Monday, October 20, 2008

Family updated picture!

Just a picture of the Ruby and family... growing fast!

Seweweekspoort MTB Challenge

The last time I took part in the event was two years ago and I was pleasantly surprised to see how this great event has turned into such a fantastic race, attracting nearly 800 riders from all around the Southern and Western Cape. Not only has the race grown in numbers but also has some great sponsors onboard, with the faithful Ladismith Cheese Company still being the main sponsor, to MTN and Nokia who have now come on board and added a new dimension to the even, as well as many others on the day.
As usual for the Klein Karoo region, the weather on the day was near perfect, and the ride through the Seweweekspoort is a spectacular ride. If you take your time to have a look around especially when you get to the top of the Poort, the views into the Great Karoo are amazing.
Unfortunately the “racing snakes” in the front didn’t have so much time to look around but I did manage to sneak a couple of looks around the Poort. Soon after the start a small group was established at the front of the race with about six riders. Dave George and I took a few hard pulls on the front and when the time looked right, I put in a big effort to break away and claim the new “King of the Poort” prize. Soon there after I slowed down as I saw Dave riding about 30 seconds in front of the chasing group. Once he joined me we made a fast descent back through the Poort and slowly extended our lead from 30 seconds to a minute. With the chasers working together and holding the gap at a minute, we couldn’t take it easy and enjoy the final 25km, which is the same final 25km as in stage 3 of the Cape-Epic from 2007.
Through the farms Dave and I enjoyed the ride and managed to increase our gap to the finish where we fought it out in a sprint finish. Dave needs to work on his sprints! In the end it was a great day and another good one two for our team MTN who are a sponsor of the event. Thanks to Pieter and the organizers for accommodating us and having us at your super event, hope to be back next year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crater Cruise, Race for Victory

So the Crater Cruise has become a really hard MTB race and is no longer a contest between the "roadies" and mountain bikers. This became evident after the first really tough section, where the head of the race contained only the full MTN squad and Burry Stander(GT/Mr Price). It was some what suprising to see only five riders left so early on in the race. It seemed that it was going to be a good day for our team and with numbers like that, it would be hard to loose the race. However this is mountain biking and in the long singletrack section, Dave was first to bow out when a stick caught his rear mech and ripped it clear off the frame. At this stage my time spent on the road bike was starting to show as I was battling through the "track", and even smashed into a low tree which didn't move out my way. This caught me in my back and I suffered from there till the end with back ache. Mannie then got the first of his punctures for the day which then left only Melt, Burry and myself. I had to stop for water at the second last water point and the heat was taking effect. Apparently the guys weren't to keen to loose any time and I spent a few pennies chasing to get back. It was looking like it was going to be a hard finish and with 9km left to race, Burry cut his front tire and crashed. This left Melt and I to take a one two for the team. Melt still looked fresh and deserved to claim "his" race, as I eased off, content with the days performance.
The Race for Victory is one of the hardest around the south of Jozi and goes through the Suikerbosrand Reserve. The legs were a little flat from the previous days efforts however once the engine was going, it felt pretty good. Dave and I battled with the very early start to the day but once the racing was on, we were good. In the end we forced a split through the reserve and then held it together for Malcom to take the win.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

World Road Championships, Varese, Italy

So my first World road championships didn't quite play out as I saw it in my head. 200 of the worlds fastest road riders, on a technically demanding course, over 260km, not sure what I was expecting but it was going to be a tall ask just to finish, let alone get a "result". We had to do 15laps of the 17km course and the race would take the better part of about six and half hours. So the plan was to ride in the bunch, save every bit of energy and then when the racing really starts with 5 laps to go, be there and there about to follow the moves. This worked fine until lap 12 where I knew it was time to move up in the peleton, except after 200km the legs were feeling the effect of the many climbs and corners, and i simply got tailed of the bunch. When you dropped at Worlds, even though you still in a small group, the guys just stop. I guess the race is over and there is no point in banging your head against a wall for another 60km. Anyway, it was a great experience and with half a million screamimg fans around the course, was an incredible vibe. The info I got out of my SRM was the best part, I have some incredible data to use now and if selected again, have a much better idea of the training required to compete on this level.
So great to be home, in a routine and just absorbing all the racing I have done over the past 6weeks. We should have some awesome form left now for the Crater Cruise and to hopefully defend my Drifter Series title. Otherwise it's just great to be back on my fat tires and in the Harkerville forest! Till then, ciao.