Conyers learns lessons from past mistakes
Caitlin Conyers finally put her Sinclair Packwood Memorial race demons to rest after clinching the open female title yesterday.
Having reigned supreme locally for the past two-years, the one blot on Conyers bulging honours list was the omission of the Bermuda Day spectacle after stuttering to a disappointing fourth-placed finish last year.
However, learning from her past failings, Conyers was not to be denied this time around, living up to her favourite tag to storm to a dominant victory, crossing the line in 27min 41.5sec ahead of Nicole Mitchell, in 28.48.5 and Jamie-Lee Wright, who took third-place in 29.34.4.
“I’m so happy, the race went exactly to plan,” said Conyers, who will be representing Bermuda at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July.
“I didn’t want to make the same mistakes as last year, where I made too many short attacks and burnt myself out.
“Last year has been playing on my mind all of this year because I made a lot of mistakes and it cost me. Your strategy has to be spot on for this race and you have to execute perfectly.
“Looking back last year I was half-hearted in some of my attacks, was over confident and massively naive in my strategy. I was much smarter this time round and I was desperate not to repeat those mistake
“I wanted to make an attack at a certain point and make it stick and thankfully I did just that. I looked back at Shelly Bay and finally I couldn’t see anyone chasing me down. I had an idea that I had a good lead and just had to hold on.
“It’s a tough course with a lot of hills and so from that point I just got my head down and rode to the finish line.
“Being such a short course definitely suits me. Coming from the east there are more hills and that allowed me to create more gaps when I attacked the climbs.”
With such a commanding lead, Conyers had the luxury of soaking the atmosphere on way to the finish line, something she believes makes the race as memorable as it is.
“Having so many people on the street cheering on is just amazing,” she added.
“It just makes it a very special day and it’s even more special now that I have a win under my belt.
“It’s by far the biggest race of the year for me. Bermuda Day is such a big holiday for the nation and it means so much to people. I’ve had people coming up to me over the week that I’ve never met wishing me luck and that just shows you how big a profile this day and race has.
“Usually when we race there aren’t many spectators so it’s incredible to have a day where the streets are lined with people watching us race.
“It brings a lot more pressure on us but the energy is incredible. It definitely pushes you on and it’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere of it all.”
Mitchell conceded second place was always going to the best possible outcome after having no answer for Conyers power on the punishing climbs throughout the course.
“We all knew beforehand that Caitlin would be the one to watch and pretty much it was a case of the rest of us battling each other,” Mitchell said.
“Caitlin attacked on one particular hill, which I anticipated, but I just couldn’t quite close the gap.
“Jamie-Lee and myself worked together to try and close the gap but she was just too strong for us to be able to bring it back in the latter stages.
“I’m happy with the result overall and just being part of these celebrations is amazing.
“It’s a phenomenal experience and I just wish we could gather more of this enthusiasm for other events because it makes the race just that much more special. It definitely spurs you on and the support around the course was just amazing.”
Zoe Hasselkuss overcame a close-fought contest with Liana Medeiros winning the junior female race in a time of 31.45.6, with the latter finishing in 31.45.9. Megan Hands completed the podium, taking third-place in a time of 31:52.4.
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