Sports — 26 September 2018 — by Santino “Chief” Castillo
Pedal by Pedal report of Chief & Palas Race on Sunday, September 23, 2018

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 24, 2018– Following is the Pedal by Pedal report of Chief & Palas Race of September 23rd for Weekend Warriors and Invitees:

I will start today’s story by answering the question, “Who are invitees?” Well, there are some riders who, due to their young age, or being ranked as a Category 3 Cyclist by the Cycling Federation of Belize, cannot get into Weekend Warriors, and can’t hold on to the Elites either, so they are left in “no man’s land.” Consequently, when we sponsor races, we invite them. With the exception of Smoke Gladden, no other invitee has ever won any of these races.

That being said, today, under pouring rain, 31 brave men showed up to do battle on their bikes. The race started at 8:30 a.m. from Leslie’s and travelled to the Boom Village Junction and back to Old Belize, exactly 37.5 miles in a time of 1 hour 34 mins and 32 seconds, for an average speed of 23.7 miles an hour. There were 6 station prizes of $20 each at Mile 8, 13, and the Prison, both going and coming, which made the race even more interesting.

After many tried escapes, all the escapees were reeled in; and so the entire peloton awaited the sprint. At Burdon Creek Bridge, which is one mile from the Old Belize finish, the Recinos Imports Team started a very hard lead out, and managed to split the peloton, with just 7 of us making the split. I was the gate keeper and last man of the 7, and knew it was way too far from the finish for this to happen.

With about 700 meters from the finish, the Recinos duo of Steven Robinson and Roger Troyer had burnt themselves out, and only Dwayne Wade, their sprinter, was left holding the baton.  This is when Palas sprung out from the chasing peloton and earned his moniker, “the black rocket,” by catching us at the Puma gas station with 500 meters left to the line.

Upon catching us, I latched onto his wheel, trying to secure a top 5 finish; but 300 meters from the line, Palas jumped and gapped all of us, easily taking the victory.

I believe Palas is riding better now than even in his younger years. He is more disciplined, and trains better, using his accumulated knowledge in the sport of cycling to his advantage. From my personal experience, and studying this sport for 40 years, I also believe that men between the ages of 50 and 57 can achieve great results against much younger riders, once they train correctly, get sufficient rest and nourish themselves properly.

Rounding out the top 5 were Dwayne Wade who got 2nd, Alvin Card who got 3rd, Smoke Gladden who was 4th, and Anthony Tun in 5th.

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