Saturday, July 14, 2012

Totalsports Xterra Pezula, Knysna

1st, 2nd, 3rd, from right to left.

Not sure what was funny? Nervous laugh?

Photo Jacky Mclean. Kevin Evans

Totalsports Xterra, Pezula, Knysna, 3km Run, 24km Bike, 7km Run

It didn’t take long for this leg of the Totalsports Xterra series to become one of my favorite events over the week of the Knysna Oyster Festiva. I would be back for my third year, and the atmosphere amongst the Xterra warriors and supporters at the Pezula field of dreams is phenomenal.
The event definitely keeps me motivated to cross train and keep up the running, but to give most of the seasoned Xterra athletes an idea of my priorities, in three years I’d be on my sixth mountain bike, but still the same pair of running shoes!

The first 3km trail run is always intense, and I could not believe the speed at which pre race favorite Stuart Marais took off with. I could only run as fast as my legs would take me, obviously, and had to settle for around tenth position, about two minutes down heading into the first transition.
Once onto my bike, with mudguard firmly in place, I would use all my experience of racing in muddy conditions to gain as much time as possible. Although my bike form is not where it usually is for this time of year, I started to catch guys quickly, and after about 12km, I caught and passed Stuart. I had a small mental battle with myself to slow down, as I knew he would out run me on the final trail run, but decided to push on and get as much of a head start as possible.
I always enjoy coming into the second transition after making up so much time, and Paul Valstar, the commentator, really gets the local support behind you. I shoed up as quickly as I could, and set off for the 7km trail run, with a slender 2minute lead over Stuart and Nico Pfitzenmeier.


I knew Stuart would catch me, but I wanted to try stay ahead of Nico, and I was gauging my efforts accordingly. The second trail is pretty hard by my standards, and you need to concentrate the whole time.  The legs were starting to tire, and my back was beginning to fatigue, but with the finish line just ahead, I pushed on and maintained about a thirty second gap over Nico, to take second place again, behind a flying Stuart Marais.

At least Stuart said I made him work for it, but as always, I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and thanks again to Stillwater Sports for having me at this fantastic event.

Time to recover from the running damage, and focus on a good solid block of training for the next four weeks.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results: MTB
1st Stuart Marais (New Balance/RSA Web) 1hr39
2nd Kevin Evans (Team Nedbank 360life) 1hr41
3rd Nico Pfitzenmaier (Robert Daniel) 1hr42


Knysna Oyster Festival

Pic that Dave George took, thinks it sums up my race.

Knysna Oyster Festival, 75km, 1600m

So with the structure of the race calendar this year, and our next big focus around September and October, World Championships in October, Dave and I had only really resumed our base training over the last two weeks. Having said this, it meant that on the day, I would take a fair bit of strain over the course, which is one of my favorites. Luckily our Junior James had just returned from his successful World Cup stint in the US and would be with us to fly the team flag in the front of the race.

The race starts with the Simola climb, and Bonitas rider Darren Lill set the tempo. He has great form and will be leaving shortly for another European trip of racing in two weeks with the team. I could not match the tempo, and settled into my own pace. My head was way in front of my body as I watched the lead group of four riders get a gap on us. I knew James was with them and that he could match the intensity being set out. All I could do from here was follow the wheels of the second group, and enjoy my ride around the forests of Knysna.

I cant comment on what happened at the front of the race, but James rode an awesome race to finish second to Darren, and ahead of the two RE:CM riders. Having finished second in this race no less than six times, it seems I have already taught the ‘Junior’ well!

Next up will be a good solid block of training for three weeks, before we head off to Tour de Tuli with sponsors, and then National Marathon Championships in late August.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results: MTB
1st Darren Lill (Bonitas) 2hrs40
2nd James Reid (Nedbank Team360life)
3rd Waylon Woolcock (RE:CM)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nedbank 360life Tour de Plett

A-Team, Pic Belinda Blumeris

Photo Brad Thomas. Kevin Evans

Nedbank Tour de Plett Mountain Bike Race, 75km, 1400m

It’s fantastic to have a race in your hometown, and even better to have the event sponsored by your very own sponsors. Even though there was no pressure on us, as riders, you kind of feel that you owe them a good performance and I was lucky the way things worked out on race day, or at least luckier than my wingman who had an altercation with a fence about fifteen kilometers from the finish and was unable to continue, sent off to hospital for x-rays, but fortunately no broken bones!

The small town of Wittedrift hosted the mountain bike race, and the full 360life squad, including the bosses, descended on my sisters house about 100m from the start line to stay warm and have a last cup of coffee before the three hundred odd riders took to the three different distances the race offered. The field was good and with the likes of RE:CM, Bonitas and Blend Properties on the line, it looked to be a hard race. At least the weather was a far cry from last year and riders would be able to enjoy the route that ran through the Knysna indigenous forest and trails around Diepwalle forest station.
Darren Lill was eager to make the racing hard from the start, whilst I had to push hard to stay with him up the first climb. Near the top he had about a 20seond gap, and Waylon Woolcock and Ruan Du Toit soon joined me. We set about slowly catching him, but unfortunately for him, he decided to take the 30km route and missed a well-marked split in the two routes. Dave was a little behind us, having taken a three-week break after his great result in Trans Germany. So the three of us rode a steady tempo right around the course, and with my legs far from a hundred percent, I banked on my home turf knowledge of the final 10km including the technical descend into Buffalo Hills to try and make a gap that I could then sustain to the end.
Ruan popped off a few kilometers before this section, and as planned, I managed to get about a 10second gap on Waylon down the jeep track, just enough for me to be able to put in a final effort up the last drag and solo on into the finish, giving Nedbank 360life a super win in one of their own cycling events.

Generally the response was fantastic and all the riders thoroughly enjoyed the event.

Of course the event also included a road race with various distances, but the old classic ‘two passes’ race, 110km, was finally back and has to be said that this is possibly the nicest one day fun ride in the country. Bonitas had a full team on the start, and they made the racing hard and fast, and took all first five places on the podium, whilst I managed to hang onto about 8th place for the day. Again a very successful day, and great to have the whole of the Plett main street closed off for the cyclists!

A big thanks to the local organizers, Alan Kurhnet and Danie Erasmus, plus many more volunteers who came out to help marshal and do the admin most people don’t see. And of course, big thanks to Nedbank for backing my hometown race. It was a real privileged to defend my title from last year, and be part of our own classic!

Next race will be another ‘home town’ race, and classic, The Knysna Oyster Festival. Again two days of racing with the full team, as ‘Junior’ returns from the States.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results: MTB
1st Kevin Evans (Team Nedbank 360life) 2hrs58
2nd Waylon Woolcock (Team RE-CM)
3rd Ruan Du Toit (Blend Properties)