Thursday, September 23, 2010

Verge New England Cyclocross Series #1 and #2, Vermont

We have some great venues for cross in New England but this one is the most scenic (sorry Gloucester):

The view from the top is even better, but I didn't have my camera with me then

In the elite men's ranks, it was the Tim Johnson show both days as no one else could hold his wheel.  The cast of characters that tried included the cream of the New England crop as well as Danish, Italian, and Canadian contenders.  Tim, the current US National Champion, simply rode everyone off his wheel within the first two laps of racing both days.  I guess it was worth it to miss the national pro championships for two wins.  Here is Tim post-race Sunday:

The women's elite races were more competitive and saw first time winners at the UCI level.  On Saturday the new team took their first UCI and Verge victories with Sally Annis.  The Ladies First crew was well represented also and took second spot with Crystal Anthony.  Mo Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill) and Crystal rode together until the end and they had a very close sprint for second and third a little more than half a minute after Sally crossed the line.  Crystal surprised all, maybe even Mo, by leading it out and gently shutting the door on Mo in an out of the saddle sprint that didn't quite follow a strait line to the banner.  Mo tried to go by on the right but Crystal wisely took that line away with a gradual fade to the right that was just enough to close the door but not so much that the officials took offense.  Neither did Mo for that matter.  It was more savvy than I would have expected from a triathlete with relatively little road sprinting experience.

Day two for the women was an open book with both Sally and Mo not taking part.  Sally was at the Portsmouth crit and Mo was making preparations for Cross Vegas.  The Ladies First team took full advantage and, along with Sara Breznick Zocchi ( and Rebecca Blatt (Silver Bull) separated themselves from the field.  SBZ was in the lead group until just before the last lap started but had a mechanical and lost several places while in the pit.  Rebecca also lost several spots and fell out of podium contention while making a pit stop of her own.  In the end it was Ladies First sweeping the top four spots: Andrea Smith, Ann D'Ambruoso, Christina Tamilio, and Crystal Anthony.  SBZ and Rebecca rounded out the top six.

The Masters 35 plus races had a familiar look to them with Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo), Johnny Bold, and Kevin Hines (both Corner Cycle) setting the pace.  Roger took the win by comfortable margins both days with Kevin second both days.  On Saturday, Bold was third, but on Sunday Kurt Perham ( showed excellent form in taking third with Jonny just off the podium.  It looks like it is going to be another battle in the Verge series this year, but Roger has the early advantage with 8 races to go.  Look for Jonny to get stronger as he recovers from a nasty crash at Masters Road Nationals a month or so ago.  Kevin is probably in top form having recently captured a silver medal at Masters Mountain Bike Worlds, it remains to be seen if he is already at peak form or still building. Here is Kevin, Jonny, and team mate Jamey Tosca warming up on the trainers:

I have no idea what they are looking at.

While we are at it, here is Gewilli doing the same:

Those guys must have been looking at Gewilli

Saturday was the first time I have tried to both race (Cat 4 masters) and announce at a Verge race.  I don't think I'll try it again because I was exhausted by the end of the day.  Announcing takes more energy than you might think and all the caffeine in Vermont can't help you sort out the many random thoughts that pop into your head while announcing, some of which are useful and some of which are just stupid and need to be filtered before they reach your mouth.  Fortunately, Alan Cote was the other announcer so it wasn't so obvious (I hope) that I was dragging by the time the elite men's race was going.  I decided not to let that happen again Sunday and skipped my race so I could do a better job announcing.  In Saturday's race I was doing ok despite a course that didn't suit me very well.  It seemed like it was all climbing.  Let's just say that my power to weight ratio is skewed a little more toward weight than it should be and leave it at that.  I was sitting at about mid field halfway through the race when I rolled my rear tire.  It was only a 6 inch section so I rolled it back on and soft pedalled to the pit.  Unfortunately, I had just passed the pit when it rolled and had to do just about the longest ride to the pit that was possible on the course.  I lost a bunch of places but Mark (Bicycle Support by Mark) got me out of the pit quickly once I got there.  Back in the race, I made up several of the spots that I had lost, but still finished pretty far down and didn't make my goal of finishing in the top half of the field. Oh well.  There's lots more races coming up and I feel stronger than last year.  We'll see how it goes at something flat like Sucker Brook.

That's all for now.  Sorry I am not doing recaps of all the other categories but I need to cut down the length of time it takes me to get these things done this season or I'm not likely to do any blogging at all.

Thanks for reading, and leave me a comment if you made it this far.  It's the only way I have of feeling the love since I have no idea how to put a hit counter on this thing (anyone?).