Whenever you put racing chips on people it doesn’t matter what you call the event, it’s a race. The organisers Chris Bailey and his wife Kym on behalf of the Rotary club of Grand Cayman were delighted this year when a number of entrants said no to the chip, they just wanted to ride Caymans roads in a group and enjoy the morning. Wonderful! On the other hand Caymans elite cyclists turned out in force to be the first person to the point! Could they take Jerome Amaline’s 2 year crown we will see….
The race was postponed by the organisers back in January as the rain was coming in sideways and the wind was blowing around 40mph, not ideal conditions for cycling. Challenge Director and organizer Chris Bailey said following the postponement “Rider safety and enjoyment is at the core of what this event is all about, neither of those two factors would be achieved if we had done the race. We will pick a better day where we can all get to Rum Point safly and enjoy the pleasures of breakfast on the beach”. Well they certainly had a great day for the event on Sunday blue skies and a Caribbean breeze.
From the off at 7am over 130 cyclists embarked on the challenge. The elite races taking off at a rapid pace and we will have Breakaway Squad member Daniel Cummings take over his commentary for that group…
Daniel Cummings (DC) - The tone was set early with Stuart Bray pushing the pace from the get-go. Triathletes pushed the pace early and between myself, Gareth and Stuart we kept the tempo through to West Bay Road. The podium seemed to be one many were aiming for as only a handful of people rotated duties at the front of the pack. The 23.5mph average remained up til Bodden Town with Jerome breaking just after Frank Sound to maintain a 10-15sec gap. Myself, Gareth and Graham initiated a few efforts to close but in the end, there was just not enough riders with the desire to push the pack to mount a challenge. We gradually ramped up the pace, stretching the main pack along Queens Highway up to 36mph at one point and held this into the last section along Rum Point Road, setting up for what promised to be a blistering final run. Several surges featured in coming to the finish, with Steve Abbott and Michael Testori sprinting away and the TT bikes responding in steady fashion. The sprint initiated with about 200m to go and I gave all I had but just couldn’t beat those nimble roadies!!
Another Breakaway squad member who was a little further back in the field was Ironman and accomplished Triathlete Jon Roney who also gave his commentary:
A typically beautiful Cayman morning dawned and many cyclists gathered at the Turtle Farm for round 2 of the Pedal 2 the Point challenge. The weather was in stark contrast to the previously postponed attempt to stage the race, when winds were gusting in excess of 50kmh and driving rain made for dangerous conditions even to the seasoned rider. The usual pre-race greetings, banter and inevitable photos took place while Chris B and his team made sure everyone had chips and were properly debriefed. No crashes this year please. Amen to that brother.
Being typically chatty the start caught me mid conversation so I hustled to the road only to be near the back behind all and sundry and watched in dismay as the big dogs and their faultless race planning took off like greyhounds after a rabbit. OK Plan B: try and work myself forward from group to group until I either reached my limit or I found a decent group. Groups came and went and each time a rider made a push I sucked wheel and followed them. A decent size group formed just before Hurleys and we were riding together comfortably. Mostly guys I didn’t recognize but Rich Lewis was in amongst it. The wind was the usual stiff head wind but the day was shaping up to be perfect, I took a moment to enjoy South Sound and the view and caught my breath. Ahead was a small group of 3 or 4 riders and after passing Hurleys one Flashy nation guy (possibly Kevin) made a push to cross the gap of 100m or so. Like a flash I was on him but this guy pushed HARD and I struggled to take over from him when his speed dropped. Impossibly slowly we closed the gap and made it to the back and when I had recovered a little I realized my buddies Dale Avery and Bill McFarland (triathletes of some note and pedigree) were in the group. We continued in this vain until we passed Countryside swallowing up a couple of riders who I presumed had been spat out of the back of the main peloton up the road. The group was between 8 and 10 in size but instead of working together we seemed content to meander along very comfortably, I was happy about this at this point as I was still feeling the heat from the push to join them. Before BT, I could see Dale and Bill conspiring, clearly frustrated by the slow pace, Dale dropped back and said they were going to make a break the next time the pace slowed, I was game to join them but silently hoped it would be some mins to allow further recovery.
At this point the group seemed to wake up and the pace picked up, I think Jonathan Zoom was on the front and the idea of a breakaway fell away for a while and it wasn't until we were through and out of BT that pace dropped again. I was watching Dale and Bill like a hawk and it was Bill who dropped the hammer, I was right on his wheel and Dale and on mine and off we charged. Bill put in a real stint, I took over, two riders ahead of us was the oasis of drafting I was after and I put my head down, we were making decent progress, Dale finished the job and we were across. A few minutes well-earned recovery and about half the pack of the old group made it across too but the other half were gone, the break had done its job. The group stayed together all the way past FSR, up the blow holes and round to East End. The new peloton however was far better organized and we shared the load nicely between ourselves and the pace and power increased. At East End we picked up Andrew (South African) who had lost contact with the peloton.
