PACX Series Race #1: Cross of the Corn. Aspers, PA.
David Flaten traveled up to PA to take part in the first race of the Pennsylvania Cyclocross Series last weekend. David decided to shake things up a bit and compete on his XTC 27.5. Riding a mountain bike in a CX race evidently didn’t hold David up too much, considering his podium finish in the men’s 1/2/3 field. Maybe he’ll start a trend?
I decided to cap off a 20 hour week of training with the first cross race of the year. After having to work until nearly 4 AM and driving to the race off of 4 hours of sleep I was optimistic i’d have fun! Temperatures were steaming in the mid 90’s at the start of the race. Hydration was the lesson of the day. Sitting 3rd wheel for the first 4 laps I had already gone through my one and only bottle. I did not think I would go through more than one bottle during the race and wished I had something cold in the feed zone! I spent the rest of the race in no mans land and pressed on to finish in 5th place. On the podium and in the money!
North American Enduro Tour: Highland OverMountain. Northfield, NH.
Seamus Powell and Amy Alton both attended the eighth stop of the North American Enduro Tour, which includes ten races held across the continent.
Seamus reports on the weekend:
Close racing this weekend at Highland Over Mountain Challenge / North American Enduro Tour (NAET). Won by 1/10 of a second over 4 stages of a mix of flow and Gnar. Grabbing my first NAET win on the east coast is very satisfying. Smooth is fast.
And from Amy:
Two days of rain leading up to the event, and the biggest terrain to date made for a seriously challenging weekend. I stepped it up and decided to make this my first pro enduro race. I was still feeling good after a few frustrating falls through wet roots and mud pits but a rear flat about half way down the last stage sealed the deal and I ended up in 6th place for pro women.
Once again, Pinkbike has some sweet, sweet photos of the event.
Race to the Top of Vermont. Stowe, Vermont.
Race to the Top of Vermont is an event held annually at Mount Mansfield for hikers, bikers, and runners. Ryan Berliner attended and not only won his age group, but also placed third overall out of fifty entrants! We already knew he could go crazy fast downhill — evidently he can go pretty fast uphill, too.
“This weekend I had a choice between the Highland Enduro, and the Race to the Top of Vermont. I chose the second option because I had a killer bike that was SUPER light, and basically screamed “I enjoy going up big hills”. So, I chose to do the hill climb. The route is 4.3 miles up the Mt. Mansfield toll road, and climbs 2500ft to the highest point in the state. It was a super nice day, and the weather and conditions were going to make for a very fast race. As the race started, my goal was to break the 40 minute mark. My best time ever was a 42 something I think. I may have been a little optimistic to think I could break 40 minutes, but I thought I could push really hard. My game plan was also pretty simple, which was to punch over the steeper (11% average grade, so it’s all pretty steep) sections as best I could, and keep my speed on the ‘flatter’ sections while trying to recover slightly for the next punch. This worked out pretty well, and I found myself in 3rd position overall up to the final switch backs. Coming around the last corner, I looked to the digital display to see what the time was, I was really happy to see that I had met my goal by getting a 36:33. In addition to this, I was able to win my age category, and get 3rd overall. The nice weather made for a good view at the top, and a good race!”
Eastern States Cup: New England Downhill Cup. Sugarbush, Vermont.
Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride also spent the weekend racing in Vermont. While Ryan was climbing up Mount Mansfield, these guys were flying down Sugarbush Mountain just an hour south.
Brian’s report from Sugarbush:
This past weekend I attended the Sugarbush Eastern States Cup race. A birthday weekend spent with all my riding buddies is all I would have wanted for my 22nd. Bright blue skies and amazing temps were deceiving. A muddy slick course lied in the midst of the woods. Continuously drying it seemed like some sections changed every run. Sunday brought what seemed to be a motocross race, a rutted out rough track. Managed to hold on for a third place result.
Had a not so great weekend at Sugarbush. Practice on Saturday was good, wet, and rough. Sunday the course got a little drier but roots were still slippery. My race run did not go as planned and I crashed 3 times. Leaving that race in the past and looking forward to the Pennsylvania State Championship soon!
Wildwood Games. Augusta, GA
Abbey Alexiades jumped feet-first into her first endurance event and came away with a top-notch result. Abbey’s report:
“The first ever Wildwood Games was a test run for the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships. The course was 100km long but due to the high temperatures the course was cut down to 80km. This was the longest and hottest race I had ever entered. I was worried about cramps and running out of water so I made the decision to race with a Camelback with 3 liters of water in it, which was super heavy. The race started at 7am and I started out in a big group because I wanted to go into the first section of single track with someone in front of me to follow. Eventually the group broke up and I ended up riding by myself. Riding was really fun, a lot of smooth, flowy single track, with sections of trails that were like riding through a pump track. This was a great course and a great race. I finished 1st and was happy to win my first endurance race.”
