The Mongoose streak continued this weekend as Todd Wells and Marc Gullickson took top spots in U.S.’s two top UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross series at opposite ends of the country over the weekend.
Wells scored a win at the second round of the Redline Cup o’ Cross at Utah’s Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Nordic skiing events, Saturday. Wells topped an elite field that included his teammate Gullickson, who promptly hopped a flight, flew to the east Coast and took on Sunday’s fourth round of New England’s Verge series in Connecticut.
Soldier Hollow victory
Saturday’s race in Utah attracted a strong 44-man field, featuring riders from around the country. Wells, donning the leader’s jersey he earned at the series opener in Tacoma, faced some serious competition in this second round, including Trek’s Travis Brown, Kona’s Dale Knapp and the Jaques-Maynes brothers., Andy and Ben.
The field quickly began to sort itself out on the first lap, with the dominant riders moving into prime position and avoiding the spills and inevitable traffic jam created at the first set of triple barriers laid out on the course.
Three laps into the race, the Mongoose duo moved to the front and upped the pace shedding all but a few pursuers, including Knapp and Brown, who teamed up and put on a serious chase. Nonetheless, Gullickson and Wells managed to extend their lead and hit the finish line well clear of those in pursuit. Wells took the top spot and retained his series lead.
Clif Bar’s Gina Hall did a solo effort and led the women’s race throughout, jumping off the front of the 20-rider field at the gun. Hall built her advantage to more than a minute at times, making it clear that the days’s only real contest was for second place. Hall’s Clif Bar teammate Carmen D’Alusio fought a back-and-forth contest with Anne Grande, forcing the Kona rider to do much of the work and slowly wearing her down. With two laps remaining, as Grande began to fade, D’Alusio made her move and took over the No. 2 spot for good, as Hall cruised in for the win.
Hall’s win, coupled with her third place finish in Tacoma, gives her the series lead.
If it’s Sunday, this must be Connecticut
No worse for wear, Gullickson was ready to defend his lead in the East Coast’s Verge series the next day at the Chain Biter 4.0 in Farmington, Connecticut.
The man’s race started with a hard-charging Josh Anthony (CycloCrossWorld.com) leading the strung-out field around the first corners and into the day’s first obstacle, the sand pit. Through the pit and on to the course’s paved section Jon Hamblen (Wheelworks/Cannondale), looking to exploit a season of road strength, attacked and built a small lead. But if there was any question as to who was the day’s most dominant rider, Gullickson settled the issue as the field approached the long run-up for the first time. The Mongoose rider moved smoothly to the front to lead into the run-up and then put pressure on the rest of the field as he took long strides up the tiring climb.
Johannes Huseby (Independant Fabrications) was one of the few who stayed close on the run-up. While the field seemed to already have come apart midway through the opening lap, it regrouped on the paved section leading into the start/finish into a group of ten led by Huseby, and containing nearly all the pre-race favorites
As Huseby continued to lead lap 2, Gullickson simply bided his time until he repeated his run-up pressure for the second time. This time, only Huseby and 2001 Chain Biter winner Mark McCormack (Saturn) could follow. Soon however even Huseby was forced to drop off the pace, as Gullickson upped the tempo on every section of the course. Gullickson continued to ride in his characteristic style, attacking the course at every opportunity, while McCormack was able to match every acceleration and claw his way back.
Unfortunately, the Saturn rider had an untimely flat, and had to ride the better part of lap 4 on a flat rear tire before he could change to his second bike. By that time, Gullickson was gone for good. “I like to get out there alone so I can ride my own pace”, Gullickson said later.
Regardless, it was off to the races, and a fourth win in the four Verge Series races so far in 2002.
Meanwhile, McCormack dropped out of the top ten while riding the flat tire, but was eventually able to fight his way back up to fourth.
Huseby was now locked in a battle for second with with Shaun Snodolen (Je James), a newcomer to the series from England. This battle would go on for the rest of the race, with first Snodolen taking the advantage, then Huseby gaining it back when Snodolen had to change bikes due to loose handlebars. The two entered the final lap together, but a slip in the sandpit by the young Englishman gave Huseby the the edge he needed to pick up his best Verge Series result since winning the 2002 series finale in Rhode Island. The Indepandant Fabrications rider was understandably exuberant at the finish, while Snodolen was still pleased with a more than respectable third place, and the top U23 finisher.
On the women’s side, Verge Series leader Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) started conservatively, trailing US Masters Champion Jodi Groesbeck (Putney/West Hill) at the end of lap 1. By the next time through though, she had taken the lead for good. Groesbeck showed her good form by never letting the gap get above ten seconds though, and forcing McConneloug to truly race at her limit for the entire 45 minutes.
