It's been 209 days since our last ESC Enduro race, not that we were counting down the days or anything. The long awaited first race of the 2018 season brings us back to the Poconos, more specifically Glen Park in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania for the second year in a row. The trails at Glen Park were established in the 90's with the initial Maze section of freeride jumps and obstacles located close to the parking area. Since then, The Pocono Bike Club have added and maintained over ten miles of trails geared toward cross country, DH and freeriders but where Glen Park really shines is its Enduro terrain. Anyone who hadn't ridden here were pleasantly surprised to find such variety in a venue that boasts just 500' vertical, everything from flowy and fast to tech and rocky, yet still approachable for all levels. Those who attended last year's ESC race at Glen were excited to come back for seconds.


Mountain bikers aren't the only outdoor enthusiasts flocking to Stroudsburg, PA. The initial pedal transfer at Glen Park runs along Brodhead Creek, a tributary of the Delaware river which is credited as the birthplace of American fly fishing. Anglers from all over swarm this creek in the spring in hopes of hooking both stocked and wild trout.


Riders were lined up early Saturday morning, eager to collect their new number plates for the 2018 MAXXIS ESC season. We've added the new season pass option this year which will make it more cost effective for those who want to attend as many races as possible.


SDR Clothing is back on board this year, helping us out with killer MAXXIS ESC t-shirt designs and selling many of their other designs in the race pits. Stop by at the next race and pick up some new shirts!

With 300 racers registered for our first event of the year we started thinking, if every bike costs as average of $5,000, we had $1.5 million worth of mountain bikes pedaling around Glen Park this weekend. That's the best attended Enduro race the east coast has ever hosted, which really says something about the variety and high quality trails The Pocono Bike Club has put together here.


Racers weren't the only ones psyched for the season to start, it's been a long, "ruff" winter waiting to ride bikes in the Northeast.


 New year, new sponsors! ESC podium finishers will be rolling on the industry's finest rubber from MAXXIS in 2018.


Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee will keep them (and us) energized all season long.


Sunday morning we were greeted with beautiful, sunny skies with highs in the 60's, no mosquitoes and mostly dry trails so we did as you should on Earth Day, thoroughly enjoyed the great outdoors. After a brief riders meeting we were off.


Riders got a nice warm-up for their day on the first uphill transfer to Stage 1 known as the FOX Seatpost Climbers Challenge. The fastest pedaler from each class earned themselves a fresh pair of FOX socks and the fastest amateur took home a FOX Transfer Dropper Post.


Stage 1 started a bit lower than the others and the top half consisted of some tricky, tight, flat corners with rocks and roots sprinkled in to mix it up. Local Kyle Kimball riding for Stroudsburg's own Pocono Bike Company looked right at home, opting to cut this corner and send it straight over the rock.


It was definitely an easy stage to pick up speed on but toward the bottom the rhododendron got so thick you could easily miss a corner if you were going too fast. Ziggy Ribetto held on tight and let her roll, winning Stage 1 and taking second place for the age 15-20 Men.


A steep, tight chute surrounded by greenery followed by this corner may have been the toughest spot on Stage 1 to navigate. Nick Girioni made quick work of it and landed himself in 5th place for the 15-20 year old men.


Derek Bissett getting up close and personal with the rhododendron on one of the final corners of Stage 1, he remained consistently fast all day and placed 4th place for the Pro Men.


Most of the stages could be ridden straight through no problem but there were a few sections that were worth taking a second or third look at on practice day.


Stages 2, 3 and 5 all started from the very top of Glen Park's roughly 500' vertical climb. Stage 2 started out on a smooth, mellow wooded pitch at the top before opening up onto an exposed fire road along the power lines. Zach Mehuron found this rock gap in practice which was easily avoidable but obviously much more fun to go straight over. He came all the way from Kentucky and earned 13th place for the Pro Men in his first ESC race after recently transitioning from a dirt bike to a mountain bike.


Enjoy the view while pedaling your butt off before dropping back into the woods for a proper downhill section. Dropper down!


Patrick Brennand, riding for JD Bikes and Stroudt's Brewing, flows through the sweeping corners halfway through Stage 2. He finished 6th in an absolutely stacked 30-39 Mens class with over 60 competitors.


Levi Shum handling the most technical, rocky portion of Stage 2 and perhaps the whole race with ease. He would continue to impress throughout the day and finish in 3rd place for our CLIF Kids class. Did we mention thanks to CLIF Bar it's only 1 cent (we have to enter an amount for the registration system to work) for children 12 and under the enter our races? Start them young and they'll be faster than you before you know it.


