Threat of rain drives down Tour de Lovell numbers; racers put forth competitive efforts

2016 Tour de Lovell winner Matthew Burke. (Rivet Photos) 2016 TOUR DE LOVELL 1. Matthew Burke, South Paris, M20-35, 55:04.0 2. Christopher Darling, Lovell, M36-45, 55:12.0 3. Mike Stivaletti, S. Portland, M36-45, 55:24.7 4. Bob Meikle, Sayre, PA, M56-65, 58:08.0 5. Ethan Keyes, Manchester, M36-45, 59:32.4 6. Jason Yannelli, S. Casco, M36-45, 59:57.8 7. Steven Discordia, N. Conway, NH, M36-45, 1:00:46.1 8. Keith Peterson, Belgrade, M46-55, 1:00:46.4 9. Parker Nurmann, Fairfax Station, VA, M46-55, 1:02:34.7 10. Chris Roy, Bridgton, M36-45, 1:03:11.9 11. Henry Finch, Waban, MA, M66+, 1:03:12.4 12. Jonathan Burk, Denmark, M15-19, 1:03:12.5 13. Stephen Simmerman, Somerville, MA, M36-45, 1:03:13.8 14. Brent Mace, Readfield, M46-55, 1:05:08.7 15. Sarah Keener, Waterford, F30-39, 1:05:09.7 16. MaryJo Caselena, Bedford, PA, F50+, 1:05:16.1 17. Keith Yannelli, Harrison, M56-65, 1:06:46.0 18. Christopher Comrack, Washington, DC, M36-45, 1:09:19.5 19. Walt Grzyb, Lovell, M46-55, 1:09:38.4 20. Aidan Brown, Middletown, RI, M14-U, 1:09:39.1 21. Andrew Chakoumakos, Lovell, M46-55, 1:11:09.9 22. Tracy Burk, Denmark, F40-49, 1:11:11.6 23. Mark Huston, Jamaica Plain, MA, M56-65, 1:11:21.5 24. Alanna Doughty, Sebago, F30-39, 1:13:06.8 25. Dakota Ward, Stow, M15-19, 1:14:22.4 26. Mark Kinsman, Upton, MA, M56-65, 1:15:07.4 27. Christopher Burk, Denmark, M36-45, 1:15:45.0 28. Dennis Cyr, Glen, NH, M66+, 1:16:32.5 29. Stephen Delano, Quincy, MA, M20-35, 1:17:57.7 30. Scott Berglund, Stoneham, M46-55, 1:20:10.5 31. Dale Lougee, Athol, MA, M66+, 1:21:15.7 32. Michael Quinlan, Portland, M56-65, 1:21:16.9 33. Shawn Brown, Middletown, RI, M46-55, 1:25:51.7 34. Andrew Norkin, Denmark, M46-55, 1:27:53.5 35. Elsa Newhouse, Lovell, F50+, 1:28:30.0 36. Anna Gerner, Phoenixville, PA, F29-U, 1:30:58.1 37. Mark Gerner, Phoenixville, PA, M56-65, 1:30:58.6 38. Elizabeth Simmerman, Somerville, MA, F30-39, 2:13:43.5 Top Division Winners F29-U: Anna Gerner, Phoenixville, PA F30-39: Sarah Keener, Waterford F40-49: Tracy Burk, Denmark F50+: MaryJo Casalena, Bedford, PA M14-U: Aidan Brown, Middletown, RI M15-19: Jonathan Burk, Denmark M20-35: Matthew Burke, South Paris M36-45: Christopher Darling, Lovell M46-55: Keith Peterson, Belgrade M56-65: Bob Meikle, Sayre, PA M66+: Henry Finch, Waban, MA • Largest division — M36-45 with nine riders; second was M46-55 with eight cyclists and then M56-65 with six competitors. Kids Tour 1. Everett Yannelli, S. Casco, 12:35.6 2. Fiona Allen, Ellsworth, 12:56.9 3. Kahlan Keene, Ellsworth, 13:57.1 4. Jonah Ward, Stow, 14:05.4 5. Lauren Roy, Bridgton, 16:15.9 6. Solana Ward, Stow, 16:37.8 7. Grace Yannelli, Sebago, 18:29.9

