27th April - 1st May, Tour of Friendship, Thailand
Tom soldiers on
Report by Aron:
This year’s edition of Tour of Friendship was in the more hilly area 100 km north east of Bangkok. Colossi had 3 riders, one each in open, 30ies and 40ies. Total around 300 participants with around 60 riders in each category, except 40ies that was around 100.
Stage 1 – 7 km Time Trial Prologue, Bangkok
The race opened on the traditional 7 km TT course in western Bangkok. In Open
, Tom got 45th place, in 30ies
, Aron came just outside the podium at
, and Rupert in 40ies
came in at 26th place. A solid start for all.
Stage 2 – 120 km Bangkok to race area
As usual with Tour of Friendship, stage 2 takes the riders from central Bangkok to the venue for the later stages in the race. In good Thai fashion, some police were hired to make a rolling closure of the highway out of town. According to the provided GPS information, it should be an all flat stage with a quite steep 100 vertical meter hill 8 km before finish which would make the sprinters suffer a bit, and an uphill finish of another 100 vertical meter
. Apparently there had been a change of plans, the last 3 km and the uphill finish was cut
out of the race, so with 1 km to go, Aron missed the briefing and was still expecting this 100 vertical meter hill to emerge from nowhere, and was down in the small chain when suddenly the group sprint came, but still managed to come in on
and keeping position 6 in the GC. Rupert got into a small breakway
at the top of the climb and took 11th place in the 40's and Tom managed a 13th in Open
Stage 3 – 170 km 2500 vertical meter.
With a stage that would be hard enough to qualify for tour de France and 45 degrees heat, this was rightfully expected to be a hard day.
In 30ies, there was an early break (that was caught after 60 km), and later a group of 10 riders was formed. A break of 2 riders later formed from this group, who later won the stage, and the 10 rider group was eventually broken down with 3 riders in the front group, Aron included who came in 5th on the stage and advanced to 5th place in the GC. Good and hard stage, as cycling should be. One descent was too difficult for amateurs, and had a bit of gravel on it. Tom was taken out on here, but could still finish the stage, but decided to leave the race after the stage. Aron was just after rider 327 who went into the barrier at full speed, flying over the barrier. Thinking he was possible dead, it was very good to see him again after the stage, knowing that he get away with some bruises as he had landed well in some soft plants. In the 40's Rupert managed to get into the lead breakaway up the big climb to 500m but suffered debilitating cramps on the descent and crawled around the rest of the course losing a 30 minutes to the front-runners.
Stage 4 – 165 km and 2600 vertical meters.
Similar to stage 3 but with an uphill finish. In age group the usual 8 (including top 6 in GC) where out in the break group. GC 1 got a puncture after 60 km, but was saved by new wheel from team car, at 80 km, same happened to GC 2, then GC 3 at 90 km. Unfortunately at 103 km same happened to GC 5 (Aron) with the exception that there was no team car and no wheel. Trying some puncture foam, and getting 2 bottles dropped by Rupert when passing by, the puncture could not be fixed, so a DNF and out of GC.
In the 40's Rupert's bad luck continued with a broken spoke at 40km. With the front wheel well out of alignment, he managed to source another wheel from the SIRS team van. Having caught up with a secondary group he then rode on for a further 60km before coming across a SIRS cyclist in need of a front wheel, so Rupert handed his over and DNF.
Stage 5 – 85 km and 1300 vertical meter.
In 30ies, an early break formed at the first hill with 3 riders (Nick Swallow, Jason and Vincent) and then a “chasing” group of the top 8 guys. At 55 km, Nicolas Magnan and Bastian Döhling GC 1 and 2) decided to follow. Aron had to dig a bit to keep up on the climb where they were accelerating and a group of 3 riders was formed. A 4th rider joined later. With Nicolas and Bastin taking some turns at the front a huge gap was opened to the following group, but with their GC 1 and 2 position firm, and one team mate each in the lead group, they had no interest in catching them, and no care about stage positioning. With Aron still being keen on getting a good position on the stage, but didn’t want to steal positions from Bastian and Nicolas as they formed the break and had done some good pulling, and still a 4th rider to beat across the finish line, it was a difficult optimization problem with stochastic components. As a very friendly gesture and in true sportsmanship (what tour of friendship should be about) Nicolas and Bastian came up with the solution and did a magnificent lead out for Aron over the last 2 km. With 300 meter to go, an arm flick from Bastian and a 1100 watt sprint from Aron to cross the line on 4th for the stage. Great thanks to Nicolas and Bastian for this! You are worth GC 1 and GC 2!
In the 40's, Rupert was out of the Race with only a stage win as a slim possibility. He went for broke after the first climb and broke off in front and got a 1 minute lead on the Peleton. Supported by a time-check motorbike he maintained the gap for an hour but it reduced to 30 secs by the completion of the second climb and descent. Strangely the red jersey rider (GC1) broke away on the descent and joined Rupert which blew any chances of keeping away. They were caught with 10 km to go and Rupert finished in the front sprint bunch.
Excellent event with plenty of good and hard cycling and time to hang out with friends, all at the bargain price. Its not often amateurs got the opportunity to try a 5 stage event. Highly recommended to everyone who wants a good and fun challenge. Will I come back? Yes for sure!!!
20th -21st April 2013, Tour of East Taiwan
Colossi riders Adriano Vences, Fritz Gross, Scott Lawson (Report below by Scott)
After a slow roll-out, our group (50+) split apart before the first and only real climb of the day. Fritz made the break and managed to stay with the lead group for the rest of the stage.
It was my first stage race and I learned a valuable lesson: It only takes a bit more effort, and often times much less, to be in the lead group.
When the leaders broke early in the stage I reasoned I needed to conserve my energy. Big mistake. I got caught out and rode in no-man’s land for about 20 km.
I was gifted with a second chance when the women junior elites came through like a freight train about half way through the stage.
I jumped on and rode with them for another 20 km at a much higher pace. I lost the women in a construction zone followed by a short, sharp climb when we got mixed up with a large group of the sportive riders.
The rest of the stage was uneventful save the “sting in the tail” that is the final 500 meters. Fritz lost a couple of minutes there when his legs simply refused to push the pedals.
Still, he managed to grab a place on the podium. I finished a few minutes back. Adriano had mechanical issues that slowed him down.
Fortunately, we were able to sort out his problems with a very resourceful young mechanic in Tai Dong. A bowl of delicious beef and noodles revived everyone’s spirits.
Stage 2 174 km
My greatest competitor in Taiwan was my own mindset. On day 1, I didn’t think I was good enough to be at the front and rode accordingly.
On Sunday, I felt good I and was encouraged to push a bit harder. At the end of the first long descent I was leading the field. It was a strange sensation but definitely a turning point, in terms of beating back my self-doubt.
