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Dragons ITT 2014

posted 6 Oct 2014, 18:44 by HK Dragons Triathlon Club   [ updated 6 Oct 2014, 18:57 ]
It was the race that almost did not happen. The traditional Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon Club ITT is one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the year, but near almost constant roadworks on the service road at Disney made it hard to organise. It was only until committee member Dave "Gibbo" Gibb went and scouted out the course, and decided in a typical moment of ingenuity to make the turnaround point earlier and build in an extra loop to make a good, challenging course of 3 laps of 16km each, that we were back on. With some conferring with other Dragons and some Strava and Google mapping, we were set with a race that was more technical and hillier than the traditional TT, and could now become a permanent fixture on the Dragons race calendar - perhaps alternating with the super fast flat course that we all know and love! 

Even then, the race still almost did not happen with wet patches in several parts of HK island on the morning of the TT, indicating that the course might also be wet and dangerously slippery. Paul McMahon however used his years of experience of living in HK to decide that wet roads in HK Island did not mean the same would exist on Lantau Island - he was of course right.

Apart from being a little humid - the conditions were almost perfect! And we had a great turnout of over 20 gathering on a mix of road bikes (especially from the Tour of Matabungkay race crew - getting some final prep in for the opening TT in 2 weeks time) and some scarily fast-looking TT rigs. Olivier Courret in particular looked ominous on his Orbea Super TT bike - though unfortunately the hoped for showdown with Paul Wright on his new Canyon TT did not materialise, as Paul took a family holiday. Those few who got put off by the wet roads were going to regret their decision not to race.

Of the roadies, James King had a superman setup a la Graeme Obree. Many wondered if he could keep up - what looked like an uncomfortable position - for 48km. But as you will see he had the last laugh, as his times would evidence. Power man, Rupert Griffiths was also looking to gain some free watts, and was spotted wearing an aero helmet for the first time! - one can only wonder if this could be the start of a new and beautiful relationship between Rupert and going aero! There were some hold-outs though. The indomitable YannKai Oh was still refusing to wear her skinsuit in public (perhaps saving it for Matabungkay?). While the diminutive Shohei Ikeda decided to completely eschew aero and adopt parachute training, by wearing a jersey two sizes too big!

Of course the race itself is a hard, fast and brutal affair - and everyone will have their own story of the pain and suffering they went through, but the results were pretty stunning.

Justin Choo of Lantau Buffalos smashed the course on his TT bike, with a time of 1 hr 11mins and 11 seconds, closely followed by Clinton Leong of the HK Dragons on a roadie with 1.11.42 with the super Swede Aron Akesson coming in 3rd at 1.13.02. Of the ladies, YannKai Oh of the HK Dragons put in a super-fast 1.20.36 on a roadie, Karen Veen of Lantau Buffaloes was the next lady in at 1.29.48 and Charlotte Henry of Hong Kong Dragons came in at 1.32.38.

As the Dragons TT Yellow Jersey only gets awarded to Dragons members who are not on the committee or a race organiser, it is Olivier Courret and YannKai Oh for the men and women respectively, who wins this year's TT competition. Congratulations to both of them as worthy winners and to all those who participated. Keep racing!