2016 Tour de Lovell winner Matthew Burke. (Rivet Photos)
2016 TOUR DE LOVELL
1. Matthew Burke, South Paris, M20-35, 55:04.0
2. Christopher Darling, Lovell, M36-45, 55:12.0
3. Mike Stivaletti, S. Portland, M36-45, 55:24.7
4. Bob Meikle, Sayre, PA, M56-65, 58:08.0
5. Ethan Keyes, Manchester, M36-45, 59:32.4
6. Jason Yannelli, S. Casco, M36-45, 59:57.8
7. Steven Discordia, N. Conway, NH, M36-45, 1:00:46.1
8. Keith Peterson, Belgrade, M46-55, 1:00:46.4
9. Parker Nurmann, Fairfax Station, VA, M46-55, 1:02:34.7
10. Chris Roy, Bridgton, M36-45, 1:03:11.9
11. Henry Finch, Waban, MA, M66+, 1:03:12.4
12. Jonathan Burk, Denmark, M15-19, 1:03:12.5
13. Stephen Simmerman, Somerville, MA, M36-45, 1:03:13.8
14. Brent Mace, Readfield, M46-55, 1:05:08.7
15. Sarah Keener, Waterford, F30-39, 1:05:09.7
16. MaryJo Caselena, Bedford, PA, F50+, 1:05:16.1
17. Keith Yannelli, Harrison, M56-65, 1:06:46.0
18. Christopher Comrack, Washington, DC, M36-45, 1:09:19.5
19. Walt Grzyb, Lovell, M46-55, 1:09:38.4
20. Aidan Brown, Middletown, RI, M14-U, 1:09:39.1
21. Andrew Chakoumakos, Lovell, M46-55, 1:11:09.9
22. Tracy Burk, Denmark, F40-49, 1:11:11.6
23. Mark Huston, Jamaica Plain, MA, M56-65, 1:11:21.5
24. Alanna Doughty, Sebago, F30-39, 1:13:06.8
25. Dakota Ward, Stow, M15-19, 1:14:22.4
26. Mark Kinsman, Upton, MA, M56-65, 1:15:07.4
27. Christopher Burk, Denmark, M36-45, 1:15:45.0
28. Dennis Cyr, Glen, NH, M66+, 1:16:32.5
29. Stephen Delano, Quincy, MA, M20-35, 1:17:57.7
30. Scott Berglund, Stoneham, M46-55, 1:20:10.5
31. Dale Lougee, Athol, MA, M66+, 1:21:15.7
32. Michael Quinlan, Portland, M56-65, 1:21:16.9
33. Shawn Brown, Middletown, RI, M46-55, 1:25:51.7
34. Andrew Norkin, Denmark, M46-55, 1:27:53.5
35. Elsa Newhouse, Lovell, F50+, 1:28:30.0
36. Anna Gerner, Phoenixville, PA, F29-U, 1:30:58.1
37. Mark Gerner, Phoenixville, PA, M56-65, 1:30:58.6
38. Elizabeth Simmerman, Somerville, MA, F30-39, 2:13:43.5
Top Division Winners
F29-U: Anna Gerner, Phoenixville, PA
F30-39: Sarah Keener, Waterford
F40-49: Tracy Burk, Denmark
F50+: MaryJo Casalena, Bedford, PA
M14-U: Aidan Brown, Middletown, RI
M15-19: Jonathan Burk, Denmark
M20-35: Matthew Burke, South Paris
M36-45: Christopher Darling, Lovell
M46-55: Keith Peterson, Belgrade
M56-65: Bob Meikle, Sayre, PA
M66+: Henry Finch, Waban, MA
• Largest division — M36-45 with nine riders; second was M46-55 with eight cyclists and then M56-65 with six competitors.
Kids Tour
1. Everett Yannelli, S. Casco, 12:35.6
2. Fiona Allen, Ellsworth, 12:56.9
3. Kahlan Keene, Ellsworth, 13:57.1
4. Jonah Ward, Stow, 14:05.4
5. Lauren Roy, Bridgton, 16:15.9
6. Solana Ward, Stow, 16:37.8
7. Grace Yannelli, Sebago, 18:29.9

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

LOVELL — For Matthew Burke, the Tour de Lovell is where he discovered his love for competitive cycling.

In 2008, the South Paris resident started running, and when he discovered that a new triathlon was being held in his area, he went out and bought a road bike.

“I quickly learned that I am a horrible swimmer and that biking is more fun than running. After doing the Tour de Lovell in 2010, I started looking for other races to enter,” he said. “This was my seventh Tour de Lovell. This was the first bike race that I ever did and it is what got me hooked on racing.”

With on and off misting conditions Saturday, Burke won the 11th edition of the Tour de Lovell with a time of 55 minutes, 4 seconds, just ahead of Christopher Darling of Lovell, who crossed the finish line in front of the New Suncook School on Route 5 in 55:12.0.

Burke’s fellow club rider Mike Stivaletti of South Portland was third overall in 55:24.7.

