All good things
must come to an end, and as the sun rose on the 5th and final day of racing for the 2021 edition of Trans New England, relief and melancholy alike were felt by most of the people involved. The relief stemmed from knowing that most had made it through the gnarliest week of their lives largely unscathed and with just one more day in front of them. The melancholy came from the realization that the best week of riding most had ever experienced was also at an end. In truth there wasn't much time to dwell on the duality of the day as the final day of the race was expected to also be the largest, and everyone needed to get moving.
North Conway would play host to the day's affairs, and while both Vermont and Maine will play host to Enduro World Series races in 2022, NoCo may very well provide the largest scale of adventure between them. The highest peak in the northeastern United States casts an impressive shadow over the community, though with each passing minute the sun seemed to withdraw as a storm began to swirl. The White Mountains of New Hampshire offer up a few thousand vertical feet of opportunity, and rain or shine, Trans New England was intent on making the most of it.Day 5: North Conway
The morning hike-a-bike would take the event 3,000 feet up a very steep and slippery mountain, before dropping 3,000 down a very steep and slippery mountain. Despite the driving rain and strenuous efforts involved during the ascent, spirits were high and everyone seemed to be buzzing. There's something to be said about the road less traveled, and when a collection of like-minded people get to embark on such an adventure together, it tends to act as a bond of sorts. The ride down had its share of spills, but by and large, the group managed to navigate the incredibly technical and challenging terrain together, fully committed to massive and steep slabs, chaotic root and rock gardens, and a number of nonsensical drops from top to bottom. The final section of the morning's adventure was a loamy and rapid section of trail that acted as a well-deserved reward for everything above it.
After a lovely lunch in the garage of Phil and Ann Ostroski, parents to Pete and loved by all, the event made its way up to the top of the Hurricane Zone of NoCo to begin the 1st of 3 timed stages for the afternoon. The rain continued to rage, and with a massive week of riding in their legs, the racers put their heads down and made their way up the mountain in a slog. Stage 1 was somewhat mellow by TNE standards, but came on the heels of a 45-minute climb and still required everyone's attentiveness, with high speeds, a handful of sharp rocks, and some wet roots that were waiting to catch anyone out who wasn't showing the terrain enough respect. Another grueling climb brought everyone to the same starting area for stages 2 and 3, with the 2nd stage as the most technical and challenging of the 3. It was full of steeps and jank, and was also a huge hit among the field. The 3rd and final stage was also the longest by about a minute, and while the trail itself was a brilliant combination of technical terrain and flow trail, the weather was also at its worst for the day. Visibility was a challenge, to say the least, with some riders opting to remove their goggles and crossing the finish line with one eye barely open, and others with mud and water coating their lenses.
The end of the 3rd stage marked the end of the race, and everyone waited just past the finish for the entire group to reconvene before making their way to the parking lot for transport back to camp. By the time the event made its way back to the random field next to the Saco River where camp was set up, the rain had subsided and the sun was making a weak effort to return. Athletes and organizers alike were quick to crack open beverages of all varieties, bathe in the Saco, and throw some dry clothes on. While some had to bid farewell with big hugs and handshakes, most were able to revel in the joy that comes on the heels of accomplishing such a gnarly and harrowing week on the bike. The 5th and final day of Trans New England was a beautiful embodiment of what the week was all about: riding bikes on brilliant trails up and down brilliant mountains, with a splash or two of high risk, high reward jank thrown in for good measure. It was a week that pushed bikes and bodies to the limit, and one that will forever connect those involved. As challenging as it was, talk of doing it again next year began before the bikes were even cleaned. Day 5 Results:
1- Chris Wilke
2- AJ Pratt
3- Adam MorsePro Women
1- Hannah Harrington
2- Rosy Metcalf
3- Anna SvagzdysOverall Results
1- AJ Pratt
2- Chris Wilke
3- Will GoodyPro Women
1- Hannah Harrington
2- Rosy Metcalf
3- Ashley Stearns
|Friday we needed to "make up" for a previously planned hike-a-bike; boundaries were pushed on wet terrain and the crew continued to ride the stoke wave. After a fabulous lunch at Mr and Mrs Ostroski's house, we cranked our way up Hurricane mt road on fried legs to tackle some of the best gravity trails the east has to offer. All the berms were in store for the final stage of the week and the skies opened a glorious downpour as we prepared to drop. The water ski esque spray of Adam (Morse) down cranmore connector was quite the sight and the finish was a euphoric moment of dirt-filled smiles to cap off a very special week.— AJ Pratt|
|Of any of the places we wandered to, North Conway is the place I’ve spent the most time. Home turf almost, but Trans New England turned all that upside down. Going into this week the weather was putting a nasty bullseye on our North Conway day, but it’s the safest place in New England to ride scary trails I know. Sandpaper granite plus crushed rock pretending to be soil means you can tear through there at almost full speed even in a biblical deluge. Which we got, and tear around full speed we did! Mega rock rolls with rivers running by on all sides, berms with lakes at the bottoms, we got a hell of an end to a hell of a week.— Jesse Thompson|
|Pete definitely pulled out all the stops for the last day. The day started with some spectacular granite slabs in the morning and finished with a fun mix of technical steeps and flow trail race runs in the afternoon, which really showcases the variety of riding that NoCo has to offer. The torrential downpour on the final stage of the day really capped off a wild week of racing and riding!— John Foody|
|All of the senses were in overload! The smell and touch of rain soaking me the forest around us helped soothe my aching shoulders as we pushed our bikes up the hiking trail, not knowing at all what was in store. When we got to the top I quickly forgot about all the aches and pains from the week and was reminded exactly why I love mountain biking. We ripped down grippy granite, rock ledges and slabs, and steep loam single track. It was the time of my life. The high I felt from the rain beating down on me as I rode some of the most technical trail I ever have, was something special; something I’ll remember forever.— Ashley Stearns|
|I think everyone woke up on Friday as excited as they were exhausted. North Conway marked the end of the adventure for TNE, but the schedule for the day coupled with the adventurous weather had everyone feeling some butterflies in their stomachs. The day was unreal from start to finish. The hike-a-bike might have been the best ride of the year for me personally, and while I might have shredded my rear tire halfway down stage 1, ripped my front tire off of the rim in a corner halfway down stage 2, and had to abandon my goggles due to fogging at the start of stage 3, the whole day was also kinda perfect. Memories for life right there.—Brice Shirbach|
|It was sick to finish off the week in NOCO on some trails I call home. The weather made it a battle, but these trails run unreal in the wet. Stoked to go fast and keep it rubber side down!— Dylan Russell|
|The morning in North Conway was my first hike-a-bike and it was unreal to ride through so much unique and special terrain. The day was wet and wild but the riding was so good it made it easy to get back on the bike for more.— Hannah Harrington|
Oh and sick coverage as always. I hope this comes back next year definitively
*Your results may vary, flow should be considered relative to New England standards.
Looks like a great race, though!