Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Done and Dusted

Another year done and dusted, in what feels like the blink of an eye. It has been a fantastic year with lots of interesting things happening.
In brief, I'd like to thank Doug and our sponsors for a great year. Also for a great five years in fact. I experienced so much with the team, but the time has come for me to move on, and as from tomorrow, I will begin my new career with Team 360Life.
Thats obviously as soon as I can get back on the bike, as the end to my 2010 season has been a rough one. A burst appendix 10days ago has set me back, but only for the early part of the season. I may miss a few early races, but the focus for Dave and I remains the Epic, and I'm a firm believer things happen for a reason, so lets try a fresh approach to my 2011 season.
I will upload some fresh pictures and the new kit, bikes and sponsors as the goods roll in early January.
Have a great season, be safe and take care.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mondi Herald Addo Mountain Bike Challenge

It was third time lucky for MTN-Energade’s Kevin Evans as he soloed to his first victory in the Mondi Herald Addo Mountain Bike Challenge on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Evans (3:15:07) made the most of the tough conditions on a breezy, overcast day to stretch his lead to three minutes at the Addo Polo Club finish.

DCM’s Brandon Stewart (3:18:07) – who won in 2008 – was second after sprinting clear of Mr Price-GT’s former u/23 national cross country silver medallist Renay Gouwstra.

Evans, 32, who was beaten in the sprint the previous two years, took charge of the 85km Extreme Challenge – the day’s feature race – at the King of the Mountains prime after about 30km.

“Renay attacked at the bottom and that split the group completely,” said Evans, who hails from Plettenberg Bay. “But he went a bit too early and ran out of gas before the summit.

“I passed him and from then on I was unlucky enough to be on my own. With my track record here, I wasn’t going to leave it to chance so I pushed hard,” said the six-time MTN Series champion, who announced earlier this week that he would be joining Team 360Life in 2011.

Shortly afterwards, Evans consolidated his advantage on the steep and rocky gradients of Fig Tree Hill – the highest point on the course – to open up a margin of almost two minutes on his pursuers.

“I managed to maintain my momentum and pedal up the entire climb, which really gave me a boost. I think the guys who did the Pioneer had an advantage on that type of ascent.”

Stewart, another rider fresh from the Pioneer, also managed to stay on his bike on the “slippery” climb, hauling himself back into contention after losing ground early on.

“I started the climb eighth and was second to the top. From there Renay and I basically rode together until the finish. I knew I was the stronger sprinter and that was that.”

The race got off to a super quick start as the main contenders jockeyed for position heading to the sprint prime – won by Evans – at 9km.

The sprint served as a launch pad for the first major move as four riders – Evans, Gouwstra, Charles Keey (Blend Properties) and local rider Conrad Viljoen (Mecer-NMMU) – moved clear.

Stewart was the major absentee as he struggled to get on terms with the early speed. “I didn’t panic and just kind of rode my own pace until we hit Fig Tree,” he explained at the finish.

After the climb, he and Gouwstra set off after Evans and reduced the deficit by 30 seconds before the latter managed to pull away again. “I thought that if I kept the gap at about a minute I would stand a good chance,” said Evans.

“I must say, the last 10km felt extremely long. It is only in the Eastern Cape where you can race in circles and it feels like a headwind all the way.”

Evans said the up and down nature of the new course made it tougher than in previous years. “I’m extremely happy to win this race at last. Now I can tick this box and go on vacation.”

Former Olympian Erica Green (4:08:45) made it a hat-trick of wins in the women’s section. She was followed by PE riders Gail Willimot (4:10:04) and Andrea von Holdt (4:28:22).

CAPTION: MTN-Energade’s Kevin Evans solos to victory in Sunday’s Mondi Herald Addo Mountain Bike Challenge. Photo: Coetzee Gouws/Full Stop Communications

Issued by:

Coetzee Gouws
041 368 4992
082 575 7991

On behalf of:

The Mondi Herald Addo Mountain Bike Challenge

Monday, October 25, 2010

DCM Cape Pioneer Trek presented by KHS

Zoon Cronje, pic

The DCM Cape Pioneer trek, presented by KHS, took place over the last 6 days, and what a unique event it was. Riding wise, the race took us through the best and most beautiful parts of the Garden Route, Klein and Groot Karoo. We traversed over the Attakwas mountains, the Outeniqua mountains, the Kamannasie mountains, the Swartberg mountains (twice) and the Rooiberg mountains. 13500meters of vertical climbing over nearly 700km in 6 days, with a winning time of just over 28hrs, it is definitely not a race for the faint hearted, and ensures only the toughest men and women would complete it. If you are one of those who became a Pioneer like myself, you have my utmost respect!

The unique part of the event to me was the social side of the race. Everyone is at the end of a very long season and although the racing was fierce in the front at times, off the bike the vibe between riders was unmatched compared to any other event. With world class riders and previous world champions like Christoph Sauser, every professional rider was approachable at any time and the camaraderie amongst the top teams and amateurs alike was what sets this event apart. What a great race to end off a long season. However, like I mentioned, no easy feat to just finish this race, as Katot, the route designer had made sure you didn’t earn your “stripes” for nothing!

It would be difficult, and long, for me to recap the whole race, stage for stage, but I can just give you a short recap of what transpired at the head of the race over the six days.

Max Knox and Thomas Zanhd (DCM) took control of the race from start to finish. The first day through the Attakwas trail, being such an unforgiving stage, took care of a lot of the competition due to bad luck. Many top teams suffered multiple punctures, crashes and mechanical breakdowns, which essentially shaped the rest of the race to come.
It was basically down to three teams after day 1, DCM1 winning the first stage, Adrien Niyonshuti and myself (MTN/Energade) losing 3minutes to finish 2nd, and DCM2, Brandon Stewart and Jacques Janse van Rensburg losing a further minute to come in 3rd.

Max and Thomas proved strongest again when they beat Adrien and myself again on the second stage by 2minutes, DCM2 unfortunately losing a bit more time after getting lost in the final 5km with Sauser and Bundi.

There was some action again on day3, when after a long stage, it was going to come down to a sprint finish amongst DCM1, Sauser and Bundi, and ourselves. Adrien was looking for his first big stage win, Bundi was on his retirement race and so wanted to win a stage before ending his career. On an uphill finish, Adrien proved the fastest crossing the line first, however I was unable to come around Bundi to try take the stage. Lots of mixed emotions for all of us after a grueling stage. But nothing a cold beer wouldn’t fix between all of us!

Day 4 was essentially the day that ended our hopes of going for the overall win, when Adrien broke his chain 50km into the 110km stage. We lost about 3minutes repairing the chain, but unfortunately the bulk of the time we lost was due to a hot relentless headwind. I had to pace most of the remaining 60km alone, whilst DCM1 and Sauser/Bundi took turns to make up a big time difference. DCM2 had some mechanicals again that day so Adrien and I still managed 3rd, but our stage win hunt was starting to look ominous.

Day 5 took us over the Swartberg Pass, and with a thousand meter climb, the race was split up immediately. Adrien and I won the second of three king of the mountain competitions that day, and after the top of the climb, it was DCM1 and 2, and ourselves (MTN/Energade). Again it was coming down to a sprint finish, this time Brandon being the fastest, Adrien crossing in second, and the Jaqcues just beating me by half a wheel to give DCM2 their first stage win of the tour. Disappointment for Adrien and myself again!

