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Coggins Crushes Dragons Race to Enlightenment 2020

posted 3 May 2020, 21:42 by HK Dragons Triathlon Club   [ updated 4 May 2020, 18:19 ]

In what was the strangest Dragons Race to Enlightenment in the seven years we have been holding it, we got yet again a new male winner (no male participant has ever won this race twice), a new sub-51 minute time for the course and a great turnout.


Due to the continued social distancing rules imposed following the Covid-19 outbreak, participants were this time encouraged to start when they wanted within a four day period (including Buddha’s Birthday, Labour Day and the weekend), and to go in groups of no more than four.


Oscar Coggins, a leading light in the Hong Kong triathlon scene, and expected to represent our Special Administrative Region in the Tokyo Olympics next year, smashed the 20km course up to the Buddha, in a time of 50 minutes and 56 seconds, and becomes only the second person (on Strava at least) to have posted a time under 51 minutes. 


Yann Kai Oh, who has dominated the women’s age group cycling scene in Hong Kong for several years, won the women’s race for the third time (previously winning in 2014 & 2018) fighting off some strong challenges.


In total, we had 44 people completing the course on Strava with times of 90 mins and faster, and a record 10 people posting sub-60 minute times - more than at any other previous edition of the race.


On Day One, (Buddha’s birthday, 30 April), Luke Jones, the super tall South African, lay down the marker, delivering a 55.11, and burying himself so deeply that he did not  even notice the traffic lights on the course, as he smashed his way to the top.


He was chased pretty much all the way by Toby Chu and Cosmo Richards who also posted sub 58 minute times, with a second group, comprising Rob Turnbull, Guy Thomas and Anthony Lam all coming in, in or around the hour mark. Someone had to set the targets to beat and these were the ones to beat!


Day Two (1 May), saw the biggest turnout and the emergence of the ladies. Kris Guns, the current Dragon King of the Mountains, set off at a relentless pace, smashing the 2.75km 11%-average Beast climb in just over 13 minutes - among the fastest of the weekend and continuing to drive hard on the rest of the course to bring home a 53.48 time for the whole course. His time was  over 80 seconds faster than Jones and cemented his well-earned reputation of one of Hong Kong’s best age group climbers. 


We also saw a very fast time from new Dragon member, Steve Winbur, who produced a top-drawer 59 minute 32 second time and was the only other sub-60 minute time on the day. Hugely impressive was also Andrew Sharkey, who chalked up a 60 minute and 33 second time - so tantalisingly close to breaking 1 hour and who admits he may have been a little conservative with the Beast (though with a Beast time of 15 minutes, it’s not shabby at all). 


This was also the day that the fast ladies emerged, including Christina Hudson, last year’s winner of the Race to Enlightenment, Mary Ho, who is enjoying some super strong cycling form at the moment, and Sarah Winbur - another brand new Dragon member and unknown quantity. Hudson delivered an emphatic statement, with a 69 minute 58 second time, a personal best  - and an indication that she was not going to give away her title easily. Ho came home with a 72 minute time, and Winbur with just under 80 minutes.


These times looked like they would stay for the rest of the weekend. Day Three (2 May) was a lot quieter. In the men’s race, some attacks were launched on Guns’ 53 minute marker, with a valiant charge by Lantau resident, Martin Bans, bringing home a classy 66 minutes, while Hudson, as leader of the women’s race remained unchallenged.


But on Day Four (3 May), it all kicked off! Someone appeared to have told the triathletes of Hong Kong - who spend their whole existence trying to maintain power for as long as possible and increasing their 60 minute Functional Threshold levels - that there was a time trial of sorts taking place, and this might be a good test for them. 


Out to play came not only Coggins, but also the old campaigner Olaf Kasten, who holds the Strava course record, and the currently indomitable Tom Elliott. Joining them was also Marcel Guethoff, who is the 2016 winner of the Race to Enlightenment , while also out there, though not at the same time was Ryan Kemp (a former South African national triathlete) and Steven Bemet, another old campaigner, who returned for his second attempt in the four days.


Flybys showed that Coggins set a soul-destroying pace up the Beast, gapping Kasten and Guethoff, with only Elliott able to hold on. From then on, Coggins kept the pace high and a steady distance from Elliott. Kasten in the meantime seemed to lose out to Guethoff to the top of the Beast, but then smashed the descent in the way that only a seriously experienced cyclist like him knows how, and actually passed Guethoff to lead the chase for Elliott and Coggins up the road.


Guethoff however was undaunted and caught up and ended passing Kasten who on a hot day, reached Shek Pik reservoir  and decided his day was done, and let Guethoff take the chase on alone.


At this point though neither Elliott or Coggins were going to be caught. The history of this race shows that it is usually very hard to pass anyone after Tai O junction and the final ascent to Buddha and so it was the case again.


Massive congratulations to Oscar Coggins, who scored a 50 minute 56 seconds time, just 11 seconds short of Kasten’s course record, and the second person to have even posted a 50 minute time. Elliott produced a cracking 52 minutes and 48 seconds, giving him second place overall, and pushing Guns into third place.


In the women’s race Oh, AKA Roinkers, left it very late with a near midday attempt in temperatures at 30 degrees to stamp her time on the course. Eyewitness accounts have her pulling away from anyone up the Beast and maintaining the pressure all along the rollers to Shek Pik, before grinding her way to the Buddha with an overall 66 minute time. It was just enough to overhaul Hudson’s 69 minutes, and to secure her place as a three-time winner of the Race - more than any other lady.


Congratulations to everyone who took part in what is a seriously tough race, on what is always a hot day! Full standings below. Course here: https://www.strava.com/segments/3616961?filter=overall


Oscar Coggins 50.56

Tom Elliott 52.48

Kris Guns 53.48

Marcel Guethoff 55.08

Luke Jones 55.11

Tobias Chu 56.27

Cosmo Richards 57.50

Andrea Cloarec 58.35

Steve Winbur 59.32

Steven Bemet 59.46

Andrew Sharkey 1.00.33

Robert Turnbull 1.00.37

Guy Thomas 1.00.42

Anthony Lam 1.01.25

Ryan Kemp 1.01.45

James Tan 1.03.05

Lionel Visser 1.03.21

Mathew Pears 1.03.25

Craig Hudleston 1.03.42

Michael Kokora 1.04.15

Peter Millward 1.05.01

Roinkers 1.05.46 FEMALE WINNER

Martin Bans 1.06.04

Rupert Griffiths 1.08.12

Bo Kratz 1.09.13

Gary Halsall 1.09.20

Ben Wilder 1.09.24

Matt O’Callaghan 1.09.29

Pierre Upfold 1.09.45

Christina Hudson 1.09.58

Daniel Blake 1.11.24

Lila Cat (aka Mary Ho) 1.12.17

Sheel Kohli 1.12.20

Matthew Laight 1.13.17

Paul Wright 1.14.25

Jonathan Green 1.16.13

Duncan Swanson 1.16.24

Ed Styles 1.18.03

Sarah Winbur 1.19.53

Chris Pollard 1.24.06

Florian Schneider 1.25.37
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