2021 Eastern States Cup Season Preview

Mar 15, 2021 at 10:05
by Eastern States Cup  

With 2020 and all its dark times firmly in the rearview mirror, it's time to look forward to brighter days ahead. The snowpack is thinning, the sun is getting higher and bikers across the region are dreaming of summer days riding and racing with friends. With travel restrictions easing and vaccinations becoming widely available in the coming months, it's time to get out your calendars and pencil in some race dates!

There's no doubt the 2020 season was tough on everyone. Despite all odds, the Maxxis Eastern States Cup crew was able to offer nearly a dozen events over the course of the season. ESC head honcho George Ulmer spent countless hours on the phone scheduling and rescheduling, coming to grips with each state's unique restrictions and keeping our racing family safe. In speaking for the Maxxis ESC Community, Ulmer would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to all the venues, sponsors, fans, teams, and racers that made last season possible and offered a touch of the familiar in a strange time.

2021 promises a return to a more normal race season and vibe. There may be hiccups and unforeseen challenges along the way but at this point, the schedule is locked in with nine downhill races, ten enduros, and the new Motorex eBike enduro series. The events will be hosted at ten different bike parks and trail networks spread across eight northeast states. If restrictions allow we are hoping to add a couple more enduros or DH races to the schedule in the coming months, stay tuned.

Maxxis returns as the title sponsor of the ESC series. Maxxis tires have been the industry leader in the MTB world for years and their commitment to grassroots racing is unsurpassed.
"In a time when we’re all grasping for a bit of normalcy, we are very happy to see the Eastern States Cup return in 2021 with a full schedule of quality events. We are optimistic and hopeful that by the Maxxis ESC race season, we will all be able to let our guards down a bit and spend more time on two wheels with our friends, and in the meantime, the ESC crew has worked hard to follow local health guidelines and provide a safe environment to do what we all love. We hope our MTB family is all happy and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you on the start line very soon!"
Duncan McGuire
Assistant Manager – Bicycle Tire Division
Maxxis International - USA

Our biggest news on the sponsorship front is the addition of Kate’s Real Food as a presenting title sponsor for 2021. Started in Jackson Hole by skier and mountain biker Kate Schade, Kate’s Real Food produces delicious organic energy bars with clean whole food ingredients. Kate’s will be the title sponsor for the beginner-oriented Kate's Enduro Lite Class and the Kate’s Kids Class, which features free racing for kids under 12.

"Bike racing on all levels is a thrill, whether it's the challenge, the adrenalin, and pushing your body to new heights, or whether it's simply being part of a community, meeting new friends, and sharing the love of the bike. We are so excited to be a part of, and help fuel the stoke for the Eastern States Cup in 2021. See you at the races!"
Kate Schade - Founder of Kate's Real Food

The east coast sales director for Kate's Real Food is one of our own, Team Granite rider, founder of MTB Travel Review and enduro racer Jimmy Christensen.
"The Eastern States Cup is opening the world of mountain bike racing to everyone that wants to participate from kids to adults, and beginners to pros. I have personally been racing enduro in the ESC series for over 3 years now, and I could not think of a better partner for our first major East Coast sponsorship program. I am thrilled to see what this partnership brings in 2021 and beyond!"
Jimmy Christensen - Sales Director East at Kate's Real Food

Our family of sponsors are the lube that keeps our gears turning and we couldn't be happier to be partnered with this stable of top-notch brands. These companies provide prize support and are an integral part of many of our "race within a race" offerings.

Motorex has been working with the ESC for several years now and their lubrication products have proven hugely popular. This year Motorex will be the title sponsor for our first ever eBike Enduro Series. The six-stop series will hit the same enduro tracks as our regular series. "Motorex/Euroline is looking forward to being partnered with the ESC crew again for our 5th consecutive season. The ESC has developed the best Enduro and DH racing series in the North East, and this year they will introduce an E-bike class! The pandemic made it hard for us to attend any races last season, but we won't let that get in the way again this year. We look forward to seeing the ESC crew and all of the riders!"
TJ Blackman
US Motorex Bike Line Manager

An exciting addition to this year's schedule is the introduction of night enduros. For real! Two of our enduros will be held under the stars using bike lights. One of our new sponsors, Outbound Lighting, is backing these unique events. Discounts and rentals of Outbound Lighting will be available as the races start after dark. Top finishers using Outbound Lighting lights will be awarded additional prizes. Events will be held on Saturday nights (guessing some DH racers may be trackside for some heckling) and should make for unforgettable racing.
“Lots of people ride at night, not many ride full tilt on rough trails. Bringing a pro-level Enduro event into the night is going to make for a crazy experience for everyone! The reaction to the launch of our new Evo DH Package has been unreal, we are thrilled that customers are seeing the benefits of optimized beam patterns for technical trail riding. The Eastern States Cup has been putting on killer events for years, as a tiny company we are super pumped to help create such a unique part of the series.” - Tom Danger Place the Product Development/Testing/Stoke Manage at Outbound Lighting