The final stage, 114km, the Rooiberg Pass, and Sauser and Bundi with slightly fresher legs, wanting to end Bundi’s career with a win. On our side, Adrien the talented young rider from Rwanda wanting to win his first big stage race, and myself, with completely smashed legs, owing him that victory! Again it was DCM1, Sauser/Bundi and us. With 15km remaining, I had to resort to “road” tactics, and Adrien and I took a sneaky flier down the right hand side of the road to try ride away. However Bundi and Sauser were quick to shut us down, whilst DCM1 were just enjoying a front row seat to the action.
Bundi then countered and I had to chase. Group together again. The final 5km I attacked, Bundi chased, I attacked again, Bundi again chased me. Sauser then countered and Adrien followed him. Immediately I sat up and watched them get a gap. I knew now it would be sprint between just Bundi and myself. Not knowing the finish, I made sure to stay on the front, and got into the final corner first, winning our first and the final stage. Payback for Adrien at last, who was over the moon with winning a stage.

It was a privilege and pleasure to ride with him, and the whole tour was the most amazing vibe at a race I’ve experienced.
Thanks to Dryland, Carel, Henco and DCM for sponsoring the event. Thanks to our team for our support and anyone else I may have left out, I apologize, I still have too much Karoo dust and rocks stuck in my head.

Next race will be the Addo Mondi, but I might need to travel back to the Karoo to find my legs, and motivation. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Max Knox/ Thomas Zanhd (DCM1) 28hrs08min
2nd Kevin Evans/ Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Energade)
3rd Sauser/ Bundi (Specialized/

Monday, October 11, 2010

MTN Ride Crater Cruise

Zoon Cronje, pic

Otherwise known as “The dirty dash for cash”, the Crater Cruise has always been a popular event in which riders from all disciplines come to compete for the biggest payout in mountain biking for the year. This year would be no different and along with the usual offroad teams, quite a few roadies switched their thin wheels for “dik” wheels to compete for the overall title.
The race begins with a 5km neutral zone, and once over the Vaal River, its race on!
The roadies like to go hard on the tar and the first hotspot comes before the tar turns to gravel. The first 30km is fairly straight forward, the corrugations were as bad as ever, and the early sections of jeep track helps to thin the big group out a bit. I was planning on riding similar tactics to last years race, as that worked out well for me, and the race always boils down to elimination.
The road up to the King of the mountain is not actually much of a mountain but the speed up there was fast and the pace hard. I was feeling good and decided to have a small dig here again. I rolled over the King and I rode a hard tempo all the way up the concrete track to hurt the group a bit and make guys have to dig a little deeper. Strong winds on the day made the race even harder, and I could see guys were on the ropes already, and we hadn’t even got to the hard climb yet! I followed Garmin’s Phillip Buys up the steep rocky climb who was just matching Brandon Stewarts hard tempo. Once down the other side, and onto the halfway point, the group contained three riders from DCM, three riders from Garmin/Adidas, Ben-Melt from Specialized/Mr Price and myself. This would make for some interesting tactics I thought and waited eagerly to see how it would play out. The extreme heat and dry and sandy conditions would soon start taking its toll on the riders.
As the race drew on, riders would begin to dehydrate rapidly, my only saving grace was stopping at the second last water point to fill an extra bottle which would see me to the end. Once we were back onto the district roads, with about 20km to go, I put in a big tempo effort in the same place I have in the past. Only Jacques and Brandon were able to get onto my wheel, as we quickly opened a gap the remaining riders. Jacques and I rolled through, taking hard turns, with Brandon just managing to hang on to the wheels, unable to contribute though. As we turned under the tar road, I made another hard tempo effort and soon had a gap as I passed the final water point. Only 12km and a lot of wind remained between me and defending my title from the previous year. The final 12km was obviously tough, the rough route combined with strong winds from the side and front, as well as an extra 2km at the end took its toll on everyone, including myself. I was going as hard as I could but was never sure if it would be enough, constantly checking over my shoulder for other riders. Only once I reached the bridge over the road, did I finally ease up and enjoy the victory! Jacques came in a few minutes down in 2nd place, Brandon Stewart in 3rd, both DCM, and Ben-Melt 4th. Pieter Seyffert took 5th, placing another DCM rider in the top 5 for the day.

Next race will be the Ladismith Seweweekspoort classic, followed by 6 really hard days in the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek. Not sure what I’ve got left in the body, but lets see.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 3hrs38
2nd Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (DCM)
3rd Brandon Stewart (DCM)
4th Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized/Mr Price)
5th Pieter Seyffert (DCM)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Herald Pennypinchers Karoo to Coast

The Karoo to Coast is another home town race for me, and another one of my favorite races on the calendar for the year. The race is a real classic, starting in the Karoo town of Uniondale, finishing in the beautiful town of Knysna. I’ve watched this race grow over the years, and this year, it had a record number of entries, just over three thousand riders! What makes this even more impressive, is the fact that the event doesn’t feature a shorter distance, so all riders have to do the full 100km! And with around 1800m of climbing in the “downhill” ride, this proves to be a tough day for the average rider, and everyone finishing within the cut off time can be really proud of themselves.
The start is always fast and hectic as the race heads into the “Ou Wapad”, a narrow rough jeep track section and riders need to be in a good position here to stay in contention. I hit the trail and quickly took the lead, riding a hard but steady tempo. Over the top I looked back and had a good gap of around 30seconds to the next rider, and nearly a minute to third. I continued to ride my own tempo, comfortable but steady, and only half way down the Prince Alfred’s Pass had Mathys Beukes (Scott) managed to join me at the front. It was great to have some company and someone willing to help with the pace as we continued to put more time into the riders chasing us from behind. Not long after the King of the mountain Mathys had a slow puncture on the front wheel, and unfortunately for him was forced to stop and fix it. So with around 55km left to ride I was again on my own.
I kept the pace fairly high as my Volcan 29er was tearing up the course. I kept thinking to try push hard to get close to the route record, but with the new start and finish loops, I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible. With only the lead bikes for company, I continued to push myself and make the most of the day, giving myself a good workout for the rest of the races still coming up.
At the end I managed to solo into the finish at around 3hrs 5min, pretty close to the fastest time set for this route previously. Mathys had to ride in a few minutes down, with another puncture, and Erik Kleinhans taking a well earned third place.
It was great to manage winning this “home town” event back to back, as it has never been done before, and of course, its always great to give all the locals who support me something to cheer about!

Next race will start already on Thursday, The Clover Lowveld Tour in Graskop, Mapumalanga. This looks to be a really hard tour with good competition, and I’ll just have to see how the body handles a four day tour with loads of climbing and long stages.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 3hrs05
2nd Mathys Beukes (Scott)
3rd Erik Kleinhans (Mr Price/GT)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eight Bells Enduro

It has been awhile since I was able to take part in one of the local mountain bike marathon races, and I have to say, the hospitality my family and I experience at these events is overwhelming. Eight Bells is a small mountain resort guest house situated near the top of the Robinsons Pass, about 30minutes drive from Mossel Bay. The organizers had put us up in the lodge for the night, and with the venue of the race being hosted at Eight Bells, it was ideal for us.

After a great nights rest, we woke up to perfect conditions and I was really excited to take the new Volcan XC29 bike for its first race. The start was literally about 50meters away from our room, and it was great to be able to roll out of bed straight onto the start line. Although the 65km route had some rude awakenings in store for me! I new that regardless of which direction we went from the lodge, we would have some climbing to do, though I never expected to climb 1500m in the relatively short distance.
The race winds its way around the same roads as the last 25km of the Attakwas race, and then heads up towards the top of the Outeniqua mountains. Soon as we hit the steep long climbs, I used the “big” wheels to good use and accelerated away from ex-teammate Mathys Beukes (Scott) to build a substantial lead. I never let up on the pace, giving myself a good workout and some great preparation for next weekend.
The bike handled really well, especially on the fast gravel roads, and was surprisingly nimble on the rougher jeep track sections. At the highest point we had the most amazing views of the bay, including Mossel Bay and Glentana. In fact the whole area we were riding around in was pristine and an absolute pleasure to be able to ride around in and enjoy such great mountain biking. The route was well marshaled with enough water points for all levels of riders.

