ST. GEORGE’S, November 11, 2016 – It was a tough challenge for Christopher Alexis as he competed in back-to-back cycling events in Guyana over the span of two weeks.
Alexis first competed in the 5th Digicel Breast Cancer Awareness Cycle Race on October 30 where he was unable to finish the course, completing 10 of the 30 laps on the course due to fatigue.
The Breast Cancer Awareness event was a 70 miles circuit race of 30 laps around the National Park, from Irving Street, proceeding to JB Singh Highway then to Carifesta Ave, Camp streets, Thomaslands.
Commenting on the event, Alexis said lack of fluids along the route and the journey to Guyana were the main contributors to his fatigue which resulted in him not completing the race.
Despite the disappointment, the young rider was back on the trail November 5-6 for the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) 3 Stage Road Race.
The first stage which began at 7:00 am on November 5 which took riders from Georgetown to Mahicony and back had over 50 cyclists.
Heavy winds and intense speeds along with attacks from cyclists made the stage very tough causing some of the riders to abandon the course.
“I found myself in the third group on the road, among some of the top cyclists in Guyana which included 1st, 2nd & 3rd place riders of the Digicel Breast Cancer Race the previous weekend. Those riders later abandoned the race leaving myself and my training partner (Racquel Seecherran) along with a few other cyclist for the rest of the race. At the half way point, the lead group had approximately 3 minutes on us which increased to 20 minutes by the end of race.”
He had to settle for 27th position in a time of 2:59:09.
Alexis was back out on the road for Stage 2 which was a 3.5 mile Individual Time Trial from Georgetown to Plaisance which peddled off 3:00 pm the same day.
“I suffered mechanical issues which my rear wheel at the start of the ITT causing me to lose 5 minutes. Officials of the race informed me that there isn’t any provisions for mechanical issues or mishaps in the time trial and my time would continue rolling which I remedy the issue, which was understandable. At the end of the second stage, I had a deficit of 27:06 from the leader” Alexis told SISR.
Following the completion of Stage 2 the young rider managed to move up two spots to 25th on the board.
Despite the challenges and set-backs, the rider was out the following day for the third and final stage stage which was initially set to 70 miles (30 laps) but due to the large number of cyclists abandoning the race, officials decided to reduce 46 miles (20 laps) around the National Park outer circuit.
The race started started with a series of strong attacks which by the 4th lap developed a breakaway of a very select group of 6 cyclists.
“By the 16th lap, a chase group of 6 riders formed which I was apart of. We furiously organized ourselves and started working together to pull in the lead group, however, with only 4 more laps to go, it was a big ask. At the end of the stage, I finished in 12th place 43 seconds behind the stage winner.”
At the completion of the event, Christopher Alexis finished 23rd overall.
Speaking to SISR on arrival back to Grenada Alexis says the experience was a good one despite the many challenges.
“I’m very satisfied with my performance and way I improved through the week of training in Guyana. This is the highest level of competitiveness I’ve ever experienced while racing for the last 2 years. The level of road racing in Guyana is arguably the highest in the English speaking Caribbean.”
He also noted that steps need to be taken to get not only himself but other cyclists avenues to prepare and compete in such events.
“In my opinion, it is very hard for a cyclist that train and race outside of Guyana to win races there. The races are very fast, the teams/clubs are well organized, most of the team members in dominating teams are winners. The top cyclists even train and race in Columbia and North America through the peak of the season.
Although being at a disadvantage coming from Grenada where there isn’t any proper races and not having the ideal terrain to train for these type of races in the Caribbean, I’m quite happy that I was able to finish the Three Stage and to race among such caliber of riders.”