Last Saturday’s Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race drew 127 bikers from 11 countries and territories.
The event, organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority and Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation, kicked off with a shotgun start right before a brilliant tropical sunrise.
Australia’s Kevin Biffiger went on to top the 100-kilometer race around the island and win the men’s pro category after clocking in at 2:57:02. Guam’s Laura Nadeau (3:27:55) ruled the women’s pro division.
Biffiger was followed by Marko Pavlic (3:01:43) of Slovenia and Toshiki Nagatsuka (3:15:45) of Japan, while Yasue Nakahara (3:36:05) of Japan and Kylie Adair (3:36:47) of Australia joined Nadeau in the Top 3. The top finisher from the CNMI was Joel Buco (3:43:35), who also placed first in the men’s 50 to 54 age group. Other competitors were from Hong Kong, Korea, Slovakia, and Taiwan.
“This year’s Hell of The Marianas is a reboot following the cancellation of last year’s event after Super Typhoon Yutu, and we are satisfied with the turnout,” said MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “The fact that we had bikers from 11 countries shows there is awareness and interest in the event, which we will continue to build on in partnership with the NMI Cycling Federation.”
Seventeen pro riders joined the event. Competitors experienced Micronesia’s most challenging 100K cycling course, highlighted by the untapped natural beauty of Saipan at its most distinguished attractions, including Suicide Cliff, Bird Island Lookout and Banzai Cliff.
“We were excited that we doubled the number of off-island female pro participants and look forward to increasing this trend,” said NMICF president Vince Seman. “We promised the women that we will all bring them back next year if they promised to bring more female competitors, as well.”
Sponsors of the event were Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, DFS/TGalleria, Tan Siu Lin Foundation, Marpac Incorporated, Powerade, Triple J, IT&E, Island Training Solutions, Bridge Capital LLC, Hyatt Regency, Bike Fix Guam, Saipan Apparel, Magic 100FM, and TRAC. The event was also supported by Neo Timing System of Japan, Saipan Mayor’s Office, and Department of Fire and Emergency Services. (PR)