The finish line was a welcome sight after the surprise of a climb to the end! And the cherry on the top was the incredible little lazer etched mountain bikes each rider received replacing the ever boring medals, and a much bigger version of the same bike for the floating trophy!
As always it was great to be part of the event and we look forward to coming back again in the future!

Next race for me will be one of my favorite events on the calendar, Karoo to Coast on the 19th September. I will again use the XC29 on this course, and from there will head up to the Lowveld to race the Clover Tour with the MTN/Energade road boys, which looks to be a tough tour.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 2hrs30
2nd Mathys Beukes (Scott)
3rd Marcel Deacon (Deacon Properties)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

MTN Ultra Marathon #5, Cullinan

Kevin Evans, pic Zoon Cronje

The fifth race in the MTN Ultra marathon series took place in the small mining town of Cullinan, just North of Pretoria. Extremely hot and dry conditions would make for a tough race on a fairly rocky and technical course. As it was the first time I was racing in this area, I had no idea what to expect, and maybe sometimes this is a blessing in disguise.
I wanted a good result in the fifth race, as this would cement my chances of the overall series win, so decided to race smart and play a bit of a waiting game to see how the body was, and also how the competition was looking. In the first part of the race I was feeling really comfortable, and the decision to ride my Volcan full suspension was paying off, as the course was proving to be very rough and technical. The group had split after about 20km and soon it was down to about six riders, team mate Adrien Niyonshuti, Dave George(SA Findit), Max Knox and Brandon Stewart(DCM) and Marc Bass(Garmin/Adidas). However no one was really keen to make the racing and I knew I would have to take control sooner or later. I waited until about 75km, just past the feed zone to put my effort in. On one of the long rocky drags I rode a hard tempo and saw only Dave George responding, Max was battling to keep in contact after an early crash had left him slightly rattled. As I increased the tempo, our gap went up over the rest of the riders. Dave and I worked well to further our gap and I could relax now, knowing that even if Dave were to beat me, I should have done enough to secure the series. We still had to be careful though, all the way to the finish to avoid a mechanical or puncture.
The final 500m was singletrack, and fortunately I entered it ahead of Dave, giving me the advantage into the finish straight. I managed to just finish ahead of him, making absolutely sure to wrap up the series. This would be my sixth consecutive national series win, and with two races remaining in the series, it’s great to have no pressure at all to have to do well.
Max held on for third spot, and Adrien had a sprint finish with Jacques Janse Van Rensburg for forth and fifth, Jacques however just getting the better of him, although the fifth place should be good enough to keep Adrien in the top three spots overall.

Thanks to MTN/Energade and our team for all the support to win the series. It’s great to pay them back with another win in their own series.

Next race for me will be one of my favorite events on the calendar, Karoo to Coast on the 19th September. I will take an easy week now or a short break and then build up for the last few events of season.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 4:04:00
2nd Dave George (SAFindit) same time
3rd Max Knox (DCM)
4th Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (DCM)
5th Adrien Nyionshuti (MTN/Energade)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Worlds pics

World Marathon Championships, St Wendal, Germany

The 8th World Marathon Championships took place in the small German town of St Wendal. It hosts an annual marathon event every year, and this year we would race over the course. Speaking of which, was unlike any other of the previous seven Worlds that I’ve done. The course was super fast, filled with lots of short power climbs and descents, not a whole of really technical riding, but made for a really fast race. The winning speed for the 108km would be around 27.5km/hr, fast considering we still had to climb 2600m.
The first loop was much like racing a road race over narrow roads, and you were constantly fighting for positions. If you weren’t near the front, you were being stretched like an elastic band making the going even harder. I was well positioned and soon found myself in a split at the front of the race, consisting of around ten riders. We went through the 60km feed zone with around a 30second lead to the next group of around ten to fifteen riders.
The second loop of 58km was a little harder than the first, and it was around the 70km mark where the front guys really started to attack on the short climbs. Having been sick on and off for the past three weeks, this was where I lacked the depth needed to hold my place with the group.
After settling down into my own pace, I tried to conserve what little energy I had left, as the final 30km was really long and hard. At this stage my Epic partner caught me with a team mate. I tried to help pace him back but we were already around 90seconds behind. His pace at this stage was too fast for me and I had to watch them ride away.
The last ten kilometers I really battled with fatigue and just had to get myself to the finish, loosing another ten or twelve spots over the short distance.
I finished in 25th place, 8minutes off the winner, Alban Lakata, my Epic partner who I thought had no chance even to see the front of the race again!
With such a fast course, I was well off my 8th place from last year, although the time gap to the winner was less.
Burry rode a super race, his European racing, depth and constant exposure to this level really helping him, along with a similar cross country type power profile. Incredible to achieve SA’s first marathon medal, a sure sign that we have the talent to compete against the best in this discipline.
Although I was a little disappointed, there was not much more I could do given the circumstances I faced three weeks before the race.
Next year we will head to Montebelluno for what I’ve heard will be a tougher event than this year.
Thanks to MTN/Energade for their support they provided us and also CSA/MTBSA for the assistance, especially in getting us the SA kit within the “final hour”.
For now I will take a break and let the body recover completely to be good for the final MTN series races and some road team support.

Next race for me will be the MTN Cullinan Ultra Marathon, hopefully feeling back to normal by then and ready to try finish off the series.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Alban Lakata (Austria) 3:49:55
2nd Mirko Celestino (Italy)
3rd Burry Stander (RSA)
4th Ralf Naef (Swiss)
5th Christoph Sauser (Swiss)
25th Kevin Evans (RSA)
35th Dave George (RSA)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gautrain, Pins removed, Tzaneen to Nelsprruit

Flew up to Jozi on Thursday, caught my first ride on the Guatrain... Ayobaness! What a pleasure that train will make for people. Firstly I finally had the pins removed from my little finger, in the Docs rooms. With the pins out, I travelled with the road team to Tzaneen on Friday to race the Mountain to Mountain race on Saturday.
The race has one fairly big climb in the beginning but the cold air took it's toll on my lungs. We managed only 5th on the day, not what we were looking for but we were missing some troops.
Jaco and I then caught a lift to Nelspruit where we planned to train until the Jock 3stage cycle race the next week. Training should be good here as the weather is a pleasure. Unfortunately I picked up a chest infection and have had to rest it out the past few days. Perhaps a sign to go easy on the training. Hope to be better for the race, with Worlds now only 3weeks away, the bigger picture, I need to listen to my body.
Will keep you posted,

DueSouth Pezula Xterra

Taking part in the Knysna Oyster Festival Xterra for something different.
Made up good time on the MTB section, then ran myself into the ground to win the event.
There was no swimming!
And after 10km of trail running, I never walked so well the next three days.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, MTB Race

The Knysna Oyster Festival is really a two week festival featuring all kinds of sports and activities and has become one of the bigger weekends of cycling on the national calendar. As per usual the festivals racing kicks off with the mountain bike component of cycling, with three different distances to cater for everyone. The main race for the Elite riders is the 85km challenge and follows the same route every year. A route which I know only too well and have only tasted success at once, despite the years of trying to win my “home” town event.
It was as close to perfect conditions that one would ever have for the race, and the normally very chilly winter’s morning was surprisingly warm, even though the racing would heat it up anyways! Again it was a really big turn out for the race, most of the countries top races on the start line, including some road riders that would take part the following day.

