Perfect conditions for Stage 2, a beautiful jaunt through the rolling country of Mountain Lakes.
NEWSFLASH: Jennifer Defalco is green jersey on the road today B-)#kapow
Jonathan I. began the first of his three dominant efforts by stomping off the front of the group at the beginning of the Clover Lane sprint.
“I felt really good tonight,” Jonathan said. “I figured I’d let the other guys come out yesterday, kill each other a bit, and then I’d come in today with fresh legs, ready to rock.”
Chris Labudde powered to 2nd. Tiffany Schwartz was 3rd, a solid seated effort to pass a few riders in the final few seconds.
The group rode well together up towards Mountain Lakes. Once in Mountain Lakes, the pace increased and the peloton entered the Mountain Lakes sprint section at a high rate of speed, up the roller, down the roller to the wide Boulevard sprint.
“I jumped too soon,” Dan Goldsmith said. Goldsmith launched his sprint before the crest of the roller, and many riders blew by him.
In truth, Jonathan just overpowered everyone in that sprint with his size and strength. Coronel chased vigoriously in his wake, finishing fast and securing 2nd.
Goldsmith stayed low and powered a higher cadence, coming across the finish line like a freight train, a terrific recovery given his premature use of energy.
“That was awesome,” Goldsmith said. “I am sprinting better tonight than yesterday. Two rest days coming up, I know I will be better for Saturday.”
The group rolled nice tempo pace towards Four Corners.
“This is my favorite part of the ride,” Kenneth Lundgren said. “We ride out of Mountain Lakes and into Denville, just beautiful riding up there, you can easily get lost in the view.”
The stretch has a few shorter climbs, a few fast downhills, then rolling white-picket-fence country towards the Four Corners intersection and alpaca farms, where the entire pack regroups.
From there, it’s time to roll to the final section, which begins at Kincaid Woods, a 10+min uninterrupted haul to Kinnelon High School blinking light sign — final section is worth most for overall GC, who has been strategizing?
Jonathan blew the group apart on the first climb. He looked very strong, venom in the quads as he powered away seated, zero rocking in the saddle.
“I wanted to get away fast,” Jonathan said with a wry smile, “so I could get to the finish and film everyone finishing.”
In his wake, Schwartz gave furious chase, Czernik and yellow-jersey Coronel locked on her wheel.
Schwartz pulled hard and was fatigued by the time she arrived to the second climb. “I didn’t know how far we had to go but I wanted to hammer hard.”
Hammer hard she did — Czernik accelerated on the climb, nearly gapping Coronel.
“We were going fast that whole time, zero let-up,” the race leader said.
Czernik and Coronel were able to distance Schwartz, who chased furiously solo for the rest of the section.
Before the finish, Labudde was able to rebound and blow by the lighter Schwartz and take 4th on the stage — and the 7 GC points.
Story of day: Jonathan’s PERFECT 45, an impressive and dominant performance. impressive.
“I feel strong, I am ready to battle Gisler and the others,” Jonathan said.
Race leader Coronel is looking good — his weight is solid, his aerobic engine appears very strong, he is a very wise rider on the roads — you will have to beat him, he will not beat himself. He has a commanding lead in GC, 62 points. 2nd is Jonathan with his magic 45. Michael Gisler is 3rd with 43.
Czernik is learning more strategy every day. “I race multisport primarily, so to execute road strategy in real situations is new for me,” she said. “I am really enjoying this TOUR event. I am even thinking of blowing off my race on Saturday.” 😐 #nowyoutalkincrazy
Tiffany Schwartz had a powerful performance, currently sitting 7 points behind Czernik for the Femme jersey. “I locked my keys in my car,” Schwartz said. “Other than that, I had a rockin’ time.”
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Stage 3 is this Saturday, wheels down 8am from the Elite Endurance campus. Stage 3 will introduce the first KOM in the TOUR, Taylortown Road, plus a new lollipop section around Farber Hill — ride time will be 2-2.5h.
The TOUR is awesome and free and open to all riders; please contact Coach@EliteEndurance.com for directions and parking.
For full TOUR info, visit EliteEndurance.com.