The cycling association’s latest event was the all-inclusive 100-mile Bike Challenge.
It was on Sunday, 14 April and organised by Guavaberry Marketing and the Cayman Islands Cycling Association. The Bike Challenge helped build camaraderie and share the spirit of endurance cycling in the Cayman Islands.
With an average speed of a modest 16 miles per hour, the century ride was never a race but a fun event for cyclists at all levels to participate in.
It began at the Ristorante Pappagallo in West Bay at 5.30am and all cyclists remained together until their arrival in North Side at 45 miles before they turned back and completed a large loop to finish at Pappagallo.
Experienced cyclists accompanied the group to ensure that no one was left behind, although some did shorter distances than 100 miles.
It was supported with aide stations at the Frank Sound junction, Rum Point and South Sound boat ramp manned by volunteers from Meals on Wheels.
“It was great to be a part of the Cayman 100 Bike Challenge and to continue to support one of Cayman’s largest one-day sporting events that draws over 100 enthusiastic cyclists that range from serious to leisure riders as well as family members and spectators,” said cycling association president Craig Merren. “We extend our congratulations to Guavaberry Marketing and their team for a job well done.
“This year was special as we are giving back to a worthy cause, the Meals on Wheels programme, donating all profits.
“We are grateful to all our sponsors. Besides Guavaberry Marketing they are Ristorante Pappagallo, Island Supply, Fluid, Craig Cycles, 53//11 Crankers Cycling Club, Chocolate Creations Ltd.”
Beulah McField, Meals on Wheels programme director, said: “Meals on Wheels is thankful to the cycling club for including us in this event.”
After the ride there was a social gathering at Ristorante Pappagallo which included a barbecue supplied by Island Supply.
“I was very pleased with the event,” said Barry Jones, of the cycling association. “Especially after we, Guavaberry Marketing, took it on at the last minute when the previous sponsor decided not to continue its involvement with the event.
“We were determined not to let the event miss a year and we threw all of our energies at it. It took a lot of effort but the rewards were worth it.
“There were several highlights for me, such as riding with sisters Lesley Connolly and Laura Chisholm. Lesley took up the challenge in an effort to prepare for her 100 mile bike challenge, ‘Americas Most Beautiful Bike Ride’, which is put on by Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
“She will be part of a team from Cayman which consists of employees from Intertrust and Walkers. The event will be held in Lake Tahoe on 2 June. Before the event, Lesley had done next to no riding since she was 13. Nonetheless, through my advice and encouragement she finished 35 miles and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“Laura, unknown to me, is a seasoned rider and finished the 100km distance.
“Another highlight was the fact that for the first time in all the years of this endurance challenge we achieved the goal of having everyone finish the ride very close in time.
“Plus we were also able to raise $700 for Meals on Wheels, a charity which feeds the community on the generosity of the public. Right now they are in need of all the help they can get.”
Jones said the general feedback from the riders was that they loved the event, not only for the multiple routes and distances offered, but also for the fact that the organisers made every effort to ensure that the speed was controlled so that it finished at the appropriate time to enjoy the lunch and socialise.
“They appreciated the support out on the road as well with the multiple aide station manned by us, volunteers from Meals on Wheels and Craig’s Cycles.
“We also had several new participants, including Lesley Connolly.
“We have already started preparation for next year’s event which we aim to make even bigger. We also have many other cycling events throughout the rest of the year as well, particularly next month.”