SOMERVILLE, NJ - Mother Nature showed once again how fickle she can be, defying forecasters who had predicted rain for the 73rd annual Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville.
A front moving eastward pushed the expected precipitation away from central New Jersey towards the Jersey shore, and was replaced by spotty clouds and plenty of sun, though it was muggy and humid.
Rain or shine, the race was a go, but the borough's annual Memorial Day Parade scheduled for 9 a.m. was cancelled the night before because of the rain forceast.
"We had expected the worst, and we got the best," said Lisa Werner, race director and coordinator.
"We had a great day, great crowds, and as always, great support from the borough, police, EMTs, and volunteers that do all the behind-the-scenes work to make this all happen," she said.
"It's not just about the racing; this is a huge community event."
Hundreds of amateur and professional cyclists competed in a series of races culminating in America's biggest and one of its longest running bicycle races.
Furman Kugler, a Somerville resident, won the first two races in 1940 and 1941. Carl Anderson won the race in 1942. Both men were killed in World War II.
Here are the first place finishers for 2016:
- Winner of the Junior 15-mile race was Wyatt Goral of Andover, NJ;
- Winner of the 20-mile Veterans Race (50 and older) was David Bonsar, Wind Gap. PA;
- Winner of the Mildred Kugler Women's Classic, a 25-mile race, was Ellen Waters of Ottawa, Canada;
- Winner of the Kulger-Anderson 50-mile Tour of Somerville Race was Scott Savory of Guyana.
The $10,000 purses for the Mildred Kugler Women's Race and the Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville are shared by the top 12 finishers in each race.
"This is a wonderful tradition that Somerville has; we welcome in the summer and we open our town to the world," said Mayor Brian Gallagher.
"We have riders from all over the world that come here to compete, and spectators from all over the region come here to have fun in Somerville," he added.
Downtown Somerville was cordoned off with police barricades and road cones; the start/finish line was on East Main Street, adjacent to the Somerset County Courthouse. The courthouse green was filled with vendors and exhibitors.
Racers headed east on Main Street before turning left onto Grove Street, making another left and heading west down High Street, before turning left again on Mountain Avenue and back onto West Main Street straightaway.
Spectators lined Main Street from borough hall to Grove Street, with many residents on High Street hosting front lawn parties.