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)