Micronesia offers some of the most exciting sports events in the Pacific region, such as the Micronesian Challenge, the XTERRA series, marathons, triathlons, paddling races, windsurfing and sailing regattas, and much more. One sporting event attracting international attention is the 100km “Hell of the Marianas” ( www.hell-of-the-marianas.com ). This 4-year old cycling race attracts over 120 participants from the USA, Korea, Japan, Russia, Guam, and Australia. This year’s race is scheduled for December 4, 2010.
The Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle is the only race of its kind in the Marianas, which promises to deliver the most spectacular, fuel efficient tour of Saipan. This peaceful island surrounded by pristine azure waters and lush jungle, is also home to the highest mountain in the world, notably Mt. Tapochau, with its base starting 37,000 feet beneath sea level. The precipitous terrain laden with a number of tortuous climbs overrules this rugged, tropical island course. Graced with breathtaking scenery and challenging climbs, the 100 km (61.3 mile) course is designed to both challenge and reward the participants.
Dubbed “the toughest race in Micronesia,” the “Hell of the Marianas” century cycle course traverses nearly every major hill on island. Elevation levels vary and display like an erratic heart beat monitor with jagged spikes and dips approximately every 20 km. The race has grown steadily in its short span of three years. Last year, the field of international participants leaped to twenty-four and a total 108 competitors undertook the grueling 100 km (62.5 mile) mountainous course encompassing the picturesque perimeter of the island.
While 100 km sounds intimidating to most, the Hell of the Marianas is certainly doable for the average cyclist. Those who choose to race 100 km solo definitely have the daunting feat of riding continuously for an average of four to five hours, but for others, team categories make the race much more palatable. The tandem teams each ride 50 km each, and the quad teams, ride a manageable 25 km each.
The Pacific Islands Club Saipan (PIC) is the main sponsor and host hotel for the Hell of the Marianas and is pleased to offer a special discounted rate to the race participants. In addition, PIC provides the prizes for the top winners. The hotel team is also highly proactive during the race. Many of employees volunteer at the help station providing the cyclists with water, sports ,and fruits. The hotel cycling team has more than 40 hotel employees from various departments and many of them lead and win at the cycling races organized on Saipan. Among the racers will be the hotel General Manager, Kieran Daly, who is an active triathlete and the creator of the “Hell of the Marianas.” He has previously raced in an Ironman triathlon and in August 2010, he participated in the 7th Micronesian Games in Palau and won the Men’s gold medal in triathlon. The Reservations Manager, Kevin Carey, will participate with his wife, Mieko, a professional triathlete and ex-PIC employee, a winner and a top-finisher in many local and international triathlons and races.