OECS Cycling Championships 2010 Grenada By Reggie Douglas
The OECS Cycling Championship was upon us once again, this time hosted by the spice Island Grenada, team SKN was small this year just myself and James with Greg who was there as director sportif for the first time. Myself and James had to battle the other teams over a ferocious 71 mile course, which had to be cut short due to the dangerous nature of the descent from a 1910 feet climb which we had to go down to the finish.
Upon leaving Nevis i was feeling good, feeling strong, but in a sport like this anything can happen, i was drinking a lot, eating well, i was doing everything right as i am now training under the Chris Carmichael Trainright program our coach Jay out of Tuscan Arizona. As we fly to Grenada James and I review our race plan we arrived in Grenada around 8.35, the guest house was close so it was not a long drive. We booked in went to look for some water, came back set our bikes up because we planned to go out early before breakfast, Jay gave us some race simulation intervals to do just open up the valves.
At 4.00oclock we were schedule to drive the race course, now a championship course is supposed to be a circuit but lo and behold this course was not, as we drive it was clear this is a climbers course 5 vicious climbs before you meet the grand mother of the 5 vicious children De Gran Ni Tan, 1910 feet 15 to 20 percent gradient may be steepest .After driving for 4 hr on this course all the cyclist and the directors of there federations were like “hell no” going down the climb was to dangerous so we protested ,and the race finish was changed to be on top of the Gran Ni Tan.
Race day, still feeling good and we were sticking to the plan be at the front for when the attacks started going off the front, on the first climb so said so done we were representing in the front group, going up the hill i start drifting back out of the group, something was wrong!! we were almost to the top there was a slight gap but i ignore the pain and grit my teeth, wow! i was over, James was up front ok, on the down hill now I was hoping to recover i was taking risks
James was off the back going down the hill the group was in my sight but I just couldn’t close, i was between to groups, i decided to sit up and wait, my lower was not helping me at all, James along with two other riders caught up and we were working well together. The lead group was just there before the next climb, my legs wanted to go but my back was saying no robbing me of my power i was vex, my plan to better my 3rd place last year was in shambles....
Going up this long climb, the second climb of the day trying to stay with the two riders with us going up the climb James was off the back again but not far behind, i just could not take the pain anymore so i backed off and rode my pace. Then i got a flat, James passed me, Greg did a great wheel change and as he was pushed me along to get me going again, i was saying to myself i wonder if he cant push me all the way to Gran Ne Tan hahaha! , not knowing what had happened to the back of me before James passed me when i got the flat, i pushed on.
When I got back to James going up the second to last climb i ask him if he is alright he told me no, i ask “wa happen” that’s when he say he got hit by a jeep, i try talking to him telling him to get it out of his head and lets go even though i was feeling bad, a rider was coming up hard, so James told me to go with him, the pain was so bad but i still wanted to do good, i try going i hold on then i drop off to a pace so i can reduce the pain.
I start seeing riders ahead that lifted my spirits, but there it was, the Gran Ni Tan, 8 miles of pain i passed two riders on the way up saw a next one ahead, by the time i catch him he was hanging over his bike I ask him if he ok he say he hungry!! i throw him a fig newton and continue on my way to battle this terrible climb and the pain. I suffer in many races but this suffering was different. I finished the race and came in 13th, i am not pleased with that position but i live to fight for the next OECS its a race i want to win...i ride it 5 times before and i was close on the 5 time that mean there is a chance.