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Race Report and Video: Vittoria Eastern States Cup Enduro Series - Killington, VT

Sep 9, 2015
by Eastern States Cup  
Vittoria ESC

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ESC Enduro Finals
After four months of racing at seven stops and nearly a thousand racer starts, the Vittoria Eastern States Cup Enduro Series came to a climatic conclusion at Killington Resort over the Labor Day weekend. With double points on the line and the overall championship in nearly every category still up for grabs, this was crunch time. Killington was the perfect venue for the finals and organizers put together the longest and most varied course in ESC history to finish the season. Here's a quick look at the challenges racers faced: Stage One was a romp down the resort's new jump line, Blue Magic. The Gravity Logic-built trail features berms, tables, rollers, step-ups and downs and numerous hips. It's meant to be ridden without much pedaling or braking so the challenge for racers was to put the hammer down without launching into orbit. John Lamb, pictured, who has worked for the Killington Bike Park for years, used his skills and local knowledge to win the 50+ group in his only ESC start since winning the same event two years ago. Lamb launched down Stage One with gusto then realized he had forgotten to unlock his suspension, but still won the stage by five seconds.

ESC Enduro Finals
The berms and jumps were fast and frequent on Stage One. Fast Line Racing pro Anthony Coneski kept it smooth for the fourth fastest time on the stage and would earn his third podium of the season.

ESC Enduro Finals
Not everyone had their park groove on. There were numerous close calls as riders got bucked off steep lips or overshot landings. Pro Saben Rossi somehow managed to escape disaster after performing a one-footed yoga move off this table. Rossi would get his mojo back to finish sixth on the day.

ESC Enduro Finals
After returning via chairlift to the top of the Snowshed area, riders raced to the top of Stage Two in the Fox DOSS Dropper Seat Post Challenge climb. Stage Two was the lower leg of a much longer stage from the July 4th Killington enduro. The top section was a fast, tight blast down single track. Downhill pro Willem Cooper may have caught the enduro bug as he competed in his second-straight event.

ESC Enduro Finals
The middle of the stage featured some manmade features, like this drop hit by 50+ third-place finisher Frank Petty. The stage concluded with an all-out pedal across the flats to a finish in front of the main base lodge.

ESC Enduro Finals
After taking the gondola to the top of the mountain, racers headed for Stage Three. Following a twisty pedaling section, riders hit the Cable Trail which has long been the most popular trail in the Killington Bike Park. Mixing raw single track with some park features, this trail is an absolute blast. Mansfield Cycles junior Aidan Casner took his first lift-serviced runs at Killington years ago and knows this trail like the back of his hand.

ESC Enduro Finals
The bottom of Stage Three wound through the woods of the resort's all-natural winter terrain park, The Stash. At more than four and a half minutes, Stage Three was one of the longer segments racers have faced this year, but it was just a warm up for the coming attractions.

ESC Enduro Finals
After a brief climb, racers faced the physically demanding Stage Four. Though not the toughest pitch on the mountain, the stage linked together an endless variety of tight wooded single track with occasional climbs. The top section followed a remote and rarely ridden trail, hit here by Eric Tremblay. The alpine woods featured plenty of pedaling which got racers' heart rates spiking right out of the gate.

ESC Enduro Finals
The rest of the stage ran down the popular Snake Bite trail which features numerous manmade features, including this new wooden drop hit by pro Tom Davidson. The lower section of the trail is below the resort's gravity line so does not see a lot of action, but offers some really fun natural lines in the woods. At over eight minutes in length, Stage Four was the longest anyone had raced on the ESC tour this season, but it too was just a warm-up for the epic final stage of the year.

ESC Enduro Finals
After a long gradual climb back to the gondola base station, riders got a much-needed rest on the lift transfer back to the top of 4,241-foot Killington Peak.

ESC Enduro Finals
Stage Five was the stage riders have been dreaming of or dreading all season. Starting just below the summit, the top-to-bottom stage took in the the entire northern half of the sprawling resort. Times for this stage ranged from around 12 minutes to almost half an hour, a truly world-class final test for riders. Not only was it long, but it featured some of the gnarliest terrain on the mountain, including the double black diamond rock gardens of Scarecrow, hit here by 30-39 overall series champion Duane Goodermote.

ESC Enduro Finals
The upper mountain is very rugged and offered few chances for racers to relax as they navigated the roots and rocks. Paradise Racing pro Michael Bateman put down another solid showing for his third-consecutive top-ten result.

