[Editor’s note: Cadence Youth Cycling had quite the weekend. On Saturday, cyclists participated in a long ride and presentations; and on Sunday, several youth athletes competed (and won) in a triathlon event in Atlantic City. Bicycle Coalition intern Zach Mentzer and Cadence Youth Cycling coach Brandon Formanes covered both days of events.]
This Saturday was Cadence’s last large group ride of the summer. About 30 riders headed off from the steps of the Art Museum at 8am and covered about 35 to 40 miles before gathering again in the gymnasium at Lloyd Hall off of Kelly Drive. Some of the riders finished sooner than others saying that they really enjoyed the downhill sections of the course. A few of them estimated that they reached speeds up to thirty miles an hour.
“Thank God for downhills,” said Jewell.
After the ride, the kids were treated to sandwiches and salads and presentations were given by the groups’ organizing teams highlighting their accomplishments during this riding season.
“My favorite moment was when we went to City Hall and proposed ideas and backed them up with facts,” social media team member Tamia said during her talk.
Each of them also spoke about what aspects of leadership they were able to learn through their time with Cadence.
“I learned that being a leader is very good thing but sometimes as a leader you have to take a step back,” tour team member Taevon said.
Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Alex Doty was also in attendance and gave some strong words of encouragement to the group of young riders.
“You’re at the front of something we want to make bigger and stronger. You guys are paving the way,” Doty said.
The day could have ended after that but the kids were surprised when they learned that three bags of water balloons were waiting for them outside. Two sides were chosen but cries of cheating could be heard when one team started their barrage before the other. If a winning team could be judged by how much they soaked the other, then everyone was a winner on Saturday and not just at a game of water balloons.
This Sunday, at 2:00 AM, Cadence Youth and staff woke up to begin their trip to complete the Atlantic City Triathlon.
Last year, four athletes attended the event and participate in a relay-style. Tamia Santiago was one of those athletes, and in her attempt to complete the swim, she found herself unable to complete her first open-water event. This year, the Triathlon Team has grown from the initial roster of only 8 youth, to nearly 20 active members. In light of this, and to address the different skill levels as swimmers, we separated our athletes into teams to complete the Sprint relay events, and one of our athletes completed the full event.
- Ryan Breslin – Full Triathlon
- Womens Team – Tamia Santiago, Swim, Nia Reed, Bike, Marlina Hardy, Run
- Men’s Team 1 – Paul Jewell, Swim, Aaron Boggs, Bike, Sykheem Adams, Run
- Men’s Team 2 – Billy Wilkerson, Swim, De’Sean Long, Bike, Fard McFadden, Run
- Men’s Team 3 – Jonathan Wilkerson, Swim, Coleman Milligan, Bike, Billy Wilkerson, Run
As coaches, our mix of excitement and concern was tangible. That was quickly put to rest when Paul Jewel, and Tamia Santiago made their way out of the water. As an athlete, Tamia’s improvement, grit and determination was showcased greatly by her ability to persevere through her least favorite aspect of the Triathlon: swimming. From there, the event was largely a waiting game for our athletes to finish, the hard part was over, they made it to dry land, now it was time for the events they excel in… At the end of the day, we were surprised by results. We won, a lot!
- Ryan Breslin – 1st Place Men 16-17, 9th Place Overall – 57m:58s
- Team 1 – 1st Place Men’s Relay, Overall Relay Place 2nd – 1h:05m:05.3s
- Team 3 – 2nd Place Men’s Relay, Overall Relay Place 5th – 1h:17m:45.1s
It is important to note that our victories could also be measured in other ways. First, Tamia was able to complete the swim. Last year she was unable to continue after being shocked by her first open-water experience. Victory! Second, Billy Wilkerson swam the .25mi in 6:40, one second faster than the fastest full-sprint distance participant! Third, despite crashing into a cone that was hit by another racer, De’Sean Long was able to complete his leg of the race, and made it home. And Finally, everyone was awake, ready to go, and on time for the event.
It was a fantastic day, and we are all very proud of our athletes for their incredible performances.
Topics: Cadence Youth Cycling