Friz and I rode together for most of the day along with a good-sized lead group. There was only one real climb and when we got to it race officials were sorting out the remnants of a bad accident.
Later, we learned Adriano had been caught up in it, though he managed to finish, albeit far off the pace.
We were told it always rains on Sunday and true to form the rain came just past half way through the stage, slowing things down a bit.
I was aggressive in holding a wheel but it was tough riding with very poor visibility. I’m still picking grit out of my ears, teeth, etc. a week later and my white Colossi jersey will never be white again.
At about 145km, Fritz pushed forward in what would be the decisive move of the race. I dithered and paid for my mistake.
Near the end, I again caught the wheel of the women juniors (truly amazing riders!) and held on until just before the end.
My computer was not working and when the motoman told me it was another 10 km to the finish, my spirit sunk. As it turns out, I was only about 3 km out and should have pressed a bit harder.
I crossed the line having no idea I had finished fourth and was chuffed to learn from Adriano that Fritz had won the stage in convincing fashion.
(If you see Fritz, ask him about the “Extra Mile” award we bestowed upon him after Stage 2.)
Despite the mechanical issues, one fall and several missed opportunities it was a good showing for Colossi. We had podium places both days- a claim no other Hong Kong team could make, as far as I know.
We capped off the weekend with a late night celebratory meal and send off to Adriano, who leaves in early May for Manila.
Special thanks go to T.J. and Nellie who were flawless in anticipating every detail and possible contingency.
It would have been a very different experience without their support and counsel.
One final note:
Taiwan has a great cycling culture- one to which Hong Kong should aspire. The air is clean, the roads are wide and safe, the food is fantastic and the people kind and welcoming.
I understand Colossi may be invited to the KOM (QOM, Nora?) Challenge in November- 110 km/3000 meters climbing through and over the Taroko Gorge.
It looks to be a great event and hopefully Colossi can make a good showing there as well.
Fritz gives his account below:
The first day of the race started in Hualian at the East Coast of Taiwan and which is a 3 hour train ride from Taipei. The course is all along the coastline of route 11 down south 127km.
With average temperatures in the thirties, it was rather hot but I felt good. Lots of rolling roads with climbs of 200m at the 30k point.
Day One all went well and I was in the top 3 turning right up a little hill which is around 300 meter up the the finish line, when cramps stopped my legs pedaling.
I literally had to get off the bike for over a minute and just managed to clip of the right food from the pedal standing there shaking.
After a minute I finished the course and came in 4th which nobody actually know until Scott mentioned to me in the evening just before prize presentation.
Day two took us along route 9 back to Hualian and was 174km long (so I was told by Scott) This time the weather was to my advantage at an average of 17c and rain for about 90 minutes.
Although there are quite a few climbs along the road which go up to 300m altitude they are mostly long and soft climbs and almost not noticeable.
With an average heart rate of 136 I cruised along easily with the front pack until it just became to slow for me at km 160. At this mark I put the pedal down and overtook Adriano. He asked me are you at the front. I answered yes I am, "then you won" he said, just go up the hill and then all the way down. I kept my head low to get maximum speed and not to get caught up by the pack and went full speed through a yellow blown up Anniversary sign at km 164. Having hints from Scott that the race is 174k and from Adriano that after the hill just go down hill I did so until km 176.8 where the finish never came. Only then I found out that actually the FINISH was a km 164 and that I won 10k before that with 30 seconds ahead of the Nr.2 and 1 minute ahead of Nr3. Scott was in my opinion the hero of the d
ay, even though he had some stomach problems he ended up in excellent 4th position. Colossi looked very good at that day having 2 People up the stage.
Special thanks to T.J. And Nelly for their fabulous support, help and advise. The handover of the water bottles worked like clockwork and we know exactly at which distances the bottles are going to be handed over.
23rd Feb 2013, Whitehead HKCA Omnium - 3,4,5! 22nd - 24th March 2013 Hong Kong Track Nationals
13th - 14th April 2013 Tour of Hong Kong
Tom Croagh and James represented Colossi at the tour of HK.
Following the terrible weather HK had received in the preceding weeks it was looking to be an equally gloomy weekend. Thankfully the weather gods decided to smile on the tour and brought some fine weather. The tour started with the very selective 2.8km individual time trial up Fei Ngo Shan. Tom produced an outstanding result of 8:41 (a PB of over 40 seconds) which put him into 8th place (out of 62 riders). Tom's climbing form even took him by surprise as he misjudged the finish and had energy to burn - who knows what time he could have achieved. James came in with a 9:17 a
Next up in the afternoon was the criterium
around the infamous Po
Kong jungle gym circuit. Even the gods dont
know why HKCA continue to use this circuit for racing. With ambulances on hand the races kicked off for the various grades. For the elite cat, 3 qualifying races with the top 8 of 20 odd riders would decide who was going through to the final. The circuit involves a hotdog loop with the out being uphill and some tight corners. The return is all downhill with extremely fast sweeping corners. The circuit is extremely tight and demands the best bike handling from the riders to avoid mishaps and to p
ositioning in the run in to the finish is key to achieving a good result. Following a number of serious accidents in the junior grades the elite Cat heats started.
Tom maintaining his climbing form hit the front of the field on each cl
imb to ensure he was well placed for the fast corners on the return. Not long into the 12 laps the group splintered with Tom making the front split and the top 8. However in the dying laps Tom started losing contact on the corners and had to work hard on the uphills to ensure his placing was secure. However in the end another pile up in the group ahead of him meant that his place was well secure.
James took a different strategy by breaking away solo within 50m of the start of his heat and gained 1/4 of a lap very quickly which he held until it was clear that only 7 riders remained in the chasing group. Eventually John Tonks (ProBike) came across in the last 2 laps and went on to win with James coming in second. Again another crash further behind took even more riders out of the race.
Next up was Ed in the age group cat (unable to race the full tour so was constrained to racing in the separate age cat). With Ed being a marked man, there was little Ed could but time trial around with the other 2 strong riders sitting on. Coming into the finish it looked like Ed might take it but with only metres left he was overtaken and had to settle for 2nd.
Finishing day was the Elite final consisting of 30 laps. Tom and James lined up on the battle cage, looking forward to the battle that would follow. With a number of riders from ProBike to help their leader (and yellow jersey holder) Thomas Cheung, the race was a consistent high pace with all early attacks futile. Despite this, James continually gapped the bunch on the corners but was unable to stay away on the long stretches by himself and no other riders wanted or were able to come across. Coming in to 2 laps to go John Tonks and Keigo Lam (NeilPryde) unleashed a formidable attack and managed to stay away to the end. James positioned well coming into the last corner, however with the narrow width of the finishing straight he was unable to pass the riders in front and settled for 8th. Tom unable to hang on in the final laps was cruelly dealt a blow of an extra 5mins being added to his time for being lapped.
