Michele “Mitch” Smith is still the dominant cyclist in the Cayman Islands but novice Pedro Ramos Lopez is closing the gap.
Smith, 44, used all his guile and experience to win the Hurley’s-East End 48-mile Road Race on Sunday ahead of the 24-year-old Lopez who hopes to eventually become a world class triathlete.
Smith finished in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 34 seconds, only 0.6 of a second ahead of Lopez, but victory was never in doubt for the veteran Olympian who had earlier pedalled over 60 miles in a pre-race training session with Daniel “Sparrow” Stewart. Smith also won the time trial last month.
There were 23 starters from Grand Harbour, including a group of Filipino riders who were warmly welcomed in their first official Cayman Islands Cycling Association race.
David Cooke (1:56:36) was third overall and fastest master. Risa Golberg (1:56:38) won the women’s category, just ahead of Ceretta Harvey (1:56:38) in a sprint finish.
Junior rider Josh Weaver took a shortened course and went to Frank Sound and back with his father Chris, finishing together in 1:21:31.
Gary Clarke was one of the race marshals. He said, “It was a good race. I saw a number of jumps being made by Pedro, Mitch and Wade Tomasa who made one in Frank Sound.
“There was a really aggressive new guy, David Bees, who made a few good breaks from the peleton. There was also about five Filipinos that showed up which was quite welcoming for the association.”
Ray Hydes was the second fastest master, even though he had to fix a punctured tire on the Queen’s Highway.
Craig Merren, cycling association president, said he was pleased with the influx of Filipinos and hopes they will increase in numbers and be regular competitors from now on.
Merren was also impressed with how well Bees performed, although he lacked a sprint finish at the end and finished tenth.
“Ceretta rode well and is constantly improving,” Merren said. “She stayed in contact with the group and by the way she is progressing and if she continues to train hard, she may soon be able to out sprint Risa.
“Many thanks to the RCIPS for their help, CEL Beverage Centre, Cayman Timing System, The Brasserie and all the volunteers who came out so early to make it a success.”
Merren added he hopes to see everyone at the next event, the Cost-U-less Circuit Race in Governor’s Square on Oct. 19, starting at 7 a.m.