ESC Enduro finals
Though a bit less treacherous due to dry conditions, the rock gardens still took their toll on the field. Scott Search was able to finish his race despite this cringe-worthy tumble in the boulders.

ESC Enduro Finals
Tough pedal sections interspersed with more rock gardens took riders to the farthest northern reaches of the trail system beyond the Ramshead lift. Junior champion Emmett Avery, who rarely rides lifts, put his trail-riding prowess to good use winning the final two stages and eking out a two-second win. The lower part of the final stage followed the aptly named Outback trail back to the resort. The section has been an entire stage in itself in past enduros, which gives you a sense of the length of this final testpiece.

ESC Enduro Finals
The weather for the weekend was absolutely perfect and race day was cloudless as riders prepared to do battle with the Beast of the East.

ESC Enduro Finals
In an unusual start to the event, racers had to pedal or push their bikes from the race meeting at the base of the gondola to the top of Stage One on Snowshed. Many riders actually welcomed the climb as it gave them an opportunity to warm up their legs before the race.

ESC Enduro Finals
Though the trials were many, and the finish area was littered with oxygen-deprived bodies, the enduro final was one for the ages.

ESC Enduro Finals
The men's pro field was a dead heat coming into the final race of the season so the overall title was up for grabs at Killington. The long stages played right into the hands of Giant Factory Off Road pro Seamus Powell who is not only a technical wizard but a real beast on the pedals. Powell trailed rival Leland O'Connor after the first three stages by 12 seconds, but the epic last two stages were right in his wheelhouse. Powell pulled back 11 seconds on Stage Four then absolutely crushed Stage Five with a 28-second smack down that left him with a 27-second overall victory. Powell, who has raced numerous events on the Enduro World Series stage was understandably pumped after the race: "The Killington tracks for the finals were the best ever. Maybe even the best mix in Eastern States Cup history! Nearly 30 minutes of racing packed into one day is proper, that's the way every race should be. The race proved that Eastern States Cup enduros are more than downhill stage races and Killington is one of the East Coast's best venues." Powell has raced with some of the world's best but still gets nervous before ESC events. "My mind set coming into an ESC race compared to an EWS race is similar. I like to treat them all the same. Every race is important for me. But that said, from a pressure stand point, I often feel that I put more pressure on myself at an ESC race. I expect myself to win. I'm contending every weekend for a top spot compared to an EWS where I'm still finding my pace and tactics for those events. ESC events are great stepping stones and foundational races that are helping me bridge the gap to more EWS events in the future. The ESC race series is held in the highest regard in my book for being one of the best, if not the best, run Enduro series in the country."

ESC Enduro Finals
Taking the runner-up spot on the day, and for the overall series was Fast Line Racing's Leland O'Connor. Always on his game, O'Connor won two stages and finished second in the other three. O'Connor is having a magical season. With ten ESC enduro and downhill starts, he has only been out of the top three once. O'Connor is certainly at his best when the tracks are steep and fast. He recently won the pro division at the Chomolungma Challenge, being the fastest to complete 20 laps, or 30,000 vertical feet, on the vaunted steeps of Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia. O'Connor concurs with Powell's assessment that Killington is the East Coast's best enduro venue.

ESC Enduro Finals
Yeti Cycles pro Matt Sebas produced his best result of the season taking the third step on the podium. Smoking fast times on Stages Three and Four enabled Sebas to just beat out former ESC enduro series champion Jason Scheiding by a mere two-second margin.

ESC Enduro Finals
The men's pro podium from left: Anthony Coneski-5th, Matt Sebas-3rd, Seamus Powell-1st, Leland O'Connor-2nd, Jason Scheiding-4th.

ESC Enduro Finals
The women's pro race featured the closest result of the season. Kimberley Quinlan, racing for Bicycle Express, absolutely hammered Stage Four. It was her only stage victory, but her 25-second advantage in that one segment was enough to take the overall victory by the slimmest two-second margin. The Vermont rider has raced the Enduro Triple Crown Series the past couple years but this was her first ESC Enduro start. Quinlan was thrilled with the event. "This was my first ESC enduro and with a weekend of beautiful weather, riding with great folks, and an amazing five stages, it did not disappoint. The mix of flow, tech, and pedaling made it a really fun, and taxing course. These guys know how to do it! Stage 5 was my favorite , with a top-to-bottom run in an exhausted state, it was a true test of endurance, technical skills and focus. I used up everything in the tank on this one!" Hopefully we'll see more of Quinlan at future ESC events.

