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2021 Trans New England Recap Part 2: Maine

Oct 4, 2021
by Trans New England  




The 2 days of racing in Vermont would also mark the final 2 days of summer for the year, and as the Trans New England caravan rolled on toward the wild and rustic state of Maine, winds of change were indeed blowing. The drive east from Burke Mountain toward Carrabassett Valley was about as beautiful as they come. Fall foliage was certainly making its presence known, and while peak color pop might have been a week or so away, the abundance of deep crimson red, gold, yellow, and more provided a colorful framework for the stunning landscape that continued to reveal itself with every passing mile. 3 hours of mountains, rivers, lakes, and quaint New England architecture later, the event rolled into the drive at the Mountain View Motel and Campground, where the incredible staff had a veritable feast awaiting. After replacing some much-needed calories and rehydrating in some form or fashion, the attention turned to Pete Ostroski and Adam Craig as they discussed the plan for the following day at Sugarloaf. From there tents were set up in the dark, hot showers were enjoyed, and most people crashed early on the eve of the first day of racing in the great state of Maine.

Day 3: Sugarloaf, ME

Sugarloaf is the 3rd tallest mountain in Maine, with a summit elevation at 4,237 feet above sea level. While certainly not the tallest peak in New England, it does have a prominence (vertical drop) of over 3,000, and Trans New England was intent on utilizing as much of that as possible on the 3rd day of racing. Discussions over breakfast centered around various weather apps predicting various weather conditions over at the mountain, which was a 15-minute drive south of camp. Some people expressed confidence in a sunny or slightly overcast day, while others were leery of some wet weather sliding in.

The event caravan rolled into the base area parking lot to overcast but dry skies, and while everyone got their bikes in order, Pete Ostroski and Adam Craig briefed everyone on plans for the day. Craig was actually responsible for the layout, design, and construction of the new trails at Sugarloaf and provided some valuable insights into how to best traverse the mountain. The thing that had everyone most excited was the summit lap: the first timed stage of the day would follow a sight run/party train down their DH track, where riders would hike their bikes from the top of the lift to the mountains summit half a mile above. The very top of the mountain was, in fact, above the tree line and racers would drop from the very top of the mountain to the bottom, nearly 3,000 vertical feet before a combination of lift rides and climbs would round out the 4 stage day.

Driving rain and 60+ mph winds greeted the event as they summited, and for 20 minutes athletes grabbed selfies, sought refuge from the weather, and desperately tried to clean their goggles before dropping into the day. Athletes rode down the hike-a-bike section, many exercising caution before letting go of the brakes and picking up speed below the tree line. Despite the rain, the dirt was reasonably reliable and offered solid support in the corners. Hand pump was real, and the 30+/- foot deck gap was a bit more precarious during the race run compared to the practice lap, but most people by and large finished the first stage unscathed and ready for more. Another lift ride and subsequent traverse of pistes brought everyone to stage 2, which was met with more driving rain as well as a rainbow that perfectly framed the start of the stage. This would prove to be the most technical stage of the day, with slippery and relentless rock and root gardens for most of the ride. There were a handful of crashes, some worse than others, but the energy was building as the adverse weather conditions and stellar dirt seemed to have a galvanizing effect on the event. The 3rd stage came on the heels of the most lively transfer, which included steep, open piste descending, and janky side cut trails that were as challenging as any of the timed stages. The start of this stage gave riders the option of an off-cambered but loamy chute, or a time-saving 8-foot drop with a rapid but narrow exit, before several minutes of incredible dirt, loads of rock and roots, and high speeds finished things off. The final stage of the day was perhaps the most playful but still involved several technical sections before an open piste slalom of sorts to wrap things up. Bikes, bodies, faces, and gear were all wet and muddy, but every single face had a smile that would be plastered on them for the rest of the week.

That evening the event cut loose, with a bb gun target challenge, high stakes wrestling, a fire, bikes jumping over a fire, and bare butts on bikes jumping over said fire. It was also announced that the planned untimed hike-a-bike adventure for day 4 was cancelled due to inclement weather that would have added considerable risk to an already risk laden day, so TNE21 would instead be headed to Mount Abrams for a 5-stage day of racing, and some of it would include first tracks.

Day 3 Results:
Pro Men

1- Adam Morse
2- Will Goody
3- AJ Pratt

Pro Women
1- Hannah Harrington
2- Rosy Metcalf
3- Ashley Stearns

Day 4: Mount Abrams, ME
The Trans New England family woke on Thursday morning to a comfortable and overcast day, and the largely groggy if not slightly hungover collective broke down camp and eagerly awaited the morning's coffee. After another top-notch breakfast, the event bid farewell to the lovely family in charge of the Mountain View Campground and departed for Mount Abrams. Maine's landscape continued to drop jaws during the 2-hour drive, with stops at several overlooks to take in the stark landscape framed by rainbows and gray skies.

