The history of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series extends well before my involvement in it, and much of that history is legend passed down from one generation to the next. When I entered the sport as a 17-year-old junior with two seasons of road racing under my belt, I had already missed out on the national championships being held in Plymouth, MA, just 25 miles from my home in Brockton, the year before. I didn’t even know what cyclocross was; yet I was living in one of the country’s hotbeds for the sport. It was only a matter of time before it would find me.
In the late 80s, every race in New England was included on a calendar called the New England Points Series, and was administrated by Tom Stevens. Back then, the series was really just a way to get all the organizers to communicate, share resources, and prevent conflicts. There were only 8 races, one per weekend, and the season didn’t start until the first weekend of October.
Over the next decade, ‘cross really took off in New England, and the New England Points Series was packed with 20 races, all double weekends, starting the first weekend of October and going until the week before Christmas. I had gone from being a junior, on to college where I started organizing an event at UMass my sophomore year, all while chasing around a pro career on the road. ‘Cross was still my passion, though, and after spending part of the winter in 1996 racing in Switzerland, I came back and got more involved in helping Tom organize the series, learning so much from seeing how it was organized in Europe.
Eventually, I convinced Tom to shrink the series down to just the best races, so that the riders weren’t forced to chase points at every small event, and the events that we’re doing things correctly and professionally would be better recognized and supported. There were races from September to December now, and the series had gotten too big to manage. In 2000, Tom retired from running the series and turned it over to me, and that’s when the modern NECXS was born.
For that 2000 season I implemented a 3-year plan, where at the end of those 3 years, all the races in the series would have UCI status, modeling in New England what I had seen working successfully in Switzerland. This is where classic races like Amherst (now Northampton), Gloucester, and Warwick grew into international events.
NECXS has graduated riders like Page, Powers, and Johnson, families like the Anthonys, Keoghs, and Goguens, and a new era of athletes like Curtis and Emma White, and Ellen Noble. All the while, it continues to serve riders at every level, with separate races for Category 4 and Category 3 women, as well as 9-14 year old juniors, because we know those future champions have to start somewhere. Putting on UCI-level events means our amateur races are guaranteed a high quality course and experience, and they are our lifeblood.
Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series President