Rainbow Cup Triathlon, Tobago
Team Nevis was on the move again, after competing in Antigua last week, they flew down to Tobago for the Rainbow Cup Olymic/Sprint Triathlon competition there.
Reggie was entered in the elite open division Olympic distance, James the age group Olympic, and Keith and Winston signed up for the age group sprint distance.
It was a great turnout with events for all ages from 7 – 70, it is always a pleasure to watch the kids do their stuff, the crew from Trinidad ably assisted by the Tobago tourism office had put on a great show, with athletes from Canada, USA, Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Puerto Rico, Grenada, England, and of course Nevis in attendance.
The sprint distance event started first putting Keith and Winston immediately in the hotseat, whilst keith put on a great performance coming in ahead of Winston, who had a very nervy swim, keith was still way behind the better swimmers in the group. However once out of transition and onto his bike Keith was literally a blur, passing all but two of the competitors in front of him before changing for the run, where he again showed real pace to catch and pass them and finish three minutes ahead, taking first overall and first age group for the sprint, amazing performance.
Winston’s story was a little different, coming in behind keith gave him a lot of work to do on the bike, and not to be totally outdone, raced well enough to come back in fourth place after the bike, unfortunately that took a toll on his legs and he struggled through the run, just managing to hold on for third place in his age group, and 9th overall.
Next up was the main event, the Elite class and age group Olympic distance, this is where Reggie and James had their chance to shine, after a wonderful introduction of all the visiting athletes by race organizer Jason Gooding, the race was on. Remarkably, Keith was asked to help out a team that had no rider for the Olympic relay, so after his amazing triumph he still had energy to do another 40kms on the bike, he was definately back in shape.
The swim consisted of two laps of the 750 metre course, with the athletes having to exit the water, run round a marker and enter again to complete the final lap, with a very strong lead being set by visiting pro Triathlete Jason Wicke, who competed the 1500 swim in 23 minutes, a good three minutes clear of the next swimmer. With that sort of pace our intrepid duo would need all of their skills to close that wide gap, unfortunately Reggie went off course and had to be rescued from disqualification by teammate james who sent a boat after Reggie to get him back on course, this was not a good start.
Exiting the water to transition both Reggie and James knew they had a lot of ground to make up, so they got down to work with gusto, James set off like a rocket on the bike with Reggie just a minute behind, who realizing he had to make up for his error seemed to find an extra gear on the bike, and despite a tough undulating course put on such a turn of speed that he passed half the field ahead of him on the first lap alone including James who was himself going at quite a pace.
With a male and female pro in the lead setting the pace this was never going to be a slow race, Jason Wicke (Can) and Alicia Kaye (Can) came in for their bike to run transitions with comfortable leads on the closest competitors, with only Anthony Sweetman (Bar) providing any kind of serious challenge. Reggie came into his transition like a semi pro athlete smoothly changing from bike to run and setting off with a speed that belied his efforts on the bike, James, back a couple more minutes had his best transition time to date and was also out of there like he had just started the event. The chase had begun, the athletes that still had a lead on them were starting to drop like flies as the combination of tough course, intense heat and furious competition took its toll, seven athletes succumbed and had to drop out completely whilst the remainder started to wilt. This was our guys chance to really show what they had, and they did not disappoint in any way, maintaining a steady rhythm they caught and passed all but a few of the remaining athletes finishing well, with Reggie taking 5th place in the elite, and James a well deserved 2nd in his age group. Keith was also able to muster enough energy to represent his team well in the Olympic relay, with his team coming in fourth.
It became clear at the awards ceremony how well Nevis had done when they collected their respective trophies, with special congrats to Keith for his outstanding performance, and James for showing such consideration of a team mate in trouble.
Look out for Team Nevis at the forthcoming Netherlands Antilles Triathlon Championships to be held in Sint Maarten on June 12th.