Cyclists take on the bluff in Brac challenge

| 08/05/2011

(Crankers): The second instalment of the Cayman Challenge Cycle Series saw cycle wheels scorching the roads of Cayman Brac in the Estella Scott-Roberts Memorial Bluff Challenge recently By far the hardest races in the whole series, the 60 mile or so road race with six ascents of the bluff and rolling terrain on the higher elevations and 13.5 mile Time Trial which also ascended the Bluff was well liked by those who took part. Race organizer and founder of 53//11 Crankers Cycling Club, Barry Jones said it was the most “beautiful and most challenging” course in all the Cayman Islands and that’s “before you add the windy conditions.”

He explained that the cycling club plans to make races on the Brac a regular part of its racing schedule. “Bicycle racing has not been on the Brac in 20 years and that has all changed now with this event. Before going to the Brac I had only seen the course from aerial photography and even then I was excited about the possibility of racing over it. These two courses represent the ‘Challenge’ in Cayman Challenge Cycle Series.”

This series saw the return of Endurance Cycle Club out of Port Moore Jamaica back to improve on their previous successes in the Hero’s Day Ten Sails Cycle Challenge. The team which included former participants Mavin Anderson (President/Team Manager), Tyrone Edwards and Shacquille Sinclair had two new participants in Kevin Lyons and Karl Douglas.

Like the first event in the series the Brac leg also saw the return of the heavy wind blowing out of the east which meant that the out leg on each of the three laps was a challenge even before the ascent of the Bluff. Riders also had to contend with the well document boiling heat on the Brac. None the less the racing was top class.

With the help of Barry Jones 53//11 Crankers Team put in some big early attacks the first of which came after the five mile rolling start miles on the ascent of the bluff. With his attack he succeeded in shedding a lot of the field which also included the two new members of the
Endurance team. With huge gaps in thefield he quickly went back to work in softening up the leading group which included the other three members of the Endurance. This however was no easy task and he had to be very watchful of a counter attack.

“I wanted to test the caliber of the field as well as the new participants from Endurance. With the lack of team mates I decided that the best form of defense was to go on the offense as Endurance would be lining up to attack me to claim the team honors,” Jones said.
On the second lap of three times 20 mile course, Sinclair of Endurance went off the front to open a huge gap on the pack and it was up to the other riders to bring him back to the field. Sensing the reluctance of the rest of the group, and with the Endurance team not having to contribute to the chase with a team member out front, Jones took it on his shoulders to carry the burden of closing the gap and not allowing young Sinclair to run away with the victory.

However Jones got caught in two minds as he wanted to conserve some energy before the next climb but also stay away from the chasing riders which included Lyons form Endurance which would swing the balance even more in their favor. Jones was now the preverbal meat in an Endurance sandwich.

Up the fourth ascent of the Bluff, Mavin Anderson of Endurance leapt out of the pack and Jones, with Edwards (Endurance) in tow, responded instinctively to try and close the gap but could only come within ten meters of the catch before he had to surrender his effort. Edwards sensing a weakening Jones also used the opportunity to put in an attack of his own and being Endurance best climber quickly ate up the gap to his team mates while Jones could only watch as the three riders steadily pulled away.

With three members in the brake and no one in the trailing group up to the task of chasing Endurance was on course for a podium sweep across the finish line. With the overall weekend being decided on time difference they set about opening as much time between them and the field knowing that Jones was a much better time trialist while also trying to wrest the team competition from Crankers grasp.

Jones for his part went about the task of limiting his loses in hopes that fortune would favor the chasers and that somehow the gap to the leaders would close. “With the Cayman Classic only a week away I also wanted to fine tune my form so I did the lion share of the work,” he added.

Reaching the finish line with a healthy lead, the three Endurance members then shifted focus on who would take top honors for the day. This fell to Anderson, who is the established sprinter of the club, with Edwards and Sinclair finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. Finishing almost 8 minutes clear of the chasing pack Endurance also wrested the team title form Crankers for the series even with the next day’s time trial and two more races in the series still to come. Despite extending himself Jones still had enough to take fourth over the line in a bunch sprint.

