Some races are simply legendary, their history and presence a part of our community’s collective DNA. Other races are newer, only coming to be in recent memory, but these newer races help us to define ourselves as a community, too; they represent a chance for us to choose both what to be, and what not to be.
For a decade now, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine has hosted a Verge (now Shimano) series race, and has served as the proving ground for a couple of generations of New England’s rising stars. McCormack, Gullickson, Huseby, Powers, White, always Myerson, Timmerman, Driscoll, and now McNicholas, Luke Keough, and of course, the man of the moment this year, Justin Lindine. The race hasn’t always been there, but it may as well have been. In many respects, New Gloucester—no surprise—represents the other side of the coin from Gloucester, MA, widely accepted as ground zero of New England cyclocross: the local venue confirming what the big stage has promised.
Just a few hours drive to the west you find yourself in places like eastern New York, southern Vermont and western Mass. In these places, the names listed above are known, and revered, and the legendary UCI races of New England loom large in the collective consciousness. Here though, away from the coast, away from the Red Sox nation, a different ethos prevails; the competition is earnest, but modest, and the courses are on par with anything in the country, a point of intense pride among the CBRC and NYcross locals who build said courses, weekend to weekend, every fall.
In this smaller, more out of the way realm, races like the Uncle Sam GP in Troy, NY shape the scene, not because they have always been there, but because they haven’t. Running since 2005, the other USGP has been the most accurate bench mark of the growth of cross in New York’s capital region, and the race has played host to national team members, budding juniors, regional stars, and wiley veterans for years now. Here names like Donahue, Delisle, and White turn people’s heads.
And there’s always—forgive the pun—cross pollination, and what could better illustrate that than a Single Speed World Championships (THE quintessentially Pacific Northwest/PDX/Cross Crusade event) sticker on a chainstay in a parking lot in Troy, NY?
*Images by David Chiu, Mark Williams, and Danny Goodwin