Ladismith Seweweekspoort Marathon

Firstly apologies for the lack of blogging. I haven’t had much spare time with studying for my last set of under graduate exams. Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have a degree behind my name!

Beautiful mountains near Montague on the R62.

Here is a summarised version of my race from the Ladismith Cheese Seweweekspoort mountain bike marathon last weekend.

The race took place just outside the Klein Karoo town of Ladismith. The 80km race would take us up and down the Seweweekspoort with a short rough loop on the plateau at the top. A Poort is an Afrikaans word for a valley type of thing. We then rode on mainly jeep track with a section of tar thrown in back to the town of Ladismith.

The finish line. 

I didn’t have good legs at all and was quite disappointed with how early I dropped from the front split. The legs came back after about 50km where I caught a few people. I went to the line with one of the veterans and managed to take the sprint to finish in the top 10 overall and 7th in the combined elite and U23 category. National marathon champion Kevin Evans took the win convincingly.

More recently, yesterday in fact, the World Xterra Champs took place in Maui Hawaii. Congratulations to Conrad Stoltz who took his 4th world title! Amazing! Some thought the balie was almost over the hill, apparently not quite yet! The $20 000 prize can’t hurt the Caveman’s bank account either.

 Unfortunately Dan had tyre problems and finished down in 36th place. The gamble with the super light tyres didn’t work this time but still admirable of Dan to lay it all on the line. It appears as though his form was good as he was with Stoltz on the bike before the issues started.

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Engen Dynamic Mountain bike Challenge

This weekend’s racing news comes from the prestigious Nelson’s Creek Wine Estate where the first ever Engen Dynamic Mountain bike race was held.

On paper the route didn’t look too bad, as it appeared flat the whole way apart from a 5km climb in the middle. Surely it couldn’t be too bad as the climb would be a good place to try split up the field, which sounded like a good plan, except when you’re the one who is being split from the front… 

The first 25km of this race took us on flat farm roads and jeep tracks through the vineyards. After a short power climb 10km in, Geddan Ruddock (Schwinn) put the hammer down there were only 5 of us in front. Geddan, Carl Pasio, Adrian Louw (GT/Mr Price), Timo Cooper (Wilde) and I (SWC/Cube). 

For the next few kilometres it seemed as though it was a road race. Flat roads again and attack after attack and a counter attack was launched. I was content to follow the moves thinking I would wait for the main climb. Soon Carl launched a move which seemed to stick. Timo quickly covered with Adrian trying to bridge and me on his wheel. I decided to sit and let him try close the gap but Carl was putting the pressure on. Geddan soon realised we were in trouble and tried to bridge us across. I patiently waited until he brought us back to within 10 metres of the front two and as I saw he was fading I jumped across, taking no passengers. 

At the front we combined fairly well opening the gap to 30 seconds. The climb started to appear in the distance and as we got closer and closer,  soon we were right on the base I looked around and saw no road. I was like “well now where do we go? How are they going to take us up this?” My questions were soon answered.

 In the most difficult manner possible.

The first kick!

Steep!

Very glad I still have a triple chain ring!

The last part proved not to be ride able and we walked. Carl being a tri-athlete ran and opened a gap. Adrian and Geddan came back and kick after kick of 20% plus grades I was taking shots. I clicked into survival mode and kept the front four in sight thinking I could go flat out on the descent, take risks and get back on as the last part of the course was again flat and would most likely be tactical. On the last part of the climb I lost sight of the front four and pushed myself over.

Chasing hard.

John Hishin – Cape Town Sports Photography

I hit the downhill hard hoping to make back time, a bit too hard as I washed out on one of the first corners having a bit of dirt for mid morning tea. Back on again I approached the rest a bit more cautiously.

Eventually on the last flat parts I could see Geddan ahead of me. At first he was a good 1.30 ahead but I pushed and closed it to 1minute and then 30 seconds but I ran out of kilometres and had to settle for 5th position on the day.

