In what has become one of the biggest two-wheeled parties on the East Coast, the traditional 4th of July weekend races at Killington Resort brought a huge crowd of racers to the largest ski resort in Eastern North America. This was the second double-the-fun event of the season as the mountain hosted the BOX Components East Coast Showdown for the Vittoria Eastern States Cup enduro and downhill tours. The BOX Components East Coast Showdown is a mini-series within the Vittoria ESC that features both Enduro and Downhill races at the largest resorts on our schedule.
After a pleasant summery week, strong thunderstorms rolled through the area on Friday night depositing up to two inches of rain. The precipitation allowed any muddy spots to swell to impressive proportions, as Christsonthy Kerner of Onion River Sports found out as she plowed through a bog on her way to an amateur podium in the Enduro.
The downhill event was contested first on Saturday and used the same track as last year on the Snowdon portion of the mountain. The course is a bit of a throwback to the early days of East coast racing with long, high-speed sections in the open on ski trails interspersed with short technical sections in the woods.
The track began with a short romp down Steel Panther on a modest grade but with tight corners and a complex maze of roots and rocks waiting to sap racers' speed. Drummer Racing's, Douglass Wilson solved the puzzle and took second place in the Cat 1 40-49 class.
The upper half of the track featured numerous autobahn sections with a mixture of work roads and ski trails. Defiant Racing's, Nelson Maldonado stepped on the gas to earn his first career win since moving up to Cat 1.The open slopes allowed for some impressive vistas. No sight seeing for Andrew Driscoll as he raced to his first-ever win in the 14 and under category. The middle section of the course had racers diving back into the woods. Drummer Racing pro, Oliver Levick sped to a 7th-place finish
.The middle woods section was nearly as fast as the open slopes as the track shot straight down the fall line. Pro rider, Dustin Mason kept a light touch through the roots and rocks.Emerging from the woods, racers raced a two-line option back to the open slopes. Adrenaline Racing's, Steven Abell chose the outside.The course then plunged down the Mouse Trap ski trail which was steep and rough and had a chundery right exit at the bottom. Chelsea Crooke kept it centered down the slope for a Cat 1 win.Entering the woods for a final time, racers were faced with a challenging maze of slick roots, rock drops. Pro, Dan O'Connor tacoed his front wheel before getting to sample the offerings.
The showcase feature was a slabby rock pile that could be solved with numerous lines. The over-the-rock option, taken here by Kathleen LaLiberte, proved less popular than last year after vegetation at the entrance was removed this year.The down the channel line, ridden here by Dave Richard en route to a second-place finish, was the most popular choice though it was awkward to get into depending on your approach line.
Many of the pros, and a few hardy amateurs went for the full send option off the rock drop on rider's left. This was a committing line with a suspension-testing flat landing. Local pro, Jordan Newth, riding for Specialized and Basin Sports, launched the drop to his first podium of the season.The rocks took down numerous riders, including Sebastian Halpern-Reiss, but everyone was able to get back on the bike and finish.
After serving the rock jumble, racers were faced with one final indignity before speeding to the finish line. This drop into a huge, muddy hole caused more problems than any other spot on the track.
A tangle of slick roots immediately after the bog were the undoing of numerous racers. Drummer Racing's, Jack Williams got it figured out on his race run as he took the second spot in the Cat 1 30-39 class.
The junior expert category was won by Ben Bodycoat, racing for Transition Bikes and MadKats. One of the most promising juniors on the East Coast, Bodycoat is just getting back to speed after being sidelined for months with a nagging injury. Bodycoat topped ESC North American Downhill Team member Aidan Casner by 1.6 seconds.
Lauren Daney, riding for 110% Racing and Patrol Bikes, continued her impressive string of wins, topping a solid field of pro racers by almost 28 seconds. This was Daney's first time racing at Killington: "The race course was tough and easy in ways. You could really open it up and risk sliding out or try to stay upright by being more timid. After it rained all night on Friday there were lots of roots to look out for. I crashed left and right in practice. On my race run felt like I bobbled through everything but I managed to stay on the bike and take the win. Always a great time with the homies." said Daney.
In the runner-up spot was recent Vermont transplant Amy Alton, riding for Avam Adventures and Juliana Cycles. Alton, known for her creative podium enthusiasm, Amy has been spending more time racing Enduro of late and won the ESC Diamond Hill event earlier this season.On the third step was first-year pro, Simona Croccolo, racing for Alpine Bike Works just down the hill from the mountain.Amy Alton-2nd, Lauren Daney-1st, Simona Croccolo-3rd
On the men's side, Ray Syron returned to his roots to take the men’s pro race by just under two seconds. After years as a regular face on the East Coast race scene, Syron moved to California and works for YT bikes. His homecoming was a festive celebration with his former racing buddies.
Despite lingering soreness from a crash at Plattekill last weekend, Defiant racing's, Frederico Vieira put down a nearly flawless run to take the runner-up spot. Since joining the tour this season, Vieira has proven to be a podium threat at every event and it seems only a matter of time before he's standing on the top step.
