there are 120 men stacked up in front.
Saturday: I felt fairly good and was able to move up during the first 2 laps. I spent most of the time in the big ring but with three to go, decided to save something for the second day and used little ring to get up the climbs… I was running the stairs and double barriers fairly well. At the end I was pulled with one lap to go, Finished 96 out of 120 or so.
Sunday: One of the lessons I learned from starting in larger fields, BE AGGRESSIVE. I got stuck behind a rider for half lap that held pretty good pace in the straights but much slower in the corners. Eventually I made the pass and chased onto another few groups. On the last lap I approached the sand pits and felt my rear tire slide out after the third pit. D&MN…a rear flat, forcing me to dismount and run through the last pit to try and hold the spots I had gained.
Coping with a rear flat, Lester coasted down the last hill and soft-pedaled in to the finish, losing two spots in the process but still finishing higher in the standings than on the previous day. Lester’s Soundtrack for the weekend: Pharrell Williams – Come Get It Babe.
April raced both days in the Elite Women’s field:
I was so nervous on Saturday, that I almost walked off the start line. There were about 45 women registered both days. My call-up was pretty far back, but when the whistle blew I saw some gaps open and I decided to seize every opportunity that presented itself. When I passed the pit on the first lap, Andy called out that I was riding in 18th position. I knew I was farther forward in the field than I could maintain, but I put in everything I had and finished very happily in 21st.
On Sunday I had a better call-up and got to start mid-pack. Somehow I nicked some spots off the start and went into the first lap riding in the top ten. I was freaking out because I could actually see the front of the train for the first bit of the race and I knew that my heroine Helen Wyman (British CX National Champ and women’s cycling advocate extraordinaire) was up there. Soon women were powering past me and I came back to real life, felt the pain, and had to sink in my claws to finish in 22nd. I was still completely psyched.”
The Elite Women’s podium was identical on Saturday and Sunday with Helen Wyman (Kona) taking the win; Mid-Atlantic Region local Arley Kemmerer taking second; and Seattle’s Jessica Cutler taking third.
The same six men made it into the top of the Elite Men’s field both days, though results scrambled from one day to the next. Saturday’s race was particularly exciting with local Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy/Scott Bikes) of PA taking his first UCI CX win; Lukas Winterberg of Switzerland taking second; and Christopher Jones of Bend, Oregon, taking third. Sunday’s race was a top-six shake-up, with Stephen Hyde (JAM Fund/NCC) of Easthampton, MA taking the win; Dan Timmerman of Clay, NY, taking second; and Christopher Jones repeating his third-place finish. Jonathan Page also finished in the top six both days.
Highlights: Watch a fun video of the event. Don’t miss the shots of the kids and the barriers. Thanks to Tim Barnett for putting it together.
Month of Mud: Moraine State Park Cross Country.
Grassroots rider Jamie Yoder took part in the first race of the Month of Mud (MOM) Series in Moraine State Park near Pittsburgh, PA. The MOM Series is based in western Pennsylvania and consists of five off-road races (including XC, CX, Super-D, and Enduro) scheduled from late September through late October. If this variety-pack series hasn’t already piqued your interest, consider the fact that seven (yes, seven) unicyclists competed in the first event! Expect to see some tandems out there, too.
Jamie Yoder raced in the Expert Field. Her report:
Voted one of the top ten most technical mountain bike trails in the world (by Singletracks.com), Moraine State Park hosted the first mountain bike race of the Month of Mud (MOM) Series – near Pittsburgh, Pa. The expert race distance was 14 miles of boulder-sized rocks, roots and lung-busting climbs.
The forecast called for scattered showers, which hit the trails about 2 hours before the 10 AM start time. While many racers would shy away from riding in the rain on such a technical course, close to 100 local racers showed up to give it their best. And that they did. Throughout the two hours of carnage that ensued, only 2 racers DNF’d. Yep – Pittsburgh is tough.
The first lap was really sketchy. I clipped two trees and probably went down close to 10 times on those slimy roots and rocks. I just couldn’t keep it upright. My second lap was much better than the first, but it wasn’t enough to pull me ahead of the 4th place spot. But, having just come back from a much needed recovery period, I was really happy with completing such a difficult race and not getting seriously hurt. And I had a blast finally racing in my hometown.