Race Report: Downhill Cup at Mount Snow, Midnight at Marsh Creek, Taconic 909, Big Bear Ultra Light, and Pro GRT at Beech Mountain.
In our last race report, the recurring themes seemed to be recovery, tired bodies, and and finding ways to cope with setbacks during racing. In this week’s race report, you’ll find riders plunging into new challenges, celebrating on podiums, and enjoying the beginning of the end of a long summer of racing.
Eastern States Cup/New England DH Cup: Mount Snow, Vermont.
Mount Snow is the fourth of eight races in the New England Downhill Cup, USAC’s regional championship series. Riders Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride both competed, but now that we know that Bureau’s Sugarhouse gives out gourmet maple popcorn as podium awards, we expect even more Giant Northeast riders to attend next year.
Collin competed in the amateur 15-18 age group, and finished in sixth place behind a two-way tie for fourth place.
Had a great weekend at Mount Snow for the Eastern States Cup race. They had an amazing track that was super fast and rough. I had a few pedal slips in my run that cost me a few seconds but I overall had an amazing run and pulled out a 6th place finish. (Collin)
Brian earned an impressive second-place finish in the Pro Men’s field, just 0.8 seconds behind the winning run. The podium spots were aggressively contested, with the top five racers all finishing within three seconds of each other.
The track was incredible, wide open and technical. An awesome day of practice Saturday led to the hospitality from a fellow team, Danny’s Cycles Racing. We were greeted with a pool and jacuzzi, followed by a delicious BBQ. Things got kicked off nice and early Sunday, another great session of practice. Pinned my race run for a 2nd place position. The day was ended with train runs, upwards of 15 rippers mobbing the slopes. (Brian)
WVMBA: Big Bear Ultra and Ultra Light. Bruceton Mills, WV
Just one week after competing in the Wilderness 101 marathon mountain bike race, Jamie decided to shake things up a bit and head south for a comparatively short 23-mile “ultra light” XC event at Big Bear Lake. Leave it to Jamie to pull a Gunn-Rita (marathon and XC champion extraordinaire) and win first place in the Women’s Open! Long course or short course, she’s got things under control.
Having raced the 101 last weekend, I was looking for a shorter race that was super technical and lots of fun. Big Bear fit the bill. The trails were in pristine shape–all kinds of rocks, plenty of drops, bridges, ramps, and lots of loamy goodness. It’s really hard to find better trails than here. It’s the kind of course that makes you forget you’re racing because you are having so much fun.
You know you have crossed into the endurance realm when you race 23 miles and are disappointed that the race is over. I was just starting to feel REALLY good right around mile 20, and then it was over. Bummer! But then I had to laugh at myself and think about how far I had come this year. I went from racing 15 miles to 100. It really is amazing how your body can respond and adapt to training demands. We are capable of so much more than we think!
Jamis Bicycles H2H Race Series: Taconic 909 Challenge. Pleasant Valley, NY.
Wendi Sebastian, Mike Romanowksi, and Ryan Fawley raced the Taconic 909, the sixth race in the Jamis H2H XC series. Technical, twisty single track was made even more challenging by rain the night preceding and morning of the race. Slick rocks and roots dominated the terrain, and the course required focus and strength.
Wendi raced in the Pro/Open which started concurrent with all Cat 1 Women. A few muddy crashes required her to regroup, but Wendi was able to keep her focus throughout the race and finish high in the overall standings. From Wendi:
The technical started early in the race and the trails were slippery. A group of hikers coming toward us yelled out in anger, “Slow down!” I said back, “bike race.” Guess they didn’t get the memo. I’ve never been told to slow down before in a bike race, usually you hear, “pedal faster!”
First two laps I felt great. I was a little slower in some technical areas – just didn’t want to get all banged up. But, still felt like I was riding pretty well. The last lap I was starting to get a little more tired. I actually really enjoy long races about 2 hours or more. Lately, the last few races have been under 2 hours. This one was messy and just under 2.5 hours and my body was not used to it. As I finished the race, I didn’t know where I placed, but was happy with how I felt. Exhausted, but I gave it everything I had in these conditions. I ended up finishing 4th in the Pro class & overall, which I was happy with and a little over a minute back from 3rd. I guess my slick riding is improving after all, as well as my confidence.
Mike has been feeling increasingly better since struggling with illness last month, and was looking forward to finding out how he would hold up for 2+ hours of hard racing in his Cat 1 age group.
As we sprinted into the first section of single track everyone seemed content settling into a pretty fast pace right away. We all stayed together for quite some time. I felt like I was beginning to push a bit outside of my limits and needed to back off, so I wouldn’t pop. I was fully committed to wanting a solid race and didn’t want to just survive today. A few other racers and I battled back and forth a bit. We kept trading positions over the course of 3 laps. I was anywhere from 4th all the way back to 9th at any given time.
As the race continued on, I did my best to keep up with hydration and fuel, which at times was pretty tough because of the conditions and racers constantly attacking. At the end of the race, I finished 7th which I’m super excited about. It isn’t my best result this year, but this is perhaps the best race I have had this season. I was able to improve my lap times by 5 minutes a lap from last year’s dry course, even with the slick drops and muddy turns we had to deal with that day. (Mike)
Giant Northeast Pro Team rider Ryan Fawley raced in the men’s Pro/Open field and won top honors.
MASS: Midnight at Marsh Creek. Downingtown, PA.
Low on series points due to a mid-season upgrade, April decided she may as well borrow some lights and go for a night ride. April’s report:
Just as darkness was complete, I set off with seven other women in a surprisingly enthusiastic sprint through a soybean field. Soon enough we were deep in the woods climbing up and down single track, sliding over roots, careening through mud, and even hopping (or not hopping) logs. Pre-riding the course would have been advantageous, but at least I was getting a full-dose of adrenaline.
Two of us were in constant competition for second place and led alternately on the climbs and descents for most of the first lap. When the trail opened up onto a long gravel climb, I decided to open the gap as wide as possible and try to solidify second place. When I rode onto pavement, I thought “Awesome, I’m going to fly and seal this deal!” When I found myself at a busy intersection with two-way traffic, I realized I was off course. I made some phone calls, followed some signs, found where I’d missed my turn, and closed the gap back down to within 11 seconds of second place, finishing last in the Pro/Open but still third overall. I’ll take it. More night races are definitely in my future, but with more attention to course markings.
Pro Gravity Tour: Beech Mountain, North Carolina.
While most of the team was based in PA for XC Nationals in mid-July, Collin McBride headed down to Beech Mountain Resort in North Carolina for the latest edition of the Pro GRT series. This event was new this year to the Pro GRT Schedule. Saturday was rainy and foggy, and both days of racing were full of mud. Collin raced in a packed junior division and won a spot on the podium!
Muddy weekend at Beech Mountain for National Round 5. Course was really rocky and extremely muddy. Had a few costly errors in my run but still had a really good run. I pulled out 5th place and was amazed how the Glory 2 ran in the deep heavy mud. (Collin)
Visit Pinkbike for some gorgeous photos of the event.