Even the most hardcore among us have to slowly admit that the 2015 bike season is drawing to a close. Over here in the North-East of the USA, it’s getting cold, filthy wet and damn slippery. Pretty timely then for the finale of the Triple Crown series in the Highland Mountain Bike Park, New Hampshire, where the conditions couldn’t have been much more autumnal. The previous night’s rain transformed the steep rocky sections and root gardens into some seriously hardcore enduro trails. Skills for miles and strong, tireless legs were mandatory if you had your goal set on the Triple Crown after the tough four stages.

Flowparts und Spass meilenweit: die sogenannten XC Trails im Highland Bike Park sind selten gut.
10 hours on the highway along America’s East Coast just to report on a race? Obviously the Triple Crown Enduro Race in Highland Mountain Bike Park isn’t your standard bike race.
"Who will be the next King or Queen?" Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire lud ein zum Finale der Triple Crown Enduro Rennserie 2016.
“Who will be crowned the next King or Queen?” Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire hosted the finale of the Triple Crown Enduro series 2016.
East Coast Enduro Racing  im Herbst – can it get any better?
East Coast enduro racing in autumn – can it get any better?
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Off the brakes: Downhill skills and confidence – as shown here by Scott Seward – are crucial ingredients for this time of year.
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Filthy mud, the year’s first frost and tons of leaves. The New England states don’t do autumn by halves – hey, it’s the best time of the year!
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„America's Bike Park" mit ueber 20 Trails war ein heissbegehrter Austragungsort fuer das Triple Crown Enduro. Bereits am Samstag war die Anmeldung nahezu ausgebucht.  Great turn-out!
With more than 20 trails covering everything from XC to downhill/slopestyle, “America’s Bike Park” was home to the hotly contested finale of the Triple Crown Enduro Race. Great turnout!
Nass, kalt und tonnenweise Laub. Die New England States im Herbst enttäuschen nicht – it's Flannel time!
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It’s flannel time! This classic US staple is pulled out for good reason here on the windswept East Coast. After all, Highland Bike Park doesn’t close until mid-November – bike park only!
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Practice makes perfect. The almost bone-dry conditions on the day before the race gave riders the ideal opportunity to train the four testing enduro stages.
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Under 14s! Barrett Hibshman on stage #4’s super tough downhill stretch – the first season of racing for this up-coming ripper!
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Racing around the clock: Pro female rider Lauren Pettersen, Intense Cycles, takes on stage #4 on one of her many training runs on Saturday.
Training lohnt sich! Die meisten Podiumsfahrer wie Alex Leich waren bereits im Practice auffallend schnell und zielsicher unterwegs.
Training pays off! Just like Alex Leich, most of those riders who stepped up onto the podium had already shown their speed and determination during practice.
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Nailing those sections – One of those key sections with so many line choices, it’s a case of risk it all or lose crucial seconds.
Seamus Powell, Giant Offroad Factory Team, also spent Saturday immersed in the action – victory doesn’t come for free!
Race Day im Highland Mountain Bike Park:  fast schon typisch fuer die Triple Crown Rennen hat es Stunden zuvor noch ordentlich geregnet. So Enduro!
Race day in the Highland Mountain Bike Park: as is now pretty much standard for any Triple Crown race, the hours leading up to the race had invited the skies to open.
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Slippery and pretty scatchy! Crashs und Pannen sind an diesem Renntag quasi vorprogrammiert, entsprechend vorsichtig sind viele Fahrer in Stage #1 noch unterwegs.
Slippery and pretty sketchy! Crashes and mechanicals were pretty much a given so stage #1 saw riders take a little more caution.
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East Coast “local” Adam Snyder, BMC Trailcrew, in full attack mode. After a successful season, his final race sadly didn’t live up to the rest of his performances.
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Wet slabs of rock and the pit of the forest floor – or are rain-soaked roots hidden under a fresh layer of leaves more your thing?   [/caption]

