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#461213 - 03/29/13 08:12 AM 2013 Holy Saturday Classic  
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What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic?

Tonight, the nation waits in anticipation as the 2013 Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic draws ever nearer.

And in this, the 85th running of the biggest race on the cycling calendar, there are constants and there are variables. The arduous road is the greatest, eternal constant. And so, the determining factors then become the variables: the field of competitors; the condition of the riders; and the stock of foreign riders.

Early this morning, 7News got a chance to size up those variables by catching up with some of the riders working out for the last time before the race. Daniel Ortiz has that report:

Daniel Ortiz Reporting

This morning at around 5 a.m., most of the Belize City riders made a light ride to Hattieville Village and back. It's part of the last preparations for the athletes, as they try to maintain peak condition for Saturday's Race.

Team Santino's did a slow ride, just to keep the riders loose.

Hon. Santino Castillo - Manager, Team Santinos
"Well, it's just a 30 mile ride, taking our time hour and a half, hour 45 minutes loosening the guys' lega, nothing intense. Relax them; get them ready; at this point in time, if you don't have it you can't get it again. It's just to keep the muscle loose."

And while this morning was wet and chilly, most of the athletes agree that the blistering Belizean heat is an advantage over the 20 international riders participating this year.

Hon. Santino Castillo
"This cool weather favors the foreigners, especially the Americans. We want it as hot as can be and as windy and breezy as can be, that will also take care of the weaker riders, the breeze especially but the hot sun will favor us."

Ron McKenzie - Independent Elite Rider
"I believe that the rain benefits the foreigners because it brings the cool weather, but for us Belizeans it's better with the sun hot. I prefer the heat and the heat plays a major factor to the foreigners, because the Americans aren't so use to the heat."

Justin Williams - Cash Call Cycling Team, Los Angeles
"It's better when it's sunny, less crashes but I like it in the rain because half the guys give up when it starts raining. Everybody has their head down so you just ride out in the front and be safer, but either way is good for me."

And the Belizean cyclists will take as many advantages as they can get. Team Santinos is trying to position Marlon Castillo to win his first Garland, against a tough field.

Hon. Santino Castillo
"Plans have not changed, I believe that Marlon Castillo is our best chance, I'll take it a bit further, I believe he's Belize's best chance. We have surrounded the team around Marlon, including the 2 foreigners, and the intention is to ensure that none of the big names get away from us; keep those big names together and the only way we'll allow them to get away from us, is if Marlon is with them. They're a lot of people that are going to stick Marlon, we know that but at the end of the day, I believe that the distance will take care of many of those riders. I believe by the time we get back to the 20's on the way back lot of riders will be taken care of by the elements being the road and the sun, and the big names will still be around."

Justin Williams
"Well it's a long race, so I think the race is decided later on in the day. Obviously, you don't want the favorites to go up the road without you but just to keep eating, drinking, keep the body nourished in general, just as good as you can have it and toward the end, hopefully you took care of your body better than the other racers, and you have a little bit more in the tank."

The cyclists are anxious because they the canceled races and chaos within the Cycling Association has affected their conditioning.

Ron McKenzie
"I believe you just to try and keep your eyes on the prize. Having limited races results in a lost in motivation, somewhat; you lose your dedication a bit but we must realize that if we don't train then when that big day comes, we can't succeed and no Belizean will win. So we just have to keep that in the back of our minds. Despite the trials and tribulations, we just have to keep going."

Hon. Santino Castillo
"We're not race ready. A team prepares itself not only by training, but by racing and these guys abroad, the Guatemalans, the Mexicans, the Americans they race every week; every week their racing. We are barely racing, so while we're training and we may be ready that way, we're not race ready. So, they'll have an edge on us where that is concern and I hope that after Cross Country, and the Belize Cycling Federation is elected, that we'll have more regular racing or else it defeats the purpose."

Geovanni "Froggie" Leslie - Elite Rider, Team Santinos
"I've been out from cycling for maybe 8 or 9 months, or call it 2 years because I've miss 2 seasons because I've seen that it wasn't progressing the way it should. So, I didn't see myself wasting any more time riding, but I just picked up my bike in January and said that I'm tired of the races being given away."