ESC Enduro Finals
Sporting the new Eastern States Cup overall champion's jersey for the race was Lauren Petersen. Having already sewed up the overall title, Petersen still did not let off the gas in the finals. Despite being a bridesmaid in a wedding on Saturday and riding the course blind, Petersen won four of the five stages. "Killington is definitely my favorite venue for enduro racing. Having longer stages with pedaling thrown in really challenges a racer and I love having such a mix of different types of terrain to ride. I wish every ESC enduro race had at least 30 minutes of timed racing with some good climbing thrown in. I had a blast and it was definitely the best race of the season!" Petersen will be on the new 2016 Intense Tracer 275C within the next couple of weeks, a big step up from her current Carbine, so her race future is looking bright.

ESC Enduro Finals
Taking the third spot was Mountain Moxie pro Clarissa Finks. It was the third top-three performance this season for the always enthusiastic and upbeat Finks.

ESC Enduro Finals
The women's pro podium from left: Alison Crocker-5th, Clarissa Finks-3rd, Kimberley Quinlan-1st, Lauren Petersen-2nd, Kelly Ault-4th.

ESC Enduro Finals
The Fox DOSS Seatpost Climbers Challenge winners, for having the fastest amateur time on the climbing transfer between Stages One and Two.

ESC Enduro Finals
The victors in the Dynaplug Fastest Finisher Challenge. Winners in this challenge all received a DynaPlug Micro Pro-Tubeless Bicycle Tire Repair Kit for being the fastest racer’s in their class to complete the entire enduro course.

ESC Enduro Finals
The womens podium for the overall season-long KMC King of the Mountain challenge which rewards the fastest finishers on one, downhill-orinted stage, every race, Overall winners took home enough KMC chains to keep them pedaling happily for years to come. From left: Clair Sick-3rd, Lauren Petersen-1st, Karlin Klucznik-2nd

ESC Enduro Finals
The mens overall KMC King of the Mountain podium from left: Nate Robson-3rd, Duane Goodermote-1st, Jonathan Salinger-2nd

ESC Enduro Finals
Being the finals, there were plenty of podium appearances as the overall winners in each category were crowned. Amateur winners took home piles of prizes, including a sweet new Vittoria wheel set. Taking home the big money for the women pros from left: Alison Crocker-3rd, Lauren Petersen-1st, Clarissa Finks-2nd, Kelly Ault-4th.

ESC Enduro Finals
The bubbly was flowing as Petersen celebrated her achievement.

ESC Enduro Finals
The overall mens pro podium from left: Matthew Sebas-5th, Anthony Coneski-3rd, Seamus Powell-1st, Leland O'Connor-2nd, Jason Scheiding-4th.

ESC Enduro Finals
Powell lets it pour.

ESC Enduro Finals
Vittoria ESC head honcho George Ulmer, the final racer on course at every event, times out it his chip at the end of Stage Five to close out the final event of the ESC enduro season. It has been an incredible season of racing and good times with friends. We're sorry to see it come to an end. The fun continues on the Vittoria ESC downhill tours for those not ready to call it a season just yet.

ESC Enduro Finals
Get some rest, the 2016 enduro season is already in the planning stages and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. See you on the trail!

Words and pics by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.

Eastern States Cup

Full results from the weekend can be found here
http://www.easternstatescup.com
https://www.facebook.com/easternstatescup

2015 VITTORIA ESC SCHEDULE:

Atlantic Downhill
May 3 Duryea Urban Downhill – Reading, PA
May 24 Plattekill Gravity Open – Roxbury, NY
May 31 Mountain Creek UCI ProGRT – Vernon, NJ - USAC State Championship
June 21 Plattekill Mountain – Roxbury, NY - USAC State Championship
July 19 Windham Mountain World Cup Track Test Race – Windham, NY
Aug 9 Windham Race the World– Windham, NY – World Cup Weekend
Sept 13 Blue Mountain – Palmerton, PA- USAC State Championship
Oct 11 Plattekill– Roxbury, NY – New England and Atlantic DH Finals

New England Downhill
June 14 Pats Peak MTB Bike Festival – Henniker, NH
July 5 Killington East Coast Showdown 1 – Killington, VT- USAC State Championship
July 12 Jiminy Peak – Hancock, MA
Aug 1 Mount Snow East Coast Showdown 2 – Dover VT
Aug 23 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown 3 – Warren, VT
Aug 30 Attitash Mountain – Bartlett, NH – USAC State Championship
Sept 27 Thunder Mountain – Charlemont, MA – USAC State Championship
Oct 11 Plattekill – Roxbury, NY – New England and Atlantic DH Finals

