Baystate Cyclocross weekend, Rounds 9 & 10 of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series, stands out as one of the toughest cyclocross courses in the country, drawing top-notch racers from around the country to test themselves against Baystate’s challenging terrain. Notorious course designer Tom Stevens weaves together difficult off-camber stretches, barely rideable punchy climbs, and twisting turns to form a classic New England cyclocross race course. At day one of racing here today, frigid morning temperatures, midday warming sun, and a return to brutal cold by the afternoon caused the course to change lap by lap for each of the ten races today.
Emma White (Cyclocrossworld.com) took the holeshot in the Elite women’s race, and immediately took command of the field. Elle Anderson (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized), USA Cycling’s ProCX points leader, stuck to White’s wheel as the two created a gap. The pressure splintered the field, and Crystal Anthony (Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies) was left alone trying to chase the leaders in third spot. An organized chase formed behind Anthony, including other favorites: Laura Van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom Pizza), Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles), Arley Kemmerer (C3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.), and Amanda Carey (Stan’s Notubes Elite).
Anderson made a decisive move with two to go, launching an attack to leave White behind. Meanwhile, the chase group was unable to reel in the charging Anthony despite increasing their pace in the final laps, although that pace forced Carey to lose contact with the group. Anderson rode into a clean and controlled win, White claimed second, and Anthony third. Laura Van Gilder took the sprint ahead of Kemmerer and Bruno Roy.
“The level of racing here is incredible,” said Anthony of her peers in today’s race. “This is really a quality field today. All my favorite new England racers are here!” agreed Anderson.
Like his sister, Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) was the first into the twisting corners of the course in the Elite men’s race, with a very motivated Jeremy Durrin (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) just behind him. The two were quickly joined to form a lead group including Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus), Robert Marion (American Classic Pro CX Team), Christian Favata (TRT Bicycles p/b Stans No Tubes), Dan Timmerman (House Industries – Richard Sachs), and Shawn Milne (Keough Cyclocross p/b Felt Bicycle), who traded attacks until White escaped in the fifth lap. White’s gap grew, but Durrin mustered to chase down the young racer.
Once Powers also committed to the chase, the lead group split as the chase hurtled toward White. White would not be overtaken easily, hanging on for another lap, but Powers prevailed. Powers attacked repeatedly, eventually dropping White as Durrin also slid a few seconds back. Powers rode alone for the final lap leading into his victory, with White following for second. Durrin continued his turn-around following a frustrating early season with a third-place podium finish.
In the premier amateur cyclocross series in the US, the Verge New England Cyclocross Series, today’s racers exhibited amazing prowess in technically challenging conditions. Ryley Mosher (WheelWorks) and Daniel John Vaughn (Corning/No Tubes/Swan Cycles) retain the 10-14 Juniors jerseys in the girls’ and boys’ divisions. Stephen Pierce (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) retains his lead in the category 3 men’s division, while teammate Alec Donahue relinquishes his command in the 35+ men’s category to Mike Magur (Verge Sport). Ian Keough (Keough Cyclocross p/b Felt Bicycles) retains the lead in the Juniors 15-18 category. Former points leader Peter Goguen and teammate Austin Vincent held over a minute lead on third place in today’s race, though, so look for Goguen to make a resurgence. Melissa Seib (Bikeman) holds a strong lead in the amateur women’s field, while Alisa Allegrini (Nantucket Velo) appears similarly unstoppable in the 35+ masters women’s field. 45+ leader Roger Aspholm (Finkraft Cycling Team) retains the series jersey, and 55+ leader Al Blanchard (Finkraft Cycling Team) also keeps that jersey.
Complete results on crossresults.com