I had a good build up to the race, despite being ill the week prior to the race. I also decided to use my Volcan Hardtail Pro, nice and light as the course was in really good condition. Up the first climb I could feel I was good, and decided to take the race to the competitors up the hard climb of Gouna. At the top of the climb, only Dave George was left, with team mate Adrien Niyonshuti a small distance behind us with Mathys Beukes. Dave and I rolled through well together and built up our advantage over the next section of racing. We both had as good a chance to win and the decision to work together was just a pure mutual understanding. I managed to retain my “King of the mountain” title to the highest point of the race.
The conditions were great for mountain biking and the indigenous forest section of “Petrus se Brand” flew by, before we knew it we were onto the last 20km of the race.
This was where I had some minor problems with a slow leaking rear tire, but I was fortunate the Stans selant worked, as once I had stopped to inflate it, the wheel held enough pressure all the way to the finish.
Again the race was coming down to a sprint finish, and unfortunately for me, we had two kids completing the 15km fun ride in the way when we began our sprint, Dave just managed to get past on their outside whilst I had to avoid a near collision and hop onto the pavement and then back to the tar, but it was too little too late as Dave edged me out for the win. That would make my record for the race, five times second position!
At least it sounds more dramatic and keeps me motivated to come back again next year and compete for the victory!
Team mates Adrien and Paul Cordes rode well to finish up 5th and 6th on the day after spending a good week down in Knysna training with me.

Next race for me will be the Oyster Festival Road Race on Sunday, and a chance to try win the “overall” combined fastest between the two races on the weekend.
Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:

1st Dave George (SA Findit) 2hrs40
2nd Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
3rd Mathys Beukes (Scott)
4th Renay Goustra (GT)
5th Adrien Nyionshuti (MTN/Energade)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Circuito Montanes

Stage 6: Torrelavega-Santo Toribio143.6km, ascent = 32.2km**@27.5k - Cat 2, 6.8km climb@57.9k - Cat 3, 4km climb@82.6k - Cat 1, 5.0km climb@99.5km - Cat 2, 5.9km climb@114.1k - Cat 1, 8.4km climb@14.6k - Cat 2, 2.1km climb

Stage 6 of the tour was always on paper the hardest looking stage of the tour. The paper proved correct as we ascended the most on the stage compared to the others.
I had big problems with my engine in the first 20km and the pace of the bunch was really urgent as certain riders were still in contention to win the tour.
After fighting my way back in the convoy, we began the “assaults” of the climbs, and slowly my legs came back.
I managed stay with the main bunch through the first three categorized climbs, and on the fourth one, the relentless pace was too much and I could only ride my own tempo. By the top was with the “grupetto” for the day as we climbed steady and conservatively. The race was over for the guys in this group and Jaco and I finished together in this group, loosing about 17minutes to Niels Alberts (BK-CP) 2009 cyclocross world champion.
Stof proved sheer determination and will to get through yesterdays queen stage loosing only 28minutes to Alberts. With todays stage being the last and also “flattest’, we are hoping that the Stof has some sprinting legs left to try go for the stage win. The only obstacle will be to keep the initial start speed of the bunch together as guys rip the race to pieces to force breaks away early on. With shattered legs, making one of these breaks is really difficult, but let us see what happens!
Last stage starts at 13:30.
Hasta la venga.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Circuito Montanes

Stage 5: Polanco-Torrelavega173.3km, ascent 28.4km**@54.7k - Cat 1, 21.3km**climb@103.7k - Cat 2, 4.9km climb@124.4km - Cat 3, 2.2km climb

Stage 5 began without too much rain, only a ligh drizzle, and never got worse for the rest of the day. This wasn absolute blessing in disguise for me and my remaining two teammates after the rpevious weeks hectic conditions. Compared to the day before, I felt like a bike rider again.
I was much more consevative in the first 30km, knowing that a 21km Cat1 climb awaited.
The attacks started before we hit the climb, and on the slopes of the climb, the peleton was already split. Jaco and I climbed in the third group, there was two groups infront of us at about a minute ahead consisting of around ten riders each. Although I made it over the top, the legs were paying the price from the week.
The next 60km was really quick with fast tecnical descends, and with around 100km remaining, we had caught the front group, all for except around five guys who had slipped away.
Café Colombia controlled the rest of the day andJaco and I finished safely in the main pack, about 2min behind the winner from team Bretagne Shuller, again!
Stoff showed that he was here to finish this race by riding into the finish with about 5minutes to spare!
Today is a real brutal day with 33km of climbing. I’m going to have to see how the legs are feeling before I try anything though!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Circuito Montanes

Circuito Montanes
Stage 4: Agua de Solares - Fuente del Chivo145.7km, ascent 32.3km**@36.4km - Cat 3, 2.2km climb@54.6km - Cat 1, 7.2km climb@88.3 - Cat 1, 7.1km climb@145.7k - CAT HC** 32.3km climb

As we began our fifth day in the pouring rain, I was sure that the conditions couldn’t get worse than the previous days. But I was proven correct as, things can always be worse! The conditions as we began to climb higher became so extreme, my body literally began to “shut” down and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it other than to suffer on and finish in the “autobus”, loosing half a day to the amazing solo performance of the Café Colombian ex-under23 World Champion.
I started really hard, trying to force an early break or at least put myself into one so that I could stay out the trouble of the conditions in the bunch, but as luck would have it, no matter how many move I followed in the first hour, nothing went.
I paid the price as we hit the first climbs, being so cold and battling to keep my fuel intake up, I had got shelled and had to spend the day in the “comfort of the autobus”. The only humor in this was that Stoff managed to ride back up to us and help keep the motivation required to complete the day. Jaco in the meantime had done extremely well to hang onto the front group until the first HC climb, from where he would be on his own to the finish.
Despite the following, armwarmers, kneewarmers, booties, Long finger gloves, under vest, cycle shirt, sleeveless windbreaker, full rain jacket, hat and helmet, climbing up to 2250m in the snow, I had no feeling whatsoever. I could not shift gears, let alone feel my handlebar in my hand despite all the clothing.
Luthandho who had done well until the last HC climb would later be dsq’d for hanging onto a car for too long, even though many Spanish riders did the same trick.
That was day to remember which goes down in my own history books as one of the hardest stages I’ve finished, all due to conditions.
On the brighter side, perhaps they may let one of the three remaining SA riders get away in a break now. If the legs come back, and especially if, just for one day, we could race in anything else other than pouring rain.
I have to say, as I sit here, it’s still raining though!
Hasta lanother wet one!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Circuito Montanes

Stage 3: Miengo--El Astillero178.1km, ascent 11.5km@18.6k - Cat3, 2.4km climb@105k - Cat 1, 6.4km climb@151k - Cat 3, 2.7km climb

