Sunday, May 18, 2014

Old Mutual Joberg2C

Old Mutual Joberg2C, Heidelberg-Scottborough, 900km, 9Days

The Old Mutual Joberg2C is a nine day race from Heidelberg, just outside of Johannesburg, going through the Freestate towns of Frankfourt, Reitz, Sterfontein Dam, then down through the ‘Berg’ to Winterton, Kamberg, Underberg and finally through the last three well known days of the Sani2C route finishing on the beach in Scottborough. 
The biggest change and challenge to this years race, would the first time it became a ‘self navigated’ GPS race where the riders were responsible for finding their own way through the entire route via GPS maps downloaded from the race. This would change the race tactics a fair bit in the front of the race, whether or not it’s the format of racing in the future, we will have to wait and see.

Unfortunately for Max and myself, we had a very up and down race, with not much going our way. The second day of the race I got ‘The Bug’ that would take out a vast number of riders during the event. This bug left me depleted for the third day of racing, and we would loose a fair bit of time, but fortunately I could recover enough to continue.
After two good days, making back some time, it would be Max’s turn to have ‘The Bug’. The sixth day was probably one of the hardest days of the race, and Max had to experience what I felt on the third day. We lost a huge amount of time, and when we crossed the finish line and went to the race doctor, we had actually decided to pull out the race. We spent the day and night at Max’s uncle in Underberg and again we were fortunate enough to recover and find our sense of humor, and come back the following day and resume racing. Another good day saw us reclaim our third place on the overall podium.
And just when we thought our bad luck was over, the penultimate stage down the Umkomaas Valley, we broke our chain, twice. The second time though, I had lost my chaintool and we were absolutely stranded, again close to being completely out of the race, until the beginning of the B batch riders came along and we were able to repair it and fight our way back to sixth place for the stage.

With one stage left, we put everything on the line to try and win one stage, and for once in the nine days, things went our way and according to plan, and we managed a fantastic stage win on the beach in front of a large crowd awaiting the finish of the race.
We finished third overall, and the race for first and second was fiercely contested between Team EAI Cycling and Cannondale/Blend, with the overall lead exchanging three times in the final three days. It was EAI Cycling who took the win on the final day for what must have been one of the closest finishes in the history of the race. 
Bridgette managed to fly the solo women’s flag and finish second overall, but also winning the final stage.
Our backup team, Scott and Grant Field, also rode a great race bringing home the middle of the pack riders☺

Many thanks to Sue and Brandon for helping us through the many ups and downs, and keeping us all in one piece.

Next race, race, we go straight back to Underberg to race Sani2C with the trails still freshly engraved in our minds from the past weekend.  Max and I will team up again and we are starting to gel well together, so im really looking forward to this race.

Till then, cheers.

Kevin Evans

Provisional results:
1st EAI Cycling (Rabie/Combrinck) 33hrs36
2nd Cannondale/Blend (Woolcock/Lill) 33hrs39

3rd FedGroup-ITEC (Knox/Evans) 34hrs35

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