East Coast Super DH Championships
Oct 18 Mountain Creek – Vernon NJ

Enduro
May 10 Plattekill Mountain – Roxbury, NY - USAC State Championship
June 7 Blue Mountain – Palmerton, PA – USAC State Championship
June 28 Attitash Mountain - Bartlett, NH – USAC State Championship
July 4 Killington East Coast Showdown 1 – Killington, VT – USAC State Championship
Aug 2 Mount Snow East Coast Showdown 2 – Dover VT
Aug 22 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown 3 – Warren, VT
Sept 6 Killington Enduro Finals – Killington, VT

Super D
May 30 Mountain Creek Super D – Vernon, NJ – USAC State Championship

Triathlon
May 2 Killington Triathlon – Killington, VT

BOX Components East Coast Showdown Series
July 5 Killington East Coast Showdown 1 – Killington, VT- USAC State Championship
Aug 1 Mount Snow East Coast Showdown 2 – Dover VT
Aug 23 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown 3 – Warren, VT


MENTIONS: @foxracingshox / @eastern-states-cup




37 Comments

  • 13 4
 Great write up for an amazing series! If you want more technical-race DH, if you want more pedaling-race XC. These tracks were excellent and the series was well organized. The diversity in tracks allowed riders to shine in areas and find room to improve in others. Great job George and the ESC team!
  • 5 0
 Im sooo bummed. I was there Friday and Saturday morning, until I fell and messed up my collar bone.This was my first year racing Enduro and coming from racing XC and DH in the past in Europe, I made it 5 of the races and this is BY FAR the most fun I have had racing bikes. Thanks to everyone who put these events together, you all did a WONDERFUL job.
  • 9 4
 Jeb is hands down the best at race reports. He always mentions new people and does the research to know about them. We need more of this! Rock on Jeb!
  • 3 0
 Really fun event! Thanks to George, the ESC crew and Killington for a great event. Also thanks to all the people my 11 year old son and I came in contact with over the weekend. It was his first enduro, and he said it was the best day on a bike he has ever had. Everyone was friendly and encouraged him. Great format and atmosphere for a racing family. He's hooked!
  • 12 10
 We need more gnar in courses next year! The pedaling is fine as long as you reward some technical riding. There were only two short sections in this course that could be considered tech. Both of killingtons tracks this year were some of the worst of the ESC series this year with excessive pedaling and not enough tech. There are so many better trails that could have been used in the last race like trails 23, 33, 34 etc. Even for some of the short stages on snowshed could have been on some of the more tech stuff like rabbit hole. Racing a jump trail was pointless, if you look at times most riders were all within 10 seconds of each other.
  • 6 2
 I agree why use the new jump line if your going to send the riders down the cable trail and shreddy?
  • 4 0
 The majority of killington is pedally.
  • 12 3
 Totally disagree. This was a good course. Thank you Jeb for the great write-up and pics. Thank you to George, Erin, Steve, and Killington staff for your work.
  • 5 2
 It really was not, it was a pedal fest that didn't reward bike handling skills. It's a bummer because killington has the terrain and potential to be the best stop in the series, instead it is usually the most disappointing race. It's not like throwing in the steeper more difficult trails at killington would have turned it into a DH, given every trail there is pedaly, it would just make it have some diversity. Gripes about killington's races aside, the ESC series was awesome and well run as always, thanks to all who were involved.
  • 2 1
 Of all the enduro races I have done, this was the most pedal-intensive, for the total length. Simple course mods would have made it much more moderate. Great trails and accomodations at Killington! Thanks for a great weekend, George and ESC and Killington staff!
  • 3 2
 That's weak sauce there. If you think that was too much pedaling you wouldn't even make the time cuts at an EWS race. Quit complaining and get in shape.
  • 2 2
 never said it was too much pedaling, just making the point that all it was only pedaling. So your reading comprehension is whats weak sauce. If you want to talk about EWS stages how about all the gnar in them. Go ride ride don't slide in whistler which they raced in 2014 and tell me how comparable killington was to a real EWS.
  • 4 0
 Cut it out kids, place nice and go ride your bikes!
  • 5 0
 Saben, stay on your bike!!!
  • 1 0
 Anyone in the eastcoast ride both Windham and killington? Which would you guys prefer or recommend? Or any other mountain around here. I've only been to killington but I'm looking to go somewhere new this weekend. Thanks
