Day 1 of NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross
Goddard Park in Warwick, Rhode Island was the stage for a full day of exciting racing at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, where racers raved about the redesigned course. Matt Bodziony and his crew created a fast, technical course, what Emma White (Cyclocrossworld.com) today called "a thinking race," involving many of the park's unique features, including the trademark NBX runs along the beach. As rounds 11 & 12 of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series and rounds 7 & 8 of the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series presented by Verge, and the grand finale in both series, the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross is the final battleground for season-long rivalries in eleven categories of racing ranging from cub juniors, amateurs, masters, and elite-level competition.
White and Kemmerer pressing the pace over the logs. Photo: Todd Perkaski
Emma White was off like a shot as the Elite Women hit the field, flying through the technical twists and rooty ground, tearing through the beach run, and establishing a lead in the first lap. Arley Kemmerer (C3-Twenty20 Cycling Co.) and Laura Van Gilder (Van Dessel p/b Mellow Mushroom Pizza) were smart to stick on the wheel of the young racer, as Amanda Carey (Stan's NoTubes Elite) and Mo Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles) formed a chase a few seconds back. White and Kemmerer traded attacks in attempts to escape, while Van Gilder, reported to be having shifting woes, tenaciously clung to the group. Meanwhile, Chris Birch (JAM Fund/NCC) bridged to the chase group and proceeded to push its pace, applying pressure with some great riding. With just a third of a lap to go, White attacked on the sandy beach, creating a lead that stuck, as Van Gilder mustered to second. White crossed the finish line first to claim the first UCI victory of what will certainly be many. Van Gilder finished a strong second, and Kemmerer claimed third. Chris Birch came past Bruno Roy in the final stretch, and they placed fourth and fifth.
Emma White is within reach of the U23 Elite Women's crown in the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series, needing only to be the first U23 across the finish line tomorrow. "I would like to win the series. It's been my focus this year," says Van Gilder, who needs to finish well in tomorrow's race to succeed in her goal.
The second chase group was huge early in the race. Photo: Todd Perkaski
Mike Garrigan (Van Dessel/Shimano) took the hole shot in the Elite Men's race, a move he is well known for, but Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) was right behind the Canadian, taking the helm the first chance he got. Almost right away, huge gaps formed in the race, with Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) riding away with White, and Garrigan and Dan Timmerman (House Industries - Richard Sachs) working together a few seconds back. Behind them, a dangerous chase formed: Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC) and Robert Marion (American Classic Pro CX Team) were in the mix, but it was Shawn Milne (Keough Cyclocross) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory) who were hungering for podium spots the most. The two attacked, closing the gap to Timmerman and Garrigan, but Garrigan and Milne left the others behind in the battle for third. Lindine attacked over and over, trying to leave White behind, only to have White reconnect; however, the pressure of Lindine's ever-increasing pace was eventually too much. Lindine rode away with the race, turning faster and faster laps, winning over White, and Garrigan claimed third.
Curtis White's second-place finish today was enough to claim the U23 Men's jersey in the Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series. Raphael Gagne is hopeful to win the Shimano NEPCX Series, but he has just returned from his first break in training since his mountain bike season begun. Both Gagne and Milne have enough points to win the series, but only if one of them wins on day two of NBX.
Amateur racers fought hard today in the penultimate race of the battle for leadership in the 2013 Verge New England Cyclocross Series. Remaining in the lead are Ryley Mosher (WheelWorks) in the 10-14 Junior girls' and Daniel John Vaughn (Corning/No Tubes/Swan Cycles) in the 10-14 Juniors boys' divisions. Stephen Pierce (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) retains a slim lead in the category 3 men's division, although Pierce must remain focused to emerge the victor over strong competition. Mike Magur (Verge Sport) retains the 35+ jersey and Ian Keough (Keough Cyclocross p/b Felt Bicycles) leads in the Juniors 15-18 category. Melissa Seib (Bikeman) holds such an insurmountable lead in the amateur women's field that she will retain the win despite the fact that she has upgraded to the UCI Elite field this weekend. Alisa Allegrini (Nantucket Velo) is similarly unstoppable in the 35+ masters women's field. 45+ leader Roger Aspholm (Finkraft Cycling Team) retains the series jersey, and 55+ leader Al Blanchard (Finkraft Cycling Team) also keeps that jersey.
Lindine, alone at the front of the race, runs past his likeness. Photo: Todd Perkaski
Stick around after the fireworks of the final Elite races on Sunday for the Verge New England Cyclocross Series and the Elite Shimano New England Cyclocross Series podium party! The ultimate 2013 champions in all categories will be celebrated with a ceremony closing out the New England Cyclocross season at 3:45 on Sunday.
Follow live updates from tomorrow's race on Twitter, where @VergeNECXS and @NEproCX will be updating all day, and follow #NBXcx on Twitter. Check gnarlymonkey.com for live race video!