McConneloug increases her lead in the first lap. © Paul Weiss

McConneloug didn't wait around for anyone. © Paul Weiss

The 19th annual Cycle-Smart International wrapped up a weekend of top-level UCI racing in Northampton this weekend. Blue skies and a fast, hard packed course greeted racers for the tenth round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series. As has become tradition on the course in Northampton, much of the course was reversed today with an off-camber descent turned into a difficult run- or ride-up and the steep ride-up becoming a fast drop-off into a raised track crossing. For many of the racers on course today, the second day of the Cycle-Smart International represents the pinnacle of New England cyclocross.

The Elite Women featured a tough battle between Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes), Laura Van Gilder (C3/Athletes Serving Athletes), Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chaussure/Ogilvy) and Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club). On the first lap, McConneloug used the mountain biking prowess that brought her to the Olympics to begin to pull away on the ride-up and once she went clear, she never looked back and soloed to another victory in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. Behind her, Van Gilder and Elliott were neck and neck the whole race, each having different strengths with Van Gilder taking the lead on the power sections and Elliott leading through the sinuous roots on the upper level of the course. Elliott’s tactic of keeping the pressure up in hopes of forcing her competition to make a mistake did not work, as Van Gilder was able to hold tight until the last lap. The final pass through the sand pit with a quarter lap left saw Van Gilder launch an attack, pulling clear and crossing the line second. Elliott was close behind in third; Andrea Smith came through alone for fourth.

Series leader Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing) came onto the finishing straight with Rebecca Wellons (Team Plan C) and Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (pedalpowercoaching.com/Landry’s Bicycles) and was not able to match their acceleration, finishing seventh, but holding onto the series lead.

Elite Men's first lap crash. © Paul Weiss

Elite Men's first lap crash. © Paul Weiss

For the second day of the weekend, carnage marked the beginning of the Elite Men’s race. This time, the crash came only twenty-five meters into the race as normal shoulder rubbing ended with an enormous pile-up that took down nearly half the field. Most of the noteworthy racers made it through cleanly with the exception of Adam Craig (Giant MTB Team) who emerged with a flat tire and broken shifter at the back of the field. Forced for the second day to fight back from a mechanical issue, Craig chased valiantly, showing his spirit and ended the day in ninth.

Adam Craig despite a first lap crash launches into the air and makes it back to the front. © Paul Weiss

Adam Craig launches. © Paul Weiss

At the front of the race, Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/cyclocrossworld.com), Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix) and race promoter Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) took an early lead. Driscoll led after the first lap and held a gap of only a few seconds on Myerson and Timmerman. Timmerman though, rolled a tire on the second lap, losing many positions, forcing him to claw his way back to defend his series leader’s jersey.  Timmerman rode like a man possessed and crossed the line seventh, in front of U-23 winner and series leader Luke Keough (Team Champion System). Myerson’s hopes were dashed when he flatted far from the pit and had to ride conservatively to stay in the game, eventually rolling through in 14th place.

At the front of the race, though, it was the Jamey Driscoll show. In a rare race without a teammate, Driscoll rode smoothly and efficiently, stretching his lead over a four-man chase group to over thirty seconds. As it became clear that the chase was not going to succeed, Nicholas Weighall (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) attacked, followed only by Derrick St John (Garneau/Club Chassure/Ogilvy). Without the rest of their chase group, Weighall and St John were able to get in sight of Driscoll, despite being five seconds apart themselves. At one point, going into the bell lap, Weighall got within ten seconds of the leader, it was as close as he would get though. Driscoll picked up his fist victory since Cross Vegas to go with seemingly countless podiums. Weighall pulled in second with St. John third.

The 35+ Masters race shook out differently than it had for most of the season with the lead group including more than just the duo from Corner Cycle – Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines – and Roger Aspholm. Joining them on Sunday were Curtis Boivin (Planet Bike), Kurt Perham (bikeman.com/pbmcoaching.com) and, for the second time on the weekend, Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix rider Matt Kraus. These six maintained a solid group for much of the race and it was only on the last lap that it started to shed racers, first Boivin, then Perham. Going into the bell lap, Hines loosed with an attack on the group but Kraus and Aspholm had other ideas and brought it back. Aspholm, desperate to regain his leader’s jersey lost on Saturday, launched an attack of his own on the final pass through the sand, creating a gap of a few bike lengths that he was able to hold to the finish, taking victory. Behind him, Kraus outsprinted Hines for second and his second podium of the weekend. Bold pulled in fourth and surrendered the leader’s jersey to Aspholm.

The Canadian trio from EMD Serono/Specialized of Evan McNeely, Conor O’Brien and Karl Hoppner and the Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team pair of Nate Morse and Curtis White dominated the U-19 juniors race. McNeely demonstrated his dominance with his fifth win in six Verge races ahead of his teammate O’Brien. Third and fourth spots were taken by Morse and White with Hoppner rounding out the top five.

Once again, U-15 phenom Austin Vincent from CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast’s strong development squad took a solo ride to victory ahead of Minuteman Road Club’s Peter Goguen. The battle of the day, as it often is, was for third and My Way racer Nicholas Catlin led Cooper Willsey from White’s Bikes/GMBC/Catamount over the line in a reversal of Saturday’s fortunes.

Today’s racing capped a great 19th anniversary for the oldest UCI race in America. Near record turnout, perfect weather and great competition left racers and spectators satisfied and energized. The Verge NECCS will resume in two weeks with the return of the Bay State Cyclocross Weekend in Sterling, Massachusetts on November 28 and 29.

