The sun shone down on the Verge NECCS Sunday in New Gloucester, but the mud hung like a black cloud over the head of many racers. Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles) and Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix), on the other hand, had great days in the saddle, each doubling up on the weekend and extending their series leads.
On Saturday, the racers were greeted with a nagging, persistent rain, deep, slick mud and cold temperatures. Bruno-Roy and Timmerman proved to be the toughest through the storm.
A bit of chaos in the start of the elite women’s race left Bruno-Roy and Amanda Carey (Kenda/trainwitheric.com) chasing from the back. Taking advantage, Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chaussures/Ogilvy), Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles/NoTubes) and Minuteman Road Club riders Andrea Smith and Anna Barensfeld quickly formed a group and opened a gap on the rest of the field. It appeared that there would be a repeat of the first two rounds of the series in Vermont as Elliott began to ride away from the group. Right at home in the mud, Bruno-Roy fought back to reach the chase group and she, McConneloug, Smith and Carey began to put pressure on Elliott. With some aggressive riding from Bruno-Roy, Smith was dropped from the chase group shortly before they brought back Elliott. Once the catch was made, there was no stopping the mud-loving Bruno-Roy who came into the last set of sloppy off-camber turns with Carey and Elliott on her wheel. She managed to navigate the corners smoothly and put some space behind her as Carey muscled away from Elliott for second.
Unlike the women’s race, the men’s race was, in fact, a repeat of the weekend in Vermont with Timmerman powering away from the field on the first lap, creating a gap of fifteen seconds and never looking back. Behind Timmerman was a serious battle between Luke Keough (Team Champion System) and Derrick St. John (Garneau/Club Chassures/Ogilvy). Behind them was a powerful group with Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) and bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage/IF riders Jerome Townsend and Justin Lindine. With two to go, St. John had faded and it seemed that the podium would be sealed but Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) put on a charge of epic proportions, blowing through seemingly comfortable gaps into third position on the road. As Dillon passed Lindine, there was still a minute up the road to Keough, but Dillon was seeing red and closed into within mere bike lengths at the finish with an emphatic third.
The Masters was a race among three giants in the field. Westwood Velo’s national champion Roger Aspholm and Corner Cycle’s dynamic duo, Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines took off from the gun and left the rest of the field in their wake. Knowing the Corner Cycle riders to be stronger handlers and with the course rapidly deteriorating, Aspholm put the pressure on early in the race and at one point, it looked like he may have had Bold on the verge of falling away. After his spot of bother, Bold returned with a vengeance, regaining the pair at the front and riding away from Aspholm with his teammate. The last three laps had Bold and Hines matching each other move for move, extending their lead over Aspholm. At the finish, the pair crossed the line together, hands in the air with Bold crossing first and pulling on the leader’s jersey. Aspholm maintained his third place to keep him in second in the overall standings.
The U-19 juniors race was quickly sorted out as the Joshua Lehmann show, with the Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving racer riding away from everyone. The chase was led by Jesse Keough (Corner Cycle) and Tommy Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) with Keough dropping Goguen with two to go. When it all finished, Lehmann had over a minute on Keough with Goguen over two and a half minutes back.
On Sunday, Bruno-Roy kept herself upright through the start of the race, but that was the only change from Saturday as she dominated from the gun to the finish. On the first half lap, she had pushed out a twelve second lead and never looked back. Behind the surging Bruno-Roy was a chase group much like on the day before with McConneloug, Elliott, Smith and Carey. On the second to last lap, the gaps among the chasers began to open with McConneloug and Elliott securing the second and third steps of the podium, leaving Smith and Carey behind for fourth and fifth, respectively.
The elite men began with a flurry of surprises, not the least of which was the early attack of Kirt Fitzpatrick of team Sexual Camel. Taking advantage of a pileup on a muddy downhill, Fitzpatrick attacked, leaving the field in his wake. With four to go, he held a lead of ten seconds on a group of Mike Broderick (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes), Keough, Gavin Mannion (Hot Tubes Junior Development Team) and Lindine. It was not to be as a resurgent Timmerman came through the chase group, followed by a red-hot St John. The attacks caused a reshuffling at the top with Lindine taking the lead and opening a gap on Timmerman of nearly thirty seconds. With three to go, Mannion had been pushed off the back of his chase group as St John rode through the competition with a vengeance. St John had moved into third place on the road when he fell victim to one of the many broken derailleurs on the day with only half a lap to go, he managed to slog through on foot and hold on for eighth. Lindine seemed to be in control, coming through the pit but Timmerman found another gear and threw down, catching Lindine in the woods halfway through the bell lap. When the two came to the pavement, Timmerman led with Lindine glued to his wheel, poised to come around. Dan Timmerman once again set a pace that could not be matched and Lindine settled for a strong second. Shortly behind, Mannion pulled some late-race heroics as well, recatching Keough and holding him at bay for third and victory in the U-23 field. Another Sachs rider, Dillon, who had for a second day mashed his way through the field, ran out of time finishing fifth in front of the surprise of the day, Fitzpatrick. Keough’s fourth place pushed him past the absent Tim Johnson into second overall in the elite series, while holding onto his U-23 leader’s jersey.
The masters’ race seemed poised to be a repeat of yesterday with Bold and Hines of Corner Cycle and Aspholm from Westwood Velo dominating the field. From the beginning the three were off the front but today Bold was not able to dial the course quite as well as Hines and Aspholm, falling back to a chase group of three on the third lap. Aspholm and Hines rode like two champions, matching each other through every section of the course, unable to create any space until the final lap, when Aspholm turned on the gas, securing yet another NECCS victory. Bold’s group with Curtis Boivin (Planet Bike) and Kurt Perham (bikeman.com) held together until the final paved stretch as Bold showed his prowess with an emphatic third leaving Perham fourth and Boivin fifth. The victory catapulted Aspholm back into the series leader’s jersey with Bold and Hines close behind.
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be contested over 7 weekends in 2009, starting with the New England Cross-toberfest of Cycling: 3 straight weekends of UCI calendar racing to be held in Williston VT, Gloucester MA, and Providence RI. After a weekend of much needed rest, the series will continue with stops in New Gloucester ME on Oct 24, Northampton MA on Nov 7, Sterling MA on Nov 28, and the series finale in Warwick RI on Dec 5. This year series is generously supported by Verge Sport, makers of fine cycling clothing and products since 1993; by Cycle-Smart, purveyors of personalized cycling coaching and solutions for riders across the country; by BikeReg.com, the official online registration service of the NECCS; by Paul Weiss Photo/Video, the official photographer of the NECCS, by October Handmade Bicycles, and by Ryders Eyewear. You can visit these sponsors and get more information on the series by going to the web at http://www.cycle-smart.com/neccs.
Complete results here
Report by Jeff Bramhall, NECCS Media Coordinator