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Wed, Apr 9, 2014

Entertainment, Forest Hill, Sports

Cycling in Branchbrook Park at Cherry Blossom festival

BY lyanne

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On a windy Saturday, which marked the beginning of a two week series of events celebrating the blooms of Cherry blossom in Branch Brook park , we focused on the annual bike cycle race.  The bike race is for all the cycle enthusiast, of all ages and experience participated in the annual bike race.   The race was located near the Forest Hills neighborhood of Branch Brook park known as, Northern Division Oval, along Heller parkway.  

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It is a attractive area for racing and/or casual riding.  What makes it ideal, you might ask.   Well, it relatively flat with two slight elevations.  Not to mention the pavement is clean and smooth.  The oval has winding roads with a slight descent, which allows for increase speed, hard corning and when coming out of the south section of the oval, allows for fast exciting racing.  

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The sponsors of the race are USA Cycling, and The New Jersey Bicycling Association (NJBA) is the governing body for road bike racing in New Jersey. Their membership includes more than 30 bike clubs and 1,000 riders who race both in and outside of the state. New Jersey has one of the busiest road racing calendars in the country, with over eighty races each season. There are varying distance according to skill, ability and ages.  The ranges are from 10 miles to 60 miles for the categories of 5-1 group racers.  The NJBA coordinates the scheduling of these races, processes the permits , trains and supplies officials.  The NJBA receives significant financial and logistical support from USA Cycling, the governing body of bicycle racing in the United States.  The vision of USA Cycling is to make the United States of America the most successful country in the world of competitive cycling. USA Cycling is the official cycling organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), and is responsible for identifying, training, and selecting cyclists to represent the United States in international competition. In addition to preparing elite-level athletes for world-class competition, USA Cycling aims to ensure the ongoing safety and development of the sport in America.  USA Cycling has membership of nearly 70,000members throughout the country.

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For Saturday’s annual race, there were over 400 participants with some divisions awarded cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions.   On the semi-professional stages the category’s start at category 5 which is the entry beginner stage.    Upgrading from category 5 to 4 can be done after finishing ten mass start races. Category 4 to 3 can be requested when a certain amount of points are earned in races within a 12-month period or race experience, 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 rides or more. 30 points in a 12-month period is an automatic upgrade to category 3. Upgrades from 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 are based on a number of points in a 12-month period. Category 3 to 2 requires 25 points to be eligible and 40 points for an automatic upgrade.  Points are accumulated by both individuals and teams.

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The most exciting of the races were the senior over 55 category, where the race was extremely competitive up to the finish line, and the category 1 professional stage final race.

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Since cycling is a individual and a team sport, member team also accumulated points for the race.  The Cherry Blossom race in the second official race of the season for NJBA, in a series of ten races throughout New Jersey.

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The winner of the senior race was, Edward Troianello (High Gear/Trek team), led the pack for many laps, was able to preserve his lead, holding off a final sprint from Glenn Schneider (GS Palm Beach team), amounting to a photo finish ending.  Douglass O’Neill (Century Road Club Assoc), was a near third all with a finishing time of 54:56.

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The final race of the day was exciting, as we watch a remarkable rider continue to improve his ranking and continued winning streak.  The final race was 23 laps, which is the equivalent to 50 miles,  with the racers averaging speeds between 23-25 miles an hour. From beginning to end Michael Margarite, maintain a presence in front of the pack.

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Mr. Margarite is a 35 year old resident from NYC.  Here is his placing for several races this season.  His placement has improved from a 20th position at the end of 2013 season to placing 1st place in the first races of this season.  His 12 month statistics, are impressive;

04/05/2014 – Cherry Blossom Challenge | winning place 1, with a time of 1:49:37 40

03/30/2014 – Ronde Van Mullica |winning place 1 , with a time of  2:20:07 233

03/29/2014 – CRCA Racing Series 2014, winning place 7, with a time of 1:08:211

03/22/2014 – CRCA Racing Series 2014, winning place 2, with a time 1:16:153

03/15/2014 – Trooper Brinkerhoff Memorial Race Series, winning place 1, with a time of 2:24:51

03/08/2014 – CRCA Grant’s Tomb Criterium, winning place 3, with a time of 1:04:87

Mr. Margarite has 5 wins in 12 months period with three wins coming in his last three weeks.  He will be the person to watch to see if he can maintain this level of dominance.

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