74th Annual Tour of Somerville Cycling Series: ‘A Storybook Day with a Fairytale Finish’

SOMERVILLE, NJ — Noah Granigan’s dramatic win in the 74th annual Tour of Somerville Kugler-Anderson Memorial Men’s Race was the defining moment in what race announcer Ron Czajkowski described as “a story book day with a fairytale finish.”

Granigan, the reigning USA Collegiate Cycling Champion, barely made it to the race on time, having flown in from Dublin Sunday morning after eight days of grueling racing through the countryside of Ireland. His parents picked him up with his bicycle and gear at Newark Liberty International Airport and drove here for the race.

“I was kind of debating about not even racing; the next thing you know I’m on the podium,” he said afterwards during a celebratory picnic and barbecue at his grandparents’ home with family and friends. “My grandpa was in tears.”

The 21-year-old is about to begin his junior year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, lives in Cape May Courthouse in southern New Jersey when he’s not at school or racing; he’s been racing in Somerville since he was 9 years old, following a family tradition, several of whom were on hand to witness his unlikely victory..

None could be more proud than his grandfather, Joe Saling, who peered down the straightaway on Somerville’s Main Street and could see that his grandson was one of four racers that had broken away from the pack.

“He was wearing that big white helmet and I could see the pink sleeves, so I knew it was him,” Saling said after an emotional post-race interview with his grandson.

Saling, a competitive racer and the “Voice” of the Tour of Somerville the past 35 years, shared broadcasting duties with Czajkowski, a local race historian who has been involved with the Tour of Somerville for decades.

“I cry watching “Road Runner” cartoons, so, yeah, I was a mess. It was something special,” Saling said after popping the cork on a bottle of celebratory champagne.

Saling is one of the most decorated cyclists in the United States, having won more than 20 national titles; his wife, Dottie, also competed, winning state and national titles. She also served as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Their two daughters also competed in bike racing, along with a son-in-law and other grandsons.

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of Competitive Cycling, is the oldest cycling event in the USA, which each year honors the first two winners, Furman Kugler and Carl Anderson, both of whom were killed in World War II.

Furman’s father, “Pop” Kugler, owned a bicycle shop in Somerville for many years, eventually selling the business to Saling who kept the shop going for many years.

This year’s Tour of Somerville Cycling Series, sponsored by Unity Bank, expanded to include three days of racing, the Bound Brook Criterium on May 27 and the Raritan Criterium on May 28.

The Mildred Kugler Memorial Race for Women was won by crowd favorite Laura Van Gilder, the fourth time the 53-year-old from Pennsylvania has won the race.

“I had commented before the women’s race that there was nothing I would like nothing better than to interview Laura Van Gilder as winner; well maybe there was one thing better than that,” Saling said, hoping that his grandson would come out on top.

“Laura came over after Noah won and said to me, ‘You got us both,’ “ Saling added.

Prior to the women’s race, Saling and Czajkowski presided over a small ceremony and Moment of Silence to to honor the memory of 2016 winner Ellen Watters, a Canadian cyclist who died two days after Christmas last year following a collision with a car in the province of New Brunswick where she grew up.

Four members of her team dedicated themselves to winning this year’s race, but came up short. However, they did win several of the “preems,” $20 and $50 sponsored awards for winning single laps, with Saling joking that the “preems” paid in US dollars, had even greater value against Canadian currency.

Both the men’s and women’s professional races featured a purse of $10,000, with Granigan and Van Gilder each winning $3,000; the remainder of the purse is split with the top 19 finishers in each category, according to Czajkowski..

Granigan was concerned about his legs, and whether he had the stamina to complete the 42 laps in the 50-mile course. He was content to stay in the middle of the pack, which numbered 74 racers, until there were 7 laps to go. That’s when he started to make his move.

“You kind of start every bike race telling yourself ‘yeah I can win this.’ but today I wasn’t sure how the legs were going to feel.”

He pedaled between 70 and 80 miles daily during the eight-day race in Ireland.

“I stayed at the back and with 7 laps to go; I attacked with Barry Miller and two other guys. Barry and I bridged up, we work together real well.

