Stuart Marais Xterra MTB
Stuart Marais Xterra MTB

Xterra Grabouw is the biggest Xterra worldwide. The numbers are in excess of 2500 and you can be sure that, whethe you’re a pro or weekend warrior, this will be up there as one of your most memorable and toughest one single day events on the calendar.

The build up is one second to none and Stillwater Sports make the public well aware of the favourites, who to watch, who’s hot and who’s not.

This year saw the pro line-up feature some of the best in the world, the most on an Xterta start line in SA to date.

The likes of Conrad, Dan, Weiss, Arneouts, Blignaut, Downie, Holmes…. To name a few, were the guys who would be keen to mix it up, come raceday, as was I. This year the Eikehof dam was at an all time high, this coupled with an extreme heat wave, would mean a non wetsuit swim. The dynamics changed and it creates a very exciting day.

Xterra RunMy body was flat at the start (could have been the stomach bug 2 days prior) so I was forced to settle in to my own rhythm. I paced myself nicely and exited the water 2min back. Heading onto the bike, I knew that everyone was hurting. The course is such that, if you are suffering, it is much more exaggerated by the tough climbs and heat early on.

I quickly made up time on the main contenders and was really smooth through most of the course. I entered T2 just 1:30 back on Conrad and 3:30 back on Dan. He had an exceptional bike and would be difficult to beat.

I caught Conrad at about 8km and was hunting Dan down. I felt somewhat ‘bad’ for overtaking Conrad, but pushed on anyway.

Unable to catch the flying Hugo, I was happy with 2nd yet again.

Great event, many lessons learned.

Onwards and upwards!

 

Photo credit: Cherie Vale // NSM