Monday, February 8, 2010

VW Herald Mountain Bike Challenge

The popular VW Herald Cycle Tour, now in its 25th year, again hosted the mountain bike leg of the tour this weekend out at the Addo polo fields, and with a heat wave on the go, the start time was shifted forward to accommodate the slower riders as the thermometer would reach temperatures in the upper 40’s later on in the day!
Having ridden the same route now for the previous years Herald Tour as well as the Mondi Addo Cycle challenge, I was more than familiar with the route. It basically consists of a big climb up the Zuurberg Pass, followed by an extremely technical descent down a horsetrail, a decent of roughly 700m in 4km! From there you climb an equally tough singletrack climb back out the valley and from there on some really great trails through the Addo Park heading back to the Polo fields.
Roland Booker (Club100) was eager to test his legs out on his new Volcan and attacked shortly after the start. The other riders didn’t respond and it was satisfying to see his training paying off as he claimed the first “hotspot”. At the start of the Zuurberg climb, he had a nice gap on the rest of the field, and I began to test my legs, setting a hard tempo for the others to follow. Very soon I was on my own and riding the gap across to Roland. I caught him about 2km before the King of the mountain and we were still together when we began the “horsetrail” descend. I got a small gap down there and Rolands ride would come to an end with mechanical problems in this hectic section. I maintained a hard tempo up the next climb, opening up a gap to the chasing riders who were now splintered into small groups.
After the climb I really just had no pressure and rode a steady tempo, but thoroughly enjoyed the route and course! The new Volcan XC Pro I was riding handled like a dream and the Conti Race King UST tires were fast and bomb proof as ever, which is important in this very rough and thorny terrain.
I was amazed with the amount of support I had from the shorter distance riders and spectators and having started my mountain bike career here in the Eastern Cape, I soon remembered why.
In the end I managed to retain my title and win my third Herald Mountain Bike race. There was a phenomenal amount of TV coverage, which included Supersport , SABC and even a slot for YO TV, a kids program, plus obviously with the Herald newspaper as the title sponsor, the media coverage would be extensive. Another one of our team sponsors, VW, who is also a naming sponsor of the event was also there and it was great to support their event on behalf of our team.
Next race, Herald Cycle Tour, Road race, tomorrow, till then, cheers.
Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade) 3hrs40min
2nd Cornelius Muller (Fairbairn Private Bank)
3rd Charles Keey (Blend Cycling Team)