Mount Abram is a small ski area that sits in the shadow of the larger, more well-known behemoth of Sunday River in nearby Bethel, Maine. The TNE caravan pulled into the small parking lot mid-morning and took in the rustic and beautiful surroundings, with the summit of Abram 1,150 feet above them. Pete Ostroski and Adam Craig explained to the field that there would be 5* timed stages that day, with no lift-served runs, and the rare opportunity for first tracks on a new trail. Most of the trails at Abram were fairly new, and it would soon be obvious to everyone that despite the modest size and relative unknown nature of the mountain, a great deal of creativity and craftsmanship went into the design and construction of the trails there.

The first stage of the day was the shortest of the week, with racers only having to climb halfway up the mountain for a fast and flowy jaunt down a machined trail full of small jumps and beautifully manicured berms. The stage provided tight times and big smiles, and it seemed to loosen everyone up while shaking out the previous evening's demons. The next climb would be far less forgiving, requiring a full pull to the very top of the mountain for a large top-to-bottom run. The first half of the stage was brand spanking new, having only been ridden half a dozen times by the trail builders. There were copious amounts of fresh, organic topsoil for the field of nearly 30 riders to burn lines in on the brand new track before connecting to another trail halfway down and finishing. It was a wild ride, with stunning loam, greasy off-camber corners, roots, rocks, and drops galore. The energy at the stage's finish was buzzing, with ear to ear grins on every face. It would prove to be one of the most popular stages of the entire week and would lead to a change in the day's program later that afternoon. After a brief break for lunch at the base area, everyone made their way to the summit once again for the 3rd timed stage of the day. In an attempt to mix up the start order and keep everyone on their toes, athletes were asked to stand shoulder to shoulder facing away from the stage start and were tapped on their shoulders at random when it was their turn to go. The fast and technical stage was a blast and brought riders midway down the mountain at its finish. After another trip to the summit for the final 2* stages, a surprising question loomed over the event: should they proceed with the planned 2nd lap of the fresh summit trail, or should they toss out the remaining timed stages in exchange for what might be the party lap of the year? The idea of sending 30+ riders down a freshly shorn loamer was too good to pass up, so the planned 5 stage day was now a 3 stage affair, with the remaining runs to be enjoyed as a group, and enjoyed they were. The forests echoed with the joyous sounds of squealing brakes, railed ruts, laughter, and other exclamations for the next several minutes. Smiles were accented with muddy teeth, loam shelves were full, and 4 days in, "best week ever" claims were shared by the group. The train rolled on down a blue rated jump line, finishing with an impromptu whip off. The "plan b" turned out to be one of the best decisions of the week, with Mount Abram having endeared itself to everyone present that day.

As bikes were loaded into the Penske box truck for the final push back to North Conway, it was time for Adam Craig to bid farewell. He had opened his eyes to the beauty of Maine and left no doubt that the planned EWS stop for 2022 was going to shock the world. After well-deserved applause, hugs, and handshakes for the American enduro legend, TNE made the short trip across the state line toward their final stop for the week on the eve of what would be a day of lore for everyone involved.


Day 4 Results:
Pro Men

1- Adam Morse
2- Chris Wilke
3- AJ Pratt

Pro Women
1- Hannah Harrington
2- Rosy Metcalf
3- Ashley Stearns

Days 1-4 Cumulative Results
Pro Men

1- AJ Pratt
2- Chris Wilke
3- Will Goody

Pro Women
1- Hannah Harrington
2- Rosy Metcalf
3- Ashley Stearns

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bigquotesHaving just hosted an Eastern States Cup, the tracks here at Sugarloaf weren't quite fresh, but that didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm. Neither did the 110% humidity. It was really awesome to have a small event come through and enjoy the work we've put in this season. Blind racing is a true test of trail building. Tracks need to be intuitive while retaining challenge and surprise. With the smiles on everyone's faces at the bottom of each stage, it was obvious the plan has really come together this year! We're so appreciative of the grassroots, volunteer-based effort that has integrated these beautiful trails with the landscape. Sadly, we've been busy enough at Sugarloaf that I hadn't yet been to Mount Abrams to check out another down-home version of gravity mountain biking. Their trails program manager, Max Southam, came up to The Loaf to help a few weeks back. His work ethic and eye made it apparent that whatever was going on at Abrams must be good! Really awesome to see the growth of gravity MTB in Maine, glad it's happening in our own unique, home-grown style. Come visit! Adam Craig

