Weekend Preview: Verge Northampton International Cyclocross p/b Cycle-Smart

The 2018 Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series presented by Clif Bar and Cycle-Smart continues this weekend with the 28th annual Verge Northampton International Cyclocross p/b Cycle-Smart. Taking place November 10 and 11 in Northampton’s Look Park, the NohoCX event is the oldest cyclocross race in North America sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

The second of four race weekends, the Vittoria Series follows competition on classic cyclocross courses in the Northeast, which include Gloucester, Mass., Northampton, Mass., Suffern, N.Y., and Warwick, R.I. It is the longest standing UCI cyclocross series in the United States.

At the Verge NohoCX, UCI Elite Class 2 (C2) races will be held both days for professional women and men. Athletes will compete for points on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX), as well as for the Vittoria Series overall competition. Winning athletes will be awarded coveted Verge Sport leader’s jerseys at the Northampton event. Currently, Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing) and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) lead the elite women’s and men’s competitions with 100 points, each sweeping the initial weekend of competition at the CRAFT Sportswear Gran Prix of Gloucester in October.

Look Park will host the next two races of the Series. The venue at the 150-acre park is a favorite among racers, fans, and families alike. “Even though this is the 28th edition of the race, we are always looking for ways to improve both the course and the race experience,” said Race Director, Cycle-Smart’s Alec Donahue. “Our kids’ races are run by the Noho Cycling Club and have grown to be one of our best and most popular features, aside from our famous rooty run up in Look Park.”

A long-time supporter in the New England cyclocross community, Joe's Garage in Haydenville, Mass. has partnered with Cycle-Smart and the Northampton International to support prize parity for women cyclists and is the presenting sponsor of the elite women’s races. The event will in turn provide support back to shop owner Joe Mai, who is currently experiencing health issues and has not been able to spend much time in his shop. NohoCX encourages all cyclists in the New England ‘cross community to help with Joe’s medical bills by donating online www.bikereg.com/NohoForJoe.

NohoCX will also celebrate the life a very important member of the New England cyclocross community, Scott Godon-Decoteau. Many will know him as the creator and owner of Barks+Wreck, an accessories and apparel brand for pets and owners. He was also a graphic artist, a filmmaker, photographer and lead creative manager for LEGO. He leaves behind his wife Danielle and two-year-old son Oliver. There will be a moment of celebration for Scott at the podium area on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:30 p.m. NohoCX encourages racers and members of the community to attend an art exhibition to celebrate Scott on Thursday, Nov. 8 at MILL 1 at Open Square in Holyoke, Mass. from 4 to 7pm.

“Scott was an incredible ambassador for cycling, but more than that, he showed us how to love riding, how to embrace adventure and how to appreciate the little things especially when everything went wrong,” said Sean Rudzinsky, who is organizing Scott’s celebration. “Some of us were lucky enough to be close friends with Scott, but most of us have felt his impact of positivity, creative energy and eternal optimism whether directly or indirectly.”

Race Preview

After back-to-back wins at the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross Nov. 3-4, Crystal Anthony (Liv Cycling) returns to Northampton with added confidence. “This will be my seventh year racing at Noho,” said Anthony, “and I'm really excited to be back for the 2018 edition, after missing it for the last few years. Coming off two wins at Really Rad, I'm feeling really good, but I know there will be a lot of strong competition this weekend. Noho is the type of course that seems to lend itself to head-to-head battles, so I imagine there will be some exciting racing for spectators. You've got to be strong but also a good tactical racer to do well at Noho.”

Anthony has three ProCX wins so far this season and is currently third in the Vittoria Series standings, 40 points behind leader Noble.

Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) looks forward to racing close to home. “What I am most excited for is seeing if I can put together a solid race, start to finish,” said Fahringer, from Concord, N.H. “This is a good course for me to do it on, because it is fast but not too fast, tricky but not too tricky, and really makes it favor an all-around rider.”

Also racing this weekend is Erica Zaveta (Garneau-Easton p/b TLC), who currently sits second in the Vittoria Series standings after finishing second on both days of Series kick off Gran Prix of Gloucester earlier this season. Other elite women looking for a win are Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis p/b Stans-DNA Cycling), Cassie Maximenko (Van Dessel Factory Team) and Regina Legge (Trek Cyclocross Collective).

For the elite men, Curtis White (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) will be on the start line, fresh off of his Pan-American Championship victory in Canada. The current leader of the Vittoria Series, White is excited to return to Northampton.

“Northampton is a New England classic,” said White, who is from Delanson, N.Y.. “I always love racing there. Adam and his crew do a fantastic job putting on a real high quality event. I believe the first year I raced it was 2005 as a first year cub junior.”

A fast, flowing course that is balanced with challenging and technical features, the Northampton course provides an opportunity for wide open, head-to-head racing. “The venue and course layout are sure to guarantee fast and exciting racing,” said White. “With Vittoria being our new tire sponsor, there's a little more motivation by towing the line in the series leaders jersey.”

Additional elite men to watch include Jack Kisseberth (Garneau Easton p/b Transitions Life Care), Scott Smith (Dirt League), who picked up his first ProCX win at last Sunday’s Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross, Nick Lando (Competitive Edge Racing), and Merwin Davis (Cycle-Smart).

Following Northampton this weekend, the Vittoria Series will continue with its third event at Supercross Cup Nov. 17 and 18, in Suffern, N.Y. The Vittoria Series grand finale will be at the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross Dec. 1 and 2, in Warwick, R.I.

Watch the races unfold in person or by following tweets at @VittoriaSeries. Follow on Facebook and YouTube for race weekend highlights video highlights provided by DirtWire.TV.