Women's Elite - 1st: Lauren Daney
Amatuer 17 & Under - 2nd: Jay Fesperman, 3rd: Will O'Brien, 4th: Eric Vest
(Ben Calhoun, Luca Shaw, and Walker Shaw on the injured but healing well list)
Men's Elite - 4th: Christopher Herndon, 7th: Sam Pensler
What a great weekend at Hawksnest racing the DirtyBird. Practice on Saturday brought perfect trails and a short shower in the afternoon to make things interesting. Sunday; a perfect day for racing with overcast skys, as breeze and no rain.
The App State guys put on a great race with super sponsors and great support from Hawksnest. The course was in great shape and ready to be enjoyed by over 100 racers.
GROM Racing was set up right at the finish line. Cane Creek, Industry Nine, and Specialized had the racers ready to conquer the mountain. The bikes (frames, shocks and wheels) performed flawlessly. GROM Coach Christopher Herndon walked the trail on Saturday providing instruction to GROM racers and others within earshot. On Sunday, Christopher hawked the finishline to see how his racers performed and to assist other racers with bike repairs.
As typical, the GROM tent was the hang-out with lots of fellowship, laughter and food. GROM Racers Walker Shaw and Ben Calhoun attended the race even though they are both on the injured list (broken arm and collar bone, respectively). Assistant Coach Tim Price was at home recovering from shoulder surgery on Friday (all went well and Tim looks forward to joining the team at Snowshoe for the first race and riding camp).
GROM Racers got into the spectator action following their race runs. Cowbells, handlebars, and airhorns were going strong to encourage other racers on the course. GROMs popped up in a series along the course (wearing their black Specialized jerseys and matching TroyLee Designs pants) to cheer on other riders. You could hear riders after their runs, "who were those kids - that was great!"
Official times aren't available online yet, but GROM Racers finished well:
5th Place: Eric Vest
4th Place: Will O'Brien
3rd Place: Jay Fesperman
2nd Place: Luca Shaw
Photos are on the way soon. Check them out at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49804868@N02/sets/72157624242208496/
GROM racers, Sam Pensler and Lauren Daney, were able to attend the second race of the Pro Gravity Tour in Plattekill, New York, which was a junior world championship qualifier. A top three finish is required at qualifying events in order to be eligible to make the U.S. National team. Lauren took a hard spill on Saturday, but managed to race on Sunday and win her class. She was the fastest amateur racer as well, nearly solidifying her spot on the junior world championship team. Sam had a strong run and finished third in the CAT 1 junior men’s class. He is definitely in contention to go to junior worlds and just needs to put together a solid run at the next qualifier in California.
Everyone’s equipment worked well this weekend; the Cane Creek Double Barrel rear shocks kept the bikes riding smooth, resulting in only the occasional sound of tires bouncing off of rocks. Spectators and riders were amazed and commented on the quietness of the team bikes all weekend. Both Sam and Lauren’s stellar riding form and technique caught the eye of famed mountain bike photographer, Ian Highland, resulting in two great shots of them getting posted on the popular mountain bike website, Pinkbike. Excited about racing and the exposure the team has received, the coaches, riders and staff are all looking forward to a big event this coming weekend at the U.S. Open.
posting by Tim Price, GROM Assistant Coach
A number of the GROM racers met in Johnson City April 24-25 to race multiple different events at race held by the East Tennessee State University cycling club. The race consisted of short track, dual slalom, time trial XC, four cross, and downhill. The racers did really well, starting off Saturday morning with Eric Vest being the only one who wanted a different type of racing with some short track action! Winning the overall endurance!
The downhill is a pretty short course, consisting of some drops doubles and rock gardens, requiring good peddling and sprinting abilities. Walker Shaw and Jay Fesperman tied for the win with a time of 1.34.95 which would have had them coming in 3rd in the pro class. Not far behind them in 4th place was followed by Luca Shaw, Ben Calhoun in 6th and Eric Vest in 8th.
The slalom is a fun tight course that made for some good entertaining racing. The boys seemed to be having some good fun! The team held the top 3 spots, with Walker Shaw coming in first, closely followed by Jay Fesperman and Luca Shaw. Saturday was a good day with lots of good racing and dirt jumps and all followed with Eric’s Specialized cake.
Not everyone was able to make it for both days, though the people that did come for the 4-cross had a wicked time! The course was really well done and quite big compared to the dual slalom. Luca Shaw respectively came in 2nd followed by Walker Shaw in 3rd, and Eric finishing 7th. Overall it was a good race weekend!
Once again GROM Racing had a fun packed weekend at Chris Herndon’s house. It was Bike Build Weekend - completing the build on a new Specialized BigHit and video shoot at Wes Dickson's Sycamore Cycles.
Will Obrien, Tim Price, and Danny Cesare arrived on Friday evening. Danny, s a good friend of the team, agreed to use his camera and video editing skills to help the team make this bike build video possible. Plus, Danny got to join the team on the ride too.
On Saturday, Ben Calhoun, Jay Fesperman, and Eric Vest met the Friday night arrivers plus Johanne Tuttle and Christopher Herndon at Sycamore Cycles to start the day with an epic mountain bike ride in Pisgah National Forest. Unfortunately, others on the team were unable to make it for various reasons.
Eric Vest received his Specialized Stumpjumper, which came in handy for what the rest of the day had to offer. We were able to borow some rental bikes from the shop so everyone would have a bike that would survive the climbs. We rode up a gravel road called Clawhammer, then got on a trail called Black Mountain, which turns into Buckwheat, then finished it off with a trail called Bennetts Gap.
