The richest prize in Cayman cycling will be up for grabs at the first Reefathlon time trial.
The contest is on 27 September at the Reef Resort in East End.
The event will feature a 19-mile time trial starting and finishing at the Reef Resort in East End. However, the event aims to be about much more than just the race itself. Tom McCallum, manager of the Reef Resort, has put together special accommodation packages for locals as well as travel and accommodation packages for visitors from the United States in order to tempt participants to make a weekend of it. The event will also serve as a platform to raise money for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and showcase the Reef Resort’s green initiatives.
As for the ‘athlon’ part of the name, McCallum suggests that cyclists attending the event will be able to do their own version of a triathlon, with a leisurely snorkel and a relaxing stroll on the beach making up the rest of the traditional three events.
Local competitors can make a quick staycation out of the event, as they can book an ocean front studio apartment for the Saturday 26 September for CI$99, which includes a ticket to the pre race barbeque and pasta party as well as entry into the race. Additional pasta party tickets are available for CI$19 per person, with race entries costing $15.
Race entry will include a race T-shirt, water bottle, post race refreshments as well as a donation to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
International competitors can book three nights double occupancy at the Reef, including airfare from Tampa or Miami and airport transfers in Cayman for US$399, excluding US$130 in taxes per person.
The Cayman Islands Cycling Association has hosted a time trial event that traversed the same circuit earlier this year. In that event, Jerome Ameline was the winner by a mere six seconds over Michael Stomps. Ameline’s winning time of 44:11, although very impressive, was well off the 42:13 that will be required to claim the US$1,000 prize available for the fastest cyclist with an average speed of 27mph on the 19 mile course. Does he think it will be possible for someone to break the 27mph barrier?
‘Yes, it is possible for someone to do less than 42 minutes, but probably not anybody who currently lives on island. In my opinion, the five best time trialist currently living in Cayman are not fit enough for that target,’ says Ameline.
However, he admits that nothing is ever certain.
‘Maybe Steve Evans will surprise us with a good come back, like lance Armstrong,’ he says.
As to whether the couple of minor hills or the wind will pose the biggest challenge, Ameline has no doubt whatsoever.
‘The biggest challenge will be the wind. The rolling climbs will just add a bit of spice,’ he laughs.
According to McCallum, he knows taking the US$1,000 prize will be a tough ask.
‘I know it is a reach, but the prize is also a marketing tool… to be honest, I don’t expect anyone to make it first time, but my thinking is that I will run an event every two to three months, and every second competitive event will be that TT. Someone will hit it eventually and the longer the bounty stays out there, the more likely we are to get some visitors in,’ he says.
However, even if the magic 27 mph barrier is not broken, there are still plenty of prizes up for grabs.
‘Each division winner will get a certificate for a free night stay at the Reef, and the overall winner will also get the same,’ says McCallum, which would therefore add up to two free nights for the overall winner of the race.
According to Gary Clarke, president of the Cayman Islands Cycling Association, the event holds a lot of promise.
‘I think the Reefathlon is an exciting addition to the cycling events held on island. Certainly, the race incentives will attract participation from overseas and help to promote Cayman as an alternate cycling destination,’ he says.
McCallum hopes that this will be the first of many such events, and hopes to establish the Reef and Cayman in general as a popular getaway for cyclists in the region.
For more information on the event, visit reefathlon.com.