Admittedly, I've been feeling a little down about not winning 40+ 'cross nationals. And that's only been made worse this week by watching my peers racing at masters worlds. But I reminded myself today that I traded in one race for a whole season of UCI events, with results and press and points every single weekend, all season long. With the exception of Robin Seymour who gets 100 points for winning the Irish championships every year as the only points he scores, I'm the highest ranked guy over 40 on UCI points. I reminded myself that _that_ was my "world championship" goal. So I'm gonna try and be happy with that, and happy with my season. It's a miracle I'm still here, and I'm looking forward to a few more before I'm back to racing with the old guys, even if I do have a full-time job I plan my racing and training around, just like everyone else.
I haven't wanted to complain too much about it, because I don't want to take anything away from guys like Brandon and Pete, guys who are real masters with jobs and families, and who are also real bike racers. It's hard to find the balance between expressing the respect I have for them and my own motivation and disappointment in not beating them at nationals, and being envious of them at worlds. I hope I'm not undercutting them in any way, because my admiration for them is sincere.
Anyway, I think it's time to start journaling in more than 140 characters again, so anything that takes more than one tweet, I'm going to try and jump over here again and just bang some thoughts out, without worrying about how complete they might be. I just need to get them down.
Verge NECCS PR (20 September 2011)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nor’Easter ‘Cross Event Schedule
The Nor’Easter ‘Cross Powered by Eastern Mountain Sports is coming up this Saturday, September 24th in Burlington, Vermont. But before the racing gets underway, we’ll be hosting a number of great events, all are open to the public and will be a great opportunity to get to know some of the best racers in the world – and maybe pick up some new techniques.
First of all, the main event: Nor’Easter ‘Cross is the third round of the all-important Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series. Pre-registration closes on Thursday, September 22 at 8pm. Registration information is here (http://www.cycle-smart.com/noreaster). Day-of registration will be available for a $5 additional fee.
The kickoff comes Wednesday night at the Catamount Wednesday ‘Cross Series (http://catamountoutdoor.com/wednesday-night-cyclocross-series/). This event will be headlined by British National Champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) and her compatriot Gabby Day (Renner Custom Cyclocross). Belgian Tom Van Den Bosch (AA Drink/Leontien.nl), former Canadian National Champion Mike Garrigan, several-times Danish Champion Joachim Parbo, Briton Ian Field and Canadian Craig Ritchey round out the international field. To top it off, also racing will be Adam Myerson (SmartStop/MOB p/b Ridley) and the Cycle-Smart Elite team.
The event kicks off in earnest on Friday with the Pre-Ride with the Pros event. At 2pm, all our premier racers from Wednesday’s event plus Vermont’s finest, Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Team) will convene at the start/finish line at North Beach in Burlington and head out for some quality course inspection. This is a free and informal event that will pay big dividends to all who come out.
Friday night, we’re excited to announce our Number Pick Up Party at Maglianero (http://blog.maglianero.com/) at 47 Maple Street, right in Burlington. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit, Maglianero is some kind of wonderland with ample bike parking, a bike wash, top-quality coffee and, reports say, a half-pipe. We give them our deepest thanks for their involvement. The Pick Up Party is a carryover from the Cycle-Smart International and has been a staple, giving racers the chance to meet and greet the pros and their competitors in a comfortable and relaxed environment. The party runs from 6-9pm.
Also, last but not least, the Nor’Easter ‘Cross is part of the Nor’Easter Festival powered by Eastern Mountain Sports. Nor’Easter is a 3-day celebration of outdoor culture showcasing sports, music, food, beer and the environmental issues we face. The music festival runs the gamut from rjd2 (Friday at 7:30pm) to G. Love & the Special Sauce (Saturday at 8pm). All pre-registered racers can purchase festival tickets at a 50% discount. All festival information is available at http://noreasterems.com/.
For all registration and schedule information, head here: http://www.cycle-smart.com/necxs/schedule.
The Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series includes fifteen races in eight venues. The opening weekend is in Williston, Vermont on September 17th and 18th with the Green Mountain Cyclocross Weekend. The following Saturday, September 24th brings Nor’Easter Cross at the Nor’easter Festival in Burlington, Vermont. The Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester comes next on the 1st and 2nd of October followed by the Providence Cyclocross Festival presented by Interbike on October 8th and 9th. Rounds 8 and 9 bring the series back to New Gloucester, Maine for the Downeast Cyclocross weekend on the 22nd and 23rd of October. The series hits the home stretch on November 5th and 6th in Northampton, Massachusetts for the Cycle-Smart International. After a two-week break, the series pays its annual visit to Sterling, Massachusetts for Tom Stevens’s Bay State Cyclocross on November 26th and 27th. The series finale comes the next weekend with the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross. For more information, visit http://www.cycle-smart.com/neccs
An Open Letter to Verge Series Participants
Over the next month, you’ll start to see more and more press for the Verge Series (as well as the new Shimano Series). As most of you know, we were forced to make a lot of changes to the structure of the Verge Series for this year, as well as the schedule. The two biggest changes you’ll see are that there is no Verge points series for the Elite men and Women, and that there are 15 races included in the Series this year.
For the former, the points series for the elites will of course be replaced by the new Shimano New England Professional Cyclocross Series, and will include Gloucester, Providence, Northampton, and Warwick (which are also Verge Series events). It’s the latter change, the increase in total number of races, I want to primarily address here.
In the‘90s when Tom Stevens was the president of the “New England Points Series,” the series consisted of every single race in New England. Every race, all season long, with no conflicts. As I got involved as Tom’s assistant, we noted that having every race included in the series was leaving our riders tired at the end of the season by they time they got to nationals, because they felt obligated to chase every point. In ’99, we boiled it down to just the best 6 or 8 races, and focused on making them better. In 2000 when I took over the Series, we introduced the first UCI events. By 2002, every race in the New England Series had reached UCI status, and the current format was solidified.
When other races wanted to step up and make their race UCI, we included them in the Series, and that’s how the Series began to grow again. Eventually we had other, national Series' overlapping with our races, saw that there were too many conflicts, and opted to split them. This is why events like Gloucester and Providence were not always part of the Verge Series, even though they were big UCI events.
With the advent of the 8-race Shimano Series, which essentially grew out of the need to create something new for the elites in the wake of the Verge Series being suspended by the UCI, we knew immediately that we could not abandon the Verge races who were still putting on UCI events but were not part of the Shimano Series, or even saw one of their days downgraded to “National Calendar” status from UCI status. It would have been very, very easy to look at Williston, VT, New Gloucester, ME, and Sterling, MA, and say, “hey, sorry guys! You’re on on your own now!”
Of course, there’s no way we could do that to these organizers. Each one of those races worked hard, put their necks and wallets on the line, and put on top notch events. With each one having to deal with the penalty of losing one of their UCI days, and not having an elite series already, how could we let them stand on their own? They are New England classics. They are OUR races. And they deserve our support.
When a race organizer steps up and applies for UCI status, it’s not just important for Elite riders, but also trickles down all the way to the Cat. 4’s. Up to this point, being a UCI race sent a sign to every rider that said there would be a minimum standard of quality being met at the event, and it would apply to all racers. There’d be a level of quality in the course, officiating, results, and overall event production and organization, which makes the race attractive to everyone. Other races have been able to achieve this successfully over time as well (Suckerbrook, Canton, Ice Weasels, Shedd Park), but even those races have benefited from seeing the standard set by the UCI events, and then aspiring to meet that standard without needing to be UCI. Again, this is how the UCI events have benefited the entire community.