Trail Spinners’ Fair Hill Classic: MASS XC and Endurance Finals. Fair Hill, MD.
The Mid-Atlantic Super Series concluded on Saturday with the Fair Hill Classic. Several members of the Giant Northeast team gave MASS races priority status on the calendar this year. The series includes nine XC and nine endurance races (with occasional overlap at venues). At the series’ end, points from each rider’s seven top races are tallied and the lowest scores are dropped.
Joël and Jess Nankman went into the endurance race knowing that their results wouldn’t affect their standings in the overall series. April Nabholz was hoping to maintain her fourth-place position in the Pro/Open XC series, but could slide in either direction depending on results. Andy Brooks, who had been leading the Pro/Open division mid-season, slipped back to third in the standings after missing a race; he would need to finish top-five to maintain his position.
Jordan Kahlenberg, Joël, and Jess competed in the endurance event. Joël and Jordan went out in a whopping big field of 52 men in the Open Endurance event, while Jess’s field was also large, with 19 women in the Open division.
The course was a 40+mile single loop that was left in great condition after some recent rain… I started out pretty tentatively, not wanting to push myself too hard and risk blowing up early. But somehow I ended up comfortably in the chase group with the leaders in sight. A little over an hour into the race, a rider in my group attacked, and my teammate Joël responded. Just for fun, I followed, finding that my legs were feeling great. As they settled back into their pace, I decided to soldier on and look for stragglers popping off the lead group. Slowly I reeled a few riders in, never sure how many in front there actually were. I rode steadier and smoother as the race wore on, and by the end, I crossed the finish line with that ‘I’m done?!?!” feeling. Looking around for other finishers, I didn’t see many, and when I asked how many had finished, somebody told me ‘4th’. But as it turned out, 2 of those riders were single-speeders, so I ended up 2nd in the Open Men’s category.
Joël finished in 15 place and Jess finished 7th, both happy to conclude the series with a fun ride and spots in the overall series podiums. Jess finished in 1st place in the Open Endurance Women, and Joël finished in second place in the Open Endurance Men.
April raced in a combined field of seventeen Pro/Open and Cat 1 40+ women. Her report:
I’ve been working my way through some late-summer burnout and have been doing my best to rejuvenate for ‘cross season. Even so, I figured I couldn’t miss the last MASS race of the season. As it turns out, all of the cross training and running sprint sets I’ve been doing really helped me through this race. There wasn’t any sustained climbing, but I felt like a maniac on all of the little sprinty sections; I could tell that my running workouts really bumped up my cadence. I felt fresh from all of my rest, and this was easily the most fun I’ve had racing all season. The weather was cool, cloudy, and perfect!
April finished 4th in the Pro/Open and 5th overall, taking a 4th place finish in the overall series in the Pro/Open XC division, despite missing out on points from her early-season races as a Cat 2.
Andy raced a smokin’ race in a stacked Pro/Open mens’ field. After riding nearly the entire race in fifth place, a rival passed him several miles before the finish, edging Andy out for third place in the overall series by one point. Andy finished the race in sixth place, and in 4th place in the series in the Pro/Open XC.
Lester and Ryan (Hilaman) both raced the Cat 1 19-29 division. Lester went into the race with minimal expectations, having been sick during the week leading up to the race.
Lester describes his race:
“I felt great during the start and held top 10 spot easily as we headed into the woods… The pace was good and it wasn’t until around mile 15 that I started going backwards. At that point I just tried to enjoy the great trails at Fair Hill and finish. I had one crash after clipping a pedal on a flowy section of trail requiring a few moments adjusting bars and stem. I kept rolling slower on the climbs and worked on starting some through the flat and flowing sections. At one point April (yeah I got chick’d but at least it was a teammate) came by in a battle for podium spot with a Colavita rider. I hung with them for a while and gave encouragement before dropping back again. Afterwards we got to relax at the team tent and enjoy the food vendors and live music. Even though I wasn’t feeling great, I’m still glad I came to the race. Fair Hill is one of the great fun courses in the Northeast and I look forward to the spring race.”
Ryan and Lester finished 7th and 9th, respectively.
Lester’s Current Soundtrack: Disclosure – latch
For Jess and Joel’s complete race report and a video from the event, visit their blog.
Eastern States Cup: Attitash Mountain. New Hampshire State Championship for Super-D.
