Jerome Ameline just planned to go home, not to step atop another winner’s podium.
Ameline, the owner of Revolutions Indoor Cycling in George Town, recently travelled home to France to visit his family and decided to enter a local road race in his hometown in the Calvados department of Normandy.
That is no stretch for Ameline. He rides every day in the gym as a cycling instructor here in Cayman and recently won the 58‑mile road race portion of the Cayman Islands Cycling Championships.
Ameline, who arrived in France the day before the race he wanted to enter, quickly set about making preparations. He contacted his old cycling club, and they informed him that he could enter the race with a ‘day pass’ as long as he had a valid doctor’s certificate that proved he was fit for racing.
He got that, and then he put together his bike from the case he uses to travel.
Ameline was one of 66 competitors, and their task was to ride the four-mile course 10 times.
“The start was more than very fast, sometime speed exceeding 35 miles an hour,” said Ameline in an email recounting the details of his journey. “After a few minutes, I thought I would not be making it to the end and it took me two full laps to settle down and get more comfortable.”
The cramped nature of the course and its competitors meant that Ameline had to alter his race strategy. He usually likes to break away from the pack to avoid a final sprint for the tape, but he did not feel comfortable trying that tactic in France.
Instead, with the group of cyclists beating a rapid pace around him, he decided to stay with the peloton.
Ameline, much to his surprise, had plenty of juice left at the end of the race.
He exerted himself for a strong finishing kick and took the last corner in second position, and he rode his adrenaline to narrowly cross the finish line in first place.
“I was not expecting such a good result, especially being jet-lagged and not being used to riding in a large peloton any more,” he said after his victory. “I was wearing my Cayman champion jersey and it felt good to represent Cayman – now my new home – in my original home country.”
How did he celebrate? Well, first he enjoyed the moment with his family and friends, and then he set out on a 700‑mile tour around the Cognac area with his sister.