I have done a couple of these events and have been consistently on the podium for the mountain bike. The road race was a bit more difficult as the Giant road team from Cape Town always pitch up to make for some hard racing. This year, with a good season on the mountain bike I was feeling confident to have a good dice with the roadies!
The Road Race
From before the race I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to win. I was up against six experienced riders from Team Giant, Cape Town. To sprint them to the line was not going to work as that was their main game. To attack man alone was also not an option for me. It’s just not possible to race against a team and the whole bunch. So I had a race plan…. To sit and watch and stay chilled and not panic. I was confident to chase down a break if it got too big as I felt I had good power for long sustained efforts.
The first break came from a Team Giant rider with another one following a bit later. I watched the gap and waited with the bunch but it never got big enough for me to really start worrying. Most of the race we had two or three guys up ahead in a break but it never got to a point where it became a threat.
The last couple of kilometers leading up to the finish suited me. It started with a drag for about 2 km followed by a false flat and then a short climb before the last 2,5 km flat section to the finish. My plan was to push the pace hard if we were still together at this stage.
The pace picked up a bit as we started to go up in this last section. Midway during the climbing section I went to the front and set a hard tempo. Riders were dropping off and soon the whole Team Giant with the rest of the bunch was off. Except for Brad Gouveris, who stayed on my wheel up and over the last short climb. The last two or so kilometers I made sure nobody got back. In the end Brad took the win with me 2nd. I had a good ride and was pretty happy with how the race played out towards the end.
The Mountain Bike race
The next day it was onto the Mountain Bike racing at Hopewell Conservation Estate. I have raced the area before and knew it was nice flowing trails with just about all single track. I was feeling good after the road race and my legs maybe even better than the day before.
I started off setting a good tempo enjoying the trails and after the start loop we were three riders. Soon after that it was only Jason Meaton and myself. After a while getting up and over one of the climbs Jason dropped off. I just kept the pace high flowing along some really nice sections. I had a good time and just loved the way my bike felt on the trails!
I stayed ahead with a good lead and finished 1st. It was a good weekends racing and a great job done by the organisers with a nice new route for the road race and single track for Mtbiking.
The Ultimate Quest trophy goes to the male and female rider with the best combined times in the Road and Mountain bike race. It is a nice addition to the race and great to share the podium for this with with Anriette Schoeman who was the best female rider.
Thanks for supporting and keeping me racing!