Stage three of the tour, also the longest, had the worst conditions we had encountered thus far. And we have had some fairly bad weather along the way.
For the entire 180km, it never let up raining, in fact at one stage in the first hour, it was raining so hard that I was convinced it was hailing. At this time there were a few crashes, luckily the worst of them just involved me getting hit from behind as the brakes simply don’t work in the wet. Not knowing it, I had a pretty badly buckled rear wheel, which meant the brakes were on and taxed a fair amount of my energy. I’d only find this out at the dinner table once the mechanic, Magnus, joined us after servicing our bikes. A small break slipped away in the chaos, despite our best efforts to put a man in there, we only have four riders and is really hard to try follow all the moves.
Jaco and I decided to save our energy for the cat1 climb, but the cold and wet took its toll on my body, as I battled to keep warm the whole day. No matter how much I ate, it was simply not enough. In the last 30km, it was not possible to feed and luckily Jaco had enough extra food to see me through to the finish.
The bunch to the finish was really big and I was mid pack heading into the final 2km’s, unfortunately with three slippery roundabouts to get to get through, there were another two crashes. These crashes caused a split in the bunch and I lost about 30seconds.
Jaco was good on the day, and looks like he is getting stronger, as is Luthando who rode really well today. Stoff dug deep to finish another monster stage and hang in still with his sense of humor intact.
Today’s stage is the first mountain top finish, ending with about 20km of climbing up to 2200m, where I fear, the rain which has not stopped yet, will turn into snow.
The legs are sore and I hope the other riders are in the same boat. It’s incredible to see that on the climbs, despite how hard the pace is, the group never drops! I think today it will change though.
The weather however will not!
Results on

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cicuito Montanes

Stage 2: Santona-Ramales de la Victoria175.5km, ascent 30.3km@31.2km - Cat 2, 6.3km climb@50.2k - Cat 2, 6.4km climb@88.4k - Cat 2, 6.3km climb@ 98km - Cat 3, 3km climb@114k - Cat 1, 8.3km climb

Stage 2 of the tour was always going to be a hard day. But just when you think the profile of the stage is tough enough, the weather gods throw you a curve ball with howling winds and pouring rain, not fairly different to a bad day in the Cape. We rolled up to the start line already cold and wet, trying to keep our spirits up. Barry had a plan for us on the day, and we would try put into action. The racing began after a 6km neutral zone and right from the go it was fast and hectic, with riders trying to do the same as us and put riders up the road, so we could have team mates later on when we needed them.
However on such a tough stage, elimination due to the elements was the biggest factor. The stage saw 10 riders abandon, three unfortunately from South Africa. Arran was battling over the first Cat2 climbs and was behind the “Autobus”, and decided to call it quits. Peter-Lee suffering from his crash the day before withdrew and Paul van Swiel simply lacked the technical skill to descend in the hectic conditions with the bunch.
The descends were some of the most hectic sections, on smooth roads, with hairpin bends in the pouring rain, with brakes that don’t work, it was nerve wrecking! The climbs were hard, partly due to the heavy and wet legs, but also because the guys were racing them fast. From the convoy, it was the first time that Barry has ever seen the peleton racing up a 6km climb in the “gutter”, in an echelon!
I went through a really bad patch between the two Cat2 climbs, because it was really hard to eat in the condtions. To get your hand off the bars in the conditions, when you numb from cold and get under your rain jacket, the simple things become very difficult. And the technical downhills allow for no time to try this either. However I managed to get a few gels down before hitting the big climb, and rode myself back to the front group after being dropped at the bottom!
It was 60km from there to the finish, and the group was still big, with gutters forming all the time, I slipped away in a break and it was looking good until two Rabbobank riders joined us. With the wrong selection we were chased down with 25km to go. Jaco was looking great and followed the next few moves as I went back to feed from the car. Three guys slipped away here, and that was the three that stayed away, gaining nearly two minutes on the bunch.
It was incredible to think that on such a hard stage, 63 riders finished in the front group! Just goes to show you the depth of the field here.
Christoff and Luthando finished a tough stage well within the cut off time, and showed “vasbyt” to get through the long day.
Jaco and I both moved up a few places on GC, and according to the race organizers, the real mountains are still coming! All this despite my legs feeling slightly tenderized! Today we get to do it all again, as I write this the rain is coming down and another 180km await us.
Time to go eat five portions of hasta la pasta.
Results on and

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cirtuito Montanes

Stage 1: Santander - Maliano172km, ascent: 9.4km@27k - Cat 3, 2.2km climb@74.4k - Cat 3, 3km climb@117k - Cat 3, 4.2km climb

Well this was to be “flat”and easiest stage of the tour. After climbing 1500m and averaging 41km/hr for our 172km, excluding the 8km neutral zone, it was anything but a walk in the park.
Our biggest concern for the day was to watch out for combination moves, a break that goes away with the right teams represented and the tour is then potentially over for GC. I followed many moves early on, as did the rest of the team but for most of the day it stayed together except for one or two solo efforts.
I felt good on the climbs, but one can sense that the climbing specialists were taking it relatively easy. Arran Brown managed to take the second hotspot although with a lone rider away, it gave him second place points. The last categorized climb was really hard as the Café/Colombian team and the CK/CP Cyclocross team went hard from the bottom but I managed to stay with and just take the 2nd place points behind a solo rider that was away.
It was 58km from there to the finish, and then the rain came down, making the conditions extreme. To add to this there were a few “uncategorized” climbs and the pace was high enough to split the bunch. As the bunch came back, a move had gone with 10riders, and the right combination, and in the very wet and slippery conditions, the break got a minute on us very quickly. At this stage I was marking one or two other riders and also not knowing who was left in our squad, I was hanging back to try get bottles for Jaco and I and was a bit disappointed that we missed the break.
However we are both just inside the top30 on GC, 1min20 down on the leader, and I’m fairly sure after today’s stage, there will be a different picture.
I just hope the climbing legs are firing today as we hit the mountains, facing 3 cat2 climbs, one cat3 and finish with a cat1 climb, totaling 30km! for foull results.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Circuito Montanes, Santander Prologue, 5.8km

The Circuito Montanes UCI 2.2 kicked off yesterday evening in Santander Spain with a hard 5.8km prologue time trial. This race is also known as the “Amateur Veulta a Spana” and is incredibly well organized with lots of prestige.
As Barry Austin, our manager, won the draw to decide on our start order, he was smart enough to do the same as most teams including Rabobank, and split who he thought the two fastest riders would be for GC, because of the possibility of weather conditions changing over the two hour start intervals, so Jaco Venter starting first in the first wave, I’d be off last of the South Africans in around 118th place.
Unlucky for me and about three quarters of the field though was that the rain began to come down and conditions got progressively worse as the evening drew on. On really smooth roads, with 8 roundabouts to negotiate at speed, you had to choose between speed and or control and I decided best to loose a handful of seconds to stay in control rather than a minute or two in a crash.
Jaco was best of the Selection South Africa Team, in 24th place, 24sec behind, myself in 26th place 25sec down on the Rabobank winner. Full results on the website under Classiciones, Etape1.
Most of the “Saffas” are first timers to such a big event and were fairly nervous looking at the infrastructure that the teams have compared to what we are used to. Even the team presentation the evening before makes you aware as to how big the race is and what level we are up against here. Also amazing to see how many spectators came to watch, both the opening evenings of events.
Results and info, although in Spanish can be found at

Tomorrows stage is “relatively” flat, Santander to Maliano, 172km featuring only 3 small cat 3 climbs, but looks to be fast and hard.
Till then, Hasta la venga!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And the XC result for me...

Good job!