Sunday brought about the 112km final stage at Tin Shui Wai. A 4am waking time to make it to the 6am start was the first challenge of the day.
With the elite riders setting off first, and not in any sort of hurry considering the dead flat hotdog course, the junior riders (who were to complete only 65km odd) quickly caught the bunch. This resulted in the speed lifting and some more attacks being launched. With a group of juniors breaking away at the 25km mark a large group of elite riders also went across and before long a huge group had established. With all teams except Colossi and SCAA having at least 2 riders in the break it looked like it would stay away till the end. However Tom was not giving up and after some solid turns on the front, James and Chris from SCAA rallied and started to limit the damages. Out in the break an attack from John Tonks and Keigo resulted in some indecision from the other riders in the break and this fuelled the efforts back in the peloton from James and Tom and after some solid riding the break was reeled back in. Tom took in a well deserved hot dog to restore some energy (and absorb some of the alcohol from the previous night). Only the 2 man break remained and with over 50km still to ride it looked likely to come back together. Once back together various attacks were launched however they were all chased down. With 2 laps remaining Keigo, Felix Yuen Chi Ho (Pro Bike) and another local rider got a good gap and now strangely with no organised chase they would stay away till the finish. Coming into the finish Tom put a late solo effort and had a good gap, Probike riders chased and led out the sprint very early. James sitting back in tenth place timed his sprint perfectly to take the bunch sprint and 4th place by more than 2 bike lengths.
James and Tom finished overall in 11th and 16th respectively. Tom's climbing form bodes well for the upcoming Tour of Friendship so we will be keenly waiting for the results there.
While the rest of the team were unable to attend due to other committments, James took on his first HK Track Nationals. Wanting to make the most of the time on the track, and the chance to race against the top track cyclists HK have to offer, he entered in all 10 events which were contested over 3 days (only 2 of the eight HK team riders competed in all events). The program consisted of Individual Pursuit qualifying and sprint qualifying on the friday night, Omnium (flying lap, points race and elimination) and kilo on saturday, omnium (individual pursuit, scratch and kilo) and keirin on sunday.
I.Pursuit being the least prefered event, and as anticipated it was a tough task trying to match the times of the HK riders James came in with a 5:34, 4 seconds off Paolo (TDA). Kwok Ho Ting (ex World Champion) took the event in 4:56.
Sprint qualifying (consisting of a total 3.5 laps with the last 200m timed) ended with James coming in with a 12.6 (and a PB) and 5th place (and just missing qualifying) but with still some work to step up to the top 4 who ranged from 11.7-11.9.
The omnium started off with the flying lap (consisting of a total of 3.5 laps with the last full lap timed). A great effort resulted with a 15.6 and another 5th place.
Next up the points race with 80laps was a daunting task, and while being on the rivet 100% of the race it was a huge effort just to hang in and not get eliminated (which happens once being lapped twice). Managing to come in ahead of one HK team rider felt like a victory.
James took the strategy of sitting at the front of the elimination in the hope to reduce the accelerations needed to stay off the last rider and this worked for the first two eliminations, however with a confusion on the officials behalf as to who was the last rider, the race was put in nuetral and then restarted but due to the confusion on the restart James was eliminated.
The final event for the saturday, the kilo, was again not a preferred event and came in with a 1:19.4 for the 1km (4 laps standing start) and while it was a pb it was just off the pace.
Sunday started with the Keirin. With no qualifying and just 7 riders it was going to be full on and once the derny pulled off the last 2.5 laps were full on and all about positioning. At the finish it was all together and extremely close with James having to settle for 6th ahead of Thomas Cheung of ProBike.
The final three events of the Omnium mirrored the outcomes from the days before, especially with the 60 lap scratch race which again was a non stop attack fiesta without any let up.
With the days events concluded it was time for reflection. The races were a big step up in terms of racing intensity and while there were no podiums it was good to race against international riders and see the gap is not too big. Furthermore the results on the sprint events were even more encouraging and bode well for the future with some more specific training on the track.
The Omnium is a best of 6 event, with the lowest combined finishing position being the winner (6 points being the best score for 6 1st places). It is usually run over 2 days at World Cup / Olympic level. Here in HK it is run over around 4 hours, without much rest in between- despite appearances to the contrary in the above photo!
A surprisingly sunny day in February greeted our track entrepreneurs for the last Open track race of the 2012-13 season at Whitehead. Mike, Ed, James & Aron all represented the club in what must be one of the most physically demanding track events- the king of consistency Omnium.
Things started well in the flying lap with James clocking 2nd fastest and Ed not far behind in 3rd. Aron was not so far back in 5th, whilst Mike (6th) got stuck in and chopped his PB in half. Next up was the points race- 60 laps with 6 sprints of brutality. Some consistent sprints but no gained laps saw Ed get 3rd and james 4th behind the ProBike duo of Dorming & Thomas, who were demonstrating their strength at the head of the field with gained laps. Next up after about 5 minutes rest with some already tired bodies was the Elimination. This time Ed & James swapped positions with Aron (above) just behind in 5th.
d in 3rd, James in 4th and Aron 5th, we were well placed to try and overhaul Thomas for 2nd place if we could get two riders (including Ed) in front of him. The best form of defence being attack, Aron went up the road (so to speak) and gained a lap with Dorming to secure 2nd place in the event. Meanwhile back in the bunch things didn't go quite to plan with Thomas getting the best of Ed & James. This turned the tables going into the Kilo with Dorming and Thomas untouchable in 1st and 2nd, with Aron now the best placed Colossi rider in 3rd spot, with Ed 4th and James 5th. After one last roll of the dice this was exactly the result during the Kilo and also the finishing result. Aron had shown his strength over the course of a long event and shown what value a longer range rider can bring to an event like this. A great day out and more great results for the ever strengthening team.
The event the Omnium recently superseded in the Olympics, the Pursuit, was to prove to be a real killer. Aron killed it with a cracking time beating everyone except the irrepressible Dorming Chau. Ed & James (pictured above) had a close fought draw for 3rd and 4th with Ed getting the nod by a second having come from behind to ride the slightly more consistent race. Once again, with tired legs we were straight into the scratch race- our penultimate race. At this stage, with E
18th Feb 2013 Track Cycling Training Session
Another record turnout of riders. Rupert showed his potential in track by exerting his immense power and snapping his bike in half.
17th Feb 2013 HKCA Crit Race 4 - Yuen Long
Fritz, Tom, James and Mike represented with more solid performances. With the super fast and super tight 800m course it was a good effort just to finish without getting caught. Fritz picked up 6th in the 5M, James 3rd in 3M age group categories. Tom, James and Mike then all managed to qualify for the final of the open event with James managing to get into the winning break and picking up a point on the first sprint lap before receiving an untimely puncture at the half way stage.