  • 1 1
 Killington. Windham has 4 trail. wc course, citizens course, wilderness trail, and a jump trail. killington has it all plus more
  • 1 0
 I hear okemo has trails but haven't been yet, also thunder Mtn in mass has some sweet trails both are a doable drive from killington
  • 3 0
 IMO, Killington is one of the best bike parks around, it has what I consider, lift assisted single track, with natural trails, and now with the addition of some park type flow trails, that are done nicely, its very well rounded. Plus you can ride there all day even if you only have a trail bike, as a lot of trails are not super rough and dont beat the snot out of your hands, you can find those trails too, but there are many to choose from that replicate a trail ride or xc trail with a lot of gravity assist.
  • 4 1
 Sugarbush is about an hour north of killington and while i've only been to killington once, I much prefer sugarbush for more dh like stuff, great mix there.
  • 1 0
 I have been riding Killington forever and it is just blowing up right now. I think it is the most diverse bike park in the East now that there is development of the jump lines and not just the Cable. Word is next year it will expand even more over to Ram's Head with advanced jump lines and a third lift. I got a chance to meet Dave the founder of GL and he said they are already mapping it out. For a while the pedally dh at Killington was frowned upon but with enduro being so popular right now you have to look at it as one of the ultimate places for that type of riding. The real dh trails are there too if you know where to find them. While I do agree with rclugnut that Sugarbush offers better straight up dh trails that are more sustained in pitch, Killington, with a chair, gondola, and soon to be third chair has got to be considered as having a lot more variety. You can do enduro, xc, dh, and jump lines in a single day at Killington and the bonus is that it's over a huge area. You can feel like you are way out in the middle of nowhere but you're still in the park which really lends itself to giving you a sense of a real adventure. Some of the runs you can go 4-5 miles. Earlier this summer I pulled 45 miles in a single day even with a mechanical, no exaggeration and no that is not a fisherman's tale. At this point I don't even really consider going anywhere else unless I need to do a short day trip to Highland since I am down in MA. Give the Beast a try I promise you will not be disappointed.
  • 2 0
 Give thunder mountain a look. Not same elevation as killington but a lot of single track enduro type trails as well as jump line trails. Mountain is really made for single crown bikes. Killington has a lot of fire road pedalling to get to different trails and some uphills. Love killington but cant they make a singletrack trail from top to bottom??
  • 2 0
 Killington the bike park is a lot like Killington the ski mountain. Huge numbers and miles of trails, but all broken up and laid out in a confusing way that always seems to require a traverse or two on every run. A lot of their blue and black bike trails are just service roads and the only technical challenge is not eating sh*t carrying speed through loose gravel. It's still a lot of fun on a bike or skis/board, but I'd put it behind Thunder Mtn, Burke, and Highland in terms of layout, and behind Sugarbush in terms of gnar factor. It's great to ride that gondola, though!
  • 1 0
 All the new trails that are being built by Gravity Logic are top to bottom, no fire roads. They still haven't developed the upper mountain which does still have the fire roads between single track segments. Most ski areas have this though, Sugarbush, Mt Snow Attitash, among u=others have this. Disagree on the Sugarbush being more gnarly opinion. Lots of stuff that you can't even walk down at Killington. It's just more pedally, and hey, some people like that these days.
  • 1 0
 That rock garden section looks fun. It's one of those that's easier to get through like Jeremy Clarkson would yell, "Power!" to float over it like a buzzing bee.
  • 2 0
 I too have mastered the one footed yoga pinkbike.com/video/411782
  • 3 0
 Beastcoast
  • 1 0
 Great write up. Makes me wanna hawk some toys and games it the series next year.
  • 2 0
 Man I was tired from the pedaling
  • 2 0
 What an awesome series it was this year. Kudos to everyone involved.
  • 2 0
 BAMBI, your my champion!
  • 1 0
 Off Topic...anyone know the band and song from the Vid?
  • 1 0
 TV on the radio - happy idiot
  • 1 0
 Thank You!
  • 1 0
 Yo Jeb that aint me. Appreciate the shoutout though Wink
  • 1 0
 Oops. Which pic?
  • 1 0
 Haha number 9. It was tagged on RootsandRain too.
  • 2 1
 Looks like fun times!

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