Yarmouth teens win Tour de Lovell in tight finish

PERFECTLY TIMED SPRINT — Graham Roeber, 15, of Yarmouth (third from the left) pushes up the final hill toward the finish line during the 7th Tour de Lovell held Saturday morning. Roeber won the 20-mile race in a tight finish with the three other riders. (Rivet Photos)


By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

LOVELL — Although Graham Roeber of Yarmouth was a newcomer to the Tour de Lovell, he had a “plan” entering the 20-mile cycling race Saturday morning.

“I came into the race thinking I had a shot at a podium spot, but when I got there, there were quite a few strong riders,” he said. “I stuck to my plan and didn’t do any work at the front until the second half. I timed my sprint perfectly, and it couldn’t have gone any better.”

Spectators lining Route 5 near New Suncook Elementary School were treated to a fantastic finish. With the top four riders side-by-side and making the last difficult climb up the hill to the finish line, Roeber just beat Bruce Diehl to claim the 7th Annual Tour de Lovell, 53:23.8 to 53:24.1.

The times were a little off last year’s winning pace of 52:40.2.

Raising his arms after crossing the finish line, Roeber had combined both strength and smarts to claim his first race title.

And, he is just 15 years old.

“Realizing that I had just won my first race was a pretty awesome feeling,” Roeber said. “I thought the course was fantastic. The pavement was good, and the hills were challenging. The only thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the turnaround, which was a bit confusing.”

Roeber’s interest in competitive cycling came from watching his dad.

“My dad has been a big cyclist for as long as I can remember,” he said. “After my Nordic skiing season two years ago, I was looking for something to do and decided to try bike racing. Now, I’ve become completed addicted.”

Despite some early rain before the race, riders found course conditions to their liking. Cloud cover kept temps down, while wetness along the roadway was a non-factor.

Holly Russell, 29, of Devon, England was the first female finisher, edging Ellen Jankowski in another tightly-contested race. Russell crossed in 57:20.4 for 20th overall while Jankowski came in at 57:20.6.

Russell won the Tour in 2010, but was absent from the field last year due to a change in the airline’s policy which prevented her from bringing her bicycle to the States.

“I’ve not really ridden a bike for about a month prior to the Tour, so an hour of my heart rate being at near 90% felt a bit hard,” said Russell, who has been a summer resident on Highland Lake in Bridgton since 1993. “It was great to have some really close competition with another female competitor. It made the whole race much more exciting. More women should be encouraged to come along and join in — it’s really friendly, well organized and an inclusive event.”

Russell said her goal heading into her third Tour was to “stick with the lead group until they drop me.”

Her love for the sport developed through her association with the YOGi Cycling Club of Plymouth, England.

“(The club) is responsible for corrupting me into the ways of road cycling,” she said. “They are a brilliant club passionately dedicated to riding arduous terrain in British weather in search of tea and cake.”

Sharing a “YOGi” tradition, Russell encouraged all division winners to raise their arms high when a photographer snapped a group picture after the Tour was completed.

For riders Tracy Burk, Jane Gibbons and Elsa Newhouse, the Tour proved to be one great ride.

Burk, 40, of Denmark competed in her fourth Tour. Her first Lovell experience came back in 2009 when she saw a flyer for the race just days after her family had moved to Maine from Minnesota.

“I signed up for fun,” she said. “We had to buy a bike rack to get my bike to the starting line.”

Saturday, Burk had just one goal — to ride faster than in year’s past. She tried to ride with the group for as long as possible, but that time was shorter than she had hoped.

“The toughest part was the hill on Old Stage Road. Watching the front group pull away on that climb was a bit heartbreaking,” she said. “By far, my favorite part of this year’s race was having so many family members participate. In 2009, I participated in the race for the first time. The following year, my husband joined me. Last year, my father-in-law and eldest son raced with us. This year, my husband, my father-in-law and two of my three sons all raced. It is so much fun to take part in the event as a family, and to have our numbers continue to grow. The Tour de Lovell will always be one of my favorite local events.”

At the age of 75, Jane Gibbons of Sweden finds cycling a great way to stay fit. She rides often with a group from North Conway and Jackson, N.H. on Thursdays.

“We will be biking with the AMC in Italy later this fall on a Boat and Bike trip along the PoRiver, ending in Venice,” she said. “I have biked occasionally since I was a teenager. I have never been competitive, and I am delighted to have won something in an athletic event because I have never been a good athlete. Besides, the hills in Sweden are too exhausting. Lovell hills are more gentle.”

Gibbons was third in the Touring 60-plus division.

“The fact that there were so many categories and age groups made it possible to win even though you came in third from the end,” she said. “My goal was to finish the course. I also wanted to support the library and athletic programs for Lovell and Sweden children.”

Elsa Newhouse, 61, of Lovell took part in the Tour for the third time. When she competed for the first time five years ago, her goal was simply to survive the 20-mile course.

This year, she won her division — over-50 females on road bikes.

“My goal was to do better than I did last year, and I succeeded beyond my expectations. I’ve been cycling for five years, not all competitively by nature, but do this as a personal challenge. My grown kids are even impressed!”