3rd Feb 2013 Fritz hits the Podium!
Fritz gets 2nd on Fei Ngo Shan in the 50s. Rupert & James top 10 in Open.
2nd Feb, HKCA Track Race 5 - Colossi.cc rule the
This Saturday saw
our biggest turn out and best track results to date since gaining access to the
Whitehead velodrome. From left to right we had Jon, Tom, Aron, Ed, Mike
& James competing, with TJ & Nellie offering support and photographic
First up we had the
Elimination- a brutal event, also known as 'The Devil takes the Hindmost', where
the last rider over the line on a sprint lap gets eliminated. Every other lap...
Think of a cross between a ramp test and a Hong Kong lift lobby during rush hour
and you get the picture.
Jon and Tom both had
a bit of a baptism of fire as their first Open class track race, whilst Aron
& Mike rode like the seasoned campaigners they are becoming- just missed the
podium top 5.
Last of the Colossi
survivors were the by now Colossi track veterans James (4th) and Ed (3rd) who
despite their best efforts couldn't quite match the outright speed of a
honeymoon fresh Dorming Chau when the every present bell rung during yet
another lactic haze. Still, two riders on the podium was certainly a great start
to the day and a big improvement on any of our recent track race
Next we had a first
for everyone from our team- a fully competitive Keirin race. Having had a warm
up race on Monday's training session we all knew the format: Minus the
motorbike, a Hong Kong Keirin consists of 5 1/2 laps behind a fit coach who
takes things up to apx 45kph, then 2 1/2 laps up to around 60 kph in a mad dash
to the line. We also knew the competition would be somewhat faster than during
Heat 1 was certainly
the tougher event to ride, with Dorming Chau a certain to qualify, and one of
Hong Kong's brightest XSpeed Juniors a real threat. James rode well to secure
the last of the 3 qualification places on offer, with Aron just missing out in
4th. Jon burnt his chips riding as first man whilst Tom was lucky not to go OTB
on his rather low handlebar rental bike!
Heat 2 was an easier
ride for Ed, who had a fairly easy ride behind the other Cat 1 ProBike rider
present (Dorming being the other) to secure 2nd place. Just behind, Mike rode a
stormer to sneak through for a well deserved Finals placing.
The repacharge for
the minor places saw Aron begin his transformation into track sprinter with an
out the saddle sprint launched on the back straight gaining the 7th place on
offer. Jon got 8th by a wheel length in an entertaining appetiser for the
Speaking of which,
drawing ball number 1, James knew he'd have to play some clever tactics not to
be mobbed in the last 200m of the Final. Equally, with ball number 6, Ed had a
long way to go from the back of the pack to feature. Luckily for both, we had
superstar Mike to complete our 3 out of 6 participation in the line up. Mike
selfishly allowed Ed to slot into 2nd wheel behind James, meaning we were
completely front loaded going into the last 2 laps.
The best team move
was to come yet though, as Mike took to the front just before the bell to allow
some respite for James, sacrificing himself to the wind. When Dorming took a
flier none could follow, but James put on the afterburners to hold off all for a
fantastic 2nd place. Ed was not far behind to hold off the other 2 riders who'd
beaten us all in qualifying to round off a great Colossi
All in a great
morning's racing and hopefully the start of more great things to
12th January, HKCA Track Race 4 - Points race
Ed C, Aron A, James M and new recruits Mike Watson, Scott Hooper and Neil Horton took up the challenge of the 100 lap Points race held at whitehead velodrome. While only 25km in total the team knew it was going to be a tough task to keep up with some of the top young track riders of Hong Kong (who get to train full time on the track compared to our once per month if we're lucky). Combine that with it being only the second or third time riding on the track for some, it was a great effort by all.
The pace was sedate for the first 2 -3 laps but that was immediately lifted thanks to Mike Watson taking a flier and others giving chase. He managed to stay away and grab some points for the first sprint at 10laps. From that point on the pace did not reduce and for the next 90laps there were constant attacks. Ed was ever active at the front and managed to get into a break and gain a lap which meant he automatically got 20 points and slipped into the top 5. Aron constantly put in super efforts to assist in bringing back some potential break aways that would threaten Ed's position. However, with the nature of points race it is extremely hard to follow which riders have been lapped or are lapping etc and with a little over 25 laps to go an unknown rider took a solo flier and managed to stay away for three sprints which sadly pushed Ed down to 6th place.
Great effort to Aron for coming in at 8th after the work that he put in at the front.
The legs are definitely feeling it now but cant wait to build up to the next one and have another great team showing from Colossi.
15th December, HKCA Track Race 3- Sprint
Good first outing in the sprint competition at the track this morning by Aron, Tom and James M. Aron narrowly missed out on qualifying. A few more training sessions/experience and we will surely have more to qualify.
18th November, Brides Pool Road RR - Another fabulous day for Team Colossi with 3 podium places.
Another good performance by James in the Open category. We need more riders in this category to help James! Aron, as usual, put in a sterling performance in the 30's age category and just missed out on a podium finish by one spot. A podium finish is on the horizon for Aron. Scott Fitzgerald hung in there as well.
There was an outstanding performance from Rupert Griffiths in the 40's age category. He took off early in the 2nd lap and stayed away on his own for the remainder of the 3 lap race to finish on his own, some 28 seconds ahead of the chasing pack of over 25 riders, headed by Hui Char Bor, who I am told was one of the outstanding riders in the 80's in Hong Kong and who has returned to racing with a vengeance. I believe Rupert caught the 30's group that started a minute ahead and left some of them for dead as well. Tom Croagh had a brilliant performance and just missed out on top spot on the podium. Another display of brilliant sprinting from Tom.
T.J. after some bad tactical decisions in earlier races sat and sat and sat and managed to out sprint Madanori Kenga and Ip Wai Chuen to take the 50's category. Fritz , wearing Colossi colors, was a big help to T.J. during the race as he did a lot of work at the front on the last lap and unfortunately paid for it on the last climb, but a podium finish is just around the corner for Fritz. Clive, put in a personal best time for the course and with more race experience under his belt, he will be a big help to the team in the near future.
17th November, Shenzhen RR - More Podiums!
Colossi were represented by James and Aron. Both went on a voyage of discovery and successfully made it to the race venue on time. A great performance by both and James made it to the podium.
10th to 11th November, Tour of Bintan, 2012
]8 HKG Colossi guys made it to the Tour De Bintan this year,
and we were joined by our secret weapon from the Philippines – Roberto Uy,
otherwise known as the Philippine Power Plant:
Pin Pin. The Hong Kong guys were
Aron, Jon, Scotty, Slotty, Adriano, Tom, Rupert and Jimbo, forming a solid team
with a good mix of different talents.