If you haven’t ridden that sequence of trails or don’t know what they are, it’s a lot of climbing intermingled with some great downhill. Other than Tim Price following Chris off about a 5 foot rock drop on a bike with no rear suspension, and a few scrapes and scratches, everyone made it out alive and with huge grins on their faces. Then off we went to the shop for the bike build.
The bike build was a great success. Being pumped about our sponsors really helps to makes a video about a sick bike quite fun. After shooting several hours of video, we finished off the day with pasta and pumptrack! On Sunday we had yet another pumptrack session before everyone headed home. The coaches can see a whole lot of potential in the young GROMs!!!
During my spring break I made a trip down to North Carolina to visit and ride with GROM Racing team members and coaches. I did a brief college visit at the University of North Carolina and then met up with Ben Calhoun and Will O’Brien to ride their local cross country trails in Chapel Hill. My Specialized Stumpjumper handled perfectly through the tight and twisty trail network and I had so much fun riding with Ben and Will because they both knew the trail system so well.
The next day I headed to Davidson to ride with Jay Fesperman and we rode on some nearby trails. The trails were particularly technical and had many difficult sections and jumps. Jay and I rode until dark and explored many of the different features and steep roll downs in the park. The Stumpjumper did well again and Jay rode his Specialized Hardrock.
The next morning I joined team coach Christopher Herndon and Johanne at Sycamore Cycles in Brevard. We grabbed some lunch and then completed an epic ride on the rock infested trails in Pisgah National Forest. The next day Chris and I spent some time working on a new downhill course and then took a few runs riding the new trail. My new Specialized Demo downhill bike smoothed out the rough spots and powered down the steep sections of the course.
I was thrilled to be able to meet my fellow teammates and ride with my Coaches on my new Specialized bikes. I am excited for my first race of the season and have another chance to ride with the team.
Just wanted to give a big thanks to Malcolm and all the boys at Cane Creek for setting the team up on these custom Cane Creek Double Barrel shocks. They look even more amazing in person. Cane Creek has supported me since I was these kids age, and helped me go places I never could imagine. It is really great to see their continued support in the development of junior riders in the US. Come by the team camp to check out the new shocks in person. Next on the schedule is ETSU April 24 and then Massenutten the next weekend.
by GROM Racer Will O'Brien
Where: Clemson Freeride's Downhill Race
When: Saturday, February 27, 2010
What Happened: GROM Racers Luca Shaw, Will O'Brien, and Lauren Daney were all seen on the podium. Luca and Will took second and third places, respectively and Lauren finished second in the Women's class.
What Else: (from Coach Joh)
GROM Racing team had their first race of the season this past weekend Saturday February 27th at the Clemson free ride course in the University’s experimental Forest.
The team has a lot to be proud of with several podiums and team spirit out on the course. Most everyone on the team made it down to this race, except for Sam Pensler who was preparing for the SATS, which is a good reason to be excused.
It was a great start to the season with a team gathering at Chris and Joh’s house to distribute gear. Also allowing the team members and coaches to get to know everyone a little better, and enjoy Belgian waffles before the race!
We started the day off early on Saturday allowing ourselves to get the pit area set up. Thanks to Specialized, Industry Nine, and Cane Creek we had many tents to have a large pit area. This also gave us enough time everyone to get enough practice runs before the race. Everyone did a good job of helping set up and before we knew it the team was riding together sharing knowledge of the track! Tim Price, one of the coaches, was helping the kids out with line selection and riding techniques. And all of the racers looked great with their matching Specialized jerseys, Smith goggles, and Troy Lee Designs pants and helmets. It had many people talking as the kids were whizzing by. We were also able to share an area with Sycamore Cycles another one of our special sponsors.
But more than everyone looking very professional, the GROMs had positive attitudes about racing and most importantly they were all smiling! The team made a huge impression on fellow racers and race promoter for their first race and will continue to do so as the season progresses.
Click Here to view GROM Racers taking on the Clemson course.
Click Here to check out photos of the event posted by Brandon Barber (thanks Tubby for collecting the evidence).
Many thanks to WNCW for getting the word out about GROM Racing. WNCW's Our Southern Community interviewed GROM Coaches Christopher Herndon and Johanne Tuttle with the show's first airing on 2/7/10.
The show profiled the resurgence of mountain biking in the USA and positive impact it can have on today's youth. Christopher and Joh shared first person stories of how biking has had a positive impact on their lives. In addition, listeners were given a glimpse of the successes and challenges that downhill and cross county bikers encounter.
As you listen to the show you'll hear the gratitude in each of their voices. Gratitude toward the sport in general but also to those that particpate as racers and sponsors. Christopher mentions races where other riders came to his aid to help get a bike ready for racing after travel delays caused a near miss at an international race. Joh tells of how mountian biking and mountian bike racing helped her find purpose after a switch from the soccer field and how mountian biking has helped her get to the best physical condition of her life.
Click here to listen to the show. Click here to learn more about WNCW. Visit Specialized.com, Canecreek.com, Sycamorecycles.com, SRAM.com and GAMUT.com, all GROM sponsors and companies that have supported Christopher as he developed into one of the nation's top mountian bike racers. Many thanks to WNCW, Our Southern Community and its host, and the GROM Sponsors for making this possible.