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By Steve Frothingham
Under crystal blue skies with dry but chilly weather, the Bay State Cyclocrosswelcomed New England cyclocrossers to Sterling, Massachusetts, and a doseof wintry weather that many have been awaiting all season.
On the first lap, a trio of Massachusetts-based riders pulled awayand spent the next 55 minutes cheerfully hammering on each other, likea lovably dysfunctional family during the holidays. Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com),Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Tim Johnson (Leer-Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld)appeared equally matched.
From the swoopy turns – each with varying combinations of frozen andthawed grass as the late November sun got lower – to the garden-level barriergrotto, with its steep off-camber entry and exit; to the grassy, leaf coveredrun-up, with an eye-watering descent leading to the waist-high Horse Jump;the trio continually battered each other, seeking advantage.The key turned out to be the run-up – and Powers’s willingness to attemptto ride it, even though his success rate would have discouraged many.On the first lap, Johnson charged into the lead and rode to within ayard of the top, then stalled and fell. By the next lap, the lead triohad re-formed – with U23 star Jamie Driscoll (Fiordi-Fruita) closebehind. This time Powers sprinted into the run up – and fell at the top,allowing Anthony and Johnson to get a gap that took Powers spent the nextlap closing.
Next lap, Powers tried again on the run-up – and made it – picking upan instant gap that Anthony and Johnson slowly pulled back. For the next40 minutes, the three seemed to call a truce on the run-up, dismounting a conservative three or four bike lengths from the top.
In the final lap, Powers and Anthony gapped a fading Johnson. It lookedlike a match sprint as the two circled the running track. If Anthony couldget to the run up first, he could block Powers from attempting to rideit. If Powers got a clear line, he could ride it and get a substantialgap with less than a lap to go. But his record for riding it was one-for-twoand his eyes were blurry from the cold.
Anthony hammered down the track’s back stretch, but Power’s attackedand led into the climb. He nearly stalled with his front wheel inches fromthe crest, but muscled over the top while Anthony ran. By the time he droppedinto the descent, he had five bike lengths, which he increased by the finish.Anthony held on to second – and his Verge series leader’s jersey. Johnsonrolled in third and Mark McCormack outsprinted Driscoll to take fourth.
The Verge New England series has been dominated this season by LyneBessette (Cyclocrossworld.com). This week, Anna Milkowski (Kona-Velo Bella)ruled while Bessette raced in Europe. After Amy Wallace (Richard Sachs-RGMWatches) took the hole shot, Milkowski and Rebecca Wellons (Ridley) tookover on the run-up and spent two laps working together to open a gap whilethrowing in brief attacks. Milkowski appeared to have more power, and wasable to match Wellons on the technical sections.
But Milkowski avoided pulling Wellons around the course and waited foran opening.
Two laps in, she got the chance when the two bumped wheels coming outof an off camber left-hand turn. The brief collision forced Wellons toput a foot down and Milkowski got a gap she never relinquished, settingoff on a long solo ride in almost Bessette-like fashion.
Wellons, who said after that she was feeling run-down from a long season,kept Milkowski within sight but was never able to close the gap. Wallacespent much of the race in no man’s land, finishing a strong third.
1. Jeremy Powers, Cyclocrossworld.Com, 1:00:01
2. Jesse Anthony, Jamis Bicycle, 1:00:14
3. Tim Johnson, Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworld, 1:00:41
4. Mark McCormack, Clif Bar, 1:02:22
5. Jamey Driscoll, Fiordifrutta Elite Cycling Team, 1:02:22
6. Adam Myerson, Nerac Pro Cycling, 1:02:36
7. Troy Wells, Team Clif Bar Cyclo-cross, 1:02:36
8. Justin Spinelli, Richard Sachs/RGM Watches, 1:03:01
9. Nicholas Keough, Jittery Joe’s/Sonic Cyclo-cross, 1:04:35
10. Matt Kraus, RGM Watches – Richard Sachs, 1:04:35
11. Daniel Neyen,s Hagens-Berman Cycling Team, 1:05:31
12. Nathaniel Ward, Joe’s Garage, 1:05:31
13. Kevin Wolfson, Dartmouth Cycling, 1:06:02
14. Justin Lindine, Targetraining / Fastar, 1:06:25
15. Bill Elliston, Indiana Regional Medical Center/Fuji, – 1 lap
16. Dylan O’Sullivan, Housatonic Wheel Club U23, – 1 lap
17. Peter Rubijono, Cambridge Bike/Igleheart Frames, – 1 lap
18. Adam Sullivan, NBX/Narragansett Beer Cyclocross, – 1 lap
19. Corey Dearborn-Boilard, – 1 lap
20. Alex Whitmore, Cambridge Bicycle / Igleheart Frames, – 1 lap
21. Toby Marzot, Fiordifrutta, – 1 lap
22. John Burns, Bikeman.Com, – 1 lap
23. Morgan Macleod, Mechanical Services/Cyclemania, – 1 lap
24. Daniel Coady, Welovebicycles.Com, – 1 lap
25. Eric Thompson, Lees-Mcrrae College Bobcats Oi Oi Oi, – 1 lap
26. Jerome Townsend, Ridley Factory Team, – 1 lap
27. Todd Wheelden, Kona/Portland Velo Club, – 1 lap
28. Aaron Oakes, Van Dessel, – 1 lap
29. Gabriel Lloyd, Crca-Remax, – 1 lap
30. Rickey Visinski, Spiuk / First Endurance / Crank Bros, – 1 lap
31. Greg Carpenter, Devo/Nso/Giant, – 1 lapWomen
1. Anna Milkowski, Velo Bella-Kona, 36:28
2. Rebecca Wellons, Ridley Factory Team, 36:43
3. Amy Wallace, RGM Watches – Richard Sachs, 37:45
4. Cris Rothfuss, Nebc/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental, 38:16
5. Karen Potter, Zancanato/Mtb-Mind.Com, 38:19
6. Kathy Sarvary, Gearworks/Spin Arts Cycling Team, 38:20
7. Melanie Swartz, Velo Bella – Kona, 38:20
8. Sally Annis, Nebc/Cycleloft/Devonshire Dental, 38:34
9. Sara Cushman, Gear Works/Spin Arts, 38:56
10. Perri Mertens, Cambridge Bicycle/Igleheart Frames, 39:35
11. Erin Duggan, Ridley Factory Team, 39:55
12. Stephanie White, Velabella-Kona, 39:59
13. Megan Bilodeau, Hup United, 40:14
14. Susan Maclean, Gear Works/Spin Arts Cycling Team, 40:34
15. Hannah Kirshner, Circle A Cylocross/The Hub, 41:07
16. Brenda Bahnson, Independent Fabrication, 41:17
17. Beth Mason, C3sollay.Com, 43:28
18. Laura Jensen, Benidorm/Eastern Bloc Cycling Club, 44:23