The introductionof a 12km time trial prologue to the 3
stage race was set to shake things up. Not only did the solo effort decide the
110 qualifiers for stage 2, but it also provided individual times that would
contribute to the overall time for the GC. The anticipation and nerves as
Colossi team members set off from the start ramp in the heat of the afternoon
proved unnecessary as all 9 of us got through unscathed. Even “I can’t time
trial” Jimbo recorded an impressive time of 19:01, and Tom’s Oktoberfest
training diet proved successful by producing an 18:34 before it spontaneously
re-emerged over his jersey 10 mins later. Talking of weight penalties, both
Adriano and Jon had to add triathlon-style saddle-bags to their machines to
meet the UCI regulation minimum of 6.8kgs proving that neither had any excuse
for lack of hill climbing ability. Fastest in Colossi on the day was Aron with
an 18:02 putting him in 11th place, followed by Rupert in 16th
and then Jon in 25th. The Cat 2 field had its share of sand-baggers,
the top 3 riders would have also been in the top 10 in Cat 1, the fastest being
over a minute quicker than Aron which was going to make the GC race very
A happy team after
Stage 1 started early the next day, the heat at the start
line even at 7am was oppressive. The first 15km were fairly as the peleton
settled in, but the pace began to pick up as we approached the first KOM at
28km. The plan here was for Tom and Scotty to lead out Rupert for the KOM, and
it went perfectly until Rupert failed to notice the 500m countdown sign and did
not notice the small hump that was classified as the climb. It did not matter
though as Scotty powered up and claimed the 10 points for second.
As the stage continued the pace was fairly steady, Adriano
even commenting that it was a nice Saturday morning ride. As the first sprint
approached the speed came up and the Colossi lead-out train made a valiant
effort which proved fruitless by getting blocked in as it approached the
line. Shortly after Pin Pin managed to
break off the front with 4 other riders and the Peleton let them go, giving Pin
Pin a good chance of taking time off the GC leaders if he could stay away.
The peleton rolled on reaching the 90km mark. At what seemed to be a perfectly straight and
harmless piece of road, a rider in the middle of the group swerved and took
down at least 6 riders
including Adriano. Scott, Slotty and Jon dropped back to check if any Colossi
riders were involved, only to see Adriano in the fetal position on the
tarmac. It was a worrying few moments as
he was soon moving around but was unable to continue. Knowing that Adriano was mobile, Scott led
the chase back to the main group. As
they regained contact, Jon punctured.
Slotty stayed with him to help with the repair and the fight back, but
with a damaged tyre-wall and the mechanic car still back at the crash site it
meant that all hopes of either of them getting back to the Peleton were dashed.
The Colossi team were now 3 riders down, with 5 in the
Peleton and Pin Pin still off the front in his breakaway. Water runs were
proving a little difficult, especially after the crash, as the motorbikes were
hanging much too far back. Scotty made
the final heroic reconnaissance to the back and fetched water for Rupert and
others but was very unlucky with the timing as the pace picked up before he had
a chance to recover from his efforts and he was dropped shortly after.
Over the next 20km the increased speed and multiple surges
broke up the peleton until only around 35 remained in the front group, with
only Tom, Aron and Rupert from Colossi. With only 20km remaining the site of an
exhausted Pin Pin appeared up the road. He had successfully dropped the 4 riders
that had ridden up the road with him, and claimed the points in the second KOM
and sprint in the process, but just did not have the legs to take it all the
way to the finish. He was swallowed up by the lead group but managed to stay in
the mix despite his massive efforts.
Over the final 15kms Aron, Rupert and Tom were all looking
strong, spending most of the time in the top ten and chasing down breakaways
and even forming their own. With 5 kms
to go the skies darkened and a torrential downpour ensued making the remainder
of the stage a test of nerve. The speed continued to increase towards the end
despite the deep puddles and lack of visibility from the peltering rain. The
final corner was taken at about 40km/h with uselessly drenched brakes and then
it was a sprint for the line. All in the lead pack were given the same time of
4:03:02, although the top 5 across were awarded time bonuses. Out of the
colossi team Pin Pin had managed 4th place claiming a 2 second time
bonus, Aron came in 8th, Rupert in 15th and Tom, smartly
going for a safe finish, came 32. Jimbo
sprinted in 10 minutes later determined to take out the sprinter from team
Matador, shortly followed by Scotty, Jon and Slotty rolled in over the next 30
minutes. Pin Pin was the man of the moment having managed to claim both the
sprint ACE jersey and the KOM jersey.
Pinpin taking Polka
and Green on Stage 1
With Adriano out of the race with some serious
muscle/ligament damage, there were 8 Colossi guys at the start of stage 2.
Enthusiastic plans from the night before included a colossi team break-away
plan straight after one of the KOM’s, but there was still some indecision
whether a breakaway at 8km (with 74km remaining) was viable (after a couple of
beers it seemed feasible), or whether to save it for the KOM just 8km from then
finish. In the end there was no option on the first KOM as the pace from 4km
out was extremely high and it was challenge enough for most of us to simply
stay in, or near, the front group. Pin Pin was in a different league on these
punchy hills and he crossed the KOM line in 2nd putting him well
ahead in the KOM competition.
The speed from here continued at a high pace, it felt as if
stage 1 had been a warm-up, as the peleton stretched out, no wider than two
abreast, as it headed at averages above 40km through narrow winding and
undulating roads. The pace finally eased as a wider highway section was reached
and the first sprint loomed ahead. Pin Pin put in a good effort to claim 5
points for 3rd place but it wasn’t good enough to keep the
jersey. The second sprint was only 30km
further on and on approach Scotty and Slotty employed clever tactics to get
well out ahead and managed to claim points for 2nd and 3rd
across the line. The route took the peleton through a succession of small towns
and streets lined with spectators, as well as armies of screaming school kids.
As we approached the second KOM the plan for the Colossi
breakaway came to mind but the alcohol influenced conception seemed all the
more unfeasible in the light of the exertion of the ride. Nonetheless Rupert
and Aron found themselves alone 100m ahead of the Peleton, but it was one hill
too early and the effort had blown up any possibility of continuing the attack
so both simply managed a recovery while waiting to be reintegrated into the
With 7km to go a bunch finish was the only possibility and
the peleton jostled on the final section. Jimbo, Aron, Pin Pin and Rupert had
moved up into position for the final sprint but positioning was very difficult
in the chaos of the Peleton as it expanded and narrowed depending on the girth
of the undulating tarmac. It was a case of survival as the cobblestone
roundabout was tackled and the final surges for the line and only Pin Pin
manage to get the timing and position right, coming across the line in 3rd
and claiming a 4 second time bonus.
The GC race was as good as decided now as the first 3 riders
had maintained their significant time gap from the time trial and the chance of
a breakaway in stage 3, especially one that could bring a Colossi rider up to
the top of the leader board, was very unlikely indeed. In the Team classification, Colossi was
holding 3rd place, about 1 min adrift of the leading Confero
Mavericks from Singapore.
Stage 2 – Can’t wait
to get started!
Erich bags 4th in Open Cat only GC
The team tried to recover in the short 2 hour break between
stage 2 and stage 3 through rehydration and air-conditioning but any benefit
was lost after just 2 or 3 minutes of the extreme heat of waiting for the start
horn of stage 3. This short stage was mostly flat, with only a short stretch of
rolling hills from 14km to 19km. On approach to the KOM at 15km it was a manic
free-for-all for the line and Pin Pin did well to power to the front and get across
the line first and secure the KOM jersey for the stage and overall.
With only 25km left of this very short stage, the pace was
high, partly pushed by the front-runners chasing down repeated attacks. Aron,
Rupert and Tom sat in the top 10 ready to either chase down, or break away with
any attacks, while Scotty, Slotty, Jimbo and Jon conserved themselves for the
sprints. After the second sprint Jimbo’s frustration showed as he spent the
next 5 kms riding hard off the front and pushing the pace harder, keeping the
peleton honest as it approached the cobble-stone roundabout.
Final approach to the finish and the field really bunched up
as no-one was willing to push out from the front. Some riders were weaving and
others were boxed in, attempting to squeeze through narrow gaps that were
closed with the screeching or brakes pads on carbon rims followed by yells.
Jimbo got into a good position only for a few front-runners to veer across his
path and almost drive him off the road. Yet again Pin Pin’s experience proved
itself as he crossed the line in second place and earned another 6 second
deduction. Not enough to get anywhere in the GC but a fantastic effort from him
to claim the KOM jersey. Colossi
maintained their 3rd place in the team classification.
Overall this was a great performance from everyone as
Colossi was well represented both on and off the bike. With this being the first year Colossi has
participated in the Tour de Bintan as a team, it lays the foundation for more
success in the years to come. 3 year
plan = GC in Cat 1. Show of hands for
next year please…….
to Pin Pin
Click here for the
full photo albumRupert and Jon
10th to 11th November 2012, Action Asia MTB Festival, Hong Kong
Tung Chung Crit
James Moffat kept the flag flying and took 2nd in the 30-39 age category today in the Tung Chung Crit. Another outstanding sprint. In the open points race he was very prominent in the first few laps of the race and just missed out on gaining some points. Aron put in a very solid performance in the open points race as well. He managed to stay in the lead group during the whole of the 25 km race. Some stats from Aron. 345 normalized watt over 35 minutes, 43 km/h average with 20 180 degree turns and some tight slow sections. Tom, Adriano, Scott Fits, Clive and rode well and enjoyed the days outing.
HKCA Omnium, Whitehead Velodrome, 16th June 2012
Well it's all over. Drama packed morning. Got the flying laps in. I did 16.35 with mr dorming at 14.2 I think. So i came fourth a fraction ahead of mr thomas and the main thing is that I didn't lose to any of the youths.
Then 60 lap points race which I managed to win by somehow riding away just before halfway. Finally I got the lap with 15 to go. And then won the last sprint also. Then the girls and youths did theirs and at halfway there was a very bad crash with whitey girl (scaa) and a xspeed guy hitting the deck head first. That was the beginning of the end with both of them on the ground for a long time and now the heavens have opened up. I don't think I would have had much more to give anyway with four events still to go. So good and bad.
Report by James
Dragons TTT, Tung Chung, 2nd June 2012
Colossi CC was well represented at the Dragons Club 48km TTT this morning with Aron, Rupert, Jeroen and Jon making up the team of 4. With unique rules of having to finish as 4, the pressure was on everyone from the start. With only one team starting 30 secs behind us at the start line (the Sai Kung strong men), the objective was to try and finish under 70 mins and a top 3 finish.
First lap went as planned with every rider making a contribution to the average speed of 42.5km/hr and making our way through the field of slower teams. Just before the half way we were caught by the Sai Kung team but held our position well staying in "radio contact" in the hope they would eventually tire and slow down.
Second lap involved a change in strategy allowing Aron and Jon to take some longer pulls on the front into the wind, giving Rupert and Jeroen some rest in the hope they would be able to finish strong. Going into the final 10km the gap was only 15 secs from the team in front as Rupert took up pole position. A very strong pull helped bring all of us back in contact. The final few km's were cat and mouse between the 2 teams with Jeroen helping us finish a few secs ahead after a sprint finish. But with a 30 sec time difference it wasn't enough. Finish time 1:09:25 and a second place. If only the course was 5km longer the result could have been very different!!
Great team work and good to see the TT strength of the club coming together.
Tung Chung Crit, Hong Kong, 27th May 2012
Colossi lined up with 6 riders (Aron, Ed, James, Jeroen, Sandy and Paulo) for the 3M to what looked like 4 fast and furious laps around the infamous Tung Chung Criterium- from the gun as expected!
Hopes were on James considering his outstanding form from previous week tour of Hong Kong. Off we went with Sandy giving out everything on the first laps making sure no moves would come early. From there the action started with riders from CCN, Direct Asia and Champion Systems trying to establish a break. The strategy to keep two guys ahead proved effective with Ed and Paulo covering all the tries while the other guys were safely jockeying for position not far behind. 3rd lap saw Ed creating a dangerous gap after what looked like the fastest lap of the day. Unfortunately the other teams were not willing to let him go alone, bringing him back to the bunch after a couple hundred meters. The strongest move of the day came from Jeroen before getting the bell together with another rider from Racing Force. Reaction came and they were brought back to the bunch before the last corners. After the roundabout with the Colossi train in place it was up to James to line up behind Ed for the final kick. Team work till the end with a well deserved first place for the team! Check out the video here.
In the ladies Cat Hillary Daniels just missed out on the podium with a 4th place. In the 40s Tony, riding for the Lanatu Buffalos, just missed out on the win, getting pipped to the line in 2nd place. Jon also rode well for 6th. Meanwhile, in EliteB Tom C missed the break and rolled in with the pack safely. Open Cat was a less successful race, with the team unable to move up and contest effectively. James made some ammends to get 5th place in the last sprint.
Full gallery of Nellie & TJ's photos up here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150946083918324.456179.615193323&type=1
Thanks to Nellie & TJ for their outstanding support. Report by Paulo (3M) & Ed
Tour of Hong Kong 2012
Stage 1 - Fei Ngo Shan Hill Climb
Erich Felbabel took 3rd place on Stage 1, a 2.4km hill climb up Fei Ngor Shan in a time of 8:00 flat, another superb performance by Erich. The other 6 Colossi riders accredited themselves well.
