The Cayman Islands Cycling Association social race was anything but for the serious riders who slugged it out for 65 miles over the weekend.
There had been a lot of banter between Jamaican newcomer Brian Chinyee and Cayman’s Jerome Ameline but in the event they had to concede to club secretary Gary Clark.
The group rode from Grand Harbour to Pease Bay (Moon Bay condos) for the official start on Sunday morning. Most riders completed one non-stop loop (45 miles) whereas the more competitive ones did two loops. It was cut and thrust all the way and a jubilant Clark was the deserved winner despite difficulties with his bike.
The 31-year-old quantity surveyor said: ‘The plan was just to ride a good race. I did a lot of training, in particular heavy gear (ratios on his bike). Heavy gear use is for when you’re riding up mountains and hills and you need a really stiff gear because of the low cadence going up. It’s a good thing I did because just before the start of this race my derailer came loose. So I was stuck in two gears, the stiff ones at the back.
‘I had to ride the whole race in a stiff gear. It wasn’t a tight finish because beside Ocean Club along Spotts Straight I made a jump. There was a four man breakaway coming down from Pease Bay. We were interchanging and along Spotts Straight we started to pick up the pace. Then the guys slowed right down and I saw the opportunity and went and hammered the stiff gear.’
But there was more drama for Clark. ‘As I got to Mariner’s Drive my hamstring started to wobble a bit and I thought I wasn’t going to do it. But I kept on pushing and Craig Merren (president of the cycling association) came up in his car and kept shouting: ‘Go! Go! Go!’ so I kept hammering the gears and because I didn’t hear any bicycles coming I knew I had it on the last stretch.’
A jubilant Clark won by 20 metres ahead of Ameline with Chinyee third and David Padega fourth. The next social ride is on Sunday 13 October. Chinyee has promised to win that one so it should be another thriller.
* For more information, contact a very happy Gary Clark at [email protected] or telephone 926-3421.