And while Leslie believes that last year's Cross Country was a giveaway, he and other members of the riding fraternity feel that this year, they will have to battle harder than ever, given the fact that they haven't been training hard enough to compete with the international cyclists.

Geovanni "Froggie" Leslie
"I think we only have about 5 guys that are in top condition and 5 guys that I've seen been putting the miles in since January, who can contend with the foreign competition. So I just feel that the association once again is doing us a low and is trying to embarrass us."

Hon. Santino Castillo
"When Marlon was being interviewed and they asked him who is his biggest treat was, he said the foreigners. A lot of his friends, collegues, cyclists criticized him for that, but that is the truth. They'll be about 20 foreigners in this race and they're not 20 Belizeans who are as good as those 20 foreigners. It's simple as that."

Geovanni "Froggie" Leslie
"Look what they did to us Belmopan Classic. Only 2 came and one of them basically destroyed the field, so imagine what 15 - 20 guys will do. Only about 4 - 5 guys will be around when time when the going gets tough. Last year, the time the race was won in and years before that, the person that won the race last year with the time that he did - just so people can get an understanding of how far cycling has gone in decline. The years coming in, he would have placed in the 40th position, meaning he would have finished half hour to an hour after the first man has passed. That means all the cameras and everything would have left, and then the winner would have rode in. That's just so people could understand how far behind we are in conditioning."

Many cyclists believe that at this time, Belizean Cyclists continue to train only out of love, because, financially, it isn't adding up:

Hon. Santino Castillo
"Once you get into cycling, that comes with a territory. You have to spend. It's not a cheap sport at all, and in return the athletes have to train and deliver the results."

Ron McKenzie
"It's quite a lot of money; it's quite a lot of money and riding and winning the race, does not pay back. So it's just something out of love; we love it and so this year we'll see what it brings."

Approximately 80 riders are scheduled to participate in this year's race. There are about 15 foreign riders participating, including at least three former champions.

Channel 7

#461224 - 03/29/13 08:41 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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85th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is on

The eighty-fifth running of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is less than two days away and preparations for what is easily the biggest, single-day, sporting event are in progress.  The highly coveted garland, the second to be won by a Belizean athlete in a decade, was taken by Giovanni Choto in an impressive show of athleticism in 2012.  While the existing record, which was set in 2008, remains to be broken, there are a total of eighty-five riders, a number of whom are prospects for this year’s title, including fifteen foreign riders, who are set to take on the grueling challenge.  And, just how will the annual tourney be staged amid unrest within the Belize Cycling Association?  Well, this year’s competition is being held under the patronage of the National Olympics Committee, led by newly-elected chairman Hilly Martinez.  That decision is the result of contention involving the legitimacy of current BCA president Emil Moreno, who is recognized by the UCI and not the National Sports Council.  Nonetheless, the gears are in motion and come Saturday only one cyclist will ride away with the most sought-after title in Belizean sports.  News Five spoke with cycling pundit and BCA committee member Kwame Scott for a look at what fans can expect.

Kwame Scott, Committee Member, Belize Cycling Association

Kwame Scott

“The eighty-fifth running of the Cross Country Cycling Classic is being organized by a group that was appointed and it includes, but not limited to, myself, Perry Gibson, John Swift, Ms. Yvonne Robinson, Ms. Leticia Westby and Melvin Torres and we are headed by Mr. Hilly Martinez, who is also the chairman of the National Olympic Committee and this group has been organizing races since December actually when we had an impasse in cycling.  As far as the Cross Country goes, everything is basically in order.  Most, ninety-eight percent of the prizes have already been garnered, the necessary prizes and along the route we have gotten great support from the public, giving prizes along the route as is usually the case and I must say that Giovanni Choto’s solo run last year contributed a lot to that, you know, giving us hope.  In terms of the finish of the Cross Country, the finish line has been moved from where it has been for the last five years, since 2008, from the Memorial Park.  We’ll be finishing just in front of the Hour Bar location there on Princess Margaret Drive and the reason is simple, there have been road works going on in the route leading up to Memorial Park and we have had meetings and we have had discussions and we’ve been promised that it would be ready for race day.  However, things were moving kind of slow and as a group we made a decision that we would go to our plan B which is to finish it a little farther up, shortening the distance by about three-quarters of a mile but safety and planning is way in effect. Awesome team, awesome.”