Stage 3 was the most technical of the five, the Pocono Bike Club added this rock garden to the mix this year to keep things interesting. Vermonter Gavin Vaughan made the trip south and landed his Scott Genius in lucky number seven for the Pro Men.


Technical but not without a couple steep, flowing downhill sections.


It was debated whether it was quicker to go around or over the tree, when you ride it like Emmett Avery does this line is quicker every time. He's spent some time down south recently to escape the snow and cold of Vermont and it seems to be paying off, fifth place and his first Pro podium.


Danny's Cycles' David Kahn putting the hammer down on Stage 4, second on this stage, he also won Stage 1 and finished 2nd place for the speedy 15-20 year olds.


Did we mention fast teenagers? Max Beaupre dominated race day, besting his class by 16 seconds and the second fastest time of the day, just two seconds off the top overall time. All this while finding time to style it up for the camera on Stage 4. Watch out Pro Men, he's coming for you.


P.J. Renquin taking full advantage of all the fun, optional gaps on Stage 4, finishing in third place for the 20-29 Men.


The trails at Glen Park were 99% dry except for the final descent of Stage 4. Speed Legion's Chris Mari makes sure not to let his muddy tires hit the rocks for too long, taking third on this stage as well as overall for the 30-39 Men.


Stage 5 started out with a quick pedal before dropping into the woods with a quick descent past the power transfer station.


RIP


Wonder where Max Beaupre gets his speed? Look no further than his dad, John, and the rest of the Narragansett Bikes crew. He was in the top three on each of the five stages and finished third for the 50+ Men.


After passing the Aid Station with all kinds of goodies supplied by Arlington Diner in Stroudsburg, Stage 5 riders dipped back into the woods, met with several small rock and log drops. Daymien Ide airs one out on his way to win this and two other stages as well as the fastest U15 boys time of the day. Earlier in the race Daymien stopped to help a younger race with a flat tire, that's what riding and racing is all about no matter how fast you are.


The few bermed turns at Glen Park were found at the bottom of Stage 5, linked together by firm, flowing sections of trail.


Not only does the Pocono Bike Club maintain these amazing trails, they hosted a killer race for us and threw a post race party complete with complimentary chili from Siamsa Irish Pub and every Enduro rider's favorite post ride food, pizza. How much pizza do you need to feed 300 hungry racers? 80 pies, that's 640 slices.


There were obviously plenty of new bikes to pick from for our first bike check of the season but one of the cleanest looking builds we saw rolling around Glen Park this weekend was Willem Cooper's Trek Slash 9.7. Willem is a consistent top performer in our Pro Men's field, he took home 5th in the overall last year and finished in a 4-way tie for 7th this weekend. It's no secret that a ton of riders choose the Slash as their race rig but Willem's has a few well-thought-out components to help you better handle anything race day throws your way. Let's check it out.

Rider height: 5'10", weight: 175lbs
Frame: Trek Slash 9.7, size 19.5
Fork: FOX Float Factory 36, 75 PSI, 3 spacing tokens
Rebound: 15 clicks out
High speed compression: 15 clicks out
Low speed compression: 17 clicks out
Rear shock: FOX Float X2 Factory,190 PSI
Compression: LSC 17 clicks, HSC 14 clicks
Rebound: LSR 13 clicks, HSR 6 clicks
Brakes: Shimano Saint
Rotors: 203mm F, 203mm R
Shifter and Derailleur: Shimano XT
Cassette: Shimano XT M8000 11-46t
Cranks: Shimano XT, 170mm
Chain Ring: 34t
Chain Guide: OneUp Bash Guide
Wheels: Bontrager Line Pro 30, 29"
Hubs: Bontrager
Front tire: Vittoria Martello, 25-27PSI, Rear tire: Vittoria Martello, 26-30 PSI
Cush Core tire inserts
Saddle: Bontrager Kovee
Seatpost: FOX Transfer 150mm dropper
Bars: Deity Black Label, 750mm long, 25mm rise
Stem: Deity Copperhead, 50mm
Grips: Deity Knuckleduster

Extras: Oneup EDC multi tool for all your on-course repair needs


K-Edge GPS mount which helps move his Garmin forward, giving him more room in the cockpit for those unexpected moments when you find yourself hugging the stem.


Let's get in to results and see who took home these gorgeous new medals as well as a heap of prizes from our sponsors.

