Kaden Hopkins defends national title for second successive year
Kaden Hopkins picked up a third straight Open Male title in the CG Insurance Bermuda National Time Trial Championship on Sunday at Clearwater Beach, while Nicole Mitchell won the Open Female title in the absence of Caitlyn Conyers who did not return from the United States to defend her title.
Only Conor White stood between Hopkins and a third title, the 21-year-old proving that he made a good decision to leave his Spanish team Equipo Essax in a bid to hold on to his crown.
In the end he clocked a time of 41 minutes, 22 seconds to beat his only competitor, White, by just under 31 seconds. White finished the six laps in 41:53.
“It’s always an honour but this year it will definitely mean a lot more as I know that my team overseas is going to be happy with it,” Hopkins said afterwards.
“They had a lot of support for me coming back here. I know there are races over there that they could have used me in, but they gave me permission to come back, so I’m glad I was able to capitalise on it.
“I’m definitely proud, it’s always an honour to be a national champion. I definitely wanted to come back, I’m loving it over in Spain, but obviously you miss your family and friends.”
Hopkins has been adapting to the professional environment in Spain the last several months, even gradually learning the language. He showed what he has been learning with his team, too, and is looking to produce another good performance in the National Road Racing Championships this coming weekend at the same location.
“I’m living in a place where I only speak a little of the language and so that can be mentally exhausting, but it is a great learning experience,” he said of his time in Spain. “It’s been nice experiencing the culture.
“It was definitely pretty mind-blowing when I first got over there, I knew it was going to be hard but it really blew my expectations on how hard it actually was,” he said.
“For the first month or so it was a real beat down over there, almost every race I went into I was either getting dropped or something was happening that affected my finishing.
“But then after that I got used to the dynamics of the racing and how to move around. I’m definitely on a steady improvement now but still quite a bit to go in the form before I’m able to compete with the top guys out there.
“Obviously that’s the goal and I’m going to keep working towards it. I’ll be here next weekend for the National Road Racing Championships and then I’ll be heading back over to Spain until around October.
“It will be racing constantly, but now in the later part of the season it will switch more to stage racing instead of one-day racing, which I actually prefer as it is not as relentless and requires more tactics.”
White, who is also looking forward to some overseas competition after the National Road Racing Championships, had a good performance in finishing 30 seconds behind Hopkins.
“I tried not to go out too hard in the beginning because it is a long race, just ease into it, and yes, the wind did pick up a bit,” said White who was averaging 27 miles per hour. “It was a tough course and a steady effort.”
Mitchell clocked 43:09.957 over the five-lap course for the women, finishing a comfortable 9:48 ahead of Martina Olcheski-Bell, the only other Open Female competitor.
Liam Flannery and Liana Medeiros were the Junior Male and Female champions, as Flannery dethroned Alexander Miller who had to settle for second, 1:56 behind Flannery’s winning time of 27:46.366 over the five-lap course.
“It was a good ride, I felt strong for most of it, but I think I could have paced it a bit better, though,” Flannery said.
“It’s easy to go out way too hard and then fade, which is what happened. I’m assuming my first lap was probably the quickest, and after the second lap I was hurting a lot, basically hanging on.”
Medeiros was the lone Junior Female competitor as she clocked 36:56.828.
“I was aiming for 21mph but got 20.28 which was close,” she said of her speed. “I’m really happy, obviously, to do well, it would be amazing to have more junior females as you want competition.”
Steven Smith and Maddie Durkin were the male and female masters winners, finishing in 47:13.767 and 41:20.969 respectively over the six and five mile courses.
Smith finished a minute ahead of veteran cyclist Kris Hedges (48:16.310) with Steven Millington third. Louise Wells was just 33.249 seconds behind Durkin in the Masters Female category, with Karen Smith third.
Jake Smith and Charlotte Millington were the 13-14 male and female winners while Zachary Moniz and Kelise Wade won the 11-12 male and female age group. Dominic Wright won the 11 and under male category.