The Addo Mondi Mountain Bike Challenge took place on Sunday out near the Addo Reserve.
With nearly 800 riders over the three distances, it was great to see a growth in the event from last year. For me especially, it's always great to race in the Eastern Cape as this is where I first started to compete on mountain bikes.
The 85km route is extremely challenging. It starts with undulating jeep tracks through the citrus farms, and makes its way towards the Zuurberg Pass. It was on the steep climbs going up to Zuurberg that Phillip Buys(Garmin) and myself had ridden away from the rest of the field, and our duel would begin here. We had a mean sprint, again, for the King of the Mountain, which had to go down to a photo finish. Having ridden the same course now three times in 12months, I knew the hectic descend that was awaiting us down the horse trail, a five kilometere switchback pass that most would struggle to walk down. Phillip used his superb skills here to take nearly two minutes out of me, making me really have to work on the climbs once out of this section. I definitely favor control for speed and could not match his technical skills.
It took me about 10km after the horse trail to reel him back in, and then I tried my own card at softening him up. I had a few repeated attacks, of which he was able to follow all of them. The legs were clearly not firing as they had the previous week. Once again, as last years event, it was coming down to a sprint finish on the Addo Polo fields. Always a tough sprint on grass, and although on the photo, we lead it out together, he managed to get the better of me by the line and take a well deserved win.
1st Phillip Buys (Garmin)
2nd Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
3rd Charles Keey (Cosmetek)
That race sums up my season, now I'm officially off until December when the base training and preperation begins for an exciting 2010 season. 16 race wins, 9 2nd place finishes and 3 3rd's plus my highlight being an 8th place finish at the World Championships, what a great season I had this year. Hope to be able to repeat it next year!
Watch this space for some exciting news coming soon.