By Gavin Heverly
All photos by Stephanie Crumley
For those of you whom have been living under a rock, this past weekend was the Eastern Mountain Sports/NE2C Nor’Easter Fest up at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The event was a slammer jammer mash-up of music, cyclocross racing, bouldering competition, outdoor climbing clinics, vendor village, and really, really bad food selection. I went up for the main events on Saturday and to support our head route-setter Maxim Zolotukhin in the UBC Pro Tour finals. He placed 16th in qualifiers which didn’t quite get him in to finals. Boston Rock Gym was also the partner gym for the event, and we helped with some logistics, volunteers, as well as climbing holds and crash pads and some other random stuff. The Geekhouse X BRG cyclocross team was also along for the ride as their team captain and Geekhouse owner Marty Walsh was racing!
The author being a social butterfly in the vendor village.
At any rate, Saturday went down something like this: Woke up super early to get Marty to the race. We arrived at Loon and skipped our way right to staff parking. A nice luxury of being an event partner. Thanks guys! Marty got suited up and we scoped out the cyclocross course. It looked, as Marty put it “like a mountain bike course”, which meant that a lot of the roadies in the race were going to be not psyched, but guys like Marty whom have a mountain bike racing background were stoked!
The Custom Built Handmade GEEKHOUSE Cyclocross machine ready to roll.
Marty rocking the coolest cycling kit on the entire course as he rolls through some of the switchbacks on the race course.
After the cross race was over, I headed over to the vendor village to chat up some pals I hadn’t seen in a while at the Prana and Evolv tents. Everyone seemed pretty psyched on the cross race seeing as how the entire vendor village was basically in the center of the course. Overall the cyclocross race was pretty awesome. A great course and a welcome addition to the Nor’Easter. It definitely helped make it seem as though there was something HAPPENING since there were bikes whizzing past you all throughout the day. A nice element. There was also some big stage with bands playing. But I didn’t really pay any attention to it, and that seemed to be the general consensus. Although after the UBC comp, some more big name bands like The Gaslight Anthem played, as well as !!! (Chik Chik Chik), and The Walkmen. And while I didn’t stick around, I would guess a great deal more people were interested in that.
SPEAKING OF THE UBC COMP!:
Boston's own Francesca Metcalf waiting for her go as Terry climbs on Men's 2 in the background.
Sasha DiGiulian high on Women's 2
The comp started pretty promptly at 3pm. Lights, camera, ACTION! Jason Danforth took the mic and introduced the day’s finalists:
MENS: 6th place Terry Paholek, 5th Ian Dorey, 4th Brian Kim, 3rd Ethan Pringle, 2nd Vasya Vorotnikov, 1st Daniel Woods.
WOMENS: 6th Melissa Lacasse, 5th Natasha Barnes, 4th Alex Johnson, 3rd Angela Payne, 2nd Sasha Digiulian, 1st Francesca Metcalf.
So with that sort of placing going in to finals, it certainly felt like it was anyone’s game. And man did it turn out to be a surprise ending. The turnout for the comp was a little less than what I expected, although with the weather being about 68 and sunny and breezy, perhaps it was both a blessing and a curse for the event. I quickly snagged a seat front and center to absorb all the action I possible could. it became clear early on that Daniel Woods, the crowd favorite, and shoe-in for the win was NOT having such a hot day of climbing. Problem #1 which was a techinical tension based boulder seemed to work against his style and essentially shut him down. New York’s Brian Kim flashed it. Done and done. “What’s this?”, everyone thought as he easily flew to the top. He cruised to the top on number 2 as well. Where as Daniel and Ian Dorey had some real trouble with the opening dyno. Vasya came about as close as you can on #2 without actually sending. Also quite the upset. In the end, it was clear that the men’s competition was going to be east meets west as Brian Kim and Ethan Pringle duked it out.
On the lady’s side, it was clearly anyone’s game. Although I think most people were assuming Angie or Alex would take it. Francesca Metcalf crushed. Although women’s #3 appeared to be a bit reachy for all the competitors. (Editor’s note: I was told over a cup of tea in my living room the following day by one of the route-setters that all the girls botched the beta on the problem.) Natasha Barnes came out of nowhere to fly up women’s 1 and 2 with ease. In the end, it was hard to even tell who would win.
Natasha Barnes come all the way from SF, CA to crush on Women's 2.
All in all a good comp.The organization seemed to be much better than at the Salt Lake City comp. the MC-ing was greatly improved upon, although left something to be desired, and the route-setting was a lot better as well. Here were the surprising results of the day:
MENS: 3rd Daniel Woods, 2nd Brian Kim, 1st Ethan Pringle
WOMENS: 3rd Angie Payne, 2nd Francesca Metcalf, 1st Alex Johnson
The Nor’Easter is a massively valiant effort by the dudes at NE2C to bring an exciting and energized outdoor festival to the East Coast. Combining music, climbing, cycling, and more to give the residents of New England an entire weekend of activities and to grow the community that I know for sure Jason and Pete of NE2C care so much about. So while there are a lot of things that I would do differently, my hat is off to them for their passion, organization, energy, and dedication. The climbing world could use a lot more Jason Danforths and Pete Wards. Looking forward to next year. Count me in, and count BRG in.