Team PACT captures top honours during 22nd Boom to City Race
With just ten days to go before the 2023 instalment of the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, teams from across the country are testing their endurance and strength. The last canoe race before the big dance was the 22nd annual Boom to City Race, which was held on Sunday. Team PACT repeated their feat from 2022 by winning this race yet again. Richard Herbert spoke to team captain Jerry Cante and manager, Zamir Guerra about their win.
Jerry Cante, Captain, Team PACT: “We were just trying to rest, trying to get into the channel first because we know that that channel is very hard and if we gave Guava Limb or Koop Sheet metal the advantage to enter the channel first it will be very difficult for us so we saved some energy and entering the channel we came in first there so we managed to do what each team would like to do in the channel.”
Reporter: I want to confirm something because I’ve noticed a lot of time in these races especially at station prize areas and at finish lines that it seems that sometimes there are like two teams competing like you guys always keep up along the way. Is that a strategy where you don’t want to take too much energy and you just want to keep close and keep an eye on your competitor ?
Jerry Cante, Captain, Team PACT: “Well it all depends on what we decide. If we want to save energy for the finishing or it all depends on how we feel out there. Sometimes we feel good and we say we’ll go hard for the station prize but if not then we just try to hold the wave and then rest.”
Reporter: And you think you’re gonna duplicate this effort today in two weeks time for the Ruta Maya ?
Jerry Cante, Captain, Team PACT: “Well hopefully you know everything comes out well for us. Right now up in San Ignacio the river is very shallow so we gotta go back and continue working out hard. We can’t say it’s already a win for us because we have Guava Limb, Westrac, Koop Sheet Metal those are very strong we can’t take our eyes off of anyone you can never know what can happen on the day of the race so we can’t go out there and say with our mind and say it’s an easy race because that’s a lie. We gotta go out there and race very smart and hopefully everything comes out the way we plan.”
Zamir Guerra, Manager, Team PACT: “Between our two biggest sponsors BTB and PACT they came out and gave us finances, vitamins and whatever fuel and so forth so that these guys could get out there to train and make sure they put in their hours for this big event. You know without those training it wouldn’t have been possible for where these guys are at right now. Prepping up for the Ruta Maya it’s not only a one night or a one day preparation you know it goes a long way so the guys are out there training I’m in the background just making sure everything is running smoothly for them or try to run as smooth as possible for them so they don’t have to worry about all the logistics you know ? All their mentality or their minds is just to prep for the race.”
But racing is not just for the experienced paddler. The sport is creating spaces for young men, young women, and sometimes, whole families to participate. Rudolph Sho and his sons, Royal and Ron, make up the Audubon Green Guardians. We spoke to them about their training for the March 3 weekend.
Rudolph Sho, Captain, Audubon Green Guardians: “We’ve been out there like I told you last year we were expecting to do much better this year so we did eight months of training. This is a test for us this year well at this point in time before La Ruta Maya so we’ll basically see where we are at the moment.”
Reporter: Okay let’s hear from the suns. So how has the training been? You think that given that you’ve had more time to prepare it’s going to be a lot better this year? You guys are more equipped to be out there on the river ?
“Well it’s still a bit challenging but we think we’ll do a little bit better than how we did last year and a little more competitive. So we might be behind the crowd or whatever happens but I’m not sure we’re still unaware of the race.”
“My thoughts ? Training has been tough really. It’s been tough sometimes the water changes so you have to get used to all the rapids and how the water rises and it goes back down but pretty much we’re expecting to do a little better than last year because we had enough training.”
Hells Bells was a C-2 team last year and this year, they’ve reconfigured into a masters team, snatching the top honours in their category. We also spoke to the team’s David Newton and Luis Martin about prepping for the race.
David Newton, Hells Bells: “What a beautiful race today. A lot of canoes came out. The weather was just perfect. We had a nice start. Chris Guydis took off in front of us they had a new paddler in the front who was strong so they gapped us. They maybe had quarter of a mile on us most of the way and then all of a sudden we just cruised at one pace and we caught them at the bridge at the airport and we just cruised, we had a little battle with them I mean they’re a strong strong team but then we just edged away.”
Luis Martin, Hells Bells: “I told him I did it thirteen years, never was in the top categories just for recreation and he invited me, he put his trust in me, told me what I needed to do and I did it and we’re here now.”
Reporter: So how was the preparation been for today’s race ? Did you manage to get in a lot of practice before hand ?
Luis Martin, Hells Bells: “Well what we did is we don’t deviate from our regular workout. The races are just a plus for us. I’ve been going three times a week. I’ve lost 47 pounds in one year you don’t get the opportunity to get invited with good guys like these so I took it very seriously. I didn’t want the opportunity to get away I needed to prove to these guys that I was serious and I wanted to get with them and nothing expensive just common sense you know burn more than you take in and that’s why I did for one year. The sacrifice my family did as well giving up a lot of parties, a lot of beers but now after Ruta Maya it’s gonna be time to drink up again.”
Second place was “Slim and Trim like Guava Limb”, which is comprised of Javier Guardado, Daniel Cruz, Jr., and Andres Cabb. Third place was Koop Sheet Metal, which is made up of Cristian Lopez, Enrique Lopez, and Carlos Linarez.