The Eighty-fifth Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic will be carried live, on Channel Five beginning at five a.m. on March thirtieth. But tonight stay tuned for Race for the Garland with James Adderley at eight o’clock.  

Channel 5

#461231 - 03/29/13 09:03 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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At the break of dawn (6:00 a.m.) riders start their journey from Belize City at the Leslie’s Imports (Mile 1 ½) mark on the George Price Highway. With screams of motivation by onlookers, the riders travel west to San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, where upon reaching the Queen Elizabeth Park, they race back to Belize City. The FINISH line, at the Memorial Park, in Belize City, will be teeming with fans as officials gather for the short award ceremonies.

#461288 - 03/30/13 07:22 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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Can anyone give good advice on getting through San Ignacio tomorrow morning without getting stuck in Race traffic? I have guests that need to be at the airport by 11:00, and I'm not sure what time would be best to get through San Ignacio, either before or after the race.


The race should be entering San Ignacio about 9:00 am. If you want to be at the airport for 11:00 am my advice is to leave San Ignacio town by 8:00 am. (earlier if possible to avoid the crowd that will gather in front of the Police Station - you might be able to sneak across the wooden bridge) and proceed towards Belize City - You will meet the race somewhere between San Ignacio and Belmopan and will have to pull over to the extreme right until the main groups of riders past - this could take 5-10 minutes. After the race passes you on their way to San Ignacio you should be able to travel at a reasonable pace to the Hattieville Roundabout and reach the airport by 11:00 am.. This will also give your guests the experience of seeing one of the most historic bicycle races in the world. After that you "gawn clayre". If you decide to leave San Ignacio after nine you will not be able to reach the Hattieville Roundabout until after 11:30 am.

#461346 - 03/31/13 08:01 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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[Linked Image]


1. Darnell Barrow
2. Juan Pablo Magallanes
3. John Delong
4. Justin Williams
5. Gregory Lovell
6. Scottie Weiss
7. Roger Troyer
8. Leroy Cassasola
9. Brandon Morgan
10. Shane Vasquez
11. Brandon Cattouse
12. Carlos Lopez
13th: Ron Vasquez
14th: Kenroy "Smokes" Gladden
15th: Henry Morieria
16th: Luis Santizo
17th: Florencio Ramos Torres
18th: Luis Naranjo-Pulido
19th: Giovanni Choto
20th: Alejandro Padilla-Miranda

[Linked Image]
Proud Belizean Winner Darnell Barrow

#461348 - 03/31/13 08:15 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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Darnell Barrow Wins Cross Country Cycling Classic
Darnell Barrow won the 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic for Belize today! Digicell has pictures and videos on their fb page. Congratulations, Darnell!

#461452 - 04/02/13 07:29 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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85th Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic from Great Belize Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

VIDEO: 85th Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic

6 hr, 11 minute video....

Cross Country Cycling Classic Finish Line
Will Moreno was at the finish line of the 85th annual Cross Country Cycling Classic to get some great stills of the riders last sprint. Nice shots. Congratulations, Darnell Barrow!

"You have waited and here is the frame by frame action at the finish line as Darnell Barrow wins the 85th Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic."

#461541 - 04/03/13 07:27 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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A Belizean Gets The Garland

And while we can't yet celebrate a commercial oil find, this weekend patriots and sports fans had something to cheer about as Belizean Darnell Barrow won the 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic in an exciting sprint where he bested two foreign riders.

And while that was the end, we start our coverage at the beginning where Darnell Barrow was not among anyone's top ten contenders.

Daniel Ortiz reports how he got from the back of the pack to the first across the line:

Daniel Ortiz Reporting

86 riders lined up at the starting line for the 85 running of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.

But first they dealt with the formalities. The cycling officials introduced the 2012 Cross Country Champ, Geovanni Choto, and then paid respects to Wallace Donald Matura, the recreational rider, cycling official, and avid cycling fan who passed away 3 days earlier.

Included in the lineup are 8 Mexican, 4 American friends, and 2 Guatemalans. Of these foreigners, 3 are past champions, and in the field of the local riders, 4 are also past champions.

And at a few minutes after 6 a.m., they move off, Geovanni Choto ahead the group in his customary lead as last year's champion.

Heading into Hattieville, this is what the peloton looks like for this year's Cross Country. Travelling at almost 30 miles per hour, all the top riders look fresh, enjoying the brisk early pace.

