By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After missing last year’s race because of miss communication about a change in starting point, Orano Andrews pedaled his way to another Tour de Tortola victory on Sunday morning, in an event race coordinator Ian Walker described as “a punishing race.”
”That was really, really an extremely tough race,” he said. “We were lucky to have some good conditions, but when you’re talking almost 40 miles—up and down those hills with over two and a half thousand feet of climbs and you put that all into the pot—absolute pain all the way through.”
Andrews won the 37-mile circumnavigation of Tortola that started and ended in Trellis Bay, Beef Island, covering the course in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Road racer Barry Jones—who rode a mountain bike for the first time—was second in 2:52 as the only two ricers under three hours.
Andrews took control of the race in Brandwine Bay, heading to Road Town. “I saw that I had a window of opportunity after my opponent was struggling and after that, I decided to take the lead until the end,” explained Andrews who won for the fifth time. “I climbed my beast after I left town including up Windy Hill and I felt good and comfortable.”
It was the second year organizers moved the traditional start from Road Town to Beef Island to avoid the early morning church traffic in James Young. Andrews said the race is a little harder. “You already have more hills starting from Trellis Bay and coming into town itself before you reach Windy Hill,” he pointed out. “You might be a little bit exhausted but once you have the fitness to climb, then that’s easy once you’re a climber.”
Jones said he was satisfied with his second place finish as it was his first time racing on a mountain bike. “Not being familiar with certain sections of the course, I had several detours plus, I had several spills—going uphill funny enough,” noted the Cayman Islands native now living in the BVI. “But, it was a good day’s ride. Enjoyed it immensely. The intention was to go hard at the start because I knew a lot of people won’t be interested in going really hard before the serious climbing began and being a road racer, we hit it from the start.”
The transition from a road bike racing to racing on a mountain bike became obvious to Jones early in the race. He said before reaching Brandy Wine Bay hill, he felt that he was pulling from his gluteus. “That concerned me because normally, I’m not feeling that kind of sensation in my butt when I’m actually pedaling so I had to adjust myself,” he pointed out. “Besides, the bike I was on a loner bike and the gears weren’t shifting that well. When Orano left, I basically had to go at my own pace and select the gears I could at that that point in time.”
Carolina Pettigrew—the only woman entered—was fourth overall. She won the women’s division in the early years of the tour before getting married. She said her husband likes endurance events. “Usually, he’s stronger than me but, he tends to get cramps in long, long races,” she said. “I thought he was going to beat me, but he ended up cramping on Windy Hill. Poor man. I left him on the side of the road—I had to make it home. The thing is, when you’re going up those steep hills all you think is one foot in front of the other.”
Final results: 1. Orano Andrews, 2 hours and 40 minutes. 2. Barry Jones, 2:52. 3. Reggie Morgan, 3:08. 4. Carolina Pettigrew, 3:17. 5. Statius Taliman, 3:18. 6. Laurens Blok, 3:22. 7. Ian Walker, 3:31. 8. John Ayers, 3:40. 9. Aaron Gardner, 3:42. 10. Dave Pettigrew, 3:43. 11. Jim Cullimore, 3:47. 12. Liam Blok, 4:08. 13. Shane Donovan, 4:13. 14. Rusty Burns,4:28. 15. Mike Masters, 4:43.
Jr. Division: John Cullimore, 1:31.