Gaviola, Felipe top ‘Radar Challenge’
Ren Ren Gaviola and Jay-Ann Felipe were the fastest on two wheels during yesterday’s “Radar Challenge” that the organizing Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation held as a fundraiser for this coming December’s inaugural Pacific Cup and Tour de Guam in neighboring Guam.
Gaviola was himself in disbelief that he won the grueling 27-kilometer race that started at the former Mariana Resort & Spa and proceeded north to Suicide Cliff before turning back to the Bird Island Lookout, then forward to Banzai Cliff, and on the old Pacific Barrier Radar station in San Roque where the finish line was.
The 21-year-old Bohol, Philippines native finished the race in 1:06:56. He was followed by Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director Michiteru Mita who timed in at 1:11:11. Nap Dizon was a close third, crossing the finish line in 1:11:45.
“It was a hard race because even myself I didn’t know I would get first place. I also only had only 1 1/2 hours of sleep the night before. In fact, I was just hoping I would be able to finish the race and prayed for safety not only for me but also for all participants of the race,” he said in Filipino.
Gaviola also dedicated his first place finish in the Radar Challenge to his parents— Renato and Shelfa—and thanked The Bike Shop Saipan for sponsoring his cycling jersey.
While Gaviola battled lack of sleep the entire race, Felipe pedaled with a heavy heart as her daughter was involved in an accident just the night prior. She managed to momentarily block that out to rule the women’s division in 1:15:28. She narrowly beat Kimiko McKagan and Robyn Spaeth who completed the course side by side in 1:15:47 and 1:15:48 to take second and third, respectively.
Felipe, who only started competitive biking a year ago, said she’s happy that she was able to overcome the challenge of the Radar Challenge.
“It was very difficult racing when you have your daughter’s accident still fresh in your mind. I really wasn’t thinking of racing anymore but my friend and training partner, Joel Buco, requested that I still join since the competition is a fundraiser for his Guam trip at the end of the year,” said the 39-year-old of Nueva Ecija, Philippines in Filipino. She later said her daughter is doing better now.
In the MTB category, Bobax Aguilar paced everyone in a time 1:29:55 with Romando Lagrio coming in second in 1:31:22. Renzo Avila completed the Top 3 in 1:34:19.
Proceeds from the Radar Challenge goes to the CNMI cycling team that will take part in Oceania Cycling Confederation’s first-ever Pacific Cup and Tour de Guam on Dec. 12, 2021. Buco and Ayana Braxton topped the Pacific Cup tryouts held last August and they will be joined by men’s runners-up Mark Isip and Cesar Fortaleza in the CNMI team.