The Long Hill Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank all of the groups involved in the success of the Annual Freedom Tour Bike Race which was recently held in Stirling. Please read the article below from Dennis Sandow, the Chamber’s Vice President.
An Excellent Day of Racing
On October 26, the residents of Long Hill enjoyed the nineteenth annual Freedom Tour bicycle races in downtown Stirling.
Between the six professional races, the firemen and the 12-15 year old kids, we watched 178 laps (roughly 160 miles) of exciting racing.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the people who made this day a success.
This year's "extraordinary response award" goes to the Long Hill Department of Public Works. On Thursday, we discovered that one of the utility companies had opened two holes on Main Avenue and left them unpaved. They worked without getting town permits, so they didn't know the races were imminent, and we didn't know who to lean on for repairs. At noon Friday - with cancellation threatened because of risks to the cyclists - DPW picked up a load of blacktop and patched the holes themselves.
Bert Webster and his team of employees and volunteers from High Gear Cyclery outdid themselves in organizing the races, hustling sponsors, providing "pit" services to the racers, and keeping the schedule moving. Their passion is inspiring. Visit High Gear, get yourself in shape, and you could be in the winner's circle next year.
Antie Celli and the staff from Investors Savings Bank once again sponsored the childrens' races and furnished the trophies, handled the neighbor raffles and sold t-shirts, kept the financial records for the event, distributed the prize money to the professional racers, and furnished free bottled water to all, at their tent. ISB's sense of community responsibility - and their juggling act - is incredible. Stop in and thank them.
The Long Hill First Aid Squad brought three rigs and eight volunteers to the races. They handled five emergencies, including two hospital transports, during the day. We couldn't ask for a more responsive and competent organization in our town.
We will show our appreciation to the FAS when we distribute the proceeds from the Freedom Tour to them, and to the fire companies, CERT, and the Police Explorers. Last year, High Gear and the Chamber were pleased to donate $10,000 to these invaluable volunteers.
The Long Hill Police, the Police Explorers, and the Community Emergency Response Team were out in force handling traffic and citizen complaints. The planning and staffing were excellent, and their willingness to help make the day a success are appreciated.
We thank Liccardi Ford, Steve's Towing, the Long Hill Senior Center and Rossi Family Chiropractic for donating the pace car, the judges stand, the tables and chairs, and medical evaluation support. These little items often go unnoticed, but are essential.
We applaud the Stirling Volunteer Fire Company for organizing the Firefighters Race, and over 100 firefighters from all over New Jersey, who raced wearing 40 pounds of turnout gear. Their entry fees are donated to St. Barnabas Burn Center.
Think about it. These volunteers from other towns gave up their Sunday, drove miles to be here, paid an entry fee, and rode an impossible race - for charity. And tonight, when the siren sounds in their town, they will go out in the storm to protect their neighbors' life and property. Their sense of volunteerism should be an inspiration to us all..
To the many neighbors who stopped at the Chamber of Commerce tent or called me with comments and suggestions, my personal thanks. Most of the suggestions were offered in a positive amd non-judgmental way, and many will be adopted as we plan for next year. We appreciate your tolerance of the inconveniences you suffered to make this event a success for the community.
And finally, to the rain gods - whoever and wherever they may be. Although we started the day with a 60 percent chance of rain for most of the day, we actually enjoyed sunshine and an occasional breeze. The races ended. In the next 45 minutes, we broke down the registration and judging area, reopened Main Avenue and started for home. Then one hour after the end of the races, the torrential rain and hail arrived. We couldn't ask for better timing.
The Twentieth Freedom Tour will take place on July 25, 2010. Mark your calendar now for this memorable event.
Vice President - Long Hill Chamber of Commerce