While the sunny skies and high temperatures made it feel more like early-season, Saturday's Gear Works Bay State cyclo-cross, round 5 of the 2006 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series, packed all the punch of a classic East Coast ‘cross throwdown. cyclo-cross's first couple, Lyne Bessette (cyclo-crossworld.com) and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-cyclo-crossworld.com), won the Elite Women's and Men's races, though under very different circumstances.
The flowing Chocksett School course offered few technical challenges, instead rewarding flat out strength and speed. Those requirements fit perfectly into Bessette's skill set and the Canadian champion dashed off the front of a flummoxed Elite Women's field on the first lap, never looking back. With Verge NECCS jersey holder Mackenzie Dickey (Verge Sports) suffering through a sub-par outing, local favorites Rebecca Wellons (GearWorks-SpinArts) and Mo Bruno Roy (Independent Fabrication-Wheelworks) took up the ultimately fruitless pursuit of Bessette. With Bessette comfortably ahead, Wellons took second and Bruno Roy third.
Its important for me to win the New England Series this year, said Lyne after her third NECCS win in as many starts this year. I got the USGP jersey, and that was great, but for me this is my local series. I opted out of the final two New England races last year so I could race in Europe and that cost me the overall. I dont want to miss out again.
Lyne will finish her 2006 cross campaign December 9-10 in Rhode Island with the final two races of the Verge New England Championship cyclo-cross Series where she will be joined by teammate Ben Jacques-Maynes in his preparation for U.S. Nationals.
As for Bessette's husband, Johnson won from a powerful trio with fellow New Englanders Mark McCormack (Clif Bar) and Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) on a spectacular last-lap attack. Having spent nearly an hour figuring just the right spot for a definitive acceleration, Johnson put full effort through a small set of chicanes and opened the race winning margin. Powers, who had been the most aggressive of the leading three, found his legs not up to the task when Johnson went and McCormack too had no answer for the defending Verge NECCS champ's move. McCormack out-kicked Powers for second.
See the full report, result and photos here.