Video & Race Report: Eastern States Cup DH - Powder Ridge, CT

Sep 15, 2020
by Eastern States Cup  

Views: 1,100    Faves: 3    Comments: 3

The fourth Maxxis ESC Intense Downhill race of the roller-coaster season that is 2020 brings us to Connecticut for the first time. Like most bike parks, Powder Ridge started operations as a ski area in 1959 with 550' vertical tucked in the hills of Middlefield. The bike park didn't open until 2016, many of the trails here were created by long time Maxxis ESC Pro racer Jordan Newth and in 2018 they added three new jump trails with the help of DirtSculpt. Although it may not feature the sheer number of trails like parks further north, "feeder hills" like this help grow the sport by offering approachable terrain, which is easily accessible to millions of people via Route 91. The track here rewards those who have good bike control and are able to read terrain quickly, holding momentum where others may not be able to. There was a solid mix of trail and downhill bikes in the parking lot with a lot of riders trying both in practice but our Pro class winners were piloting full DH rigs on race day.

One of the best parts of any race weekend is camping and hanging out with friends (socially distanced, of course). Powder Ridge offers possibly the best camping setup and parking lot views of any venue we've raced at over the years.

The stoke was high with smiles all around as 233 racers joined us for our largest DH race ever.

Line choice is even more important on short tracks, a single mistake could cost you precious seconds and knock you off the podium.

Get Loose Racing ready to rock on race day.

Parker Downing meant business on the pedal out of the starting gate, he would take the win by 20 seconds over our biggest Clif Kids class ever with 24 racers.

The top part of the course offered generous amounts of loamy goodness between the rock slabs and rogue roots.

SDR Clothing Grom Squad rider Collin Bourque drops in on the first challenging rock roller, he would take the U15 class win by over 5 seconds.

The central location and approachable course drew a lot of racers, we even got Kaylen Ballantyne off Cape Cod now that the summer rush is over. He would win the Expert 19-29 class in his first DH race since 2017.

Comp Edge Racing's Andy McQuaid finished runner-up for the Amateur 19-29 men in his first DH race, he's got to be happy with that.

Killington Mountain School's Matthew Krimmel gaps over a mass of roots on his way to the Amateur 15-18 win, that's two in a row.

Nelson Maldonado, racing for Danny's Cycles, earned his first Maxxis ESC Intense DH win of the year in the 50+ men's class.

Luke Georgian entered his first Maxxis ESC race this weekend and took home a gold medal in the Amateur 40+ class.

Keeping momentum was the key to success in the flatter parts of the track, Mark Marrongelli keeps it rolling to take the Expert 30-39 men's win.

ProBuilds Racing's Jason Beckley takes the more direct inside line and the 40+ Expert class win.

It's amazing Brooks Nablo has energy left after chasing the Clif Kids class around all weekend, but they may just be making him faster as he bested the Amateur 30-39 men by over 2 seconds.

Eyes on the prize for Andy Marek, he would finish second in the Expert 40+ class.

BMXer Colby Benoit knows a thing or two about sprinting, sixth place in his first Pro men's race.

It was good to see Chelsea Crooke back on the DH bike for the first time in about three years, she took the Amateur women's class win by 20 seconds.

Michael Maldonado pedaled up Powder Hill during practice when the lift line grew and still had energy left to take his first Junior Expert win with the 6th fastest overall time of the day.

Despite the rock slabs and tricky flat sections, this off-camber water bar/drainage ditch combo was among the hardest to navigate. Tucker Shearer shows it no mercy, second place for the Amateur 15-18 boys.

Opting for the trail bike, Jena Greaser was able to push where it counted and take third place for the Pro ladies.

Mazie Hayden was on pace but suffered a tire puncture in finals, she would hang on for second place 3.99 seconds off the win.

Kristin Lenart let the big bike eat on the way to her second DH win this season with a final race time of 2:36.43 "The track at Powder Ridge was really fun in an interesting way. It grew on me as the weekend passed. I've been struggling with a knee injury for most of the race season and pedaling has been difficult. When I first saw the climb and amount of pedaling I instantly believed I wouldn't do well but I really focused on keeping momentum rolling and staying positive. Come race time I took every chance I could and it worked! The fact that I only had a DH bike this weekend helped me not get caught up in the debate of what bike was better and I just focused on the track itself. I'm really thankful to ESC for working hard to keep us all between the tape this year!"

