Seven-time XTERRA Saipan champion Renata Bucher is taking on a new challenge on the island, as she debuts in the 7th Annual Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle Race on Dec. 7.
The Swiss triathlete is among the 10 pros who have already signified their intention to join the 100-kilometer bike race around the island later this year, according to the press release Hell of Marianas organizers forwarded to Saipan Tribune yesterday. Joining Bucher in the women’s pro field are former champion Mieko Carey, newcomer Rose Munoz of Guam, and defending champion Jodie Willet of Australia.
In the men’s pro, two-time champion Jack Anderson of Australia will be back, along with fellow Hell returnees Konstantin Fast and Aleksandr Dorovskikh of Russia. Also on the list are Japan’s Kazuhiro Yamamoto and Guam’s Peter Lombard and Jonathan Martin.
Anderson set a course record last year with his 2:44:52 and also shattered his mark (2:57:47) in his first win, while Willet established a record in the women’s field, too with her 3:05:40, surpassing her 3:16:15. This year, Anderson and the rest of the pro field will be gunning for record in a modified course, which will now start and end at Mariana Resort. The first six editions of the Hell of Marianas had its start and finish line at the Pacific Islands Club.
The pros will also battle for the cash prizes in the open road bike category. The top finisher in the men’s and women’s divisions will take home $1,000, while $500 and $250 will go to the second and third placers, respectively. Amateur bikers in the solo road bike will get cash prizes, too with the first placer receiving $300 and the second and third pocketing $200 and $100.
Organizers and event sponsors will also give away special prizes to the Best in Costume, Best Corporate 4-Person Relay, and to the biker who can guess his time.
Meanwhile, this year’s Hell of Marianas is expected to lure more than 100 bikers and a big turnout will be a big boost to the Commonwealth’s tourism industry.
“This race is a great opportunity to support tourism, local businesses and the cycling community. The CNMI has a reputation of athleticism thanks to MVA’s other events such as the Saipan Marathon, the Tagaman Triathlon and the XTERRA Saipan Championship. We now have two bike shops on island and an increasing number of family, friends and co-workers are getting into cycling each week. The diverse cycling community is comprised of people and companies that are an important part of our economy and the island’s character,” said Vince Seman, president of the Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation, which is sanctioning the race.
This year’s race has also drawn support from both the private and public sectors. The long list of supporters includes Title Sponsors DFS and PTC (Miller Lite, Sunkist); Platinum Sponsors Mariana Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Saipan, IT&E, PIC, Triple J Wholesale/Hertz/Triple J Enterprises; Gold Sponsors Bridge Capital LLC, Island Training Solutions, Gold’s Gym, Delta Air Lines; Silver Sponsors Asiana Airlines, Chong’s Corporation, Marianas Trekking, Seafix Inc., Sorensen Media Group (Power 99), Taro Sue Store, Bike Box, Progressive Coaching Systems; Bronze Sponsors Brabu Pharmacy, D&Q Saipan, Hard Rock Café Saipan, Lao Lao Bay Golf Resort, Revolving Restaurant 360, Saipan Submarine, Star Sands Plaza, Stars & Stripes, Tinian Dynasty & Casino, Made in Saipan Gift Shop, Coral Ocean Point and SUP Saipan.
Sponsors and volunteers are still welcome. For more information, contact HOM race director Kanae Quinn at 285-1168.