For Newhouse, the start is the toughest part of the race.

“So many riders at once, most of whom are much faster than I, so I just wait until the crowd thins out before I start,” she said. “Most enjoyable is the chance to talk to other cyclists, some I’ve met before and meeting many for the first time. Since I live here, this is my chance to enjoy it with others.”

Newhouse and other riders complimented race organizers and volunteers for operating a “well-run event.”

STEVE LAPOINTE was 33rd overall at the Tour de Lovell Saturday.

SARAH SOUTHAM placed 53rd at the Tour de Lovell.

BENJAMIN TUPAJ, who was home for a visit and talked into riding the Tour de Lovell by his dad, Stan, director of the event, placed 56th.

(Name, Division, Division Place, Time)

1. Graham Roeber, M15-19, 53:23.8

2. Bruce Diehl, M46-55 (1), 53.24.1

3. Matthew Burke, M20-35 (1), 53:24.3

4. Chris Darling, M36-45 (1), 53:24.5

5. Brodie Deshaies, M14-U (1), 54:41.4

6. Brooks More, M36-45 (2), 54:41.5

7. Jack Bell, M36-45 (3), 54:41.8

8. Kyler Walker, M15-19 (2), 54:42.0

9. Augustine Filomena, M56-65 (1), 54:42.2

10. Thomas Roeber, M56-65 (2), 54:43.1

11. Kyle Conforte, M46-55 (2), 54:43.9

12. William Buick, M46-55 (3), 54:45.9

13. Edward Pond, M36-45 (4), 54:56.6

14. Jeff Hershberger, M20-35 (2), 56:00.8

15. Mike Workman, M66+ (1), 56:03.4

16. Johann Buisman, M46-55 (4), 56:04.2

17. Tim Beaucamp, M36-45 (5), 56:50.7

18. Andrew Chakoumakos, M46-55 (5), 56:58.9

19. Jesse Wall, M20-35 (3), 57:19.0

20. Holly Russell, F29-U (1), 57:20.4

21. Ellen Janowski, F30-39 (1), 57:20.6

22. Mark Lush, M46-55 (6), 57:20.8

23. Walter Grzyb, M36-45 (6), 58:34.3

24. Christopher Burk, M36-45 (7), 1:00:00.8

25. Kevin Osgood, M36-45 (8), 1:00:16.8

26. Max Southam, M15-19 (3), 1:01:15.0

27. Peter Southam, M46-55 (7)), 1:01:17.2

28. Jed Jankowski, M36-45 (9), 1:02:47.1

29. LJ Ganser, M56-65 (3), 1:02:51.4

30. Tracy Burk, F40-49 (1), 1:03:00.7

31. Scott Berglund, M46-55 (8), 1:03:01.6

32. Mike Whalen, M46-55 (9), 1:04:40.00

33. Steve LaPointe, M46-55 (10), 1:04:36.9

34. Jackson Ross-Parent, M14-U (2), 1:06:14.1

35. Jon Burke, M15-19 (4), 1:06:22.0

36. Mark Huston, M56-65 (4), 1:08:52.0

37. Kim Adams, M56-65 (5), 1:09:39.7

38. Chris Comrack, M36-45 (10), 1:10:14.8

39. Brian Deshaies, M46-55 (11), 1:10:17.6

40. Mark Maguire, M36-45 (11), 1:10:19.0

41. Marco Ross-Parent, Touring 14-U (1), 1:10:23.3

42. Wilder Byrne, T 14-U (2), 1:10:23.4

43. Diane Caracciolo, F40-49 (2), 1:13:45.2

44. Wilford Scott, M56-65 (6), 1:13:53.5

45. Michele Bolle, F50+ (1), 1:15:15.2

46. Owen Burk, M14-U (3), 1:15:24.4

47. Bruce Burk, T60+ (1), 1:15:25.7

48. Griffin Stockford, M15-19 (55), 1:15:53.0

49. Elsa Newhouse, F50+ (2), 1:16:53.4

50. Jan Newhouse, M56-65 (7), 1:16:53.7

51. Matthew Bean, M14-U (4), 1:17:01.5

52. Caleb Eklund, M14-U (5), 1:17:02.7

53. Sarah Southam, T40-49 (1), 1:17:12.3

54. Conrad Ward, T15-19 (1), 1:19:47.3

55. Mark Ross-Parent, T40-49 (2), 1:20:56.5

56. Benjamin Tupaj, M20-35 (4), 1:22:49.2

57. Sue Whalen, F40-49 (3), 1:23:31.8

58. Jeanne LaPointe, F50+ (3), 1:25:07.5

59. David Powers, T40-49 (3), 1:25:26.3

60. Dana Flanders, M56-65 (8), 1:27:30.4

61. Hans Romer, T50-59 (1), 1:28:06.7

62. Katherine Buick, T50-59 (2), 1:28:32.5

63. Nancy Flanders, F50+ (4), 1:38:05.9

64. David Bell, T60+ (2), 1:40:44.7

65. Jane Gibbons, T60+ (3), 1:46:03.1

66. Patrick Wood, T60+ (4), 1:57:57.8

67. Anna Romer, T50-59 (3), 2:00:16.8







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