Taming The Beast of The East - Killington Pro GRT
Killington mountain is a staple venue in the history of East Coast downhill racing. The Beauty and The Beast of Vermont has been a long standing event each summer and was my very first DH race way back in 2004 in the Hardtail class. I remember it fondly because I wore armor without a jersey. Since those years of “East Coast Hardcore”, the bikes have gone from Brooklyn Machine Works monsters to the svelte carbon creations under riders in current times. While the bikes may have changed, the mountain remains relatively unchanged, though we now race off the Ramshead lift further down from the main K1 Gondola. This classic New England destination holds dear for many riders and tends to bring people out of the woodwork one or two weekends a year when races are on. This weekend, the Pro GRT is in town. -by Zach Faulkner
The track this week is the same raced in 2016. A lot of riders are divided on the like/dislike of this course, as it is not of particular pitch, but for what it may lack in steeps, it certainly makes up for it in content; there are more random rocks, roots, and ruts strewn through out the track than you can shake a Minion at. Last year it was all fresh-cut and a bit soft, but whatever top soil there might have been 365 days ago has all been shredded away by riders and washed away by the Spring melt and heavy rains this summer. The course is rough, rocky, and a bit greasy heading into the weekend, which will make for some tricky riding, no doubt.
The keys to success will be several, most notably fitness. There will be a lot of opportunities to find time with aggressive sprinting and pumping. Precision is going to play a big roll in maintaining momentum, as there is a lot of glacial litter on the trail to hang up on with pedal strikes and errant tire placement. Tenacity will be a final deciding factor I think, as the length of this run is something rarely seen these days. It’s going to take a lot of focus to remember the sequence of sections and keep the fire hot from start to finish. A lot of riders have made their way up from National Champs, so it’s shaping up to be another great weekend of racing!