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Dragons Team Trial 2016 - The SIRS overcome tough conditions to take the title

posted 8 Jun 2016, 02:40 by HK Dragons Triathlon Club
The venerable South Island Road Cycling (SIRs) club won a hard-fought Dragons Team Time Trial for the first time against tough competition that saw 13 teams start but just over half actually finish. Among the starters were no less than two Lantau Buffalo teams, three tough all-Chinese teams including the highly regarded Success team, and two Dragons teams. The women's race was won by a Dragons-Buffalo combine, who lived up to their formidable name of "You have Just been Chicked".

The imaginatively-titled 'The SIRs' featured some new and old stalwarts of the Hong Kong cycling scene -  including Rupert Griffiths, Henrik Pedersen, Guy Thomas and Marc Charnal. But lined up against them was no easy competition. 

The Lantau Buffalos 'Train One', was represented by some of the strongest riders on their island including the winner of last month's Dragons Race to Enlightenment, Marcel Guethoff (see: http://www.hktriclub.com/results/guethoffsmashesfieldin2016dragonsracetoenlightenment), as well as Mark Cook (just back from conquering Cape Epic), Dyrk Ngai and Chris Wilkeson. 

The Dragons had also sent the aptly named MuskaTTeers (and Kristagnan), featuring TT specialists Olivier Baillet and Olivier Courret, cyclist extraordinaire Paul Wright (fresh in from breaking 8 hours on the Fred Whitton sportive) and the highly dangerous Kris Guns, who is the current holder of the fastest ITT time on this course this year (see: http://www.hktriclub.com/results/individualtimetrial-48km). 

Meanwhile, the winning women's team 'You have Just been Chicked' featured cycling sensation Ali Watts, Kona regular Tani Burge, serial half Ironman world qualifier Jane Griffiths and TT queen Karen Veen.

The course is a well known, and super fast stretch of road although it features an intriguing kink in the middle, which requires added effort and power from teams trying to maintain their leads. And although much-trained on, the course this year proved hazardous to competitors due to what turned out to be highly unpredictable weather conditions.

Just minutes before the flag off of the first team, there had been a 5-minute shower, which was enough to ensure there was enough surface water on the course for the road to stay damp. That initial shower soon cleared however and as the 13 teams started departing in rapid 30-second intervals, the rain had stopped and it was hoped the roads would dry soon enough. It was a hope in vain. The race quickly turned from a battle of speed, raw power and strategy, to one that included coping with torrential rain, gusting winds and traffic, slowing because of the weather and also an unrelated accident that was resulting in a build up of vehicles on the course.

Making it worse was that one of the most technical parts of the course , a left handed turn into the Tung Chung Expressway service road, seemed to have some residual oil left behind by passing traffic that was mixing with rain water to create a super slippery surface, that road bike race tyres and slicks, were simply not designed to deal with..

The conditions meant that no less than six falls were reported and of the 13 teams that started only eight finished, with the rest reporting in as DNF's conquered by either the rain or crashes. Fortunately no-one was seriously hurt, though a couple of hospital stays were reported, including that of your correspondent Sheel Kohli and Pedersen of the SIRS, who after crashing still went on to complete the race, only to later to discover several cracked and very painful ribs. I can report both Kohli and Pedersen are recovering well.

Of the other teams, key men were casualties of race. Guethoff in the Lantau Buffalo A Train suffered a fall and then a puncture, while Guns of the MuskaTTeers, crashed and ripped his shoes. As the three lap race went on, increasing reports came back of teams abandoning because of the torrential rain, crashes or mechanicals on the course.

One of the riders of the 2nd place Buffalos B train summed up the day as one that "will go down in the annals of TTT legend" for the toughness of the conditions and the unpredictability of the race. It was not about necessarily survival of the fittest, but more like survival of the toughest. One of the riders of the 5th place 'Dad Wagon' said it best: "We crossed the line in parallel with the combined aerodynamic efficiency of a minivan"!

Full results below:

Team

Official Times

     Un-Official

The SIRS

1:18:11


Lantau Buffalos B Train

1:19:38


Dragons on Fire

1:22:12


Arrogant Frog

1:25:11


Dad Wagon

1:26:41


Surprise Attack

1:27:52


You Have Just Been Chicked

1:29:26


Les Femmes

1:30:30


Buffalo Train 1

DNF

    1:13:22

The MuskaTT’ers (and Kristagnan)

DNF

    1:18:09

Tommy Wong + Team

DNF

Not Provided

Calvin Katsun + Team

DNF

Not Provided

Andy Lam + Team

Unknown

Unknown

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