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