Photo: Derrick Chavarria crossing the finish line
Kaya Cattouse wins unchallenged in the Female category; Tyler Tejeda Junior champ
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 4, 2023
On a beautiful, bright and sunny Sunday morning, January 1, 2023, some 71 riders took off from just outside the Santa Elena border in Corozal for the big Elite cycling race on New Year’s morning, being the 32nd running of the Annual Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic, a spectacular cycling tradition that has become unquestionably the second biggest event on the annual cycling calendar, surpassed in glamor and prestige only by the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic.
The day’s cycling competition centered around three main race events, the biggest, longest running and most prestigious being the Male Elite & Under 23 & Masters race, a 96-mile journey “from the border to the boulevard”, ending at the Finish Line on Central American Boulevard in Belize City just over a hundred meters after crossing the Belcan Bridge. The Juniors & Youths race travelled the 52 miles from Orange Walk Town to the Finish Line; and the Women Elite also made the 52-mile journey from Orange Walk to the Finish Line.
In the feature Elite race, where the big prize money included some 8 station prizes of a thousand dollars each, it took a while for any successful move to break away from the main peloton; but eventually it did happen, with a group of eleven riders separating themselves from the main group coming out of Orange Walk Town on that long stretch towards Sandhill Village in the Belize District. Those eleven were eventually whittled down to nine, which included former Krem Classic champions Giovanni Lovell, Oscar Quiroz and John Delong, as well as two-time Cross Country champion Justin Williams. But then a surprising two-man break-away saw U-23 rider Derrick Chavarria, who was Krem Classic sub-champ last year, and another U-23 cyclist Eric Trapp opening a 40-second gap between themselves and the chasing group of seven as they passed through Sandhill Village, with Trapp taking the station prize at Los Lagos. But with the chase group hot on their heels, Trapp could not hold the pace with Chavarria, who stepped out alone in the vicinity of the Boom cut-off and rode solo the remaining 13 miles of the race, taking all station prizes up to the Finish in a heroic one-man effort to finish some 26 seconds ahead of second place Jyven Gonzalez.
In the gruelling 96-mile ride that averaged 24.53 miles per hour, 32 cyclists completed the journey, 27 of them within the 30-minute limit, while some 39 riders abandoned the race somewhere along the way.
Elite finishing order was: Champion 1st Place – Derrick Chavarria (PAL Cycling, 3:54:48); 2nd Jyven Gonzalez (G-Flow, 3:55:14); 3rd Giovanni Lovell (Lovell Cycling, 3:55:16); 4th Joshua Fuller (501 Valvoline, 3:55:40); 5th Joslyn Chavarria, Jr. (FAL Cycling, 3:55:40); 6th John Delong (USA, 3:55:40); 7th Eric Trapp (Westrac Alliance, 3:55:40); 8th Dejuan Hyde (Rolling Shattazp-BZ Boyz, 4:01:38); 9th Justin Williams (L39gons of LA, 4:01:41); 10th Oscar Quiroz, Jr. (501 Valvoline, 4:02:50); 11th Carroll Devin Azueta (M&M Engineering, 4:05:23); 12th Goran Gabourel (Unattached, 4:05:27); 13th Wasani Castro (Westrac Alliance, 4:06:08); 14th Renan Matus (M&M Engineering, 4:08:40); 15th Dwight Lopez (Rolling Shattaz-BZ Boyz, 4:08:50); 16th Kent Gabourel (Kulture/SDP, 4:09:10); 17th Robert Liam Stewart (Unattached, 4:09:10); 18th Kevin Gentle (G-Flow, 4:10:11); 19th Sherwin Roca (FAL Cycling, 4:13:28); 20th Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden (Kulture/SDP, 4:14:20); 21st Pedro (Peter) Choto (Team Imani’s, 4:15:02); 22nd Keiron Ysaguirre (Team Gonz, 4:16:21); 23rd Fernando Rosado (Westrac Alliance, 4:17:12); 24th Nashen Ysaguirre (Unattached, 4:19:15); 25th Carlton Robinson (Westrac Alliance, 4:20:17); 26th Vallan Symns (Kulture/SDP, 4:20:17); and 27th Henry Li (G-Flow, 4:24:25).
Masters top finishers: 1st Dwight Lopez (Masters 50+); 2nd Kent Gabourel (Masters 35+); 3rd Robert Liam Stewart (Masters 50+).
Masters 4/5 top finishers: 1st Keiron Ysaguirre (Masters 35+); 2nd Vallan Symns (Masters 35+).
The Elite Women race had only 4 competitors, and it was all Kaya Cattouse from start to finish. Despite an impressive effort, the lack of stiff competition prevented Kaya from threatening the record still held by now Cycling Federation president and Kaya’s main competitor for a number of years, Alicia Thompson, who has apparently retired. Kaya’s finishing time was approximately twelve minutes off the record of 2:43:30 set by Alicia when she clipped Kaya in the finishing sprint in 2018.
Elite Female finishing order: Champion 1st Place – Kaya Cattouse (LA Sweat, 2:55:26); 2nd MEX Mariana Valdez (LA Sweat, 3:01:07); 3rd Kedisha Francis (Unattached, 3:04:47); and 4th Paulita Chavarria (Team Gonz, 3:14:33).
Juniors & Youths
Sixteen cyclists began the Juniors & Youths race, with 11 completing the journey within the 30-minute limit after the winner, 2 others finishing outside the time limit, and 3 riders dropping out of the race.
From a group of 8 that entered Belize City proper, Tyler Tejeda prevailed to take the Junior championship.
Juniors & Youths finishing order: Champion 1st Place – Tyler Tejeda (Rolling Shattaz-BZ Boyz, 3:02:10); 2nd Jamar Murry (G-Flow, same time [s.t.] 3:02:10); 3rd Delton Rojas (Unattached, s.t.); 4th Stephen Sylvester (Team Gonz, s.t.); 5th Evrit Matute, Jr. (G-Flow, s.t.); 6th Benito Gutierrez (G-Flow, s.t.); 7th Richard Rosado (Team Cayo, s.t.); 8th Ivan Usher (Unattached, s.t.); 9th Devyn Major (G-Flow, 3:02:27); 10th Jaylen Briceño (G-Flow, 3:02:27); 11th Khyron Staine (G-Flow, 3:02:56); 12th Jaheem Lewis (Top Flight, 3:50:12); and 13th Joseph Lamb (Top Flight, 3:50:12).
Juniors top finishers: 1st Tyler Tejeda; 2nd Jamar Murry; 3rd Delton Rojas.
Youths top finishers: 1st Devyn Major; 2nd Khyron Staine.
(See the list of finishing prizes and station prizes elsewhere in this issue.)