bigquotesSugarloaf was my first real experience of blind racing, since I was familiar with most of the trails that we rode in Vermont. It was so awesome to do a full pull off the summit with the rain blowing horizontally up at the start. The work that Adam Craig is doing up there is spectacular. It is going to be very tempting to sign up for the EWS 100 in the gray hairs class next season, even though I keep telling myself that I don't really want to race anymore. It was so much fun!Rosy Metcalf

bigquotesThe vibe at Abram was individuality and passion- the trails were built by the people that ride them for how they want to ride and their vision for what it can be! Hammering in a new track with a bunch of rowdy enduro riders puts this on full display- especially given it was a last-minute decision! Mark Thibadeau



The Maine landscape is raw and ancient, and upon the arrival of the TNE caravan put on quite a show.






The first night of fall in Maine was met with a lovely campfire.


Mountain View Campground kept everyone well fed during their stay.



Sugarloaf, Rain...er...Maine.



bigquotesMount Abram was a hidden gem, the trails all seemed so fresh and had some proper chunk mixed in there. It was a cool scene to see a small resort like that focusing on building some proper gravity-fed trails!Will Goody

bigquotesThe Loaf is a beautiful and rugged place. It's not the weather, nor the vert, or even the pitch, but the remoteness from ordinary life that makes this place so fascinating and inspires reflection upon every visit. The affection the locals have for this wild place is reflected in the rugged trails. The trails feel like they were discovered rather than built. It's a delightful mountain playground where Adam Craig's eye and an army of volunteers have uncovered flow-gnar loamers that reward efficiency and yet leave space for endless creativity. Justin Lagassey

bigquotesMount Abram brought the heat and is worth the trip! High-quality dirt surfing experience. Kudos to Max and the trail crew. Chris Brule


Adam Craig has put a great deal of energy into these trails, and upon further review has everyone reason to be proud of them.

The summit push.



The summit descent.





bigquotesMount Abram was a perfect mix of loamy, greasy, fresh-cut tech and flowy bike park berms and jumps. We had great weather and a chill mix of timed stages and party laps - a welcome respite after some long, rainy stages the day before, and maybe partying a little too hard that night as well. Anna Svagzdys

bigquotesWith over 11,000 feet of descending Sugarloaf brought some of the best riding of the week - the high winds, sideways rain, endless mud and even a rainbow was the icing on the cake to a day spent riding freshly crafted trails. Chris Wilke

bigquotesSugarloaf was all time! At the start of the day, I wasn't sure of what to expect because only a couple people had ridden the freshly cut trails the weekend before at the ESC race, and I had heard some mixed reviews of the terrain up there. After a quick sight lap of the lower half of run 1, I knew we were in for something special. Alex Higley



Dropping into stage 3 at the Loaf...



Leaf peeping at Abram.


Who has two thumbs and speed and style for miles?


Chris Brule on a flowy burner.



bigquotesMount Abram was a big surprise. Most people have never been to the new park, so it evened the playing field a bit. The trails had everything from big berms and features, to slower speed tech and a wide cut wild ride from the summit, folks will be back for sure... Adam Morse




Maine was fun. Very, very fun.

Check out the Trans New England Enduro website for full results, media, and future announcements.



12 Comments

  • 17 0
 Adam Craig in that helmet is my spirit animal
  • 7 0
 dude, epic job on that video!!
  • 13 0
 Best week ever.
  • 6 0
 So glad to see Maine on here, the Loaf trails are no joke, rival anything in the NE, like J bar at burke but loamier. So excited for what Loaf has to offer in future.
  • 4 0
 @Borealwoods I'd agree with that. Rode them earlier in the summer and was blown away by the potential. There's so much more room to grow too -- it makes visiting the family in Maine so much more fun.
  • 7 0
 Mooner Moody with the eject of the week!
  • 4 0
 Nothin better than a full moon in Maine!
  • 6 0
 Beautiful landscapes! Rowdy looking race!
  • 5 0
 Amazing photos! Can't wait for the full videos!!!
  • 4 0
 Height of the Land overlook in Rangeley! I'd recognize that spot anywhere. Great photos of a beautiful area of New England.
  • 4 0
 Can't wait to get back up to Maine for more riding! Thanks Adam Craig for making it rad!
  • 3 0
 I've see old Israel's arid plain It's magnificent - but so's Maine WOOO NEW ENGLAND sorry Good times, y'all!

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