BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 28, 2021– Pedal by Pedal by Santino the Chief is back after almost a year to report on the race in which 4 Belizeans participated in Felipe Carillo Puerto, Quintana Roo this past Sunday, April 25. Belizean cyclists have not raced for almost a year or more and are itching to do so; so, when permission was granted this past weekend to Santino the Chief, Palas and Byron Pope, they jumped at the opportunity.
However, there is a big difference with just training and being race-ready. To be race-ready one has to be racing weekly, and in that regard, the Mexicans have a great advantage over us as they have never really stopped racing. Consequently, a barrage of Mexicans converged on the sleepy town of Carillo Puerto, which lies some 95 miles from Chetumal.
In the Elite Category, 5 riders made good their escape from the big peloton in this 90 kilometer race, and at the line clocking in at 2 hours 18 minutes, it was Belizean Nissan Arana, now living in Merida, clipping Byron Pope for 1st Place, while Popie, riding for Westrac, got 2nd.
I could have ridden the 60+ Category, which was only 20 miles, but chose to ride the much harder and longer 50-59 Category with my teammates Palas and Mexican Beto Loco, who worked his ass off to chase all the early attacks until he ran out of gas. This race was also 90 kilometers or a little over 56 miles. By the midway point and after a multitude of attacks we had a much reduced peloton. That is when Chak Medina, one of the strongest Mexicans in this region, laced his final torpedo and only Palas was able to match him. Those 2 ran to the finish line and Palas easily took the victory, with Chak settling for 2nd in a time of 2 hours and 28 minutes. The attacks then continued with the chase group of 9 riders, as everyone was trying to break away for the remaining 3 positions. With 500 meters to the finish line, all hell broke loose as the Mexicans attacked from left, right and center; but the Chief was still able to secure the 5th and final position, giving Team Santino’s/Belize the 1st and 5th positions.
And so ended a glorious day of racing, something we had not tasted in a very long time. And to make things even sweeter, the Minister of Sports announced this past Monday that Cycling will be able to resume racing as of May 1st. All I can say is, Alleluia!! Stay safe, Belize…