Cyclist Kaden Hopkins lands silver medal in time trial at Jr Pan Am Games
Bermuda picked up its first medal at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games yesterday in Cali, Colombia when cyclist Kaden Hopkins claimed silver in the 26 kilometre time trial event.
Hopkins was second behind Victor Giraldo of Colombia, clocking a time of 30 minutes, 49.63 seconds. Hopkins was just four seconds behind the winner who recorded a time of 30:45:47 while Joao Rossi of Brazil claimed the bronze with his time of 30:59:88.
It was a good day on the road for Bermuda’s two cyclists as Conor White secured an impressive seventh place finish among 21 competitors, clocking 32:04:68.
The accomplishment by Hopkins was still sinking in when he spoke to The Royal Gazette about his achievement against the top young cyclists in the Americas. “I’m feeling good, we’re finally back into the hotel and getting some food into us,” Hopkins said.
“I’m really happy with the result. It seems like ever since I got into cycling I was always good at time trialling, it’s more of a mental game than a physical game sometimes.
“If you can force yourself to suffer then you’ll usually be pretty decent at it. It’s always been something that I’ve been decent at.”
Hopkins came within four seconds of claiming the gold, but considering the quality of the opposition, he knows silver is still a major accomplishment.
“Obviously any medal I was going to be proud of, but whenever you come second you always wish you had done that little bit more,” he admitted.
“At the end of the day I know I left everything out there so I’m happy with it. It was the hottest day we’ve had since we’ve been here, but they had tents at the start so we could stay in the shade.
“It was hot out there for sure, I know Conor and I were feeling the effects of the high altitude. It takes a lot out of you.”
Hopkins and White will be joined by Nic Narraway for the road race on Friday when another tough day of competition is anticipated.
“Being in Colombia with the Colombian team, we know for the road race as well they are going to be the guys to beat,” said the 21-year-old Hopkins.
“We’re going to have three guys in that one and we’re definitely going to leave it all out there.”
The performances of Hopkins and White was a proud moment for team manager Dominique Mayho, at 28 still a competitive cyclist himself.
“To win a medal at a Games like this is an amazing achievement for him, Bermuda cycling and Bermuda as a whole,” Mayho acknowledged.
“This is the first time we’ve had a cycling medallist at the Pan Am Games. He started about five minutes before the last person went off so once the last guy crossed the line they knew the results by then. They found out pretty quickly after they finished.”
Mayho admits he sees a lot of himself in the young cyclists, as only a few years ago he was still competing at a high level overseas.
“As the team leader here I’m super excited to watch these guys perform so well,” Mayho said. “They’ve come a long way and carry themselves professionally and you can see it in the results they get.
“For Conor as well, to get seventh at altitude and coming from Bermuda, it was rough for him. It was an amazing race for both of them.
“When I was racing full time, if I was home they came training with me. That’s why I wanted to be here, helping them by giving back what Bermuda cycling has given me. I want to stay involved so that I can help to bring on the younger guys.”
News of Hopkins’ medal achievement spread quickly with Peter Dunne, the Bermuda Bicycle Association president, receiving several messages both from here and abroad.
“It’s super exciting of course, I spoke to Kaden’s dad [Greg Hopkins] earlier and said ‘I think I’m as excited as you are’,” Dunne revealed.
“Absolutely, for the whole cycling community in Bermuda this is a big moment of pride. We’re getting messages galore on various social media, we’re really almost at a loss for words how excited we are.”
Dunne added: “My colleagues in the Caribbean are sending messages, people from other federations. Someone sent a note saying ‘congrats for representing all of us again’.”