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Cyclists tested in time trial championships
August 9, 2017

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UPPER JAY - When people think of a bike race, it's usually rider pitted against rider. But on Sunday, nearly 100 bicyclists gathered in Upper Jay to take on their biggest challenger: themselves.

The West-Woodward Memorial time trial took place on Sunday, with the winners crowned as New York State champions in a number of age and distance categories.

"I'm up here with some friends training for Ironman Louisville and the Lake Placid half Ironman," Bill Haas said after his race. Haas, who lives in Derby, won his 15.3-kilometer race with a time of 25 minutes, 14.31 seconds. "It was great. It's a little hillier than I'm used to, so it was great to get some benefit from my extra weight on the downhills.

"It's really a race against yourself because you don't know where everyone else is in the race, so it's really pushing you to get every last drop out of the tank, and that's what I'm good at."

The race was split up according to age and distance, and some locals did quite well. Saranac Lake resident Jonah Seleni won the boys 9-10 age division with a 29:19.5 on the 12-kilometer course while Ryan Recchia of Keeseville finished second behind Bill Haas in the men's Citizen division with a time of 25:19.07. Lake Placid's Timothy McCarthy placed third in 25:28.04.

Wilmington resident Caitlin Skufca won the Women 5 division, completing 15.3k in 27:33.05, while Kevin Bouchard-Hall of Wadhams won the gold medal in the men's 1/2 divison. Bouchard-Hall finished the 27.2-kilometer course in just 35:06.01. Bill McGreevy, who lives in Wilmington, also won gold in the Men 50-54 division with a time of 37:06.2 on the 27.2k course.

Saranac Lake's Amanda Zullo also won gold as the lone woman in the 35-39 age division and Saranac Lake's Nicholas Seleni won bronze in the men's 4 division, completing the 27.2k course in 38:37.68.

"The time trial is known as the race of truth, because each rider rides it individually without anyone else around," organizer Jim Walker said. "It's just a matter of going as hard as you can, but not too hard: keeping a pace and ending the race with nothing left in the tank."

Walker took first place in the men's 55-59 division after covering 27.2k in 38:23.10.

Each rider started out at one minute intervals, with the younger kids competing on the shortest course. Riders, depending on their category and age, could compete on a short (12k), middle (15.3k) or long-distance (27.2k) course.

The time trials were named in honor of Scott Woodward and Don West, a pair of North Country riders who participated in time trials at Point Au Roche near Plattsburgh. Each man loomed large in the North Country bicycling scene before they died.

"We thought, let's honor them; let's have the time trial," Walker said. "We didn't bring it to Point Au Roche because we decided it's a narrow lake road. But we want to honor these guys."

The time trials were also the New York state championships, with winners earning bragging rights that they are likely to be the fastest cyclist in their respective divisions. While the state championship isn't a qualifier for anything else, riders get a state champion jersey and winner's medal.

"We've had a pretty good sign up, we had about 90 pre-registered (before the race) and hopefully we're going to go over the 100 mark," Walker said. "[Lake] Placid and that area is pretty big for triathletes and just cyclists in general. Maybe they don't race, but they like to go fast."

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