A bit disappointing but nonetheless, a solid result. Up front Carl took a good win proving to be  strong on the flats.

Results
1. Carl Pasio
2. Adrian Low
3. Timo Cooper
4. Geddan Ruddock
5. Chris Wolhuter

Remember to double check your race bag…

and then check it again!

They look the same…

 

but actually they’re not…

That was my rookie/amateur/funrider mistake this weekend.   I was sitting in the car after having entered and all for the Degrendal mountain bike race about to change and go and warm up when I realised I had in fact packed in 1 road and 1 mountain bike shoe for the race. Unfortunately this meant no race for me.

Usually when it comes to packing kit for a race I double check everything and even pack too much, taking rain jackets and arm warmers when we end up racing in the blazing sun. You never know what it could be like at the venue though… Don’t know how this one slipped though. Nothing I can do about it now though.

I was back in Stellenbosch earlier than I expected and my sister came over to bake me some birthday cupcakes! Yum yum.

Later that afternoon Mel and I were off to Zorgvliet Wine Farm. Mel had organised a suprise birthday treat for me and we spent the afternoon picnicing under the trees on the luscious green lawns. The food was amazing and so to the Cabernet and company.

And if anyone hasn’t given me a birthday present yet, I won’t say no if one of these beauties arrive on my doorstep 🙂

MTN Hilton National Ultra Marathon

Apologies for the delayed race report folks, I typed this up on the weekend but accounting has ruled my life this week so havent had a chance to post it.

Once again poor Witblitz had to be left at home this weekend, but this time i swapped him for a Jet plane. On Wednesday afternoon I boarded my flight Durban bound. I was going to be racing the MTN National Ultra marathon in Hilton and spending a long weekend at home catching up with the ballies.

Photo shoot with the bike, nice and clean.

Thursday and Friday was spent chilling out, getting in some rides and trying to study for an accounting test and then finally race day dawned on Saturday. Hilton hasn’t seen rain for a few weeks so I was expecting a dry dusty and very powdery course however Mother Nature took matters into her own hands though and brought us some rain and very thick mist on race day.

As it says “The Lube of Legends” athletes from Conrad Stoltz to Ned Overend use Squirt.

 A small but very competitive field lined up at Grace College with teams from MTN Energade, DCM Chrome, Garmin Addidas, Jeep and Specialized. We set off at a brisk pace with things staying together at first. I sat fairly comfortably until about 10km in when the DCM duo of Knox and Stewart put some pressure on the front. I felt I could have hung on but didn’t want to spend too many pennies too quickly so I settled into my own rhythm. It was to be a long day on my own.

 We were to tackle the half marathon route first (40km) and then the marathon(70km). It was a hard loop with the course continuously either pointing up or down and offering no place to recover, but the singletrack was fun if not a bit broken up in the corners. I ended the first loop in 12th position going past Grace College and then onto the marathon loop.

Nearing the King of the Mountain.

We now made our way onto the Garlick Timbers plantation and the going didn’t get any easier. A lot of short steep climbs sapped the legs. We eventually descended down into the … valley and then started the 10km King of the Mountains climb. This would be going past my parent’s farm so I know this section of the course better than others. My Aunt was waiting on top with a fresh bottle and food which went down so well and my Dad the budding photographer snapped a few pics.

Refueled and ready to go, hurting at this point.

The last part took us back onto the half marathon route. Mentally this was quite tough for me as I knew what was to come and it wasn’t going to be easy. Eventually I finished, some 5hours and 40minutes after I had started, in 12th position for the day. I was happy with this as I had achieved my goal of a top 15.

At the finish.

The course had lead us across 110km and 2400m of ascent with some mud thrown in and a touch of rain, it was brutal! Well done to Max for taking the win, Brandon in 4th and Craig in 8th. One more day of chilling at home tomorrow, and then back to Varsity on Monday.

Don’t think I’ll be riding much this week, got a big accounting test on Thursday!