Tanapag Middle School student J.C. Ferrer was the youngest competitor in last Saturday’s Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race and was also the fastest finisher in the non-pro women’s division.
The 14-year-old completed the 100-kilometer race in 4:16:20, reaching the start/finish line at the former Mariana Resort & Spa 8 seconds ahead of 30 to 39 age group women’s champion Robyn Spaeth (4:16:28).
It was her first time to compete in the grueling race and her father, Bob, greeted her at the finish line with pride, as the eighth grader emerged as the top female finisher in the CNMI.
“It was a tough race and I’m just happy I finished it. I did it for my dad. I learned from him how to do this so I’m very thankful for his guidance. Until now I can’t believe that I did it,” said J.C., who prepared for her Hell of Marianas debut with her dad.
“The hardest part was the training with my dad. I got used to riding with him that’s why it was not easy for me when I was on my own during last Saturday’s race,” the Tanapag Middle School student said.
J.C. added that she got worried in the last 25K of the race, as fatigue started to take its toll on her.
“The hardest part was along the Kingfisher [portion] because I was already exhausted coming from Papago and Kagman climbs,” J.C. said.
Bob, who rounded out the course about 20 minutes ahead of his daughter to make it to the Top 3 of the 45 to 49 age group, had no doubts the teen rider will complete the race, although he kept checking on her, especially when she was negotiating uphill roads.
“During the race, I can’t concentrate because I kept on thinking about J.C. When I was climbing Papago, I called my wife (Tisha) and asked her where J.C. is,” Bob said.
“I always believed that she can do it because she’s a very competitive person. I finished first and I waited for her at the finish line. It was an emotional moment for us because all our hard work paid off,” he added.
Meanwhile, Spaeth prevailed in the all-CNMI showdown for the women’s 30 to 39 division title after crossing the finish line a little over a minute ahead of Heather Taylor, who clocked in at 4:18:01. Shawna Brennfleck was at distant third after posting 4:51:57.
Kimiko McKagan and Sheila Isla were the other female riders from the CNMI who completed the 100K race. McKagan timed in at 4:31:22, while Isla submitted 6:15:43 to finish second in the 40 to 44 age group behind South Korea’s Jeongeun Choi (5:11:11).