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Apr 5, 2012

The Choto Brothers; all five riding for the garland

The staging of the eighty-fourth Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic is set for Holy Saturday. With big cash prizes, and the country awaiting a Belizean to take the garland this year, it is expected that the Cross Country may very well be one of the most exciting yet. Since Shane Vasquez won the coveted title in 2006, foreign riders have claimed the title every other year. And so it is that the local boys have been training and getting ready for the highly anticipated cycling meet. The Western Spirit out of San Ignacio, Cayo is definitely one of the teams to watch, with a roster of big names like Vasquez, Troyer and Choto. News Five travelled west to meet up with the five Choto Brothers. In previous cross country classics, they have performed exceptionally, ranking fourth and being the first Belizean to cross the finish line. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports on the brothers’ preparation on the road to the garland.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Choto Brothers, the pride of every household in the west, are triathletes and cycling stars. And on Saturday, the staging of the biggest race in Belize, the Cross Country Cycling Classic, you’ll surely hear their names. The grueling one hundred and seventy four mile race is one that requires maximum preparation. Shortly after six this morning we met the Brothers and a teammate of Western Spirit, pedaling along the western highway.  Twenty-three year old Giovanni Choto says, the training was no easy task:

 

Giovanni Choto

Giovanni Choto, Cyclist, Western Spirit

“Well the training mi very hard; we know the training always harder than the race actually because you train by yuhself and yuh deh out deh suh whole day pahn the sun and thing and then the race dah just one day yuh know. Hopefully wi win; anybody from the team; wi wah win bad and hopefully wi win.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“In terms of the training, do you start training months in advance or the whole year round?”

 

Giovanni Choto

“We train whole year round. We guh di train like fi every race and then after the race we back off again and then we pick it up back and dah suh we do. Like all year round through cross-country and through all the races”

 

Twenty-two year old Peter, like his other brothers, has a winning strategy:

 

Peter Choto

Peter Choto, Cyclist, Western Spirit

“The most Cross Country, fi we plans when we go out deh is that I have to most ah the times run fi the prize nuh and that dah mostly it because after that I nuh really finish the race.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So your goal is to pick up the station prizes?”

 

Peter Choto

“Yes. Most ah the Cross Country deh we well prepare fuh deh.”

 

These cyclists believe team work will give them a competitive advantage; but even with their A game ready, they are mindful of the foreigners:

 

Giovanni Choto

“I think the advantage weh we have that we dah five ah we and we train together every day and we put each other under pressure because we nuh guh out deh guh ride easy every day. We ride hard and sometimes some ah we di get it; sometime I get let go and sometime dah the next one and we have to work hard fi get back again.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“When you are out there riding in a competition, is it every man for himself or is that, ‘that’s Peter, my brother or Raphael, my brother?”

 

Giovanni Choto

“We look out fi each other wah lot and inna race day we go with the same mentality because if Peter would ah get let go or punctured I would have to drop back and work together with he so that he nuh burn out ihself fi come back.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you believe that this year you’ll see strong competition from the foreign riders?”

 

Giovanni Choto

“Oh yes, for sure. Lotta the foreigners we done know dem and deh dah lone good foreigners and deh nuh come ya fi nuttn, they come ya fuh mek money.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Okay, do you think it will be harder for a Belizean to win this year?”

 

Giovanni Choto

“Yes, ih wah be really hard. I think ih wah hard fi mek wah Belizean win. I nuh think many Belizeans stand wah chance but all the foreigners come inna dah shape.”

 

Raphael Choto

The country has been thirsty for a win; after all it has been six years since a Belizean cross the finish line.  And with fifteen grand on the line, Raphael, Choto, says it can go either way:

 

Raphael Choto, Cyclist, Western Spirit

“I nuh think ih wah come inna wah sprint but I think ih wah work out inna the race itself. I think this year ih wah different than most years.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Why? Why is that?”

 

Raphael Choto

“Because weh we hear from the foreigners weh di come and suh, I think ih either be like wah easier race than usual or ih wah harder than usual but ih nuh wah be like the normal race weh go through. We are motivated more and I would ah really wah mek one ah the guys from the team get it or even me. And the cash prize really give you ah lotta motivation when you hear bout it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Which one of the brothers you think will cross that finish line first?”

 

Raphael Choto

“I think it depends pahn how the race works out. I think ih have Pete and Giovanni. I think one of the two will cross the line. If Pete nuh guh fi prize then I think he will but I think Giovanni have the better chance.”

 

Daniel Choto

Also riding in the race, is the youngest, nineteen year old Daniel Choto. This will be his second Cross Country:

 

Daniel Choto, Cyclist, Western Spirit

“The Friday before we usually work but then fi we bredda weh dah fi we boss give we the day off. We usually prepare fi we bikes because like fi we service people fix our bikes and suh but we prefer fi service if fi we self to ensure that everything in shape.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So do you go to sleep early?”

 

Daniel Choto

“Definitely, we go sleep early like always before the days ah training and make sure we get enough fluids and thing to eat and suh.”

 

The eldest brother, thirty two year old Jose Choto participated in over nine cross country classics. He hopes that Western Spirit will seal the deal for Belize:

 

Jose Choto

Jose Choto, Cyclist, Western Spirit

“Fi tell yuh the truth, fi win Cross Country ih nuh easy because I try it wah lotta years and I prepare good but dah wah hard race weh you compete with wah lotta countries. I think that this year wah Belizean could win and ih could be from fi we team because we prepare good this year and we deh with wah strong team along with Shane Vasquez, and Roger and Richie Troyer. And I think that this year we prepared very good and I think that if we wah win it we have to ride lee smarter because usually we go out too early and drop short inna the end and sometimes we have to move lee early because they have lotta station prizes and we nuh wah get left out ah it suh. Yes, I encourage the guys deh wah lot and sometimes when we kinda nuh come out because I mean, even if I nuh win I would ah want one ah deh win and if one ah deh nuh win, I woulda want the team win ih self, if Shane nuh win, Roger win, whichever one ah we win, it’s the team win and we happy with that.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

Channel Five will be carrying a live broadcast of the Cross Country Classic along with commentaries from Sportscaster James Adderley and other associates. The race starts promptly at six a.m. near Leslie’s Imports at the Western Highway entrance to Belize City.

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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 “The Choto Brothers; all five riding for the garland”

  1. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    To me a win would have been sweeter if you had Elite International riders. I would think every rider would want to compete with the best in the world.If I was a rider my goal would be to ride against the best in the Tour Of France.

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