Stage 2, Po Kong Crit
A crit around the 'circuit of death' as it has been refered to, saw James Moffiat, one of 8 from the group of 20 to qualify safely for the final while Sandy Cheung put in a great performance. The 2nd qualifying heat saw Tom Croagh take to the boards. However, with the onsent of a shower during the 3rd lap, HKCA decided to call it a day, as the surface was too dangerous to race on. The HKCA officials, thankfully, after about 60 minutes delay, decided to cancel the stage.
Stage 3, Tin Shui Wai RR
A 120km road race, on the Tin Shui Wai circuit, saw James Moffiat, with one lap to go, slip into the winning break, with two riders from Mike Prides team and one from CS Racing, all of whom are ex-Hong Kong National team members. James put in an outstanding performance to take 2nd on the stage. Erich- 3rd on GC going into the stage- was safely back in the bunch and did not pursue his team mate up the road, even though the break contained Lee Chi Wo, Danial, of Cyclone, who was only a couple of seconds down on Erich on GC. Tom Croagh and Aron finished safely in the bunch, another solid performance by the two, after some outstanding results in Taiwan and Thailand. Jeroen Slot, who was unable to race on Saturday due to work commitments, put in a great performance in the 60km age category race. Some managerial infomation passed to Jeroen on laps elapsed, resulted in Jeroen missing out on a certain podium finish. Erich rounded off a great tour by taking 4th on GC. You can read Erich's report here: http://www.erichfelbabel.com/?p=1544
Tour of Friendship, Thailand, 28th April - 2nd May 2012
Getting to Thailand full stop proved enough of a challenge, as if racing 100s of kilometres in 40+ degree heat wasn't enough. Thunderstorms had delayed all flights out of Bangkok, with Glen and Aron both sitting on runways for 3 hours+, meaning a 3am bed time for Glen. Keith Powell had joined us from Japan, and arrived at the other end of the spectrum- 4.30am. Ed's journey from bangkok centre to the race hotel took almost as long as his flight... Not the best preparation, but at least we were all set for the race and ready to go.
The traditional short tt stage kicked things off, with Aron and Keith both clocking sub 10minute times for the flattish 7km course, good enough for Aron to get on the podium in 4th, whereas Keith just missed out in 6th. The afternoon proved a good opportunity to take stock of Glen's Thai ordering skills in central Bangkok and get one last nice coffee. By the evening we would have an idea of who would be the guys to watch, be that the Excellent Noodles, or the excellently named Powerforce Rama5... Of course we also had the Euro / States based guys and gals who'd flown especially for the race, and the many Singapore based clubs who support this event so well each year.
Another scorcher for today's pancake flat 120km stage. Speeds were not as high as expected across the categories, with no breaks allowed to stick for more than around 20 minutes. At least plenty if water was on hand, and the Thai ritual of retrieving water bottles from our small army of men on motorbikes then pouring it on both head and body could be practised. The last 10km proved to be a different matter as the speeds cranked up towards a sprint. Ed & Aron worked well together to get a small gap with 500m to go before the field charged from behind. Ed jumped on the sprint and just sneaked on the podium for 5th (and a new max HR), with Aron not far behind, also in the top 10. The former Thai national champion was good for the win. He rides with one bottle cage... Hard core! Ed and Aron both now had the option of putting ceramic water bottles in their cages (excellent trophies!), but declined. Glen and Keith finished safely in the bunch saving some legs for tomorrow.
The toughest stage of the tour- 130km of almost constant climbing / descending in what may officially be the hottest day recorded in Thailand- murmurs of 43 degrees made it a good day for those used to the heat, but less so for many fair skinned Euro guys. Testimony to the extreme heat was one of the Specialized India team members getting carted off to Bangkok with heat exhaustion.
Things started badly for Ed, who was up in the night with a dodgy stomach. Not a good day to ride feeling ill, and the effects showed, as he lost almost half an hour on the day. Aron faired better, staying with the second group on the road until 40km to go, when the heat took it's toll, though Aron still finished top 20.
In the 40's things went from bad to worse for Keith when he crashed on the descent after the day's KOM. Seems he was so spent from climbing that he forgot to turn on a corner. Glen was there to help him back on the road, and the pair made it round for the remainder of a long, hot day.
Some tired legs from yesterday and a flatter, shorter 105km parcours made for a much easier day, though still rolling enough to split up the peloton, and with a short sharp climb up to one of the EGAT damns to finish it was still enough of a test. Sadly, not much in the way of results for colossi- Aron was top 10 in the 30s, with Ed a few more seconds back in 20th. In the 40's Keith suffered a mechanical, finishing together with Glen mid pack. Still, with one day remaining, spirits were high about finishing the tour and the knowledge that all the major hills were done.
One last 90km speed fest from Kanchanaburi back to the finish line of stage 2, but coming from the other direction, was to be our final stage in this year's Tour of Friendship. Attacks a plenty, and with speeds in the 50s (kph) as we motored down the highways, this was certainly in keeping with Tour of Friendship last day tradition. Both the 30's and 40's ended in bunch sprints, but while the heads said 'yes' (M150 energy drink is pretty strong stuff), the legs said 'no' for Ed and Aron, who both missed podiums in 9th and 10th respectively, despite being up there in the finale. Glen and Keith both made it round safely and enjoyed the wind assisted speeds.
All in, a very well organised race, with great logistics, decent enough hotels and a slightly less demanding parcours than editions past. Timing chips mean results were both reliable and prompt. And, of course, this being Thailand, everything is done with a smile- from the motor bikes to our van driver. A lot of work goes into putting an event on like this, but happily, it seems to be going from strength to strength each year.
HKCA Hill Climb, Fei Ngo Shan, 15th April 2012
A great day for Colossi on the slopes of Fei Ngo Shan with podiums across the board!
Eric 2nd (under 8min!) Open
Tom 3rd Elite B
Aron 3rd 30s
Rupert 2nd 40s
Philip 1st 40s
Tony 8th 40s
Fritz 3rd 50s
Nora 1st Ladies
Eric's report up on :
HKCA Road Race, Bride's Pool Rd., 18th March 2012
Bride's Pool Road was the scene for what could well be the best turn out yet for Colossi.cc, and some of our best results!
Erich led the charge in the Open cat,, fearlessly attacking from the word 'Go'. His aggression paid off with a fine 3rd place behind Racing Force's Thomas & Darren Benson, beating many of the favorites for the day in the most prestigious category. Guy Connell also rode strongly in the main group protecting our interests with Erich out front, but it was Erich who got the biggest cheer come podium time!
