There is a reason they call it the “Big East.” The New England Professional Cyclocross Series attracts the core of the rider base from New England and the Mid-Atlantic, which represents 40 percent of the U.S. bicycle market. The quality of these races historically draws competitors from throughout the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, the U.K., and the rest of Europe. With a potential audience of 55 million people in the corridor from Portland, Maine to Richmond, Virginia, cycling enthusiasts need only travel a few hours to reach these fabled venues.
The heritage of New England cyclocross dates back to Paul Curley, who returned from Switzerland in the early 1980s with equipment, technique, and stories that changed everything. Whereas other regions viewed ‘cross as simply an off-season skills exercise, Curely refined it to the European standard. Conducting a simple clinic for a handful of apostles on an athletic field in Plymouth, Curley set New England on a path of excellence in cyclocross few other regions could match.
His protégés, Frank and Mark McCormack would dominate the sport in the 1990s, with countless other New Englanders donning stars and stripes jerseys, including Kathi Riggert, Jan Bolland, and Tom Masterson. In their wake would come an even grander generation led by Tim Johnson and Jonathan Page, both of whom would medal at the World Championships. And behind them have come Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll.
New England ‘cross – from the venues to the coaching to the promoters – continues to serve as the gold standard of American ‘cross. Four of the five elite men representing the U.S. at the 2011 World Championships were New Englanders.
In 2010, we had 1551 Unique riders (5075 total riders) across all days at the four races that make up the New England Pro Cyclocross series. Racers were from all over the country, but most were from New England.
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