So once again bright and early on Saturday morning Witblitz(my car), the Cube(my bike) and I cruised off to Riebeek Kasteel for the Riebeek Valley Mountain bike race. Going through the lush, green hills of the Boland on route to the start with the sun starting to peak out it looked like it was going to be a good day!
A view from the top of Kasteelberg just before the start of the descent.
A good size field gathered on one of the quaint side streets near the church hall ready to tackle the short 35km race. It wouldn’t be all plain sailing though with a few tough climbs thrown in; notably the ascent up Kasteelberg.
Another beautiful view of the valley from Kasteelberg.
Off the start line a few of the other riders decided to set the pace and I was content just to follow. This soon whittled down the group to just 4 riders going through the vineyards along a jeep track. A short while later I decided to accelerate and then it was down to two of us, Sean Williams (SWC) and I. We shared the pace making duties for a few kilometres until eventually I was on my own.
Lush green farmlands and fast gravel roads on route to the finish.
I settled into a good tempo whilst enjoying the course which took us through various vineyards, olive orchards and farmlands. The beginning of the ascent up to Kasteelberg took the riders through a large area which was shade clothed to protect the fruit on the trees, it was quite strange to be racing through it, something different nonetheless. Once out in the open again we tackled the beast of a climb. The gradients became very steep at times as well as a loose rocky surface to contend with.
A super fast and fun descent lead us back into the direction of the town and the finish. I checked a few times to make sure I was maintaining my lead and managed to just enjoy the last part. Coming into town I was stoked! My first win on the mountain bike in 2010! Great feeling and I enjoyed it. I really enjoy doing these small town races organised by the locals. Next time you’re in the Boland region be sure to stop in Riebeeks Kasteel for lunch or have a look at some of the curio shops, there are quite a few really good restaurants and arts and crafts that will impress.
- Chris Wolhuter(Cube)
- Sean Williams(SW Contracts)
- Pierre Rocher
All images compliments of Nathan Krumm.