Pro Women: 4th - Alisha Darin, 2nd - Mazie Hayden, 1st - Kristin Lenart, 3rd - Jena Greaser, 5th - Karlin McKeith

Defiant Racing's Steve Estabrook is back racing after taking some time off with a wrist injury, he's got to be happy with third place in a stacked Pro men's field.

Cameron Mader kept it low and fast over the final few jumps, just .86 of a second off the win.

Danny Cycles rider Mauricio Estrada was able to put down the fastest time of the day with a 2:17.46, making it two wins in a row. Don't call it a comeback! "My weekend went great! At the beginning, I was not expecting a good course because I heard from lots of different riders that it was flat and easy, to the point where I even thought of using my trail bike. After two runs I felt that for my riding style, the downhill bike was my best choice. On Saturday, I had to leave early so I did not get to do the seeding, leaving me with doubts of where I would place the following day. For my race run, I felt good but really tired because it’s never easy to start a downhill race with a steep climb and finish with what felt like a 40-second sprint. When I crossed the finish line and I saw my time I was extremely happy because I knew it would be enough to be on the podium, although, I truly did not expect to be taking the top place with it, especially when it is the second time in a row. Thank you to my team Danny´s Cycles Racing for all the support during the weekend."

Pro Men: 4th - George Ryan, 2nd - Cameron Mader, 1st - Mauricio Estrada, 3rd - Steve Estabrook, 5th - Saben Rossi

Summer is quickly fading away but fear not, we have plenty of racing left. Check out the new event dates below! Best of luck to all our racers heading to Nationals this weekend.

Full Results

Words & photos: Andrew Santoro
Video: Jason Scheiding

2020 Maxxis ESC Specialized Enduro Schedule
July 18 - Blue Mountain, PA
July 26 - Glen Park, PA
Sept 6 - Diamond Hill, RI
Just Added - Registration Open
Oct 4 - Powder Ridge, CT
October 18 - Mountain Creek, NJ FINALS 150% Maxxis ESC Series Points

2020 Maxxis ESC Intense Downhill Schedule
July 19 - Blue Mountain, PA
August 29 - Blue Mountain, PA
August 30 - Blue Mountain, PA
September 13 - Powder Ridge, CT
Just Added - Registration Open
September 27 - Powder Ridge, CT
October 25 - Mountain Creek, NJ FINALS 150% Maxxis ESC Series Points


  • 12 0
 Another awesome weekend! Thanks to ESC for continuing to push and get events on the calendar. Andrew was right, lots of chasing for the largest Clif kids class! So cool to see so many new racers! CT is alive!
  • 9 0
 I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the track. Though it was not steep it had the right amount of stuff to keep it interesting and fun. Thanks ESC for another great event!
  • 4 0
 Once again, a great weekend of racing put on by the ESC crew! I was pleasantly surprised by Powder Ridge and am happy to be going back again soon! Thank you ESC for continuing to get it done!
  • 1 0
 For my first dh race, it was an amazing experience. The track was on the flat side but thats where you can see who can put the peddles down, sad i crashed on the race run but will be back next weekend to redeem myself, awesome job esc
  • 3 0
 Good times on home turf! Psyched to see 2 more Powder Ridge events on the calendar for the 27th and Oct. 3-4!
  • 4 0
 was great seeing everyone and starting you all off again!
  • 1 0
 The course was a little on the flat side, but still a lot of fun. I'll need to bring some better legs next time. Thanks ESC for putting on another killer event!
  • 3 0
 What a fun track! For my first DH race it was an awesome experience!
  • 2 0
 The venue was nice and there is a lot of potential there. Looking forward to the DH and Enduro events. Well done ESC.
  • 3 0
 I loved the track!
  • 2 0
 Anyone know where that pictures of the race are posted?
  • 2 0
 Roots and Rain.
  • 2 0
 Click the Full Results link at the bottom of the article it will bring you to this event page. There’s a photos tab at the top or there may be a photo icon by your name in the results of any photos of you have been tagged already.
  • 1 0
 do any of the other ct ski mountains have a bike park?
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Good times...I liked it...
  • 2 0
 Awesome event ESC!
  • 2 0
 Great weekend
  • 2 0
 Super fun
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