MTB event in Haiti combines community service with racing

Carlton Reid
MTB event in Haiti combines community service with racing

Mountain Bike Ayiti was created last year, with the second six-day event taking place at the end of January 2014. The event is billed as including "three days of breathtaking riding and three days community service and cultural immersion." It is open to both pro and amateur riders.

The event is being held in partnership with Haiti’s Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Sport, Youth, and Civic Action in an effort to highlight Haiti as an adventure travel destination.

“One of our goals is to attract world-class events to Haiti to showcase the natural beauty that few have imagined possible," said Stephanie Villedrouin, Minister of Tourism for Haiti.

"The Haiti Mountain Bike Stage Race is a perfect opportunity to take adventurous athletes through terrain ranging from sandy beaches and lush forests to mountain ridge-lines."

'Ayiti' translates into 'land of mountains', underscoring Haiti as an ideal locale for mountain biking. 

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The event was created by Travelcology, with local partners being brought into the core team. The plan is for MTB Ayiti to become a Haitian owned and operated business.

Philip Kiracofe, the founder of MTB Ayiti said: "There is tremendous opportunity to build Haiti’s tourism industry and a key objective is to shift the world’s perspective on what Haiti has to offer."

Participants will race and explore two regions of the country: the mountains towering above Port au Prince and the coastal Cotes des Arcadins.

Ranch le Montcel will serve as the first host venue, and riders will ascend thousands of feet through rural villages, forests, and mountain switchbacks. The race then moves to Arcahaie, a coastal community surrounded by mountains. Racers will climb 5,000 vertical feet to the UNESCO-protected Fort Delpeche before descending down to a final sprint to the finish at Moulin Sur Mer resort. On the final day, there will be a festival held at the resort, including an awards ceremony, live music, food, kids races, corporate challenges, and cycling safety clinics.

The event will be filmed, with race highlights and results airing on local Haitian networks and supplied to international cycling and adventure travel media.

The fee is $1,900, which includes all lodging, meals, transportation (from US), medical and course support, nightly entertainment, "cultural immersion activities" and more. 

Tags: mtb , haiti

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