With New England’s Holy Week comfortably in the rearview mirror, the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series takes a weekend off before taking on the Downeast Cyclocross Weekend at Pineland Farm in New Gloucester, Maine. As in years past, the Verge Series has brought out some of the strongest competition in the country in all types of conditions and on all styles of courses. Given the strength and depth of the fields through the first seven races, the Verge Series has to be considered the premier amateur and development series in the country.
Portsmouth Trek’s Ellen Noble leads the Amateur Women’s series coming off double victories at both the Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester and the Providence Cyclocross Festival presented by Interbike. Noble has been a revelation this year, at only 15 years old, she’s stormed onto the scene and dominated. Lori Cooke (Cycle Lodge) is in second place of the Amateur Women. Cooke leads the 35+ division, having picked up three wins, including a double in Providence. Neither Cooke nor Noble can sit back as former Masters World Champion Kathy Savary of Blue Steel Cyclery is coming on to form and will be dangerous in the second half of the season.
The Junior 15-18 set has dominated the Amateur Men’s series. Nate Morse (cyclocrossworld.com) and Peter Goguen (Team CF) have traded leadership several times already in this young season with Morse’s win on the second day in Providence giving him leadership in the week off.
A new name has taken charge of the Master’s 35+ series in Brian Wilichoski (cyclocrossworld.com). This is his first year racing among the masters and Wilichoski has taken to it well, being on or near the podium in each race. He’s holding on to a slim lead over perennial contender Kevin Hines (Corner Cycle).
The Masters 45+ series is shaping up to be a two-horse race between Paul Richard of cyclocrossworld.com and Corner Cycle’s Sam Morse. Richard’s three early-season wins have given him the edge, but Morse has a history of improving as the season wears on. This race is sure to come down to the finale in Warwick.
The 55+ field has been utterly dominated by two men, Tim Groesbeck (CCB) and living legend Paul Curley (Gear Works/Spin Arts) have won each of the races thus far this season. Curley has taken five victories out of seven races, but his absence at Gloucester has hurt his chances at the overall. Groesbeck, meanwhile, has been the first runner-up in each race save for Gloucester, where he took the top step of the podium. These two seasoned veterans will be gunning for each other for the rest of the season.
Racing in the Verge Series will resume on the 22nd and 23rd of October at one of the true gems of New England cyclocross. Pineland Farm in New Gloucester, Maine will once again host the Downeast Cyclocross Weekend. This year’s edition is sure to be the best one yet. Following on the heels of last year’s successes, the courses will once again be defined by the unique terrain – offering challenging off-cambers, the fast dirt road through the woods and, of course, the pass through the barn. Pineland Farm has really stepped their involvement in the event up, offering a free shuttle bus between the race venue and the farm market and deli near the entrance. They’ve stoked the market with all the staples of cross racing, from hearty sandwiches and local produce to the finest of American and imported craft beers and wine. Of course, the racing isn’t all there is to Downeast Cyclocross Weekend – located only two hours from Boston and only half an hour from Portland, there’s something for everyone. The race’s spot on the calendar means foliage is at its peak, while the LL Bean factory store and Kittery outlet malls are nearby for pre- and post- race shopping.
John Grenier, the head promoter of the event, is confident that this year will offer an even better race experience than ever. “Pineland Farm is excited for us to be back. We’re excited to offer one of the best courses in New England and to host a strong, international field in one of the most scenic and spectator-friendly venues anywhere.”