By James Bogner
Keeping busy in between endurance mountain bike events, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrications) won the race celebrating the grand opening of the first legal mountain bike trails in NYC. Ultra 100 series champ Price took the win in the pro class after setting a blistering 11 mph pace in his first lap of the grueling and technical 2.25 mile course.
Situated in the northern tip of Manhattan, the Highbridge Park trails are the result of years of collaboration between NYCMTB (New York City Mountain Bike Association), IMBA, and New York City Parks. The trail system includes three miles of cross country trails ranging from rocky and technical to swoopy and fast, plus a double-black diamond "freeride" trail and a dirt jump park built by IMBA and pro riders Jeff Lenosky and Kyle Ebbett.
Price bested a pro/semipro/open field that included former U23 US National Cyclo-cross champ Troy Wells (Tokyo Joes/X-Fusion), and top regional pros Christian Favata (Verge/Overlook Mtn Bikes) and Ed Ceccolini (Campmor). He established a two-minute lead in the first lap, and bumped the margin up to four minutes by the end of the eighth and final lap. On the women's side, pro Jane Peason (Maverick) took home the victory over Connecticut pro Mary Lynn Wikar.
Starting in the shadow of the elevated #1 train subway station, climbing up a paved park path above Harlem River Drive, the course then climbed the difficult "Rough Ryder" trail (named for the rollercoaster that occupied the same site at the turn of the century), looped around and down the flowy trails of Fort George Hill, and descended the wickedly fast "Hessian Hill" trail, named for the German mercenaries who captured the Revolutionary War fort on this site.
In a friendly tongue-in-cheek move, Maxxis provided free tubes to all racers who found themselves victims of the trail hazards.