Video & Race Report: Maxxis ESC Box Components Showdown - Sugarloaf, ME

Sep 15, 2021
by Eastern States Cup  

Maine is perhaps known best for its beaches and delicious seafood but venture a couple hours from the rocky coastline and you'll find some of the largest mountains in the Appalachians. Sugarloaf is a staple destination for skiers and snowboarders but until recently didn't have much to offer for thrill seekers in the summer months. Enter Adam Craig along with the support of the Sugarloaf Marketing Team, and a few months later we have four amazingly fresh Enduro stages as well as a killer four minute long old school DH course.

Adam could be seen making the rounds all weekend, grinning ear to ear with excitement as he watched over 400 racers from all over the country enjoy his team's hard work. "I'm so impressed with our crew here, not having hosted a Mountain Bike event since the Widowmaker Challenge in 1999, everyone stepped up and did an amazing job. Complemented by our event volunteers, who came out of the woodwork to help out on-hill. Super props to the lift operations crew, who kept racers moving promptly and safely to the top, lap after lap. Everyone certainly got plenty of rough trail riding thanks to their efforts! With lots of practice, racers were pushing themselves and the trails hard, just as we hoped. We didn't really know what to expect for spectator turnout, but the reception exceeded anyone's hopes by a lot!"

A warm welcome for our first time racing in Maine.

Adam Craig and crew have been hard at work in the Carrabassett Valley woods this summer, unearthing mountain bike gold. "It's been a tremendous, yet modest effort. A handful of public volunteer events brought enthusiasm and skill from Maine and beyond. Many of those who came to the events offered to return whenever able throughout the build season. A constant of these large events and our daily work-flow was riding, at least one lap which usually turned into as much as daylight allowed."

Post practice colors.

Fresh dirt is easier on tires but derailleurs were getting tossed around out there.

EWS Gold Qualifier]

A.C. got out to ride prior to the 8:30am riders meeting and returned to report "it's dry, you guys are going to go fast".

Racers started their day with a roughly 1000' climb to the top of Widow Maker. Zach Mehuron holds it wide open between corners, the Kentucky boy made his trip worth it with a fifth in Enduro and sixth in Downhill, each in the Pro men's class.

Our Fox Transfer Seatpost Climbers Challenege winner Will Synnott, who worked up some watts on the transfer to Stage 1.

Low and fast for Mark Gilbert on Stage 2, he would earn a stage win and fourth place in the U20 class.

The second half of the day was more gravity oriented, with lift serviced transfers to Stages 3 and 4.

Sarah Howerter was having a solid day until she took a dive on Stage 3. That's not mud on her helmet and goggles.

Amazing views as you drop toward the base area at the end of Stage 3. Three stage wins for Vermonter Austin Beard, along with his first U20 win.

Straight into it about ten feet from the start of Stage 4 on Pink Whitney.

Gavin Vaughan rounded out the top three, his best Pro men's class result to date.

Consistency has been key for Adam Morse this season, second place across the board.

Max Beaupre was at it again this weekend, winning three stages and topping the Pro Men by over 24 seconds. "Was honestly pretty nervous going into the weekend. Had to change a lot of my settings and body positioning to feel at home on the Jekyll again in the New England jank! The trees were definitely out to get us this weekend I kept buzzing them left and right trying to stay on pace with the boys. Always a pleasure doing battle with all of the big names on the east coast like Adam, Steve, Alex, Gavin, and a Windrock friend of mine Damon! Absolutely love this sport and our little Northeastern community! Huge thank you to all of the spectators and esc crew who made this event possible!"

Enduro Pro Men: 5th - Alex McAndrew, 3rd - Gavin Vaughan, 1st - Max Beaupre, 2nd - Adam Morse, 4th - Damon Sedivy

Ingrid Larouche joined us all the way from the West Coast, third place for the Pro ladies.

Hannah Harrington slotted into second place, her best result since moving up to the Pro class this year.

Two huge wins in a row for Kale Cushman as she bested the Pro Women by over 38 seconds with a clean sweep of stage wins. "It’s been an amazing year working with Adam, Sugarloaf and all the volunteers bringing a new gravity trail system to life in my home state. Watching these trails take shape from ribbons of pink tape through the woods, digging and moving rocks with an incredibly stoked group of volunteers, and the opportunity to test out fresh lines after work days – was a pretty cool experience. Almost all of my riding up to this point has taken me so far from home – there was nothing better than having all of my racing friends and family here for such a gorgeous weekend in my local Maine mountains."

Enduro Pro Women: 5th - Andria Golden, 3rd - Ingrid Larouche, 1st - Kale Cushman, 2nd - Hannah Harrington, 4th - Julie Baird Photo: Luke Cushman


Enjoy the view while you can, it's right out of the start gate and onto lightning fast ski trail.

Racing ski trails on the edge of disaster is a bit of a lost art these days, Ian McNaughton shows the kids how it's done as he slides into fourth place for the 30-39 Amateur Men.

