Race Report: Wildwood Games, ESC, NAE, MASS, and Race to the Top of Vermont.
North American Enduro Tour: Highland OverMountain. Northfield, NH.
Seamus Powell and Amy Alton both attended the eighth stop of the North American Enduro Tour, which includes ten races held across the continent.
Seamus reports on the weekend:
Close racing this weekend at Highland Over Mountain Challenge / North American Enduro Tour (NAET). Won by 1/10 of a second over 4 stages of a mix of flow and Gnar. Grabbing my first NAET win on the east coast is very satisfying. Smooth is fast.
And from Amy:
Two days of rain leading up to the event, and the biggest terrain to date made for a seriously challenging weekend. I stepped it up and decided to make this my first pro enduro race. I was still feeling good after a few frustrating falls through wet roots and mud pits but a rear flat about half way down the last stage sealed the deal and I ended up in 6th place for pro women.
Once again, Pinkbike has some sweet, sweet photos of the event.
Race to the Top of Vermont. Stowe, Vermont.
Race to the Top of Vermont is an event held annually at Mount Mansfield for hikers, bikers, and runners. Ryan Berliner attended and not only won his age group, but also placed third overall out of fifty entrants! We already knew he could go crazy fast downhill — evidently he can go pretty fast uphill, too.
“This weekend I had a choice between the Highland Enduro, and the Race to the Top of Vermont. I chose the second option because I had a killer bike that was SUPER light, and basically screamed “I enjoy going up big hills”. So, I chose to do the hill climb. The route is 4.3 miles up the Mt. Mansfield toll road, and climbs 2500ft to the highest point in the state. It was a super nice day, and the weather and conditions were going to make for a very fast race. As the race started, my goal was to break the 40 minute mark. My best time ever was a 42 something I think. I may have been a little optimistic to think I could break 40 minutes, but I thought I could push really hard. My game plan was also pretty simple, which was to punch over the steeper (11% average grade, so it’s all pretty steep) sections as best I could, and keep my speed on the ‘flatter’ sections while trying to recover slightly for the next punch. This worked out pretty well, and I found myself in 3rd position overall up to the final switch backs. Coming around the last corner, I looked to the digital display to see what the time was, I was really happy to see that I had met my goal by getting a 36:33. In addition to this, I was able to win my age category, and get 3rd overall. The nice weather made for a good view at the top, and a good race!”
Eastern States Cup: New England Downhill Cup. Sugarbush, Vermont.
Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride also spent the weekend racing in Vermont. While Ryan was climbing up Mount Mansfield, these guys were flying down Sugarbush Mountain just an hour south.
Brian’s report from Sugarbush:
This past weekend I attended the Sugarbush Eastern States Cup race. A birthday weekend spent with all my riding buddies is all I would have wanted for my 22nd. Bright blue skies and amazing temps were deceiving. A muddy slick course lied in the midst of the woods. Continuously drying it seemed like some sections changed every run. Sunday brought what seemed to be a motocross race, a rutted out rough track. Managed to hold on for a third place result.
Had a not so great weekend at Sugarbush. Practice on Saturday was good, wet, and rough. Sunday the course got a little drier but roots were still slippery. My race run did not go as planned and I crashed 3 times. Leaving that race in the past and looking forward to the Pennsylvania State Championship soon!
Wildwood Games. Augusta, GA
Abbey Alexiades jumped feet-first into her first endurance event and came away with a top-notch result. Abbey’s report:
“The first ever Wildwood Games was a test run for the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships. The course was 100km long but due to the high temperatures the course was cut down to 80km. This was the longest and hottest race I had ever entered. I was worried about cramps and running out of water so I made the decision to race with a Camelback with 3 liters of water in it, which was super heavy. The race started at 7am and I started out in a big group because I wanted to go into the first section of single track with someone in front of me to follow. Eventually the group broke up and I ended up riding by myself. Riding was really fun, a lot of smooth, flowy single track, with sections of trails that were like riding through a pump track. This was a great course and a great race. I finished 1st and was happy to win my first endurance race.”
Trail Spinners’ Fair Hill Classic: MASS XC and Endurance Finals. Fair Hill, MD.
