By Lloyd Jones
BARTLETT — Peter Ostroski is continuing to make strides in the world of mountain biking. The Intervale resident recently wrapped up his season — a season that saw him compete for his country in a pair of World Cup races in Europe and then traveling through Canada and the United States posting impressive results along the way.
In May Ostroski spent two weeks representing the United States in a pair of World Cup races, first in Altstadt, Germany and the following weekend in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. Both races saw him garner top 75 results — not bad considering most of the competitors were a lot further along in their training that Ostroski, who spent last winter in Girdwood, Alaska where he said he "learned to train and eat right" in preparation of the grueling life of a mountain bike racer.
Ostroski, the son of Ann and Phil Ostroski of Intervale, came into 2013 ranked 104th in the world in Men's Elite Cross Country mountain bike racing at the end of 2012, but 10th overall for U.S. men in the sport, which is usually a 16- to 24-mile multiple lap race on a mountain bike contested over trails, bush or forest roads, tracks, etc. He's expected to crack the top 100 when final placings are revealed next month.
This season, aside from the main cross country races, Ostroski got on the bike in a new eliminator race the day before his main races. The cross-country eliminator (XCE) is a new mountain bike race format in which four riders compete against each other in each heat. The two fastest riders get to the next round while the two slower riders are eliminated from the race. The format differs from the classic cross-country race both in its sprint character and the separation of the race into heats. The 500 to 1,000 meter short track itself is similar to cross-country tracks, going both uphill and downhill.
"The eliminator was OK but I almost missed my start because the men's numbers started at 38 or something not 1," Ostroski said of the first eliminator in the Czech Republic. "But I made it and did not qualify for the final races."
Ostroski said the first World Cup featured some trying conditions.
"The cross county (race) was a wet and muddy race, with about 128 people, I think," he said. "The course really choked out at the start so the back of the pack was standing around while the leaders were riding along. Anyway I was way behind at the start. I tried to make up as much as possible but didn't quite have the legs on the super steep climbs. I was making up time on the technical slick downhills but not enough. All in all it was OK considering, but not the results I was hoping for."
Ostroski was a nine-time All America skier at Plymouth State University; a two-time Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon champion; was honored as a sophomore at Plymouth State as its Male Athlete of the Year in 2009; has won a host of mountain bike races including the 24-Hours of Great Glen and the popular Porky Gulch; and was a two-time New Hampshire state skimeister while at Kennett High.
Following Europe, Ostroski returned to the United States and kept on peddling.
"Since Europe I have been on the road traveling the U.S. and Canada racing Enduro, and going on some exciting adventures in cool places," he said and outlined his travels. "The itinerary looked like this: from Europe I was back in New Hampshire for five days then to Vancouver for riding/photo shoot trip; one Bend, Oregon for a Oregon Enduro Series race — I was 10th.
"Then off to Montana for some riding/training; then Sun Valley, Idaho, where I had a serious laceration mid-race that required 12 stitches, ended up sixth there," Ostroski continued. "Then to Keystone, Colo., for a North American series race — I was 21st; then back to New Hampshire for a week; then to Park City where we raced at the Canyons for a North American race that went well — I was ninth overall in a pretty stacked field (he was fourth on one of the stage). Then to Winter Park, Colo., for the first World Cup Enduro on American soil ever. With the best in the world competing in a three day event I was 38th (there were nearly 800 total athletes representing over 20 countries at the championships). Then off to Canada, five days spent in Vancouver and two weeks in Whistler. The World Cup at Whistler went well, I was 23rd out of about 110 competitors, in definitely what was the most technical race of the season."
Ostroski continued to roll.
"Did a little trip to Alaska for some photos and riding recon at the end of August, then flew down to Mount Hood, Oregon for a race on Sept 7-8," he said. "This was also a North American series race. We did one day at Sandy Ridge trails down the road from Mt. Hood, the a day on Mt. Hood proper and an afternoon stage at ski bowl mountain across the valley. I was then home for two weeks at the beginning of September, trying to work and train. I then flew to Utah for our last North American race in Moab, which was awesome. I had a great first day with a fourth place stage result and fifth after the first day. Then on Sunday, on a brutally long stage, I punctured a tire. Kinda bad luck but was still happy on the weekend. So its been super busy but an awesome experience to compete at these events and this new format of Enduro seems to really fit my style of riding."
It costs roughly $10,000 to $12,000 per season for a competitive racer for travel, lodgings and entry fees. Donations can be sent to the Peter Ostroski Race Fund, P.O. Box 6, Intervale, N.H. 03845.
"The support I've gotten from the community has been great," Ostroski said. "I really appreciate the support from our community, local businesses, and individuals who have made an effort to help out. I hope I can continue to represent the valley well. ... Thanks to Jean Lee and everyone who helped get the fund-raising efforts off the ground last year, That really set up a platform and made a world of difference in helping me to get to where I am now. Also thanks to Rocky Mountain Bicycles for the team support."
It's not too early to start thinking about next year and next season, and Ostroski is already plotting his next course.
"As for next season," he said with a smile, "yeah it's a bit far out but I am hoping to do a couple of the World Enduro Series races, possibly in Chile, Scotland, Italy or France. The North American Enduro Tour races, and hope to coordinate some trips to some epic places to ride/shoot. I should be figuring that soon as to what budget will be able to carry. Definitely would love to do some overseas racing again and keep the level high in terms of competition and adventure. I had a blast this season."