Noah Tautfest and Karen Potter Conquer the Freetown 50
Perfect late summer weather for the Eastern Fat Tire Mountain bike series finale at Freetown State forest. Early morning threatening a light shower but the sun came out at the day wore on and course conditions were near perfect.
Mountain Bike legend Tinker Juarez toed the line among top New Englander racers. The Freetown 50, in its third year running, boasted some course changes to help eliminate some paved road and dirt road sections. This simply meant more boney, technical, rocky singletrack and slower race times then previous years. Although race promoters made it quite clear that the course could be even harder if they chose to make it so.
Racers had to face the toughest 8 miles of the 25 mile lap right from the start. Rock gardens were plentiful. Choosing good lines and maintaining momentum were key to staying on the bike and riding a fast lap. The middle of the course was where racers could gain some time and relax a bit more on the bike handling skills with some smoother trails and dirt road sections. Around mile 15, the rough singletrack started up again for several miles ending on some bone rattling rock gardens before finishing out the lap on dirt road.
In the Elite/Open men’s field, Noah Tautfest (Bicycle Express), Billy Melone (ATA Cycles) Tinker Juarez (RideBiker Alliance/ShowAir), Neal Burton (ERRACE) and Matt Boobar all took off fast and hot. Boobar faded off the pace first and Burton backed off about half-way through the first lap realizing the need to pace himself to finish the full two laps. Melone, Tautfest and Juarez stayed together until early in the second lap Melone sliced his tire and had to abandon the race. After that Tautfest rode clean and slowly opened up a gap on Juarez that held for the win in 4:12; Juarez finished in 2nd 3 minutes back. Burton rounded out the podium for 3rd in 4:33.
Tinker Juarez chose a super technical and rock garden laden course for his first race back after an injury sidelined him earlier this season. He admitted it was more technical than he thought it would be thinking his “local” friends were exaggerating as to the toughness of the course. He quickly found out differently but enjoyed the course nonetheless.
In the Elite/Open women’s field, Karen Potter (Pivot/Epic Brewing) took the early lead showing her strong rock riding technical skills and maintained it for the win coming in 4:59. Alicia Faustini (Laurel Bike Club) followed up in 2nd in 5:29. Pamela Fielding rounded out the podium in third.
For full results of the 50 miler, 25 mile and beginner race see here: http://www.barttiming.com/lt/livetiming.htm