Wet weather fails to dampen Coonamessett Cross action
After weeks of sunny and dry weather, tropical rains greeted racers at the 3rd annual Corner Cycle Coonamessett Eco Cross race. Held at the Coonamessett Farm on Cape Cod, the race took on a real European feel with a classic, technical course that made its way through the Buzzards Bay Brewing pavilion.
Starting on a 200 meter section of dirt road, the race plunged into the first of three wooded sections, emerging briefly into a grassy field, the riders wound their way back and forth before another short wooded section followed by fast dirt road. Unfortunately, the dirt road was just a short respite before the course hit its first short run up. Emerging back on the road, riders made their way up a short grade before entering a fast wooded downhill section that doubled back parallel to itself and then climbing sharply up hill. The course cuts across the farm and then down to the start finish. Winding back again, the riders hit the barriers in Beer Pavilion before climbing up to the blueberry bushes and onto a tricky off-camber section before heading back into the blueberries. From the blueberries, racers flew through over the back of the course working their way around to a difficult section of sand that concluded with a short run-up before climbing back up to the start road.
Racing started in earnest with the Beginner Race, which saw local State Rep Matt Patrick don his helmet to take part in the race. While Representative Patrick took a more conservative approach to the race, triathlete Stephen Kelley ripped up the start, snatching the Endurofit prime the first time through the finish. Kelley paid the price for his fast start, however, eventually fading to 11th, while a group of four rode clear. In the end, Robert Poole proved strongest on the day, with Jeremy Dunn and Brian Vickery round out the top 3. The women�s race was a showcase for local CCB racer Cynthia Joyner, who put aside her age to finish well clear of runners-up Sarah Greene and Callie McDowell. Finally, the Junior Cub race saw a fantastic line-up of New England�s future champions. Despite struggling to hurdle the barriers, 11 year old Tommy Goguen bested Jarred Reuter, and Nate Morse by the end, while Abigail Callahan held her own against the boys to finish 4th.
With the first race out of the way, the soft course sections firmed up for a blistering Masters field. Joining the race was none other than race sponsor and local shop owner George Sykes. However, it was reigning Master National Champion Paul Curley who took the hole shot with Corner Cycle rider Jonny Bold in tow as the race entered the first tricky downhill into the woods. By the time they hit the first run-up, Bold and Curley had already opened a 5 second gap on the rest of the field. Bold then shed Curley a lap later and never looked back, cruising to an easy win, while Kevin Hines and Todd Watters rounded out the podium.
After a brief intermission, the Women and Juniors lined up. For the women, it came down to the wire, with Bicycle Alley�s Mackenzie Dickey taking a narrow 5 second victory over Independent Fabrication�s Pauline Frascone, while Rebecca Wellons rolled in for third. In contrast to the women, the junior race proved to be a one-man show, as Dylan Sullivan won handedly over Nathan Belcher and Dan Fishkin.
The day wrapped up with the Elite Men, which featured some of New England�s best riders including Richard Sachs� duo Noah Taylor and Justin Spinelli, former U-23 National medalist Tyler Johnson (Easton Kona) and professional cyclist Adam Hodges-Myerson (Nerac.com), who ultimately finished in that order. Despite a close start, the lead group established itself early, with Myerson leading Taylor and Toby Marzot (Dartmouth) the first time through the Buzzards Bay Barriers, while Spinelli struggled in traffic after a poor start. However, as Spinelli made contact with the leaders, Taylor put an end to the others hopes as he turned on the jets, flying through the sand and up the second run-up by bike. Spinelli eventually moved into second, as Marzot faded to ninth. Taylor�s blistering pace saw finish clear of Spinelli, with Johnson a good minute down, who himself finished a scant 11 seconds ahead of Hodges-Myerson and less than 20 seconds clear of Tim Heitz.
Special Thanks to our Sponsors: Corner Cycling Club, race hosts Ron and Rox Smolowitz of the Coonamessett Farm, and Buzzards Bay Brewing. All the action from the day will be aired on Falmouth Cable TV channel 13.