Hundreds of racers hit local streets

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Hundreds of cyclists hit local streets this weekend for the 21st annual Capital Region Road Race, which began and ended at the RCS High School campus. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS — More than 200 competitive cyclists hit local streets Saturday for the annual Capital Region Road Race.

The race, which is hosted by the Capital Bicycle Racing Club, begins and ends at the campus of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School.

“This is the 21st edition of the New York Capital Region Road Race,” race promoter Beth Ruiz said. “It started in Poestenkill and we have been in Ravena since about 2006.”

There were 212 registered racers competing in Saturday’s contest, with cyclists in different age and skill level categories racing against each other. The first group took off beginning at 10:30 a.m., with other levels heading out every few minutes.

The race route was a 21-mile loop that took riders along Routes 101, 143, 32 and 396. The longest route, for the most experienced riders, went four laps for a total of 89 miles, with other groups competing for two and three laps, or 47 and 68 miles, respectively.

When the bicycle club that hosts the race was looking for a new venue back in 2006, they chose the RCS campus and the local community because it was a welcoming atmosphere, Ruiz said.

“The town has been very receptive,” Ruiz said. “The town of Coeymans has been amazing in supporting the race so that is the primary reason we chose it here — because of the community support. They really want to have the race here — it brings in a lot of people to visit the area and community businesses.”

Cyclist Daniel Dudzik, of Connecticut, said he started coming to the race years ago to support his son, and now he is one of the competitors.

“When my son was racing I used to come with him to support him, and now I am racing myself and he is done with it,” Dudzik said. “It’s a pretty challenging route for a big guy like me — it’s more for the climbers, the skinny guys, because there are some sharp hills.”

Cyclists are accompanied on the race route by pace cars and officials who are keeping an eye on the competition.

“I follow the field and watch for violations,” race official Chris McBurnie said. “The biggest thing is, safety comes first and rules are second, so if there is an accident and someone needs assistance, we are there to make the calls.”

Officials also make sure racers are following the rules.

“A big violation is going over the center line and into the opposite lane. We can disqualify them for that,” McBurnie said. “They have to stay in the travel lane in the road, for safety reasons. It’s also a courtesy, because if they start swarming the road, then local people will have a problem with that.”

Spectator Allison Zell traveled from New York City to Coeymans for the race to support her husband.

“This is my first time here and I am glad to be here to support him,” Zell said. “He likes to ride with other racers and experience a race in a professional setting, especially in this beautiful area.”

The winners in the various race classes were as follows, according to bikereg.com:

  • Men 3/4: Jake Saunders, race time 2:56:51
  • Men 40-plus: Silas Clark, race time 3:02:16
  • Men 50-plus: Stephen Jamison, race time 3:09:08
  • Men 60-plus: Brett Tremaine, race time 2:10:21
  • Men Cat 4: Jack Palombo, race time 2:01:22
  • Men Cat 5: Cole Krueger, race time 1:59:19
  • Men Pro/1/2/3: Robin Carpenter, 3:40:16
  • Women 4/5: Marine DeMarcken, 2:26:55
  • Women Pro/1/2/3: Laurel Quinones, race time 2:10:51
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