This past weekend saw me challenge myself against the best mountain bikers in the country. Among the top names were Charles Keey, Darren Lill, Renay Groustra and the RECM team of Lourens Luus and Waylon Woolcock.
I was excited about the race,as it covers a route which is only open to mountain bikers on this single day of the year. It traverses the 5 major climbs around the small Stellenbosch town, namely Bergpad, Botmaskop, Simonsberg, Klapmutskop and finally Pappagaaiberg. In myexperienece, this is where the wheels usually come off.
So, the start was flat out as per usual, my legs feeling the burn after a 30 hour week of hard slog, so I was quickly spat out the back. At this stage my heart was sitting in my throat and I knew the pace was unsustainable. I found a good rhythm with some local riders as we headed towards Simonsberg. I thouroghly enjoyed the sweeping singletracks and the tough climbs throughout. I kept a very consistent tempo and was surprised by how good my legs felt with 35km to go. I put in a couple of harder climbs and started catching the guys who had gone out too hard from the gun. They were paying the price and I knew they would suffer on the final climb of Pappagaaiberg.
I had enjoyed the first 2 hours of riding and the weather was outstanding. A perfect day for riding around the Boland. It was time to push a bit harder. On the final climb I noticed a group about 300m up the road and it was my personal mission to catch them, which I did.
From the top, its a downhill dash to the finish at Eikestad Junior school. My two biggest supporters, Bethie and Luke were there to welcome me home. All in all a very good training ride. Content with 9th overall in a very strong field.
Big up to Meurant Botha for making this event top class with some of the best riding our country has to offer.