|Took this pic whilst riding, stage 1.|
Old Mutual Joberg2C, 9days, 900km,
The Old Mutual Joberg2C has quickly established itself in four years, as one of the must do stage races in South Africa. Besides being the longest, it is also without a doubt, one of the best events to show case our beautiful country. The event is definitely about a journey.
In a very brief description, you start in the very dry town of Heidelberg, just outside of Johannesburg, wind your way for three days through the arid and rocky countryside of the Freestate, to the magnificent Sterkfontein Dam, before literally dropping off the escarpment and descending through the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains, before hitting the lush cane plantations and forests of the Kwazulu-Natal province, and finally, rolling up onto the beach in Scottborough.
The first day is as always a ‘neutral’ stage with no racing as such, but by no means an easy day. The racing then begins the following eight days, and the physically challenging route, combined with great competition, makes for a very hard week on the bike.
Whilst the racing was on in the front, I was riding the ‘solo’ category this year, and using the event as preparation for the rest of my season due to obvious setbacks. It’s not easy riding solo, for one, I know you need to stay out of the mix of the racing in the front, but you also want to try and gauge yourself against the others. I think I managed to balance this well, as I would ride some days up front, others just inside the top twenty, taking it easier where I needed to be more progressive. I did however spend a large majority of the race riding completely on my own, in the middle of some of the most beautiful parts of our country, I guess essentially what I signed up for.
The racing was made easier with our fantastic sponsors, and in the thick of the suffering that happens at the back of the race, Scott Field (Fedgroup) soldiered on through the whole race to complete his second Joberg2C journey. Crusader Logistics Stu and Cath Roos had supplied us the ‘Chillbox’ truck for our accommodation, and without this, the results and atmosphere created by the team would have been impossible.
Brandon and Neil would roll onto the beach as the overall winners for 2013, Neil’s second win in the event, but Brandon’s first and probably biggest win of his career. Bridgette and Brad finished inside the top ten in the mixed category, whilst I won the solo race, and finished fourth overall. More importantly for me however, was the fact that I finished healthy, body feeling good and without any issues. I’m happy to say that my health is back to normal, and can start progressing forward finally!
Our equipment, Scott Sparks were flawless, tires (Maxxis Ikons) bomb proof, and nutrition from USN superb.
Thanks again to everyone for making our journey that much easier, Grant, Tannie, Lucky, Stacey, Sue and Kobus, no one sees the ‘behind the scenes’ and how hard you guys worked for us.
Next race, I will try fly the flag at the MTN Ultra Marathon in Wellington. This will only be my second Ultra for the season, and will great to see how the form is moving.
Till then, cheers.
1st Stewart/Macdonald (FedgroupItec) 34hrs11
2nd Woolcock/Luus (RE:CM) 34hrs22
3rd Pfitzenmeier/Cooper (Bridge) 35hrs02