The station prize at the Hattieville Police Station is taken by 2 time champ Ernest Meighan, easily, and uncontested by the other riders close on his wheel.

The race past this point is mostly uneventful because all the riders are kept closely together in one big group, as the major teams tease out each others' strategies and decide when to deploy their foreign riders.

At Rockville, it's Jairo Campos of Benny's Megabytes who takes that station prize, again with main peloton close behind him.

Then in the village of Tea Kettle, the first signs of competition start to show when 2 Mexicans break clear of the main field, Juan Pablo Magallanes of Benny Megabytes, and Luis Pulido Narango of Team C-Ray.

At 3 Flags, the same duo is on their way to Cayo, trying to separate further from the main peloton, which is less than a minute behind them.

As race heads toward Georgeville, it's still Magallanes and Narango, who are enjoying a lead of a little over a minute.

At the halfway point at the San Ignacio Bridge, Narango takes the prize, and Magallanes is close on his wheel. The record time to Cayo, set in 2009, remains untouched by this year's participants,while the Main Peloton, led Team Santinos, makes their pass at the roundabout just seconds behind.

As they head through Unitedville on the return, there is a new configuration. We now have Guatemalan Allejandro Padilla, riding for Team Santinos, Luis Pullido Narango, and the 2009 Cross Country Champ, Carlos Lopez, the Mexican riding for Team Bennys trying to separate themselves from the main pack.

But when we reach Roaring Creek, the pack is together once again, and this time, it's American John Delong of Team Veloshine, taking the prize.

At around mile 44, the configuration changes once again: it is now Peter Choto of Belikin Western Spirits, Gregory Lovell of Telemedia, and American John Delong who's trying to make a run for it.

10 miles later, they are caught by a group of 6 chasers including Mexican Florencio Ramos Torres, riding for C-Ray, Brandon Cattouse, the C-Ray favorite, Jose Choto of Western Spirits, Carlos Lopez, Alejandro Padillo from Team Santinos, and Juan Pablo Magallanes.

By this time, the main peloton is being led by American Scottie Weiss of Team Veloshine.

Around mile 28, the breakaway of 9 is reportedly a minute and a half ahead of the chase group

And by the time they reach Rockville, It's Juan Pablo Magallanes of Team Benny's, as he and his team mate Carlos Lopez, along with Alejandro Padilla try to separate from that 9.

Just outside of Hattieville, the lead 3 are caught, and it once again becomes 9 riders in the lead. At the station prize in Hattieville, Carlos Lopez takes it, but he's being closely followed by Brandon Cattouse and Gregory Lovell.

And by the time the race reaches Mile 14, Carlos Lopez breaks away from Lopez and Lovell, attempting to fly solo.

At mile 10 Carlos Lopez is still in the lead, but he is only 25 seconds ahead of some 20 riders who are chasing him. They are being led by Team C-Ray.

One mile later, Lopez holds on to that lead, but as you see in the background, the chase group is only 30 seconds behind him.

At mile 7 Lopez has been caught by those 19 riders, and Kenroy "Smokes" Gladden steps up to win the station prize.

At the Faber's Road Junction, Carlos Lopez takes that prize, but the lead group is now 20-riders strong, rolling into the city like a tremendous machine, an unprecedented occurrence in recent races.

As they enter the Lord Ridge Cemetery, the defending Champion, Giovanni Choto, attacks and wins the station prize, but he doesn't get any sort of breathing room because different riders are attacking constantly. After all, the finish-line is - in a manner of speaking - right around the corner.

On Princess Margaret Drive, Guatemalan Alejandro Padilla from Team Santinos turns it up and takes the prize at the Saint Thomas Street intersection. Again, he's being chased by 19 riders who are determined to win.

Coming down Princess Margaret drive, the final stretch, three men surge ahead in the sprint…

But Darnell Barrow clinches the sprint in dramatic fashion and takes first place in this year's Cross Country. It is a big win for him, and an even bigger one for Team Santinos. Their manager explained how the managed to recover after the rider they were riding for, Marlon Castillo, went down in a major spill early in the race.

