Cole Smith, a Verona High School junior, earned first place in the varsity division of Sunday’s Chester Challenge mountain bike race. The win means that Smith maintains his green overall points leader jersey for his category with 575 points. Smith is part of the Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team, which is comprised of 25 middle school and high school students from Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, West Caldwell and Verona.
With an average of 12 minutes per lap, Smith finished his five laps in 1:02:28, followed closely by Junior Rondon from Morris Town Revolutions (1:03:56), Julian Lippner from West Morris Chainbreakers (1:06:49), Joseph Kaczynski from Hunterdon Havoc Composite (1:07:58) and Hugh Grennan from Morris Town Revolutions (1:10:32). The Chester Challenge took place in Highland Ridge Park, a mix of single- and double-track courses on the property that used to be the home of AT&T’s Bell Labs.
The Essex Offroad team’s next race is “Quick, Slick Six” at Six Mile Run in Somerset on June 11. The races are organized by the New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League, a chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).