Joel Buco and Mark Isip took the first place honors in their respective divisions in the Pre-Hell Race Series 2 held last Sunday.
Buco pedaled past the rest of the competitors in the road bike division of the nearly 30-kilometer race after clocking in at 1:07:10. Buco and the rest of the bikers headed out of Mariana Resort & Spa to the Mobil gas station in Tanapag and then proceeded to Suicide Cliff, Bird Island, Grotto, and Banzai Cliff. They then went for the last stretch of the race from the Banzai Cliff checkpoint to the finish line across the closed Mariana Resort & Spa.
Joining Buco in the Top 3 (men’s overall) were J.C. Libut and Nap Dizon with the former surrendering second place to the latter by a hairline. Dizon reached the finish line at the 1:08:16 mark, while Libut submitted 1:08.17.
“I’ve been preparing for this race by practicing at least 200 meters per week. Personally, I aim to finish at least in the Top 5,” Dizon commented before last weekend’s competition.”
Meanwhile, Isip persevered through the steep inclines and the winding roads to finish atop the mountain bike category after clocking in at 1:14:36. Rusty Valino trailed Isip closely, finishing just a few minutes behind the latter at 1:16:36. Ding Ramos rounded out the Top 3 finishers for the mountain bike category with a time of 1:23:10.
In the 55 and above age group MTB category, Floro Derexes claimed first place honors after crossing the finish line in 1:27:22, while Boboy Aguilar finished almost 10 minutes behind Derexes with his 1:37:03.
Last weekend’s event was part of Saipan bikers preparation for the 2018 Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race that will be held on Dec. 1. The pre-Hell series is a collaboration of Saipan Cyclers, Triathlon Association of the CNMI, and Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation.
“Ricky Castro, Vince Seman, and I decided to take over organizing the Hell of Marianas race in 2016. We also decided to host three preliminary races,” said Jay Diyco, who heads Saipan Cyclers. Castro and Seman are the presidents of TRAC and NMICF, respectively.
“Hosting these preliminary races is one way to promote camaraderie. This is also part of our training for future races. The next preliminary race for the Hell of Marianas Series will be on Nov. 11, which will be in tandem with the Saipan Lions Unity Club,” Diyco added.