The Eastern States Cup visited New Hampshire last weekend for the sixth race in the Super-D Cup USAC Regional Championship Series. Amy Alton tore it up on the course to take a win in the Pro Women’s field.
I was up in New England competing in an off-roading expedition the week prior and figured, why not go hit Attitash Mountain for the ESC Super D race. The course resembled more of a Sport DH track, lacking the uphills typical of a Super D. It was fast and rocky with segments both in the woods on steep loamy trails and wide open gravel fire roads. Still healing multiple broken fingers from the ESC Killington Enduro, I was pleased to be able to grip my handle bar and navigate a clean run. I clocked a 4:13, to take the Pro Women’s Super D win as the fastest woman on the mountain that day.
As usual, you can find some more great coverage of this event (including video and photographs) at Pinkbike.
Root 66 Northeast XC MTB Series: Millstone Grind XC. Websterville, VT.
Ryan Berliner got to stay close to home last weekend with a race in the borderlands of the Northeast Kingdom. The Millstone Grind was the last of 15 races in this year’s Root 66 XC Series (although there’s one last marathon race still on the calendar).
This is one of my favorite races, which is a little bit longer, and the trails that wind through the granite quarry are lots of fun to ride. This is also a course that is a super good match for a full suspension bike, and make the riding much more enjoyable, especially with the slippery conditions caused by morning rain. Because of the length of the race, there really weren’t any HUGE efforts, and I rode the whole race at one speed. Staying smooth, and keeping the speed you had was one of the ways to get loads of time with minimal energy, and I took full advantage of that during the 3, 6 mile laps. At the end of the 2h10m-ish race, I was able to win my category, and got some sweet prizes. A new helmet, some socks, and 10 lbs of gatorade powder made the day even nicer!! The race was put on super well, and in the end made for a great race!
Jamis Bicycles H2H Series: Mountain Creek Summer Scramble. Vernon, NJ.
The Jamis H2H Series is also close to wrapping up for the season, with just one race remaining in the 8-race series. Mike Romanowski and Wendi Sebastian both attended the Summer Scramble, which was a local race for them and was held on trails they know well.
Wendi raced in the Pro/Open field, which set off one minute before the Cat 1 women. All women would be racing three laps.
“My goal was to hang on to the leader’s wheel as long as possible during the race and to hopefully keep all Cat 1 from catching me. Fortunately that all worked out. I was psyched to stay with the leader for most of lap 1 and come in right behind her for the start of the second lap, with her still in sight. By the end of lap 2, I ended up being almost a minute behind her, which I was still happy about considering how tired my legs were getting. I was not drinking nearly enough and trying to push so hard, which was all quickly catching up to me.”
“On the third lap, I just wasn’t as fast since my legs were beat. But, I still pushed hard and fortunately didn’t see any Cat 1 women catching up behind me the whole race. I even smashed my knee hard into a tree on the last trail. One of the moments when you really want to stop because it was so painful, yet you can’t since you’re racing. Fortunately it was only a few minutes until the finish line. Overall I had a great race and was really happy with the outcome. I finished 2nd Pro and overall, a few minutes behind the leader, with very tired legs and a huge smile on my face. That pain and determination was all worth it in the end.”
Congratulations to Wendi on her current series lead in the H2H Pro/Open Women’s division!
Mike had a challenging race, but nobody is better at staying cool in the face of adversity. After tangling handlebars with another rider during the sprint start, Mike settled into the race and was able to maintain contact with the front group until dropping his chain toward the end of the first lap. Not long after, Mike realized he was losing air pressure in his rear tire and had to hop off to add air. With the leak sealed, he set off again.
“Back on the bike once again, I was still feeling pretty good about my race and was feeling strong. Nearing the end of my third and final lap, the rear tire dropped pressure pretty quick on possibly the fastest descent of the course and the rim bottomed out excessively hard on one of our east coast rocks. I instantly knew the back wheel was toast. When I assessed the damage to see how bad things were, the side of the rim was pancaked, with the bead of the tire visible. I kind of just stood on the side of the trail for a minute or two thinking about walking out as fellow racers continued to pass me. But, I’m not one to just quit and figured if I can get a tube to work, I’m finishing this race.”
“The rest of the race wasn’t fast, but it felt good to know I was crossing the finish line pedaling and not walking. One of the best comments I received after the race was from another guy in my group. He said, “I wasn’t sure what happened, it looked like you were waiting for the ice cream truck.” This only helped to lighten the mood and is one of the reasons why I love mountain biking. Everyone is always trying to have fun no matter what.”