Meanwhile, Sarah Keener of Waterford was the first female to finish in 1:05:09.7.

“This race has been special to me because it got me into the sport so my goal was to win it. Thanks in part to Jan Newhouse for saving the race and to the efforts of my Tall Sock Racing teammate, Mike Stivaletti, I was able to achieve that goal,” Burke said. “The weather didn’t really affect us. The organizers and volunteers did a great job of marshaling the course and keeping everyone safe.”

The key to the race, Burke said, was staying with Darling over the course’s hills.

“Besides being the first race I ever did, I love how this race lets riders of all levels get a taste of racing. The climb on Old Stage Road separates the field into groups of riders of the same ability so you don’t have to break it up into categories like they do in sanctioned races,” he said.

As for what he enjoys most about competitive cycling, Burke added, “The speed you are able to achieve under your own power. I enjoy group rides, but I love going out solo and riding hard enough so it tunes everything else out.”

The News reached out to riders following the annual Tour to get their thoughts on the race, what were their goals and what they enjoy most about cycling. Here’s what they had to say:

#3. Mike Stivaletti of South Portland was another TDL newcomer.

“I was lured to this race because of the close proximity to where I live, South Portland. Then of course, it was going to a good cause!” he said.

Stivaletti took up cycling when he signed up for the Trek Across Maine back in 2005 and really took a liking to it. He started doing group rides with bike shops and got to know the cycling community.

“It’s my emotional outlet and a mental reset button; no matter how stressful some races are,” he said.

His goal on Saturday?

“My goal (along with my teammate, Matt Burke’s goal) was to beat the guy who won it the past two years. At the start line, I asked him to point him out, which he proceeded to say, ‘He’s not here.’ My goal instantly changed to win (or help my teammate win). He won and I got third!,” he said.

All-in-all, the weather had no effect on his race.

“However, whenever a course is wet, one has to be more mindful of sharp corners. There was only one corner that I knew was going to be at high-speed, so that was something that I had to consider. It ended up being dry when we got there,” Stivaletti said.

What was most challenging? “Trying to break away from the group of three going up the last hill with 0.6 miles left. Both physical and mental. I broke off and got 50 feet ahead, but I know I went too early, too hard. They passed me on the downhill and it was quite challenging to get back to them. By then, they had already crossed the finish line,” he said.

What do he like most about the race? “The home-baked goodies the volunteers graciously baked!” he said.

#5. Ethan Keyes of Manchester made his third appearance in Lovell.

“I’ve loved bicycles and bike riding my whole life, but only became interested in racing a few years ago. The 2014 TDL was my first bicycle race. At the time, I was looking for a low-key, local race to get my feet wet. The TDL was a good introduction to racing,” he said. “The event is well-organized and the ups and downs of the course make the racing exciting.”

Keyes had two goals this year: a top-five finish and to finish with the lead group.

“I got the first one, barely, but the leaders got away from me,” he said. “The weather didn’t really change my approach to the race. The winds were fairly calm and the rain was really more of a drizzle. It seemed like the biggest effect the weather had on the race was that it reduced the size of the field, which in this race meant that when you got dropped from the small pack of leaders there weren’t many riders around to work with to try and claw your way back. I ended up riding the second half of the race by myself. I caught a couple of glimpses of the eventual fourth-place rider up ahead, but was unable to catch up.”

What Keyes likes most about the Tour de Lovell is the course. “Not a lot of flat —you’re either going up or you’re going down. In that way, it represents Maine cycling very well,” he said.

#7. Steven Discordia of North Conway, N.H. took part in his second Tour. He hoped to better his time from a year ago, but was six seconds slower.

Discordia took up the sport four years ago when he started commuting to work.

“It’s the closest thing to flying!” he said.

Although the rain was not a factor for Discordia, the hills certainly were.

“Those darn hills,” was his response regarding the most challenging aspects of the race.

As to what he enjoyed most, Discordia said “the local feel of it, as I’ve noticed that a lot of riders return each year.”

He thanked all the volunteers (ham radio, police and fire) and the numerous businesses that made TDL happen.

#8. Keith Peterson, 46, of Belgrade, an associate professor of Philosophy at Colby College, turned in a solid performance at his first TDL.

“This was my first bike race ever, in fact! I was looking for a smaller and shortish race to get my feet wet — given the weather, this turned out to be literally the case. But it was a great first experience,” he said.

Taking up cycling as part of a mid-life crisis, Peterson enjoys the “feeling after a hard ride.” His goal Saturday was to finish the race. He did better than that — breaking the Top 10 and was first in his age group (46-55).

