Jeff Brunet (81) and Pascal Clement (100) ride the course during the Vita Malt mountain bike race last Sunday.
PHILIPSBURG—Transitioning smoothly from last Sunday’s Vita Malt mountain bike race in Bellevue, this coming Sunday should see a big turnout for the season opening Valentine’s Day road race in Philipsburg.
It offers categories for all age groups, including novices and at the other end of the spectrum a Masters C category, finally, for the 60 and over veterans. Word is out that this latter category for oldies who can still mix it up with the best of them will be as competitive as other categories.
Organised by the St. Maarten Cycling Federation, the place to be is on the Pondfill, opposite the Police Station, for the start at 7:00am. Categories are: novices, seniors (18-39), Masters A (40-49), Masters B (50-59), Masters C (60 plus), women, juniors, and pre-juniors.
“For the first mountain bike race of the year, and this Sunday’s road race we wanted to have a smooth transition to not scare people off; the idea for the mountain bike race and the road race is that they both be easy and short so that everyone can take part, and be motivated to race again,” explained Susy Maidwell Piscione. “For Sunday’s race there will be a novice category and the flat course will be ideal for them. It was the same concept for the Vita Malt race, a flatter, faster course, eliminating the steep climbs.”
The start is on Soualiga Road opposite the Festival Village. Start riding towards Point Blanche passing the Police Station and cruise ship port and turning left into Point Blanche. Turn around at the first intersection and return to the Freedom Fighters Roundabout on the Pondfill, continuing straight towards Sucker Garden.
Turn left into Arch Road and then left onto Soualiga Road finishing at the Festival Village. This 6.4Km lap must be done seven times (45Km) by the Elite, Master A and Junior categories, four times by the Novice and Pre-junior categories (25K) and six times by Women, Master B and Master C categories (39Km).
Depart times: novices and pre-juniors at 7:00am and all other categories at 8:00am.
Interest will most certainly be focused on the senior and junior categories that contain the hottest young riders from the ASM and Velo Club de Sandy Ground (VCSG).
Kianny Noel and Reni Arrondell, second and third respectively in the Elite Category behind winner Otis Paines at the mountain bike race last Sunday, will be back on the start line this Sunday for the road race.
“It was remarkable that Kianny and Reni who never mountain bike did so well, and on rented bikes as well,” commented Susy, adding that the Masters A category continues to grow in numbers as riders turn 40.
Of note was the fourth-place finish in Masters A of Colombian rider Wilmer Azcarate. Azcarate was a former mountain bike national champion at 16 in Colombia and has just started riding again.
Complete results of the Vita Malt mountain bike race are on the Tri Sport website.