Marshall 'Major' Taylor Honor Day Race By Reggie Douglas
Well it turned out to be a blessed weekend at the Third annual ‘Marshall Major Taylor’ youth cycling event, I should say thanks to all the people, the sponsors and the athletes who made the event what it was. Also big thanks to the parents of the youths who were taking part in the event from Anguilla, and from here in Nevis, thanks to my friends from St.Maarten for coming over as well.
Day One - the Race kicked off with the 9 to 13yr olds, it was wonderful to watch it just gave me joy to see the young ones do their thing and being competitive, the course consisted of laps from Rumours Bar in Newcastle, up to the bus stop and then down to Cattle Long Path and back, 5 kms in total, the youngest riders did only one lap.
The next age group was the 14 – 16 yrs which featured one of Nevis up and coming youth riders Akeem Nisbet, this was a tough race for Akeem as he was in a breakaway group of 4 riders, and the others were from Anguilla! It was a pleasure to watch this young man go to work, very aggressive when needed then clever and controlled when required over the 3 laps they had to ride, taking second overall in the final outcome, great job.
Even though i was up early getting things together and tired, i just had to race, the senior race was 6 laps or 30k of pure pain for me, being in front all the time controlling the race a member of the Stingers Club (Anguilla) got away with 3 laps to go, by then i was cooked, nothing left in the tank i dropped of the pace and watch the cyclist ride away from me. I was going to stop but i say “no” i will keep going and it does not matter where i come in, i am just here to have fun and its all about the youths and i will cheer on Assim as he passes me....
The rider from the Links Cycling Club (SXM) got a flat and I know he wanted to get back in so we rode together, the gap between us and the group was big...
but he put in some big turns on the front, then on the last lap i see something in the group, they were watching each other and James was slowing them down, so on the final turn to go back for the win we were close, my spirits lifted i started to ride hard was not looking for any help from the Link rider who was with me...the pace picked up from Sunshine Shoppers where i hooked up at the back, by the time we reach at the fire hall at the air port i was almost at the front.
I hit with 50m to go past James, Tim and Francis, Tim and James over took me on the line so i held on for third...
Day Two - The Sunday race i felt a little better but still i did not know how would i go in the hills, it was 65kms, one controlled lap to start and then the course went out towards and up Zion Hill (Nicknamed ‘Killer Bee’ by Monica) around through Cox Village coming out on the main island road by Hermitage, then back up and over pond Hill to Newcastle, finishing off with 6 laps of the previous days course.
....the action was all in the hills, 14 yr old Alreco Conner (Anguilla) won the hill prime, James dropped off the pace and Assim as well, going up ‘Killer Bee’ it was 5 against one.. ”dem guys were all over me like ants on bread attack! after attack!” i had to answer, i mean they were not leaving me in my hills, i hit some of my own attacks but could not shake them. Coming back home on the flats they try again, and again i answer one of the Stingers attacked again so i let him go he was not in my category. My category was right there from Links, we finished off with a sprint but it was not meant to be for me, i came in second.
James meanwhile was soldiering on, he had a grip on the 3rd spot but was being chased hard by two riders, the previous day’s winner Timothy and Keith Carty (Sxm) he was able to hold them off until the final 50 mtrs when Timothy once again showed his experience to out sprint James and take the remaining podium spot, pushing James into 4th.
It was an amazing weekend of racing and a great celebration of the life and accomplishments of Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor, to this end we recognise the standout performances of not only the winners, but athletes who really put everything on the line.
Special mentions to Matt Lloyd, Gordon ‘Doc’ Avery, Stalone Baker and Laura Talaga(SK) all of whom exemplify the human spirit, congratulations to you all.
Thanks also go out to all of the event sponsors, especially Nagico, all the volunteers and assistants who made the event possible, and the Nevis Police who did a fabulous job with traffic control.