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Mud Slinging at Sugarbush GES #7

WARREN, Vermont ( – Chris Heathe and Dawn Borque win stop number seven of the Gravity East Series under what has become normal conditions for racing in 2009 - mud. Sugarbush resort located in mid state Vermont was the location for the seventh stop of the Gravity East Series. Sugarbush might be unfamiliar to you but the mountain has a long history of racing it's roots are from the hay day of Mountain biking in the late 90's. Just in the last two years mountain biking and racing has returned to Sugarbush. Despite it's relatively remote location, Sugarbush is a very large resort area that is couple with other resorts using a network of lifts that resembles ski areas in the Rockies.

All major elements of a DH course was represented in the Sugarbush course. From the start gate, fast brake-burning open ski slope, high speed rock roads, grassy turns, bermed turns that slammed you into tight technical woods. As your brakes were cooling off you made your way through a tight wooded course that started out with some slow tight maneuvering around trees then through some slick off camber stretch to a rock face that resembled a world cup course taped off very wide with so many lines it gave you a headache as you approached it trying to decide which one to try next. Exiting the woods you finished the course on what could have been a small DS course with berms, tables and step downs to one really long sweeping berm that shot you across the finish line.

2009 has been the textbook example of east coast racing. Sugarbush was the poster child for what it is to race on the east coast. Rain leading up to the event on Friday night made for a half dry and partially muddy conditions. Warm sunny day during practices turned several sections into peanut butter the end of the day and a nice “ripe” smell through the wood section. Race day arrives with cloudy skies. Course was feeling great as had dried out to the point that gave a good amount of traction and still a bit of slippery feel to make it fun. Race started at 11:00 am right on time without a hitch. Race order for the day: Cat 3, Cat 2, Cat 1, Pro. Cat 3 made it down the hill and Cat 2 began their runs. It was time for Cat 1 and Pro to head up the lift await their runs. As we approached the lift everyone noted the dense cloud cover that swept over the mountain obscuring the top of the lift and the dark clouds that gathered around the peaks. Many went and grabbed their rain jackets, umbrellas, or trash bag. Not had you settled into your chair on the lift for the ride up did the rain start to trickle down. Cat 2 was half way through the class as the rain started to fall and it it never slowed down after that. Cat 2 finished and Cat 1 began. The last two age groups of Cat 1 were getting ready to go – one of which is my age group – the ground had already formed puddles everywhere at the top of the mountain and nothing was left dry. That super fast open slope section of course I spoke about previously was now a saturated wet and muddy. What was fast grass turns were now slick skid steer paths around corners. The woods were covered in wet slime. Crashes and problems were abundant for the remainder of the race. I personally had to remove my goggles half way down the mountain due to the fact I could not see through the mud covered steamed lenses. The riders that were able to keep both wheels on the ground and blaze the mud turned in some respectable times for the day.

Despite the weather the weekend was a good weekend for racing. The staff of Sugarbush executed a flawless event. Registration was a breeze and everything stayed on time. Their bike shop provided necessary support and parts to the racers of the weekend, well stocked with brake pads that everyone was needing due to the muddy conditions. Fox Racing Shox was on hand again to support racers and any suspension issues they may have had.

Full results will be posted as soon as they arrive in my inbox.

Pro Men Results:
1. Chris Heathe
2. Benjamin Moody
3. Gavin Vaughn

Pro Women Results:
1. Dawn Borque
2. Karen Eagan
3. Alexis Wruble

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Posted on Aug 3, 2009 15:19:24 -0400 by Brady.