EFTA The Pinnacle Race Report

Ben Pagano – Singlespeed Open: 2nd Place

After what seemed like a pretty hard week of training, I decided to go and do the EFTA race called the Pinnacle up in Newport, NH.  The Pinnacle is one of the most challenging courses we get to race on here in New England.  It starts with a double track climb that quickly transitions to a gnarly singletrack switch-backy  climb that goes on for what seems like a couple of miles.  We had a pretty thin field in the singlespeed category with only 5 taking the line, but it was a pretty fast crew.  Two of my good buddies, Alexis Arapoff and Keith Reynolds both of Bikeman, were the guys to beat. Continue reading “EFTA The Pinnacle Race Report”

2015 Killington Stage Race report

I spent my Memorial Day weekend up in the Green Mountains of Southern VT racing the Killington Stage Race. This was my 2nd year doing this race, and I have to say it is a great weekend of riding bikes! I originally registered for the 4/5 Open Field, but due to popular demand, a separate 4/5 Masters field was formed. For KSR, and I believe GMSR as well, the Masters line is 33 instead of 35. Early last week I got an e-mail asking if I would like to switch from the Open to the Masters since I’m on the cusp of turning 33, so I made the switch. However, I knew I was still in for a tough weekend because the Masters are every bit as fast as the Open field, if not, faster.

Stage 1: Lookout Circuit Race
The opening stage of the race is an 18 mile loop that the 4/5 fields complete twice. The stage starts at the Skyeship Gondola, and is neutral for the first Km. Continue reading “2015 Killington Stage Race report”

Strong Woman at the Weeping Willow

My first Mountain Bike Race this Year – By Lil Kim.

I am relatively new to bike racing in general and have done only one other mountain bike race which was the Vermont 50 last year.

Finish->DNF

Lining up for the race there were several race savvy women, chattering about how hot it was going to be, that the first 3 miles of the course is uphill, that they entered novice because they were out of shape, one woman injured her back last year and was crawling around her house until she got back Continue reading “Strong Woman at the Weeping Willow”

Racing with the Big Boys and Girls – 2014 MTB XC Nationals

PJ descending rock pro shot with bloody knee Nats
PJ descending downhill switchback section littered with roots and rocks.
Given all the “what’s a MTB race like?, why the hell do you do it?, why are you always covered in blood after them?, why don’t you just stick to the road?” questions I tend to get, let me offer the following brief race report via four posed questions:
Why did you race Nationals?
 Somehow I qualified based on CAT1 results at New England Championships and Bikeway Source – Bell Lap Racing teammate Mike Harris said “you qualified for Nats, dude, you just gotta race”.  Game on and thanks for the nudge, Mr Harris. Teammates Mike Rowell and Sue Lynch were also racing, so more ammo to get the gate pass.
What’s a USA Nationals MTB race like?
It’s quite the show as you have the top Pro and Amateur racers in the US all going for broke. You win and you get the Stars and Stripes Jersey – I think you get the picture. My rear tire was mildly leaking Stan’s and it was so cool to just walk up to the Stan’s tent and get a small bottle gratis and have them check to see that I was good to go. Had minor Shimano drive train issue and stepped up to Shimano and they gladly took care of it. Swag city and i was able to grab VW cowbells and sunscreen for my buddy – Dave Genova – a non cyclist who made the trip with me to heckle.
What’s the course like? 
I can’t say teammates Mike and Cathy Rowell didn’t pre warn me, but the course was just horrifying.  Just up and down through the most technical race course I have ever done. Trust me, Bear Creek Nats makes Leadville 100, Vermont 50 and any others look like child’s play.
PJ descending rock section at Nats front view
Bear Creek Nats makes other MTB race courses look like child’s play.
What’s it like racing CAT1 at Nats? 
 The shot above is cool in that if you look at spectator above me at top of hill, you get perspective for vertical drop and technical caliber. I had just traipsed through over 100 spectators at “The Heckle Pit” in the middle of the woods consisting of  guy dressed as Satan (poking you with pitch fork to go faster), a Nun (with long ruler whacking you) and many others including a guy playing trombone. Friends told me he would play “Debbie Downer” song when folks failed to ascend the rocky switchback climb, while I heard “cavalry” song the three laps I made it up – and even had a woman popping sour patch kids in my mouth as a “reward”.
I thought my days of the “PJ Bike Throw”  may have ended (after I snuck to the 4/5 Cyclocross Win at Shedd Park last season), but wouldn’t you know I had another sprint to the line where just managed to beat some dude with bike throw. We are all very much amateurs, but my CAT1 field was pretty stacked and we even race for blood for 26th place.
Special thanks to Chris Li and  The Bikeway Source as my Cannonade Scalpel Black Inc ran superb. I an not worthy of a rig this nice!