The #TOGO517 jersey collection was an excellent way for fellow participants to meet and talk about their experiences throughout the event, many of which were inspirational. Newer cyclists also had the chance to meet their #TOGO517 heroes: elite finishers and achievement winners. Regardless, there were plenty of mingling and photo-taking, setting the precursor for an exciting afternoon ahead.
Speaking of elites, Tania Iva Jones was at the scene. Although she only started cycling last year, Tania has quickly progressed, cycling alongside veterans without batting an eyelid. Not only was she the overall female champion of the #TOGO517 Elite Challenge, she surpassed it in style, clocking a massive 4220.82km in total, whilst picking up other achievements like “Queen of Mountain” and “Photosynthesis”. But, when asked if she would be aiming for the top spot next challenge, she sighed in resignation and replied, “No one can beat uncletamiya (Allan Yeo, #TOGO517’s overall champion. He finished well ahead of first runner-up Joe Ng (bakashi) by almost 1000km!).”
There were other fascinating cyclists too, such as Stephen Moore (BromptonKiwi), who won the “Artist” achievement with his amazing Strava art, and Jenny Ng (jennyng), who was the first female to complete the #TOGO517 Elite Challenge. She paid tribute to the cycling community that had taken good care of her when she was just starting out, and reckoned that other female cyclists too, could match, if not surpass the heights she has reached.
There was even a couple who took part and completed #TOGO517 together. The catch? Claudine Chan’s husband, Philip Choy, is completely deaf. It was extremely heartwarming to see the both of them, who have been married for 18 years, communicating patiently and showing gentle affection for each other.
As the fanfare dwindled, one can only imagine how #TOGO817 will be like. Many participants will certainly be back with unfinished business – greater heights, better art, and for those who barely missed the mark, you can bet they will be back with a vengeance. #TOGO817 hasn’t started, but the fire is already starting to grow. And, if you haven’t heard from the grapevine, registration has already started here: