What a year 2021 has been!
After almost all Dragons events and activities were disrupted by the COVID pandemic in 2020, with restrictions imposed on group activities, we were finally able to get back to a semblance of a racing and training schedule again.
Our ever-popular Summer Series of mini-triathlons, really built momentum again in 2021 with some brilliant stand-out performances from some of the old stalwarts as well as some newcomers.
Tom Elliot, now an official member of the British age-group triathlon team, bossed the events whenever he took part, but in his wake a flurry of newcomers began to emerge. Not least, Niek Niens, the Dutch Master, who showed that not only can he bike with fury, but that he can run too.
We also saw appear as a force on the Hong Kong triathlon scene, Sergio Rodriguez, the speedy Spaniard, who has mastered the swift transition from swim to bike and bike to run and seems to get faster and faster; and Jenny Barbour - always a fish in the water, and a gazelle on the run - showed that she can now also bike too, and will be a challenge to any female field.
Of the stalwarts, it was great to see Ian Brownlee - our oldest member - continue to rock up at our events and tough it out with competitors a good 20 years or more his junior, and give them a run for their money. It’s always great to see Ian out swim most of the field in the Summer Series.
Our running training also took off, thanks to our now departed Andrea Cloarec, who in a matter of months assembled a rigorous and effective run training program at Happy Valley, with PBs improving for everyone who took part. Although he is now in San Francisco, he still sets a program every week and good numbers show up every Wednesday morning for training. This will continue into 2022. Don’t miss it if you want to get faster on the run.
And this year was marked by a lot of closer cooperation with some of the other triathlon clubs in Hong Kong, in particular Sonic, who raced with us in several of the Summer Series Events and remain keen to continue collaborating with us. Sonic are a great friendly club - just like the Dragons - and we look forward to inviting them to participate in more of our events.
The year ahead.
For 2022, in anticipation that travelling in and out of Hong Kong will continue to be severely restricted, we have pulled together a packed schedule of training races and competitions, to keep you motivated, with some new challenges and some new targets to reach.
In addition to the usual two Duathlons and six mini Summer Series triathlons. We are also going to host two full Olympic distance triathlons and for the long-form advocates, four 70.3 races. We have identified a great course for racing at Disney and in the absence of official races, these will be brilliant alternatives. At the three 70.3 races we have organised so far, these have proved to be highly popular.
We are also looking to organise a triathlon training camp weekend. Hotels are being scoped out that are near 50m pools and are good jumping off points for cycling and running. Watch this space for more details.
While we are increasing the number of multi-sport events, as above, we will also be hosting challenges around each of the three disciplines.
For the swim, we have scheduled three different swim challenges, including finding the fastest male and female swimmer over 400m, the best man and woman who can swim the furthest in one hour and the fastest swimmers over 2km. We have set different three month periods in which you can test yourself in each challenge. We will also host an Open Water swim race in Repulse Bay in August. For training we are working on getting some swim lanes and/or cooperating with some of the already organised swimming sessions out there so that you can really work on your swim training,
For the bike, we will be back with our two Individual Time Trial challenges, the ever-popular four-member Team Time Trial, as well as the popular King and Queen of the Mountains challenge. We will also have our usual cycling training options posted in the WhatsApp chat - including at least two weekday rides (one of which will be combined with our cousin club, SIRC) and also some monthly weekend TT training, and other weekend rides.
And finally for the run, we will be challenging all the Dragons to post their best 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon times during the course of the year. The Happy Valley training session will be at the centrepiece of our running training, as well as a weekly weekend long run on the roads and trails. We will look to get some additional training organised at Aberdeen track, perhaps later in 2022.
As 2022 gets underway, you will hear more about this and more. And as we ramp up the activities and build on our success in 2021, we have more than doubled the size of the Dragons committee, and there is a lot of enthusiasm and passion around the club. To keep track of all our activities, you can always refer to our Events at a Glance page: https://www.hktriclub.com/race-calendar/events-at-a-glance, and for the full picture our calender: https://www.hktriclub.com/race-calendar which is always kept up to date.
There is a lot to look forward to and as usual, the Dragons ethos remains the same: work hard, play hard and have fun.
Dragons Membership for 2022 is now open https://www.hktriclub.com/membership. We are offering a super low rate of HK$500 - and if you sign up before the end of January we will throw in a free Dragons running vest/t-shirt, worth HK$300.
A very happy festive season to everyone at the Dragons and here’s looking forward to an active 2022.
To stay in touch make sure you join the Dragons WhatsApp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/Cc9UbrQiHQC6rqK2Qwskng, the Dragons club on Strava: https://www.strava.com/clubs/dragons-triathlon-club, and follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hkdragonstriclub/ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hkdragonstriclub
Daniel, Jenny, Niek, Paul, Sergio, Sheel and Stephanie
Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon Club Committee