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Apr 21, 2011

Riders prepare for historic Cycling Classic

Just before news time, riders of the eighty-third Cross Country paraded through the City streets. It’s the traditional pre-race that provides fans with the opportunity to get acquainted with the riders. This year, more than one hundred and twenty will race from Belize City to San Ignacio and back covering over a hundred and forty miles of terrain. This morning, Isani Cayetano found riders checking their bikes and gears in anticipation of the Holy Saturday event.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

While the focus of the annual Holy Saturday Cycling Classic has always been on teams and the individual cyclists attached to them much has not been said about the key players in the background who are as instrumental in making the race a success as those participating in it.  Meet Andrew Ordonez, a veteran cyclist for twenty years and an avid sports enthusiast whose role upon retiring from the circuit has been to provide technical support for the many athletes who compete in the big races.  Today he is busy servicing a number of high-end bicycles.

Andrew Ordonez, Mechanic, Ordonez Bike Repair & Sales

“The number one thing is that you have to make sure that everything is working properly, your gears, your rims are straight, your breaks are, you know, grabbing and everything, your tires, your chains.  You see what happened to Froggy Leslie last year he had a broken chain.  Today these bikes are very complex, high-tech but they’re also very delicate so you really have to make sure that everything is in tune before you hit the highway.”

For the hundred and twenty-odd cyclists who will be competing in the grueling race for the garland careful attention must be paid to the mechanics of their bicycle.  That includes proper wheels and tires as well as its fixed transmission settings.

Andrew Ordonez

“You need to have wheels that are compatible with your gears; for instance this bike here has a ten speed shift system on it.  You don’t want to put an eight speed cog here [because] you won’t have a smooth shifting.  It will make noise, it will affect the way the bike rides.”

To ensure smooth sailing on the sweltering asphalt come Saturday morning many cyclists have invested significantly in the upkeep of their bicycles.  I was surprised to find out that the average cost for a professional bike starts at a couple thousand dollars.

Andrew Ordonez

“A decent bike, a decent [bike] like what I would call entry level to ride a race would be somewhere around five thousand dollars but you have a lot of guys that you know go beyond that and get ten thousand dollar bicycles.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you would win a race with a ten thousand dollar bicycle but you need your equipment to function properly.  That’s the main thing, [having it] function properly.  So you need to make sure as I said the tires are important, the chain, your wheels, even your seat, your handlebar that is not broken or anything because, you know, although I have on this tape, underneath this tape you probably had fallen a month ago but you didn’t check and you might have a fracture and then the race day because it’s so long and the road is bad you can break your handlebar.  You can break your frame so you need to check every single detail of your bike.”

The key to servicing one’s bike in a timely manner, says Ordonez, is avoiding procrastination.

Andrew Ordonez

“Most of the teams have already taken care of their bikes but you will have like the last minute foreigners who would come in and have maybe a bike being damaged while in transportation, you know, or some final little details that need to be done but I’m here until Friday night, you know.  I remember one year Jawmain came to me the morning of the race because his wheel was giving problem and I think Bunas he had a derailleur problem and he came about two o’clock in the morning.  That’s like early, it was raining and he also had a derailleur problem but I’m here until the very last.”

The eighty-third running of the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic commences at six o’clock in front of Leslie’s Imports on the Western Highway.  The race will be carried live on Channel Five from start to finish. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

If all goes according to plan, the top riders should cross the finishing line at the Memorial Park before lunch on Holy Saturday. And remember; keep tuned to this station for extensive live coverage of the event with a host of expert commentators.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Riders prepare for historic Cycling Classic”

  1. belizeanpride says:

    disappointing race after all. i wanted a belizean to win but we never got it. so what can we say, what is keeping back our riders to win?

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