Hon. Santino Castillo - Manager, Team Santinos
"The truth is if I had lost this one, the previous 3 would have been meaningless. This is what you call the big plum. You know when you get a bag of plums and you eat the little ones first, this is the big one you leave for last. So this is the race we wanted to win. Our first option was Marlon. He had a bad accident at Camalote. They're doing reconstruction over there and he fell on some big stones, broke his color bone and his arm. So, we had to go to plan B. when we were coming to town I had 4 riders left and I felt that Darnell Barrow had the best option, so I told him, 'Darnell you have to bring it home,' and he delivered."

Darnell Barrow said that he rode a good race, and had to recover mentally when he team mate went down.

Darnell Barrow - 2013 Cross Country Champion
"When I saw Marlon fell, the whole team dropped back to see if he would have gotten up but he didn't get up. So I decided - Jermaine told me, 'You have to ride strong and stay at the front.'So I did that."

"Everybody told me that Darnell didn't put in enough work. Did you do some secret training?"

Darnell Barrow
"Yes I did. I would like to thank Quinton Hamilton; he and I did some tremendous training after Belmopan Classic."

Santiago Castillo
"When Darnell came to service, I asked him how he felt and he said, 'boss, I can win it'. So I said, 'Well Darnell it's yours,' and I told the 3 other riders to work for Darnell. Bring him to the tape and he will work for the sprint. I had belief that he could do it because he had belief that he could do it. He believed in himself and obviously it was proven."

Darnell Barrow
"In each break, we had a representative from the team, so that gave me a good chance to sit down and just relax. From mile 16 to 10, all I did was just follow until I saw the Belikin team start to attack. I just move - move - move so I can conserve my energy to the end, I watch them bring me to the tape, I watch the team players for Brandon Cattouse and Gregory Lovell, the real sprinters. To the end, I saw that those guys were falling behind and I know if I pushed hard, I could win the sprint. It feels great."

John Delong - 3rd Place, 2013 Cross Country Classic
"I'm really strong in the 100 miles, but today at the Hattieville/Barrel Boom junction, I was feeling that extra 100 to 40. At Barrel Boom junction, I thought I wasn't going to finish real big. The wind was really blowing, and you just have to do the best you can out there. The worst though was that there some sprinters in the group that were able to get around me, so what can you do? I just dug as hard as I could, just hoping that line would come soon, but these guys got right around me."

It was an impressive race, where a number of wildcards could have been pulled, but it played out that another Belizean keeps the Garland home.

Hon. Santino Castillo
"This is Darnell Barrow's biggest race. The Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic is the biggest race, not only in Belize, but in the Hemisphere. When you win this you're the king at the top of the hill. He will be called champion for the rest of the year - up to next year until the next one."

And we apologize for the audio difficulties we experienced at the start of that story. We urge you to view it when the news repeats at 10:00 tonight, 6:00 tomorrow morning or at noon tomorrow.

And, later on we'll have much more from Darnell Barrow as Jules Vasquez has a sit down interview with the champ. He'll tell us how he rode the fastest cross country any Belizean has ever ridden.

How Did Darnell Do It? He Almost Didn't!

On Saturday, Darnell Barrow wrote his name into history when he won the 85thCross Country. And while he's the new champion, the truth is no one picked Darnell Barrow to win the 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic.

He'd been on the rocks with his team, his bike frame is busted up, and he hadn't been having the best year training. So, the 24 year old rider from Coral Grove almost picked up and went to Cancun with his mom this Easter. But he didn't; he hung in there and made it to the starting line - even though he almost got late, arriving just two minutes before the start.

Sounds kind of harum scarum to see that it preceded the ride of his life. But happenstance is how he got into cycling in the first place when he started riding on, of all things, a beach cruiser! Today he came to our studio to tell us how he went from that humble beginning to cruising across the finish line first after he rode the whole race like a shadow:

Darnell Barrow - 2013 Cross Country Champion
"The feeling, the feeling is still unbelievable. That is the feeling, I still have to deal with it, and I still don't believe that I finally pulled it off. It's overwhelming."

Jules Vasquez
"Now, you're nationally known, everyone knows who you are, and everybody wants some of your time, or just to watch them or say their name."

Darnell Barrow
"Well it's a great feeling. I finally get to feel how the all - past champions feel, so I guess I have that now, I have - I get that feeling, I get that."

Jules Vasquez
"Your name is now written in history, but when you did you start riding?"

