Old Town teenager shines at Sugar Loaf mountain biking event

Some 450 east coast mountain bikers converged on Sugarloaf Mountain in western Maine on Sunday for the Eastern States Cup Box Showdown enduro and downhill races.

And 14-year-old Kale Cushman of Old Town had one of the most successful days of any rider, winning her divisions in both disciplines.

Cushman beat her competition in the professional women’s division of the MAXXIS ESC Enduro event, which featured four timed stages that vary in grade, length and difficulty depending on location. Between each stage, runners completed untimed “transfer stages” that involved pedaling, hiking or chairlift.

Cushman finished in 21 minutes, 15.148 seconds, over half a minute ahead of Vermont rider Hannah Harrington, who was second in 21: 53.804.

“We’re proud of her,” said Adam Craig, a Maine native and former Olympic mountain biker who leads Sugarloaf’s efforts to develop a competitive and recreational mountain biking presence. “It’s a pretty good margin for 20 minutes of racing.

Cushman also won the professional / women’s division of the MAXXIS ESC Intense Downhill race with a time of 5: 14.51 for the single timed stage that took the riders from the top of the Tote Road ski slope to The Landing, located opposite Sugarloaf. Basic lodge.

Max Beaupre of Sutton, Mass., Won the men’s professional division of enduro racing in 16: 53.157, followed by second place Adam Morse of Burlington, Vt., In 17: 17.359.

Max Morgan, also of Burlington, Vermont, won the men’s professional downhill in 4: 09.34. Craig, now 40, was 12th in 4: 34.15.

Craig led the team that built five new gravity-fed trails spanning approximately 10 miles with 2,000 vertical feet at Sugarloaf this summer for the Eastern States Cup debut on the mountain.

Sunday’s event marked the first time Sugarloaf had hosted a weekend of elite-level mountain bike racing since the Widowmaker Challenge races of the 1990s. Sunday’s enduro competition was also a stage qualifier. of the Enduro World Series scheduled at Pain de Sucre next August.

“Overall things went very well,” said Craig, who thanked the Sugar Loaf staff as well as the volunteers from the Carrabassett Valley Town Track Team and the Carrabassett Valley Chapter. of the New England Mountain Bike Association for their support. “Never-before-seen events often present operational challenges and had we had operational challenges I don’t think anyone would have been this terribly surprised or blamed us too much.

“But it’s great that we didn’t.”

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