“It drizzled on an off during the race, so the roads were wet and I suppose everyone was a little more cautious,” he said. “The big hill on the way back to Lovell on Route 5 was a killer.”

Peterson felt the race was very well organized and staffed.

“People were genuinely enthusiastic and helpful, and there were even a few folks cheering along the roadsides,” he said. “All around a great experience.”

#22. Tracy Burk of Denmark made her seventh appearance at the TDL.

“On Saturday, I just wanted to enjoy the ride and the event with my husband and my son. My son is leaving for college this week, so it was nice to do one more summer event with him before he leaves. I had a great time on Saturday, so I definitely achieved my goal!” she said. “The wet roads made me a bit nervous about being able to brake effectively, but I didn’t have any trouble during the race. The rain had stopped before the race started and it was nice to have a bit of cool air to ride in.”

Encouraged by her husband, who cycled, Burk took up the sport after undergoing knee surgery, which limited her running.

“I love being able to see new places on a bike, and I particularly enjoy riding with friends and family,” she said. “The biggest challenge of the Tour de Lovell is always the hills! The ascents are always challenging, but coming down Christian Hill Road was probably the toughest part for me this year. The road is pretty rough and I was pretty cautious descending and then turning back onto Route 5.”

Burk loves the small-town feel of the event, combined with a bit of friendly competition.

“You can make the race whatever you want it to be,” she said. “It can be an all out race or a more casual ride, and no matter how you choose to ride, there are always smiling faces along the route to cheer you on.”

#26. Mark Kinsman of Upton, Mass., was also a newcomer to the sport and making the plunge into competitive cycling.

“I was lured to the race by the 21.2 distance, and my curiosity about bike racing. I have been a cyclist since childhood, more seriously the last 11 years. Being a longtime runner, cycling offers me a less ‘leg pounding’ activity,” he said. “My goals for the race were to have fun and finish. I achieved both goals. The weather did not affect my approach to the race.”

The most challenging aspect of the race for Kinsman was not the race itself, but his ability to ride a bike at all.

“For two months (May/June), I was physically unable to ride. I really had a great experience. The race was ‘low key,’ and well organized. I would highly recommend the Tour de Lovell to anyone — beginner or expert.”

#28. Dennis Cyr, 66, of Glen, N.H. This was Cyr’s first race, ever.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to doing for one reason or another. The fact that it was 21 miles long and close to homemade, the TDL was a perfect choice for a first race,” he said. “I’ve bicycled on and off for many years, but started bicycling more seriously the last two years for weight control and overall fitness. Cycling 80 to 100 miles a week brought my weight down from 175 pounds to my current weight of 150 pounds, where I’ve remained.”

What do you enjoy most about it?

Cyr loves riding a bike for 20 or 30 miles at a time. At the end, there’s always a feeling of accomplishment, he said. His wife, Debbie, also likes the sport and many times they ride together.

“My goal was to finish the course without a mishap and to beat a time of 1:20, which I did (1:16:32.5),” he said.

Did the weather affect his approach?

“Not at all. The cooler than normal weather was appreciated and made the race more comfortable. Some of my more enjoyable rides have been in rainy weather,” he said.

What was most challenging? “Just getting through the race course without getting in the way of the more experienced riders,” he added. “I liked meeting some of the other bicyclists and their families, but especially enjoyed meeting Meg, who had answered questions before the race which helped make it a better experience for me and my wife Debbie, who was my biggest supporter.”

#29. Steve Delano of Quincy, Mass. made his TDL debut Saturday.

“This race offered an array of attractive features: benefiting a good cause in the Lovell Rec Department; a small, non-intimidating race size which is great for first time racers like me; and lastly, scenic views/challenging course,” he said.

Delano took up cycling because it was popular amongst executives at work, and when his friend decided he would get one, Delano decided to be his riding partner.

“The adrenaline rush you get when you get on the bike and really start cranking!” is what he enjoys most.

Second place finisher Christopher Darling

Second place finisher Christopher Darling

On Saturday, Delano sought to improve upon the time trial he had taken two days prior to the TDL.

“I rode the course in the heat of the afternoon and completed it in 1 hour 26 minutes. I achieved my goal by finishing nine minutes faster, despite the wet course,” he said. A cloudy, rainy morning “made it less appealing upon waking up and starting out,” but as the race went on, the rain became less of a factor. “Upon finishing it was more of a feather in the cap,” Delano said.

What was most challenging?

“Keeping up with the faster riders. Men, women, younger, older, better bikes, worse bikes. It didn’t matter. They all beat me. Each offered their own unique motivation to keep cranking up the hills.  My hat, or maybe I should say helmet, is off to them for a strong race,” he said.  “(I really enjoyed) the ceremony at the end with great snacks, prizes and a sense of community.”

