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Cosentino capture! Race to Enlightenment has new men’s winner, while Hudson takes the female race

posted 11 May 2019, 03:37 by HK Dragons Triathlon Club

In what was one of the most exciting Race to Enlightenments we have had in many years, Philippe ‘the cunning linguist’ Cosentino, a long standing Dragon, but famous for cavorting with almost all of Hong Kong’s clubs, grabbed the Race to Enlightenment despite a battle almost right to the end. Christina ‘tough but friendly’ Hudson took the women’s race in what was her first victory (though not first attempt) in what is arguably Hong Kong’s toughest hill climb.

Celebrated each year, in or around Buddha’s birthday - the course involves almost 1km of climbing, over just 20km of distance, and always brings out a wide range of competitors, from newbies to Hong Kong (welcome Daniel Blake), to grizzled competitors who have done this race and ridden this course too many times to mention but keep coming back for more (I feel your pain Bo ‘swedish charm’ Kratz, Paul ‘Boomer from the outback’ McMahon, Dana ‘I would rather be skiing’ Guidice). There was also a previous winner Marcel ‘quiet but effective’ Guethoff on the start list - never to be written off. And of course this race always brings out the climbers - those who have perfected their art on Hong Kong’s unforgiving hills, but knows in their heart that this is the mother of all climbs, and that no-one truly conquers the Beast, it’s just a question poking the bear and seeing what you get away with. (Great to see Duncan ‘if I’m in the shade I don’t mind climbing’  Watt, Ollie ‘hirsute’ Whiting, Ben ‘looks calm, but really wild’ Wilder, and Anthony ‘Ironman’ Lam.)

We also had a rare visit from a species rarely seen outside: it’s scientific name redmanus mouradus, but commonly known as Paul ‘Redders’ Redmayne Mourad. Even this rather bearded and jocular darksider, decided that training at home for the past 3 months, needed to be finally tested in the real world. Much as I hate to say it, the bearded phenomenon was to be vindicated in his belief that you can do more quality indoors than outdoors.

There were others from the great and good of Hong Kong’s cycling scene: Ric ‘raconteur’ Shadforth, Jen ‘just married’ Hsieh and of course the Macau motorbikers: Victor ‘Cordabator!!’ Cordoba and Francis ‘cameraman’ Costela - who come all the way from Macau with their bikes and book a hotel overnight so they can participate in Dragons races. I could keep going with the participant list but I know you are dying to find out what happened.

Actually, this race always has a simple script: everyone busts it up the Beast, gets torn apart on the second big incline (after feeling some initial shock after the first one), and the places begin to get settled. Then there is a little bit of jostling for position as some of the more daring descenders see if they can pick up a few spots on the Beast descent on the other side, and then the search for who to hang with, or who to chase, begins as we hit the flat, though rising section to the Prison.

As you hit the prison section and before briefly admiring what it must be like to be an inmate on Lantau to the left, and glancing at the big man sitting at the top of the hill on the right, the second major climb begins to Tai O junction and then upwards and onwards to the final ascent to the Buddha monastery itself.

On this occasion, Cosentino pretty much led from the front, after a cameo performance at the very start from Watt, and slowly pulled away from the field as the Beast began to inflict its customary damage on the peloton.

He maintained and lengthened his lead, with the rest of the field strung out behind him, but no-one should ever write off Marvellous Marcel Guethoff, who put in a phenomenal effort from the base of the reverse beast, TT-ing all the way to the prison and catching Cosentino at the base of the climb.

These two then fought out a two man battle, seeing who could maintain the pace to the top. At this point, the race has only 4km to go but the elevation is about to change from 65 metres above sea level to 420 metres!

It’s a great chance for a climber to get away, but there is a false flat just 1500m from the end when the power merchants - if you have any power left at that point - can push down the hammer and get enough momentum to take them to the top. Cosentino is a climber but Guethoff  - as a triathlete and TT specialst - can produce enough power to heat up a 1000 watt toaster!.

Probably knowing this, Cosentino put in a massive effort just before the last climb to stay away from  the relentless - though probably tiring Guethoff at this point - to claim a great victory and go down in the annals of history as a winner of this race.

Perhaps credit should also go to birthday girl Jane Griffiths, who was at the top, greeting nd taking photos of the tortured faces as they got to the top, as the last piece of inspiration for Cosentino. And who would not feel a last surge of energy to get to the top knowing you have Jane and her husband Rupert (also a previous Race to Enlightenment winner) waiting to greet you? Thanks guys for sharing your staycation with us.

Much kudos must also go to Christina Hudson for winning the women’s race in, who although a depleted field, rode extremely well and came ahead of several of the men.

Congratulations to all!

Final standings:

Philippe Cosentino - 51.43

Marcel Guethoff - 51.54

Ben Wilder - 56.32

Paul Redmayne Mourad - 58.01

Oliver Whiting - 59.11

Bart Pietstryzinski - 1.00.00

David Henderson - 1.00.21

Duncan Watt - 1.00.32

Paul McMahon - 1.01.08

Anthony Lam - 1.01.18

Lionel Visser - 1.01.27

Peter Milward - 1.01.35

Francis Costela - 1.04.48

Gary Halsall - 1.05.05

Bo Kratz - 1.06.11

Dana Guidice - 1.06.43

Sheel Kohli - 1.09.05

Christina Hudson - 1.10.47 - First Female

Glenn Smith - 1.11.37

Jen Hsieh - 1.12.47

Ric Shadforth - 1.12.52 (though he stopped to help Victor Cordoba who unfortunately suffered a flat tyre)

Matthew Laight - 1.13.45

Matthew Walton - 1.16.55

Daniel Blake - no time recorded

Victor Cordoba - DNF