VAPOR Wake Multisports only registered as a club in 2019, but are already making waves on the local cycling circuit by producing multiple national junior champions in cycling. The Siparia-based club, which also focuses on triathlon, wants to continue making headlines, but needs the support to grow and develop further.
When Newsday spoke to club members and officials at Irwin Park, on Saturday, it was clear that the members are a closely-knit group.
The cyclists were encouraging each other and the parents, including many fathers, were in attendance providing support during training for the athletes ranging from age four to 15.
The older members of the club also train on the road and cover extreme distances. From the starting point, in Siparia, the cyclists sometimes pedal to Tableland, Moruga or Cedros spending three hours on the road at times.
A total of 13 athletes are representing the club at cycling meets while close to 20 are in training.
Hadyn Williams, who is the CEO, founder and head coach at the club, wants to give his athletes the opportunity to attempt many sports which will allow them to find their niche.
“We expose them to all these things, so as time goes by with the talent ID (identification) we will see who is better with what and they would see what they like more as well,” Hadyn said.
sHe added, “It more or less started off with cycling and again with the vision of trying to get the kids into everything else.”
Hadyn does not want to force his athletes into one sport because it may lead to them being discouraged. “That is one of the things that have children losing on the wayside because we put them in a (specific) sport. We want them to do great in that, but they really wanted to do something else so we allow them the opportunity to play anything.”
Triathlon includes swimming, cycling and running which gives the athletes at Vapor Wake the opportunity to test their skills in many sports.
Some people have to look far for inspiration, but when Hadyn’s daughter Kyra Williams started showing interest in cycling he decided to form the club.
“My daughter developed the passion for cycling when she was about four or five years old. I went into other clubs before and I was not satisfied with what I was seeing, I was not happy. For her dream to go to the Olympics I wasn’t seeing their methods to take her to that direction so I got myself more and more involved and I started doing courses learning from it and started pushing myself.”
Hadyn does not view himself as simply a coach, but a father figure.
“I try to raise them like my own…yes I want you to cycle, but if you want to play football or you better at it as a matter of fact that is the direction you should go.”
Chaguaramas now has a designated lane for cyclists to use, but cyclists in South don’t have that luxury.
Asked if he is satisfied with the level of safety for his cyclists in South, Hadyn said, “No definitely not. The motorists on this road don’t care about us. We manage it well because of the fact that we use other vehicles to box them in when we are riding.”
Fortunately there have not been any major incidents for the cyclists while riding.
Hadyn said the cyclists are taught to look out for each other and stay focused while riding on the road.
Adding to the troubles of the riders is the poor state of the roads.
“It definitely could be better…when you have to pay a minimum of $200 for a tyre and ever so often we have to change it or change a rim because of the conditions of the road. It is terrible for us, but we don’t have a choice we have to go out and fight it.”
Hadyn is proud of his athletes saying they bring out the best in him and the parents. “Definitely those kids are really talented. They encourage the coaching, they encourage the parents.”
Like most sporting organisations there are challenges with finances. “Some of the things that we have setbacks with is funding.”
Hadyn, who thanked TT Cycling Federation president Joseph Roberts and Karen Araujo of the TT Triathlon Federation for their motivation and vision, said the club is not sponsored yet as the close-knit family atmosphere is keeping the club functioning.
“The parents seeing the value…I am hoping as time goes by and with the pandemic here and people indoors they have more time to see things that somebody could notice what it is we are doing – keeping kids off the streets (and) bringing out their true talent in them going forward.
“People will recognise us for the good work we doing and be willing to help us. I am not pushing myself out to go and ask yet. When push come to shove surely we going to ask because kids coming in and it getting more and more difficult every day financially.”
Like most youth clubs the focus is not only on sports as discipline is also a priority.
“One of our mottos is building tomorrow’s champions today.”
The vision for the club is to keep kids loving sport because it helps you with your education as well.
Antonia Isaac-Nelson, the mother of club member Cristian Nelson, is the new secretary at the club.
She also spoke highly of the strides the athletes have been making. “It has been a slow growth, but positive because the potential of the children make it easier. They are very good in everything they do. They are disciplined children because most of them do well academically as well and the parent support system has been good…the cohesiveness and the togetherness is very good.”
Isaac-Nelson said for the club to grow financial assistance will be required as cycling and triathlon are expensive sports.
She said for the club to welcome more children to the Vapor Wake family sponsorship is required.
“Our next step moving forward is getting sponsorship, so we could have more children and share the wealth of knowledge that we have right now with others.”
Asked where she sees the club in five years, Isaac-Nelson said, “Headlines.”
Adiosie Francis, Kyra, Shameka Hoyte and Cristian are some of the national champions that have been making a mark.
Newsday spoke to a handful of the cyclists during the training session. Kyra, 13, is a sprinter who has goals of competing at the Olympics. Kyra, a student at Arete Institute of Science, has been riding since she was six.
Shameka, 11, attends La Romaine Government Primary School. Shameka, who wants to become a top road cyclist like TT’s Teniel Campbell, said TT cyclist Nicholas Paul is one of her heroes in the sport. Her sister Shemaiah, 13, also wants to emulate Paul in the future.
Some of the cyclists at Vapor Wake got the opportunity to meet Paul recently. He told them to “always be confident, but remain humble.”
Cristian, 11, enjoys the sprint event but also has endurance. Nelson, a student at Siparia Boys RC, has already completed a ride from Nestle in Valsayn to Toco which is approximately 80K.
My intention was only to interview the athletes and officials of the club, but it was such a welcoming experience that I was encouraged to ride on the track.
Two hours after meeting me two of the cyclists already started to treat me like part of the family. They rode alongside me and gave me pointers while riding on the steeply banked outdoor oval track.
Adiosie Lewis, Kyra Williams, Shemaiah Hoyte, Shameka Hoyte, Cristian Nelson, Divine Stewart, Taariq Guevara, Kalle Thompson, Cayden Thompson, Olivia Archibald, Kyle Hospedales, Kyla Hospedales, Ajaye Francis, Zaria Francis, Selvon Noel, Kayanna Chan, Kaydon Torres, Caleese Torres
Clide Hospedales (president), Peter David (vice-president), Antonia Isaac-Nelson (secretary), Cherry Ann Hoyte (treasurer), Hadyn Williams (CEO/founder/head coach), Grant Nelson (assistant coach), Collette Morgan (physical trainer), Declon St Lewis (swim coach)