Intense Cycles returns as title sponsor for our downhill race series. The Maxxis ESC is one of a handful of race series that will participate in the Intense Cycles Podium Payback Program. This promotion pays additional cash to the top five men and women pros and awards the top five amateurs Intense Store Credits. To qualify for these additional payouts you need to race an Intense bike and register online. Click HERE for details.
“Intense was built on racing, and we are proud to be offering this program in support of Privateers who ride Intense bikes at Maxxis ESC races and other key regional series this summer" said Jenn Gabrielli the Chief Rider Experience Officer at Intense

"We are excited to be partnered with one of the premier gravity series on the East Coast. Their mix of DH and enduro events are top-class and very competitive. We look forward to growing this relationship as the official Wheel and Sealant of the Eastern States Cup."
Drew Esherick Stans NoTubes Events Manager- North America

BOX Components will be back on board this season sponsoring our BOX Showdown weekends which feature both Enduro and DH races at the largest resorts on our schedule. BOX Components and the Maxxis ESC will present high-end prizing for the top racers that compete in both Enduro and Downhill racing during the weekend.

All enduro racers are automatically entered into the FOX Transfer Seatpost Climber’s Challenge competition at no extra charge. The seatpost will be awarded to the fastest Amateur on a preselected climbing transfer. The fastest in every class also get some cool FOX swag. The timed transfer does not count in the overall race time.

Don't be this guy on race day! Get some tire inserts! All racers are automatically entered into the Flat Tire Defender Super Stage competition with no extra fees. One Flat Tire Defender foam tire insert will be awarded to the fastest male and female amateur on the super stage.

An exciting addition last season that is returning for another year is the Küat Last Call. It works like this: At every Maxxis ESC stop, at the end of awards, we will draw one plate number from the weekend's registered racers and IF they are present they will win a Küat Hitch Rack. The hitch for the Hitch rack is: you've got to be present to win!

SDR Racer Rewards will again be available for both enduro and DH: When a racing class reaches 50 entries a cash bonus to the top three amateurs in that class will be awarded. $100 for 1st, $75 for 2nd, and $50 for 3rd in addition to normal prizing.

In 2021 you’ll have your chance at bragging rights again with the return of the Fly Racing Speed Trap zone. At every Maxxis ESC Intense DH race, we’ll clock your speed in the Speed zone, if you're the fastest in your class you win some swag, be the fastest amateur male/female and win an awesome prize from Fly Racing.

GT Bicycles will be showing their commitment to growing the sport by partnering with the ESC to present the GT Bicycles East Coast Junior MTB Championships and Racing Series which is separate from our regular ESC events and for juniors only. This three-event series will include an East Coast junior championship with cross country, enduro, downhill and dual slalom titles all on the line. More info will be released shortly here on Pinkbike.

Now in its fourth season, the popular Kate's Kids Class is back. The Kate's Real Food program provides free enduro or downhill race entries to racers age 12 or younger. Everyone knows bike racing carries some financial burdens but this Kate's Real Food offer takes some of the sting out for families with youngsters wanting to get involved. In addition, we will be offering the Kate's Enduro Lite class again this season. Racers will enter for a reduced rate and compete on one less stage and race with the Kate's Kids Class. This class is meant for beginner and new-to-enduro racers who want to experience what the enduro racing excitement is all about.

The Maxxis ESC team is proud to announce the return of the free Strider Riders program for the 2021 race season. At every event, the Maxxis ESC crew will set up a safe area for toddlers and young children to have fun riding bikes just like the rest of the community. We’ll supply six Strider bikes, Strider helmets, and pads for their fun and safety. We plan on a friendly, no-stress competition for the kids if there is interest. A parent or guardian will have to fill out a Maxxis ESC waiver, then we’ll give you a free Strider Race Plate to identify the kids. The plate is theirs to keep, and we ask parents to remove them when their children are not riding and to put them back on when they are, so others can enjoy the bikes.

