Apr 142017
 
One of the most attended of Belize's annual Easter events is the Holy Saturday Cross country Cycling Classic.

One of the most attended of Belize’s annual Easter events is the “Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic”. A bicycle race open to amateurs of any country.

Belize’s Annual Easter Events.

One of the most attended of Belize’s annual Easter events is the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. The inaugural race was held in 1928 and is now followed by most Belizeans. Organized by the “Cycling Federation of Belize”, the international event is held on the Holy Saturday of each year. Amateur cyclists from any country are welcome to participate.

The Beginning.

The event was originally the concept of Monrad Metzgen after recognizing the significant use of bicycles as a popular mode of transportation for many Belizeans at that time, and. that still holds true today. His proposal of a cycling journey from Belize City to then “El Cayo” (now San Ignacio) also garnered support from then Governor, Sir John Burdon who provided a cup that would be awarded to the winner of the annual Easter event.

 

Historical Notables.

  • The inaugural Race was in April, 1928.
  • Elston Kerr, a Belizean, was the first ever winner.
  • Jeffrey O’Brien dominated the race during the first half of the 1950’s. Regarded as a premier sprinter, he took first place in 1951 and 1952. Finished second in 1953, and returned to his winning ways in 1954 and 1955.
  • Ashton Gill holds the honor of being the only cyclist to ever post three back to back wins for the consecutive years of 1945 – 1947.

 

A National Tradition.

The race begins at 6:00 AM on the holy Saturday of Easter weekend. It leaves Belize City heading west across the country for approximately 71 Miles(114 Km.) almost to the western border. The riders make their turn in San Ignacio, Cayo District. Then heading back towards Belize City to complete the return leg of the approximately 142 Mile(228 Km) total route. The winners usually arriving at the finish line right around 12:00 noon. A complete history including winners is available here.

Everyone Gets Involved.

The residents of the towns and villages along the George Price Highway (Western Highway) line the route to participate with cheers for their favorite riders. It is a chance to see where their selections are placing in the pack, and then to see if they have improved on the return leg. While thousands watch live, tens of thousand more tune in to the energetic radio broadcasters as they provide historical, biographical, and statistical data, as well as, usually an entertaining up to the second commentary.

 

More About Easter Celebrations in Belize.

Would you like to know more about the four days of Easter Celebrations in Belize? Check out my previous post titled “Easter Celebrations and superstitions in Belize”. It Includes more of Belize’s annual Easter events, as well as, some long time superstitions that date back to Mayan times but, still surround the Easter Holidays.

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  2 Responses to “Belize’s Annual Easter Events | The 89th Annual Bike Race”

  1. Wow that was interesting, Bill. Thanks! Off to read your reference post about Easter celebrations and superstitions. 🙂

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