“Then we started playing cat-and-mouse and I attacked going into the third turn; I barely hung on,” Granigan added.

Granigan wore the white, pink and blue colors of his sponsor, the CCB Velo Tour team.

The next several minutes were a swirl of emotions for Granigan and Saling.

“After I finished, I turned right back around and rode backwards on the course. I mean, I was in shock over what had just happened,” he said. “Strangers were giving me high-fives, a bunch of racers were congratulating me and then I climbed up over the barriers to get on the podium with my grandpa, I mean, he almost couldn’t get the interview done, he was so happy and crying, then my grandma came up on stage, and my parents were there, I had my sister, my cousins, aunts and uncles, everyone lives in the area.”

There were several preliminary races that began after the Somerville Memorial Day Parade; the first was at 10:30 a.m. The sun broke through for a while at 10:40 a.m. but the clouds returned in a matter of minutes.

However, the rain was over, but it remained chilly, with temperatures around 60 degrees for the remainder of the race day.

Other races included: the Women 4/5/JR; Men 4/5; the Harry Naismith Juniors Race; the Masters Race Sponsored by RWJ University Hospital Somerset and the Bell/Chiselko Men Cat 2/3 Race Sponsored by FERASCO.

Granigan said he will return to defend his title in the 75th annual Tour of Somerville Kugler-Anderson Memorial.

“That’s the plan,” he said. “Racing in Somerville is a family tradition.”

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Continue reading “74th Annual Tour of Somerville Cycling Series: ‘A Storybook Day with a Fairytale Finish’”

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Man will travel 3K miles on Memorial Day to race in N.J.

SOMERVILLE — National Collegiate Cycling Champion Noah Granigan will travel from Ireland to New Jersey on Memorial Day to take part in the 74th annual Tour of Somerville.

The New Jersey native, who lives in Cape May, plans to board a plane at Ireland’s Dublin Airport on Monday, fly through several time zones, before landing at Liberty Airport where his parents will drive him directly to the borough for the Memorial Day classic.

“I’ll have just finished up eight days of racing in Ireland the day before,” Granigan said. “It’s a six-hour flight, but I’ll be able to get there on time because of the time change, and that’s going to play into my strategy.”

While racing in Ireland, he’ll be wearing the colors of the CCB Velo Tour team, the same team he will compete with in Somerville. A teammate will accompany him on the flight from Ireland to race the tour.

“My strategy will be to take it easy, see how my legs are feeling,” Granigan said. “Instead of sprinting out to the front, I’ll just try to make things happen, hang back, race more reactively at the start.

“It’s going to be rough, but there’s not a chance I’m going to miss it. I’ve got a lot of family ties in New Jersey. It’s a tradition, to spend Memorial Day racing in Somerville.”

Granigan’s college team at the University of Colorado in Boulder won the National Collegiate Championship earlier this year, with team members placing second, third and seventh; Granigan won the Criterium event.

The 21-year-old left for Ireland on May 18 to compete in the Emerald Isle’s annual Anpostras, a grueling eight-day race over 500 miles in length.

A competitive cyclist since he was 9, and a veteran of professional and amateur racing in the United States and Europe, Granigan is familiar with the Somerville course, competing more than a half dozen times, winning the junior race in 2014.

He was invited to compete in national events as a young teenager, and at the age of 15 raced in Europe for one month in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

“Almost every year since them I’ve gone back to Europe at some point for a month or so of racing,” Granigan said. He first competed as a member of the Team Somerset Wheelmen, following in the footsteps of his grandparents, Joe Saling and Dottie Saling, both competitive racers.

Granigan expects to graduate in 2019 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and plans to continue racing on the school team.

The national champion said there are distinct differences between racing in Europe and the United States.

“In Europe, it’s a different type of racing,” Granigan said. “The roads are a lot more narrow. It’s hard to stay upfront, so you to have to ride more aggressively.

“In Somerville, you’ve got a large field, wide roads and a bunch of turns, that’s why Somerville comes down to a sprint. In Europe, it’s from point to point, big climbs, crazy turns, not like Somerville where you do a lap every few minutes and you know what’s coming up. In Europe, there’s that unknown factor.”

