CLAREMONT — The city of Claremont will see an influx of bikes this weekend as Arrowhead and The WheelHouse host the 2022 MAXXIS Eastern State Cup Enduro Series.
This year is the second event hosted by the Eastern State Cup after the organization became aware of the popularity of Claremont’s expert trails. The event begins on Saturday morning, September 10, 2022 and will feature around 300 mountain bikers with their families and spectators.
This will be the first year World Enduro is coming to the United States. Last year, Arrowhead served as a qualifying hill for the larger races this year at Burke, Vermont, and Sugarloaf, Maine. According to Rob Walker, co-owner of The WheelHouse and trail builder, enduro bikes of this type are traditionally found on much larger mountains like Killington and Okemo. However, it is the difficulty of the terrain that has made Arrowhead’s bike trails attractive to professional mountain bikers from around the world. The trails have been built, maintained, and enhanced not only by the WheelHouse owners, but also by numerous volunteers, the Claremont Parks and Recreation Department, and help from companies like Sinuosity and Powderhorn.
While drivers paid an entry fee to take part in the series, spectators can enter for free. Organizers are asking that everyone watching the park at Monadnock Park and Arrowhead offer hikes along the ATV trail to see bikers from pros to under 12s racing down the mountain. The race officially starts at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Vendors such as Epic Food Truck, Rocky’s Taqueria and Monster Tacos will be in attendance, and the Claremont Chamber of Commerce will offer a bar option for drivers and spectators alike. Viewers are encouraged to hike about halfway up the ATV trail to a section where four separate trails are particularly close together to get up close and personal with the action.
While Arrowhead’s trails have drawn a lot of attention from organizations like the Eastern State Cup and well-known mountain bikers with a large online presence, the folks at The WheelHouse are far from done building trails and an active biker community in Claremont to promote. Arrowhead’s trails are praised for their difficulty, and on the other side of that coin, Moody Park has a number of beginner trails, but The WheelHouse and Claremont Parks & Rec want to add more.
“Arrowhead is unique in that each experience is progressed, it’s incredibly steep up there. We went backwards from the way other people do it, but we knew it would attract a lot of people. So we started with hard terrain, but we have Moody Park for beginners. We’re coming to the point as a plan to partner with Claremont Parks and Rec to develop a driveway that’s more digestible for more advanced riders,” Walker said.
The WheelHouse owners, including Walker, Matt Hall and Eli Burke, were also able to draw attention to the mountain by celebrating cycling. For around seven years, the group has been running a kind of “underground enduro” with friends, which attracts professional bikers. Walker didn’t take it too seriously, saying bikers would do things like powdered donuts before starting the run, but that ECS organizers took notice and saw that the trails were particularly well-crafted.
“We always felt that last year’s racing season ended too early and that’s why we wanted to get out of there. So for the last seven years we’ve been running our own underground enduro race just for fun. We were honored with really high profile riders and just did silly things to celebrate bikes. The organizers got wind of it and then realized the terrain was much better than our escapades,” he said.
“They asked if we could host an event and we said yes, but not all the trails were ready. So a tremendous effort has gone into making sure the trails are done and it has been a huge success,” he continued.
MAXXIS ESC is looking forward to hosting the event. Hikers are encouraged to begin their ascent of the mountain around 8:45am on Sunday and will be assisted by volunteers to find the best spot to watch.
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