WITH the postponed 2020 Olympic Games that have been pushed back to next year in Tokyo, Japan out of his grasp, cyclist Jay Major is focusing his attention on his third appearance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 25-year-old, who participated in the men’s road race in 2018 in the Gold Coast, Australia and both the road and time trials in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014, said he has no other choice but to focus his attention on the XXII (22nd) edition of the four-yearly games in Birmingham, England.
It didn’t help that the coronavirus pandemic shut down all sporting activities since March, which prevented Major and all of the local cyclists from making any last attempts this year to qualify for the Olympics.
Fortunately, the Olympics have been postponed for a year in Tokyo, Japan because of the spread of the coronavirus. But Major said that still doesn’t give him any incentive to try and qualify, considering that there were no international meets to compete in this year.
“The coronavirus has made it very difficult for us as athletes, especially the cyclists,” Major said.
“With the government shutting down all of the facilities and there’s no competition for us to compete in, it’s been hard.
“We haven’t been able to get out on the road and train as much as we should have because of the lockdowns and curfews that are in place.
“But we still have to do some riding because if we slow down too much, we will get extremely slow. That’s just the nature of it.”
In his bid to remain sharp, Major said he’s been concentrating on running a lot more and exercising at home and riding on the road for at least an hour and-a-half on a daily basis.
“This year is already over and done with so the key is motivation,” Major pointed out. “So I am using the Commonwealth Games as my form of motivation so that I can keep on going.
“We expect to have some local races when everything gets back to normal, but my motivation is to go back to the Commonwealth Games. I know as I stand right now, I’m not fit to go to the Olympics. I won’t be able to put my best foot forward, so I will just wait for the Commonwealth Games.”
Other than the Commonwealth Games, Major also represented the Bahamas at the Caribbean Cycling Championships in 2010 in Aruba, where he earned a gold and a silver. He also participated in those championships again in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas where he fell short of getting back on the podium again.
Having gotten a taste of what it takes to compete on the international level against competitors who only train and compete full time, Major said he’s making the most of his opportunity as he juggles his time working with his father’s car repair store and training.
“On the international level, the speed is higher, the intensity is higher and the distance is longer, so there are a lot of things that you have to account for that you won’t do here when you compete locally,” Major reflected.
And as he prepares for the challenge of competing again at the Commonwealth Games, the biggest sporting spectacle behind the Olympics, Major admitted that the emphasis in his training will have to be on his conditioning.
“The Commonwealth Games’ road race is about 120 miles. The local road races that we compete in are about 60-70 miles and the nationals go up to about 90 miles, so you have to be in good condition to compete internationally.”
The two-time national champion in 2014 and 2015 said he has had the opportunity to train with and compete against some of the best competitors in the region and in the United States.
But he admitted that he’s looking forward to eventually becoming an elite cyclist, especially with the challenge that will come from brothers Anthony ‘Biggie’ Colebrooke and Felix Neely.
“These are some of the competitors who I know will really challenge me on the local scene,” according to Major.
“So I know that I will have to be ready whenever we get the green light by the Bahamas Cycling Federation to start competing again.”
And in preparation for qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, Major said he’s going to be concentrating on competing in some international meets in the region, the United States and even possibly Europe, if the opportunity presents itself.
“The Nationals, whenever it is held, will be a big indicator of who is strong and who has the potential to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games,” Major said.
“So I want to be ready to compete in the Nationals because my goal is to go back to the Commonwealth Games.”
Major, who graduated from Aquinas College in 2014, is a manager and painter at Jeff’s Auto Repair on William Lane off Kemp Road. He hopes to one day become a renowned international competitor for the Bahamas.