Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MTN Marathon #2, Chandelier

After the race I felt like this...

The second leg of the MTN Marathon series was held at the Chandelier Reserve and the ultra marathon was a grueling 126km! To make matters even harder, torrential down pours the few days before would ensure the course would be really wet under foot, slippery, extremely muddy and very difficult.
So we always new it would be important to pace yourself correctly and with Dave and I having just gone through a transitional phase in our training after a break from our pre-race Epic build up, the 126km might have been just out of our current form depth. But what better way to find out than just race and see.
So from early on the race split up, Garmin having the numbers up front, set a steady pace. I was being as conservative as I could as I knew what lay ahead. I have done the race 4 times in the past but never over this distance. Unfortunately Dave had to stop to adjust his seatpost clamp, the same problem he had when we raced through here in the Attakwas Marathon earlier in the year.
As guys had mechanicals, punctures and just about any bad luck you could imagine, it was soon just Marc Bass(Garmin), Johny Kritzinger(DCM) and myself. Marc was really pushing the pace on the descents, which included some really technical single track through the typical Karoo thorny bush. The was never time to rest and recover as the course was relentless with its unforgiving jeep tracks and rugged paths. Whenever there was a straight piece of road, the mud made it tough! Climbs were never longer than about one to two kilometers yet the total course climbed about 2900m. I was being patient until the tech zone, which was at the 80km mark. After some fresh bottles and food, I was feeling good and decided to have a go. When the guys didn’t respond I put my head down and tried to build a steady lead. This however would prove to be my undoing… The legs lasted until 110km, and then it was melt down. I had no energy knock, just absolutely nothing in the legs. With a dramatically reduced speed, Marc caught and passed me and not long thereafter in the final 5km, so did Johny. It was very frustrating but lacking the depth needed to race five and a half hours, there wasn’t much that I could do. Perhaps I could have bided my time a bit better and seen, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know I guess. Nonetheless the conditions really took their toll on riders and equipment.
The ultra series is really proving to be great test of physical and mental strength and will completely change the standards of marathon racing in South Africa.
So the next race will be in Hazyview, and I’ll have the leader jersey for the series proper after my successive third place finishes, but will definitely have some racing form by that stage and will be hunting the top step of the podium.
Thanks again to Advendurance, MTN, Gerrie at Chandelier and Henco from Tons Sports for putting on a true marathon event! See you soon.
Kevin Evans

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