Friday, May 1, 2009

Klein Karoo Klassiek, day 1

The Klein Karoo Klassiek as the name suggests, is a real classic race held in the Karoo town of Calitzdorp and has been a popular event with Western and Southern Cape riders for many years. This year the event is part of the Port Festival for which the town is well known. Many Epic riders would also remember it as we’ve passed through here on numerous occasions. This year however would be the first year the race is a 3stage mountain bike event with a great twist.
Day 1 was the longest day, 132km, up the Rooiberg Pass and around the Gamka Berg. As soon as we started the Rooiberg climb, there were a few riders who were eager to get going. But with the day being a long one, I picked a good wheel and rode steady. By the top there was a small group consisting of Dave, Mathys and myself (MTN/Energade), Erik Kleinhans (GT) and a rider from the Maties cycling team. The route was mostly district roads and farm tracks which at least kept the speed quite high. After my disaster last weekend I was in no rush to push the pace too soon. Dave attacked at the 80km mark and built up a steady gap. I decided to ride across to him, which I did, however Erik and Mathys brought us back and the group was again together. All the hard racing happened in the last 20km. Dave putting in a big effort only to be brought back by Erik. As soon as he caught Dave he attacked, I followed him until he was done, countered and then had to put my head down for the last 10km into the wind.
That final effort was hard and I had to go quite deep, but enough to take the stage by about a minute and a half. Dave came in second with Erik a few minutes behind him.
Tomorrows stage is the original KKK route, 97km, and with guys being able to race individual days, there is bound to be some fresh legs to keep the racing hard!

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