Early in the morning I met with all six national commissaires who had been assigned by the Puerto Rican cycling federation to work this event, and all of them were competent, eager to work, and pleasant to be around. A great group of people, indeed. Even though everyone had worked UCI races before, they all picked up a few new things, which for me, the former teacher, is always gratifying.
|The Elite Women and Junior Women take off|
|US rider Mary McConneloug on the course ...|
|... and being interviewed post-race by race director Doel Gonzalez|
Nevertheless, the organizers and representatives of the federation appeared to be happy, and we all talked about what could be done to possibly market the event better—after all, last week for the 70.3 in San Juan we had a mind-boggling 1,500+ registered athletes (although only about 40 Professionals showed up here as well).
|That's the Rincon lighthouse in the back|
|El Faro de Rincon|
There is one last thing that I want to add to this long post about the race, as it may serve as a segue to some general comments on Puerto Rico that I hope to publish tomorrow. So, here goes: In the middle of the amateur race, there suddenly was some serious commotion among the commissaires and the helpers and organizers, and I thought I heard something about a man with a machete. First I had to think of course director Edwin (whose name is pronounced as Ahween) because he can fix anything with one of those long, fierce-looking knives, but it turned out that somewhere on the course a crazy guy with a machete was threatening the racers! Course personnel and even police were dispatched, and nobody got hurt, thankfully. It seems, the nut-ball is known to the authorities. But, and here comes the reason for my writing all this, I had sent an e-mail after the race to my friend Sabine, who many years ago had sailed in the Caribbean and who had dug out a history book on this region when she heard I was traveling here. This morning I received an e-mail back from Sabine, and I want to end with this quotation that The Caribbean Experience—An Historical Survey 1450–1960 attributes to Columbus: "On a certain island called Charis dwell a people who are considered by the neighbouring islands as most ferocious, and these feed upon human flesh. They have many kinds of canoes in which they cross to all the surrounding islands and rob and plunder wherever they can.... They wear their hair long, like women, and make use of the bows and javelins of cane, with sharpenéd spear points fixed on the thickest end which I have before described."
Could we have possibly dealt with one of their descendants? Thanks for reading, and please come back.