Breaking News on the Maxxis ESC Enduro Front: Three of our enduro events in 2021 will be EWS Gold Level Qualifiers. EWS Gold Level Qualifier events allow racers to collect more EWS Global Ranking points, to earn them a place on the EWS Reserved Entry List. And get this, the top three finishers in all EWS classes at these three EWS Gold Level events automatically earn an EWS reserved entry. Racers need to be on the list to race in domestic and international EWS Enduro races in 2022. For more information on the Enduro World Series Qualification procedures please click HERE

Ok, time for the big reveal...let's talk schedule! This year's Maxxis ESC race lineup features some regular stops, a few old favorites returning to the fold, and a couple brand new venues. Let's start by introducing you to the new kids on the block:

The biggest new venue is Sugarloaf in Maine. This classic east coast ski destination is jumping into the gravity mountain bike world and Maxxis ESC racers will get a unique preview of their offerings when the mountain spins their lifts in September for our racers. Sugarloaf is planning to open to the public in the future, but our race will be their maiden voyage. Giant Cycles pro Adam Craig has been spearheading a building boom on the mountain and this promises to be an unforgettable stop on the schedule. This will be a BOX Components Showdown weekend with both enduro and downhill events on tap. Additionally, the enduro is an Enduro World Series Gold level qualifier, offering top points for those looking to gain entry to the EWS so expect some heavy hitters to show up for this one. Racers will surely be after those points to get the opportunity race at the EWS North American and Worldwide events in 2022. Like all Maxxis ESC EWS Qualifiers, this event will have a 125% point bonus in the ESC enduro overall standings.

Another new venue is Arrowhead Recreation Area in New Hampshire. Rob Walker, General Manager at the local bike shop and a familiar face at Maxxis ESC events over the years, has been quietly developing his local hill for years. Walker says: "Arrowhead is small but it packs a punch with raw, steep, loose, off camber, old school rake and ride goodness. Arrowhead's history of grassroots downhill races and word of mouth enduro shenanigans have started to transform the old ski hill into a local gravity playground. Loam, rocks, rollers and drops will all be added into the mix. I'm pretty excited to see how much an event like this will lead to future growth at Arrowhead. The bonus is that the city is fully supporting building trails and riding bikes up on the mountain. This race could not have come at a better time to drive more growth." This enduro will also be a Gold Level EWS Qualifier event and will have a 125% point bonus in the ESC enduro overall standings.

A couple of venerable venues are back on the schedule after a few years away from the race circuit:

Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts returns in 2021. The last Maxxis ESC DH race held at Jiminy was in 2015. For some perspective, EWS pro Shawn Neer, pictured here, won the downhill on his Yeti DH bike that year. In addition to a DH race, this will be the first time that the mountain has hosted an enduro event, and the terrain at Jiminy should be well suited to that format. The enduro will be a Gold Level EWS Qualifier event and will have a 125% point bonus in the ESC Enduro overall standings.

Windham Mountain in the Catskills of New York also returns in 2021 after a brief hiatus. This will be a standalone downhill event set on the Citizens track, a favorite of many racers.

Our other stops are a mix of venues that have become familiar to anyone who has raced with us in the last year or two. Diamond Hill in Rhode Island and Glen Park in Pennsylvania both return for our pedal transfer only enduros. Thunder Mountain in Massachusetts and Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania are back for BOX Showdown weekends and last year's newcomer, Powder Ridge in Connecticut, returns for two weekends of racing, including enduro events on Saturday nights.

The finals for both enduro and downhill will be contested at Mountain Creek in New Jersey with 150% bonus points on the line to determine the overall winners in each series.

Personalized Maxxis ESC Jerseys are available to preorder with your name on the back for only $60USD until March 19, 2021. Shipping Available in the USA
(Picture shows 2020 design, brand new design and colorway for 2021)

2021 Maxxis ESC Schedule by Kate’s Real Food Schedule

Registration will open on the MAXXIS ESC WEBSITE two weeks before each event.

Maxxis ESC Intense DH Series
May 23 Powder Ridge, CT
June 27 Blue Mountain, PA
July 11 Thunder Mountain, MA
July 25 Windham, NY
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

Maxxis ESC ENDURO Series
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 22 Arrowhead Recreation Area, NH -EWS Gold Qualifier
Aug 29 Blue Mountain, PA N
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

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

BOX Components Showdown Series
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

GT Bicycles Junior MTB Racing Series
(Full Schedule coming in April)

Maxxis ESC's Chris Gilbert hopes you are as excited about the 2021 season as he is, just don't ask him "what time awards are"!

