Reefathlon is gaining momentum

Local cycling received a big boost from the presence of international cyclists at the Reefathlon time trial, held in late November. However, the effects of the event may last well beyond the event itself.

reef follow up

Stetina was in a class of his own. Photo: Eugene Bonthuys

Although US Under-23 time trial champion Peter Stetina humbled Cayman’s fastest cyclists by handing them a more than four minute beating, his time set a target for them to chase in future, which should inspire harder training and faster times even in his absence.

During his visit, Stetina, who will be part of the Garmin-Transitions professional team next year, spent time training with local cyclists, a number of whom took some time off on the Friday morning before the event in order to join him on a training ride around Grand Cayman from his base at the Reef Resort in East End.

More group training rides followed on the Saturday before the event, as well as a lot of socialising with local cyclist enthusiasts.

Stetina certainly did a good job of marketing Cayman and the Reefathlon as well, posting photos and messages on Twitter as well as writing a race report for his team website (slipstreamsports.com/2009/12/01/off-season-update-stetina-tackles-the-reefathlon) and posting a link to the event website on his blog.

Tom McCallum, manager of the Reef Resort and organiser of the Reefathlon, is excited about the positive impact that international cyclists can have, not only on the event but also on local cycling.

‘Peter Stetina is absolutely a huge fan of the whole concept of Reefathlon. He loved the race, loved the location, loved relaxing at theReef,’ said McCallum.

‘As Stetina put it before he left Cayman: ‘I’ve already told about half the pro cyclists in the US about how great it is!”

With any luck, Stetina’s passion for cycling in Cayman will catch and some of his fellow professionals may discover Cayman as a training destination.

‘Pete and I are already working on something really big for fall 2010 in terms of bringing top international riders to Cayman.’

The Reefathlon series will continue evolving to suit the local cycling community.

‘We’ll be running several Reefathlon events of different types during 2010, aimed at maximum participation and fun for local cyclists of all levels, as well as people keen to visit Cayman and do some riding while on vacation,’ said McCallum.

The next Reefathlon event is set for 21 February. This time around, it will be run as a road race event, with the first 19-mile loop being ridden at a relaxed pace to allow recreational cyclists to enjoy the scenery, while the second loop will be contested at race pace. It is hoped that the change in format will encourage more beginners to give cycling a try and provide them with the opportunity to ride side by side with some of Cayman’s top cyclists.

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