ESC Super Champs, Star Rock Cross, and DCCX.

April DCCX

POC Eastern States Cup: Super Championship. Mountain Creek, NJ.

Brian Scolforo, Seamus Powell, and Collin McBride took to the mountains again last weekend for the POC Eastern States Cup Series Super Championship: a two-day event with qualifying runs on Saturday and finals on Sunday. The purpose of the Super Champs was to create an end-of-season event that would unite the New England Cup and Atlantic Cup regions and racers for one full weekend of downhill insanity. Zing!

Brian gone wild!

Two weekends ago Brian Scolforo secured his spot as the New England DH Cup Series Champion and runner-up in the Atlantic DH Cup Series (yeah, pretty rad). Brian’s report from Mountain Creek:

“The last race of the season rolled around, Mountain Creek Super Champs. A new style format that most of us have never experienced. Top ten finishers in the overall series from the Eastern States Cup were secured spots, the others were left to battle to lock in a top ten qualifying time with the threat of a secured rider bumping them out. One of the roughest and possibly the most awkward tracks of the year had everybody puzzled. Tons of rocks and multiple line choices made it very difficult to lock in clean runs. Qualifying brought me down the hill to an 8th place, gas left in the tank for Sunday. Amped up on Sunday I was ready to pin it down the hill, all or nothing on a track like this. A bit of a crash on a rock slab threw me off my bike and off the pace, jumped up and pushed my way down to a 12th place finish.”

Collin cruises through the rock garden. (Photo: Steve Ribeiro)

Collin McBride competed in the amateur junior division and kept his cool despite the unusually challenging course. His report:

“Awesome weekend at Mountain Creek racing the Super Champs final. They made a insane course that was very rocky and had many line choices. Crashing in my seeding run led me to think I need to practice more on the course, and on my race run I got blown off my line by the huge rocks, leading me to take a line I never have before which was very slow. Overall I finished 7th. The season is now over and I can’t thank Giant Northeast enough for the support they have given me. And my dad for bringing me and supporting me at every race. Can’t wait for next year!”

Seamus Powell was also onsite, putting in a fast enough run in the Pro Men’s field to grab a 7th-place super-hero finish on Sunday.

For some really sweet video coverage, check out this short video Pinkbike posted. Keep an eye out for those blue GNE/Fox kits!  And for some gorgeous and exciting photos (featuring fall foliage, mountain-top views, and bikers ripping down crazy rock gardens) visit Pinkbike’s race coverage. They capture so much beauty and exhilaration in their photos that you’ll want to try DH MTB yourself, even if you’re a scaredy cat like me.

PACX: Star Rock Cross. Washington Boro, PA.

Report from Grassroots team rider April Nabholz, who got her first win in the “A” field:

“This race is part of the PACX series and is promoted by a local team and bike shop, Mason Dixon Velo/The Cycle Works. This race is always fun: three years ago the race was held in an early snow; last year one wall of a barn was removed so the race course traveled straight through; and this year there was an over-night hog roast preceding the race.”

Star Rock Cross features a big star on the course,  several sections of steep climbing, and one technical bit which requires some care. Rain earlier in the week made for perfect soil conditions.

“The women’s 1/2/3 field had only five riders, so we started concurrently with the larger Cat 3/4 women’s field. I knew I didn’t want to get caught behind any accidents or wobbles that could send me to the back of the pack, so I made it my priority to go hot off the start and grab the hole shot. The course suited me well and all went (rather unusually) according to plan. I was able to lead the race from start to finish and enjoy my first win in a Cat 1/2/3 field.”

Classy trophy and wicked classy bike.

MABRA Super 8: DCCX. Washington, DC.

The Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association’s Super 8 CX Series traveled to DC last weekend for a two-day event. David Flaten and April Nabholz represented GNE in the in the men’s and women’s elite fields.

David’s report:

“DCCX is the premier race for the Super 8 Mid Atlantic series. Stacked competition, and massive crowds is what I keep coming back for. This race puts a few national level UCI races to shame when it comes to what is being offered to the racers, and spectators.”

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D-Flat riding ‘em like a mountain cyclist!

“I started second row on my Giant XTC 27.5 hard tail mountain bike. I don’t have the best gear ratio, or high end gears with the mountain bike, but I get great training out of racing cross! I found myself sitting top 10 in the first 2 minutes of the race. There was a slight pile up in a off cambered left hand turn and I was far enough back that I was able to pick my way through without having to un-clip. Now I found myself sitting in 6th place with the lead group of 3 in sight. I worked with the two riders sitting in 4th, and 5th for a while until one of the riders had a really hard crash on a cobbled path section of the race before the first sets of barriers. I didn’t necessarily attack the guy that was currently sitting in 4th place as much as I just continued to maintain a consistent power effort, and found myself with a nice little gap to 5th place, and the lead group of 3 within striking distance.”

I went from feeling great to feeling terrible in about 5 minutes chasing for a lap by myself to catch the lead group. A group of 6 riders seemed to appear out of no where and I did everything I could to hang, but to no avail I found myself in no man’s land once again. With 2 laps to go, a group of 3 riders bridged, and dropped me in the same way the first group did. I did whatever I could to hang on for the last paid position for the last 2 laps to finish in 12th on the day. Disappointed in the result, but happy to get a great day of training on the bike!” (David)

April DCCX

April’s pain face on the finishing stretch. Unlucky 13th place — one place outside the money.

After racing locally on Saturday, April headed down to DC on Sunday to catch DCCX on Day 2. April’s report:

“According to Crossresults.com, dry power courses are my weakest link (give me mud and hills). I’d never raced at DCCX before, but most people described it to me as a power course and (Oh! Joy!) conditions were dry.

I later wondered if I should have stayed home on Sunday morning. We left the house forty minutes late and then spent another twenty minutes circling around in DC trying to find the venue. I hadn’t pre-registered, so by the time I got my number pinned on, I had only about fifteen minutes before staging and zero opportunity to see the course. I was freezing cold, so I got in a really rushed warm-up on the road and then hurried to staging.

I asked the girl next to me “which way are we going to turn off the pavement onto the grass, left or right?” but she wasn’t able to tell me. I was staged in the third line, and decided that I’d be able to cope with the unfamiliar course best if I was toward the front of the field. I put in some effort off the start and moved up really nicely before the first corner onto grass and thought “Sweet! I just need to hold onto this spot and I’m golden.”

Then it was like being in a terrible video game. I was being swept along in the adrenaline-fast pace of the start, but I had no idea which way we were going to turn next, and the bright sunlight felt blinding. The corners were sharp and dusty, and here and there were unpredictable gnarled roots. The first lap surprised me again and again — a second set of barriers! A brick path! Stairs! A corner that keeps on cornering! I felt like it would never end. I spent the first half of the race losing ground, and the second half trying to make a little back. I finished mid-pack, but behind the women I usually finish with. Better luck and better day-of preparation next time.”  (Apri)

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