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Jul 5, 2021

Kaya Ready to Compete in Intelligentsia Cup 2021

Except for 2020, she has represented the country annually for the past four years in the Intelligentsia Cup in the U.S.  And next week, cyclist Kaya Cattouse travels to Chicago to compete in the ten days of cycling races. Duane Moody has more on Cattouse’s determination and training during the pandemic.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Hers is one of the first names that come to mind when you speak of the top female cyclist in Belize. And Kaya Cattouse will be representing Belize abroad once more, heading to Chicago to compete in the Intelligentsia Cup. She first competed in the criterium back in 2018, then returned in 2019 where she placed several days. While the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaya remained focus on her training.


Kaya Cattouse

Kaya Cattouse, Cyclist

“Preparation for this race has definitely been a bit different due to the pandemic. It took us off the bike, off the roads; had us doing different types of training, compromising to catch up where you lack so I did a whole lot to gym work, a lot of running to just maintain physical fitness so that when things were back to some sort of normalcy, getting back on the bike and getting back to peak form wouldn’t be so hard.”


But a few months ago, the former cross country female champion was caught in a spill and injured. She is still recovering, yet determined to compete on that international level.


Kaya Cattouse

“We recently had the national time trial and road championships. The week before the time trial championships I was in a crash during one of our Thursday races and I was injured. I had a torn ligament in my shoulder and I got a couple stitches in my elbow. Two days after that I had to go out and do the time trial in those conditions. Training and getting into very decent, great shape and injury coming just before your event is not only a mental challenge, it is also a physical challenge to be able to push your body through the pain and agony for the time. So it was very difficult going into that race and even staying on the bike for the duration of the race. It was the same thing at the road races. I raced with stitches in my elbow and it took a lot of mental toughness to be able to get myself over those two hurdles.”


Knowing that she was coming from a road racing background and going into criteriums, Kaya sought the assistance of former professional cyclist, now coach, Bill Elliston. Some viewers may recall that Elliston won Belize’s cross country cycling classic back in 2005. He retired from full-time racing in 2008; since then, he has trained a number of international athletes and ran a cycling seminar in Belize in 2012. He spoke to News Five about becoming Kaya’s trainer.


Bill Elliston

Bill Elliston, Cycling Coach

“She had some bigger aspirations to have a higher level of success than just racing in Belize, but she was a rider that decided to take matters into her own hands and reached out to me to see if we could do a little something by way of coaching and see if we could take a different approach and try and see a higher level of success. The terrain down there is certainly a little different for a rider like Kaya living in the city where everything is really flat and the only challenge is you have is wind; lots of wind.  I do have some familiarities with the roads down there, with the riders down there and I have seen Kaya raced in person and it is enough for me to get a grasp on her racing style and what her strengths are and weaknesses are. So having that knowledge plays a big part in me being able to craft a pretty successful program.”


Kaya Cattouse

“Going to race at the Intelligentsia Cup is whole different style of racing from what we are used to here in Belize and being there for the past couple of years has enabled me to get the experience that I need to know what type of training needs to be done. So the type of training that we do leading up to this race is not necessarily the type of training that you would do for races in Belize, but it is the type of training that you need to be able to excel over there.”


Self-motivated, Kaya says that she has set a goal and plans to achieve it.


Kaya Cattouse

“Going back to the Intelligentsia Cup this year is definitely I come with the confidence, I come with the experience. I feel that I have put in the training required. Yes I was injured, but it is enough time between the injury and the start of the race to be fully recovered and be able to not race with injury on your mind, without pain. So I don’t think it will be a factor for the ten days of racing. I feel like we’ve prepared well enough even despite of not being able to do what we needed in the pandemic. I think we were freed up early enough to start the training that we needed to do. So I feel like I am going over there prepared and ready.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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