Sunday, May 29, 2011

Europe here comes 360Life!

Team 360life will depart this evening for a month in Europe, with the aim at better preparing ourselves to European racing for the upcoming Marathon World Championships in Italy.

We will race the TransGermany, starting on Wednesday, which is an individual 4stage race.
We then move north for two big one day ultra marathons, the Willingen Bike Festival, and the Black Forest Ultra Marathon.
Then we head south to Italy for the Marathon World Champs in Montebulluno, Italy, where another challenging race awaits us.
We will have John Hooper, our physio/soigneur joining us for the month, plus additional help that side from mechanics who have worked with us before.
We wil try keep you up to speed, either via the blog, or our twitter feeds, @kevinevansracin and @davegeorge101.
Thanks again to Nedbank's 360Life, we have this amazing opportunity to reach for our dreams.

We will fly the flag proudly!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CRAFT BIKE Trans Germany
The link for our first race starting next week in Germany.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prelude to our comeback...


Photo by Coetzee Gouws: Kevin Evans

Sani2C, Day1, Underberg to Makenzie Club, 87km

The later date of the Sani2C race seemed to be a welcome change on the calendar, spreading out the races for us, but also giving us better weather to enjoy the beautiful routes the race has to offer. Although a bit cooler, the race would be a pleasure in dry conditions. This would also be my second race back since my crash in the Epic, but was feeling confident after a good race the previous week.

Dave and I took the racing to our competitors on the sections we knew it would count, but the bigger groups consisting of a couple teams would roll faster as a group than what the two of us would. This would also be preparation for me but my body was feeling good and the legs strong.

It always looked like it would end up in a sprint to the finish, and Dave and I managed to have the stronger kick as we powered ahead to beat MTN/Doitnow into second place, with Team RECM coming in third, just ahead of ItecConnect.

Day 2, Makenzie Club to Jolivet Farm, 97km

This is the day that mountain bikers really look forward to and keep coming back to this event. The sublime singletrack you descend into the beautiful Umkomaas valley is incredible. The slightly later start time due to the later date was also fantastic as you didn’t have to start in the dark and could actually see where you were going.
From a racing perspective, it has always been on this day that I have managed to secure the race win with the hard climbs out of the valley. And again this year was no different, as Dave and I climbed out of the valley ahead of the chasing teams. Only Team Itecconnect were ahead with us when the had some bad luck, Brandon having a puncture at a crucial moment. The compulsory stop that I was looking forward to was taken out, and after a massive effort to that point, we had a quick bottle change and had to carry on.

On the big roads we rolled fast and by the finish we had extended our lead to over 2minutes to MTN/Doitnow, and about 3minutes to Team RECM.
This would give us a good enough lead heading into the final day, bar any mishap.

Day 3, Jolivet to Scottburgh, 78km

The last day for us is usually a formality, and despite the race not being over, its usually to short for other teams to try and compete for the overall.
As we hit some of the steep climbs, Dave and I set the tempo to leave only a select group of the top three teams in front. Again only Team Itec suffered bad luck as Brandon hit a tree stump and broke a front wheel.

With about 15km left to go, and our sponsors waiting for us at the finish, feeling really good, we broke away up the last climb, pulling about a 30second gap into the two chasing teams. We hit the fast district road and after three days of dominating, ironically we lost the race here. We had a taxi driving in front of us, kicking up dust, and as we were doing around 50km/hr, the taxi obscured our vision and on a badly marked corner we missed the left hand turn, and only once we ran out of markings, did we turn around to find the route and pick up where we left off.

What I found most disappointing was the fact that the top teams saw us go wrong, but seems that in the spirit of mountain biking now, they decided to rather race full steam to the finish instead of perhaps just waiting for us to rejoin them.

Disappointing but I guess it was our mistake and one which they took full advantage of.

We were lucky to hang onto third place in the end, but there was a lot more positives to take out the race than one negative turn that cost us the win.

We are back, and my legs have returned!
My shoulder has recovered fully with no complications.
We are heading to some big European races with great form!
We have the most amazing support and sponsors, ‘Making things happen’ for us.
Next race will be the Craft Trans Germany, a four day individual and prestigious race in Germany. This forms part of a month long block that Team360life will be doing in preparation for a good World Championship at the end of June.
Till then,
Hasta la pasta,

Provisional Overall results:
1st MTN/Doitnow
2nd Team RECM
3rd Team 360Life

Sunday, May 15, 2011

MTN Ultra Marathon #5, Tulbagh, Western Cape, 105km

Photo by Zoon Cronje: Kevin Evans

MTN Ultra Marathon #5, Tulbagh, Western Cape, 105km

It would be ironic that my first race back after breaking my collarbone in the Cape-Epic, would see me returning to Tulbagh and making amends with this small beautiful town.

