TOBAGO TRIATHLON May 21st 2006
Team Nevis headed down to Tobago on the 21st May to participate in the 2nd annual Rainbow Cup Triathlon, resplendant in their new B-Mobile uniforms they made quite an impact even before the start of the event. James Weekes and Keith Jones were entered in the Olympic age group division with Winston Crooke and Greg Phillip in the Sprint age group division. Athletes from England, Canada and the USA were joined by regional representatives from Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada and Nevis, with a group of under 16 year old juniors demonstrating the future of the sport. It turned out to be a great day for the team starting with the sprint athletes, with their event going first. Winston and Greg lined up with the other racers including the Junior Elite Sprint division for the 750 mtr swim in Grafton Beach bay. A spirited swim leg by Winston saw him come out of the water half way down the order with Greg showing a lot of heart as he tackled only his third sprint event, with the hardest part completed it was into transition and onto the teams strongest discipline, the bike ride, with both Winston and Greg pushing hard to catch and pass as many people as possible before heading into the run section. Winston managing to pass all but five of the leading athletes in the event all of whom turned out to be the Sprint Jr Elites, putting an unknowing Winston into first place as he came into transition. In the meanwhile Greg was also passing many of the athletes who were ahead after the swim. This gave them both an edge going into the run, which proved to be much tougher than expected. However, Winston managed to hold off all but one athlete to come in 2nd overall and 1st in his 40-49 age group, Greg although struggling in the run did enough to place a well fought 2nd place in his 30-39 age group. A great start to the day for Nevis.
Now it was time for the big guns to come out, the Olympic event, after a nice introduction of all the competitors and their respective countries the athletes took to the water for their two lap course, which involved coming out of the water at the end of the first lap, rounding a mark, then heading back into the ocean to finish. It was soon clear that there was a field of strong swimmers for James and Keith to contend with, as quiite a gap opened up between them and the front runners, which meant a lot of hard work was ahead to catch up. It was james that had a four minute lead on keith into transition, but the race was far from over. It is hard to strike a good balance when trying to make up ground and also get a lead on the bike, because if you get it wrong you pay for it in the run. Not to be daunted both athletes poured it on over the four lap 40 km rolling course, with keith blasting himself into contention with the 3rd fastest bike time . in fact, by the time they had completed the bike leg they had come back from 14th and 15th place to 4th and fifth, with james now holding a 3 minute lead over Keith, now it was a matter of who had what left for the run. This was James territory now, a very skilled tactical runner in his own right he set off in pursuit of the third placed athlete who was a good four minutes ahead, with a very relaxed looking Keith coming on behind. The two lap 10km course gave the many spectators a good idea of the shape of the event as they charted the progress of each racer, ably assisted by the running commentatry of the well informed MC. James was not able to make up all the time on the athlete in front of him but keith had made up some ground on James, and 4th fastest in the run, both guys now finishing only two minutes apart. They had performed well enough to take 1st and 2nd in their 30-39 age group and 5th and 6th overall, a remarable performance by both of them, but especially Keith who is no kind of swimmer, but demonstrated that it is not over untill it is over.
This proved to be a great day for Team Nevis and for their sponsor B-mobile, as all the athletes collected trophies, and cash money prizes for James and Keith, proving once more that they are a force to be reckoned with in Caribbean Triathlon.