Written by Cindy Brennan
Lancaster, MA (September 25, 2014) – The Holy Week of American Cyclocross began under the lights at the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross in Lancaster, Massachusetts last night. The nighttime race, now in its fourth year, drew top talent looking to prepare their legs for Rapha Super Cross Gloucester this weekend. In an unparalleled conjunction of exceptional races that can only happen in New England, Holy Week continues next week with Night Weasels in Central Massachusetts next Wednesday, followed by Providence’s KMC Cyclo-cross Festival.
“I’m amazed at how this race has grown in four years. It has exceeded my most optimistic expectations,” said Race Director Gary David. “Everyone had a great time. I saw many juniors out here racing on a school night, families hanging out together, children cheering on their parents, and we raised a lot of money for charity. I don’t think it could have gone any better. Hats off to the Bikeway Source/Bell Lap Racing club, NEBRA, and the other sponsors and volunteers, without whom none of this could be possible.”
Two-time European National Cyclocross Champion and Eight-time British National Cyclocross Champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) charmed New England, as she always does during her annual visit to the US. Her two-day cyclocross training camp with husband Stefan Wyman, called High Tea with Helen Wyman, offered riders of all levels a chance to learn from one of the greatest athletes in the sport.
“Helen and Stef make a great (and entertaining) team,” said participant Sharon Sloan. “This was my third year doing High Tea with Helen, and every year I learn something new and make more friends. Stef and Helen are a fabulous team,” agreed Lesli Cohen.
Helen continued to amaze during the Elite women’s race, maintaining control of the field before riding away on her own. Her technical skills helped her ride smoothly through the twisting turns of the classic New England course, as a chase mounted behind. Kate Northcott (Ness Team New England) and Catherine Sterling (Bikeman.com) charged ahead of the chase, fighting hard to reel Wyman back. Wyman scored a clean win, making this her third on this course. Norcott powered to the finish for second, while Sterling claimed third.
Further evidence of Wyman’s sportsmanship and dedication to growing the sport came during her cooldown lap. Wyman encountered the final beginner woman still left on the course, Alex Carleton, and despite the huge effort the top-level athlete had just put in to win, Wyman took time to coach the new racer through the final tricky turns of the course. The two came into the finishing stretch together, the European Champion and the category 4 beginner crossing the line with a friendly sprint.
“In that one lap, she encouraged me and she pushed me. What was impossible and terrifying for me during the 3 previous laps somehow became possible,” said Carleton of the opportunity to ride that last lap with Helen Wyman. “I was in awe of Helen’s generosity. I loved that I had the privilege of racing on the same course with amazingly talented women, including the two-time European Cyclocross Champion.”
The Elite men’s field took to the course next, stampeding through the dry, fast course. Jerome Townsend (Joe’s Garage CX p/b BikeReg.com) had an early gap, destroyed by an unfortunate flat. Townsend chased back on to the group of leaders, Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart), Todd Bowden (Trek Cyclocross Collective), and Peter Goguen (Team CF). The four set pace together, holding off a strong chase group determinedly hunting them down. After leading through the final barriers, Myerson, last year’s champion on this course, suffered an unfortunate crash in one of the last sharp corners, snapping his shifter. Goguen launched, out-sprinting Bowden in second and Townsend in third. Myerson managed fifth despite the mechanical.
The Midnight Ride of Cyclocross offered a Triple Crown prize for the second year running, awarding the racers participating in all available races and achieving the lowest combined place in those races. Adam St. Germain (ENGVT) won for his participation in Men’s Singlespeed, Men’s 2/3/4, and Elite Men’s races. Kerry Litka (The Velo Resource) took the women’s crown for Women’s Singlespeed and Women’s Elite categories.
Race highlights and interviews are up at DirtWire: http://dirtwire.tv/events/
New England’s Holy Week, the biggest week of racing in America, continues this weekend, September 27 and 28, at Rapha Super Cross Gloucester. Gloucester will be broadcast live on gnarlymonkey.com, and fans can also follow along live on Twitter at @VergeNECXS and @gpgloucester. News and updates will be posted regularly at cycle-smart.com/necxs and at gpgloucester.com.
Next Wednesday, October 1, The Night Weasels Cometh descends upon Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The hillside nighttime race offers pro athletes a chance to race a challenging and fun course between the two UCI weekends.
Then, on October 3-5, KMC Cyclo-cross Festival arrives in Providence, Rhode Island. Follow the race on Twitter at @providencecross and online at kmccrossfest.com. Saturday’s C1 races will be broadcast live on BTB TV in partnership with Bicycling Magazine.