The latest edition of the Reefathlon cycling series was a low-key affair in East End but still another great event. Hosted by the Reef Resort, this edition of the series featured a 19-mile individual time trial around the East End circuit on 27 November.
Although the turnout for the event was lower than anticipated, it still featured a quality field in the men’s division.
Although previous editions of the Reefathlon usually happen before the Cayman Islands Triathlon, due to the earlier date of the triathlon, the event took place two weeks later, with many cyclists apparently having ended their seasons already. The proximity to the Cayman Islands Marathon might also have put off a number of potential participants.
The field featured a good mixture of triathletes and cyclists, and with the triathletes being in peak shape after the Cayman Islands Triathlon, it was going to be tough for the cyclists to hang onto the crown.
Before the start of the race the names being mentioned were former local course record holder Jerome Ameline, recent second place finisher in the Cayman Islands Triathlon Johan Heath as well as Patrick Smith who set the fastest bike time in the triathlon while competing as a member of a team.
Among the earlier starters, masters competitor Laurent Weber produced a surprisingly good time, coming home in 45:17 to claim not only the provisional lead but also a new masters’ course record.
Much was expected of reigning road race champion Marius Deysel, but he fell more than a minute short of toppling Weber.
The first challenge to Weber’s time came from Heath, who rode very well to charge home in 44:50 and take the lead. With only Smith and Ameline to finish, Heath was assured of taking a podium spot at the very least.
Smith was the next cyclist home, but his time of 45:25 left him second in the open division, and third overall with Ameline still to finish.
As Ameline charged towards the line it was clear that it was going to be a desperately close finish between Heath and Ameline, but the clock got the better of the flying Frenchman as he fell a mere six seconds short of Heath’s time, handing the triathlete his first time trial win in Cayman after a number of previous podium finishes.
The ladies’ division was won by Rebecca Vandiver, the sole female competitor on the day, in a time of 55:01.
Heath said that he believed himself to be in good form before the event, due to a run of excellent performances in triathlons leading up to the Reefathlon.
“I competed in the Cayman Islands Triathlon on the 6th of November and the Jamaica triathlon on the 13th of November. I thus felt confident going into Sunday’s 30km time trial as the 40km bike leg in both the Cayman and Jamaica Triathlon’s prepared me well for Sunday’s all out 30km TT,” he said.
However he was far from confident of achieving a win, with the windy conditions sapping everyone’s strength.
“I could feel that halfway into the TT my legs were burning so I did not feel too confident being in the lead as time trialing is Jerome Ameline’s strength,” he said.
Due to limited racing recently, Ameline admitted that his form was not what it should have been, as evidenced by his unshaven legs, but congratulated Heath on a very impressive ride and a well deserved win.
Heath, who said that the event was one of his favourite sporting events on island, thanked the organisers and timekeepers, as well as race photographer Clement Reid for helping to make the event a success.