Riders wait at the starting line for the 40-K race.
LAKE HOPATCONG - A beautiful fall morning welcomed the first running of the Autumn Bike Challenge sponsored by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. The event’s proceeds were to support the Foundation and its goal to improve Lake Hopatcong and their prime initiative to keep the lake clean. It is hoped that the event can be held annually.
The event started and finished at Our Lady of the Sea Church, 204 Espanong Road, with participants riding a 20 or 40 kilometers throughout the area. The 40-kilometer ride was highlighted by some difficult hills in addition to the nearly 25 grueling miles. The volunteers from the Jefferson Police and EMS squads were on hand to assist with the safety of the riders. Rest stops were set up along to route to provide water, PowerBars and PB&J sandwiches to the riders.
About 100 riders from around the region participated in the two races. Included in the field was a contingent of riders with Marty Epstein. Epstein’s company, Marty’s Reliable Cycle, was one of the main sponsors of the event. Marty’s Cycle also provided a bicycle mechanic to help with mechanical support for the riders. Other sponsors of the event included PowerBar, Jamis Bicycles, Dunkin’ Donuts, Vinny & Son, Anthony and Sons Bakery, BTS Landscaping, Pavinci, Wearhouse Grille, Lake Hopatcong Maple Syrup, and Anthony Barone Graphics.
Becky Rubenstein, LHF board member, was only of the many people that helped make the event a reality. “We live on the lake and do whatever we can to support the foundation. This took a lot of planning and effort by a lot of people, but it is well worth it.”
Keith Licata, the driving force behind the Tour de Lake bike race around Lake Hopatcong held in the spring, was given many thanks for his support, guidance and expertise in helping make the Autumn Bike Challenge a success.
The winner for the 40-K race was RJ Reisen, 17, from Sparta , who completed the run in 2:00.04. Reisen crossed the finish line doing a wheelie. Ryan Feeney, of Flanders, and Darren Milun, of Succasunna, followed him across the line seconds later. The top women’s finishers were Kimberley Walker, Budd Lake, Joanne Brown, Lafayette, and Johanna Garcia, Lake Hopatcong. Walker’s time was 2 hours and 8 minutes.
In the 20-K event, Keith Licata, of Mt. Arlington, rode the course in 55:18. He was followed by David Bandel, Flanders, and John Delaney, Stanhope. The women’s 20K was won by Robyn Nagel, of Hopatcong, who finished in a time of 1:16. Following Robyn to the finish line were Karyn Crouthamel, of Rockaway, and Lynn Sandecz, of Lake Hopatcong.
The winners of the four divisions received unique, handmade wooden boats as trophies. Following the race, riders were invited to enjoy lunch supplied by Vinnie & Son. Dunkin’ Donuts provided iced coffee and tea, in addition to donuts, before and after the race.
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation posted the results for all the riders on their website, Lakehopatcongfoundation.org.