November and December promise to be two of the most exciting months ever for cycling in the Cayman Islands. One of the world’s top professional cycling teams, Garmin-Transitions, will be hosting its first training camp of the 2011 season in Grand Cayman. The team announced earlier this year that it will merge with the Cervelo Test Team to create what can only be described as a cycling super team. It will be home to the reigning world champion as well as Commonwealth Games gold medallists, a number of top ten finishers in the Tour de France and other grand tours, as well as a collection of top young talent.
The event, known as the Cayman Pro Cycling Camp, is being organised by Tom McCallum and the Cayman Islands Cycling Association, with support from the Ministry and Department of Tourism, as well as numerous partners within the tourism industry in Cayman.
The training camp will take place from 28 November to 2 December, and although most of the camp will be closed to the public, local cyclists and cycling fans will be given a rare opportunity to interact with the team on 2 December.
In the morning, the team will take part in a ride for which local and visiting cyclists can enter. Imagine being able to say you raced alongside the world champion, and with home turf advantage no less. It will give cyclists a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the top names in world cycling and ride alongside them even if you are not blessed with the kind of legs that will have a race horse go green with envy. The ride will start at 9am from the Reef Resort in East End.
In the evening, the team will host a meet and greet function, along with a charity auction that will benefit the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. The auction will include unique memorabilia donated by the team and will be an opportunity for local cycling fans not only to meet the team members but take a rare memento of the evening home with them.
For more information on the event, visit caymancycling.com.
Prior to the visit of the full Garmin-Transitions team, one of the team’s young guns, Pete Stetina, will return to defend his title in the Reefathlon time trial. Pete has been a regular visitor to Cayman, and last year set a record on the 19-mile Reefathlon circuit that seems impossible to beat. However, with his first full year of professional racing now behind him, Pete might just be able to lift the bar and lower his time once again.
“I’ve had these dates starred on my calendar since last November. The Reef was so hospitable last year and I really enjoyed some fun in the sun coupled with racing the gorgeously beautiful East End loop full gas,” says Pete.
However, he is quick to manage expectations.
“I will have only been on the bike one week after taking my offseason break before the race, and the Cayman peloton are more serious and competitive than ever before. So I’m a little nervous. If the wind plays its part though, a new course record is attainable,” he says.
Of course, local cyclists are not just going to let Pete walk away with the title unchallenged, and the likes of Steve Abbott, Jerome Ameline and Michele Smith are hard at work to tune up for the big challenge on 21 November.
The event takes place the weekend before the Cayman Islands Triathlon, and is an excellent final test equipment test for all those looking to compete in the triathlon the next weekend. It is also a great opportunity for cyclists and their families to take a quick staycation break, as the Reef Resort, which will be hosting the event, will be offering special room rates for the Saturday night before the event.
The race entry fee is $15 for pre entries or $20 for entries on race day, and includes a t-shirt, water bottle and refreshments after the event. WH
For more information and online entries, visit reefathlon.com.