On an unseasonably warm day, New England’s best cyclocross racers invaded the Chocksett Middle School in Sterling, Massachusetts for the first day of the Bay State Cyclocross Weekend. This weekend’s racing, the twelfth and thirteenth races in the Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series, has traditionally fallen on the last weekend of November and is often marked by frozen off-cambers and an icy run up. This year, however, the temperatures reached well into the 60’s as over 500 racers took on the classic, Tom Stevens-designed course. The Saturday’s course features the infamous horse-jump, a run up with a technical approach, stairs, planks and enough off-cambers to reward only the most technically sound racers.
From the start, Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles) grabbed the holeshot and drove the early pace. Wellons, a past winner of the Verge Series, has been coming onto form and was joined by Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom p/b C3), Sally Annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles) and a trio of LadiesFirst Racing women in Andrea Smith, Crystal Anthony and Elle Anderson. A late first-lap crash by Van Gilder caused a bit of a disruption in the group, leaving Wellons behind and forcing Anderson to chase.
As the race wore on, the group of four – Van Gilder, Anthony, Smith and Annis, were testing one-another, but were mainly fighting for position through the most technical parts of the course. With a lap and a half to go, Anthony had a disaster of a mechanical – a broken fork after a poor pass through the planks, forcing her to run nearly half a lap, leaving the group at the front at three. With a fairly straightforward finale, the ball was clearly in Van Gilder’s court. Annis attempted to make a gap, but Van Gilder overtook her and led the race into the final turn, holding off Annis and Smith with relative ease. Annis came across second, ahead of Smith. Elle Anderson crossed the line fourth with Wellons in fifth. Anthony, despite her long run held on for sixth.
This weekend’s racing is the final tune up for Justin Lindine (bikereg.com/Joe’s Garage) coming into the Shimano Series finale next weekend. He’s been a bit off of his early season form and was hoping to return to his winning ways at Bay State. Dylan McNicholas (cyclocrossworld.com), of course, had other plans.
McNicholas, as he is accustomed, took the reigns of the race from the gun, leading into the first run up, when he and Jerome Townsend (SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley) got tangled up. This tangle allowed the JAM Fund/NCC prodigal son, Jeremy Durrin an opportunity that he quickly seized. Durrin rode the first two laps alone off the front, with a small group chasing. Behind, the chase was between Lindine, Townsend and McNicholas, the latter two back to form following their crash up. As the laps went on, Durrin was brought back, largely through Lindine’s hard charging and unceremoniously shot out the back. The front was, then, Lindine, Townsend and McNicholas, with Durrin driving to regain the leaders along with Canadian, Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory).
The leaders were a battle of small mistakes, with Townsend and McNicholas both bobbling on the stairs, with Townsend forced to pit twice. The second time Townsend was forced to pit, Lindine and McNicholas got a gap and held it for the final lap and a half. At the front, McNicholas and Lindine were working together until the last half lap, when Lindine pulled through and attempted to create space, but McNicholas held fast to the wheel through the final corner. McNicholas came around Lindine in an all-out sprint for the victory. Townsend held on for third ahead of Durrin. Gagne maintained fifth ahead of Adam Myerson (SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley) and Joseph Welsh (Raleigh All Stars).
Racing will pick back up on Sunday with the finale of the Bay State Cyclocross Weekend. Follow the weekend on Twitter @VergeNECCS. The weekend’s hashtag will be #BaystateCX.
Top 10 Women
1. Laura Van Gilder (C3 pb Mellow Mushroom)
2. sally annis (crossresults.com p/b JRA cycles)
3. Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing)
4. Elle Anderson (LadiesFirst Racing)
5. Rebecca Wellons (Quad Cycles)
6. Crystal Anthony (LadiesFirst Racing)
7. catherine sterling (Bikeman.com)
8. Emma White (NYcross.com)
9. Stacey Barbossa (Elite Endurance Training Systems)
10. Jena Greaser (NorEast Cycling)
Top 10 Men
1. Dylan Mcnicholas (cyclocrossworld.com)
2. Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage)
3. Jerome Townsend (SmartStop / MockOrangeBikes pb Ridley)
4. Jeremy Durrin (J.A.M. Fund / NCC)
5. Raphael Gagné (Rocky Mountain Factory)
6. Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis presented by SmartStop)
7. Joseph Welsh (RALEIGH ALL STARS)
8. Christian Favata (RGM WATCHES – RICHARD SACHS)
9. Nathaniel Ward ()
10. Dan Chabanov (RGM WATCHES – RICHARD SACHS)