Race Report: Pro Gravity Tour, Greenbrier Challenge, and more.
From the Pro Gravity Tour to the Canada Cup, Giant Northeast riders were out on the trails en masse this past weekend racing endurance, XC, downhill, and Super-D.
Pro Gravity Tour: Mountain Creek Spring Classic. Vernon, NJ
Giant Northeast Pro riders Seamus and Brian attended the second race of the Pro GRT series to compete in Super-D and Downhill events.
“This weekend was the first downhill race of my season. An incredibly fast and fun track this left all of us downhillers with plenty of smiles on our faces and high fives all around. I had a very smooth race run and came out with 33rd place in a stacked pro class.”
From Seamus, on his Super-D race:
“Super-D is always a blast and having the National title and racing super-D… even better. A bit stressful but reassuring at the same time. The track at Mountain Creek was laid out perfect with plenty of passing and included some of the classic “Creek” flow trails like Tempest and the classic rocky stuff as well. The race played out like any mass start super-D, jockey for position find your opening and “GO!” I grabbed the lead before the real descent started and never looked back taking my first Super-D win for 2014!”
Seamus also decided to try racing amateur Downhill for the first time ever:
“Downhill racing is a different animal. Unlike any bike racing you’ll ever compete in. People yelling and screaming in the technical rock section… perhaps for encouragement but most likely they want a show… meaning you falling off your bike. All packed into roughly 3 to 5 minutes of racing… Oh Baby am I in love.”
MASS XC and Endurance: Greenbrier Challenge. Elkton, MD.
Excitement among the Cat 1 racers was a little higher than usual since Greenbrier was the first USAC sanctioned race in the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Super Series and would serve as one of only three Nationals qualifiers in the region. All Cat 1 riders wishing to compete at Nationals would need to qualify.
The morning started, as usual, with the endurance races. Jed, Jess, and Joël headed out with gusto. Jess describes the terrain and conditions:
“The course started off with a decent climb on some gravel double track, a great way to break up the field. Then it was a fast and fun descent that lead into some rocky sections. The rock garden at the bottom of the hill was probably my favorite part of the course; spectators were gathered there cheering and it felt great to clear it every time and give them something to cheer about. After this the course included some gigantic mud puddles and a creek crossing which made for soggy shoes and dirty bikes.” (Jess)
Riders on the Giant Northeast Team try to make it a priority to be friendly, approachable, and helpful, and do their best to keep things in perspective, even during the heat of a race. This week’s Best Giant Attitude Award goes to Jess for saving a toad during her race. Jess stopped in the middle of a challenging, technical climb, to pick up a toad and relocate it safely off the trail. Thanks, Jess!
Despite devoting some seconds to amphibian rescue, Jess continued her podium streak with a second place finish in the Endurance Women’s class, while Joël and Jed finished fourth and fifth in the Endurance Men’s class.
Amy continued a double-header weekend to race in her Cat 2 age group. Not surprisingly, Amy maintained her perfect MASS record with yet another win. Are you sure Enduro is your primary discipline, Amy?
Giant Northeast riders were everywhere during the Pro and Cat 1 races. Jordan, Andy, Abbey, April, Ryan, Lester, and Mike shared fist-bumps on the start line, encouragement during the race, and cheers on the finish line. Sections of trail that were watery in the morning were positively muddy by mid-afternoon, but despite the muck and mess all of the bikes and riders pulled through with solid races.
To read Jess and Joël’s full race report and to see Joël’s video from the race, visit their blog.
Jess: 2nd Endurance Women
Joël: 4th Endurance Men
Jed: 5th Endurance Men
Abbey: 4th Pro Women
Jordan: 6th Pro Men
Andy: 8th Pro Men
April: 4th Cat 1 Open Women
Ryan: 6th Cat 1 Senior Men
Mike: 7th Cat 1 Masters Men
Lester: 8th Cat 1 Masters Men
Amy: 1st Cat 2 Masters Women
Jamis H2H Series: Rumble in the Jungle. West Milford, NJ
After watching the recent MTB World Cup race in Cairns, Australia, mountain bikers around the world have been itching to ride some jungle. Wendi and Jon got their chance at Rumble in the Jungle, a race held at Jungle Habitat, a long-defunct Warner Brothers drive-through safari theme park.
“I registered to race Pro/Open and was anxious to race my heart out. Jungle Habitat consists of mainly tight, very rocky single-track, which tends to be my favorite type of riding. The race started off fast on some non-technical trails and once we were in the rocky single-track, I was in my element, enjoying all the rock gardens and some slick mud mixed in. Normally, I’m a decent climber, but lately I feel like I’m becoming just as fast descending, rolling smoothly through the rock gardens on my Lust Advanced 0. I enjoyed every minute of it.” (Wendi)
Jon rode in the Pro/Cat 1Open men’s race. After a great start and strong efforts early in the race, the fast pace began taking its toll as the race wore on, and Jon finished farther back in the field than he’d hoped.
“Though an 11th place finish wasn’t what I had hoped for, the real joy was two of my sons Rocco and Bryce were working the feed zone. There’s nothing that makes me want to push on more than seeing those guys jumping up and down screaming daddy. After the race The three of us devoured burritos and laughed about the day. It’s not always about the result but the journey to get there and the friends that surround you.” (Jon)
MTB Canada Cup: Mont-Tremblant
Vermont rider Tyler Berliner competed in his first UCI race since moving up from the junior field. More than seventy men lined up for the start of the Elite men’s race; Tyler drew a spot in the second-to-last row by luck of a random draw. Hard rain in the days leading up to the race made for extremely muddy racing conditions made worse by the heavy traffic upfield. Tyler ran most of the first lap, and later described his race as “discouraging encouragement.”
“Encouragement this weekend came from the Giant Anthem I was riding… Any people that I passed this weekend were on the descent. The bike rips. I have never been out of control so much and had the confidence the bike will keep me rubber side down.” (Tyler)
Thule Urban Assault: Richmond, VA
Amy began her double-header weekend at the Urban Assault MTB race offered as part of the Dominion Riverrock outdoor lifestyle festival; an event that that draws several thousand outdoor enthusiasts to Richmond’s urban riverfront to participate in a variety of outdoor sports.
“The Urban Assault course covered a 10 mile loop leaving the crowded venue and heading into single track along the wooded bank of the James River. With all the people and energy, I hammered the start keenly focused on being the first to the single track. The single track led to a paved street connector to a local park system chock full of punchy climbs, quick descending switch-backs, and roots galore. The trail spit you onto a bridge over the roaring James and up an armored rock climb.
“The opposite side of the James proved just as delightfully challenging with both natural and made-made technical features. And then finally back over a massive bridge and around to the finish. Re-entering the venue with all the loud cheering, made me stand and sprint all the way through to the finish as the announcer gave props to Liv/Giant and shared that I had won the Sport Women class!” (Amy)
WORS: Crystal Lake Classic. Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Pro Team rider David Flaten decided to travel to his home state to compete in the second race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series.
“Waking up Sunday morning I did not have the greatest expectations considering I had been sick all week with a nasty head cold. It certainly affected my training over the week. The goal was simple. Be aggressive during the first lap, and settle into a position. Maintaining a smooth flow through the rough single track, and hammering to the limit on the double track. I accomplished all of these things.”
After an exciting and tactical race, David obtained his best-ever finish of 7th place in the Men’s pro field.
You can read David’s full race report on his blog.