Some serious stuff
A lot has happened since my previous post. We saw the endgame of Lance and the happenings surrounding David George. For a youngster starting out, it leaves one with plenty to think about. It is time for the UCI and Cycling SA to take bold and effective steps to prevent doping and safeguard our sport.
We also saw the tragic loss of Burry Stander. Burry inspired everyone in the cycling community showing that a South African can make it to the top of the mountain biking world. His loss is tragic on so many levels. His riding brought opportunities to South African riders, and we are going to miss him a lot.
End of season racing 2012
Dirtopia MTB festival Greyton was great fun. I was joined by school friends, we camped and had a great time. I did the Hillclimb, Duel and my first Enduro. An Enduro consists of a series of mostly downhill runs (we did 12 runs over 3 days) that are added together for a total time. It is about riding awesome sections you have not ridden before as fast as possible. In between there is time to ride to the next section and socialize a bit. Oliver Munnik wrote it all and best here. I will be back next year. This is an awesome event and excellent value for money.
Camping at Dirtopia MTB Festival
I also did a local race the PSG Garden Route Trail Series #1 near Sedgefield. Farmer Rob layed out the course. This race offers an opportunity to holidaymakers to ride in the Knysna forest on Rob’s personal single track . Some of the best riding in the country. They had good prizes, I won a Bryton GPS.
I am very happy to be part of Team Contego for the upcoming season. They will support me in reaching my goals and I am very thank-full for the opportunity. We will be racing Giant bikes and I am very happy with my new XTC Advanced Sl 29er, full review coming soon.
My first race of 2013 and first race for team Contego was the Cycle Fest in KZN.
The Cycle Fest (XCO Cat 1)
The South African XC season kicked of early this year with the Burry Stander Memorial XCO at The Cyclefest. Having a XC race so early in the year was very strange for me as the international season only really starts in the month of May. It was a nice opportunity to get some UCI points early in the year and it’s always good getting an opportunity to compare yourself against your rivals. Going to KZN is always an adventure for me because it feels like going to another country. It really is a strange place. Strange weather and interesting people. We knew from the start that it would be more of a Mud Fest than a Cycle Fest. The track at Cascades was different from the Cascades I am used to with rawer single track and also less manicured. I enjoyed riding it. Although there weren’t any real obstacles it was a fun track to ride.
on the start line
Cycle Fest XCO
With it raining all week we knew that it was going to be a muddy race. Having raced in Cascades in the mud before I knew that it was going to be fun. I was uncertain which tyres to use but I decided to stay with my normal dry weather tyres which would give me an advantage over mud tyres on most of the climbs and open contour roads. As long as it did not stop raining I would be fine but I knew that if the track dried up it would turn into sticky peanut butter mud.
I got off to a good start going into the first single track in 3rd position. Towards the end of lap one I settled into 2nd position behind Philip Buys (Scott) and a few seconds ahead of Max Knox (Specialized) and Rourke Croeser (Kargo). I stayed in 2nd place for the next few laps with Philip out of sight and Max and Rourke not far behind.
The rain stopped after lap 2 and the sun was out. The track got slower and more eroded each lap forcing us to run more and ride less. I soon realized that narrow mud tyres would have been great for the last lap or two as the conditions turned into a mess. Towards the end of the last lap, still in second, my bike seized up completely and I couldn’t push or ride my bike because the wheels just couldn’t turn anymore because of the mud. After a few long minutes of struggling and being passed by guys on cyclocross tyres while standing next to the track removing wheels and scraping mud of your bike you know that you must have made a mistake or two. Or maybe its just bad luck? I guess that is part of mountain bike racing.
In the end I finished 6th Overall and 4th U23. Although it was a disappointing result, the race gave me some confidence for the rest of the season. It showed me that everything is on track for a good racing season. Congratulations to my team mate Mariske on winning the ladies race.
Later on the same day it was time for the XC Eliminator. A shorter form of MTB racing. 4 riders on a MTB track of about 800m. The top 2 goes through to the next round. A super fun and very spectator friendly event.
What made it even more interesting was the presence of MTB Downhill World Champion, Greg Minnaar. I made it through all my heats including a fun duel with Greg in the semis.
The final saw me racing against junior rider Dylan Rabello, SA MTB legend Fritz Pienaar and Greg Minnaar. The first corner was the deciding moment in the race when Dylan and Fritz went down. Greg slipped through and I managed to finish in 2nd. This is a great format which I really enjoy. I would love to see more of these events at MTB weekends in South Africa.
Well done to Max Cluer and the Advendurance team on organizing a great MTB weekend and thank you to Team Contego for making the trip possible!
Racing the World Champ
Photo by: BOOGS Photography
XC Eliminator Podium
Gert Heyns, Greg Minnaar, Fritz Pienaar
This weekend I did the Attakwas MTB Challenge, one of South Africas toughest one day mtb races. At 120km it is longer than what I am used to as a XCO racer. I figured that it would be good training and it is close to home.
Unfortunately I had tyre issues on the day which cost me a lot of time. I felt good though and kept a good pace throughout the race. Thank you to the following people for giving me CO2 bombs and tubes on route: George Nel, Quintin Myburgh, Oliver Munnik and Stuart Anderson. Sauser took the win, the RECM team all looked very strong. Thank you to the Ride Life team who sorted my bike and got all the KZN out of my bearings after the Mud Fest in time for Attakwas.