Despite his troubles on-course, Mike was still able to finish in 13th place in his Cat 1 19-39 age group.
Hometown: Cresskill New Jersey
Currently Living In: Green Township, New Jersey
Number of Years Racing: 8 years
Number of Years Racing Pro: 1 year
Race Bike Setup: Anthem 27.5 -Stans Crest wheels – Schwalbe Tires – XTR components
Custom Lego® guy mounting bracket.
Power courses with short climbs because at 185 pounds sustained climbing is agonizing or rock technical courses and Cyclocross, the worse the conditions the more I enjoy it and the better I do.
Favorite Race Course
Williams Lake for the amazing scenery and the cave – Also the site of my first ever mountain bike race.
Favorite Place to Ride
I am fortunate to live between Allamuchy and Kittatinny State Park so I get to choose between the two, often I like Allamuchy better because it is larger and take my two Viszlas, Fonzie and Cassie, my two best training partners.
What is your “Ride Life”?
Peace and satisfaction I get from mountain biking and exploring and watching my four boys ride their bikes and develop as young riders.
What do you want to be if you grow up?
GROW UP?? That is not going to happen anytime soon, will let you know if I do.
Any advice for young riders?
Learn to be patient in their training and never forget why you started racing in the beginning-because you love riding a bike.
Best part about racing mountain bikes? Traveling and meeting new people and getting to ride amongst some amazing scenery in various parks, makes you really appreciate the outdoors that much more.
Favorite Food: Mexican DUH!!! How can you not love Mexican??
Tight jeans or baggy: Tried skinny jeans once, was a disaster, so definitely baggy.
Boxers or briefs: Neither…
What’s your perfect date? Quiet night (Sans kids) and dinner with my wife followed by a walk under the stars at Lake Mohawk in Sparta.
Cassie, my 7 year old Viszla and Fonzie, my 3 year old Viszla, amazing training partners, they have tireless energy and make every mountain bike ride a blast no matter how long the distance.
Jon’s four young boys are killing it on their bikes. They have a great teacher!
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Windham, NY.
Mountain bike aficionados around the world have been tuning in to Redbull throughout the summer to keep abreast of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series. The XC series has already traveled to South Africa, Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Canada, while the DH series also visited Scotland and Austria. This year, North Americans got a double-dose of excitement with XCE, XCO, and DHI World Cup events held in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, and Windham, NY, on consecutive weekends.
In conjunction with the World Cup Races over the weekends, Windham hosted a New York State Mountain Bike Series XC race on Saturday (Kenda’s Race the World), and an Eastern States Cup downhill race (the Citizens Cup) on Sunday, with both events giving local amateurs and pros the chance to ride the courses in advance of the UCI Elites.
Ten Giant Northeast riders attended the event, some competing in Saturday’s XC and some in Sunday’s downhill. Pro downhill rider Brian Scolforo was team champion of the weekend, bringing home a first place win in the Pro Men’s event during Sunday’s Citizens Cup.
In addition to competing in the non-UCI events, team members made time to watch the UCI races, ride together, eat a lot of pancakes, reflect on the season, and even get excited about cyclocross.
NYS MTB Series: Kenda’s Race the World XC at Windham
Across the board, this week’s race reports described the course at Windham as a course for climbers. Some racers recalled brutally challenging inclines, and others described the dry conditions and fast descents.
New York residents Ryan Fawley and Abbey Alexiades both landed fifth place finishes in their Pro races. Grassroots riders Ryan (Berliner), Jon, Lester, Mike, Wendi, and Ryan (Hilaman) traveled in for the race from their various outposts around the region.
Ryan Berliner competed with the Cat 1 Junior Men bright and early on Saturday morning. Ryan remembered liking the course from his previous experiences racing at Windham for the past four years, but on this occasion, the climbs were taking a toll and the congestion during descents made it hard to pull back any time. Ryan finished the race just outside the podium in sixth place.
Jon Lombardo (Cat 1 40-49) had a mixed experience at Windham. After a strong start to the race which placed him comfortably in fifth position, his back began to tighten up around a pulled muscle. After the pain became too great, Jon was forced to abandon his race. We’re sure he’ll be back on course in no time.
Lester Brown III arrived on site a little later in the morning than he’d hoped and missed his typical thorough warmup. None-the-less, he was off with the Cat 1 30-39 age group promptly at 8am.
