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 #3 – Vermont

Millstone Grind, Websterville, Vermont

Kenda Cup East #3

Written by: Karen Potter

The warm and remarkably dry weather the Northeast was enjoying came to a rapid end overnight Saturday. Warm, humid 85-degree temperatures changed to frigid 48 degrees and heavy rain for race day catching several racers off guard and unprepared for the cold, wet conditions. While the downpours had passed before the elite racers took the course, rain was still falling at the start of the race making for difficult conditions on an already technical course. Mud would cake up racers’ tires making traction very tough. Conditions improved somewhat once the rain stopped early in the race.

In a remarkable feat of grit and ambition, series leader, Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) made the long trek from central Pennsylvania to Vermont to make it 8 days in a row of racing. After coming in 3rd overall in the Trans-Sylvania Epic Stage Race, Anthony was able to maintain her lead in the Kenda Cup East series with a 5th place finish at Millstone despite the frigid temps and muddy conditions adding to her fatigue.

Crystal Anthony grinder her way toward home

Crystal Anthony grinder her way toward home

It was Elisa Otter (Bicycle Express) showing off her Vermont skills taking the hole shot and hammering away from the rest of the field to take the win. She had no problem handling the very technical course in the slick, muddy conditions. Karen Potter (Pivot/Epic Brewing) followed behind Otter into the singletrack but could not keep her pace once in the woods. Kathleen Harding (Rare Disease Racing) had Potter in her sights most of the race but was unable to close the gap, finishing in 3rd to Potter. Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing) followed up in 4th.

In a the Elite Men’s field, series leader, Billy Melone (ATA Cycles) won his 3rd in a row but not without a bit of a struggle. Tom Sampson (Adigga Racing) lead the race with a significant gap to Melone, but Melone was able to bridge up to the front and take the win. Sampson faded in the final lap to finish 4th. A sprint finish ensued for 2nd place between Noah Tautfest (Bicycle Express Racing) and 18-year-old Charles Faucher Robert (Pivot Cycles-Ote) with Faucher edging out Tautfest. Tyler Berliner (ENGVT) finished in 5th.