Thunder from Down Under - By James Weekes
It was a very long journey down under to compete in yet another world championship road cycling event .After been airborne for some 30 hours we finally touched down in Australia, then it hit me, I was not upside down after all. We arrived three days before the event to acclimatize, but our biggest struggle was switching from 94 degrees to 40 degrees. We rode around a couple of times absorbing the surroundings keeping an eye out for kangaroos while getting in some last minute rides in final preparation for the race. It still amazes me that we actually did a time travel into the future, I was able to call back home and say what the next day felt like, so I was calling from the future back in time.
Race day came with a rush of excitement that was overwhelming. The anticipation of being lined up with the most famous and best guys in the sport was enough to make my knees weak. As I did my final preparation in my little area called a box, this was selected space under a huge tent divided into sections so each team could have their own semi-private spot. This was used for warming up and any fine tuning we had to do before heading out on the worlds stage to compete in the worlds championship ITT cycle race with a distance of 45km where your preparation was put to the ultimate test.
My name was first on the list which meant I got the liberty of going first and taking all the media and with me. St. Kitts/Nevis was the first to greet the thousands of spectators as they all cheered and took pictures as I entered the starting ramp. The crowd was shouting out “let’s go Weekes or let’s go James” as I mounted my bike. I soon phase out all back ground noises as I focus on the timer and the final beep of the clock in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, with heart body mind and soul St. Kitts/Nevis was leading the world championship ITT race in Melbourne Australia with the world’s TV stations and reporters capturing every second of this historical moment. As my heart beat the inside of my chest as if there was not enough room to contain it, one thing was on my mind, the pain is temporary. In about six kilometers I faced the hills and they came quick and lingered long, but with the deafening cheers from the fans kept me going like the little train over the hill. “Lets go Weekesey, come on James, don’t let him catch you,” was all I could hear while my heart was about to blow up and my lungs were hanging out my mouth. By the time I was done with the hills it was a rolling course back to the start finish with a two hundred meter steady climb to the finish line. But we had to double the recipe because this was a two lap course so I added more ingredients and charged the second half with everything I had, no guts no glory. The cheers got louder and I got faster. By the time I was done I had nothing left but a voice to greet the many fans and sign autographs which made me feel like a star.
This went on for the rest of the days, even walking through town I would hear shouts of my name or St. Kitts/Nevis and that would mean someone wanted a picture with us and or autograph. We flew our national flag as high as we could, now not only the Aussies know we exist but the larger part of the world now know of a twin island federation called St. Kitts/Nevis.