The Big Picture: NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross Elite Men (Day 2)

SICK WHAT!!!! New England local favorite Anthony Clark (Squid Bikes) brought home a HUGE win on day 2 of the NBX GP of ‘Cross, ahead of Dylan Mcnicholas (Polartec) in 2nd, and Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) in 3rd. This win was Clark’s first time on the top step of a UCI podium, and also scored Clark first place in the Verge overall series standings.

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On the start line, Clark came into the day in the Verge NECX series leader’s jersey. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
After a missed opportunity a day earlier, it was clear that White was out for revenge–riding aggressively from the gun to take the holeshot.
After a missed opportunity a day earlier, it was clear that White was out for revenge–riding aggressively from the gun to take the holeshot. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
After the first half-lap of racing, White was still smashing, with only Mcnicholas closely marking him.
After the first half-lap of racing, White was still smashing, with only Mcnicholas closely marking him. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
A few moments later, and White seemed to have settled a bit, leading through the logs with Mcnicholas, Clark, Jeremy Martin (Louis Garneu), and Christian Favata (TRT Bicycles) following.
A few moments later, and White seemed to have settled a bit, leading through the logs with Mcnicholas, Clark, Jeremy Martin (Louis Garneu), and Christian Favata (TRT Bicycles) following. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Jake Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) was getting rad for the second day in a row, effortlessly hopping the logs.
Jake Kisseberth (JAM Fund/NCC/Vittoria) was getting rad for the second day in a row, effortlessly hopping the logs. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Down at the beach, and the leading group of 5 slowly began to achieve a separation from the rest of the pack.
Down at the beach, and the leading group of 5 slowly began to achieve a separation from the rest of the pack. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Pro-move: Next time you have to shoulder your bike for a run, reach back with the non-shouldering hand to set the pedal/crank for optimal reentry. Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) will show you how:

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

A lap later, and the lead group had been reduced to 4 – Favata having fell off the pace (And eventually would exacerbate a previous injury and DNF as a result. Hope you’re on the mend, Christian!)

Clark was at the front, already riding very determined for a win.
Clark was at the front, already riding very determined for a win. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

With Clark still on the front, Martin began to yo-yo off the back of the group as he started to wear down.

However, by the sand, Martin was back on.
However, by the sand, Martin was back on. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
As White came to the front to do some work, Martin was back to yo-yoing.
As White came to the front to do some work, Martin was back to yo-yoing. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Clark went to the front AGAIN to drive the pace, but Martin managed to stay on for a little bit longer.
Clark went to the front AGAIN to drive the pace, but Martin managed to stay on for a little bit longer. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Suddenly, Clark’s chances for a win look a bit slimmer. Before dismounting for the sand, Clark realized he has a dropped chain – while the single-ring setups are lighter and faster and simpler and other assorted marketing speak, the simple fact remains: if you do manage to drop your chain, it’s a manual operation to re-fit it and you’re probably going to lose a little time.

Clark went to the front AGAIN to drive the pace, but Martin managed to stay on for a little bit longer.
Clark went to the front AGAIN to drive the pace, but Martin managed to stay on for a little bit longer. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
When Clark was finally back underway, he had incurred a 9 second loss on his rivals, and was quite justifiably looking a little panicked.
When Clark was finally back underway, he had incurred a 9 second loss on his rivals, and was quite justifiably looking a little panicked. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

White would lead for the next half-lap or so, who then turned pace-making duties over to Mcnicholas. It’s unclear whether White needed to recover, or was trying to play it safe and tactical, letting Mcnicholas do some work having already established a lead on Clark. Regardless of reasoning, a most extraordinary thing occurred with Mcnicholas at the helm. Clark powered through the next half lap, and was catching back on!

Before the sand, and the lead was fading back into view for Clark.
Before the sand, and the lead was fading back into view for Clark. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
On the sand, and Clark was back within striking distance!
On the sand, and Clark was back within striking distance! © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

 

However, after such a strong bridging attempt, Clark should have absolutely been vulnerable to a counter attack.

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

White went to the front to dole out some punishment for Clark, but still couldn’t shake him!

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Instead, Clark went right back to the front AGAIN. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

By this point, Clark was riding like he was on fire. He must have been hurting. He should have cracked by now? And if not now, then soon?

Coming through for 2-to-go, and Clark’s effort was not only beginning to drop Mcnicholas…
Coming through for 2-to-go, and Clark’s effort was not only beginning to drop Mcnicholas… © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
…but White was turning himself inside out just to stay on Clark’s wheel.
…but White was turning himself inside out just to stay on Clark’s wheel. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
After the sand, through the ‘ant-farm’ of zig-zags, and Clark was clear!
After the sand, through the ‘ant-farm’ of zig-zags, and Clark was clear! © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
And White was fading, who got caught and would be passed by Mcnicholas!
And White was fading, who got caught and would be passed by Mcnicholas! © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Over the final lap, Clark rode like a man possessed to maintain his lead, his body literally at the breaking point:

Said Clark post-race, “I don’t know, I just wiped my nose really hard and all of a sudden it was bleeding”
Said Clark post-race, “I don’t know, I just wiped my nose really hard and all of a sudden it was bleeding.” © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
½ a lap from victory
½ a lap from victory. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Crossing the line:

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Look at that joy. Look at it. If you look close at his leg, Clark actually has goosebumps from the experience.
Look at that joy. Look at it. If you look close at his leg, Clark actually has goosebumps from the experience. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Mcnicholas rolled in for 2nd, very pleased with the day’s result. White rolled in for 3rd. Very… not:

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© 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Congratulatory hug and subsequent mutual freak-out from former JAM Fund teammate, Scott Smith.
Congratulatory hug and subsequent mutual freak-out from former JAM Fund teammate, Scott Smith. © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com
Smith was quoted as saying, “AAAAAAAAAAAH!”
Smith was quoted as saying, “AAAAAAAAAAAH!” © 2015 John Kavouris www.johnkavouris.com

Congrats, Anthony, on a fantastic win for the day AND series victory! Not to editorialize TOO much, but this was hands down my favorite race to have watched of the season. Chapeu!

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