Gearworks/SRP rider Shauna Gillies-Smith quickly established herself alone in third place. While the former Canadian Champion was never able to challenge for the lead, she comfortably held off the various groups behind her for yet another podium finish in New England. Her teammates AnnaMilkowski and Marianne Stover rode together for most of the race, picking up the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Such was the presence of the large Gearworks/SRP team in the race (5 riders in the first 10) that they were asked by kid’s race director Doug Tanner to lead the kids on their abbreviated lap between the elite races.
Round 5 of the 2002 Verge Cyclo-Cross Series will be the UCI Cat 3 W.E. Stedman Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross, held on Sunday, December 1, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island
Verge Series Round 4 – Elite men
1. Marc Gullickson, Mongoose Hundai, 55:10:00
2. Johannes Huseby, Independent Fabrication/CCB/ VW, 56:10:00
3. Shaun Snodolen, Je James, 57:10:00
4. Mark Mccormick, Saturn, 58:10:00
5. Josh Anthony, Cyclocross World.Com, 59:10:00
6. Adam Craig, Giant, 60:10:00
7. Michael Broderick, Seven Cycles, 61:10:00
8. Tyler Johnson, Cybc – Richard Sachs, 62:10:00
9. Justin Lilly, Trek/ VW, 63:10:00
10. Matthew Svatek, Cannondale Wheelworks, 64:10:00
11. Rob Hult, O’neils, 65:10:00
12. Alec Donahue, Ncc Bikereg, 66:10:00
13. Jonathan Hamblen, Wheelworks, 67:10:00
14. Adam Hodges Myerson, Ncc/Bikereg.Com, 68:10:00
15. Micah Thompson, Excel Sports, 69:10:00
16. Brian Astell, CCB, 70:10:00
17. Jonathan Bruno, Quad Cycles, 71:10:00
18. J.D. Bilodeau, Ncc / Bikereg.Com, 72:10:00
19. Jeremy Powers, Balance Bar/Devo, 73:10:00
20. Troy Michaud, Eurotek, 74:10:00
21. Troy Wells, Balance Bar/Devo, 75:10:00
22 .Eugene Ruter, Trek/ VW, 76:10:00
23. Christopher Peck, Cannondale Wheelworks, 77:10:00
24. Jeff Leake, Ncc / Bikereg.Com, 78:10:00
25. Daniel Coady, Ncc / Bikereg.Com, 79:10:00
26. J.Ohn Foley, Bicycle Alley, 80:10:00
27. John Hanson, Necsa/Fraysse’s Sports Resort, 81:10:00
28. Mukunda Feldman, Ncc/Bikereg.Com, 82:10:00
Jp Partland, Kissena, 83:10:00
Nathan Rice, Catamount Cycling Club, 84:10:00
Steve Roszko, Ncc / Bikereg.Com, 85:10:00
David Werling, Necsa/Fraysse’s Sports Resort, 86:10:00
Verge Series Round 4 – Elite women
1. Mary Mcconneloug, Seven Cycles, 38:35:00
2. Jodi Groesbeck, 38:42:00
3. Shauna Gilles-Smith, Gearworks/SRP, 40:10:00
4. Anna Milkowski, Gearworks/SRP, 40:30:00
5. Marianne Stover, Gearworks/SRP, 40:42:00
6. Sara Cushman, Gearworks/SRP, 40:59:00
7. Kathryn Roszko, NCC / Bikereg.Com, 41:32:00
8. Alicia Genest, Team Richard Sachs, 41:55:00
9. Katrina Davis, Richard Sachs, 42:04:00
10. Susan Maclean, Gearworks/SRP, 42:23:00
11. Shelia Vibert, Team Redhook, 42:29:00
12. Kerry Litka, NHCC, 43:08:00
13. Celeste Drumm, Mean Wheels Bike Shop, 43:10:00
14. Kathy Sarvary, Cyclonauts, 43:49:00
15. Maryann Martinez, NEBC Cycleloft, 44:02:00
16. Katina Sayers, 45:38:00
17. Catherine Dudley, Unh 46:10:00
18. Kristen Osborne, NEBC Cycleloft, 1-Lap
19. Stephanie White, NHJCA, 1-Lap
20. Laura Jensen, Eastern Bloc, 1-Lap
21. Margaret Thompson, MVBC/Aegis, 1-Lap
22. Erin Olafsen, Unh, 1-Lap
Becky Sox, Dansko,