Going into the race I had no expectations, although I’ve managed to get some good training in on the road bike, I had no idea on how or where my form was relative to guys who’ve been racing. Needless to say, I felt rather nervous, and more so than usual as, with my recovery time since operation only six and half weeks, another fall on the shoulder would spell major disaster. This would mean I was very apprehensive on the descends and not quite my normal self, but with good reason. However I did have some fantastic new Magura brakes dialed in onto the Scott Scale, so I had no doubt at all in any of my equipment.

The race began fairly relaxed, and I’m sure the riders were taking it as easy as we knew the hard terrain that lay ahead. At 15km into the race, we hit the first major obstacle of the day, a steep 2km climb that we would have to tackle again at around 90km. it was here that five riders emerged at the top, and essentially would be the make up of the race for the day. Immediately after the climb we went into some fairly rough and steep 4x4 trails that we rode in the Epic. Up the steepest climb of the day, Dave started to power ahead, and Max Knox managed to literally run up the climb behind him, just in time to join him for the descend. I was following Darren Lill and Adrien Nyionshuti at this stage, and although I felt I may have been able to try ride across to Dave, I decided not too as it may mean I drag the other two riders across. Also with myself and Dave in the front, Max would be entitled to a “free” ride as we would have to do most of the work.

The tactics from there definitely played into our hands, as I could do little work in my chase group, and with myself only a minute or two behind Dave, he too took a backseat, happy to know I was not far behind.

The course was relentless and the weather was cool, 12degrees average for the whole race, which meant adequate hydration and nutrition, or face a potential visit from the ‘man with the hammer’. I was starting to feel the distance creeping up on me, but at that exact stage we were going up a long climb, and I could see Dave had just dropped Max, giving me the confidence that Dave was feeling good, and Max, well I may just see him still before the end.

The final 30km was brutal, and we repeated the first loop, including the big climbs and steep jeep track. The energy I had saved from sitting on paid off as I started to up my tempo here, leaving Adrien behind on the climb, and reeling in Max. I was surprised to have energy left, but the training I had done at home under the circumstances was proving valuable. Once I had caught Max, he kindly supervised me down the technical descend towards the finish, and I only just managed to get ahead of him on the grass field leading him into the finish.

Our unfinished business with Tulbagh was now complete, with a great team performance, and in good time as we prepare for some bigger goals ahead. My quick comeback is also a direct reflection of the support and head space shown by Nedbank 360Life and the way they’ve helped us move onwards following our disappointment six weeks ago. Once again for this, we thank them and love working together in tis professional environment.

Cheers Tulbagh, a fitting end to the day, a fine bottle of Saronsberg Full Circle (more irony), lets call it even for nowJ

Provisional Results:

1st David George (360Life) 4hrs29min

2nd Kevin Evans (360lLfe) 4hrs37min

3rd Max Knox (Ghost/Doitnow) same time

4th Adrien Nyionshuti (MTN/Qhubeka) 4hrs52

5th Nico Bell (Bell Cycles)

Next race, Sani2C and a very popular race and personal favorite of ours on the annual calendar. We looking forward to being there and staying in the village, accessible to all riders and BOE clients. Also looking forward to having our main men, Lance and Dave as our backup teams!

Till then, cheers.

Kevin Evans

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Six weeks later...

Its been 6 weeks since my broken collarbone in the Cape Epic, and finally I’m off and heading out racing again. The past couple weeks I’ve managed to get in some good training, and I guess, this weekend coming, we’ll be able to see how I’ve done and where I am with my shape.

Team360Life has been rolling along a little slower than normal as we’ve readjusted our race program and build up to World Marathon Champs.

Dave managed to get a second place at the Karkloof Festival a few weeks ago, and last week he won the Dirtopia Mountain Bike Race, essentially one of the selection races for World Champs.

I managed to finally get back to a race, albeit only South Western District Road Champs in Oudtshoorn, it was a good start to get the tempo up and th feel for racing again.

We have a really busy schedule ahead of now. Ironically, my first mountain bike race, is going to be where I rode my last one, as Team360 heads back to Tulbach for the fifth race in the MTN Ultra marathon series. The race will be important for Dave as he has already won the first race and was second at the next, giving him a good shot at the overall title by the end of the season. I’ll use the race to build some form, help Dave where I can, and hopefully get through this time, in one pieceJ

The following week we will head off to Sani2C, where we will try defend our title we won together in 2009. As BOE is the presenting sponsor there, we plan to make ourselves fully accessible to everyone doing the race, and will be camping at the village. It will be great fun to have our boss competing in his first race also in Team360 colours!

We then go home for a few days before we depart for Europe, and our build up to World Champs, kicking off with Trans Germany. But I will update more about this trip at a later stage.

Let me just get through Tulbach and see the back of this town first!

Till later,

Hasta la pasta