The history of the Verge New England Series
The history of the Verge New England Cyclocross Series extends well before my involvement in it, and much of that history is legend passed down from one generation to the next. When I entered the sport as a 17-year-old junior with two seasons of road racing under my belt, I had already missed out on the national championships being held in Plymouth, MA, just 25 miles from my home in Brockton, the year before. I didn’t even know what cyclocross was; yet I was living in one of the country’s hotbeds for the sport. It was only a matter of time before it would find me.
In the late 80s, every race in New England was included on a calendar called the New England Points Series, and was administrated by Tom Stevens. Back then, the series was really just a way to get all the organizers to communicate, share resources, and prevent conflicts. There were only 8 races, one per weekend, and the season didn’t start until the first weekend of October.
Over the next decade, ‘cross really took off in New England, and the New England Points Series was packed with 20 races, all double weekends, starting the first weekend of October and going until the week before Christmas. I had gone from being a junior, on to college where I started organizing an event at UMass my sophomore year, all while chasing around a pro career on the road. ‘Cross was still my passion, though, and after spending part of the winter in 1996 racing in Switzerland, I came back and got more involved in helping Tom organize the series, learning so much from seeing how it was organized in Europe.
Eventually, I convinced Tom to shrink the series down to just the best races, so that the riders weren’t forced to chase points at every small event, and the events that we’re doing things correctly and professionally would be better recognized and supported. There were races from September to December now, and the series had gotten too big to manage. In 2000, Tom retired from running the series and turned it over to me, and that’s when the modern Verge Series was born.
For that 2000 season I implemented a 3-year plan, where at the end of those 3 years, all the races in the series would have UCI status, modeling in New England what I had seen working successfully in Switzerland. This is where classic races like Amherst (now Northampton), Gloucester, and Warwick grew into international events.
Over the course of all those years of growth, Mike Magur had been my competitor as a junior (we were 5th and 6th at junior nationals in 1990), eventually my teammate on GS Mengoni, and now the owner of Verge Sport. He shared my love of ‘cross, was racing with me still every weekend, and begin supporting the series with leader’s jerseys, as well as material support for the organizers like an equipment trailer that doubled as an officials stage, a PA system, and signage.
In the 15 years that I’ve been the series organizer, we’ve seen it all, and Verge has been not just my sponsor, but also a partner, helping keep the sport funded and successful for generations. The Verge New England Cyclocross Series has graduated riders like Page, Powers, and Johnson, families like the Anthony’s, Keogh’s, and Goguen's, and a new era of athletes Curtis and Emma White, and Ellen Noble. All the while, it continues to serve riders at every level, with separate races for Category 4 and Category 3 women, as well as 9-14 year old juniors, because we know those future champions have to start somewhere. Putting on UCI-level events means our amateur races are guaranteed a high quality course and experience, and they are our lifeblood. None of it would be possible without the support of Verge, Mike Magur, and the entire Verge business family, who at their core, are all cyclocrossers, too.
Verge New England Cyclocross Series President