Race Report: XC and DH at the Windham World Cup and the NoTubes Rattling Offroad Weekend
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Windham, NY.
Mountain bike aficionados around the world have been tuning in to Redbull throughout the summer to keep abreast of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series. The XC series has already traveled to South Africa, Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Canada, while the DH series also visited Scotland and Austria. This year, North Americans got a double-dose of excitement with XCE, XCO, and DHI World Cup events held in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, and Windham, NY, on consecutive weekends.
In conjunction with the World Cup Races over the weekends, Windham hosted a New York State Mountain Bike Series XC race on Saturday (Kenda’s Race the World), and an Eastern States Cup downhill race (the Citizens Cup) on Sunday, with both events giving local amateurs and pros the chance to ride the courses in advance of the UCI Elites.
Ten Giant Northeast riders attended the event, some competing in Saturday’s XC and some in Sunday’s downhill. Pro downhill rider Brian Scolforo was team champion of the weekend, bringing home a first place win in the Pro Men’s event during Sunday’s Citizens Cup.
In addition to competing in the non-UCI events, team members made time to watch the UCI races, ride together, eat a lot of pancakes, reflect on the season, and even get excited about cyclocross.
NYS MTB Series: Kenda’s Race the World XC at Windham
Across the board, this week’s race reports described the course at Windham as a course for climbers. Some racers recalled brutally challenging inclines, and others described the dry conditions and fast descents.
New York residents Ryan Fawley and Abbey Alexiades both landed fifth place finishes in their Pro races. Grassroots riders Ryan (Berliner), Jon, Lester, Mike, Wendi, and Ryan (Hilaman) traveled in for the race from their various outposts around the region.
Ryan Berliner competed with the Cat 1 Junior Men bright and early on Saturday morning. Ryan remembered liking the course from his previous experiences racing at Windham for the past four years, but on this occasion, the climbs were taking a toll and the congestion during descents made it hard to pull back any time. Ryan finished the race just outside the podium in sixth place.
Jon Lombardo (Cat 1 40-49) had a mixed experience at Windham. After a strong start to the race which placed him comfortably in fifth position, his back began to tighten up around a pulled muscle. After the pain became too great, Jon was forced to abandon his race. We’re sure he’ll be back on course in no time.
Lester Brown III arrived on site a little later in the morning than he’d hoped and missed his typical thorough warmup. None-the-less, he was off with the Cat 1 30-39 age group promptly at 8am.
The race started on gravel behind the resort and sent riders up the side of the slope for a long climb before a long descent back to the finish. With limited warm-up my strategy became to ride conservative on lap 1 and then open the throttle on the proceeding laps. (Lester)
Focusing on high tempo and a smooth cadence, Lester found he was able to gradually increase his effort as the race went on. By the fourth lap he went all out and was able to pull back time on his descent to the line. Satisfied with his ride, Lester kicked back and jumped into the rest of his weekend. Lester’s Current Soundtrack: Girl Talk – All Day
The Windham race course is not an easy one. You climb more than half way up the mountain and descend to where you started. A few sections had 2 or 3 lines to choose from, but there weren’t any real “A-lines”… Looking back at my race, I may have held back a bit too much climbing, but I was concerned about blowing up on the big climbs and then having to survive some brutal inclines. (Mike)
Mike Romanowski also raced with the Cat 1 30-39 men. Mike rode with consistency and clocked similar times for each of his four laps; the time difference between his first and last lap was less than thirty seconds. Mike finished in 13th place in his competitive field and felt positive about his experience.
Wendi Sebastian usually races in the Pro/Open but decided to go out with her Cat 1 35+ age group on this occasion. Wendi prefers longer XC races to shorter ones, and she was disappointed that the 35+ Cat 1 women would be racing one lap fewer than the U35 age group and Pro women.
“I was feeling confident in my climbing from the start and there was a lot of climbing. Little by little, I was passing racers and a couple passed me back in the descents. Then I’d pass them back again on the climbs… As much as I love technical, I wasn’t feeling as fast or as confident on the descents as I could have been. Regardless, I still enjoyed the descents, until I managed to hit a tree on my last lap. Smacked my hand hard, but finished off the race in one piece in 5th place, less than a minute from 4th and met my goal of top 5 in the shortest race I’ve had in years.” (Wendi)
“We wrapped the day with a team cool down ride on the roads outside the resort which was a great time. Conversation ranged from the course conditions, competition, next steps and coaching. Once again every time I have a chance to ride with our team, I more grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a great group.” (Lester)
Eastern States Cup: World Cup Citizens Race at Windham
Brian Scolforo and Collin McBride raced in Sunday’s downhill events, with Brian racing in the Pro field and Collin racing in the cat 2/3 juniors field.
This past weekend I went to Windham Mountain for the World Cup Festival. I showed up fashionably late, making it just in time for the evening practice on Saturday. The Citizens Cup race is held every year during the same weekend as the World Cup, giving local racers a chance to push the envelope on some gnarly wide open terrain. One of my favorite tracks in the northeast I picked up the pace quick. Feeling strong in Sunday’s practice I went to the top of the mountain confident and ready to pin it. A fast loose run got me down the hill and over the finish line with the fastest time of the day, putting me in first place. A brief moment of anticipation as two other riders were on course. I remained in the hotseat and earned my first career pro win. Incredibly thankful for the backing of my team, the sponsors, and all my racing friends.
Had an awesome and a not so awesome time at Windham. The good part was seeing all of the people that inspire me to ride bikes everyday and go faster. And practice on Friday and Saturday went amazing with a rocky high speed course. On Sunday practice was good, and on my race run I couldn’t manage to stay on my bike and got thrown over the bars of a drop and lost a good amount of seconds. It was the biggest class I’ve ever raced in with an amount of 26 kids. I was still able to pull out 17th, not what I wanted but that’s all a part of racing. The bike ran amazing over all the awkward drops on the course!
NoTubes Rattling Offroad Weekend: An Event to Build Trails and Community. Presented by High Speed Cycling. Elizabethville, PA.
Jess reports on her weekend racing with Joël at Rattling Creek:
“The race weekend, put on by Mike Kuhn and The Outdoor Experience, includes a 50 mile race, a 30 mile race, and a 50 mile “experience” category. Camping is available in the community park all weekend in the nearby town of Lykens.
As forewarned in the race e-mail, 1/4 of the climbing was in the first 3 miles. The race pretty much started with a climb to the top of the mountain. The climb started on a gravel road then turned onto single track. After this major climb, the course was primarily on the ridge. There were some long, double track and single track climbs thrown in here and there but primarily the course followed the rolling terrain of the ridge line.
One really great aspect of this race is the support. Aid stations, are plentiful at every 10 miles. The same aid station was hit at miles 10, 20, and 40. A self-serve water only station was at mile 30. So despite the hot and sunny summer weather there were multiple places to rehydrate and eat. After the race riders were treated to hoagies, snack foods, and drinks.
Overall a good race for both Joël and I. We both pushed hard and felt there is nothing we wished we would have done differently. I was 3rd open female and Joël was 9th open male. All finishers received a Rattling Creek shot glass. Joël celebrated the day with a well deserved shot of rum.”
For Jess and Joël’s complete report and to watch a video of their weekend, visit their blog.