FOX Seatpost Climbers Challenge winners, including our fastest amateur climber Ryan Martin who took home a FOX Transfer Dropper Post, these guys and girls must have spent some time on their stationary trainers over the winter.

Flat Tire Defender Super Stage winners who went fastest on Stage 1, our fastest amateurs Ziggy Ribetto and Amy Shenton will be experiencing a lot less flat tires this season thanks to our new sponsor Flat Tire Defender. The top riders in the world including Aaron Gwin choose FTD to protect their rims, now MAXXIS ESC riders can benefit from the same technology.

Our Alex Rims Super Stage winners including our fastest amateurs Max Beaupre and Amy Shenton, who took home a new set of Alex hoops for their speedy performances on Stage 5.

Clair Sick, riding for iRide out of Vermont, won three of five stages today and was just one second off the Pro Womens' top step.

It was Alisha Darin who would inch out Clair by a second overall, winning two stages to earn her first pro win on Sunday. "It's been a long winter and I'm happy to be back racing, catching up with friends and getting to know some of the ladies trying out Enduro for the first time. I had a blast on the course at Glen Park, it had a little bit of everything from flow to technical sections. The rock garden on Stage 2 reminded me of the riding back home in Connecticut. It was running fast, making times extremely tight so I am happy to have gotten my first win with such great competition. I couldn't be happier with my new Ibis Mojo HD4, it floated through the technical sections and pedaled great on the uphills, I think we will be very happy together this season."

Pro Women from left to right: 2nd - Clair Sick, 1st - Alish Darin, 3rd - Alison Crocker

The consistently fast Jason Memmelaar sailing his Yeti to third place for the Pro Men, just ten seconds off the lead.

Canadian Devinci Cycles rider Adam Robbins made the long drive down to Pennsylvania but it paid off as he won three stages, just three seconds from first place. The former ESC North American Downhill Team member has been a force on the DH race scene for years but this is his first Pro Enduro podium. Could it be the mustache?

It's no surprise that last year's overall champion Adam Morse took the win this weekend in Pennsylvania, winning two of the five stages and tying Adam Robbins for two more. He got a head start to the season at the first two stops of the Enduro World Series but was happy to be racing closer to home this weekend. "The EWS pushes you to limits you didn't know existed within yourself, technical terrain and with length of a race. Then coming here, it's kind of like kicking back on a Friday night with your buddies. I just love riding my bike and every time I come to an ESC race it's not any less fun than an EWS, the experience is always awesome but this just feels a little bit more homey and good to be on familiar terrain. I came here for the first time last year for the ESC and liked it so much I came back in the Fall for their local race, the Mid Atlanic Super Series, and was psyched to see it on the schedule again for this season because these trails are just so fun. It feels like you can get out there and ride this fast, on the edge pace but everything's just in control. Fun, flowy, amazing trails. Love it."

Pro Men from left to right: 4th - Derek Bissett, 2nd - Adam Robbins, 1st - Adam Morse, 3rd - Jason Memmelaar, 5th - Emmett Avery

That's a wrap on the first MAXXIS ESC Enduro race of the season, it was a great warm up for the other three events we have planned this summer without lift-accessed transfers. Thank all for coming out, we hope to see you at the BOX Components Showdown May 6th at Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, New York featuring both Enduro and Downhill races. There's still some snow on the ground there but that won't stop us!


Words and photos: Andrew Santoro

Full Results
Photos
Easternstatescup.com
Pocono Bike Club Survey

MAXXIS ESC Enduro Schedule
11 events, best 7 count
April 22 - Glen Park, PA
May 6 - Plattekill, NY
May 20 - Binghamton, NY
June 3 - Thunder Mountain, MA
June 17 - Blue Mountain, PA
July 15 - Sugarbush, VT
Aug 12 - Victory Hill, VT
Aug 26 - Mountain Creek
Sept 23 - Killington, VT
Sept 30 - Wilmington, NY
Oct 21 - Thunder Mountain, MA Finals

MAXXIS ESC Downhill Schedule
7 events, best 5 count
May 6 - Plattekill, NY
June 3 - Thunder Mountain, MA
June 17 - Blue Mountain, PA
July 15 - Sugarbush, VT
Aug 25 - Mountain Creek
Sept 23 - Killington, VT
Oct 14 - Mount Snow, VT Finals

CLIF Enduro East Schedule
June 30-July 1 - Mountain Creek, NJ
July 28-29 - Thunder Mountain, MA
Sept 15-16 - Victory Hill / Burke Mountain

CLIF Enduro Lite
July 8 - Burke Mountain


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