MTN XCO#3, George, Saasveld

The third leg of the MTN Cross Country series took place at Saasveld over the weekend and the fantastic venue made for a super weekend of racing as usual. The only unusual thing about this cross country race was the absence of Burry Stander, and the inclusion of myself, making a return to cross country racing after a three year break from the Olympic format of moutainbike racing. I quickly realized in the next two years why I don’t compete in this discipline but can also see the benefits of it!
I had a great start and followed the three Garmin riders into the very technical course, a 5.5km lap which consisted of 90% singletrack. I was content with my position but close to the end of the first lap, Philip Buys put an attack in and I rode across to him, making a gap on the rest of the field and leading him over the start finish for the fastest lap of the day. From this point on in the race, it was between Philip and I for the rest of the race as we continued to ride away from the rest of the field. The course was really flat and very technical which obviously suited Philips’s strengths, and meant I had my work cut out for me. I took a really hard fall on the fifth lap, breaking a couple spokes which I had to remove from my wheel, and also breaking my little finger. I managed to pull myself together and ride back to Philip.
The last three laps we took turns in trying to get rid of each other and after numerous attacks, it was going to come down to a sprint.
Philip was more explosive across the grass to the finish line and took a well earned win for himself and the Gamin/Adidas boys. As Philip is u/23, it meant I won the elite category and took 2nd in the pro-elite group, but made a welcome return this hard format of racing!
Team mate Paul Cordes rode a good race to finish in 4th place in the elites, his consistency putting him in a great position for the overall cup series.

Next race for me should be some European road racing, just waiting for confirmation on that. If it comes off though, it will be the Circuito Montanes in Spain as part of the National team. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
Pro-Elite group:
1st Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas) 2hrs03min
2nd Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
3rd Marc Bass (Garmin/Adidas)
4th Ben Melt Swanepoel (Mr Price/Specialized)
5th Paul Cordes (MTN/Energade)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mr Price Karkloof Classic

Kevin Evans, pic Zoon Cronje

The Mr Price Karkloof Classic would have to rate as one of favorite marathon events in the season, and provides a weekends festival of mountain biking, including night races, cross country events, a spectator thrilling “sprint shootout” and the classic event, the marathon.
The MTN/Energade women dominated the XC race on Saturday, with Yolande Speedy winning ahead of team mate Mariske Strauss. Paul Cordes and Justice Makhale flew the flag for the mens team with Paul finishing on the podium in third place and Justice in fifth.

Sunday morning was the marathon event, attracting about four thousand riders, and the weather was incredible. A warm sunny morning replaced the normal freezing temperatures that I’ve become use to associate with the event. The racing however would be hotter than the temperature.
In fact, I may just as well use my report from last years race as it was almost an identical ride at the front of the race.
The first start loop going into all the singletrack was again where the race split up, I however had some ground to make up as we crossed the polo field and headed out into the main loop. But after about 8km, it was again Burry Stander (Mr Price/Specialized) and myself setting a hard tempo out front, although I’d have to admit that Burry was adamant about stamping his presence on the race and did the lions share of the work. I did my best to follow him and help where I could, but already after the first climb we had opened the gap up to around three minutes.
The singletrack in the race is the absolute highlight of the event, made only better when I can follow the third best ranked XC rider in the world. I was really impressed with how smooth and quick Burry was through these sections and really had “the front row seat” to see the action. I did manage to keep up and hold my own, despite a few close calls and narrow escapes with trees whizzing by.
It was again on the final climb before the last technical descend that Burry put the hammer down just one too many times for me to follow, and again I’d be riding solo to the finish to claim second place behind Burry. By this stage, third place was a sprint finish between Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas) and Brandon Stewart(DCM) about 9minutes behind us, with Phillip getting third, Brandon fourth. Fifth place went to Marc Bass, also Garmin/Adidas followed by a great ride with team mate Paul Cordes taking sixth place and Ben Melt Swanepoel seventh.

The womens race was again dominated by our MTN/Energade team, with Yolande Speedy taking first, again, ahead of Mariske Strauss, and Samantha Oosthuisen in third.
Another great weekend away with our team, always a great vibe and team spirit, which reflects in our results.

Next race for me will be my long awaited cross country comeback in George, Saasveld next weekend. It’s been three years since I last competed in a cross country event, and on home soil will be amped to be taking part in it! Not sure what to expect though! I’ll also be spending some much needed time at home with the family before the European racing kicks off in June. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Burry Stander (Mr Price/Specialized) 2hrs57min
2nd Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 2hrs59min
3rd Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas)
4th Brandon Stewart (DCM)
5th Marc Bass (Garmin/Adidas
6th Paul Cordes (MTN/Energade)
7th Ben Melt Swanepoel (Mr Price/Specialized)

Monday, April 19, 2010

MTN Ultramarathon #4, Clarens

Kevin Evans, pic Zoon Cronje

So the fourth event in the MTN Ultramarathon series took place in the small town of Clarens in the FreeState. Weather leading up to the event was fantastic but true to form, the day and night before the race, heavy showers turned sections of the route into “mud baths”!
The Ultra event was as tough a race in the series as I’ve done before, and the altitude always plays a small part to how you feel. I was content to just stay with front group which split up fairly quickly in the first technical section. It seemed like the two big teams, Garmin/Adidas and MTN were set for some great racing. Others in the front were Ben Melt Swanepoel (MR Price/Specialized), but again the group thinned out when we hit the first climb of the day.
The front group now contained Mannie Heymans, Philip Buys and Ben Melt, Melt however had a bad crash on the rocky descent which put an end to his race, fortunately he was ok though.

At the next big climb, shortly past the feed zone at 52km, I rode a hard tempo up the rough climb, trying to get maximum advantage on Philip, knowing the downhill that follows the climb, I wanted to ride my pace. As it turned out I managed to hold a gap of around 30sec on Philip at the bottom of the downhill, and in the next 15km, I increased the gap to around 2min. I knew what awaited us however in the final 20km, and the final climb turned into a monster! I could only just manage riding the whole way but fortunately it was at my own pace again. Once over the top I had about 10km of technical descending including a steep portage of around 300m down a rocky staircase.

In the end I managed to defend the race I won the previous year, further extend my lead in the MTN Series and get a great victory for myself and the team.
Garmin led home the pack to claim 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Mannie, Philip and Francoise Theron.
MTN/Energade team mate Adrien Niyonshuti took 5th place, really well done considering he was sick, Paul Cordes in 6th and Justice Makale 10th.
In the ladies it was our team mates, Yolande Speedy and Mariske Struass who took a great 1st and 2nd for the team. Again thanks very much to Nicole, our manager and Rodger, mechanic, who both worked hard as usual behind the scenes.

Next race, MTN Panorama tour, with some of our big corporate sponsors. Should be a great 4 days of riding in the Lowveld. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade)
2nd Mannie Heymans (Garmin/Adidas)
3rd Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas)
4th Francoise Theron (Garmin/Adidas
5th Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Energade)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Giro del Capo Hillclimb

On my way to a recoed time of 11:57, that has stood for 12 years. However it was short lived as DG came up 2minutes later in 11:47!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sani2C MTB Stage Race

Kevin Evans, Zoon Cronje

Sani2c has quickly established itself as one of South Africa’s premier mountain bike stage races, and this would be my fourth time participating in the event. I’ve had a fairly good track record with the race thus far, three starts and three wins, all with different partners, and this year would be no exception as I would be privileged to be racing with Austrian National Champion Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon racing) as preparation for the upcoming Cape-Epic. He flew out only three days before the race, and we headed off with a full MTN/Energade team, with no expectations for myself and Alban other than good racing and prep.

