This was my 3rd complete season racing downhill events in the Eastern States Cup. Each one has gotten progressively better. On the riding side, I took this sport up late. I have improved every year. Technical sections that scared the hell out of me in 2015 seem more natural now. Much of that is due to more time on the saddle, and even more, from being surrounded by great people with a ton of knowledge and experience. Mount Snow hosted this years final and it was championship worthy!
Thursday I traveled with teammate Alex Deditch to Highland Mountain Bike Park where we rode and just got back in the rhythm of riding gravity. A great day of just fun. Thursday night we traveled to Mount Snow to set-up camp for the weekend. Friday I got to run some practice laps with George Ulmer.
George is the director of all ESC events and has been involved in the gravity scene forever. This course was similar to courses that he used to race back in the 80’s and 90’s. It was so cool to see how excited, how comfortable, and how fast he rode this course. Every time I get to ride with George, Ernie Reale, and the other veterans I can’t help but think of the best coaches I’ve had throughout my life. These guys can rip up a course, will encourage you to be better, all while knowing what you are capable of and sharing so much enthusiasm for the sport. Saturday’s practice was just plain great. I felt calm and controlled on most of the course. I kept thinking that was a good run maybe I should call it a day, but it was just a fun course. I’m not sure how many runs I did, normally I do 5-6 on a Saturday but I’m thinking I did 10-12 that day. Sunday we had a 9-10:30 practice time and I got 2 more runs in.
The course had changed a little but was really good. We started out of the Ego Ally lift house down a steep ramp dropping into some rocks and the first alpine section that was fast with lots of rolling rock drops and off camber grass turns. we continued down to a rock slab that seemed to stay wet all weekend and collected it’s share of crashes.
After the rock slabs we darted in and out of the woods. Some was a little rooty and a fair share of rocks before jumping a step down, crossing an alpine trail, to a super fast ramp that shot you off toward the finish. I ended up finishing 8th for the final race and capturing 3rd overall for the series. It was a very successful 2017 season with minimal mechanical issues, no major injuries and a huge dose of anticipation for the 2018 season. Many thanks to my teammates, Mathieu’s Cycle, Central Maine Cycling Club, Specialized Bicycles, and the Eastern States Cup for all the support.