Following an 18 month hiatus from competitive sports Barry Jones has returned to cycling with a passion to take his game to another level. His aim is to put the island back on the map when it comes to cycling, not only locally but regionally and internationally as well.
His season started well with a second place overall in the DHL duathlon in spite of quite limited training.
More recently Jones completed the Cayman Islands Cycling Association’s annual 100 mile bike ride, finishing in a group of six lead riders. He raced in Jamaica recently where he competed in the final two events of Alden Clunis/ Lawrence Watson Memorial Championship, a 33-mile road race and a velodrome race.
In the road race he put himself at the service of Endurance Cycling Club of Portmore who were in contention for the overall series win.
Besides instructions to cover an identified rider from a rival club he worked hard to bridge gaps to breakaway riders ensuring that Endurance stayed in contention for the overall stage win. The team eventually claimed second on the stage, while Jones finished in the main bunch less than a minute behind the race winner.
On the track, in an environment in which Jones has limited experience, he participated in the Devil take hindmost, an event where the last competitor on each lap is eliminated from the race. Jones finished sixth out of the eleven starters.
He sacrificed a position in the top five in order to allow Endurance to place two men in the top five, with the team eventually claiming a third place finish.
Jones also competed in the 30 lap race along with 18 other starters. The event included several points laps, with him claiming third in one of the sprints.
He eventually finished in eighth place, in spite of some hard work in the service of Team Endurance. The team managed to claim second and third overall in the race, but more importantly took the overall team prize for the series.
The event honoured two cyclists who lost their lives during the last year.
While in Jamaica he was also able to some hilly rides which included a 130 picturesque marathon starting in Greater Port Moore up to Ocho Rios and back tackling the climbs Stony Hill out of Constant Spring and Chalky Hill out of Ocho Rios and Mount Rosser outside Ewarton.
All the training clearly paid off as Jones claimed a surprise win in the first event of the Cayman Classic series, sponsored by Karim Awe of Cayman Insurance Centre.
However, the win made Jones a marked man, and he could not repeat his success in the second race of the series. After three races, he was lying in fourth position overall with only a 65-mile road race and a 10-mile time trial still to be contested.
Jones is fortunate among local cyclists to have sponsors in Ernest Ebanks of Body Sculptors who provides him free gym membership which he attribute to his recent successes as well as Paul Rankin of Paramount, Craig Ebanks of Shedden Road Texaco, Jason Brown of Trinjam who came up trumps on very short notice to assist with his expenses in getting to Jamaica.
Jones is also busy giving back to the sport by trying to find the next generation of cyclist in the Cayman Islands by starting a pilot programme with the Cadet Corp as an alternative sport for their six weeks of physical activity which began in May.
He also hopes to start a cycling club which he hopes to see go online in the upcoming months.
He manages to do all this while balancing a full time job at Lands and Survey Department and family duties, as he is married with two children.
Even in the midst of the Cayman Classic series, Jones is already looking to his next major goal, theTour of Jamaica.
The event is set to take place in August and is likely to feature some of the top competitors from around the region. The event is contested by teams of six cyclists each, and is likely to draw cyclists including the Caribbean road champion as well as teams from the United States.
Jones believes that with the current state of local cycling, it would be possible to put together a Cayman Islands team to challenge the best the region has to offer.