More than 100 cyclists of all ages turned out, eager to test their stamina in the Guam Cycling Federation’s 2021 Blazing Saddles 6HR MTB Endurance Race Sunday at the Guam International Raceway in Yigo.

The first endurance event of the year, the number of competitors and energy surrounding the event is a testament to the growth of the sport since the onset of COVID-19. 

“COVID really got a lot of people into biking,” said GCF president Eric Tydingco. And, after a year of no racing, the cycling community came out en masse to the Yigo raceway for a taste of competition. The goal? To complete as many laps as possible in six hours. No easy task considering the hills, rocks and slippery slopes at the raceway.

And, while there were a number of competitors dialed in and ready to test their cycling skills, there were also a number of participants eager for a chance to try and compete – getting a taste of the camaraderie and community among cyclists.

The sounds of people cheering on the course and whiz of bikes flying downhill, navigating the slippery slopes was a huge part of the day. 

“The people that have done this event in the past – they know how much fun this event is,” Tydingco said over the music blaring in the background and indicating the food that brings people together.

For Jane Jones, the day was perfect for a serious enduro run that attacked hills and drops.

“It’s so fun – excellent day to race,” she said. “It’s just that … Guam is so beautiful.”

For Jones, keeping up with her two teammates was key to success.

“We did this type of race at Two Lovers’ (Point) a few years ago, and it’s our first time at GIR,” she said. “It’s a test of endurance – you’re not worried about speed, just maintaining.”

There’s definitely some spotty areas that pose hazards, but that’s the nature of the beast and the fun of the ride, she said. 

“I’m riding with two 20-year-olds,” she said, laughing, adding she has to keep up.

“The goal is to maintain your speed - don’t add more than a minute to your last time. Get quick transitions in,” she said, offering her take on how to be successful. 

The darkness is something you train for, she said. 

Aponik, Camacho win solo titles

With more than a dozen competitors in the various divisions and several relay teams, the day was a success. 

GCF’s Tydingco thanked Blazing Saddles sponsor, Michelob Ultra, for making the race possible.

Dan Aponik (men’s 40-49) took home the men’s solo title, completing 24 laps in five hours, 53 minutes and 1 second. Edward Oingerang (M19-29), Art Guerrero (M50-59), Blayde Blas (M15-18) and James Sardea (M50-59) rounded out the top five spots.

In the women’s solo race, the women’s 40-49 age division killed it with Blanda Camacho, Leilani Chargualaf and Noelani Yano winning the top three spots. Camacho completed 17 laps in 5:50:40. Kara Duenas (F19-29) and Jela Valencia (F19-29) rounded out the top five overall for the day.

In the E-Bike division, Anmol Sobti, Joseph Cruz, Salvador Haber grabbed the first three spots overall.

In the men’s relay, Podium Guam (John Carlo Baguyo, Jayson Garcia and Jake Gimoto) finished first overall, completing 26 laps in 5:51:10. Balugaka (Eugene Carino, Arnold Gimoto and Bong Mojas) and Team Star Platinum (Hadriel, Bart and Herrold Templanza) rounded out the top three overall in the men’s relay.

In the mixed relay teams, Shreddahz (Joey Crisosostomo Jr., Ian Mariano and Province Poppe) finished first overall, completing 23 laps in 5:59:05. Bridge (Erika Camacho, Gene Crisostomo, Adrian Mora) and Team Slow-mo (Joseph Green, Jane Jones and Kohlin M. Faculo) rounded out the top three.

There was one women’s team in the relay, SHeREDDERS with Sherry Bawar, Natalia Faculo and Merced Flores, taking home first place after completing 14 laps in 4:52:33.