Racing for Transition, Troy Lee and Chuck's Bikes, Vermont pro, Isaac Allaire was in the hot seat for much of the race before getting bumped to third. Allaire has been remarkably consistent this year, earning a podium in five of the six Vittoria ESC events he has raced in this season. Jordan Newth-4th, Frederico Viera-2nd, Ray Syron-1st, Isaac Allaire-3rd, Steve Avery-5th
Before we get to the Enduro, let's pause for this week's edition of the bike check. Pro enduro rider, Michael Bateman returned to racing at Killington after a long rehab from a collarbone injury. Racing for The Collective, POC, and Competitive Edge Cycling, the Vermont pro has just built up a new ride for this season. let's take a look:
Frame: 2016 Yeti 4.5c carbon 29er
Fork: Fox 36, lowered to 140mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS
Wheels: WTB Asym 129
Hubs: Hope Pro 4
Tires: e13 TRS race front, Schwalbe Rock Razor rear, set up tubeless
Brakes: Hope Tech 3 E4
Cranks: Shimano XT
Chainring: Shimano 32T
Cassette: Shimano 1x11 XTR
Derailleur: Shimano XTR
Shifter: Shimano XTR
Bars: Renthal Carbon Fat Bars 780mm
Stem: Renthal Apex 40mm
Grips: Renthal kevlar
Seat post: RockShox Reverb
Seat: WTB Silverado
Pedals: Crank Brothers Mallet DHThe enduro was contested on Sunday and featured five long, challenging stages. The event sold out with a huge field of racers battling under blue skies and temperatures comfortably in the 70s
.Killington enduros are some of the longest in the east with several nearly ten-minute-long stages that reached into the far corners of the mountain's sprawling network.
Racers got to enjoy some new terrain this year as Killington is developing a new zone on the Ram’s Head sector of the mountain. Stage One took racers on an epic romp through some of Killington’s rowdy natural terrain on Steel Panther before dropping into the still-under-construction Black Magic expert jump line with its massive berms. Pro rider, Ian Herchenroder pulled some G's in this monster.
The lower section followed Hold On, a fantastic mix of natural and manmade features. Vermont native, Aidan Casner, racing for The Collective, POC, Schwalbe and Chuck's Bikes, sent a floaty rock double on his way to a win in the 15-18 category. Casner left the next day with three of his ESC North American Downhill Team members to compete in the Lenzerheide downhill World Cup.
Stage two was the shortest of the day and followed a couple of Killington's most popular upper-mountain trails, Cable Trail and Foxy Roxy. John Ronca, racing for Cutters Bike Shop, ripped through one of the signature hips on Cable Trail.
Stage three was the longest of the day and followed Snake Bite down the southern flanks of the mountain and into a rarely ridden region of the trail network. Local pro, Jordan Newth got stylish on some of the upper features.
Snake Bite wanders with a mix of tight corners and occasional climbs thrown into the mix. Enduro regular, Nate Robson, riding for Bike Loft, pedaled to a second-place finish in the huge 19-29 category.
After an epic transfer from one corner of the mountain to another, riders faced stage four. This entirely new trail will be the site of the mountain’s first ProGRT downhill event in a few weeks. A big step down into the woods got riders up to speed with numerous racers coming up short and bouncing off the knuckle. Pro, Andrew Lints, a relative newcomer to enduro racing for Bicycle Express, put down another impressive result with an eighth-place finish.
The fresh-cut track wasn't steep but it was hazardous, with off-camber corners, loamy doubles, and slick roots lurking. Pro rider, Matt Gilbertson, a skilled bike mechanic at Onion River Sports in Vermont, charged through a typically greasy traverse.
Returning to the summit of the mountain, racers had to contend with one final monster challenge as stage five was a nearly top-to-bottom marathon. A fitting end to a big day of riding, Stage Five offered everything from warp-speed double track, to rock slabs, to ski trails, to classic Vermont roots and rocks down a steeply forested mountainside. This open rock section high on the mountain, ridden by Dustin Dippin, is one of the more unique natural features anywhere.Entering the woods on The Beast, riders faced endless mud holes and the KSA Rock rollover, charged here by Marley Reed from Berkshire Bike & Board.
The most challenging rock garden of the day awaited tired riders lower on the mountain, with many opting to walk the steep jumble. Emmett Avery, winner of the 18 and under category at the Victory Hill enduro and riding for Chuck's Bikes, had the fastest amateur time of the day on stage five and won a new Go Pro from Killington for his efforts.
The BOX Components East Coast Showdown mini-series combined results from both the downhill and enduro events to crown combined champions. Winning armloads of BOX Components gear in the women's event was Arianna Vegter-2nd, Mazie Hayden-1st, Amy Alton-3rdIn the men's BOX Components battle it was Aidan Casner-2nd, Nate Robson-1st, Ernie Reale-3rd
The women's pro enduro was a battle between some of the East coast's best riders. Canadian cross-country specialist, Rachel Pageau, racing for Devinci Factory Racing, took three of the day's five stages for a 16-second margin of victory. Pageau has competed in two World Cup XC events this season and appears to be a force to reckon with in the enduro world as well. Despite crashing twice on it during practice, Pageau said stage four was her favorite. "Even though I'm coming from the XC scene, I feel like a challenging part was the pedaling stuff because I'm not used to a big bike and its slower reaction when pedaling." Pageau had some rock rash on her face at the end of the event, but it didn't come from a race run. "My face hit the ground pretty hard on Sunday. I actually crashed in between stages, on a gravel path. It was a dumb mistake, I wasn't paying attention and lost my front wheel! It makes people stare a lot!" Pageau plans to race more East coast enduros this season and is registered for the last two Enduro World Series events in Italy and France.
