The ECCC’s Tour de New Jersey concluded this weekend. With the third and final weekend of racing in the Garden State.
Saturdays circuit race featured enough vertical to allow the strong men and women tip the advantage to the break aways. Although the lap was only about 4.5 miles long, it featured several steep pitches and some strong windy sections. Early in the race, series leader, Adam Bry (MIT) suffered an unfortunate crash, when several of his teammates tangled in front of him. The resulting crash made both of Bry’s wheels unridable. By the time he was up and running again, the field was minutes ahead. After a futile lap of chasing, he decided to pull out and save his energy for Sunday. Without Bry in the race, the door was wide open for Robin Carpenter (Swarthmore) to claim the leader’s yellow jersey he has been so clos to for the last couple of weeks; although, I am sure a crash wasn’t the way he wanted to earn it.
In the closing laps of the race, a strong four man break away was formed, containing: Cameron Cogburn (MIT), Robin Carpenter (Swarthmore), Rob Burnett (Franklin and Marshall) and Erik Levinsohn (Williams). As soon as this break went, it became clear it was the winning move. The gap to the main field quickly grew to over a minute. On the final ascent, Rob Burnett was gapped, but made a perilous descent to rejoin the group for the finale. Burnett led out the sprint, but was rapidly overhauled by both Cogburn and Carpenter. Those two raced shoulder to should right to the line, with Cogburn just edging out Carpenter.
Sunday began with a demanding 4.5 mile hill climb ITT through Stokes State Forest in northern Jersey. Erik Levinsohn (Williams College) laid down a blistering pace averaging 18.7 MPHs on a course with 750ft of climbing. Levinsohn proved the importance of the aero helmet, which without victory would be inconceivable. Lindsey Knast avenged her defeat saturday winning the women’s A. Knast opted to comply with the spirit of the “no aero” rule and race without an aero helmet, still besting her competitors who opted for one.
The weekend concluded with a flat fast criterium at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Bunch sprints were the order of the day in the higher categories. A six man breakaway with three MIT riders stood away for more than half the race. Only to be inexplicably reeled in with three to go, by an organized chase lead by MIT, USMA, UVM and F&M. Charles Salzer (Franklin & Marshall) took an emphatic field sprint victory, winning by over a bike length.