Zagorski Takes Tantalus… Coming to the Big Island in a Few Weeks

This past weekend was the 2011 Tantalus Time Trials for bike riders around the state to participate in a ride around Tantalus Road on the island of Oahu.

The Tantalus Time Trial is oldest running bicycle race in Hawaii. Racers will climb approximately 1,400 feet as they ascend the windy 4.5 mile route to the top.

This years winner was two time U.S. National Champion winner Mike Zagorski with a time of 19 minutes and 51 seconds.

Mike Zagorski Climbs Tantalus (Photo Courtesy http://www.hawaiiracephotos.com/)

Many folks may not know that Hawaii is the home of National Champion Zagorski and he has lived here for nearly 10 years after moving here from the Highlands of Scotland.  The 2011 Tantalus TT was the 5th time he has won the race in 6 attempts at the race.

The first year of the race was 1975 and was won by Charles Galbraith in 21min 29sec. Until 2009, the record time was 18 minutes 39 seconds set by Charles Irwin (supposedly a Navy Seal) in 1991.  Zagorski had broken Irwin’s record a few times with his best time being an 18 minute 30 seconds ride in August 2006, however, this was set as part of a stage race and not the traditional April date for the hillclimb. Austrian cyclist Alexander Eiler beat Zagorski in 2009 with an 18 minutes 32 seconds ride which is still the current record time.

I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple excursions that we did with the Pacific Fleet.

Mike Zagorski (Third from Left) and others onboard the USS Ronald Reagan

In 2010 Zagorski narrowly missed the record with a time of 18 minutes 34 seconds  in torrential rain. This year the weather conditions were looking better for the 65 competitors, with no rain in sight. A lack of rain was met with windy conditions making times slower across the board. Zagorski (BME Racing) came out on top with a winning time of 19 minute 52 seconds  edging out 2nd placed Rick Collins (20:16) and 3rd placed Wing Ho (BME Racing) 20:31. Overall women’s winner was Jenny Lagerquist of Pacific Velo with a time of 22 minutes 44 seconds. The course record stands for another year!

Today went well with me either meeting or beating my time splits most of the way up. Yup, most. I got to the stop sign / right turn at 3:35, to the end of the residential at 5:00, to the water tank in 6:00, mid way point at 9:05, and so on. I got to the flat-ish top section at about 17:00 only to be greeted by wind. The final few minutes of racing were pretty damn slow and I ended up losing time crossing the line in 19:51 – One of the slowest race times I’ve had up there in 5+ years. Still good enough to win, but winning is only half of my goal on Tantalus – I want that record. I guess I’ll have to come back again in 2012, but skinnier, and faster!…

I asked Zagorski when the next race was and he let me know that it’s coming up on the Big Island!

“Next race is the Hawaii State Individual 40km Time Trial on the Big Island, April 23, and the State Team Time Trial (4-man and also 40km) on April 24,” Zagorski stated.

When asked about the Tantalus race itself, Zagorski said “One of the best races and short training rides on O’ahu… Just pure climbing, nice scenery, not a whole lot of cars, and just the occasional rooster, mongoose, or wild pig”

Mike snapped the following picture of himself in which he caught me in the background.

Mike Zagorski and I aboard the USS Ronald Reagan out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

I wish Mike the best of luck here on the Big Island in a few weeks and hope he enjoys his stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village!

You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeZagorski

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