The race started on gravel behind the resort and sent riders up the side of the slope for a long climb before a long descent back to the finish. With limited warm-up my strategy became to ride conservative on lap 1 and then open the throttle on the proceeding laps. (Lester)
Focusing on high tempo and a smooth cadence, Lester found he was able to gradually increase his effort as the race went on. By the fourth lap he went all out and was able to pull back time on his descent to the line. Satisfied with his ride, Lester kicked back and jumped into the rest of his weekend. Lester’s Current Soundtrack: Girl Talk – All Day
The Windham race course is not an easy one. You climb more than half way up the mountain and descend to where you started. A few sections had 2 or 3 lines to choose from, but there weren’t any real “A-lines”… Looking back at my race, I may have held back a bit too much climbing, but I was concerned about blowing up on the big climbs and then having to survive some brutal inclines. (Mike)
Mike Romanowski also raced with the Cat 1 30-39 men. Mike rode with consistency and clocked similar times for each of his four laps; the time difference between his first and last lap was less than thirty seconds. Mike finished in 13th place in his competitive field and felt positive about his experience.
Wendi Sebastian usually races in the Pro/Open but decided to go out with her Cat 1 35+ age group on this occasion. Wendi prefers longer XC races to shorter ones, and she was disappointed that the 35+ Cat 1 women would be racing one lap fewer than the U35 age group and Pro women.
“I was feeling confident in my climbing from the start and there was a lot of climbing. Little by little, I was passing racers and a couple passed me back in the descents. Then I’d pass them back again on the climbs… As much as I love technical, I wasn’t feeling as fast or as confident on the descents as I could have been. Regardless, I still enjoyed the descents, until I managed to hit a tree on my last lap. Smacked my hand hard, but finished off the race in one piece in 5th place, less than a minute from 4th and met my goal of top 5 in the shortest race I’ve had in years.” (Wendi)
“We wrapped the day with a team cool down ride on the roads outside the resort which was a great time. Conversation ranged from the course conditions, competition, next steps and coaching. Once again every time I have a chance to ride with our team, I more grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a great group.” (Lester)
Eastern States Cup: World Cup Citizens Race at Windham
Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride raced in Sunday’s downhill events, with Brian racing in the Pro field and Collin racing in the cat 2/3 juniors field.
This past weekend I went to Windham Mountain for the World Cup Festival. I showed up fashionably late, making it just in time for the evening practice on Saturday. The Citizens Cup race is held every year during the same weekend as the World Cup, giving local racers a chance to push the envelope on some gnarly wide open terrain. One of my favorite tracks in the northeast I picked up the pace quick. Feeling strong in Sunday’s practice I went to the top of the mountain confident and ready to pin it. A fast loose run got me down the hill and over the finish line with the fastest time of the day, putting me in first place. A brief moment of anticipation as two other riders were on course. I remained in the hotseat and earned my first career pro win. Incredibly thankful for the backing of my team, the sponsors, and all my racing friends.
Had an awesome and a not so awesome time at Windham. The good part was seeing all of the people that inspire me to ride bikes everyday and go faster. And practice on Friday and Saturday went amazing with a rocky high speed course. On Sunday practice was good, and on my race run I couldn’t manage to stay on my bike and got thrown over the bars of a drop and lost a good amount of seconds. It was the biggest class I’ve ever raced in with an amount of 26 kids. I was still able to pull out 17th, not what I wanted but that’s all a part of racing. The bike ran amazing over all the awkward drops on the course!
NoTubes Rattling Offroad Weekend: An Event to Build Trails and Community. Presented by High Speed Cycling. Elizabethville, PA.
Jess reports on her weekend racing with Joël at Rattling Creek:
“The race weekend, put on by Mike Kuhn and The Outdoor Experience, includes a 50 mile race, a 30 mile race, and a 50 mile “experience” category. Camping is available in the community park all weekend in the nearby town of Lykens.
As forewarned in the race e-mail, 1/4 of the climbing was in the first 3 miles. The race pretty much started with a climb to the top of the mountain. The climb started on a gravel road then turned onto single track. After this major climb, the course was primarily on the ridge. There were some long, double track and single track climbs thrown in here and there but primarily the course followed the rolling terrain of the ridge line.
One really great aspect of this race is the support. Aid stations, are plentiful at every 10 miles. The same aid station was hit at miles 10, 20, and 40. A self-serve water only station was at mile 30. So despite the hot and sunny summer weather there were multiple places to rehydrate and eat. After the race riders were treated to hoagies, snack foods, and drinks.
Overall a good race for both Joël and I. We both pushed hard and felt there is nothing we wished we would have done differently. I was 3rd open female and Joël was 9th open male. All finishers received a Rattling Creek shot glass. Joël celebrated the day with a well deserved shot of rum.”
For Jess and Joël’s complete report and to watch a video of their weekend, visit their blog.