The Hawaii Cycling Club officially kicked off their 2021 season on Saturday with the Prologue 10-Mile Individual Training Time Trial – the first of several cycling events scheduled for the year.
The Prologue is a relatively short solo effort against the clock that did not disappoint, as the highly anticipated “quad and lung burner” pushed 35 riders to near-maximum pain thresholds.
Ideal race conditions made for fast speeds along the 10-mile undulating course that began on the corner of Kaiminani Drive on Queen Kaahumanu Hwy and proceeded North, finishing just before the Scenic Point Lookout.
Cyclists were given the option to participate live (in-person) or virtually (at a different time or day). Those who competed in-person started socially distanced on 30-second intervals, which is the normal format for all cycling time trial events.
Once again, Waikoloa’s Daniel Hill won the in-person format finishing in a stellar time of 21 minutes and 53 seconds for an average speed of 27.8 miles per hour. Chris Demarchi had the second fastest time of 22:17, followed by Peter Buehlow in third at 24:17.
“I got lucky because Chris started (30-seconds) in front of me so I could see him the whole way,” Hill said. “So, it was just to get closer and maintain it. I never passed him but I got close and finished within five seconds of him.”
Hill added he didn’t plan on winning as he has been focused more on trail running than riding his bike.
“I wasn’t biking much lately so I wasn’t sure, but it worked out,” said the 50-year-old. “There were a lot of people out there and I expected a few like Sean Maynard and Penn Henderson, but they didn’t show up. So, there are fast people out there that could’ve passed me but they didn’t show up.”
On the women’s side, Kailua-Kona’s Tina Eakin easily claimed gold with her speedy time of 24:56 that placed her fifth overall among the men. Jessie McCree and Laura Yamasaki secured second and third place with their times of 27:34 and 27:54 respectively.
“The race was good, but it was painful,” Eakin laughed. “My coach just told me to put it all out there so I started out pretty hard.”
Eakin, who was the 2019 female champion at the prestigious Dick Evans Memorial 112-Mile Road Race held on Oahu, said it was the perfect day for an in-person time trial and credited the volunteers who helped to make it happen.
“There definitely wasn’t a headwind – I’m not saying we had a strong tailwind either but riding back I was fighting a headwind so I knew that maybe there was a tailwind for us,” Eakin said. “It was perfect temperature for Hawaii and just perfect weather conditions. And I appreciate all of the volunteers. I mean it’s really great to have a race especially now with COVID, and we just can’t have a race without the volunteers. But it was a tough day just because I put it all out there like my coach told me to.”
After retiring in 2014 from a 22-year career serving in the Navy and Army, Eakin became a full-time Big Island resident in October and hopes to qualify for her seventh Ironman World Championships at the upcoming Ironman 70.3 Hawaii triathlon in June. Her days have been filled with swim-bike-run as well as a new part-time job in sales at the Kona Sports Center.
“It’s fun job for me as I’m getting to know more people here,” Eakin said. “It’s funny as while I’ve been cycling for over 20 years, I don’t know much about mechanics – you know, I just bring my bike in to the shop when I need something fixed. So, now that I’m working at Kona Sports Center, I’m interested in learning more about bike mechanics.”
Columnist Note: Online results on Webscorer had Waikoloa’s Sam Anderson-Moxley as the overall virtual winner with his time of 21 minutes and 8 seconds for an average speed of 28.8-miles per hour. The 26-year old continued his winning streak, as he was also the virtual champion at December’s Big Island Time Trial Championships, the Kua Bay Time Trial in September, and July’s Hilo Climbing Time Trial.