Stage 6 saw an awesome turnout. The Saturday stage points are weighted more, to help riders who cannot make the weekday rides, and many riders gobbled up points today.
“These rides have been beautiful,” Kenneth Lundgren said. “Riders of all different levels can come out and negotiate this terrain together, we all have a great time.”
“In 2008, I first began running group rides,” Lundgren continued, “and by 2012 I was told Elite Endurance rides were notorious for being hammer and murder rides. That might’ve been my fault. Today, we offer a wide array of rides for everyone. What you read is what you get. The TOUR is geared for any experienced rider, and thus far we’ve had zero issue.”
The group rolled out to perfect conditions, mid 70s and sunny. The route included the third KOM of the TOUR, a sprint section in Mountain Lakes, and the finishing section from Kincaid Woods to Kinnelon HS.
Let’s get to the action:
Behind, Jason Pilato gave chase and broke off the front of the group. Chris Labudde, Emma Sherer, Gabrielle Garby Czernik, KOM leader Erik Stigum, and Bladdymir Coronelall chased each other up the long climb.
Wolter was able to accelerate near the top to take the KOM. Smith was 2nd, Findlater 3rd. The fight for 4th saw the KOM rebound from a tough start and find a strong rhythm in the second half. Pilato finished just behind.
In the battle for the Femme jersey, Czernik finished just in front of Emma Sherer. Sherer began riding in 2015 and recently took 7th at Hawaii’s hill climb Race to the Sun. The women duelled nicely up the climb, finishing close together.
In the Mountain Lakes sprint, the green jersey Findlater was able to use timing and precision to nail the sprint, powering by Smith and Wolter before the line. Coronel sprinted excellently to place 4th and gobble up 6 points.
The TOUR headed from Mountain Lakes to Denville and Rockaway, enjoying some of the region’s finest riding. The Saturday morning ride is designed to be around 3 hours, to maximize the morning and weekend riding conditions.
The group dumped into Kinnelon and once they rolled passed the yellow fields after Kincaid Woods, it’s war — Kinnelon Road is where the cream rises to the top.
Rich Wolter, a professional MTBer for CCI Racing and one of the top MTB and cyclocross racers in the region, drilled it from the base of the first climb. He drew Smith with him, and they worked together to the finish. Wolter outkicked him at the line to take the stage win.
Behind, the group stayed together on the climbs, chasing the two leaders. Findlater overpowered the group in the finish, winning the group sprint. Coronel nipped 4th, Pilato 5th.
Sherer drilled the second climb and was able to gap Czernik hard. Czernik has been riding steady in all the stages and she is also a triathlete. Her weakpoint is accelerating.
Czernik crested the hill and kept Sherer in sight, and it was a race to the line. Czernik was closing on her but ran out of pavement — Sherer was able to finish ahead of the red jersey with an incredible display of strength.
Findlater is in the green jersey; Jonathan Iwaszczuk and Bladdy Coronel are both one point behind.
Erik Stigum is in the KOM jersey. He is training for long-course triathlon and his performances have been very consistent. His power curve is also flatter, due to his training, so he pays the price when there are accelerations but once he recovers he fades at slower rate — his upper-aerobic efficiency just runs deeper, he is able to rebound and climb hard.
Erik has placed high on the two KOMs he contested.
The Femme competition is being lead by Gabrielle Czernik.
The yellow jersey, which signafies the best rider overall in the TOUR, the rider with the most points overall, is Jonathan Iwaszczuk, who has a 20 point lead over Coronel. Findlater is wthint strking distance in 3rd, with Bill Christman in 4th.
Stage 7 is Tuesday, Riverdale NJ, wheels down 6:15pm. Contact Coach@EliteEnduarance.com for parking and directions.