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Apr 2, 2013

Spectacular Highlights from the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic

 

Darnell Barrow

Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.

 

The 85th edition of the Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic will go down as the most excitingly competitive race Belizeans have ever seen on a Holy Saturday. at the start in front of Leslie’s Imports, 87 riders are suited up for blast off including 6 foreign imports, a 4 man Veloshine team from the United States, a 4-man Depredadores Team from Mexico and of course, the Belize team based in California, USA led by Justin Williams. Naturally, defending champion, Giovanni Choto, is the lead off rider in search of the elusive repeat. Today it’s a clean start.

As we trail behind the race at Hattieville, we find Darnell Barrow in last place in the pelathon and then suddenly we see this spill that would take Dwight Lopez of BELCAL out the 2013 ride. Around mile 28, the Veloshine rider, Justin Crawford, is on the pace with Peter and Giovanni Choto of Belize Western Spirit on his back wheel in a compact pelathon. By the time the race reaches mile 37, we have a 4-man unit of Ron Vasquez, Darnell Barrow, Allen Castillo and Big Mike Lewis boasting a 30 second lead. At Belmopan junction, some 50 miles into the event, U-23 rider Dalvin Cowo of Cayo High Road Cycling gambles for the available premies and picks up 3 in a row and the Garbutt Puma Service Station prize. Of course the big guys will not be left out of the booty so Juan Pablo Magallanes of Santino’s and Luis Pullido Naranjo of C-Ray configure a 2 man escape just outside of Roaring Creek. At Mount Hope, we find the lead duo still enjoying total domination as they climb the biggest incline on the road to San Ignacio and its Pullido of C-ray who grabs that premie. Some 50 seconds later, Gregg Lovell of Telemedia and Marlon Castillo of Santino appear to lead the chase. Pullido and Magallanes make this triumphant entry into San Ignacio at the halfway point in this 140 mile ride. But 10 seconds later, the hungry pack gives warning to the lead duo that they’re not going to take it anymore.

At this time, we must give respect to #134 Edward Garcia riding unattached who is hit by a motor scooter at Georgeville; that shouldn’t have been in the race. Garcia is hurt pretty bad and we wish this masters rider a full and speedy recovery. Talk about mishaps, Marlon Castillo looks back at Camalote and makes contact with the back wheel of another bike and this is the result. Santino’s go to guy is out of the race. When we rejoin the action, John Delong along with Peter Choto are working the pace to chase a new lead of three that have a 56 seconds lead. And here is the exact moment that the Delong led charge reel in the lead duo. At Ontario, we now have a 4-man lead that includes John Delong, Carlos Lopez, Luis Pullido and Allen Castillo of Megabytes. Carlos Lopez would grab 7 premies in a row, Delong 6, while Castillo and Pullido would settle for 1 apiece.

At the Belmopan junction, C-Ray’s workhorse, Florencio Ramos took that prize but immediately after that, Peter Choto breaks out of the pack to win all station prizes to mile 46. Still everybody who is anybody is still in the hunt. So this is what the race looks like at St. Matthews Bridge. it’s John Delong, Darnell Barrow, Gregg Lovell, Ron Vasquez and Florencio Ramos heading the surge. At mile 26, it’s still Delong doing major work on the pace. They’re trying to hook up with this trio that now leads the race as they pass mile 18. Carlos Lopez of Megabytes, the C-Ray rider, Luis Pullido and Guatemalan, Alejandro Padilla riding for Santino. The amazing thing is that there was no quit in the local riders today—Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray with help from teammate, Florencio Ramos and Telemedia’s Gregg Lovell were intent in reaching the leaders. That dogged determination paid off. Inside Hattieville, there was a new trio in the lead. Brandon Cattouse and Gregg Lovell had joined Carlos Lopez while Padilla and Pullido had fallen back. behind them, a chase group led by Pullido and including Peter Choto, Darnell Barrow and Justin Williams of Belizean link up we’re gathering for that final push to the front.

Around mile 10, a new wrinkle had developed; Carlos Lopez, the 2009 Champion was working on a solo flight. Brandon Cattouse and Gregg Lovell were intent on staying the course while the main pack lef by Padilla were getting their act together. At mile 8, it was only a matter of time before Lopez was reeled in thanks to a humongous effort from the C-Ray imports who were intent to bring Brandon Cattouse to the tape at all cost. The roundabout at the entrance into Belize City greeted 21 riders heading to the finishing line on Princess Margaret Drive. Around B.T.L. headquarters, the C-Ray rider, Florencio Torres, holds pole position, Magallanes is next and Brandon Cattouse 3rd. nevertheless, it’s the Santino rider who launches the 1st attack at the tape. He is overtaken by Magallanes and Brandon Cattouse. Scottie Weiss pulls out from the back with pace, Gregg Lovell follows. On the outside, John Delong surges, Magallanes hangs on, Darnell Barrow comes out of nowhere and steps the pace up and then puts both hands up in the air to record his 1st Cross Country win in a time of 5 hrs 46 mins 49 seconds—some 6 and a half minutes off the record pace set by Brian Baumann in 2008. Looks like every time Santino wins it’s a record. Juan Pablo Magallanes of Benny’s Megabytes takes 2nd; John Delong of Veloshine, 3rd. Justin Williams of Belizean Link up California finishes 4th and he’s a good looking rider. Gregory Lovell of Telemedia is 5th. Scottie Weiss 6th, Roger Troyer 7th, Leroy Cassasola 8th; Junior rider, Brandon Morgan amazingly took 9th place in this deep field and Shane Vasquez rounds out the top 10.

In the meantime, we must give props to C-Ray who brought the best domestiques ever to Belize and while Brandon finished 11th, he is championship material. Finally we leave you with what the expert, Melvin Torres, said on Race for the Garland about Darnell Barrow.

 

Jah over all, I’m James Adderley.

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