Words & Photos by Jason Delgado

Fakawi 2018

From my perspective, Fakawi embodies everything a cycling event should be. Fakawi has been an organized event for 9 years now, which began as a group of friends who raced together. Watching it grow can be bittersweet for some.

Speaking with Nelson a few weeks before the event, we really wanted to participate and ride. The energy and excitement we witnessed the year before from behind the lens was like no other event in South Florida. We come from the road and it is not hard to see something special going on here. Nelson and I both decided not to ride Fakawi but if we didn’t get to ride, we had to one-up the coverage we provided last year.

The first word out of our mouths,

VIDEO!

Nelson started Morning Ride because he wanted people to see what he sees. The beauty, emotion, and action of this sport. We talked equipment and strategy with Jimi over a few cold beers, never a dull moment. We all agreed that it would be easier to stay at the front of the ride for mobility purposes. Also, even though this is a ride that welcomes riders of all levels, there’s a race going on at the front.

Capturing action is always difficult in cycling because of the speed difference and movement. A motor pacing media vehicle is a big No-No! GoPro was very generous in facilitating some equipment. The next step was pairing the GoPros with riders, this is always a hard call because races can go in so many directions. The athletes also have to be comfortable with the camera, thankfully our picks didn’t mind. A special thank you to you gentlemen which included Crit National Champ Alex Zambrana, Alison Anjos , and Alex Bello.

Below you will see Jimi’s Facebook post and its hard not to love him, truly a selfless individual when it comes to the development of this community. We thank you and respect you for that Jimi.

Below are some words from event organizer Jimi “Fawaki” Toural.

“Although I never even once considered canceling due to the rain, lightning is a big no-no, especially putting riders on the levee. From roughly 5 am on I was receiving a ton of messages from both sides of the fence, and in all honesty for the first time since inception. I wasn’t sure what to do. I decided if it was to be called off, it would be 30-60 min AFTER the scheduled 9 am pedals up.

Riders started to arrive, sponsors started to set up, then A LOT of riders started to arrive. The energy under the pavilion at 6 am was insane, and people were ready to ride regardless.

All we needed was a break in the weather. The lightning stopped. Around 845 I announced that we would attempt to get rolling in the next 15 minutes. Allison Anjos came to me , and said “this is the break, lets do this!”  Almost magically, the rain stopped, and we got rolling literally at 9am on the dot!

For safety purposes, I made a few last minute re-routes , sent some riders ahead for the adjustments, and we were off.Approximately 700 riders rolled out of Markham park to hit the mud and gravel. Amazing , considering the circumstances. There’s always been something special about this event, which is why I’ve continued to try my best to keep it going.  Without question the attitude of everyone that participates, from the elite to the beginners is what stands out. If you showed up this past Sunday and rolled out with us , you are a certified badass!

The Thank yous:

I don’t even know where to begin, and I’m always afraid I’ll forget someone.  Please forgive me in advance if I do.

Huge thanks to the volunteers that selflessly step up every year and give up their time for this, it wouldn’t be possible without you all. Kerry Ann ,  Charlie Haimes, Thomas Michael Mutch , David Bauer , James Brower , Rich Hoglievina , Timothy Wisner ,  Josh Kebschull , Michael Gale , Michael Armadoros

, Carlos Galvis ,Victor Cespedes ,  Eve Mart , Jodi Mazzone , Donna Luvinparadise , Vicky Ruiz-Rosario , Jon Laye , Marc Klein , Frank Rowe , Tyrone James , Itica Bowles ,Alexito , Renny Ortiz , Misael Alvarez , Joe MacAlpine ,  Carolina Gomez , Tracey Wasylik  , Megan Lisa Callender  Alexander Lai  My incredible wife  Patty Bowles-Toural 😘🙏 If I left someone out , please message me. I know SAG 1 had a bunch of help, and I don’t know everyones name..

The sponsors:

Alexs Bicycle Pro Shop , Shimano, Pearl Izumi, CoffeeHub Cafe, LauderAle Brewery & Tap Room, Cannondale Bikes,  Samson Cycles, BMC-Bikes, GoPro, Camelback , City Bikes, Louis Garneau, VeloFix South Florida, BikeTech, Pedal Milishia, WD-40 Bike, Morning Ride Cycle Club, Origin 8, Band of Bikers, The Miami Bike Scene, Rock and Road Bike Shop, AminoRip, Tinno Cycles, FSA, Vision Components , PlusTyre Sealant, Durango Bikes , Markham Park Trail Building fund, USWE Sports, Gravelers BG, Polar Bottle, Dry Up Restoration, Velopista Photo.

Special thanks to:

Alex’s Bicycle Pro Shop for their never ending support of this event, Cycling Quarterly Magazine for taking on the huge task of sponsoring the biggest SAG station in the event, Morning Ride Cycle Club for their hard work capturing all the action BSO for keeping us safe, Markham Park for being so supportive over the years, Los Frijoles for all their support and to Wanderful Undertakings for lending me their beautiful trailer while I was literally living at Markham Park this past weekend. 🙏

Most importantly to all the riders that got up early Sunday morning,  in the rain, and showed up to kick some ass. RESPECT!”

As Jimi stated the weather was not for the faint of heart. We had our doubts also since camera equipment is expensive but like I said it’s hard not to recognize something special is going on here. I grabbed a few grocery bags for our camera equipment and we were determined to get some footage even if it was only photos. Its hard to believe that the break in the weather Jimi talked about, had to be the work of a greater force. At 9:00 AM pedals were up as planned and Fakawi began, below is a small gallery stay tuned for a special video release party.

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