‘Hell of the Marianas’ greets 171 cyclists

A total of 171 participants traversed last Saturday’s 100-kilometer course in Pacific Islands Club’s 4th Annual Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle.

Korean cyclist Joon Yong “Seo” Seo dominated the men’s open road bike category, arriving with the fastest time of three hours, two minutes, and 52.41 seconds. In the women’s open division, Saipan’s very own Mieko Carey topped Guam’s Chiyo Lombard with an improved record of three hours, 22 minutes, and 5.34 seconds.

ThreeJoining Seo in the top five were Australia’s Malcolm “Mal” Rudolph (3:02:52.91), fellow rider Suk Yoon Choi (3:02:54.06), Russia’s Konstantin Fast (3:03:01.72), and Kung Kyu “Kkungs” Choi (3:03:04.41). The five traveled as a group to Banzai Cliff, where Fast led the way. Seo however, had the upper hand as he sprinted his way at the final strip of road leading to the finish line.

Carey overcame Lombard last Saturday despite falling behind her in last year’s HOM race. Following them in third place was Korea’s Myojin “MJ” Kim at three hours, 50 minutes, and 19.38 seconds.

“I am happy to finish,” said Carey after earning her spot on the race’s highly coveted trophy. “I don’t doubt myself and just pushed hard,” added the pro triathlete.

Despite having a good launch at PIC’s south parking lot, many bikers were greeted by slight rain near the end.

Other top winners in the men’s division with their categories and age group in parenthesis were Joel Tudela (mountain bike, 16-25 years), Korea’s Yeon Deok Kang (road, 16-25 years), Napoleon “Nhap” Dizon (mountain, 26-35 years), Cameron O’Neil (road, 26-35 years), Harold Balana (mountain, 36-45 years), Dave Spelger (road, 36-45 years), Enrique “June” Evangelista (mountain, 46-55 years), Ben Ferguson (road, 46-55 years), David Mair (road, 56-and-above), Derek Chambers (road, Manatee), and Irineo “Mark” Isip (mountain, open).

Women’s division winners included Jodel Fernandez (road, 16-25 years), Japan’s Nahoko Katoh (road, 26-35 years), Mamiko Berger (mountain, 36-45 years), Heather Kennedy (road, 36-45 years), and Susan Marchitti (mountain, 46-55 years).

Team Ramit’s team of Meldoy “Mel” Matson and Amy Sletten took first place in the mountain bike (female) category of HOM’s two-person relay race at 4:40:03.47. In the male’s group, Gary Bandoila and Bob Ferrer surpassed Dennison Dacuyag and Robert Oropesa at 3:42:17.09.

Team Philippine Express’ Aldrin Sta Ana and Willy Barbo took first in the male’s road bike category while Tina and Tim Goodwin ruled the mixed road event.

In the four-person (mountain bike) relay division, Team Giant’s Roderick Melchor, Nelson Pagauan, Silvano Tataro, and John Arceo came in with the fastest time of four hours, 13 minutes, and 31.66 seconds. Jenkins Team’s John Jenkins, Benny Russel Bagasala, Ronald Lanuza, and Bernard Laborce pushed to first place in the male’s road bike category, while Japan’s Tsugumi Amano, Miho Ohata, Ryoko Yoshida, and Asako Koyama won in the females’ group.

“Thank you to all the volunteers, media, friends, fans & DPS and congratulations to all who participated!” exclaimed PIC’s Kanae Quinn in an email.

“Next year’s race is December 3, 2011! It’s never too early to start training, especially for those of you who are tempted to enter 100-km solo!” she added.

Official results may be viewed at www.hell-of-the-marianas.com.