Photo by Swen Lauer: Kevin Evans
Elite Road Championships, Westville 127km, 1500m
Nedbank 360lfe decided to kick off our racing season with the Kwazulu-Natal Road champs held on a circuit at Westville. As the team has been on a 10day training camp based in Pietermaritzburg, we thought the race could fit nicely into our training program, and with some quality riders taking part; the workout was well worth it.
The circuit around Westville was completely closed off, and the cyclists would have the whole M13 to themselves, a great route of around 13km per lap, allowing for some great spectating, a tough circuit, and completely safe racing.
There was not a whole lot of action early on in the race, as the course was fairly tough and riders were saving themselves for the latter stages of the race. Our newly recruited youngster was eager to turn the screws in early, and threw a few attacks, but was always marked by some of his fellow cross country mountain biker competitors. Dave who was recovering from a hard week of training and still slightly under the weather from a cold, was content to watch what was happening and offer his vast experience for when it mattered.
I had decided to wait until the last two laps to try something, but Burry Stander was looking eager and up for a challenge.
It was on lap 8, with two laps remaining that I saw a spontaneous moment in the race to hit the bunch hard when they least expected it, and once I had turned the corner, it was only Burry who had bridged the gap across to me. So here I was again, Burry and I, and a lap and half to go. Behind us, Dave and James had ridden clear of the bunch, and being only 45seconds behind us, I was able to sit on Burry’s wheel and start strategizing the best way to beat him.
Unfortunately, with the climb being too short and shallow, I had one last effort near the top to test him, but he was too good and held on, as I then had to lead the sprint out.
Not my best option to try and win in hindsight, but after a hard week of training, I was pleasantly surprised with myself, and James and Dave too who rolled in shortly after us!
So far all good, everything has been really smooth for us moving into the new year, from our new Life Policies (360life of course), to equipment from Scott and kit by Craft, we are looking forward to a great season with the best possible support behind us.
Time to ‘Make things happen’.
1st Burry Stander (Specialized) 3hrs30
2nd Kevin Evans (Nedbank 360Life) same time
3rd James Reid (Nedbank 360life)
4th Dave George (Nedbank 360life)
5th Rourke Croeser (Cannondale-Monkey)
Next race, the season opener and start of the MTN Ultra Marathon series, taking place in Barberton. Should be a great and competitive start to the marathon year!
Till then, cheers.