Perfect conditions greeted competitors in Sunday morning’s Cayman National 10-mile time trial championships.
Although the cloud cover may have kept the temperature down, the competition was hot as the cyclists raced for bragging rights for the next 12 months in their respective age categories.
The route was familiar to all local cyclists, with the start-finish line in front of Paradise Bar & Grill, with competitors racing down South Sound to the turnaround at the Grand Harbour roundabout.
The time trial is known as the Race of Truth, as it pits rider and machine against the elements, alone, with nowhere to hide.
Quite often the riders who win time trials are not be the same ones who win road races, as the two disciplines require somewhat different rider characteristics.
Fortunately the brutal reputation of time trial racing did little to scare away prospective testers, with a record 31 riders taking the start line, ranging from Toby Sutton, only 14, to John Broad, 61, and including a number of women as well.
With many cyclists working towards the upcoming Cayman Invitational Stage Race, this served as an important form indicator only three weeks before the big race.
The competition across all categories was closer than expected with a number of riders turning in personal best times, and a couple of surprises out on the course.
Of all the competitions, the male overall title was the most hotly contested, with a number revealing newly upgraded equipment on race day.
Dennis Brooks set the early pace at 24 minutes 50 seconds and held the best time for quite a while until he was toppled by Michael Stomps.
Unlike most of the other top competitors, two time Olympian Mitchell Smith raced on a standard road racing bicycle, without all the aerodynamic bells and whistles that characterise triathlon and time trial bicycles.
This did not seem to slow Smith down too much as he streaked to a time of 22:19 to knock Stomps off the top step of the podium. Steve Evans was the first cyclist to mount a serious challenge to Smith’s time, but fell a mere two seconds short with a time of 22:21.
Triathlete Jasper Mikkelsen turned in the surprise performance of the day as he knocked Smith off the top step with an amazing time of 21:40, only a couple of seconds short of the course record.
Mikkelsen is building up to an Ironman triathlon this weekend in Florida and if his speed over ten miles is anything to go on, he should be flying on his big day.
Unfortunately for Mikkelsen, Jerome Ameline, the undisputed king of time trialling in Cayman, was yet to cross the line.
When he did, he reclaimed his rightful place on the top step of the podium, setting a new course record in the process. His time of 21:19 for the 10-mile course translates to an average speed of 28.14 miles per hour.
Although Evans just missed out on a podium position overall, his fourth place finish was good enough to net him the win in the 40-49 age group.
Evans has been working very hard over the last couple of weeks organising the Cayman Invitational and was pleasantly surprised with his time.
Chris Sutton claimed the 50-59 age group in a time of 25:11, proving that his win in the first circuit race earlier this year was no fluke.
Proving that athletic prowess can certainly be passed from father to son, Toby Sutton claimed the under 16 title in a time of 28:37. At less than half the age of the top finishers, Sutton certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Rene Delacruz benefited from the relatively more advanced age of many of the top competitors as he claimed the 24-29 age group in a time of 28:43.
The under 23 division was claimed by Oshane Wright in a time of 29:37, with Rodger Yeomans claiming the 60-plus division in 30:25.
In the women’s division, Majken Mikkelsen went one better than spouse Jasper by claiming the women’s overall title as well as the 30-39 age group in a time of 26:11. Her time means that she was faster than four of the male age group champions and finished in 16th position overall.
Justine Plenkiewicz claimed the women’s 24-29 age group, finishing a mere 26 seconds behind Mikkelsen.
Paula Scott won the women’s 40-49 age group in a time of 30:43, proving that there is an upside to turning another year older, as she celebrated her birthday on race day, thereby catapulting her into a new age group.
The next big event on the cycling calendar is the Cayman Invitational, which is scheduled to take place from 8-10 November.
For more information on local cycling events, visit www.cicycling