Darnell Barrow
"I started on beach-cruiser, my same beach-cruiser I went to primary school with. I have my friends from Coral Grove that used to go out - they had racer bikes before me, and I go and I follow them on beach-cruiser, all the way to Rock View and back. I decided that I would get a meter because I would want to know how fast I'm going. I put a meter on the handle bar, do 18 mile an hour 19 an hour, I took right in, then my uncle said 'boy, I will get you a racer bike'. Kenneth Butler gave me a frame, I set it up and I start to ride it on that."

Jules Vasquez
"Now you have ridden the second fastest time in this race, more than that it was against adverse winds and this is the fastest race a Belizean has ever ridden. First of all how did you do it and second: how does it make you feel?" Darnell Barrow
"Well how it do it is just riding smart, I didn't exert too much energy. I didn't try jump or go on any break away. That is not necessary. At mile 17, the whole group came back together so to me then, I said well the race just started now because everyone is back. So, for me, I to just ride smart, and just pick the move that going or go with any move that goes. Anybody that tries to break away I must be there to win. Coming into the city was very intense because the journey of the race is a long race and the speed that we were coming in was very frightening, how comes this race is riding so fast, and we're coming to the finish. So, you're thinking a lot and that gives you a little rush, 'man, it's happening right here, this is it, do or die.' So coming on to the finish line that is when the desperation start to happen with the stronger guys and the weaker guys coming on to the line, so therefore you just need to position yourself at the right spot before the tape, before the sprint start. That is what I did, I just moved up, moved up, wait a little, see what's happening make sure that no one escaped, and when the line came, I did my part."

Jules Vasquez
"How did you prepare for the sprint and how did you know when to strike because in sprint all of it is time."

Darnell Barrow
"The Friday we had our team meeting, our coach told us that from the pedestrian - from the bump to the finish line is 160 meters and normally we Belizeans like to sprint maybe the last 100 meters or last 75 meters that is how we sprint. So, from I cleared the bump I knew that I had to be at the top fifth position to win this sprint. I can't be no more than fifth, sixth seventh eight ninth, I had to be up there in the top to win this sprint."

Jules Vasquez
"How did you see your strength as compare to them?"

Darnell Barrow
"I knew that I had a little bit more energye because coming to the sprint I had Brandon Cattouse, Gregory Lovell and the young boy Justin in front of me. When the Mexican guy rose up on the bike, I saw that that was the move that was going to happen. I also saw that these guys weren't moving as fast as I was, coming up, so I decided that this is it now, it's time for me to make my move I cannot wait no more. It's now or never, from now to the line, everything; no holding back."

Jules Vasquez
"Were you surprised that you were the first to cross the line?"

Darnell Barrow
"I was surprised, I mean I saw that tape and I said I could win this, an extra strength just came over me to let me just push."

Jules Vasquez
"What's the difference in finishing 3rd as you have before and finishing 1st?"

Darnell Barrow
"Well I have the garland around my neck; this is the difference right here"

Jules Vasquez
"I mean out there in the field, what - knowing what you do now, what does it take to win the race?"

Darnell Barrow
"Well I guess every year is a step. Every year, you need to learn new things, so for me to win now I guess I'm ahead of other guys,that might know more or less about how to prepare to win a Cross Country. So, I have that mindset that what I need to do to win a next Cross Country in the future."

Jules Vasquez
"You weren't the golden boy or the chosen one on Team Santinos."

Darnell Barrow
"That means that I don't have anyone looking at me, following me. I rode the race without any worry about who is holding me wheel; I rode the race at ease."

Jules Vasquez
"So the conventional thinking is that you can't win this race unless you have an entire team working for you, but how you are explaining how you won this race, is almost like you were operating like a shadow. You just looked on the men and you just move with those."

Darnell Barrow
"Exactly, that was my plan and I succeeded."

At 5:46:49, Darnell's ride was six minutes off the record set by American Ryan Bauman in 2008. And so, his finish becomes the fastest winning Cross Country ride for a Belizean ever. But he didn't come from nowhere; he was third last year and fifth in 2011. He's also finished 10th. and 13th in previous Cross Country Races.

And while foreigners came second and third, a Belizean Justin Williams form the Belizean Linkup team was fourth while Greg Lovell form Team Telemedia was fifth.

