New records broken in Dragons annual Team Time Trial!
(posted 27 Jun 2020)
New records were broken in today’s Dragons TTT, and not just in terms of the time taken to complete the course!
We had a record turnout in record temperatures, and an amazing new male and new female course record.
One thing that we are learning about this pandemic is that the V-shaped recovery being predicted by some economic models, is also taking place in age group sport.
Continuing a trend that we saw first with the Dragons Summer Series mini triathlons at the start of the month, the SIRs Peak TT last Saturday, and the Dragons TTT today, is that pent up demand is in full effect in participation sports!
Not only are so many people ‘trapped’ in Hong Kong (I could think of worse places to be!), but with the Dragons TTT so well-established, it’s now become a fixture on the calendar. Today several of the strong local HK teams showed up to race too. It’s great to see what was previously just an ‘expat’ event become a truly Hong Kong event.
First of all a massive congratulations to Team One Direction, possibly the only team today to have the worst name, but the best riders. They not only won the race, but obliterated the course record, with a team time of 1.02.35, with the fastest individual times recorded by future Olympian triathlete Oscar Coggins and super athlete, turned male model: Mat Pears with a time of 1.02.32. (The previous record had stood since 2010 held by the late Colin Robertson with a time of 1.04.59, which he did as an ITT - and still remains the ITT record, for now.)
Huge congratulations must also go to the Quarantine Queens, which unlike One Direction had not only the best name, but also the best female riders on the course. Hong Kong’s female cycling community has been growing steadily, inspired no doubt by our track cycling olympic success, and it was great to see four of Hong Kong’s strongest age group cyclists in one team. The Quarantine Queens delivered a collective time of 1.17.12, with a new female course record of 1.17.00
And of course, massive kudos to everyone who showed up. A total of 26 teams registered and appeared. It’s the biggest we have had at any event, and thanks to everyone for keeping spaced out in groups of 50 or less and well-separated as we lined up to race.
Usually, in these race reports, I describe all the teams. We are lucky to have so many admirable athletes, colourful characters and such a great spirit in our cycling and triathlon community in Hong Kong, it’s great to share the passion that I see every day in our little world. But with such a big turnout, I won’t be able to do justice to everyone (so my apologies in advance).
And though we had quantity, there was no dilution in quality with a formidable line up as usual, with talent and ability stretching right through all the teams. Aside from the winners: One Direction (Tom Elliott, Mat Pears, Oscar Coggins and Kris Guns) and the Quarantine Queens (Lenny Leung, Chi Ngan Chow, Wynnie Fung and Yann Kai Oh), we had two strong teams put forward by Unfound, as defending champions. Unfound Team A consisted of seasoned campaigners like Paul ‘Mads’ Madden (holder of the Strava ITT record of 1.06), Peter Hope, Dan Falconer and Alex ‘excuses’ Stopps. Their B-team was no less impressive including Adil Zizi, who crushed the SIRs Peak TT last week, and was participating in his very first TTT; Steven Baker, the adult in the room and a guide to the youngsters; and Jan Maus and Gregor Vand, relatively new to Hong Kong’s cycling scene. Both Unfound teams had some impressive talent and they duly delivered.
Also among the leading teams were three local Hong Kong teams - the formidable 6UO (an offshoot of the massive Holiday Racing Cycling Club) with Chris Liu, Brian Tam, Leo Lam and Barry Lin; the ominously named 4WKG and the Success - EZR club (another well established HK team), who also sent an A and a B squad.
To round it off, we also had the Lantau Hooligans. A new combine of super strong, extremely likeable and immensely talented South Africans and pilots, who call the hills and trails of rugged South Lantau their playground.
In the next category down, there was also some great talent and experience on show. Highlights included the politically correct Unfound SIRs Double Duo featuring the aussie from London Ben Allen, the Scotsman from HK Andrew Sharkey, the Spanish-speaking Frenchman Philippe Cosentino and the MTB king James Sutton. It was also great to see Project 852’s finest on show with founder Rupert Griffiths, the soon-to-be-departing Guy Thomas, last minute stand in Luke Jones and the young super fast rider (and runner) Andrea Cloarec. Among the several Dragons teams lining up, Paul Wright’s D2 looked particularly impressive, with Greg ‘master of Zwift’ Toole, Niek ‘the look’ Niens and Steve ‘I’d rather be rowing’ Winbur posing a threat.
From the SIRs, we had the gentlemen of the club, including His Royal Highness Bo Kratz, Steven ‘time defying’ Bemet, Viv ‘I named my son after a triathlete’ Varadarajan, and Craig 'yippee I don’t have to travel anymore’ Hudleston.
We also had three homegrown teams from Lantau including two from the Lantau Buffalos, and one from the LTF (Lantau’s Finest) Old Boys, whose leader Gary Halsall is another ageing campaigner but regularly tears strips off the youngsters.
Finally in the more relaxed category - who had the privilege of going first - it was wonderful to see the WOW team (‘Women on Wheels), a mixed team, two teams from Adrian Halkes Chickenfish club, and several hastily cobbled together teams with people who met each other for the first time. When you decide to enter a team event and you don’t know any members of your team, until you show up for the race, then for me you really have captured the spirit of Dragons TTT. Just have a go and see what happens.
As for the race itself, it was a true test of teamwork and speed endurance. The conditions were perfect, with a light wind, and with 60 second time gaps between each team, bunching was kept to a minimum.
In truth, One Direction were formidable. Though second-to-last to leave ahead of the defending champions Team Unfound A, they were relentless. Their pursuers on the starting grid were not able to get anywhere near them, and several teams in front would have first heard, and then seen them whiz by.
A special mention must also go to the Lantau Hooligans, whose sheer enthusiasm is infectious!. Though an almost full 5 minutes behind One Direction, they put in a smashing performance, and would have surprised many - coming second team overall. Even more notable, they were all on road bikes, beating several teams who were on full TT bike mode. One to watch in particular is the irrepressible Jan-Hendrik Pretorius, whose youth, speed and power is a sight to see. Look forward to seeing more amazing performances from Jan Hendrik and the rest of the Lantau Hooligans in the future.
Detailed individual times are on Strava here: https://www.strava.com/segments/17332182?filter=overall
Team placings below:
ONE DIRECTION (Tom Elliott, Oscar Coggins, Mat Pears, Kris Guns)
Lantau Hooligans (Jan-Hendrik Pretorius, Grant Lingard, HP Odendaal)
Remaining places based on Strava segment times of last loaded team member in
Success - EZR B team
Unfound SIRs Double Duo
Last Min Fit Ins
Lantau Buffalos Team 1
Success - EZR A team
LTF Old Boys
QUARANTINE QUEENS (Yann Kai Oh, Wynnie Fung, Chi Ngan Chow, Lenny Leung)
WOW (Cora Van Laer, Jen Hsieh, Sarah Winbur, Ella Karsmeijer)
Lantau Buffalos Team 2
Wait for Me