Verge NECCS grows for 2006

Following up on a nail-biting finish to its 2005 edition, the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-cross Series returns for 2006 with a beefed up and streamlined calendar. With the addition of another race the opening weekend in Maine, the Verge NECCS boasts seven races for 2006, including three “double dip” weekends, in which racers can get UCI classified races on consecutive days in near proximity to each other.

The 2006 Verge NECCS opens October 14-15 in New Gloucester, Maine with a pair of Downeast Cyclo-Cross events. With the biggest elevation variation of the Series the Downeast Pineland Farm’s course dishes out a rough combination of ups and downs, creating the most demanding lap on the Verge NECCS.

The second “double dip” weekend of the Verge NECCS kicks off November 4-5. Saturday’s Chainbiter 8.0 in Farmington, Connecticut and Sunday’s 18th Annual Cycle- Smart International in Northampton, Massachusetts regularly draw racers from across the country for a pair of classic New England courses. Farmington’s Winding Trails Park course offers one of the most varied courses in the Verge NECCS, with a combination of wooded trails, open fields, paved sections, several small climbs and dips, and a massive sand pit. Northampton’s Look Park features a Euro-style power course, wide-open high speed section funneling into tight slow speed turns and chicanes.

As the only “solo” race weekend of the 2006 Verge NECCS, and coming only a few days after Thanksgiving, the Bay State Cyclo-Cross in Sterling, Massachusetts, November 25, can often be overlooked. But the Sterling race is an ideal preparation for December’s U.S. National Championships, with legendary course designer Tom Stevens laying out each track in a similar style. Racers who braved the snow at Sterling in ’05 found the Nationals in Rhode Island much more manageable.

The 2006 Verge NECCS wraps up in the Ocean State December 9-10 with a “double dip” only miles away from the following weekend’s U.S. Nationals site. Saturday’s W.E. Steadman Grand Prix in South Kingston and Sunday’s Caster’s Cyclo-Cross in Warwick couldn’t be more different. While the Steadman GP offers open fields and plenty off big gear mashing, Caster’s ‘Cross is a wooded, twisty, turny affair with two extended beach runs.

Verge NECCS winners will be crowned at the Series finals in Warwick with overall champion’s jerseys awarded for Elite Men, Elite Women, Under-23 Men, Masters 35+, Masters 45+, Junior Men, B Men, Cub Juniors, and Masters 55+.

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