Attakwas, Chandelier-Grootbrak, 121km, 2900m
The Attakwas 2014 would spark my return to racing after a long break, and I don’t think I could have found a tougher race to start with.
We had a great two-week team training camp leading up to the race, and Neil and I would take to the start, whilst Brandon would second us.
The race had some of the best riders in the world on the start line, and combined with a top SA quality field, a top ten was looking like a solid result. The Trek Superflys had only been put together the previous day, as the Team bikes are still on their way over from the States, and didn’t give us much time to get used to them, but we would have more than enough time to bond with them on the day.
The pace was really rapid from the get go, and within the first 15km, the front group was split down to around 10 riders.
I was comfortable to just follow the wheels, but I forgot about some of the short steep climbs heading into the hardest part of the race, the Attakwas Kloof. With riders bailing infront of me, I was forced to walk and lost the momentum of the front bunch. At the same time I had a few mechanical issues with the bike, and once all sorted, I was my own. And I would stay on my own from around 55km all the way to the finish, a long day to think about things!
Brandon kept us nicely fuelled up on USN, and I managed my efforts and race nutrition really well considering I haven’t been in race mode for such a long time. Neil was just a few minutes behind me, feeling good and still building on the form.
At the end I managed to hang on to 8th place, and could take a lot of positives out of the race, and move forward, happy and most importantly, healthy!
Next race, will also be a first for me in awhile, as I tackle my first Cross Country race in three years, this weekend in Cape Town, at the African Continental Championships. This is purely for training and to sharpen up my technical skills ahead of the marathon series.
Till then, cheers.
1st Urs Huber (Bulls) 4hrs47min
2nd Christoph Sauser (Specialized)
3rd Karl Platt (Bulls)
8th Kevin Evans (Fedgroup-Itec)
11th Neil Macdonald (Fedgroup-Itec)