Less than a week after New York's Windham Mountain was designated as a UCI World Cup venue for 2010, gravity racers will get to preview the World Cup downhill and four cross courses in competition. The Gravity East Series is heading to Windham Mountain on June 27-28
With the addition of Windham Mountain to next year's World Cup, three of Gravity East's first four 2009 events have been, or will be, host to UCI World Cup Downhills. The Gravity East at Windham Mountain will utilize both new UCI courses this weekend. The new downhill course is roughly 3:20 long and based on the popular course first used at last year's national series event. There have been additions to both the beginning and end of the course, notably the "Black Bear Slide", a feature so technical that it will be used only for the expert and professional divisions. The weekend will also see the debut of Windham's brand new four cross World Cup course when it is used for the second race of Gravity East's dual slalom series. The course is expected to be nearly one-minute long.
Windham Mounta is a well-known ski mountain, but the mountain bike program is new, with the first tree having been cut in April of 2008. Thus far, Special Events Director Rick Hodge and the Windham Mountain staff have been intent on establishing the resort as a first-class competition venue, but plans call for a full network of lift-assisted and cross country trails to be open for recreational riding by next spring.
Heading into this weekend's racing, there is a tight battle for the overall championship. Jason Memmelaar (2wheelfreaks.com / Manitou) has 2,430 points and holds onto a narrow lead in the elite men's category ahead of Alejandro Ortiz (NEMA) with 2,340 points. Nine riders are still within one win of the lead in the overall.
The wild card, however is dropped races. 2009 race winners Neko Mulally (Specialized Team America) and Sean McClendon both used one of their three drop races when they bypassed last week's event in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. Of the two, Mulally has the upper hand as, with a first and a second place, he has the best average finishing position of any racer on the circuit in the races he has attended. Mulally also leads the dual slalom standings.
On the women's side, Stephanie Gubernat (Vertical Earth / Cutters Bike Shop), Hillary Elgert and Rae Gandolf (Sierra Nevada) have distanced themselves from the rest of the competition.
Standings of the Gravity East Series are below.
For more information, visit www.GravityEastSeries.com.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.