Channel 7

#461629 - 04/04/13 08:33 AM Re: What Variables Factor Into Holy Saturday Classic? [Re: Marty]  
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Cycling Classic From Above

Astrum Helicopters has a great video of the 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic...from the air! Great video, and they have 'Children' by Robert Miles as the music. Well done, Astrum!

"The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, is a one-day amateur cycling race held in Belize every year during the Easter holidays. It is Belize's biggest cycling event and has begun to be recognized internationally. The estimated distance of the Classic is some 140 miles. Wide angle point of view while filming the Cross Country Cycling Classic. Filmed using a GoPro3 Black camera."

Wide angle point of view while filming the Cross Country Cycling Classic.

Filmed using a GoPro3 Black camera.

#461746 - 04/05/13 07:43 AM Re: 2013 Holy Saturday Classic [Re: Marty]  
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"Ray Cat" Does Not Mince Words In Pummeling Cycling Critics

The 85th Cross Country Cycling Classic - was surely one of the more memorable cross country races we've seen in years. That's because a whole pack of riders rode into the city - and the field was wide open for anyone to seize the victory. Darnell Barrow did so in a decisive sprint - and in so doing, wrote his name into history for the fastest winning ride ever by a Belizean.

One of the race favourites Brandon Cattouse was lost in the mix; he came in 11th, despite having one of the strongest pair of foreign riders on his team to carry him to the line.

That includes Luis Pullido Naranjo - one of the powerful Mexican's who set the high paced temp of the race. But, it was not to be - and last night on Lik Road, owner of the C0-Ray team and Brandon's father, Ray Cattouse named names when he assessed blame:

Ray Cattouse - Owner, C-Ray Cycling Team
"I have a lot to say; a lot of people won't like to hear what I have to say but I have a lot to say. Not to try put the blame on nobody, we lost the Cross Country, Brandon rode a hell of a good race but."

Kenworth Tillett - Talk Show Host
"How the champion, what kind of race he ride?"

Ray Cattouse
"I will get around to that; I will get around to that. Brandon rode a good race but because of people like Melvin Torre, Kwame Scott and the rest of some of the media who butcher and slaughter my boy's way of riding, one month leading up to the Cross Country. They were calling my son a shadow rider and that he doesn't have the power to show that he is a rider. It affected Brandon along the way that he wants to show them that he is no shadow rider and that he could follow the move. And that he could - and if Brandon rode the way, he rode all the time. How come they're not calling Darnell a shadow rider right now? Darnell even got on the media and said he was playing hide and seek at the back. How come they're not calling him a shadow rider? It's because that is how you win races; that is how you ride. Don't study Torres and the rest of stupid who are saying that you are a shadow rider and you can't move for yourself. Yu have shown that you can do that, and the last 22 miles of the race when it was crunch time. Now it's crunch time and Brandon sees the moves being made. It's in the back of his mind that he wants to show them that he's not a shadow rider. He can go; he can follow and he can this, that - all I wanted Brandon to do is ride like how he normally rides. But the last 22 miles of the race, it's in the back of his head, I will show them that I'm not a shadow rider. So he gets out there and he is following and he is making - yes he could; he can do it. He did it but when the last 150 yards come what happen? You don't have your legs, you left it out there trying to show, and I will say it again. I don't care if they get upset with me; those stupid people that you're not a shadow rider. You left your legs out there because of that. Listen to me; I'm with you all these years; you take your time and let them call you shadow rider and you stay pacing."

Kenworth Tillett
"So now you can say basically it's a lesson learned, I mean that"

Ray Cattouse
"It's a lesson learn, it really aggravated me."

Kenworth Tillett
"I will get back to what I asked you about the champion because obviously he followed what would have been your own plan of action and basically rode the race and watch the moves."

Ray Cattouse
"He rode exactly how Brandon rode the entire pass 3 - 4 Cross Countries; that was how he rode. He was on the tail of the pack all day, and when there was a break, he's in that break. When there's a split he- but he stayed on the back of that pack, all day he rode in the shadows."

The C-Ray team was partly sponsored by Michael Finnegan - who reportedly paid for the Mexican Riders to come in.

