Sunday, September 23, 2012

MTN Ultra Marathon #7, Hilton

On the chase..

Photos by Zoon Cronje. Kevin Evans

MTN Ultra Marathon #7, Hilton College, 102km, 2300m

The penultimate race in the MTN Ultra series would see us tackling the hills and forests of the Hilton area and surrounds. As the points had worked out, the series would essentially be a two man race between myself and Max Knox, however the pressure was more on my shoulders as I would have to win the next two races to ensure a chance of winning the overall series.

The start field for the Ultra Marathon was relatively small, and a wet and muddy course awaited us, again, so making for a tough day out. Dave George and Gawie Combrink took control and set the pace for the first half of the race, ensuring a steady yet hard tempo that would make it hard for everyone, me included!

The real racing split up on the climb after around 45km, where Darren Lill set the pace, and soon thereafter, the group was down to around five of us. The course flowed nicely through the forest singletracks, and the Advendurance crew had made a challenging yet fun course, but was far from easy! Brandon Stewart, having had two brief stops to inflate a slow puncture, made the first move, and quickly gained 30seconds on the bunch. This what smart as a big attack from Max followed, and I fought to get onto his wheel. I managed to get there, but wasn’t able to follow on his next move, where I had to ride my own tempo. The gap was hovering at around 25seconds, and I was close to giving up, but I persisted and slowly clawed my way back to him just after the second tech zone.

Lonely but hard chase.

Once I had caught him, I was adamant to stay there, and we exchanged a few blows in the final 15km, but it looked like we were heading for a tight sprint finish. The final corner onto the finishing field was tricky and I had misjudged it slightly after having checked in in the morning, but not taking into account the spectators that would be standing there later. I was disappointed to miss out on the win, which essentially cost us the series, but pleasantly happy with the progression Dave and I have made in the last three weeks. All things being equal, we on track for a god show at World Champs in two weeks.

Next on the schedule will be home time for a week, with some final fine-tuning to the body and quality training. Then France, Ornans, here we come.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results: MTB

1st Max Knox (Specialized) 4hrs20
2nd Kevin Evans (Team Nedbank 360life) same time
3rd Adrien Nyionshuti (MTN/Qhubeka)
4th Dave George (Team Nedbank 360life)
5th Brandon Stewart (Fedgroup/ItecConnect)


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Tribune Hill2Hill



Photo Gill Knox. Kevin Evans

Hill2Hill, Hilton to Hillcrest, 100km, 1950m

Seems the racing weather, mostly rain, cold and wet, is following us around the country, and this would not be my first Hill2Hill in these conditions. Lining up at 6am at Worlds View for my third time, I was hoping to try better my best result here from 2006, but more importantly, I was keen to give the body a hard session and see how the progression has been going. It would also be Dave’s third time here, and both his previous results saw him finish as runner up in the race. Also at our side, was James (junior), back from World cross country champs, and looking surprisingly fresh and sharp. It’s always great to line up with the full squad.

With the hectic rain over the previous two days, the organizers were forced to make a few subtle changes for safety reasons, but the technical pieces were mostly still intact, and ever more challenging in the slippery conditions. Another welcome change, and I think for both races, was that the shorter race was held the day before, meaning no traffic for the pro’s, and also no screaming racing snaking coming up from the rear in their race.
Dave looking nasty.

We made quick work of the Worlds View descend, and shot through town fairly fast moving onto the district roads. Phil Buys took out the king of the mountain, and from there a small group of around 6-8riders led the race. I started to really test myself on the next few climbs, riding a really hard but steady tempo, and the body was feeling good. Various riders were getting tailed off the lead group and then getting back on, but it was really only on the climb up to Bartletts that a select group got away. Dave George, Max Knox, Brandon Stewart and myself had a gap and entered the technical rocky singletrack down the other side. There was a flurry of action down here as Brandon and I had pulled a small gap on Max with Dave following him. But again we were all together heading up the next climb. Unfortunately for Dave, who had been sick the week leading into the race, decided to back off here and left the three of us out front with about 25km to go.

I knew the last pull through to the finish would be tough, and I was slowly paying the price for my earlier efforts when Max put in a big move near the top of Sunhill. I was trying my best to get onto his wheel, but could never close the 15second gap as we hit a short portage, normally a rideable climb, but not in all the mud. He gained another 15seconds here, and soon I was distanced and chasing alone.
Brandon then caught me with around 5km remaining, and I was just able to follow him as he set a steady pace heading towards the finishing field at Shongweni. I managed to pass him on the final small drag to the finish to take another second place, a few minutes behind Max.

Junior put in a great effort to outsprint Phil Buys, both of them just catching RE:CM’s Neil Macdonald near the end to round out fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively.
It was another tough day in really horrid conditions, leaving much work for our mechanic Swen to be done to our Scott Sparks. Racing in these conditions really takes its toll on body and equipment!

Next race will be the MTN Ultra Marathon Series #7 event, right here in Hilton, but we will have another hard week of training ahead in preparation of our World Championship goal that’s now ever nearer.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results:
1st Max Knox (Specialized) 4hrs03
2nd Kevin Evans (Team Nedbank 360life) 4hrs06
3rd Brandon Stewart (Fedgroup/ItecConnet) same time

Monday, September 10, 2012

Makro Bestmed Cycle Tour

I don't normally write race reports on road events, and looked like Cyclenation beat me too it this morning, so I will just post a link their report:

We are currently in KZN where we will have a two week training camp as preparation for the World Marathon Championships in France next month. We also have two big races here in successive weekends.
Till then,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tip Trans Cederberg Challenge

Cruising the Cederberg.

Photo Swen Lauer. Kevin Evans

Tip Trans Cederberg Challenge, 115km, 1600m

The Tip Trans Cederberg Challenge was held in the small town of Citrusdal, about two hours from Cape Town. Dave and I decided to take part in the race, one for training, and two to ‘scout’ out the area for possible future racing. Makadasadventures and Mtizi Knipe organized the race and her crew were more than accommodating towards us.

It was a cold start, but the sun was out and a beautiful route of mainly district roads lay ahead. The route left Citrusdal in the direction of Clanwilliam, went over the Nieuwoudts Pass towards Algeria (the campsite, not Country) and looped around back to Citrusdal.
Dave and I set a fairly hard tempo from the start, and soon we had only Louise Knipe (Contego) and Craig Boyes (Cyclefunatic) with us.
We started the big obstacle of the day, the Nieuwoudts Pass and we yet again turned up the tempo, Dave then attacking with about 4km remaining of the climb. The other two riders followed me, and once Dave had a big enough gap to secure the King of the Mountain competition, I tried to break away to join him. However Louise was able to follow all my efforts and I decided not to drag him across to Dave, so eased up. This left Dave with around 75km on his own to ride to the finish. Nice.

Race profile.

I rode with Louise and Craig for the rest of the day, with no one really trying to pull Dave back. As the climbs were over for the day, I settled down and waited for a sprint finish with the boys. The run in around the dam was a little too hectic for me as Louise outsprinted Craig and myself to take second place. Dave had done a proper effort to ride alone all the way to the finish to win the race.

Thanks again to Makadasadventure for having Team360life there, and we hope to return the floating trophy next year to try and defend it.

Next race I will do this weekend in Port Elizabeth, a road event, followed by an intense two-week block of racing and training in KZN as final preparation for World Championships.
Till then,

Kevin Evans


Provisional results: MTB
1st David George (Team Nedbank 360life) 4hrs
2nd Louise Knipe (Contego)
3rd Craig Boyes (Cyclefunatic)