Eddie Powell is so dedicated to cycling as a means of keeping fit and for camaraderie that he has no problem getting up at stupid o’clock every day to ride with fellow Daybreakers for at least an hour.
Anyone who is a Facebook friend of Powell’s will attest to that as he often posts a message about looking forward to that morning’s ride as he heads out.
Daybreakers is the most active cycling club in Grand Cayman and since it was last featured in this paper a couple of months ago, it has been really active, training its younger riders to compete in the May Classics, in which they did very well.
Daybreakers meet at the Rubis gas station in Savannah every weekday morning. Orrett “OC” Connor and Powell are the group of 10 to 15 riders’ chief organizers.
The ride is normally 30 miles and on Sundays they start at 5 a.m. on a distance of 80 to 100 miles.
“Our club was well represented in the May Classics and had many successes in that series,” Powell said.
“OC and myself do not compete in the races as we are the leading force behind Daybreakers and we prefer to prepare our riders for the races by training with them at least five days a week.”
Powell does Daybreakers purely to stay fit and for weight control and it helps with his stress levels, he claims. “It’s a sport I truly enjoy, even after having two nasty spills on the road.”
His sporting background is in weight lifting and speed walking. “But with cycling I never seem to get tired,” Powell says.
Caymanian born and raised, even at 56, his day starts at 4 a.m. to get ready to meet the Daybreakers at 4.30 a.m. The ride finishes around 6 a.m. and he is off to work as the warehouse manager for Androgroup an hour later.
He works until 4 p.m. without a lunch break most days and does it all over the next day. That really takes motivation.
Daybreakers enjoy regular trips abroad to keep interest high. They go to Jamaica on Oct. 19 for the Kingston-to -Negril ride. “I will also be in the Philippines on July 20 for a few weeks of cycling over there too,” Powell said.
There is also their annual trip to Cuba in March 2015 for 400 kilometers of cycling.
Daybreakers celebrate riders’ birthdays in a unique way, by riding double the age of the cyclist. Powell’s birthday is on Oct. 11 and he will be doing 114 miles.
One of the spills he remembers with fondness happened four years ago. Powell stopped at his front door and, not being familiar with being clipped into the bike pedals, he fell over as he was unable to unclip from the pedals and earned laughter from the entire group when he told them what happened.
Powell is also amused by Connor’s story of when a low boy truck loaded with a bulldozer accidently hooked onto a wheel and dragged him a few miles down the road. Connor was shouting at the driver who did not hear him. Luckily, he escaped with only minor injuries.
The Daybreakers’ spirit is always fun and inclusive. “We welcome all levels of riders to join our club,” says Powell. “The only requirement is that they adhere to our safety guidelines and new cyclists stay at the back of the pack and observe the proper procedures for safe cycling.”