81.4 F
Cruz Bay
Thursday, September 28, 2023


June 18, 2002 – John Miller, 34, of Tortola is used to coming in first at the annual St. John Festival Bike Race in St. John, but this year he outdid himself, breaking an hour for the 15.3-mile course.
His time of 59:44:18 beat his 2001 first-place finish time of 1:00:32 by a hair.
"I've been trying to do this for five years," Miller said Saturday just after he crossed the finish line at the entrance to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on Centerline Road. His reward, in addition to satisfaction, was the $250 top prize.
Miller, who owns a bike shop and sporting equipment rental store on Tortola, said he didn't train specifically for Saturday's event but has been putting in about 14 hours a week on his bike to get ready for racing competitions in Europe this summer.
A field of 15 men and women took part in the St. John event, which began near the V.I. National Park Ballfield, then headed up the North Shore Road, down into Coral Bay and back uphill along Centerline Road.
St. John resident Louise DePuy, who frequently wins or places near the top in St. John endurance events, was first over the line for the women. Her time was 1:15:54, just a shade off last year's 1:15:31. DePuy, 33, a comptroller at Maho Bay Camps, was jubilant as she made the last uphill push toward the finish. "I can't believe it. I'm really happy with this," she said, adding that she had expected to be at least five minutes behind her 2001 time.
She and others said they found this weekend's course hard. "It's like time trials uphill," DePuy said. While there are a couple of opportunities to rest, she added, with the rest of the riders right behind her she had a big incentive to keep moving.
Only two women competed this year. The other one, St. Thomas T-shirt artist Kim Fitzpatrick, wiped out west of Maho Bay. "I wasn't paying attention. I looked up, and there was a right hand turn, but I didn't have enough brakes to keep my bike on the road," she said. She smashed through the trees but did not hit any large trunks or other obstacles and was able to walk away with a few scrapes and small cuts.
Fitzpatrick, 31, picked herself up and with the help of friends made minor repairs to her bicycle before continuing on. However, her bike wheel suffered a case of the wobbles when it went out of round, forcing her to stop again for more on-the-road repairs. She finished with a time of 1:43:00 and estimated the crash and repairs cost her about 25 minutes.
David Jones, 38, a Chase Bank relationship manager on St. Thomas, finished second for the men in his first try at the race. "I ran the 8 Tuff Miles, but this was going in the other direction," he said, referring to the annual February foot race that sends people out of Cruz Bay up Centerline Road to Coral Bay. He spoke for just about everyone when he also commented, "It's hot."
Tim Smith, 36, a St. Thomas boat captain, took third with a time of 1:16:26, well below his 1:21:01 finish last year that also was worth third place. "Racing is always tough, but I beat my time by more than four minutes," he said after he crossed the finish line.
One St. Thomas resident, Chris Haigh, 43, ran out of steam and did not finish. "I'm not in shape and it's too hot," he said as he relaxed under a tree waiting for the rest of the cyclists to finish.

Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.