Race Report: Gravity National Championships; ESC; MASS; Curse of the Dark Hollow; H2H; and Pro XCT.
2014 USA Cycling Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships. Angel Fire, New Mexico.
Pro downhill rider Brian Scolforo traveled to Angel Fire, NM, to compete in the Gravity National Championships, which featured downhill and dual slalom events. The downhill course, which included reworked sections of last year’s course, started at 10,500 feet above sea level and dropped 1700 feet over the 2.8-mile run of the course.
Brian reports on his experience:
“Arriving Tuesday left plenty of time to ride and acclimate. We were provided with the old World Cup track for the race run, it was incredibly fast and real technical. Dry and dusty conditions had this east coaster testing the limits. I had a smooth race run and came down the hill with a 41st position in a stacked pro class.”
Eastern States Cup Super-D and Enduro at Blue Mountain, PA.
Seamus and Amy competed in both Super-D and Enduro in the most recent edition of the Eastern States Cup.
Seamus describes his race during Saturday’s Super-D:
“What a track. Long run, two steep climbs and a lot of rocks. I felt pretty smooth… as smooth as being crossed eyed, blowing corners and have a crash can be. Managed to take 2nd regardless of a mediocre run. Even bad days turn out good. Never give up.”
Amy’s take of the race:
“With recent changes to my training regime including getting on a “big bike” and doing downhill runs, I felt strong and decided to step into the Pro/Open arena at this past weekend’s Eastern States Cup Super-D. The course had a delightful taste of all that Blue Mountain offered – well built berms and jumps, rocky descents, steep chutes, and punchy climbs. I was stoked to have a clean aggressive run, clocking the fastest women’s time at 7:58, and pleased to start the next day’s Enduro with the Pro/Open Women’s Super-D win already under my belt.”
On Sunday, both riders went on to compete in the Enduro event.
“Awesome day. Lots of friends. New and old. Great weather. 5 stellar Enduro stages and the Big “W”. Back to basics for this race. Keep it reigned in don’t crash, don’t flat and keep focus. Visualize and execute. I love to win but even more than that I love the process of getting the win.” (Seamus)
Amy was also pleased with her Enduro experience and results:
“As for the Enduro, each stage pushed me to challenge my own personal limits as well as my equipment. I held the fastest women’s time on the mountain for every stage from 1-4. During Stage 5, following a rock drop into a steep chute, I experienced a bizarre mechanical that caused my chain to double kink and I lost any ability to pedal with half of the stage remaining, including a final cross country section to the finish. I pumped and prodded and finally went to kick pushing my Lust Advanced like a 2 year old on a strider. I rejoiced as I timed in at the Stage 5 finish. I missed the win by only 2 seconds, taking 2nd out of 12 on the Amateur podium but with an overall time that would have put me on the top step of the Pro Women’s podium.” (Amy)
US Pro XCT: Missoula XC
Giant Northeast Pro rider David Flaten shipped out to Missoula to compete in the most recent event in the US Pro XC Tour. Unfortunately, he had to pull out of the race after a gnarly crash just eleven minutes into the first lap. We’re glad he’s okay and didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
Michaux Endurance Series: Curse of the Dark Hollow. Michaux State Forest, PA.
Jamie headed east last weekend to compete in the Michaux Endurance Series.
“Rain had been relentlessly dumping on Pittsburgh for about two weeks, and the only riding I had been doing was my work commute. Come Friday, my patience had run out and I just NEEDED to be on my mountain bike. I wasn’t really feeling the local races, so I packed the car and headed to Michaux State Forest. Michaux hosts an endurance series, and the second stop was the Curse of the Dark Hollow. I went into the race knowing full well that the course was both rocky AND hilly- a draining combination. But I was stoked to have some serious 1:1 time with my bike, and just be outside in this beautiful area of the state.” (Jamie)
Committed to riding endurance this year, Jamie decided to race in the 40-mile class. Expecting to be on course for 6-7 hours, Jamie’s goal was just to complete the race. By the time Jamie entered the third aid station, however, with just eight miles remaining, she’d been on course for just four hours. The last eight miles proved to be the hardest and slowest, and Jamie had to navigate slick, muddy trails, and rocky descents and ascents before finally rolling in to the finish line in third place.
“Making the jump from Sport XC to Pro/Expert XXC events is a hard transition. You train harder, you ride further, you repeatedly destroy your body and bike – and then you go home. You know that you are getting better and stronger, but the reward is much harder to reach.” (Jamie)
Jamis Bicycles H2H: The Lewis Morris Challenge. Morristown, NJ.
Mike and Wendi got to spend a beautiful summer day racing at Lewis Morris County Park. Though neither racer felt top notch going into the race (possibly due to black bear-induced sleep deprivation the night before), both were fully committed to racing and put out hard efforts throughout their races.
Wendi describes the course:
“This race is typically considered a non-technical course with a good amount of climbing. However, there are at least a lot of roots for some technical action. I didn’t enjoy the climbing as much as I normally would’ve, even though my Lust felt great. On the bright side, the long, rooty descents were so much fun. I could ride them all day. Just descending alone made me feel so much better and gave me more energy for all those climbs. ”
“I battled back and forth with a few racers and was doing better than I could’ve hoped for. Toward the end of my second lap, I did have a few mishaps; dropped my spare tube and no more than 2 seconds later, I dropped a chain. After letting a handful of racers just scoot pass while I fixed my small issues, I was determined to gain those spots back. At the very next climb, which was a pretty long and gradual fire road, I was able to close a 20 meter gap on the group of guys that passed me and open up a gap of my own on them. This was all thanks to the way my Anthem Advanced 27.5 can climb, as well as it can descend.
I knew the race wasn’t over yet and I was well aware that there were some really fast guys in the group I just passed. As we only had a half of a lap left, one of the riders was able to catch me. From this point on we were pinning it to the finish. I gave it everything I had, but just wasn’t able to hold him off.”
Mike finished in 13th place in his Cat 1 age group.
MASS XC: Guy’s Neshaminy Classic. Langhorne, PA.
A hot, humid morning gave way to dark clouds as the Pro and Cat 1 racers competed at Neshaminy on Sunday afternoon. Jordan was returning for his first race after taking time off to rest his back, while Andy was hoping to improve on his 2013 Neshaminy experience, which was rife with scratches and bruises.
“The field was relatively small, but that didn’t cut down on the speed at the start. We rocketed into the singletrack, and things quickly got spread out. I quickly made my way around some hot starters and found myself with a pair of strong riders to hunt down the leaders, one of which being my teammate Andy. We rode together, taking turns and making up ground, until I decided to goof-up a tight corner, performing an impressive one-armed push-up off a tree to save my face.
Spending the remainder of the race in no-man’s land gave me time to reflect on the past month and how grateful I am to still be riding & racing. As I crossed the finish line, I realized I still felt great, which means I didn’t go hard enough! Oh well, first race back, lesson learned, take it to the bank for next weekend.”
Andy arrived at Neshaminy feeling a little apprehensive since he’d spent the previous day competing in the Time Trial and Criterium stages of the Tour del Cielo in New Jersey.
“I started conservatively since I had already done a couple of road events the day before. My legs felt the good kind of achy: stressed but not too tired. I rode the first lap in around 10th place but was positioned with two strong riders including teammate Jordan. The course is very twisty with logs around every other corner. Even though we rode a prologue plus three laps, I still felt surprised by the endless obstacles around blind corners. Toward the end of the second lap a tree on the outside of a corner caught my front wheel and sent me over my handlebars. I spent the rest of the race chasing lost time and picking competitors off one by one. In the end I made it to 5th place.”