Freetown 50

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.

Riders enjoy the singletrack at Freetown 50. Photo by Deb Levesque

Riders enjoy the singletrack at Freetown 50. Photo by Deb Levesque

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.

Karen Potter on her way to a Freetown 50 win. Photo by Deb Levesque

Karen Potter on her way to a Freetown 50 win. Photo by Deb Levesque

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:

Kenda Cup East Race #1

Fat Tire Classic – Root 66 Race Series – Kenda Cup East Race #1

Written by: Karen Potter

The first round of the Kenda Cup East was held Sunday at the Root 66 Race Series Fat Tire Classic in Farmington, Connecticut. It was a course that highlighted aerobic fitness with smooth, fast rolling singletrack winding through the woods with minimal rest. The five-mile lap has a cyclocross feel with the seemingly constant accelerations needed out of the endless number of corners.

Race day was another cool spring day in New England and pleasantly dry. Both men’s and women’s elite fields had great turnout from all over the northeast.

The men’s elite race started insanely fast as getting the hole shot was an important factor, although there were sections of double track for passing in some spots.

Billy Melone (ATA Cycles) proved his fitness to be solid as he soloed start to finish in 1:53:32.

Behind him the battle for the remainder of the podium spots was intense with a large pack riding together until attacks splintered the group.

Christopher Hamlin pulled away from the chase group to finish in 2nd in 1:55:16. Third, fourth and fifth came to a sprint finish with Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) taking the sprint in 1:56:30, followed by Dylan McNicholas (Polartec) four seconds back and Brendan McCormack (CCB Racing) taking 5th one second back.

The women’s elite race started equally fierce and fast with Crystal Anthony (Riverside) jetting off the start line winning the sprint to the singletrack. She was followed by Elisa Otter (Bicycle Express Racing). Otter kept Anthony in sight for 2 of the 5 laps but could not match Anthony’s fitness.

Anthony went on to win in 2:09:57. Otter maintained 2nd in 2:12:41.

Karen Potter (Pivot/Epic Brewing) started slow off the line and had to make her way through the field in the opening lap but was able to make her way through and sit in 3rd for the rest of the race finishing in 2:14:40.



Elite Women

Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) 2:09:57

Elisa Otter (Bicycle Express Racing) 2:12:41

Karen Potter (Pivot/Epic Brewing) 2:14:50

Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters) 2:16:48

Joanne Grogan (1K2GO Coffee/Burris Logistics) 2:17:15


Elite Men 

Billy Melone (ATA Cycles) 1:53:32

Christopher Hamlin (Bicycle Express Racing) 1:55:16

Dan Timmerman (Riverside) 1:56:30

Dylan McNicholas (Polartec) 1:56:34

Brendan McCormack (CCB Racing) 1:56:35


Full results here: