|pic Brad Thomas|
RC:CM Knysna 200, 3 days, 200km
The RE:CM Knysna200 has to be fast becoming one of the most underrated events on the calendar, and has doubled in size since I rode it last year for fun.
The Knysna200 is the ‘smaller brother’ of the Garden Route300 held in late February. Although from what I hear, the 200 uses the hardest parts of the 300, but condenses it into a shorter distance, making it a tough three days of riding.
The race starts in three different locations, all within 20km of each other, and finishes every day at Thesen Island in Knysna, where great food and post race beverages, namely Mitchels Beer awaits the riders.
The first day saw us riding the famous Petrus se Brand routes, starting at the Knysna Elephant Park. The stage is tough, and our race times over this route were quick. Same as last year, we had perfect conditions to start with, and soon into the race, the RE:CM duo of Waylon and Lourens made it clear that they wanted to win their ‘own’ event. Brandon and I were able to follow them, and settled for second place after a sprint finish.
Stage 2, which starts out in Millwood, and goes past the old Knysna Gold Mines, saw the weather playing the biggest factor. However with the speed of the front three teams, we were joined by Bridge/Momsen for the first 30km, meant we would finish the stage just before the worst of the weather made its way into Knysna. It would be a tough day for the ‘weekend’ warriors, and the usual stunning scenery would be hidden behind low lying dark clouds unfortunately. Luckily hot soup awaited us the finish, a welcoming sight!
Again it came down to a sprint between us and RE:CM, this time however we just managed to edge them into second place, with less than a second separating us going into the last stage. We had some pressure to perform as our manager had made the trip down to watch us, as well as Greg from Kathea who had put his golf game on hold for us!
The weather had been miserable the whole of Saturday night, and the best part of the final stage, was the start which was no further than 200m away from my front door in Harkerville. The overnight rains had taken its toll on the fantastic trails of Harkerville, and the normally quick singletracks, had to be ridden with caution.
Our biggest problem came within in the final 20km, when Brandon I ran out of brake pads. Knysna terrain is well known for its sand and grit, and I underestimated the severity of the final 57km stage. Pity as this potentially cost us the race as we had to run down the last two descends to rather take caution, settling for third on the stage, but at least maintain our second place overall. Waylon and Lourens had similar issues but had managed to get a little further than us, nonetheless, were worthy winners of their ‘own’ event! Nico and Timo would hold onto third overall.
Next race, for me will be the Plett MTB Race. Its great to be racing the next couple weeks at home before heading abroad. Neil will join me for Plett, and the full squad will be here for the Oyster Festival the following week.
Till then, cheers.
1st Woolcock/Luus (RE:CM) 7hrs44min
2nd Stewart/Evans (FedGroupITEC) 7hrs51min
3rd Pfitzenmaier/Cooper (Bridge/Momsen) 8hrs00min