FALMOUTH, Mass. (Nov. 4, 2018) – After a wet and windy start for the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross in Falmouth, Mass. on Saturday, racers were treated to a picture-perfect New England day on a fast and dry race course. In its first year on the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX), the two-day UCI event attracted top talent. Crystal Anthony (Liv Cycling) took her second win of the weekend in the elite women’s race and Scott Smith (Dirt League) celebrated his first UCI win of the ProCX season.
The event is a continuation of the Plymouth Festival of Cyclocross, which started as the Plymouth Cyclo Cross in 1977 at the Plymouth-Carver High School. One of the first cyclocross races in the Northeast, the event was host to the 1984 and 1986 USCF Cyclocross National Championships. In 2015, it was rebranded as the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross.
In the elite women’s race, Anthony vaulted early with Arley Kemmerer (Fearless Femme Racing) to the lead. The two rode together for most of the race.
“We wanted to work together, because it was a really fast race, so it benefited us to take turns.” said Anthony, who rode away to her third ProCX win of the season. “And then Arley had to get off on the stairs (back section of course), so I got a gap there. That’s when I decided to go for it.”
Anthony would cross the line in her home state after six laps just 10 seconds ahead of second-place Kemmerer. The duo finished in the same order on Saturday. On Sunday, Kemmerer said it was about working together and taking turns to extend their lead from the rest of the 27-rider field.
“We were hanging out with each other, because it was too long and too much pedaling to not do it (lead) with somebody else. And we knew there was a group of five people, at one point, behind us,” said Kemmerer.
The duo remained together until late in the race, even running the barriers side by side. They had a 40-second lead with two laps to go over the field. Then Anthony would seize an opportunity on the bell lap and attack.
“I think we were evenly matched power-wise for the whole course,” said Kemmerer. “We kept it pretty fast the whole time. I wouldn’t say we sat up much. It probably was a little bit of waiting for somebody to make a mistake, and it was me that did it. That was it.”
The comeback ride of the day came from Cassie Maximenko (Van Dessel Factory Team). After having mechanical trouble off the start, Maximenko had to fight her way back lap after lap to the chase group that had formed behind Anthony and Kemmerer.
“So right off the start, my bike just wasn’t shifting great. I noticed it especially after we went through the sand the first time. I was like, shifting, and nothing was happening. So I lost some spots because I couldn’t shift up to a harder gear,” explained Maximenko. This put her back well outside of the Top 10 and out of podium contention. She would not reconnect with the chasers until the final half lap of racing.
“With two laps to go, I could see the group that was fighting for third in front of me. I was like, ‘oh man, they are really far head.’ I finally caught on to the group, maybe halfway through the last lap,” said Maximenko, who was fifth on Saturday. “Then we started battling with each other. If I hit the pavement first, I knew I could outsprint them. So I just got in the drops, head down, shifted through the gears and managed to get it.”
Maximenko would have to outsprint three other riders for third place. She finished one second ahead of Anna Megale, two seconds ahead of Danielle Arman (Tenspeed Hero), and three seconds ahead of Regina Legge (Trek Cyclocross Collective).
The elite men’s race had much more group racing on the fast Falmouth track. While Smith has stood atop three ProCX podiums so far this year, this is his first ProCX and UCI win.
“I knew it was going to be a group race today with the course being so fast,” said Smith, who was second on Saturday at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds races. “It was really punchy, so you wanted to be in the front of the group, like second wheel. And that’s what I tried to do all day, I just tried to stay second wheel.
“Justin (Lindine) kept attacking us a lot and he was putting us under pressure,” noted Smith. “And finally I got Nick Lando to pull through for a couple of laps. And he put us under a lot of pressure.”
With three laps remaining in the nine-lap affair, Lindine got a front flat and lost valuable seconds. The lead group was down to three riders – Smith, Nick Lando (UVM Cycling), and Kevin Bradford-Parish (Setcoaching p/b FSA).
“Kevin hit it with one to go and strung us out. I didn’t know if I could get him back,” added Smith. “But I rode back on his wheel around the log-hop and the uphill. I passed him there and put the pressure on through the technical sections. Then I rode as hard as I could in the straightaways. I had about five seconds (in the lead). I rode the stairs on the last lap pretty clean. And when I came onto the start/finish, I was by myself so I was really happy with that. I was happy to pull the win out of thin air. I mean, I’ve been having a rough season, so with fitness and sickness. I am so happy right now!”
Bradford-Parish, of Spokane, Wash., said it was a tactical race. “Guys were attacking and I was just trying to follow wheels and stay in contention and not get too far off the lead group.I was still trying to be patient. I was not on the right laps in my head, and so I put in a pretty hard dig on the second to last lap, which was trying to be a win. So, I went too early and paid for it. Scott just feathered by me and I was too far in the red to really respond and do anything.”
Bradford-Parish finished second, nine seconds behind Smith. It was his fourth ProCX podium of the season.Twenty-one-year-old Lando would finish third, 20 seconds behind Bradford-Parish.
“I could tell from pre-riding that it was going to come down to group racing,” observed Lando. “I kind of just stalked the back and make sure not to let any gaps open up. If they did, close them down. The group just whittled down until three to go, and it was just the three of us. It just exploded with one to go. Scott and Kevin kept drilling the attacks. I just couldn’t hang. I managed to come around for third.”
Lando, who earned two silver medals this year’s at U.S. Collegiate Mountain Bike nationals (short track cross-country and cross-country disciplines), was third at KMC Cross Fest earlier this season. He claimed his second ProCX podium in Falmouth.