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Sebastian Boyington, Giant, consistently impressed the crowds. Error-free and damn quick, he managed to sneak into a top 10 position in the Pro category.
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Keeping the Flow – Stage #1 wollte schnell und flüssig gefahren werden. Flicks und Roosting deluxe!
Keeping the flow – Stage #1 was for rapid and fluid riding. Flicks and roosting deluxe!
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Take it easy! Rockgardens wie dieser trennten die Spreu vom Weizen bereits in der langen ersten Stage.
Take it easy! Rock gardens, such as this one, separated the wheat from the chaff right from the gun.
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Pro Frauen kennen nichts:
The Pro females show how it’s done: Alison Crocker doesn’t hesitate before taking the drop at the end of the 50-metre rock garden.
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Enduro wie es im Buch steht: Uphill vor allem in den Transfers, die Stages blieben relativ abfahrtsorientiert. Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel.
Enduro as it should be done: the timed stages focused on the descents, and the uphills were largely confined to the transfer stages. But the exceptions confirm the rules.
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Flow und Spass meilenweit: Highlands sogenannten XC Trails sind selten gut und schreien nach ausreichend Federweg.
Flow and fun for miles: the so-called XC Trails in the Highland Bike Park are exceptionally good and cry out for more travel.
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That’s racing! Minor issues, catastrophic mechanicals, and sweat-inducing transfer stages belong to any good race! The Triple Crown Enduro is no exception.
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Vor der Stage ist nach der Stage: Triple Crown macht keinen unnoetigen Stress. Zwischen den Etappen  bleibt Zeit fuer Wichtiges und jeder startet wann er will.
Pre-stage/post-stage chatter: The Triple Crown Enduro races are stress-free and you’ve got time between each stage to catch up, and start the clock on the following stage in your own time.
Team Granite approved! Die Jungs sind verdammt schnell und am Ende alle drei unter den 30-39 Jährigen Amateuren.
Team Granite approved! These guys are super quick and managed to get all three into the top 10 of the 30-39 amateur category – congrats!
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Stage #4 is gnarly. Your power is close to maxing out after two hours of hardcore racing, and then you are faced with the serious techy DH tracks in the bike park. Rock gardens and rock faces at a rate of knots.
Heal well! Adam Snyder bezahlt den traurigen Preis fuer ein schnelles Race auf Stage #4. Der BMC Trailcrew Fahrer muss mit gebrochenem Arm und Handgelenk eine Zwangspause einlegen.
Heal well! BMC Trailcrew’s Adam Snyder pays for his speed on stage #4, sacrificing his title ambitions and heading home with a broken arm and wrist instead.
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Stage #4 fordert seinen Tribut.  Der Baum kann dank Fullface und routiniertem Abrollverhalten keinen Schaden anrichten!  Alles gut!
Stage #4 takes it toll on the riders. Fortunately in this case the rider and the tree separated amicably thanks to the full-face helmet and masterful crash exit.
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Finish! Dank Eastern States Cup Zeitnahme-Knowhow und Zusammenarbeit mit Triple Crown Enduro werden die Helden des Tages schnell bestimmt.
Finish! Thanks to the Eastern States Cup timekeeping know-how and cooperation with the East Coast’s indispensable George Ulmer, the heroes were ready to be crowned that evening.
Dedication: mit seinem Canyon Strive kommt dieser Mann aus Hong Kong extra fuer ein Triple Crown Race angereist. So gut sind die Trails hier...
We love ENDURO: Aussie Vincent Wong came especially from Hong Kong with his Canyon Strive! Respect!
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The crowd is waiting! Accurate time keeping and official results demand some patience, but two hours later the victors are definite.
Kroenender Abschluss einer gelungen Rennveranstaltung: Highland Bike Park Raceorga und Hugh Reynolds von Triple Crown Enduro küren die stolzen Sieger.
The crowning glory after a super successful race! Highland Bike Park owner Marc and Triple Crown Enduro organizer Hugh call out the winners.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner under 14 Boys.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner 15-18 Amateur Men.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner 19-29 Amateur Men.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner 30-39 Amateur Men.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner Amateur Women.
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Triple Crown Overall Winner Pro Women.
Triple Crown Overall Winner Pro Men.
Triple Crown Overall Winner Pro Men.
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Puenktlich zur Kroenungszeremonie kommt auch die Sonne raus und taucht New Hampshires goldene Waelder in sein beruehmtes Licht.
As if on cue for the crowning ceremony, New Hampshire’s forests are basked in their infamous golden autumn light as the sun emerges.

Triple Crown Enduro

Triple Crown Enduro Facebook

Highland Mountain Bike Park, New Hampshire

Words and Photos: Steffen Gronegger

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