SARANAC LAKE - Hundreds of cyclists visited the region over the weekend for the Adirondack North Country Race Weekend.
The annual event kicked off in Wilmington on Saturday with the Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race and finished Sunday with the New York State Criterium Championships in downtown Saranac Lake. This was the fifth year of the road races and fourth of the criterium.
Race organizer Jimmy Walker said Saturday's race drew about 260 cyclists while the race in Saranac Lake was expected to draw about 200, though he didn't have the final tally for the Saranac Lake race when interviewed by the Enterprise. The races were sponsored by Team Placid Planet.
Cyclists head up Main Street in Saranac Lake Sunday during the New York State Criterium Championships for Category 3 and 4 racers. Team Placid Planet organized this annual bike race as well as another this weekend, the Wilmington-Whiteface Road Race on Saturday.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
"Our registration numbers are a little off from last year, but our actual racers that are here are more because more of the ones that registered came because a good many got scared off by the really bad weather last year," Walker said. "So we're actually going to have more people here this year. But we're still looking for ways to build it up bigger to help the communities here as well as make the races bigger and have more competitors in each race."
The weather may have been a little wet last year, but this year's conditions were nearly perfect with sunny days for both races. The good weather was conducive to good races. Walker himself was involved in one of them.
Racing for Team Placid Planet, Walker took home the New York state criterium championship in the 17-mile Category 3 race Sunday. Walker easily beat out Theodor Schnauder of Avon and Kyle Gagnier of Peru. Times were unavailable as of press time in this particular race.
Winning the criterium race, means Walker will wear the championship jersey in criterium races for the rest of the year.
Although Walker finished first in his category, he actually finished fifth overall in this race, which included Category 3 participants and out-of-state racers.
The Category 4 race was won by Timothy Bouchard of TBS Racing in Buffalo, who barely edged out Walker. Bouchard finished fourth overall.
"I'm upgrading to a three after this so it was my last hurrah," Bouchard said. "No one on our team has had a jersey before for New York state championships, so it's a real cool moment for me."
Overall, the race was won by Brendan Rhim, who finished in 35 minutes and 48 seconds. Rhim lapped most of the competition and won easily. Because the Category 3 cyclist is from Vermont, he wasn't eligible for the New York championship. Second place went to Ansel Dickey, who like Rhim is a member of the Killington Mountain Cycling Team in Vermont. Joseph Wells of St. Albans finished third.
The lead pack actually lucked out because the race featured a big crash at the start of the final lap that included about a half dozen cyclists. The crash gave the crowd a scare, but all the participants walked away from it. It appeared no one was seriously injured, although some people did receive some scrapes and bruises.
"I didn't even know it happened," Walker said. "My friends and family told me it was immediately behind me. The next guy behind me was the guy who crashed and took other people down."
In addition to Walker, there were a number of other local residents who placed well in the races this weekend. Lake Placid resident Rosanne Van Dorn of Team Placid Planet took home a state championship in the women's pro race. She finished in 41:06 for 17 miles to edge Amy Miner of South Burlington, Vt. - who wasn't eligible for the state championship - and Jenny Ives of Saratoga Springs. Nicole LaPlant of Peru took fourth overall and third in the state championship.
The men's pro race was won by Allan Rego of New York City. He finished the 30-mile race in 57.48. Andrew McCullough of Montpelier, Vt. took second overall and Brendan Housler of Rochester took third overall and second in the state race. Waclaw Godycki of Ithaca took third in the state championship race.
Another local to do well Sunday was Colin Delaney of High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid. He took second in the 12 mile Category 5 race, finishing in 28:30.
The only other local winner was Donna Moody of Lake Placid, who took first in the 11-mile women's master race with a time of 27:27. Moody also took first in a women's master race Saturday, finishing 28 miles in 1:38:08.
Moody said she enjoyed Saturday's race, which had her in a group with Category 4 cyclists and some juniors.
"I felt pretty good for most of it and I stayed with the lead group until the big hill in Silver Lake when I got dropped," she said. "But it was a fun. It was a good race and safe race."
Saturday's 82-mile men's pro race was won by McCullough, who finished in 3:41:53. He beat Bobby Bailey of Essex Vermont and Rhim.
The women's pro race was won by Ives, who finished the 55-mile course in 2:56:07. Van Dorn came in second in 2:56:42. Kelly Knowles of Ottawa, Ontario came in third.