Nora was unstoppable in the Ladies with a fine solo win, and was our only top step of the day. TJ wasn't far off the top step in his first return to racing since an injury lay off, with a superb 2nd place, and Clive not too far behind.
Some of the other categories were not quite so successful. Despite dominating and controlling every move in the 30s, no Colossi could quite get the right move going. Rich Smerin finished strongly in 4th with Ed and Paulo just behind. Aron was imperious on the front, but couldn't turn it into a result. Similarly, Tom didn't quite have the gas in Elite B, but rode well.
In the 40s Rupert was caught up in a crash, but soldiered on well to re-join the group with Tony and Adriano, who just missed out on podium placings.
Rich & Nellie
Aron sitting nicely
TJ looking good
Nora on her way to victory
Ed attacks to no avail
Erich solo's in for a fine 3rd place
Erich on the podium
Nora in Gold
TJ returns to the podium
Images courtesy of the following excellent albums:
(Yi Yang - TC Tri Association)
James gets ready to lead off
HKCA Scratch Race, Whitehead Velodrome, 60 / 30km, 17th March 2012
Colossi's first track race was a pioneering affair... James, Paulo & Ed took the first steps into the unknown of Open class Hong Kong track racing with mixed results... Ed came closest to a result with 6th place (read more here: http://bikesandbuildings.blogspot.com/2012/03/scratch.html), while James and Paulo finished in the pack. Needless to say it was super aggressive racing from the gun, as you might expect here, but great fun and a serious work out!
Calm before the last few laps storm
Ed takes a flyer with eventual winner Domino
Meanwhile, new member Hillary Daniels didn't look like someone who hadn't raced track in 6 years, sprinting for the win in Ladies. Sadly the HKCA do not recognize Ladies as a separate category, so we had to put Hillary on the podium ourselves.
Hillary Number One
Thanks to Nora for race support and photography!
Vitagreen Sportsoho Criterium, Central HK, 24km, 4th Feb 2012
Really nice to race in the backdrop of Central on a fast course that was a bit wet but not really slippery...
Erich Gets the Power Down
The course was mostly straight, but slow on the two hairpins. The up and down in the tunnel was a bit of an energy sapper. Erich was right up there the whole way but sadly missed the decisive break to race for the win. A guy was clipped/touched by someone and fell right in front of Ed, taking him out. Ed is OK, but other guy was pretty bad.
Sandy, Jonny, Tom pre-race
Tom, Sandy and Jonny also joined in on the fun to complete a fun day out in town. Our wishes go to the rider from 'Success-Pleo' bought down in the crash in front of Ed that was the only mar on what we hope is more regular event.
HKCA TTT, 57km, 19th Feb. 2012
Colossi riders saddled up on a cold and windy morning on the Tung Chung service road to defend their title as defending Champions over the HKCA 57km TTT course. Erich Felbabel (team captain), Jon Adair, Aron Akesson, Rupert Griffiths, Matt Holland and Dane Cantwell lined up for Colossi against the best of Hong Kong in the form of Neilpryde, Champion Systems, debutantes Team Direct Asia and a host of other respected teams aiming for a podium finish. Other than a couple of selection trials, team preparation for the race was limited given other rider commitments and availability so it was a case of "fingers crossed, let's wing it on the day". It was also Matt and Rupert's first HKCA TTT race.
Taking their position as defending Champions
As defending champions we had the honour of being last off the ramp. At 8:12 the clock counted down our last 5 seconds and it was showtime. With 6 riders starting and a minimum of 4 to finish over a 7 lap course, our strategy was to try to stay as a unit of 6 for at least the first 4 laps. The initial pace was good with Erich leading the charge and everyone making their contribution. Lap 1 - ave 43.1 km/hr, not bad but we needed to sustain that speed for the duration to have a podium finish. Lap 2 average dropped to 42.3km/hr and by the end of the lap we were 1 rider down. Into lap 3 and our trusty timekeeper TJ kept us informed of our progress....20 secs down on the leading team. We needed to increase the pace so Erich, Jon and Aron put in some longer efforts in an attempt to make up the shortfall. Unfortunately it had a negative effect and by end of lap 4 we were another rider down. Each subsequent lap resulted in a further time deficit but we were determined to finish in the best possible time. As we couldn't afford to loose another rider, it was a case of keeping the group together and finishing as 4. Average lap speeds dropped to 41km/hr and we finally crossed the line in 1:22:xx. Surprisingly (and thankfully) it was good enough to place us 5th overall, remain seeded and have an automatic entry for the next TTT.
Sideline support seem to be having more fun than the riders
So although the final result wasn't what we'd hoped for, there were many lessons learned from this one. Next time we'll be more prepared as individuals and as a team and know exactly what to expect when it comes to race day. Thanks to TJ, Paulo, Nora and others for their help and fervent vocal support.
HKCA Po Kong Village Road Crit,12th Feb. 2012
A couple of podiums this weekend in the first HKCA race of 2012. Members Ed Cluer, Paulo Biazotti and Tom Croagh braved the warnings of a dangerous course to test the suitability of this first outing for a HKCA race on the new multi-million dollar purpose built track in Diamond Hill. First impressions were, wow- spectacular! Where else in the world would you get boards up in the sky in among urban skyscrapers? Second were slight trepidation that the road surface on the final corner was not the grippiest- think balcony decking, and it wasn't inspiring confidence...
First up were Ed & Paulo in the 30s. From the gun up the first climb on this 1km course a couple of Racing Force guys went straight away and got a gap. Ed managed to get in the chase group with Paulo just behind. One of the Racing Force soon dropped back leaving Lewis Fellas out solo and a chase group of 3 containing Ed. Without much coherence to the chase Lewis stayed out in front for an impressive win, with Ed winning the sprint for 2nd. Paulo soloed in for a 5th place to round out the podium, meaning an excellent start to the day.
Tom did not have such fortune in the Elite B's, and lost time giving space on the 'dodgy corner', putting him out of contention early on. This caution was to pay in the end, however, as Tom did stay upright all day! Paulo was the first to go down, and hit the deck in the Open qualifier as a rider came down in front of him. Damage to bike and body was manageable, but not ideal. Ed also hit the deck in the first lap of the Open in a virtually identical situation, with less damage to body, but more to bike (rear wheel trashed).
The track itself is not necessarily to blame- we all thought it was safe so long as you kept your nerve, but others will clearly disagree. We'll see if HKCA continue to use this resource. There are a lot of things to like- a closed course with no road closures, a nice climb to split things up. It's just a shame they didn't tailor the surface a bit more to 'competitive' cycling, rather than just 'leisure'.
Ed -2nd 30s
Paulo - 5th 30s
Tom - 10th (ish) Elite B