Story courtesy Winston Crooke
(St. Maartin) – Valerie Smithen of the Nevis Cycle Club made her competitive debut at The ‘Mo Trouble’ Cycling Club of St. Martin Women’s Road Race, which was once again the host club for this regional event. It is the only women’s race on the Caribbean calendar.
The riders in attendance were from Nevis, St Martin, and Tortola who arrived looking amazing in their brand new race uniforms. Although the attendance was low this year, the race was still very exciting, especially for Nevis latest cycling recruit.
The course was fixed at six laps around the pondfill, with the seventh and final lap taking the riders up the hill at link one to add a little extra spice and variety to the course, before one last loop around the pond to finish.
From the gun it was the three women of Tortola – Lisa Adamson, Patlian Johnson and Sally Blackmore – were in control, working very well together to test and stretch the legs and abilities of the assembled competition, so much so that the inexperienced Valerie was the first casualty from the steady pace set by team Tortola. She was dropped by the pack on the first lap.
However not to be discouraged Valerie showed her determination to finish despite this early blow, the lead pack of five women gradually whittled down to leave Tortola in complete domination in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places which they held to the finish, with Lisa taking 1st, Patlian 2nd and Sally 3rd.
Also showing some steel in her veins was Susy Piscione of SXM who soldiered on to take the 4th spot, with Valerie Smithen of Nevis finding herself in the money and medals to take the 5th position. Valerie was very excited about completing her first tournament on foreign soil and waxed lyrical about the friendliness of the other female competitors despite the tough race they rode.
“I will definitely be back, stronger and wiser for the next one,” said a tired but very pleased Valerie.