It's been far too long since I reported what the amazing BJL Coaching Athletes have been doing out on the race courses, and it's TIME! Most athletes are well into their season, whether they're racing road, time trials, mountain bikes, or some combination of the three disciplines. The weather has been great for the most part, and there's been some super racing action.
The last weekend in April saw plenty of racing in the region. On April 25, Kevin E. went "Down the Shore" for the Long Beach Island (LBI) Time Trial. This 10 mile course includes two turn arounds so you can experience different wind situations. Fortunately wind wasn't too bad that day, and Kevin finished 15th in a deep Cat 4/5 Field. He was able to grab some points for the overall TT Cup and gain some valuable experience on a course that was new to him.
Also on that Saturday, Chris C. attended the Juniors in the Jungle High School Mountain Bike Race promoted by Team Town Cycle. Chris entered the Men's A Category, which would be equivalent to High School Varsity. He took first in the race, and since this race was part of a three race series, he would go into race #2 leading the points.
Sunday brought many of the athletes to the 15th Annual Tour de Lake, a competitive cycling "challenge" that has two courses options through northern Morris and southern Sussex counties. All the athletes who participated chose the longer route which was 40 miles with almost 3000' of elevation gain. In the Women's field, Stef M. grabbed 6th place in her first go at the 40. She's been on the podium in the 20 and did great with the longer, tougher course. Sarah P. had a solid ride, and despite being mislead off course by deviant who painted some false arrows on the road, still came in 15th place. In the Men's race, Keith L., my teammate and the event organizer, took 6th place in the stacked field. We had three athletes in the Men's 45+ race. Top honors goes to Greg S. who took 8th in the, then Frank S. who came in 26th, and Jim G. who also followed the false arrows but finished up 35th. This will certainly serve as great training for Jim in his journey to Leadville.
As we moved into May, Chris C. kicked off the month with another podium performance locking in his first place for the overall High School Series. Saturday, May 2 was the 10th Annual Team Bulldog Youth Race and NJ State High School Mountain Bike Championships. Chris C. came in second in the event, not far behind his teammate and fellow BJL Coaching Athlete Morgan P., who claimed the High School State Championships for the second year in a row.
On the road side, Kathryn C. entered the Men's 4/5 Field at Prospect Park early Saturday morning for some great training. She stayed out of trouble and hung nicely with the pack.
Sunday, May 3 was Race #2 in the H2H Mountain Bike Race Series, where we saw a number of top performances. Chris C. rounded out his weekend with a victory in Cat 2 Junior Men 15-18, making that 2 for 2 in the series, and one of the fastest times of the day. Stef M. finished in 5th place on the challenging course in Cat 2 Women 40+. Rod M. dispatched some demons and came in 8th in Cat 2 Master Men 50+. In the Cat 1 Race, Greg S. continued to move forward in the series with a 7th place finish in 50+. Finally, Brooke W. took 2nd place in Women 40+ in her first race of the year.
Dropping down south of the Mason Dixon line again saw Paul L. hitting up the Bunny Hop Crit. He rode a smart race coming in 12th out of 80+ starters in the Masters 35+ field.
Jump ahead to the weekend of the 9th/10th, and we begin with yet another Victory for Chris C. On Saturday, May 9, Chris participated in the High School Series Finals, held by Team Marty's. He took first in the Men's A field, ensuring his overall win for the series. Way to be consistent, Chris!
On the paved side of things on May 9, Paul L. was ready to bang bars again at the Orchard Beach Crit Race, where he finished up mid-pack out of 60+ racers. Also that day, Kevin E. raced the clock at the super cool Somerset Circuit TT and came in 10th in the Cat 4/5 Men. His consistent performances have moved him steadily up the standings in the TT Cup, with his sights set on the top 10 overall soon. I also attended that event, and came in 4th, just 15 seconds off the podium in the 35+ Field, and 9th overall.
On May 10, Mothers' Day, brought Kathryn C. to the Bear Mountain Spring Classic. This is one of my favorite road races of all time, and I was glad I was able to provide plenty of intel on a course that would be new to her. Coming off a 4th place Battenkill as her last road race, she was hungry for a podium. I could hear the passion and excitement in her voice as we discussed race strategy a few days prior to the race. It all came together as she WON the Cat 4 Women's Race! She was able to get into the early break which was eventually whittled down to two racers. She attacked on the final pitch up Lake Welch and held on for the victory. Amazing, KC!
It's really been a wonderful year so far working with this group of dedicated cyclists, and I know we have a lot more successes in store!
Look for the May 16 to May 31 report coming shortly...
Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.