The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
For more than 80 years, Belize has celebrated the day before Easter Sunday with a popular cross country bicycle race. Originally designed to encourage local Belizeans to brave bumpy roads in the area, the Cross County Cycling Classic has since bloomed into the country’s most popular sporting event. Over a hundred amateur cyclists from Belize and around the region compete in this grueling one-day race encompassing a grueling 140-mile round trip from Belize City to San Ignacio Town.
Why you have to watch/attend The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
The race was first held in 1928 after a local man noted that many Belizeans were using bicycles to attend cricket games. At the time, the George Price Highway was a rural road replete with potholes and bumps so the race was conceived as a way to further encourage local cyclists to travel to San Ignacio from Belize City to attend more cricket matches. The original winners finished the circuit in about 13 hours but today the record stands at just under six hours.
Although all cyclists compete simultaneously, awards are given for four different categories of winners for men: 18 Year Old cyclists, Under 23 cyclists, and Masters. A separate award is given to the first female cyclist across the finish line as well as for the team (called “Elite”) with the best collective time.
Where in Belize is the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic located?
The race begins in Belize City at the Mile 1.5 mark on George Price Highway adjacent to Leslie’s Imports. The race continues along the Highway into San Ignacio Town in Cayo District. After reaching Queen Elizabeth Park, cyclists then follow the route back to Belize City as they compete to be the first to cross the finish line in Memorial Park.
When the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic Takes Place
The race takes place every year on Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. In 2016, Holy Saturday falls on March 26.
The race begins at 6:00 am. The winners cross the finish line starting at approximately 11:45 am.
Best way to get to The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
The starting and finishing line are in Belize City, which makes it easy and fun to watch the exciting beginning as well as witness the thrilling finish. The route between Belize City and San Ignacio follows the George Price Highway with the midpoint being Queen Elizabeth Park in San Ignacio.
Best way to experience The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
Line up early for the best spots at the starting and finishing line, as the Cycling Classic is the country’s most popular sporting events. Bring your excitement and enthusiasm to help cheer on the more than 100 amateur cyclists. At the conclusion of the race, a short awards ceremony is held followed by banquets and celebrations.