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  1. #1
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    Going to Cuba for a Stage Race

    Tommorow morning (April 3rd) I will travel to Cuba. I've never been before, but I'm told it's nice, and am looking forward to it. I'll be down there for about a week and a half, in order to compete in the first race of my season.

    The event is called the ISU International Sports Festival (I think it was previously called the Tour de L'Havane del Este) and it is a four day long stage race based on points. The field should be pretty strong, and pretty big (at least 100-125 I think) with several nationalities being represented.

    Since it is the first race of my season, and it is a big one, my expectations are not too high. Merely there to try and find something resembling form. Some of my teammates who are also going, already have some races under their belts, and may stand a better shot at good placings than I. I'm looking forward to racing, and suffering in this new season.

    The coolest thing is that I'll miss a week and a half of school, and my teachers all support my leaving!

    I'll let you guys know how things went when I get back. See-Ya!

    - Maurizio

  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Isn't travel to Cuba illegal? I think some lil' ol' lady just got slapped with a great big fine for her trip.

  3. #3
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    In general yes. But with a special visa it is permissible, and although general tourism does not qualify, for reasons such as athletic events and special diplomatic issues, a visa can be obtained.

    My team and I all have this special permission to travel depite the embargo. In fact my team has been sending guys down there to race in the early season for years. Anybody read Joe Papp's diary of the Vuelta a Cuba on Cyclingnews.com? He's on my team, and as you can see, some of the guys have already been down to race there this year (I wasn't allowed to do the Vuelta a Cuba becuase I'm too young).

    - Maurizio

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    I hope you are ready.

    Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans are very strong riders.
    Xavier Cintron - www.bullteksports.com

  5. #5
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response Maurizio and break a chain! (Hopefully it works like showbiz's "Break a Leg")

  6. #6
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    Good luck dude

    how old are u?

  7. #7
    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maurizio
    Anybody read Joe Papp's diary of the Vuelta a Cuba on Cyclingnews.com?
    Yup, I read it. I read the Chile one, too. It sucks we don't get to go to Chile this year for Jr. Pan Ams. I was looking forward to going for a long time. No support though, from the Feds.

    Good-luck in Cuba. That's big stuff. If you do well in that race, it'll lead to bigger and better things, for you.
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
    - Nicole Reinhart

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    Velo,

    Please write a letter to the USCF conserning your concerns on the lack of support.

    After all that is why the USCF exists and riders pay dues.
    Xavier Cintron - www.bullteksports.com

  9. #9
    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Xavier
    Please write a letter to the USCF conserning your concerns on the lack of support.
    My coaches have expressed their feelings. They've been doing it for years. And, believe me, I do my share of suggestions.
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
    - Nicole Reinhart

  10. #10
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    How was the race?

    I am going over to cyclingnews.com to look up anything exciting with it. How did you do though?
    Reverend Dr. Jay
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  11. #11
    Bring the tech Ajay213's Avatar
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    Isn't travel to Cuba illegal? I think some lil' ol' lady just got slapped with a great big fine for her trip.
    FYI traveling to Cuba isn't illegal, spending money in Cuba is illegal, unless you have prior approval.

    Lots of people in the US go there, first you fly to the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico (basically anywhere but the US) and then fly to Cuba. If the US finds out you spent money there though you are in for some trouble though, so spend cash and burn your reciepts.

    Andrew

  12. #12
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    Hey there. Here's the report---

    I just got back a few days ago, and damn, was it freakin' hard. The juniors (-18) espoirs (19-22) and elite's (23+) were all combined into one huge field, and there was no real way to tell if a competitor was in your age group anyway.

    Although most of the older elite riders from Cuba, Guatamala and Mexico, are technically not Pro's since they don't have contracts with UCI registered teams, they are sort of pro's since they all race for a living, have no other jobs, and are supported by their governments. Most of the older Cubans I was racing live next to the velodrome nearby Havana in appartments provided by the govenment.

    I have no real idea how I did -- other than badly -- because due to no photo finish apparatus, riders outside of the top ten couldn't even really get placed.

    The first day was a 8 laps of a 8 km. circuit (~65km.) with a 1.5km. climb every lap. It hurt like hell sprinting up that thing with chasing skinny 130 lb. Cubans. Anyway, I got dropped pretty bad about halfway through. I hadn't done any racing this season before this race, and I'll admit, that after this New England winter, my form could be better.

    Day two was a long out and back road course (~150 km.) It was very very fast, with a lot of attacks at the front of the group. I felt a bit better than the previous day, but not frisky enough to be attacking and mixing it up at the front of the group. Unfortunately, bad luck struck when I was behind a crash at about the 85th km, held up just a few seconds, but couldn't mannage to rejoin the peloton which was screaming along at about 30 mph. into a headwind coming off of the ocean. I rode hard by myself for the rest of that day, even though I knew I was out of contention, just to get in some good hard training. By the end of the stage I had caught, and dragged home, about a dozen riders who had been dropped from the main field and were absorbed into my little chase group. One of the cubans reached over to me and stole one of my water bottles durring the return trip back home. I was pissed since it was so hot and humid -- about 90 degrees.

    The third day was a medium length road race (~130km.). I was feeling much stonger than in previous days... either that or everyone else was begining to get worn down. I raced at the front of the pack from the first km. and even threw in an attack before the first 5 km were up. Although that initial move was short lived, I kept to the front of the field and listened to hear several crashes happen behind me. I was glad I wasn't back there. I attacked with a bunch of other riders at about the 20km. point. There were about eight of us initially, and I had another USA teammate in the break with me. Although the break got a gap of about 20 sec. pretty quick, it wasn't getting any larger. Groups of 3-5 riders kept bridging up to the move untill it had swelled to about twenty riders, and was filled by most of the best in the race. I was excited at the prospect of being up there, thinking that if the group of 20 got organized that things might work out, but instead a stupid few in the break kept attacking it, shattered the break into smalled groups, and the peloton eventually caught us all. Very soon, another break got away, this time three riders. They were off in the distance, when I, feeling recovered enough from previous efforts, attacked in an effort to bridge. It became quickly apparent that I wasn't going to make it accross the gap alone, so I was glad when a group of four caught me from behind to help me out. The five of us made it up to the lead three, and had about 30 seconds on the field. We were working well too. Break's had won the last two days, and I was feeling optimistic about this one... when I flatted. No neutral support here in Cuba! END OF RACE!!! (Bad luck was a trend for me in cuba)

    Fourth day was a crit (~60km.). I flatted durring warm up (you wouldn't believe how much glass there is on their roads...). I got a spare wheel before the race started, but didn't have a chance to ride it and see how it was adjusted. Not too well I would find out. The race started, and the pace didn't feel too bad, except that goind down a slight descent on the backside of the course during the opening laps, I smacked a HUGE HUGE pothole and my chain flew off, necessitating me to get of my bike and manually put it back on. And so I did... and so I never caught back up with the field. Oh well... I was riding back to our hotel from the crit course after the race was over, when I flatted again!!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!

    Ahhhh..... Cuba. Although in my race I didn't exactly achieve a great placing, I did come out of it feeling a lot stronger than I came into it, and that I suppose, was the main reason I came to do this race in the first place. It was a lot of fun to spend some time someplace warm, and the racing was a lot harder and longer than what I generally have to put up with in the States, and hopefully that will provide me with a bit of a mental edge.

    I write this the day before my very first race back in my home country. Tommorrow I have a short Circuit race, the Adelphia Gran Prix, that I'll take part in as a Junior rider. I have my fingers crossed for no bad luck!

    Thanks for reading,

    - Maurizio

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