Ladismith Cheese Seweweeksport MTB Challenge, 80km
One of my ‘local’ events (I call any event within a hundred and fifty kilometer radius of home a local event), and also one of favorite rides in the beautiful area of the Karoo. The Seweweekspoort challenge is an absolute must do ride as it’s suitable for all levels of riders, and the route is absolutely magnificent. It basically winds its way right through the Seweweekspoort, an old dirt road that connects the small and great Karoo via the Cape folded mountains.
Although this year, Dave had decided to use this race as final hard training for next weeks Pioneer Trek, and went flying out the blocks. I managed to ride across to him, where we shared the work going up, and it is up, through the ‘Poort’, so I didn’t have a lot of time to look around at the stunning area. Once through the ‘Poort’, I was sure we would have a good gap with which we could manage for the next 60km, but to my surprise, a group of 4riders had worked equally as hard and managed to catch us through the rough jeep track loop around the dam at the top of the Poort.
Ruan Du Toit (Novo Nordisk), Ben Melt Swanepoel (Specialized), Stuat Marais and Dave Morison (Blend Properties) had joined us for the really fun and fast sweeping gravel descend back down the Poort, where speeds of close to 70km/hr are achievable. Once out of the Poort, the final 35km is through Winelands and farms, and becomes a bit rougher, and tougher, with the wind usually playing a small role too. And then of course the final two climbs with ten kilometers to go are usually hard enough to decide the outcome of the race. Knowing this race really well, and having won it a few times before, I was content to wait for the last ten kilometers.
However, Dave clearly had other ides, and through one of the rough sections, used his power and Spark29er to ride alone off the front of our group. Hard way to try and win the race, but perfect team tactics, as I could sit in the group whilst the rest had to try chase him (aka the block). Its difficult to chase when you know you have a another rider just waiting to pounce should it all come back together. Dave’s gap was steadily increasing, and by the final 10kilometers, he had nearly 2minutes on us.
I then made my effort count on the final two climbs, and must say I was impressed with how the young rider, Ruan du Toit from George stuck with me. Only on the last climb around 2kilometers from the finish did he finally let go and I was able to complete the ‘one-two’ for Nedbank 360life, finishing just behind Dave.
Its always great being a part of this event, and thanks to Dryland Events and local rider Pieter Blignaut for inviting us and accommodating our families for a great weekend away in the Karoo. Hope to be back next year!
1st Dave George (Nedbank 360life) 2hrs45min
2nd Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360life) +25sec
3rd Ruan Du Toit (Novo Nordisk) +30sec
4th Ben Melt Swanepoel (Specialized)
5th Dave Morison (Blend Properties)
Next race, starts this Monday in Oudtshoorn, six days of The Cape Pioneer Trek, 700km and 14000m of climbing, team event and our final equipment fine-tuning for next years Epic.
Till then, cheers.