by Marc Bertucco
After a largely “embro-free” season of sunny skies, short-fingered gloves and file-treads, the freezing rain is predicted to fall on November 23 during the opening day of UCI C2 racing at the Supercross Cup, just 34 miles north of New York City.
With no other UCI racing on tap this weekend, some of the country’s top ’crossers will be slogging it out in the shadows of Harriman State Park’s Bear Mountain. On the men’s side, Tim Johnson (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) are the prohibitive favorites (especially if muddy conditions prevail) for the top two steps of the podium. The battle for bronze looks to be equally, if not more, exciting. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders:
Anthony Clark (Jam Fund/NCC) along with teammate Stephen Hyde, Clark is having a breakthrough year already taking third places in two UCI races (Full Moon Vista & HPCX). But, standing tall next to the likes of Johnson and Berden this weekend? That would be a career achievement.
Mike Garrigan (Van Dessel) can always be counted on to ensure a blisteringly fast opening lap. This year, we’ve seen—with 3 UCI podiums, including a win last week at Kutztown—that he’s got staying power too. Look for the Canadian to be a legitimate threat for the podium, especially if it’s muddy.
Shawn Milne (Keough Cyclocross p/b Felt Bicycles) has had his share of “double-legit, this-dude-is-for-reals” results in 2013, including a win on day two of the Cycle-Smart International. Milne finished second on the first day at Cyclesmart International, and finished in seventh place on the opening day of Jingle Cross. But he’s also logged in results in the teens and twenties. Which Shawn Milne shows up this weekend remains to be seen.
Jeremy Durrin (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) was “the little engine that could” in 2012/2013, as he racked up top results as an amateur racing in the UCI Elite fields. This year, as a “full-on pro,” he’s struggled to put all the pieces together for the kind of results we know are possible. This may be his weekend to shine.
Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis), on his best form in years, just may be the dark (and tattooed) horse for this weekend. Race organizer and course designer Myles Romanow typically creates courses that demand good handling skills, as well as strength and fitness. And there are few better bike drivers than the cagey vet.
Stephen Hyde (Jam Fund/NCC) had stunning early season success, including besting the likes of no less than Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist) in Baltimore, but injuries have kept him from pinning on a race number since his DNF at the Cycle-Smart International.
Kerry Warner, Jr (MOB CX Team) is the reigning Division I Collegiate Cyclocross champion, and despite a light cx racing schedule in 2013, he still managed to score an eighth place on day one of Cincy3. Fresh legs may rule the day come this weekend. Stay tuned!
Despite boasting a healthier payday for the top 15 UCI Elite Women, the Supercross Cup field, as of publication, looks to be a largely regional battle.
Laura Van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers) will be looking to extend her winning streak to five races in a row. While Van Gilder has won no less than seven of her last eight races, that doesn’t mean she won’t have competition.
Arley Kemmerer (C3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.), 15th in the opening round of the World Cup just one month ago, has come in second to Van Gilder for the past two weekends in a row. It’s hard to imagine she’s not extra motivated to reverse the trend.
Much like the men’s race, the battle for third appears to be a little more wide open.
Emma White (Cyclocrossworld.com) has proven to be a consistent performer, racking up top-6 placings (including third at Cycle-Smart International on day two) in her last four UCI races.
However, racing much more recently than White, Amanda Carey (Stan’s No Tubes Elite) went out to Jingle Cross and came back with two top-10 performances against the likes of Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles).
Finally, the field will ignore local standout Stacey Barbossa (NY/NJ Colavita Women’s Team) at their own peril. Just two weeks ago, Barbossa placed fifth at the UCI C2 HPCX race suggesting that she’s finding her form just in time for a Supercross Cup showdown.