Conyers aiming to learn from experience

  • Enjoying the ride: Bermuda cyclist Caitlyn Conyers is competing in her first major international event in Lima

    Enjoying the ride: Bermuda cyclist Caitlyn Conyers is competing in her first major international event in Lima

Caitlin Conyers says she is looking to absorb as much information as possible at the Pan American Games as she prepares to make her debut in a major international competition.

Conyers only started cycling seriously two years ago and admits that the multi-sport event has possibly come too soon in her fledgeling career for her to have the type of impact she would like.

Locally, Conyers has enjoyed a meteoric rise, winning a hatful of titles during the past two seasons, as well as earning Bermuda a berth at the Pan Am Games by winning a silver medal in the road race in the Caribbean Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in October last year.

The Pan Am Games will represent another significant step up in class for the 29-year-old, who will compete in the time-trial tomorrow and road race on Saturday at the Circuito San Miguel.

“If you’d have told me this time last year I’d be competing at the Pan Am Games I never would have believed you,” Conyers said.

“The Caribbean Championships was my first real international experience and it was pretty amazing that I was able to qualify for this.

“It’s all happened so quickly and I’m still catching up to where I want to be. The Pan Am Games have come quite early on in my cycling career but the Commonwealths [in Birmingham, England] will be in three years’ time and that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Such is the quality of riders in Lima, Conyers said her main goal in the road race will simply be to cross the finish line.

Participants who are lapped or look to be in danger of being lapped will be pulled from the race.

“The road race will be difficult as it’s a really high level here; almost all of the girls are pro cyclists,” said Conyers, who is a product of Tri-Hedz, Bermuda’s junior triathlon programme and the daughter of Jeffrey Conyers, a keen cyclist and triathlete. “If I’m finishing the race I’m very happy.

“The more I race in this environment, the more I’ll understand what I need to do.”

As for the time-trial, where cyclists will race alone against the clock, Conyers has set herself a target of hitting an average speed of 25½ miles per hour.

“In the time-trial, I have my own personal goal and it’s an objective standard,” she said.

“The time-trial is best for me in terms of saying, ‘OK, I’m improving; I can see how I’m doing here’. It may be a bit tough because it’s a hilly course.”

Joining Conyers in Lima will be team-mate Nicole Mitchell, who accepted a late offer from the organisers to compete in the time-trial and road race.

Both riders represented the Pan Am-Caribbean team at the five-day Vuelta Femenina a Guatemala in June,

“Nicole is super experienced,” Conyers said. “She has been racing for a long time and she’s great to have around.

“Hopefully, she can guide me during the [road] race because she’s done a lot of these events. She’s been around these cyclists for so long that she knows where you need to be [during the race] and what you don’t want to miss.”

In preparation for Lima, Conyers has trained extensively on the island, testing herself against the top male riders such as Dominique Mayho, her boyfriend and Bermuda’s coach at the Pan Am Games.

“Bermuda is actually quite good for training,” Conyers said. “I train with the Madison team on Tuesdays and then there’s the group rides on Sundays, which are quite high level.

“For the women, because we have such high-quality men, if you can stay with them you know you’re doing well.

“The only thing I’m missing is really getting that race experience because in Bermuda the women’s races don’t have enough competitors at that level. That’s what I’m missing at the moment.”

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Published Aug 6, 2019 at 12:01 am (Updated Aug 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm)

Conyers aiming to learn from experience

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