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Apr 4, 2012

Pedal with the Cross Country Cycling Classic

The most anticipated cycling event takes place this Saturday. The Cross Country Classic is attracting over a hundred riders, local and foreign, who will ride to the west and return to the City, hopefully in time for lunch. It has been six years since the garland has been won by a Belizean so the pressure is building on local riders to restore the glory to the race. This station will be following the race at strategic points from start to finish, complemented by aerial coverage. In the following report Delahnie Bain has a preview of what to expect.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

A tradition started in 1928 it has blossomed into the largest and most highly anticipated cycling event in Belize. It’s the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic and the eighty-fourth running is just days away. Over a hundred riders will attempt the one hundred and forty mile ride.

 

John Swift, Vice President, Belize Cycling Association

John Swift

“The race will be starting at six o’clock from the old George August Meat Shop on the Western Highway, going all the way to San Ignacio, turning over the park in San Ignacio and finishing at the Memorial Park.”

 

At the end of that grueling ride are attractive cash prizes and the coveted garland. And this year, Vice President of the Belize Cycling Association, John Swift, says there are added incentives for local riders.

 

John Swift

“The first prize is being donated by belikin, which is five thousand dollars. The government of Belize and the Honorable Herman Longsworth and the Honorable Patrick Faber have pledged an additional five thousand dollars should a Belizean win and United Insurance also pledged an additional five thousand dollars should a Belizean win. So in all added up it’s a total prize of fifteen thousand dollars should a Belizean win the eighty-fourth running of the Cross Country.”

 

The garland has been taken by foreigners in the past five Cross Country races, but Swift has hope that this year it’s coming back home.

 

John Swift

“The last time a Belizean won the race was in 2006 in the name of Shane Vasquez who will be taking part this year’s running of the roses as one would call it.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And what do you think this year’s incentives will do to influence that?”

 

John Swift

“It should help tremendously. I think with such a large prize, I think a Belizean should be able to pull it off this year. The incentive is there so we’ll wait and see.”

 

In order to win, the cyclists need their bikes in tip top shape for the road and the majority turns to Ordonez Bike Repair and Sales for a proper tune- up before the race.

 

Andrew Ordonez, Owner, Ordonez Bike Repair and Sales

“The shop is normally hectic. As you know, this is the week before the big Cross Country and most of the guys would want to tune up their bicycle and make sure everything is working perfectly.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“What goes into tuning up a bike and getting it ready for the road?”

 

Andrew Ordonez

Andrew Ordonez

“Okay, just like if you take in a car you want to make sure the engine oil is good, the radiator—well with bicycles you want to make sure your drive system is working perfect. The drive system is the chain, the sprocket, the ratchet. You want to make sure that your cables are good, your brake pads are good, your tires, your rims are perfectly straight.”

 

But after horrific traffic accident in February, the owner Andrew Ordonez is in no shape to do the servicing. And while the shop is in the capable hands of his son, Ordonez says it has not been easy staying on the sidelines.

 

Andrew Ordonez

“Right now my son is holding the fort for me because since I’ve been in this accident I’ve been totally out of it.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“And how have they been handling the rush?”

 

Andrew Ordonez

“Well, the rush hasn’t reached as yet, surprisingly. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m down but the rush would be like maybe tomorrow and Friday.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“I know that this is one of the events that is I guess the most busy time of the year for you. What has it been like to kind of have to sit it out this year?”

 

Andrew Ordonez

“As I said, it’s rough. I always when I go to sleep I say oh this is just a dream, I’m not injured indeed. But the reality is that I won’t be out there for the race, I’m going to probably watch it on the television.”

 

Ordonez is also confident that a Belizean will take first place in the race which Swift says will have around seventeen foreigners on the road.

 

John Swift

“There will be foreign participation. Two teams from Belize, locally based, are eligible for foreign riders which are Benny’s Megabytes and Santino’s Belize. Those two teams are eligible for foreigners on their roster for this year’s eighty-fourth running of the cross country. Also we have extended an invitation to a team from North Carolina and also the Guatemalan National Team and also from a border town [Chetumal] Depordadores will be fielding four riders and we also have Anthony Taylor out of New York who will be taking part.”

 

The cycling association received overwhelming support this year; Cash prizes and trophies for the top twenty finishers have been secured while additional station prizes are still coming in. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

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1 Response for “Pedal with the Cross Country Cycling Classic”

  1. xaan says:

    I hope shane vasquez wins this year.. or any other belizeans.. come on guys! make Belize proud! tayad ah foreigners win…

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