|pic Brad Thomas|
IDM Cement Tour de Plett MTB Challenge, 75km, 1600m
The Tour de Plett hosted by MTN Club100 Plett, is now in its third year, and is slowly growing into a classic race to do in the Garden Route. The event is well positioned, just a week before the Oyster Festival Cycle Tour and the route takes in some of the same sections as Knysna, deep in the indigenous forests. All round a beautiful but very challenging course, but great for preparation the following week.
I decided to end a good training week with a hard race effort, and with most of the climbing in the first half of the race, I went hard from the start. After the first climb I was on my own, but continued to push the pace as Timo Cooper was chasing with Neil Macdonald, following. Neil was just returning from a two week break, and soon had to settle into his own rhythm as Timo started to pull away from him.
I continued on my own, and everything was feeling great, until 25km to go, on one of the rocky descends, I cut my rear tire. It was time to stop and practice my ‘plugging’ skills as I’ve had such good luck this whole year with hardly any mechanicals. The plug managed to work, and I continued to push on, although the rear wheel was not holding the air. I had to stop three times to inflate and eventually had to ride the wheel close to flat, to the finish. All the time I could see Timo catching me, and unfortunately for him, some sticks got stuck in his wheel forcing him to stop and remove them, giving me just enough time to successfully defend my Plett title for the third time. Timo rolled in for second whilst Neil had a sprint with Conrad Viljoen from Port Elizabeth, for third and forth place.
Alan, Sam, Danie, Leon, Sean and the Club100 guys and girls had put a lot of effort into making the race a success, and I look forward to the event next year.
Next race, will again be a ‘home town’ race when the full squad comes down for the Knysna Oyster Festival, two big days of a well attended cycle tour, and one of my favorite events for the year.
Till then, cheers.
1st Kevin Evans (FedGroupITEC) 3hrs03min
2nd Timo Cooper (Bridge/Momsen)
3rd Conrad Viljoen (Challenging diabetes)
4th Neil Macdonald (FedGroupITEC)