Despite the comfort that came with working together it was a delight to turn the corner at Morrits and have the wind at our backs. The last 18kms flew by at nearly 40kmh. It is a special feeling when you are racing along the Queens Highway at that speed, with minimal effort in glorious sunshine and with the end in sight after nearly 2hrs of solid riding. We continued apace until after the FS junction when with the finish in mind the group seemed less inclined to put a hard stint on the front. Saving the lungs and legs. The dynamic had changed from group orientated to self-focus… About 3km out Bill jumped on the front and start grinding out the power, bludgeoning the pedals as the speed increased and we were sucked along behind him. With about 500m to go (or so I thought) one of the guys made a break and I was on his wheel quickly, the final corner presented the finish about 200m and I made my move passing comfortably if not like a whippet. 100m and one of the big guys in the group went passed me on the outside but I kept my head down pushing, with about 20m to another other guy went by and were done. 3rd in the second group not bad for me. It wasn't until we met up for breakfast and coffee that we discovered the lead group had finished a full 15mins ahead of us. Hats off to them - all finishing easily within 2hrs.
A great ride was capped by a hearty breakfast and a couple of beers. The ferry to take us home arrived early and was a welcome sight as I was done.
Chris and Co should be rightfully proud of the event they have created but more so the money they have raised and further the road safety campaign coming out of the interest in P2P. I know he will always deflect praise onto those around him and justifiably so but Chris is the polarizing catalyst and without his immense energy and spirit this simply wouldn't have happened.
Also there were no crashes J
Another Cyclist Darrel DJ events gave us his commentary:
Thankfully we had great weather for this event, as this is one of the staples of the Cycling community being a great charity and a fairly challenging event to organize.
Always great catching up with friends before we get started. I may have been a bit to relaxed starting near the back chatting it up with my bud Gary Frost.
As we got started, we slowly realized that we were not seeing the front of the group. Which may have meant danger with the magnitude of talent that’s usually in the front. Within 5 minutes of the start we decided to started riding hard to catch the front which we still weren’t seeing.
Our chase group of 5 became 2 (Gary Frost and Myself) by the time we hit 7 Mile shops. At this time there was no sign of event eh tail of the peloton. Massive act of faith and trust in each other, we decided to keep drilling the pace as long as we could or until we caught the group.
Now on shamrock and running out of nutrition, Gary and I continued pep talking and keeping the pace going. 40+Mins we decided we had already come this far might as well burn the entire match box (point of no return).
Luckily Cooke was on course with Lester doing video and drafted us from Savannah up to the main peloton, we didn’t reconnect with until near lighthouse which is safe to say at this point we were 1 hour in and losing time.
Nutrition bottle was empty and water bottle was almost the same, I knew I wasn’t in any shape to contest a sprint unless I could top up the hydration. My team tried to help with gels and water but the group continued some challenging surges and eventually middle of Queens one did me in and I went off the back slowly.
Funny enough Gary Frost went off a wee bit after me and as I caught up to him we continued to pull turns and finish up the ride together.
My intention before this ride was to use as little energy as possible and I ended up with the complete opposite but the comradery we (Gary) shared in the experience I wouldn’t trade for any other circumstance.
The hardest working cyclists of the day has to go to those who did this on Beach cruisers, mountain bikes, hybrids and anything other than a road bike! The conditions are hot, it 70+km of unforgiving tarmac and although cheered on by the fabulous volunteers from the Rotary club and nourished at the water stops manned by the race sponsors Silver Wheaton and Fountainhead a number of people withdrew, beaten for this time at least by the challenge.
Jerome Amaline came in first retaining his 3 year dominance in a time of 1:hr 55 mins a point challenge record.
Rachel Evans and Breakaways squad member bought home first female to the point
Risa Goldberg put in an epic performance to take home the 50+ age group win.
And being the only 4 man team entered the Rotary club of grand Cayman took home that title.
The race organisers would like to say a massive thank you to Red Sail Sports who provided the breakfast and ferry ride home for all participants. Silver Wheaton were the title sponsors for the 3rd year running and without their financial and physical support this event would not be what it is. Volunteers make these events and we had many who got up early on a Sunday to help, along with the wonderful people at the red cross who thankfully were not needed!
Thank you everyone involved J
|P2TP 2017 - Results|
|13||55||Gareth van Den Bergh||1:55:21.25||1:19|
|15||50||Alessandro de Rossi||1:55:36.50||1:19|
|16||16||John Paul Ramos||1:55:47.82||1:19|
|62||57||Cesar Rico Aparil||2:28:49.82||1:42|
|72||161||David Voy Fung||2:43:34.82||1:52|
|92||86||Randy D Christian||3:05:23.41||2:07|
|103||93||Rotary Team Rotary Team||3:28:52.51||2:24|
|104||3||Gears And Beers||3:41:34.36||2:32|
Apr 6, 2017