The FIJATE race this year has undoubtedly been the most important edition and that has had more international riders. Sponsorship from great brands of a worldwide relevance, support large teams, and participation from riders like Neil Bezdek, Red Hook Crit Champion 2013, Stefan Vis Team FAST Amsterdam and recent winner of the Red Bull Race The Place, among many others. Also in attendance were legendary cyclist Alfred Bobé Jr., Lucas Brunelle and his two cameras, or David Trimble who gave his support to the event.
To tell us this important cycling event we were able to enlist the help of our friend David Rosado, from Zum-Zum Mensajería.
Since I am not a journalist I narrate the event from my perception.
Friday, April 25
On Friday afternoon I left home with my backpack and camera, ready to document the Alleycat event. Assigned points tally checkpoints asked who would accompany my friend Mari (who I won’t say the real name to protect identity) and as I saw no feints, raised my hand did ‘t run to the fate of being alone, who knows, if it’s in a dangerous place.
With our bikes to shoulder down the stairs, and among the 80 participants left the Ciclo-Canibal, I simply stood still didn’t know where we I was going. We arrived at Central High School located on Ponce de Leon Avenue, one of the main avenues of the city, one up the stairs and stand at the bottom of the stairs, where participants would reach only to see us through our cycles lights (those were the instructions).
Alleycat Begin! It took a little over ten minutes until riders started to arrive, by groups, in herds, sometimes with friends and in most cases isolated, some solo. For obvious reasons, foreigners always glued to the wheel of a local rider and of course, there was the two chambers with Mr. Lucas Brunell.
No Te Quites Crew (# NTQ) is distinguished by organizing complex Alleycats and this was no wonder, had three manifests. I never knew the points, but I’m sure you had to pedal a lot. Besides planning San Juan isn’t one in which the streets follow a pattern, like NY style, Barcelona and cities without sprawl like ours, which adds difficulty.
The last checkpoint was on Calle Cesar Gonzalez, where the photographs of Manuel Velez, who is also one of the Puerto Rican urban cyclists exhibited higher performance.
The race was won by Luis Rafael Robles, founder of PRFixed, owner of Eco- Messaging and one of the organizers of #FIJATE.
After the race the thing din’t stop there, for any reason Puerto Ricans is more than good to celebrate, complications arrive for participants Criterium; it’s time to decide whether to go to sleep or stay a little longer…
Saturday, April 26
It was already 12:00 pm headed to the Coliseum in Puerto Rico, and the typical fucking flat before leaving.
Finally I arrive just in time for the final race, runaway mode “Break Less”. Expectations were very high very intense race, particularly by the caliber of the participants expected.
After the formation lap, it’s time expectedand sing out! He feels the fight for the top positions the first round is the most delicate, where falls can occur.
The fast circuit that was technically three curves 180, yet the pace was frenetic. Eduardo Colon, Team Impulse Stage Puerto Rico, who left the Velodrome decking to test the asphalt in criteriums, was always placed in the top positions in the early laps and making a surprise getaway. Excited groups, kept him encouraged.
Eduardo was dominating the race and managed to take a lead of about 18 seconds, the distance was diminishing every lap. It looked a Chas punished by a sun that from his point Aerial cooked us peacefully. Finally Eduardo Columbus was absorbed by his teammate Edgardo Richiez, holding a second attack, goes solo. The ecstatic crowd kept shouting and celebrating, Puerto Ricans were pounding on international riders.
The race was subtracting turns, the most intense fighting were given in the fan groups. Individual battles to avoid being overtaken by the first. The turns were happening so fast that not enough to know if they had exceeded Richiez who was first, who was second, who was the first group or the second? As for the bike I could decipher who was to head and indeed still lonely Edgardo Richiez, who eventually won without problems.
Again and after a strategic work in the first half of the race, Eduardo Colón surprises his opponents in an amazing sprint, taking the second position. Third place went to Pablo Rodriguez from Polo & Bike team (ESP), who looked very good throughout the race and was always ahead with the best. In the fourth place Stefan Vis from FAST Amsterdam.
After the race Bobé Alfred Jr. while moisturizing, fraternizing with colleagues and the public. All commented on the strategy employed by the team Impulse Stage (PUR).
The race was very well organized and with out any problems. The public attendance was impressive, almost around the entire circuit.
Sunday, April 27
We plaid “Bike Polo”, which is also a sport is practiced across the globe by urban cyclists, we were disappointed to not see a tournament. However, it’s a race”Cycle Cross”, nothing against the sport, but the opposite was done; having a lot of mountains I didn’t understand why the race wasn’t held over there. However, it is a rural sport and explains its history Geo Lefèvre who invented the sport in 1903 (also the Tour de France):
“Imagine a cyclist who has been in war, have to roll on bad roads, pedaling or jogging through forests, plantations, meter pits… so you will know which is the beginning of cycle pedestrian cross.”(Lefèvre)
Sundays are the days of Bike Polo, so I missed the Cyclo Cross event.
A few days later, I met with Manuel Velez and Lucas Brunell, then Stefan Vis. The tropics should cause very little desire to return to the cold and experience FIJATE that transcends the event, is the hospitality and the warmth Boricua.
Finally, the FIJATE each year is promising: more sponsors, participation continues to increase, good organization. So id making savings to escape to the Caribbeans, see you in the next edition.