The Mid-Atlantic Super Series concluded on Saturday with the Fair Hill Classic. Several members of the Giant Northeast team gave MASS races priority status on the calendar this year. The series includes nine XC and nine endurance races (with occasional overlap at venues). At the series’ end, points from each rider’s seven top races are tallied and the lowest scores are dropped.
Joël and Jess Nankman went into the endurance race knowing that their results wouldn’t affect their standings in the overall series. April Nabholz was hoping to maintain her fourth-place position in the Pro/Open XC series, but could slide in either direction depending on results. Andy Brooks, who had been leading the Pro/Open division mid-season, slipped back to third in the standings after missing a race; he would need to finish top-five to maintain his position.
Jordan Kahlenberg, Joël, and Jess competed in the endurance event. Joël and Jordan went out in a whopping big field of 52 men in the Open Endurance event, while Jess’s field was also large, with 19 women in the Open division.
The course was a 40+mile single loop that was left in great condition after some recent rain… I started out pretty tentatively, not wanting to push myself too hard and risk blowing up early. But somehow I ended up comfortably in the chase group with the leaders in sight. A little over an hour into the race, a rider in my group attacked, and my teammate Joël responded. Just for fun, I followed, finding that my legs were feeling great. As they settled back into their pace, I decided to soldier on and look for stragglers popping off the lead group. Slowly I reeled a few riders in, never sure how many in front there actually were. I rode steadier and smoother as the race wore on, and by the end, I crossed the finish line with that ‘I’m done?!?!” feeling. Looking around for other finishers, I didn’t see many, and when I asked how many had finished, somebody told me ‘4th’. But as it turned out, 2 of those riders were single-speeders, so I ended up 2nd in the Open Men’s category.
Joël finished in 15 place and Jess finished 7th, both happy to conclude the series with a fun ride and spots in the overall series podiums. Jess finished in 1st place in the Open Endurance Women, and Joël finished in second place in the Open Endurance Men.
April raced in a combined field of seventeen Pro/Open and Cat 1 40+ women. Her report:
I’ve been working my way through some late-summer burnout and have been doing my best to rejuvenate for ‘cross season. Even so, I figured I couldn’t miss the last MASS race of the season. As it turns out, all of the cross training and running sprint sets I’ve been doing really helped me through this race. There wasn’t any sustained climbing, but I felt like a maniac on all of the little sprinty sections; I could tell that my running workouts really bumped up my cadence. I felt fresh from all of my rest, and this was easily the most fun I’ve had racing all season. The weather was cool, cloudy, and perfect!
April finished 4th in the Pro/Open and 5th overall, taking a 4th place finish in the overall series in the Pro/Open XC division, despite missing out on points from her early-season races as a Cat 2.
Andy raced a smokin’ race in a stacked Pro/Open mens’ field. After riding nearly the entire race in fifth place, a rival passed him several miles before the finish, edging Andy out for third place in the overall series by one point. Andy finished the race in sixth place, and in 4th place in the series in the Pro/Open XC.
Lester and Ryan (Hilaman) both raced the Cat 1 19-29 division. Lester went into the race with minimal expectations, having been sick during the week leading up to the race.
Lester describes his race:
“I felt great during the start and held top 10 spot easily as we headed into the woods… The pace was good and it wasn’t until around mile 15 that I started going backwards. At that point I just tried to enjoy the great trails at Fair Hill and finish. I had one crash after clipping a pedal on a flowy section of trail requiring a few moments adjusting bars and stem. I kept rolling slower on the climbs and worked on starting some through the flat and flowing sections. At one point April (yeah I got chick’d but at least it was a teammate) came by in a battle for podium spot with a Colavita rider. I hung with them for a while and gave encouragement before dropping back again. Afterwards we got to relax at the team tent and enjoy the food vendors and live music. Even though I wasn’t feeling great, I’m still glad I came to the race. Fair Hill is one of the great fun courses in the Northeast and I look forward to the spring race.”
Ryan and Lester finished 7th and 9th, respectively.
Lester’s Current Soundtrack: Disclosure – latch
For Jess and Joel’s complete race report and a video from the event, visit their blog.