The race weekend begins with the Bound Brook Criterium on Saturday and the Raritan Criterium on Sunday. Monday’s main events are the women’s and men’s pro races, named after the first two winners, Furman Kugler and Carl Anderson, both of whom were killed in World War II.

Granigan will compete with 150 world-class cycling professionals in the Kugler-Anderson Memorial Men’s Race, which carries a purse of $15,000; the women professionals compete in their race for an equal amount.

Granigan hopes to stop off for a visit in the broadcast booth with his grandfather, Joe Saling, a former top competitor in the Tour of Somerville himself and “Voice” of the Tour of Somerville for the past 35 years.

The signature race will be seen around the world in real time online, including on YouTube and Twitch.

Saling, who has spent more than 50 years involved at some level in competitive cycling, is one of the most decorated cyclists in the U.S. with more than 20 national titles. His wife Dottie also competed, won state and national titles; including serving as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Saling’s two daughters also competed in bike racing, including his son-in-law and other grandsons.

Furman’s father, Pop Kugler, owned a bicycle shop in Somerville for many years and wanted to bring bike racing to the town. Pop eventually sold his bike shop to Saling, who continued the bike racing tradition in Somerville.

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Tour of Somerville: USA Collegiate Cycling Champion Determined to Arrive on Time From Ireland

SOMERVILLE, NJ – National Collegiate Cycling Champion Noah Granigan’s transatlantic journey to participate in the 74th annual Tour of Somerville senior men’s bike race will add yet another rich chapter to the extraordinary history of what has been described as the Kentucky Derby of Competitive Cycling.

For Granigan, the grueling marathon begins early on Memorial Day, May 29, when he will board a plane at Ireland’s Dublin Airport, fly west six hours across the Atlantic Ocean through several time zones, land at Newark Airport, pick up his luggage and bike, meet his parents and drive straight to Somerville where he’ll get re-acquainted with his teammates, slip into his racing gear, re-assemble the bike, crowd into the staging area and answer the starter’s call.

While racing in Ireland, he’ll be wearing the colors of the CCB Velo Tour team. He’ll also race with CCB in Somerville. A teammate will accompany him on the flight from Ireland to race in Somerville.

Granigan also expects there will be time to stop off for a quick visit in the broadcast booth with his grandfather, Joe Saling, a former top competitor in the Tour of Somerville himself and “Voice” of the Tour of Somerville for the past 35 years.

Saling, who has spent more than 50 years involved at some level in competitive cycling, is one of the most decorated cyclists in the U.S. with more than 20 national titles. His wife Dottie also competed, won state and national titles; including serving as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Saling’s two daughters also competed in bike racing, including his son-in-law and other grandsons.

This year’s Tour of Somerville Cycling Series presented by Unity Bank has expanded to include three days of racing – the Bound Brook Criterium on Saturday, May 27 and the Raritan Criterium on Sunday, May 28.

Monday, May 29 is the Tour of Somerville, with a variety of races for men, women and juniors leading up to the pro women’s race and the pro men’s race, the Kugler-Anderson Memorial, which honors the first two winners, Furman Kugler and Carl Anderson, both of whom were killed in World War II.

Furman’s father, Pop Kugler, owned a bicycle shop in Somerville for many years and wanted to bring bike racing to the town. Pop eventually sold his bike shop to Saling, continuing the bike racing tradition in Somerville.

Granigan will compete with 150 world-class cycling professionals in the Kugler-Anderson Memorial Men’s Race, which carries a purse of $15,000; the women professionals compete in their race for an equal amount.

Tens of thousands of people from all over the nation and the world converge on the tree-lined streets of Somerville on Memorial Day to cheer the cyclists as they speed up to 40 mph past Victorian-era homes and Main Street storefronts.

Sponsored by Unity Bank, the Memorial Day race classic, now in its 74th year, will be broadcast around the world. Footage from the previous two days of racing in Bound Brook and Raritan events will be included in the Memorial Day broadcast.

The signature race will be seen around the world in real time on several platforms, including YouTube and Twitch.

