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)