So in this transitional year, we decided as a group that the best way to support the New England race organizers who took the risk and made the commitment to host UCI-level events was for all of them to be included in the Verge Series. We need to reward and support these organizers for the commitment they’ve made over the years, and help them get through this, strange, split season, while they decide what the best course of action for their races will be in 2012. To abandon them in 2011 is not what our scene is about.I know all of you won’t be able to make all 15 events, and I know it’s a lot of racing. I know that it means the Verge Series dominates a lot of the calendar. Of course, there are worse problems we could have than 15 national and international quality cyclo-cross races in New England. I’m asking you, the riders, to essentially work with us in this transition year that was not of our making, or by our own choice. We know you’ll go to Gloucester, Providence, Northampton, and Warwick. But continue to support Williston, New Gloucester, Sterling, and the Nor’easter, which is moving to Burlington this year. Additionally, continue to support Verge, who has stood by us morally and financially for so many years now, and remained committed to supporting New England ‘cross even after we suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous governing body decisions against us.I expect the Series and its individual races to continue to evolve, and for 2012 to again look different than 2011. My first goal is to make sure this season is as successful as possible, for as many riders and organizers as possible, and to do right by all the people trying to make New England ‘cross the success that it has become.See you all in September.
Verge Series President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Bramhall; email@example.com, 617 669 5056
Shimano Launches Cyclocross Initiative with Series Sponsorship
New England Sponsorship Creates Nation’s Richest ‘Cross Series
BOSTON (July 6, 2011) – A pioneer in developing components for
cyclocross, Shimano America announced today its sponsorship of the UCI
sanctioned New England Professional Cyclocross Series.
“Shimano prides itself on the values of culture and history,” said
Penina Bush, senior manager at Shimano America. Having long sponsored
the UCI World Cup, the World Championships, and regional series in
America, Shimano recognized the heritage of New England cyclocross.
“Shimano places great values on culture and history. We are honored to
be aligned with the NEPCX to help strengthen the ‘cross scene. New
England’s culture, history and passionate followers are something we
identify with as a company and as passionate cyclists. We look forward
to our involvement for years to come.”
The Shimano New England Pro Cyclocross Series Presented by Verge will
include eight races with considerable heritage in a region famous for
cyclocross, the steeplechase of competitive cycling. Those venues will
include Gloucester, Mass.; Providence, R.I.; Northampton, Mass.; and
“Shimano recognized the power of the New England market in
cyclocross,” said Richard Fries, marketing and communications director
of the Shimano Series. “We are known for the quality of our riders,
our venues, and our market. In looking to launch a cyclocross-specific
component group, Shimano selected New England as the ultimate proving
The eight-race series is one of just three American cyclocross series
sanctioned by the UCI. All events have UCI status with two, Gloucester
and Providence, featuring Category 1 races. With Shimano’s backing,
the series will offer more than $50,000 in prize money, including more
than $10,000 for the overall series payout. Shimano has committed to
the series for three years.
“We have thousands of ‘cross racers within a few hours’ drive of these
venues,” said Paul Boudreau, promoter of the series opener in
Gloucester, one of the most fabled UCI events in America. “With
gasoline around $4 a gallon, we’re happy to offer so many competitors
– and spectators – a chance to see world class competition that does
not break the bank.”
The Shimano Series sprung from the Verge New England Cyclocross
Series, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious series. Verge
will remain committed to the series as presenting sponsor.
“This is like watching your baby graduate,” said Michael Magur,
president of Verge and long time supporter of cyclocross. “These
races, these venues, these promoters are going to take American ‘cross
to new heights.”
About the Shimano New England Pro Cyclocross Series Presented by
Verge: The 2011 Shimano Series includes eight races in four venues:
The Great Brewers Gran Prix of Gloucester, Oct. 1 & 2 at Stage Fort
Park in Gloucester, Mass.; The Providence Cyclocross Festival
Presented by Interbike, Oct. 8 & 9 at Roger Williams Park in
Providence, R.I.; The Cycle-Smart International, Nov. 5 & 6 at Look
Park in Northampton, Mass.; and The NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross Dec.
3 & 4 in Goddard Park in Warwick, R.I. For more information visit