Ruthless Caitlin Conyers drops the hammer on the boys
Caitlin Conyers admitted she needs to be more comfortable embracing her “nasty side” after a dominant display in the Bermuda Cycling Academy Criterium yesterday.
Fresh from clinching gold and bronze among the elite women’s field at the combined Pan American and Caribbean Cycling Championships, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Conyers further outlined her prowess as one of the island’s standout cyclists in fine style.
As the lone female competitor among the Adult B category field, she stormed to a convincing victory, breaking away in the final four laps to ride solo to the finish line in a winning time of 28min 8sec. She was comfortably clear of nearest rivals Cameron Morris and Grant Goudge, who took second and third respectively, both in 28:25.
“I’m really happy with my performance out there; people have told me they think I’m the first woman to win a men’s Bermuda Bicycle Association race, which is exciting,” Conyers said.
“When I’m competing against the guys I definitely have to use my strengths to my advantage. I know I’m unlikely to win a sprint against some of these guys, so if I want to dominate it’s a case of getting out in front.
“Before too long I looked back and it was just myself and Cameron [Morris] and so I thought Iet’s keep pushing. A few more laps later I looked back and he wasn’t on my wheel any more, either, and so I knew I just had to keep going.
“It’s even more pleasing for me to win with it being a BAC race because I’ve been trying to help out with the young cyclists and so anything I can do to show the young cyclists, and particularly the girls, what’s possible then that’s great.”
As well gaining as a sense of satisfaction with her latest victory, Conyers is also finally starting to fully believe in her own ability, as she becomes more comfortable with the “nastier side” of racing.
“With me it is all about my confidence and knowing I belong in the big races, whether that’s in Bermuda or abroad,” she added. “I’ve tended to sit in a group and wait for the sprint and I know can’t do that; I have to ride to my strengths.
“It’s not like I can’t work on my sprinting, but I know I have the strength to lead out from the front. I know I can ride fast and consistently and so it’s about putting myself in those positions.
“I’ve known for a long time that with me it’s about confidence in myself but it can take a long time to know you belong in the big races and it’s about breaking through that own mental barrier of mine.
“Sometimes I’m probably too nice and in cycling a lot of the time it’s not about being nice, it’s about being a little more nasty and not being afraid to be dominant in races.”
It proved a much closer finish in the Adult C category, in which Ricky Smith claimed victory in 25:57, less than a second ahead of Kavin Smith, who narrowly pipped Shannon Jennings to second place.
Charlotte Millington also dominated her field in winning the Youth 13-14 category. Setting off on a blistering pace from the start, she crossed the line in 18:25, slightly under 20 seconds ahead of second-placed Gordon Smith, who outsprinted Jake Smith in the final stages.
There was also a convincing victory for Zachary Moniz in the Youth 12-and-under category. Crossing the line in a time of 14:53, he finished more than 46 seconds ahead of Sanchez Smith, with Jeon Wolfe, a further two seconds behind, completing the top three places.