Trading stage wins all day with Pageau was reigning Vittoria ESC enduro overall champion, Lauren Petersen, racing for CFM Cycles, Intense, and Honey Stinger. Petersen won the Blue Mountain enduro a few weeks ago and appears poised for another dominant season.
In the third spot was another cross-country specialist, Kimberley Quinlan, racing for Bicycle Express. This was Quinlan's first enduro of the season and her well-rounded skill set makes her a solid podium threat at any event.The women’s pro podium from left: Sarah Lynch-4th, Lauren Peteresen-2nd, Rachel Pageau-1st, Kimberley Quinlan-3rd, Kelly Dolan-5th
For the men, Yeti Cycles pro, Jason Memmelaar earned a hard-fought six-second win. Memmelaar jumped out to an early lead with wins on the first two stages before losing some ground on the epic stage three and then only giving up one second on the last two stages for the win. Memmelaar was one of the last riders on the mountain during Saturday practice and his fitness and masterful eye for lines paid dividends on race day. It was his second win of the season and he is yet to fall out of the top three in enduros this year. "To beat Seamus at Killington you have to have all your chips in a row! I'm real pumped to have taken the win the first time I raced the Yeti Cycles SB55c. I think it was the perfect bike to tackle the good amount of pedaling, the fast downhills and the slick, rough singletrack. The future ProGRT track is rough. I flatted on the last 10th of the stage and rolled over the finish line with probably five psi and three holes in the tire. Good thing I decided to wear a Camelback this race, had everything I needed."
In the second spot was Giant Factory Off Road Racing pro, Seamus Powell. After a bit of a slow start, Powell crushed stage three and tied Memmelaar on stage four to make it close. Powell, the reigning Vittoria ESC overall enduro champion has been a force again this season with two wins and a second in three starts. The battle between the Powell and Memmelaar for the overall will likely go down to the wire this year.
Taking third place was Canadian, Antoine Caron, racing for Pivot Cycles and OTE. Caron, who has been racing World Cup XC events the last few years, showed his gravity chops by winning stage five. We don't see him a lot on the ESC tour but he sure spices things up when he makes an appearance. The men’s pro podium from left: Jason Scheiding-4th, Seamus Powell-2nd, Jason Memmelaar-1st, Antoine Caron-3rd, Saben Rossi-5th
It's not easy for a mountain, even one the size of Killington, to host two races in one weekend. The Beast of the East really shown in this one. The mountain is investing heavily in biking and the future is bright. Phase three of the five-year Killington Bike Park build out designed by Gravity Logic is calling for a $375,000 investment for six new trails served by the Ramshead Express Quad, which will open later this month. The first new downhill trail off Ramshead will be the site of USA Cycling’s Beast of the East Pro GRT at the end of the month. Next week the Vittoria ESC tour heads for Mount Snow in Southern Vermont for round three of the New England DH series.
Pics and words by Jeb Wallace-BrodeurResults:www.easternstatescup.comwww.facebook.com/easternstatescupAtlantic Downhill
Aug 14 Windham ProGRT – Windham, NY
Aug 28 Blue Mountain East Coast Showdown #6- USAC State Championship, Palmerton, PA
Oct 9 Plattekill– Roxbury, NY – New England and Atlantic DH FinalsNew England Downhill
July 10 Mount Snow – USAC State Championship, Dover, VT
July 24 Attitash Mountain East Coast Showdown #3- Bartlett, NH
July 31 Killington ProGRT– Killington, VT
Aug 7 Thunder Mountain East Coast Showdown #4- USAC State Championship, Claremont, MA
Aug 21 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown #5
– Warren, VT
Oct 9 Plattekill– Roxbury, NY – New England and Atlantic DH FinalsEnduro
July 17 Plattekill – State Championship, Roxbury, NY
July 23 Attitash Mountain East Coast Showdown #3- State Championship, Bartlett, NH
Aug 7 Thunder Mountain East Coast Showdown #4– – State Championship, Charlemont,MA
Aug 20 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown #5
– Warren, VT
Aug 28 Blue Mountain East Coast Showdown #6- State Championship, Palmerton, PA
Sept 11 Killington Enduro Finals – Killington, VTBOX East Coast Showdown Series
July 24 Attitash Mountain East Coast Showdown #3- Bartlett, NH
Aug 7 Thunder Mountain East Coast Showdown #4– Claremont, MA
Aug 21 Sugarbush East Coast Showdown #5
– Warren, VT
Aug 28 Blue Mountain East Coast Showdown #6– Palmerton, PA