Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Cole Paton had a strong performance at Round 6 of the Pro XCT series, taking a win and a second-place finish over two days of racing at the Julbo Eastern Grind in Catamount, Vermont.
The Pro XCT is the national series for pro cross-country racing in the U.S. The Eastern Grind marked the first of this year’s series to be held on the East Coast, following three rounds in California earlier this spring and two others in the western U.S.
“The Julbo Eastern Grind is a great addition to the Pro XCT circuit,” Paton said. “The East Coast terrain offers much more technical riding that we rarely get to race on here in the U.S.”
The weekend featured two races for the elite men, a multi-lap XC on Saturday and a short track race on Sunday. Paton decided to ride his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 with Maestro suspension to handle the technical terrain, and the decision paid off with two podium placings. Paton also raced with the Giant Rev helmet and Charge XC shoes.
“I went with my Anthem and was glad I did with all the spaghetti-like roots that riddle the entire course,” Paton said. “I made a mistake and went down early in the XC race, falling a ways off the lead group. I dug deep throughout the race and made contact again. When it came down to the last lap our lead group started to fall apart. I couldn’t hang with Raphael Gagne [who would go on to win], but I held on for second, which was a big ride for me—especially with the valuable UCI points on the line.”
The next day Paton improved his finish by one spot, taking a big win the short track. “The course was flat and fast so I knew it would be a tactical race,” he said. “I again chose the Anthem because there were roots on the course and it allowed me to carry much more speed through those sections. I found a good inside line that no one else was taking and saved it for the last lap. I made my attack with one to go and was able to hold off a charging field to the line.”
The final race of the 2018 Pro XCT will be held in late August in Durango, Colorado, where Paton currently resides.