Dirty Harry MTN Marathon #4
The forth leg of the MTN Marathon series took place in Harrysmith and also doubled up as the South African Marathon Championships, a title I’ve held for three consecutive years. Unfortunately this year lady luck would desert me and I suppose I can’t really complain after having so much good luck in the past.
The weather on the morning was clear and crisp, great racing conditions and one could sense the pressure in the air on the start line. As expected it didn’t take long for Burry Stander to turn on the gas and reduce the front bunch early on down to four riders. The SA champion would come out of this small select group. Near to the King of the mountain, Burry surged and on the rough jeep track I was not able to follow his rhythm any longer and watched him slowly ride away. Add to this I had Max Knox sitting on my wheel adamant not to work with me although the title was riding away from us. Soon after the technical descent, Ben-Melt Swanepoel joined us and was eager to help me with setting the pace for the chase. Although I must admit I was battling to stay on his wheel as the track got even rougher. In fact at that stage I was the only rider left on a hardtail, and finding the going very tough.
Just when things were looking like they wouldn’t get worse, I had a front wheel puncture. I had to stop twice to repair it and still managed to ride back to Melt after getting a spare wheel in the tech zone. By this stage it was only the two of us chasing and would look likely that we would be racing for second place. Nonetheless I set about on a hard tempo, never wanting to give up, when my rear wheel flatted. I had cut the tire and needed to put my spare tube in to fix it. I managed to fix it before anyone had caught me, and got stuck into the race again, only for the wheel to go flat half a kilometer further on. So I was now reduced to walking, as Francois Thereon rode past me. I was sure I would get a dnf for this race although being in the middle of nowhere had to continue walking. Matthys then caught me and being a good team mate gave me his wheel. By doing so I managed to salvage a 4th place, which will actually go a long way in defending my overall MTN Series title. Matthys fixed the wheel and held on for 5th place, really good ride for him over the distance.
That’s mountain biking and the wheel turns. I will carry on with my preparation for the World Champs in two weeks time and after that is the Blockhouse MTN Marathon, so lots to look forward to, till then, ciao.
1st Burry Stander (Specialized)
2nd Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized)
3rd Francois Theron (Garmin)
4th Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
5th Matthys Beukes (MTN/Energade)