Additional race day coverage, including interviews with competitors, spectators and race organizers and features on the front-yard and curbside parties along the race route will be included in the stream.

The broadcast will also feature footage from the Somerville Memorial Day Parade, which precedes the race activities, ending with ceremonies at the historic “New Cemetery” on South Bridge Street, which is commemorating 150 years of compassionate service in 2017. More than 2,000 veterans from as far back as the Civil War are buried at the New Cemetery.

Granigan, a student at the University of Colorado/Boulder, expects to make up enough time flying “backwards” through the time zones to get to the race on time.

Granigan, 21, a New Jersey native and resident of Cape May Courthouse, left for Ireland May 18 to compete in the Emerald Isle’s annual Anpostras, a grueling eight-day race in excess of 500 miles that begins on the west coast of the island nation, traverses the countryside, heads into Northern Ireland and then heads south towards Dublin before finishing up on the east coast.

A competitive cyclist since he was 9 year-old, and a veteran of professional and amateur racing in the United States and Europe, Granigan is familiar with the Somerville course, competing more than a half dozen times, winning the Junior race in 2014.

He was invited to compete in national events as a young teenager, and at the age of 15 raced in Europe for one month in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland..

“Almost every year since them I’ve gone back to Europe at some point for a month or so of racing,” Granigan said. He first competed as a member of the Team Somerset Wheelmen, following in the footsteps of his grandparents.

Granigan expects to graduate UC/Boulder in 2019 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and plans to continue racing on the school team.

UC/Boulder won the National Collegiate Championship earlier this year, with team members placing second, third and seventh; Granigan won the Criterium event.

The national champion said there are distinct differences between racing in Europe and the USA.

“In Europe, It’s a different type of racing, the roads are a lot more narrow, it’s hard to stay upfront, so you to have to ride more aggressively,” Granigan explained, as opposed to the wide roads that characterize the Somerville course.

Racing on a flat course like Somerville is predictable, as opposed to the unknown on so many of the European over-the-road courses, according to Granigan.

“In Somerville, you’ve got a large field, wide roads and a bunch of turns, that’s why Somerville comes down to a sprint; in Europe, it’s from point to point, big climbs, crazy turns, not like Somerville where you do a lap every few minutes and you know what’s coming up; in Europe, there’s that unknown factor,” he explained.

His strategy for the Tour of Somerville?

“I’ll have just finished up eight days of racing in Ireland the day before,” Granigan said. “It’s a six-hour flight but I’ll be able to get there on time because of the time change, and that’s going to play into my strategy,” he added.

In short, he’ll be tired.

“My strategy will be to take it easy, see how my legs are feeling; instead of sprinting out to the front, I’ll just try to make things happen, hang back, race more reactively at the start,” he said.

“It’s going to be rough, but there’s not a chance I’m going to miss it,” Granigan added. “I’ve got a lot of family ties in New Jersey. It’s a tradition, to spend Memorial Day racing in Somerville.”

The race weekend schedule begins Thursday evening, May 25 with The Legal Runaround, a 5K walk-run event in downtown Somerville.

The Tour of Somerville Cycling Series is a community event: a series of bike races, a festival and a giant family reunion rolled into one, honoring American heroes on Memorial Day.

There will be live entertainment on Division Street with an interactive bicycle sculpture, an exhibition area in front of the Somerville Court house, and the Unity Bank  kids’ zone on Mountain Avenue with entertainment, games, face painting and other activities.

“This is a fantastic countywide celebration with these three neighboring communities coming together to honor Memorial Day,” said Mayor Brian Gallagher of Somerville.

This event is free and made possible through the support of individuals and companies. Race sponsors will be represented throughout the live stream. 

To become a sponsor and be part of the live stream broadcast, access the website online at tourofsomerville.org/live-stream.html

For race weekend details, visit www.tourofsomerville.org.

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Granigan gets time (trial) on his side to win Tour of Washington County cycling title

Heraldmailmedia.com • Aaron Lighter • June 18, 2017

WILLIAMSPORT — On the second day of the Tour of Washington County, the Boonsboro time trial on Sunday morning was crucial to deciding the cycling event’s overall winner.

