Yu Hsiao was born in Taiwan and now lives and trains in the U.S. where he balances a pro triathlon career with his job as a mechanical design engineer in Silicon Valley, California. He holds the record among Taiwanese triathletes for the fastest time at the 70.3 distance (3:58:53). The 31-year-old had been focused on the Kenting race as one of his top goals for 2021.
"For the last eight months I’ve been training every day just thinking about this race,” Hsiao said after his win. “At last year’s race in Taitung, I broke Chang’s national record in the 70.3 distance by 2 seconds. Then a month later he broke it by 4 minutes and lowered it to 3:54. So a sort of rivalry had been built up even though we never raced against each other. I really wanted to race against him on the same day, same course. Us racing against each other would push us both beyond our limits.”
Hsiao came out of the water following the swim more than three minutes behind Chang. Facing windy conditions on the bike leg, he powered his Trinity Advanced Pro bike with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem to the fastest bike split of the day (2:08:16). He closed in on Chang and started the run just 30 seconds back. The run covered two laps, and Hsiao made the pass to take the lead shortly after the start of the second lap.
“I tried to chase him down first lap but his image up the road ahead wouldn't change size at all," Hsiao said. "I was pretty down on myself, and almost wanted to give up after all I've been through, the quarantine, chasing from behind, but I just kept telling myself to stay in the race."
The two leaders left the rest of the field behind, setting up a battle in the final 3km. Hsiao was finally able to distance Chang in the closing kilometers to take the win with a time of 4:02:31. “As I passed him, I thought I had the race in the bag, but he almost came back and was within 10 seconds with 5k to go,” Hsiao said. “That showed that he's a tenacious racer. My legs were starting to feel good and I accelerated with everything I had. I ran a 5:43 mile to extend the gap back up to one minute and was able to hold on until the finish. It feels great to repeat my win, especially with such good competition and exciting racing."