Die Burger mountain bike challenge, Stellenbosch, 75km
So after a two week break from the bike, Dave and I decided to take part in Die Burger mountain bike race, held in Stellenbosch over the weekend. With the course being set out by Meurant Botha and Dirtopia trails, you knew at least if the legs were not good, that the trails would be great! In fact, 3600 riders arrived for the event, which had numerous distances to challenge all levels of riders.
The 75km course began with the same climbs as when I rode the race in 2008, basically climbing all the way up Helshoogte before descending down the old pass, and then heading in the direction of all the wine farms and the great trails. It was up the first climb, breathing early morning cold air that the group had split. Phil Buys (Garmin/Adidas), Renay Goustra (Mr Price/GT), Jaqcues Rossouw (Full Dynamix) and myself were the four riders left out front. Near the steep section at the top of the climb, Phil attacked taking Rossouw with him, whilst I was just happy to have survived, and rode over the top with Renay.
The front two gradually increased their lead over us, and I was already ahead of myself in terms of where my physical state was. Through the singletrack sections, I decided to just ride at my own speed, as with all the climbing that was still coming, I was worried I may not make it! So for most of the ride I was alone and always had a visual time gap on Renay, who later in the race, without knowing it, had moved into second place, as Rossouw had made a mistake and gone onto complete the 60km route.
I really enjoyed the trails that Meurant had found for us, and was more than enough fun to make up for the heavy, lactic acid legs I had to pedal around with! In the final climb, weaving my way through all the fun riders, I managed to catch up to Renay, and I was feeling better as the race got longer. In the end, I just managed to get ahead of him in the last 500m and finished 2nd in the end of a tough, challenging route.
Dave snuck in a few minutes later in 5th place.
It was good to get back into the swing of things, all though our next challenge will be somewhat different to what we used too!
1st Phillip Buys (Garmin/Adidas) 3hrs21min
2nd Kevin Evans (Team Nedbank/360life)
3rd Renay Goustra (Mr Price/GT)
Next race, Tour de Tuli, in Botswana with Nedbank. I’m sure that this will be a highlight for us in the year, and is completely different to what we used too, with just bikes, bushveld, camping, good food and wine, its going to be great fun!
Till then, cheers.