Reporting From Aruba - by Reggie Douglas
Well first off i would like to say thanks to the sponsors who made this trip happen...the Nevis Island Administration, Pam Barry and Golden Rock Hotel, Muffet Hoffman and the Montpelier Hotel Alister Yearwood, Julian Nisbet my good friend at the National bank just to name a few...
It was not easy getting to Aruba after the financial difficulties but it was a must that we get there, 4 athletes were on the original list to be in this event but because of the cash flow only two were able to go.
Next I would like to say congrats to the two athletes who made the journey with me to the Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships, Assim Chapman and Sasha Lloyd they are the two National Junior Cycling Champions.
After booking the flights i call them both to tell them I got the tickets, but we leaving to catch the plane for 8 pm, we had 4hrs to get things done. We arrived in Aruba on Friday 6th August, I got the guys bikes ready for a ride on the ITT course, and luckily it was right next to the hotel. I cooked the guys something to eat then we were out on the road, it was really windy so we did some adjustments on the bikes, checked out the turns etc, the guys were comfortable I was nervous (lol)
We head back to the hotel the guys eat again, have them drinking a lot, I was off to the technical meeting, as i was sitting there i looked around i was the youngest their, it was so cool we had to pick numbers to see who will go first I picked number 1# hmm i wonder how Sash will feel..Assim was 13th off the ramp. I told Sasha she was first she was like WHAT!!!!! Hahaha! I told her it’s a good thing the camera will be on you.
It was time, Saturday was upon us, I get the guys up at 5.30am breakfast at 6.30am to 7.30am, bus departed at 8.00am, rider sign in and gear check at 8.30am, first rider at 9.00am. The guys rode over to the start with a police escort, I was there first and had everything set up and ready to go, Sasha was the first to go as soon as she reach I did her and Assim’s gear check then put Sasha on the trainer, Assim was on the road keeping his legs moving till i was ready for him, Sasha’s name was called to the ramp, this was it, history was about to be made..
She was off, and a good start off the ramp...Assim was 6th to go I went back to get him to take him to the ramp, he was off and a fine start off the ramp, and imagine this was their first time on a ramp. Sasha was moving good determined not to let anyone catch her, after some time and she was still moving good more confidence start to build in me she will get a podium spot. In the meantime Assim was doing his thing, he passed the 5th rider, nice he was flying but not knowing the pedigree of the other juvenile he had to settle for 11th just 37 seconds out of the top 10 spot. ITT time for Assim 28;47;40 for18km Sasha’s time for the ITT 21:03:69 for 12km.. and a silver medal for SKN!!
I was so happy for day 1 of racing, the guys rode back home I got their lunch, I had the chef do some pasta which was not on the menu so special meal for the guys...after they ate they went out for a while then came back to bed for the rest of the afternoon. These guys
were moving like pros they had to do nothing but let me know what they wanted from testing their bikes to making sure they have water food and ice cream after the race.. lets just say from the time we leave Nevis they had the opportunity to push me around..
I was off the next technical meeting for the road race at 4.pm the road race was pretty much straight forward...I got the guys up at 4.30am breakfast at 5 to 6am bus leave at 6.30am. bike check from 7 to 7.45am race start at 8.00am. The juveniles were the first to go that's Assim’s group, the female were at 8.05am but they started a little late, no problem it gave the guys more time to warm up and to let me know if the bikes are ok..
The race was on, the juveniles was off with a bang, Assim was riding good I was at the feed zone so I could not see what was happening out on the road but for every lap he did he was in a good position, but on the return for lap 4 i did not see him I start to worry did he get dropped, what happen...i was wondering when he passed with three others, he was not happy as he pass by the truck pass by show his wheel indicate he got a flat. There was no way he could get back on to the peloton...he manage to finish in the top 20, 19th place, 28 juvenile males participated
As for Sasha her race was more of a mind game nobody wanted to put their nose in the wind, the three strong Lady's watching each other it was like track racing, Nuhely, who was the clear favorite I had a great belief Sasha could have beaten her they had 4 laps on the same 10km course which is flat with a few rolling hill at one end.
Nuhely gave a few attacks in the first two laps no one could have closed the gap but Sasha, on one of the attacks Nuhely open up a gap Sasha had to come from 3rd wheel back and close a gap, Curacao stopped riding on approaching the hill, now there was just 5 as they pass back I shout to sash to ride her race stop riding their race, she start to ride pulling the group over the climb, Bermuda could not hold on to the pace she set, coming up to finish the 4th lap Sasha attacked and had a huge gap i was amazed as I realize she think she was finishing, I try to stop her it was too late, I was calling to the start finish area...she was to get disqualified but they let her finish so she had to settle for 4th.
She was upset I hold her to calm down tell her don't worry it’s just a race, it’s your first time after a while she was calm....this was her first time riding with her peers, here at home she ride with boys itwas a different mindset for her. She got silver in the ITT i was happy with both Assim and Sasha’s performance..
I would like to thank them both for giving me the opportunity to coach them for such event Sasha only started training seriously in January of this year 2010 and already giving great results in triathlon and now road racing. I started working with Assim from he was 13 years and he is showing good performance I wish them all the best in the future and I am looking forward to continuing working with them..