#31. Dale Lougee of Athol, Mass. competed in his third TDL.

“My cycling ‘life’ of serious riding started when I was about 13 and decided I wanted to earn a cycling merit badge in Boy Scouts,” he said. “Too bad I did not realize at the time that I needed to do it under the supervision of a counselor so I did not get it.  I think I liked the idea that I could go somewhere under my own power. That is still true.  My longest ride of this year is 252 miles from Woburn, Mass. to South Portland, and back in 25 hours 25 minutes.”

On Saturday, Lougee had two goals.  One was to beat last year’s time, which he did not do (two minutes slower). The other goal is yet to be decided.

Third place finisher Mike Stivaletti

Third place finisher Mike Stivaletti

“At my age, there is no way I am going to win the race so my goal is to simply see how many people that I can beat that are younger than myself.  Nothing better for the ego than to finish ahead of someone half my age,” he said.

Lougee did not feel that the weather affected his riding much other than he needed to wipe the rain off his glasses now and then.

“The Tour de Lovell is the only race for me all year. I am basically a marathon endurance rider.  This means a lot of miles in all kinds of weather from pouring rain to 95 degree heat,” he said. “The most challenging part (of the TDL) was simply to see how fast I could ride. I feel like I am competing against myself as much as the other racers. Again, this goes back to the fact that I am basically a marathoner.  Of course, those rides are for distance and not speed.”

As to what he enjoys the most about Lovell, Lougee said, “I think my second goal covers that. This is my one chance of the year to really compare myself to other riders. The marathon rides I do are group rides and not races. No one feels like they are competing against the other riders.  We are all riding against the clock trying for the best time we can do, but with food stops and other factors this is a loosely defined goal.”

#34. Andrew Norkin of Denmark has cycled Lovell at least four times, and hoped to finish around the same time as last year — which he did.

“I became involved in cycling mostly to stay in shape and participate in community events,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge of cycling especially the hill climbing. I would much rather go up a hill than go down.”

Left to right, Stephen Simmerman, Chris Roy, Jonathan Burk and Henry Finch.

Left to right, Stephen Simmerman, Chris Roy, Jonathan Burk and Henry Finch.

The weather did affect Norkin’s approach to the race. “I braked going down most of the hills as I was concerned about the generally wet pavement.”

The most challenging aspect was trying to keep a faster than usual pace.

“I rarely ride my bike trying to push it speed wise,” he said. “What I like most about the race is the hill climbs, the scenery and the sense of a close-knit community from participants and all of the wonderful volunteers that made it happen.”

#35. Elsa Newhouse of Lovell took part in her eighth TDL.

How did she become involved in cycling?

“I saw others having too much fun, and needed to join in (at age 54!),” she said. “It’s great exercise, and I feel better because of it.”

Her goal Saturday was to do better than last year. And she did!

Michael Quinlan

Michael Quinlan

“As always, the Up You Go hill on Route 5 southbound (was the most challenging),” she said

What did she like most about the race? “Sharing our community of Lovell and connecting with fellow like-minded people,” she said.

#36. Anna Gerner of Phoenixville, Pa. made the jump from the Tour de Lovell Kids Tour to the big race.

“This year, I rode in the Tour de Lovell for the first time after doing the kids’ race the last two years. I decided to do the adult race this year because I hope to do a 100-mile race before I’m 18 (I’m currently 13 years old) and I’ve been working hard to try to make that dream a reality by biking the 48-mile round trip from my house to Philadelphia and doing the Tour de Lovell,” she said. “My dad, who rode with me at the race, is the one who got me into biking and he bikes with me all the time. I enjoy biking because I love the feeling of the wind in my face and of my legs burning at the top of big hills, which tells me that I’ve accomplished something.”

Gerner’s goal Saturday was to do the best that she could.

“I believe I’ve accomplished that goal even if I was one of the last people to finish it,” she said. “The light rain on Saturday helped me during the race because since I have asthma, I can’t breathe that well when it’s hot and humid outside — like how it was in the days before the race.”

Anna Gerner and Mark Gerner

Anna Gerner and Mark Gerner

The best thing, in Gerner’s mind about the Tour de Lovell, is how people were always rooting for her and “how everyone was really nice.”

Kids' Tour winner Everett Yannelli

Kids' Tour winner Everett Yannelli

Kids' Tour second place finisher Fiona Allen

Kids' Tour second place finisher Fiona Allen

Elsa Newhouse

Elsa Newhouse

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