Words: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Images: Andrew Santoro, Jeb Wallace-Brodeur, Jamie Walter


  • 15 1
 No love for Vermont this year?
  • 23 0
 Possibly related to VT's quarantine guidelines? I know that's been an issue over the winter for all kinds of ski-related events. Would have loved to see the Mount Peg event back on the schedule.
  • 9 0
 I think the VT covid event restrictions killed the races they had planned here Frown
  • 5 1
 @vermontana: precisely...time for a grassroots in-state series!
  • 6 0
 @gubbinalia: count me in! I'm hopeful that Bolton will be able to put something together with all their new/updated trail work
  • 4 2
 No love?? Vermont literally gets all the love all year long.
  • 8 1
 As noted in the report, we expect a couple of additions to the schedule this season. Those of course, like everything in the schedule, are dependant on restrictions.
  • 3 1
 @vermontana: We are in contact
  • 5 0
 Arrowhead is in Claremont, NH.. close enough. Time to swing by Claremont Cycle Depot and give Rob a thanks!
  • 1 0
 @youngmutt: Raced BMX there in the early 80's. Loved that place.
  • 3 2
 No Plattekill ????!!!!???
  • 2 0
 @ReeferSouthrland: Yeah bummer! But I'm sure Chris and George tried o make it happen.
  • 9 0
 I hope canadian can cross the border this summer!! I miss racing with you guys
  • 9 0
 Jiminy Peak!! That place has some incredible terrain.
  • 2 0
 Love it!
  • 1 0
 Interesting. Went to many a Pedro's fest there. What's going on there these days?
  • 10 3
 Kind of hope those night races don't count toward the overall.
  • 3 1
 I hope they do! Challenge and adventure are an integral part of enduro.
  • 8 1
 God save the medics at the night enduros
  • 9 3
 pretty stoked for something new like night races!
  • 2 0
 Should be interesting for sure.
  • 2 1
 With good lights, I don’t think it will be too much of a big deal. Definitely gonna get in a fair bit of practice though.
  • 2 0
 @dualcrownscottspark: From my experience in night riding: The more light you have, the faster you can go and the safer you are. I expect an arms race in lumens. Like inclement weather brings, this event should have a smaller number of more dedicated racers. Will be WILD times for sure.
  • 1 0
 @JonathanPBoro: I’m 100% going, might see if I can get some on my friends lights (they have a literal bag of lights) and see if I can put 3 or 4 on my bars. Max lumens lol
  • 1 0
 @dualcrownscottspark: We'll be posting more details shortly, but in the plans are for the night skiing lights to light up the open ski trails, 2 live bands at the outside stage, outside bar to be open. Lifts running for spectators, farmers market, DH race on Sunday and prizes for the loudest hecklers. My money goes to the camping DH racers. Outbound lighting will be onsite with demos, rentals and discounted sales.
  • 6 0
 Damn... ESC looks more dialed than the World Cups this year
  • 1 0
 Looks awesome
  • 5 0
 Hey chris what’s my (user) name???
  • 2 0
 Haha, good one!
  • 6 0
 Citizens DH woooo
  • 4 0
 Am I reading this right? Both races at Powder will be at night? Or is that part of it separate from the normal race?
  • 3 0
 Yeah what’s the story here...are they really night races?
  • 3 0
 Yep ok read the article...appears to be night races, interesting.
  • 4 0
 ESC put on the best event!! 2021 will be a blast!
  • 4 1
 Night racing is amazing. Thanks for shaking it up! Good try something new!
  • 3 0
 2 DH races at blue? maybe i should come out of "retirement"
  • 3 0
 Looking good ESC!
  • 2 0
 Thank you George, Chris and team.
  • 8 7
 You lost me at night enduro. Maybe the ebike should be at night time since they use batteries already.
  • 2 0
 DH RACING!!! YEEHEEWWW!!!! \m/ Big Grin
  • 3 1
 Can't wait!
  • 10 9
 The east coast ends after Maryland...
  • 6 0
 That bothers me as well. But, there is the Southeast series that has TN, WV, VA, and NC.
  • 4 6
 Have to agree when the farthest race South is New Jersey, it should be called the New England Cup.
  • 3 1
 @Jamminator: I am not sure why anyone would down vote your statement. It is true. They do clip over into PA but, that is it. Not to denigrate what ESC is doing as their races are great.

Luckily, Neko has his DHSE series that now does enduro, XC, as well as DH.
  • 7 0
 @Jamminator: 7 of the races aren't in New England, so that would make even less sense.
  • 4 1
 It's not called the East Coast Cup, it's the Eastern States Cup. Seems like everything east of the Mississippi would then be fair game, if you want to be a pedant about it.
  • 1 0
 How long is that dh run at Powder Ridge?
  • 3 0
 Looks like the winning pro time for the first race was 2:17, and 1:37 for the second.

  • 1 0
 It’s partly uphill
  • 1 2
 @freeridejerk888: haha, the first track did have a hump near the start that challenged some racers, the second track we offered was a lot faster obviously.
  • 1 2
 Hump or 20 seconds up hill. It’s a great spot for a beginner race but that’s it. @Eastern-States-Cup:
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