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 straights 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.

Photo Gallery:


Full Results:

UCI Elite/U23 Men52 Starters
PlaceFirst NameLast NameTeamBibU23Time
1JameyDriscollCannondale/CycloCrossWorld.com21:01:15
2NicholasWeighallCalifornia Giant Berry Farms/Specialized131:01:27
3DERRICKST JOHNGarneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy41:01:32
4JoshDillonRICHARD SACHS – RGM WATCHES – RADIX71:01:42
5JustinLindineBikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / IF121:01:53
6WilliamDuganRICHARD SACHS – RGM WATCHES – RADIX101:02:34
7DanTimmermanRICHARD SACHS – RGM WATCHES – RADIX31:02:55
8LukeKeoughTeam Champion System811:02:55
9AdamCraigGiant MTB Team481:03:25
10JeromeTownsendBikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / IF921:03:42
11DylanMcNicholasCCB Racing141:03:51
12MannyGoguenBikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / IF2231:03:52
13NathanielWardBikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / IF201:04:43
14AdamMyersonCycle-Smart61:05:01
15EthanGilmourBelllapcoaching.com2741:05:04
16PeterBradshawEmbrocation Cycling Journal451:05:06
17ColinReuterInternational Bicycle/crossresults.com341:06:00
18davidwilcoxGeekhouse Bikes / Boston Rock Gym291:06:03
19JohnBurnsBikeman.com231:06:04
20ToddWheeldenKONA/OA/CycleMania211:06:08
21WayneBraySyracuse Bicycle / Spokepost.com241:06:34
22GregWhitneyBack Bay Bicycles / Espresso Royale Caffe371:07:05
23mitchellHokeCliff Bar Development Cyclo Cross Team4951:07:08
24TylerWrenBoo Bicycles111:07:09
25andrewcrooksNYC Velo391:07:24
26PeterRubijonoEmbrocation/IGLEHEART/MadAlchemy541:07:53
27ChristopherHamlinUVM Cycling411:08:06
28RickeyVisinskiEchappe Equipment Elite Team161:08:20
29MichaelReaNorEast Cycling531:08:30
30PETESMITHEmbrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchemy261:09:13
31matthewgreenSpooky bikes386
32JohnHansonIF/Lionette’s31
33JakeKeoughTeam Champion System15
34AdamSullivanCycle-Smart / NCC33
35KevinSweeneyInternational Bicycle Center32
36SorenKlingspornSignature Cycles / Rockstar Games51at 1 to go
37TomGosselinPeak Performance Multisport47at 1 to go
38MichaelJenksHighland Park Hermes p/b Kim’s Bike Shop30at 1 to go
39PierreVanden BorreEmbrocation Cycling Journal / Mad Alchemy43at 1 to go
40MackyFranklinPioneer Racing52at 2 to go
41AlistairSponselVan Dessel Factory Team46at 2 to go
42JoshuaFriedmanNYC Velo44at 2 to go
43MichaelNortonVerge Sport / Test Pilot40at 3 to go
DNFChrisGagnonMTBMind.com/Duratec50at 3 to go
DNFPatrickBradleyRutgers University Cycling Team25DNF
DNFNickKeoughTeam Champion System35DNF
DNFMattMainerUVM Cycling42DNF
DNFGavinMannionHot Tubes Junior Development Team1710DNF
DNFKirtFitzpatrickSexual Camel18DNF
DNFMichaelBroderickKENDA-Seven-NoTubes19DNF
DNFchristianfavataFavata’s Tablerock Tours and Bikes28DNF
DNFJohnPetersonbikebarnracing.com55DNF
UCI Elite Women25 starters
PlaceFirst NameLast NameTeamBibTime
1MaryMcConnelougKENDA-Seven-NoTubes60:38:43
2LAURAVAN GILDERC3 Athletes Serving Athletes30:38:52
3NATASHAELLIOTTGarneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy10:39:02
4AndreaSmithMinuteman Road Club50:39:27
5RebeccaWellonsTeam Plan C40:40:17
6SaraBresnick-ZocchiPedalpowercoaching.com/ Landrys Bicycles70:40:18
7MaureenBruno RoyMM Racing20:40:19
8AnnD’AmbruosoMinuteman Road Club150:40:28
9sallyannisHub Racing100:40:53
10AnnaBarensfeldMinuteman Road Club90:41:10
11AnnaMilkowskiBikeReg.com / Joe’s Garage / IF240:41:13
12LinneaKoonsOctober Factory Racing80:41:17
13ChristinaTamilioMinuteman Road Club170:41:32
14ArielleFilibertiDartmouth College230:41:55
15RebeccaBlattUS Army/ Central Wheel220:41:56
16KarinHolmesSunapee S&W200:41:57
17SarahKrzysiakSyracuse Bicycle/Spokepost.com210:42:33
18BETHMASONVerge Test Pilot140:42:56
19BrynaNestorAnthem Sports180:42:57
20MichelleKersbergenJoe’s Garage110:43:32
21CallieGordonCyclocrossworld.com260:43:34
22AllisonSnooksMinuteman Road Club160:44:00
23NataliaGardiolCambridge Bicycle / Igleheart Frames120:44:15
24MarilynRuseckasSeven Cycles190:44:56