After finishing second in the first stage, Noah Granigan, 21, of Cape May Court House, N.J., capitalized on a strong showing by finishing second in the 16-kilometer time trial to open up a roughly 15-second lead heading into Williamsport Criterium, the final stage.

The cushion proved to be enough for Granigan, who finished fourth (46:47.6) in the criterium, to be crowned the general classification winner based on combined time of three stages. Scott McGill (46:47.2) edged out Mathew Mackay (46:47.3) for the stage win.

“Going into the crit, I knew I was leading the GC, so all I had to do was make sure no one got away and make sure no one else got the time bonuses,” said Granigan. “It’s always fun to do well. It means the legs are doing well.”

“In order to win this event, the person has to have a great deal of endurance and a good time trial,” said Tour director Joe Jefferson. “(Granigan) knew he had a good time trial in him and he was second by a decisive mark over Scott McGill who was leading heading into it.”

After losing to McGill by three-tenths of a second in the first stage, Granigan knew the time trial would be crucial in the overall race.

“I can ride a pretty good time trial,” said Granigan. “Knowing there weren’t major gaps in the (Smithsburg) road race and more often than not a criterium comes down to a sprint, so going into the time trial you know that’s where most of the GC was gonna happen.

“I definitely put a lot of emphasis on the time trial because of the distance you can put over others in the GC.”

For Granigan, the win will be a boost for some big races in the future.

“With Pro Nationals next weekend and U23 Nationals the weekend after that, so it’s a good opportunity to race,” said Granigan. “This is a beautiful area, some really good courses. It’s challenging so it was a fun weekend and it’s always good to do well here.”

Despite a rough time trial, McGill was pleased to bounce back and pick up his second stage win of the weekend.

“It was a good weekend for me,” said McGill. “I was able to get two wins and we won as a team on Friday night.”

The criterium came down to a five-man sprint, with McGill holding off Mackay to claim the victory.

“I didn’t know until the finish line that I won,” said McGill. “I could tell I had someone to my left, but I just kept my head down through the line.”

Overall, Jefferson was pleased with how the Tour went.

“We had a really good year and we’re looking forward to next year,” said Jefferson. “Next year, we have bigger fish to fry because the Amateur National championships are coming to Washington County.

“So we’re really excited for that, but at the same time we’re looking to bigger and better things with the Tour of Washington County as long as we can gain the support of our sponsors like Meritus Health, SRAM and a lot of the other local vendors that help us every year.”

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

 

2017 National Collegiate Criterium Championship Podium

Buffs cycling team wins national championship

May 4, 2017

The University of Colorado Boulder cycling team has been named 2017 Road National Champions following an impressive performance at the USA Cycling Collegiate and Para-Cycling Road National Championships in Grand Junction, Colorado, last week.

In the men’s race, Noah Granigan earned first overall, and Maxx Change earned fourth. In the women’s race, Emily Schaldach placed tenth overall, while Kristina Vrouwenvelder finished within the top 20 in fourteenth place.

The substantial lead generated early in the day’s races led to the team earning the 2017 overall title and Granigan finishing second overall in individual rankings. Visit the USA Cycling website for the full results.

 

 

Click here to read original article and to learn more about cycling at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Vertex Cycling trip to The Chainstay

FLASHBACK: OUDENAARDE 2013

It’s fun to look back and remember some great experiences. Here’s a blog from one of my early trips to Europe…

My trip to The ChainStay in Oudenaarde is already a trip that I will never forget, and I have only been here for a few days. After a tedious plane ride, some waiting in the Brussels airport, and a short drive to Oost Vlaanderen, I got settled into my new home for the next three weeks. With my bags unpacked and my bike built up, we went on a short ride. Lucky for us Juniors (Sawyer, Jay, Andrew, Skyler and I), two of the Nieuwelingen(Urko ‘The American Boy’ and Mateo) are still staying at the house, and since they have been here racing for a few weeks already, they have a sense of where everything is. Continue reading “FLASHBACK: OUDENAARDE 2013”