Road Race Results
Mavin Anderson (Endur) 2:49:33
Tyrone Edwards (Endur) s.t.
Shacquille Sinclair (Endur) s.t.
Barry Jones (53//11) + 0:8:00

The next day at the Estella Scott-Roberts Bluff Time Trial facing the same winds and heat the cyclist set out in reverse order of the previous days standings at two minute intervals to try and conquer this challenging 13.6 mile course.

The lead changed several times between the early starters but settled when Kevin Lyons (Endurance) finished hi run in a time of 00:37:00. With the marker set, Jones who set out fourth from last knowing that the day would be won by gains made in the first five miles into the headwind and wanting to show that the previous days result did not reflect his abilities, had the quickest time at the first check point with Sinclair, who trailed him on the course, coming through in second place +0:01:25 slower. Lyon who was now leading the race had posted the third best time with Edwards fourth and Anderson fifth well off the pace.

The second check point which included the ascent a descent of the bluff saw Sinclair post the fastest time for the sector and reduce a bit of Jones’s lead but once on the flat Jones quickly put his more muscular frame into the task and with the headwind now switched to a strong tail wind, summoned a monster gear which he cranked up to in excess of 30 mph over certain section of the leg.

At the finish Jones posted the fastest time of the day 0:33:18 and waited anxiously to see if the three Endurance riders, still out on course, would challenge his time. One by one they crossed the line unable to match Jones’stimes with Sinclair who not only retained his healthy lead over his team mates but also ran out the top junior for the second day running and the whole series to date with absolutely no chance of him losing his grip in this competition. Lyons who entered the first checkpoint in third place also finished the day in third place by a mere12 seconds over Edwards who had closed most of the gap on the return section of the course.

Karl Douglas of Endurance took the top honors in the Masters.

Time Trial Results
Barry Jones (53//11) 0:32:10
Shacquille Sinclair (Endur) 0:35:46
Kevin Lyons (Endur) 0:37:00
Tyrone Edwards (Endur) 0:37:12

Weekend Standings
Shacquille Sinclair (End) 3:25:19
Tyrone Edwards (End) + 0:01:26
Mavin Anderson (End) + 0:02:22
Barry Jones (53//11) + 0:04:24
Overall Series Standings
Shacquille Sinclair (End) 13:16:41
Tyrone Edwards (End) 13:25:37
Mavin Anderson (End) 13:26:58
Barry Jones (53//11) 13:28:01
Team Standings
Endurance Cycling Club
53//11 Crankers Cycling Club

“The turnout wasn’t what we expected but under the circumstances we had to perform well and ensure that we achieved our target in taking over the top spots in all the categories and the individual standings,” said Mavin Anderson president of Endurance Cycling Club after the race.

“Due to the fact that it was a completely new terrain for the team, we had to make do with the little information gathered upon reaching the Brac. That said we have to say a huge thank you to the 53//11 Crankers Cycling Club and their sponsors for making all this possible. Special thanks also goes to Barry Jones and his family this has been a huge under taking and a well put together series so far. Keep up the good work, looking forward to see you all in June.”

Jones organiser of the event reflected on the series which thus far has been a resounding success and was grateful to the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation for accepting his offer to host a race in honour of Estella who hails from the Brac.

He was also gracious to Beacon Furniture, Guavaberry Marketing, Cayman Airways, Cayman Physiotherapy, Pappagallo Restaurant, A.L. Thompson’s, Orchid Development Ltd, Anchor Construction, Fluff‘n’Fold, The Alexander Hotel and many others for their support of the series.

He was also quick to note that the Cayman Islands consists of three islands and “we will be looking to host event on all three…yes that means Little Cayman as well which will force us to be a bit more creative,” Jones added.

The next race in the series will be held on the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend June 12 -13 with more details to follow shortly.


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