The Cayman Cycling team recently returned from the 2022 Pan American Cycling Championships in San Juan, Argentina, where National Team athlete Nathaniel Forbes produced a masterclass performance, matching pace with some of the best cyclists this side of the world.
At just 19, Nathaniel is already a seasoned competitor, having represented his country in several international games. Competing at the U23 level, he has been sharpening his skills, training, and competing on the local racing scene. He was arriving at the Championships fresh and read to race, with only a final 90-mile shared training session with the Guatemalan National team to recon part of the racecourse containing the mountain climbs.
Mountain climbs are always a test for Cayman’s riders, with athletes from larger nations more exposed to training and international level racing at elevation. After 11 miles, the first climb was encountered – 10 miles of continuous elevation, however our exciting, young Caymanian talent powered up the climbs and was comfortable gliding along at the front of the race at 40mph+ – the training efforts of National Coach Ken Gokool clearly showing strengthened abilities that allowed him to stand toe-to-toe with the other premier athletes around him.
Several substantial climbs followed but Nathaniel remained entrenched at the front of the race. The climbing completed 60 miles in, the race turned towards home, descending at speeds in excess of 56mph+. Unfortunately, this also brought about an abrupt end to Nathaniel’s race when after 64 miles, a rider in front caused a crash that ultimately brought him down.
“His bike bore the brunt of the impact, a fact that probably saved him from serious injury.” said Cayman Cycling President, Daniel Cummings, who along with coach Gokool, had accompanied Nathaniel on the trip. “Although a broken derailleur and a cracked frame ended his journey, his performance proved he will undoubtably continue to be an exciting talent to represent Cayman Cycling in the region and beyond.”
Mr. Cummings was also there to represent Cayman Cycling at the Annual Congress of the Pan American Cycling Federation (COPACI). Celebrating their 100th anniversary, the congress brought together 27 national federations for discussion on cycling topics throughout the region with one of the highlights of the gathering, being a presentation by the head of the International Cycling Union (UCI), David Lappartient, on important cycling considerations across the globe. It was a highly successful event for Cayman Cycling, establishing relationships with of the many larger nations, who were all impressed with Cayman’s passion for cycling and the ambitions for our growth.
Back in Cayman, Nathaniel’s valiant display and subsequent unfortunate turn of fate, inspired our local Cayman community to respond with support even before Nathaniel had returned to the island. Cayman Cycling was delighted when financial services firm, Tricor Group stepped up with an amazing gesture to provide Nathaniel with a new Argon 18 road bike. Both Nathaniel and Cayman Cycling are extremely grateful to Tricor for their support. Also requiring replacements for his damaged accessories, Cayman Cycling was able to provide Nathaniel with a new helmet, shoes, bike computer and glasses. These much-needed provisions will ensure Nathaniel is able to continue to train and prepare for his next event, representing the Cayman Islands in cycling at the very 1st edition of the 2022 Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe from 27 June – 4 July.