With the flurry of last-minute registration done, the fields for this weekend’s Cycle-Smart International will showcase some of the best cyclocross racers from the United States and beyond. At the close, over 1150 racers will be coming out to Northampton, MA, for rounds nine and ten of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series.

In the UCI Elite Men’s field, Richard Sachs/RGM/Radix rider Dan Timmerman will have to bring his A game both days to hold on to his series lead. Cannondale/ teammates Jamey Driscoll and Jeremy Powers, both of whom are having outstanding seasons, will be vying for the top step on the podium. Not to be outdone, pro mountain biker and 2008 Olympian Adam Craig of Team Giant will be making his first New England cross appearance since 2006. U-23 series leader Luke Keough (Team Champion System) will be looking to improve on his second-place behind Timmerman in Maine and to extend his series lead over Jerome Townsend (’s Garage/IF).

The UCI Elite Women draw a similarly powerful field. Series leader Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing) will have her hands full, trying to extend her lead over Canadian powerhouse Natasha Elliott (Garneau/Club Chaussure/Ogilvy). Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) will continue her return to domestic cyclocross with a trip to Northampton. McConneloug is coming off her first win of the season at Beacon Cross last weekend and with three second place finishes in Verge Series races this year, she is sure to come out firing. Also making her return to New England is C3/Athletes Serving Athletes racer Laura Van Gilder, who is sure to take a stab at victory on the fast Cycle-Smart International courses.

In other action, the three-way battle on top of the Masters 35+ field will resume as Johnny Bold (Corner Cycle), Kevin Hines (Corner Cycle) and current series leader and national champ, Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) are all slated to appear. The U-19 race will showcase the rivalry between Jesse Keough (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast), Joshua Lehmann (Sunapee/S&W/Continental Paving) and Nate Morse (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team). In the U-15 cub juniors, Austin Vincent (CL Noonan/KAM/Coast to Coast) and Minuteman Road Club’s Peter Goguen will likely continue their dominance and duel for the top two steps of the podium.

Not to be slept on, the Cycle-Smart Pick Up Party is going to happen on Friday night at 6 pm at the headquarters of Cycle-Smart and New England Bicycle Consulting in Easthampton, only a few miles from downtown Northampton. Beverages have been generously donated by Ramadon’s Package Store in Three Rivers, MA. In addition, there will be cyclocross videos, snacks, friendly faces, race numbers, pros and podium girls. Details, including directions and witty banter can be found here.

The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will be contested over seven weekends in 2009, starting with the New England Cross-toberfest of Cycling: Three straight 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, 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 NCCCS website.