Jersey boy Cooper Pleva sent it into first place for the 19-29 Expert class, earning his fifth win of the year.

Pedal magnet.

Just as you get used to flying on ski trail, you're presented with some good old fashioned New England jank. Nelphison Dealmeida blasts through the Maine woods on his way to second place for the Amateur 15-18 year olds.

Collin Bourque opted for the trail bike for some of the tight woods sections, it worked out as he won the Junior Expert class by nearly six seconds.

William Anderson dabbed the rock to get even more inside on this line, earning the Expert 30-39 Men's win.

Trail boss sampling the Richard Wilkinson DH course goods, seventh place for the Pro Men after watching others enjoy the ride all weekend. "It was such an honor for the Sugarloaf crew to watch everyone enjoying the racing so much."

Top three for Clair Sick in the afternoon, improving from seventh in the morning.

West Coaster Julie Baird maximized her trip East by entering both races, fourth in Enduro and third in DH for the Pro Women.

When you finally get to race at home why stop at one win? Kale Cushman smoked the rest of the Pro ladies by over 36 seconds to take complete the coveted double win weekend.

DH Pro Women: 3rd - Clair Sick, 1st - Kale Cushman, 2nd - Julie Baird, 4th - Katlin Parenteau

Third place for Steve Estabrook in DH along with twelfth in Enduro.

Dylan Conte is a great role model for the kids he coaches but he's also a bad man on the bike. Second place in DH and 17th in Enduro this weekend.

Newly married Max Morgan was flying in practice all weekend and laid down a heater of a run on race day, winning by a margin of 5.58 seconds with a final race time of 4:09.34. "It was a great weekend racing at Sugarloaf. I really enjoyed the old school feel on the track and slowly built up speed on my V10 all weekend. The combination of fast grass corners and technical woods made for a really fun race track. With three more races on the season, I’m looking forward to finishing strong. Thanks to Santa Cruz Bicycles and my wife Melanie for their support."

DH Pro Men: 5th - Zach Mehuron, 3rd - Steve Estabrook, 1st - Max Morgan, 2nd - Dylan Conte, 4th - Matt Driscoll

That's a wrap from Sugarloaf, the next time we set tires on this dirt might be before or at next year's Enduro World Series. We're thrilled to be able to give our racers a chance to earn a spot to race on the world stage. With what the crew are working on up here, it's truly a special time to be a mountain biker in the Northeast. See you all at the next one, Sept. 26th at Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts!

Words and photos: Andrew Santoro
Video: Jason Scheiding

Enduro Results
Downhill Results


May 23 Powder Ridge, CT
June 27 Blue Mountain, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
July 25 Windham, NY
Aug 1 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA
Oct 3 Powder Ridge, CT
Oct 24 Mountain Creek, NJ - Series Finals

May 2 Diamond Hill, RI
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT - Outbound Lighting Night Enduro
June 6 Glen Park, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 1 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 22 Arrowhead Recreation Area, NH - EWS Gold Qualifier
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME - EWS Gold Qualifier
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA - EWS Gold Qualifier
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT - Outbound Lighting Night Enduro
Oct 17 Mountain Creek, NJ - Series Finals

May 2 Diamond Hill, RI
May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
June 6 Glen Park, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 1 Sugarbush, VT
Aug 22 Arrowhead, NH
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT

May 22 Powder Ridge, CT
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA
Sept 12 Sugarloaf, ME
Sept 26 Jiminy Peak, MA
Oct 2 Powder Ridge, CT

May 1 Diamond Hill, RI - XC
July 10 Thunder Mountain, MA - XC

Aug 14-15 Blue Mountain, PA - DH - DS - XC - Enduro


  • 7 0
 Great pictures and write-up, thank you! Any idea why this didnt make it onto the Pinkbike front page, or did I just miss it? I did this as my first ever Enduro event and I was just glad to finish and keep the rubber side down.
  • 2 0
 unfortunately it seems the UCI races in showshoe are taking over the pages right now, that is great that this was your first enduro as it was such an epic weekend of ESC racing
  • 7 0
 ESC and sugarloaf combined to make what might be one of the best race weekends yet! Can’t wait to return in 2022
  • 3 0
 Good on sugarloaf for finally embracing Mountain biking again on the actual mountain, hope they keep at it and this isn't a flash in the pan. Laps up and down Brackett basin would be a dream! If you're in the area the trails near the outdoor center and the narrow gauge built by volunteers and CRNemba are some of the best Maine has to offer.
  • 2 0
 from what i heard they are planning an extensive trail system on the mtn....... not to mention the EWS series race that will be there next september
  • 3 1
 Here is the link to the video.

AmazIng place to ride and race here, I was very impressed with this venue. Challenging and fun trails. The ews here next year is going to be very good.
  • 2 0
 So exciting to have the Loaf on the mtb map!! Its slopes have been begging for trails.
  • 1 0
 AC and crew are off to a great start building a legit Enduro/DH destination. Rad weekend shredding some brown pow. ESC's rock.

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