By Aaron Humes: Popular cyclist Marlon Castillo, 35, faced the loss of his right hand to amputation on Monday after getting it caught in a grinder at his meat shop.
Beyond being out of commission and losing a limb, it appears to cut short a promising return to cycling, following a top 4 finish at the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.
But the cycling community is rallying around him. Bike shop owner Andrew Ordonez described him to Channel 7 News as a “giant” in the sport who has won every major race with the sole exception of the big one on Holy Saturday. He was getting back into training for the start of the 2023 season in a few weeks with the KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1.
While Marlon is left-handed, according to Ordonez, both hands are needed to steady the bike on climbs and during sprints. He expects that if a prosthesis is available, he may be able to get back on the bike, but it will be a tough recovery nonetheless – but he assures the entire cycling family is behind him.
Former team owner Santino Castillo (no personal relation) said he had spoken to Marlon on Tuesday and tried to reassure him: “I told him we can’t question God’s will for us, and that God has a special purpose for him in life with the one good hand. We spoke about the past, future, life, and God. I know Marlon will triumph once again, especially being the lion he is and having been able to conquer so [many adversaries] in his short lifetime. As I told him, at 35 he is also relatively young and with the new technology of prosthetics, I know he will be OK.” He asked for prayers for the continued recovery of Castillo, whom he called a “true Belizean Champion in every way.”