Pinkham Notch, NH—On and off rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the cyclists who tackled the fourth annual Porky Gulch Classic on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 & 9. Peter Ostroski of Intervale, NH defended his title of New England’s Best All Around Cyclist.
Hosted by Great Glen Trails, the Porky Gulch Classic is a true test of cycling ability with three distinct stages held over two days. Cyclists are awarded points based on their finish in each stage, and the rider with the most points is declared the winner. This year cyclists competed in five categories: Elite Men, Intermediate Men, Intermediate Junior Men, Beginner Men and Beginner Women.
The event began on Saturday morning and unseasonably warm temperatures greeted competitors as they prepared for the first stage, The Toughest Two—a two-mile hillclimb up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. However, Mt. Washington wasn’t going to let the cyclists off easy as rain fell steadily for most of the climb. In a repeat of last year’s Toughest Two, Ostroski led the way in 12:55 with Steve Piotrow of Jackson, NH more than a minute behind in 13:57. Todd Wheelden of Kents Hill, ME took the third spot in 14:33.
More rain followed the cyclists to Story Land in Glen for the second stage, The Story Land Criterium. With its many twists and turns—not to mention amusement rides—Story Land provides a truly unique venue for a criterium, but also a very challenging one. Saturday’s rain made it that much trickier. Ostroski once again proved up to the task and rode to victory in 47:34 with 14 laps completed. The race for second and third was extremely tight with Wheelden edging Ryan Littlefield of Portland, ME by just 6 tenths of a second, 47:38.0 to 47:38.6.
As Sunday dawned in Pinkham Notch, more light rain was on tap for the cyclocross portion of the Porky Gulch Classic: The Rockpile Rampage. After Saturday’s stages, Ostoski wasn’t alone in sweeping both races, as the leaders in each category had done the same, earning 60 points for each victory for a total of 120 points. But in cyclocross, anything can happen, so no one was riding comfortably as racers tackled the tough cyclocross course at Great Glen Trails that utilizes many of the unique features of Great Glen Trails’ trail system including carriage roads, steep embankments, sharp corners and barriers the riders must dismount from their bicycles to negotiate. As the Elite race began, Ostroski and Wheelden surged to the front and dropped the rest of the pack in the first lap. The two rode together through 6 laps until Wheelden threw in a surge Ostroski couldn’t match. Wheelden completed 8 laps in 45:28 to cruise to a comfortable victory. Ostroski was second with 8 laps in 46:51. After starting further back in the pack, Piotrow moved his way up to third riding 8 laps in 48:28.
Ostroski’s second place in the Rockpile Rampage was more than enough to give him the overall victory with 175 points to Wheelden’s 166. Piotrow took third with 150 total points. In the Intermediate Men’s division Tom Fritschka of Gilmanton, NH earned 175 points for the victory. Joe Phenix of Taunton, MA swept the Beginner Men’s division for a 180 point victory, and Paula Brunetto of West Cornwall, CT did the same in the Beginner Women’s division.
One of the most impressive performances of the weekend was turned in by thirteen year-old Sean Doherty of Center Conway, NH. As the only competitor in the Intermediate Junior Men’s division, he was guaranteed a victory, but rode each stage with the intermediate men. His performances in these races would have been good enough for second overall in that division, including a win in The Toughest Two.
For complete results and photos, visit www.porkygulchclassic.com.
Great Glen Trails