BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 11, 2019– Cross Country fever is in the air as Easter approaches, and the first leg of the Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) three-race package, the 20th Annual Junior Cross Country Race took off on Sunday morning, April 7, from the Succotz Ferry and travelled through San Ignacio on the George Price (Western) Highway to Belize City, crossing the Belcan Bridge and travelling up the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway to the BEL corporate headquarters around Mile 2, making one lap around the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard and NAPA roundabouts, and then finishing in front of BEL, the chief race sponsors. It was a solo finish for 17-year-old Eric Trapp, who overcame machine problems along the way, where he had to change bicycles before catching up to the lead group, and took the opportunity to celebrate his perseverance over adversity, as he cruised to a stop just before the finish line, dismounted and raised his bike briefly above his head, and then walked the few steps carrying his bike across the finish line, to the cheers of his fans and teammates of the Surge Cycling Team.
With a blistering southeaster blowing in their faces all the way, especially nearing Belize City, only 11 gallant young men of the 31 (all Belizeans) that started the 74-mile race were able to finish the journey within the 45-minute official time limit after the winner. (The record by Kaydine Pinelo of 3:12:10 in 2016 was for 70 miles from Succotz to Leslie’s Imports.)
Fifteen-year-olds Dillin Chan and Akeem Mangar, both of Chavarria Cycling, along with 17-year-old Christian Avila of Jason’s Cycling, shared the first 8 station prizes up to St. Matthews Village around Mile 40, after which Eric Trapp of Surge Cycling broke away and never looked back, sweeping the remaining 6 station prizes on his way to a solo finish in front of BEL headquarters.
Both Juniors (under 18 years) and Youths (under 16 years) participated in the Junior Cross Country, and separate prizes were issued for the Youth category top finishers, as well as for the youngest rider to finish in the official list.
The 11 official finishers included: Champion – Eric Trapp (Surge Cycling, 4:05:49); 2nd Derrick Chavarria (Chavarria Cycling, 1st Youth, 4:11:39); 3rd Mairon Muñoz (Jason’s Cycling, 4:11:39); 4th Akeem Mangar (Chavarria Cycling, 2nd Youth, 4:14:12); 5th Henry Li (Jason’s Cycling, 4:18:17); 6th Shayle Parades (Chavarria Cycling, 4:18:18); 7th Renan Codd (Cayo Jr. Team, 3rd Youth, 4:18:19); 8th Kenne Gongora (unattached, 4th Youth, Youngest Cyclist, 4:18:20); 9th David Banner (Surge Cycling, 4:18:28); 10th Dillin Chan (Chavarria Cycling, 5th Youth, 4:18:35); and 11th Joseph Tillett (Surge Cycling, 4:24:16).
Special prizes for the Youth category went to: 1st Derrick Chavarria (Chavarria Cycling); 2nd Akeem Mangar (Chavarria Cycling); 3rd Renan Codd (Cayo Jr. Team); 4th Kenne Gongora (unattached); and 5th Dillin Chan (Chavarria Cycling).
In addition, there was a prize called “Prince of the Hills,” which went to Akeem Mangar; and the prize for the Youngest Cyclist went to 14-year-old Kenne Gongora (unattached).
(NOTE: Missing from pictures above is Junior 5th place, Henry Li, who was not at the podium after the race.)