Channel 7

Bringing home the garland

The 85th annual running of the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is history and for the second year in a row, Belizeans were sent to enjoy the rest of their Easter holidays comforted with the knowledge that the garland remains at home. Since 1971 when Mexican Pablo Calderon became the first foreign rider to take away the garland, foreign riders have continuously been a threat. Each year Belizeans dread that some foreign rider might come in and leave us heartbroken.

This year saw its usual influx of foreigners lining up to compete but for the second year in a row, a local boy crossed the tape first. Anyone who was listening to race live or even who was watching the race was taken by complete surprise. Coming into Belize City, not once did the announcers mention the name Darnell Barrow as all eyes and hopes were on names like Choto, Vasquez or Cattouse. In fact, until the last couple of seconds, many were sure that Mexican Juan Pablo Magellanes riding for the Benny’s Megabytes team would have once again taken the coveted garland across the border. Thanks and congrats to Darnell Barrow who put his all into making sure that Belizeans were not again left disappointed.

From what was considered a mere expedition in 1928, this annual classic has evolved into and remains the single most prominent sporting event in the country. Wikipedia describes the cross country as such: “The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, usually shortened to the Cross Country Cycling Classic or "Cross Country" for short, is a one-day amateur cycling race held in Belize every year during the Easter holidays. It is Belize's biggest cycling event and has begun to be recognized internationally.” The last sentence is significant. The annual cross country race is indeed gaining international recognition and many believe that it might be time to add this event to the International Cycling Calendar. That would mean inviting professional riders which would mean that our own locals would have to step up their game considerably.

It might also be high time that we start viewing this event in the light of a Tour de France. This would mean that we stop demanding that a local rider win but start looking at this race from the perspective of economic benefits. The Tour de France is the world’s most prominent and popular cycling race and has lengthened its reach to extend around the globe. Riders from as many as 33 countries compete and the last Frenchman to win the tour was Bernard Hinault. This happened way back in 1985. Yet the French are not concerned since the Tour pours millions into the French economy every year.

What also has to happen is for cycling to keep the dirty embrace of politics from around it. Recently we have seen a move by government to remove the legally elected president and replace him with another politically connected individual like they did with football. As with football, the international governing body of the sport has protested. In a recent exchange between Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth and the International Cycling Union (UCI), Longsworth’s attempt to dismantle the current association was met with a stern warning. UCI oversees all international competitive cycling events.

In a letter to the Minister Longsworth, the UCI refers Longsworth to article 6 of the ICI statutes which states: “The federations must manage their internal affairs and ensure that no third party interferes in their operations. They must remain autonomous and resist all political, religious and financial pressure which may infringe their commitment to abide by the constitution of the UCI.” The letter goes on to remind the minister that “…under no condition should the government interfere with the strategy or the operations of the federation.” The letter closes with the assertion that, “We take this opportunity to confirm once again that our international federation and our continental confederation recognize Mr. Emil Moreno as the legitimate president of the Belize Cycling Association.” How this one will play out and if Emil Moreno will be able to hold on to his presidency is anybody’s guess. One thing is for sure, Moreno can claim that under his watch, local riders were once again winning the Cross Country.

Controversy is not new to the cycling body of Belize and it is a wonder that it has been able to endure all these years. One incident that gnaws at my craw and which I will continue to write about until someone takes notice, is an incident that occurred way back in 1961. At that time, the races would finish near the pound yard bridge and as a child; I distinctly remember watching this one particular race. We had made the annual trek past the burial ground as usual to watch the riders depart. At the finish line, there was one rider, Edward Miguel ahead of everyone else. Duncan Vernon and Edward’s brother Arthur was close behind. Realizing that he had won, Edward threw up his hands in victory. Unfortunately, unbeknown to most individuals and riders even, the association of the time had implemented a rule that stated that no one should take their hands off their handlebars. It was a most asinine and stupid rule. Fortunately, it has long been removed from the book.

Many believe at that time that the decision was in sympathy for Duncan Vernon. The man known as the “Veteran” had continuously run into misfortune and was considered the most unlucky cyclists of all time. Whatever the reason, it was dumb and that decision should be reversed. It is too late for Edward for he is already deceased, but for the sake of the association and cycling fans of Belize, that decision should be reversed and Edward Miguel should be given his championship, albeit post-humously. This is important because it would move Edward into the elite rank of four-time Cross Country champions. He deserves no less! --
G. Michael Reid
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