Stage 1, 95km Underberg to Mackenzie
Once again at the Sani2c, the weather was not playing along, and torrential rains the day before the race, plus the thousand or so Adventure riders that would churn the trails up in front, would make for some really hectic conditions. And it would only get worse as the weather was not about to clear any time soon.
The race played out fairly as I had predicted, although in the conditions it would be important to look after yourself and equipment. As usual the race split up after the first singletrack, and then onto the climb. I saw some of the other teams taking strain here and decided to make the climb hard. Provided Alban could follow the wheel, I would continue, and he had no problems. At the top it was only team DCM and ourselves left. We worked well together as we gradually increased our lead over the other teams. Although we tested each other, it looked like it would come down to a sprint finish again. Alban was too strong for the DCM duo as we powered away to win the stage just ahead of Max Knox and Brandon Stewart. Third on the stage went to Specialized/Mr Price’s Burry Stander and Ben-Melt Swanepoel, about 8minutes behind us.

Stage 2, 97km Mackenzie to Jolliviet
Conditions only got worse on the second day as farmer Glen and his team were forced to have to re-route the course, unfortunately missing out on the 30km descend into the Umkimaas Valley via Nics Pass, normally the highlight of the race. The change took us straight down the district roads into the valley, the same as my first time in 2006. However this was just as dangerous as poor visibility and an incredible amount of mud made the going really scary! The race rejoined the normal race route as we went down the valley into the “mamba downhill”, and headed towards the halfway compulsory stop at the top of “lamb legs”. It was up this climb that I’d won the race in previous years, and this was our plan again. Alban set a hard tempo, and I waited till he had opened a gap to ride across to him. All of this just more on pure instinct, and from there to the top we managed to make 1min25 on our DCM rivals. As discussed we knew from there in the last 35km we could work harder together than the other teams could, and this was clearly evident as we crossed the finish line a good 5min30 ahead of DCM, Specialized/Mr Price taking third again on the day. Despite a “shower” and bike wash halfway, we were still caked in mud at the finish and the backup team would have their work cut out for them as the conditions took its toll on everything!

Stage 3, 78km Joliviet to Scottborough
With a good lead going into the last stage, we had no pressure other than to follow the wheels and make sure we stayed out of trouble. The goal was actually to try and set up a win for our second team, Paul Cordes and Adrien Niyonshuti who had moved up to fourth overall after some really bad fortune the first two days. But as I thought, DCM were going to take no prisoners today, and set a tempo that was too hard for all except Alban and myself to follow. We had no need to work with them, as we just sat on whilst they kept the tempo hard. A couple of kilometers to go, they had begun to slow down, and we could see our second team coming with Specialized/Mr Price. As we began the final climb to the finish line, we looked back and guessed they were about a minute behind us. We decided to wait, knowing that at the worse, they would get a podium place on the final stage. Adrien and Paul dug really deep, and Paul just managed to ride Melt off before entering the finishing straight, placing them second on the stage behind DCM. Specialized took third again, as we just consolidated our overall victory.
It was a fantastic experience to team up with Alban, someone who has achieved so much in the sport yet remains so humble and approachable.
After this I’m more motivated and excited about the Epic as his form is really good, and will get better in the next two weeks. I’ll need to get faster somehow before then!
Thanks again to our staff and management for the fantastic support, good enough for a potential world champion!

Next race, Giro Del Capo to assist our road team, and then it’s one week to the big one, The Cape-Epic! Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans/ Alban Lakata (MTN/Energade)
2nd Max Knox/Brandon Stewart (DCM)
3rd Burry Stander/Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized/Mr Price)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

South African Marathon Championships, Sabie

Kevin Evans, Pics Zoon Cronje

Sabie was the host of the 7th South African Marathon Championships, and a testing 110km in the mountains of the Lowveld would always provide a true marathon course and some very hard racing. It would also form the third leg of the MTN Marathon series, but with the coveted green and gold jersey up for grabs, and the title of SA Marathon champion, it was sure to be a hard fought race, with all the countries top riders taking the start line.
The course was really made for climbers, with 2600m of climbing in the 110km, preparation was key. I’d chosen to ride my Volcan Pro 1 completely tuned with DT Swiss Carbon wheels and bits, getting the weight down to as close to 8kg’s as possible for all the climbing. No sooner had we rolled out of the start, the course would tilt upwards and we’d find ourselves climbing for the first 12km, up to nearly 1900m. I was adamant before the race that I would like to set the pace from the start, and after about 2kminto the climb I took control, Burry Stander (Specialized) keen to also get stuck in and help. By the top of the first climb, the race was completely in pieces as Burry and myself crested the top first, with MTN/Energade team mate Adrien Niyonshuti in third place. Unfortunately for him a cut tire would his race in one of the technical singletrack sections. Max Knox (DCM) pushed hard to ride back to us, but had used up valuable energy in doing so, and near the end of “ugly words climb”, he was off and Burry and myself riding well together to increase our lead with each pedal stroke. The next section to the technical zone at 75km was quite hectic as we had to negotiate our way past loads of fun riders doing the shorter distances. We entered the feed zone with a healthy gap, but neither of us were going to slow down as we started the last 45km loop. There were two really big climbs in this loop, the last one at about 30km to go to the finish. It was up this climb that Burry was setting the tempo and shifted out his big chainring, and I saw a chance and took it. I knew I had nothing to loose as I didn’t want to take him to the line, and I powered a big gear up the climb, forming a small gap on him. Once I realized I had ridden him off my wheel, I gained some much needed motivation to put everything into this move. With around 25km to go, I tried to remain conservative yet consistent. In fact the most problems came from the fun riders again as riders back logged the singletrack sections and were not so friendly when asked to give way.
I think at least with the lead motorbike in front of me trying to clear the track, it made it a little easier than for Burry who was chasing on his own. I kept a steady tempo, knowing that Burry would not let his title slip easily, and only once I turned into the finish straight did I realize I had just won the South African Champions and my fourth Marathon Championship!
Burry held onto 2nd place with no problems, and David George ( grabbed his first mountain bike nation medal to take third, after an early crash saw him break a cleat and have to fix that first before he could even begin the climb!
It was a fantastic feeling to retain my title especially on such a challenging course with the level of competition that was there.
However it was again far from a solo victory as there was so much hard work that went into the preparation of this race, lots of hours behind the scenes from mechanics, managers, coaches, soigneurs, sponsors, team riders and of course family! Everyone deserves a piece of this special jersey, so I’d like to say a big thank you!
Next race, unfortunately will be tomorrow at Carnival City, a road race and with three of our riders representing the National team in Malaysia, I’d need to help out there. Then it’s off to Sani2c with Alban for some Epic prep! Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 4hrs32
2nd Burry Stander (Specialized)
3rd David George (

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dischem Ride for Sight, Boksburg

Photo, Michelle Cound

The Dischem Ride for Sight took place just outside of Boksburg, and conditions on the day were perfect. The route runs along a popular “race road” up here which is well known by all cyclists, then heads around the back of Suikerbosrand reserve, and up through Heidelberg, back to Boksburg. It’s a fairly tough route and can be challenging when the winds come up and the big teams decide to turn the gas on. Also having raced 170km in the National Champs two days before would take the sting out the legs for sure.
The race was too fast for any moves to slip away, despite many attempts. The climbs on the course were just too short to ride away, and there were too many of the bigger teams with numbers to chase back most attacks.
We tried hard through Heidelberg to split the bunch, and although it split on the climb, it all came back together again with about 30km remaining. Team MTN took control of the race from here onwards as we drove the bunch back towards the finish. There were a few noticeable moves off the front in the final 10km, but the tempo we were setting was just too high for anyone to ride away.
Our yellow train was then overtaken by the House of Paint red train in the final 3km when they came through with more speed. But by this stage, our fastest and strongest sprinters were all fresh and jumped onto the back of their leadout, going into the final two corners in just the right position! It was then Christoff Van Heerden, turning over a 54tooth chainring who would lead Juan Van Heerden out in the sprint for the line, but the big gear with a slight tailwind, meant Juan could only get alongside Christoff, but not past him. 1st and 2nd on the day was an amazing result and a really good team effort again. It was also a special win for Christoff, in his home town and newly crowned SA Champion,
Next race, Saturday our mountain bike national marathon championships in Sabie! Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Christoff Van Heerden (MTN/Energade)
2nd Juan Van Heerden (MTN/Energade)
3rd Hanco Kachelhoffer (Medscheme)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

