ESC DH Cup at Jiminy Peak; Iron Cross; and Richmond CX Festival.

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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).

Brian Scolforo heading down to a second-place finish. Photo: Andrew Santoro

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.

David Flaten’s report on the craziness that is Iron Cross! Visit the Outdoor Experience website for video of past Iron Cross events and past results.

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 race goes on and on and on and on…

“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!”

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Iron Cross XII Podium. Jeremiah Bishop in first, Cole Oberman in second, and David Flaten in third.

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.”

Post race relaxing.

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.”

“Lots of cheering and jeering from the crowd, especially one guy screaming “RIDE GIANT!” a commentary on my stature or clever marketing.” –Lester

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

Ardent ale

Lester’s post-race brew (Sweet Potato and Sage Saison) at Ardent Craft Ales.

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