Chris Bailey completed the fourth of five sporting challenges he set himself on Sunday, in a cycling race he created to help charities.
It was the second staging of Pedal 2 the Point, as part of Bailey’s 640 Challenge which supports the Life Foundation and the Guatemala literacy project.
Around 150 cyclists took part, making it the largest cycle event staged in recent years in the Cayman Islands.
The ride stretched from the Cayman Turtle Farm in West Bay to Rum Point.
It started last year to raise funds for Derek Haines 6 For Hospice appeal and proved immensely popular and with corporate support from Silver Wheaton and Red Sail Sports the event grew in popularity for this year.
Reigning champ Jerome Ameline was eager to beat his time from last year, but it was not easy and with a field of strong riders close behind, the Frenchman crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 1 minute, 38 seconds with the leading pack including Bailey, Graham Blyth and David Cooke only 30 seconds or so behind. Fastest woman to the Point was Ceretta Harvey in 2 hours, 12 minutes. Vico Testori took the 50-plus age group accolade.
This year also saw the introduction of the Spirit of the Point award which went to Arcie “RC” De la Cruz, for his tireless enthusiasm, fixing bikes at the start and all-around support.
He even came off his bike in a fall and got up and carried on. Due to the wet roads and tight pack there were a couple of other spills but riders showed great resilience and bravery by carrying on regardless.
However one rider, Jalene Cruz, fell and was taken to hospital but made a full recovery and received her medal and goodie bag for all her efforts.
Bailey had no mishaps this time after injury worries and bike failures in previous 640 Challenge events. He said, “This is a fantastic community event. Huge thanks to all the volunteers and marshals. We are going for 200 next year.”
Bailey was “absolutely chuffed” with the turnout, which was about 50 more cyclists than last year with more people doing the whole route. “Everyone was having fun and enjoying the spirit of it.”
The event raised more than $5,000 to take the total raised so far to around $14,000 with just the half-marathon on Dec. 6 left to do. Bailey admits to being physically exhausted “but my spirits are high and the support from all areas of the community will get me through the half-marathon.”
He added, “It’s such a fulfilling experience to lose weight for a cause, raise a few dollars and try to have as much fun as possible.”
The 37-year-old Englishman’s starting weight was around 315 pounds and he has trimmed down by 60 pounds since then.
One of the most heart-warming memories so far in the challenge was having his colleague Piers Dryden “talk me up one of the last gruelling climbs on the Blue Ridge bike ride – I don’t think I would have got up there without that chat.”
Another cherished moment was receiving a text from his wife Kym as she finished the Chicago Marathon.
“I had just gone past mile 20 and it brought a tear to my eye as it was her goal to run fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, yet she was more concerned about me. True support.”
Another satisfying moment was crossing the 70.3 Miami Ironman finish line last month. “Considering I was over 300 pounds not 12 months prior, it just showed me what you can achieve if you set your mind to something.
“However, I’m sure the biggest heart-warming moment will come when the checks get presented to each of the charities.”