ST JOHN’S, Antigua – National female cyclist Tamiko Butler said her only objective during the just conclude Caribbean Cycling Championships held in Curacao over the weekend was to simply win medals.
The cyclist, who rides locally for Team Terminix and represented Antigua & Barbuda during the annual competition, achieved her aim even after being out of training for some time to concentrate on her academics.
“Obviously if you are going somewhere to compete then you are going there to win because that is the only attitude you can go with; but I didn’t have a lot of preparation because I took seven months out from January to the end of August to take care of my studies and finish off my studies and I only started back training about eight weeks ago so I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
“I knew my form was good because I worked hard over the past eight weeks to be as ready as I could be for this and it turned out my hard work in those few weeks paid off.”
Butler won gold and silver medals at the Championships after beating all in the female road race in 1 hour, 48 minutes, 48 seconds, just 42 seconds ahead of Bermuda’s Zoenique Williams who was second.
The bronze went to another Bermudian, Nicole Mitchell, who finished two minutes 25 seconds after Butler in the road race.
Butler’s silver came in Saturday’s individual time trial. She finished that race about 27 seconds behind Kathryn Bertine of St Kitts & Nevis. Bertine’s winning time was 24 minutes, two seconds.
“I think the men had probably one of the better performances riding as a team. The men had a brilliant race. However, the results don’t really reflect that because most of the time we had three guys in Robert Marsh, Omari King and Jyme Bridges in the lead pack and leading the race for at least 90 per cent of the race until the back group caught them and it came down to a field sprint of almost 60 guys,” Butler said.
“It ended up reflecting the results of them having some high numbers coming in the group, but in terms of riding, it was real outstanding ride by Omari King with Jyme Bridges getting the best results. Andre Simon had a fall and was in the last group that caught back up the main group and came down to a sprint.”
Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association (ABCA) President Cliff Williams congratulated Butler on her achievement but credited the men’s team with also holding their own, saying it is the first time that all of the country’s representing riders completed the course.
“In the road race, I won with a breakaway. We had nine laps and it was as early as the third lap that I managed to break away and I almost did it by accident because I thought that maybe by me attacking I would get away with a small group and then we could work together and go for it in the sprint. But when I got away, so it was only me and one other girl from Bermuda, and so I think the hardest part was just the first couple of laps that we were out by ourselves because you know you have a big group of girls behind you and you know they are capable of pulling you back in and it’s just up to how hard you can pace to try and keep that gap opening and those first few laps for me were challenging,” Williams said.
In Sunday’s men’s road race, the best Antiguan rider was Bridges. His time of three hours and 17 minutes was only good enough for 20th place. That ride, though, was less than four minutes behind gold medal winner Frederic Theobald of Guadeloupe.
Trinidad and Tobago placed second and Puerto Rico, third, in the male road race.