South African Road Race Championships, Klerksdorp

Kevin Evans, Ian Mcleod, pic Ronelle Rust

The South African Road Race Championships took place on a circuit course through the suburbs of Klerksdorp, and although it was a relatively flat circuit, 15laps of 11.2km, it was by no means at all easy!
With loads of corners and sharp turns going into small climbs, combined with the fact that we raced along with the u/23 riders in a bunch of about 180riders on narrow twisty roads, and had a start time of 13:00 in the midday heat, it was always going to be the strongest man on the day that would win! And strongest man it was, Christoff Van Heerden (MTN/Energade), proving he really deserved the national title after an incredible ride out front all day!
The start of the race was really hard and the first two laps were crucial in terms of your positioning in the bunch. You needed to stay alert near the sharp end of the race at all times. Then halfway through lap 2, the early break, usually doomed for disaster went off the front.
In this break was the ever consistent Nic White (Medscheme), Pieter Syfert (DCM), Christoff Van Heerden (MTN/Energade), Richard Baxter (House of Paint) and J Nel. So with all the big teams who had the numbers on the day, the break was allowed to run as the teams were confident.
At one stage the move had sneaked up to 3minutes, and with the bunch too big for MTN’s liking, we decided to turn on the gas for a lap. Ian and I set a mean tempo through the suburb and after a hard lap, the bunch was thinned out considerably as the pace and heat took it’s toll on most riders. In the process however we also brought the gap down to the lead group to about 2minutes, and with the chase group much smaller, we decided to let the other teams try and control the pace.
No one team really committed and by the time we hit the final two laps, one or two riders tried to put in some hard attacks, but were always marked by other riders. Eventually James Perry (EMG) managed to slip away by himself and cross the gap to the front riders which by this stage only consisted of Nic White and Christoff. Once James had bridged them, with about half a lap remaining, they attacked Christoff and actually had ridden him off. But he was not going down without a fight and managed to get back to them with only 2kilometers remaining!
Then it was easy picking for Christoff as the other two riders couldn’t match his speed and strength as he surged for the line and the National title!
I couldn’t think of a more deserving winner of the national title and it is great to have the national jersey back in out team for another year.
So after a very successful SA Championships, with gold medals in the elite road and time trial disciplines, we head back to continue with the rest of our season that lies ahead and many more big goals.
Next race, Sunday, The Ride for Sight, and then onto our mountain bike national championships in Sabie! Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Christoff Van Heerden (MTN/Energade) 4hrs18
2nd Nic White (Medscheme)
3rd James Perry (EMG)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SA TT Champs

Kevin Evans, pic Ronelle Rust, Zoon Cronje

So my first national road title, and here’s a small story about it that know one knows.
I had originally put down the National Time Trial Championships as one of my goals for 2010 as it is a discipline I believed I could win. Problem with Time Trials when done properly, is besides the physical power required to do well in the event, your setup and equipment is crucial and can win or a lose a medal. So we have got sponsors onboard our team now that really push the envelope in providing us with world class equipment. We received most of our equipment about three weeks prior to the event, however, Carol Austin Activeworx coach was adamant that the frame for myself was not the correct size. Many e-mails and phone calls to sponsors in Belgium were flying around and with less than a week to go, despite myself still preparing for the race, I had no machine.
Then after much persuading and “fighting”, Eddy Merckx’s son in law personally flew in the frame for me, which they borrowed from Team Quickstep as they were the only team in the world with a frame in my size, dropped it off and flew out. Activeworx then worked overtime to have the frame built and ready for me to do a professional setup once I landed in Johannesburg on Tuesday midday. 2hrs later we were happy and on our way out to Klerksdorp.
I arrived and immediately headed out on the bike, 6pm, in the pouring rain and tried to find the course, which turned into a whole other story. But the bike felt good and we would have to wait and see.
We had great conditions on the day and the heat and humid weather helped me adjust to the altitude without too many problems. Once under way, I was fortunate enough to have the top of the range Sram SRM which proved invaluable to pacing myself for the first 20km of the race, allowing me to save enough energy to really wind up the final 5km.
At the end, it was unclear as to who had won, but I had timed myself and the two riders that I thought would be the quickest, and unofficially I knew I had it!
What a feeling! My first national road jersey and the whole team, staff and everyone behind the scenes deserves a big piece of that jersey too! Thank you.

Next race, Road and Time Trial Championships in Klerksdorp, two very big goals for our team. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 48min30sec 47.5km/hr
2nd James Perry (EMG)
3rd Jaco Venter (MTN/Energade)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ninetyniner, Construction du Cap

The Construction du Cap, otherwise called the Ninetyniner took place in Durbanville over the weekend and has always been a national seeding event and a very popular race for most cyclists to boost their Argus seeding. Team MTN/Energade won the event last year with Juan Van Heerden and this year we would be back, although only a very compact team consisting of Juan and myself. This year however the organizers decided a route change was in order, and they couldn’t have made a better change for myself personally even if they tried!
The race would now finish with the final 7km consisting of Vissershok climb, descending the other side and then the final 1.2km straight up Odendaal street, a near vertical final kilometer ascent to the line, probably the only “hill” top finish in any race I’ve done. Note to organizers, we need more finishes like this please.

Conditions were perfect on the day, and again with only two of us there, we’d have our work cut out for us. It’s always hard racing the Cape Town teams as you never know who to lookout for and which teams are strong on the day. We decided to watch Daikin Gu as one of the teams, and obviously David George (FullImput) when we hit the final 7km. soon after the start though, there was a number of other teams who began to send riders up the road and we could only follow so many moves before being caught out. Juan would do most of the following allowing whilst I sat on as much as possible. This worked well until two riders, most noticeably Dave Garret (Daikin Gu) slipped away with another rider from a bigger team, and very quickly creating a gap of up to two and a half minutes at one stage. So the two teams with the most riders each had a man up the road, no one was keen to hit the front of the race. So Juan and myself began to set a hard but steady tempo on the front, realizing everyone would just sit back and watch. This is when Erik Kleinhans (GT/Maties) came to the front and with one or two of his boys helped Juan pace on the front, allowing me to save my legs. Erik did an incredible job with Juan and for about 50km they rolled through and off to bring the two riders back, just in time with about 10km remaining before the “Vissershok” climb.
As expected, once we hit the climb, Dave George put in his attack and it was only myself who could follow the hard tempo. I came around him halfway up to continue his pace as we were opening a gap on the rest of the group. I won the King of the mountain going over the top and we had about only 15seconds on a small chase group. Then the final kilometer, straight up, we continued to drive a hard pace to stay away, and with about 300m to go I began my sprint, although looking more like a slow motion version, and managed to ride Dave off my wheel to hit the line first and win my second Ninetyniner!
It was another good effort by our compact “coastal” squad, and without the team work done by Juan and the help from Erik Kleinhans, the results may have been very different!

Next race, South African Road and Time Trial Championships in Klerksdorp, two very big goals for our team. Till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 2hrs46
2nd David George (Fullimput)
3rd Stefan Ilenfeldt
4th Moolman Welgemoed (Daikin Gu)
5th Charles Keey (Blend)