African XCO Championships 2011

I had the privilege of representing my country this past weekend. Something I did not thing I would be able to say just yet in my cycling career but obviously a long term goal for me. Albeit it was for the Invitational team (sort of the B team) I was very proud, excited and nervous to be able represent South Africa last weekend at the African XCO (cross country Olympic) Championships at Jonkershoek just outside my hometown Stellenbosch.

Powering past the feed zone(trying to at least)

Image compliments Chloe Clegg


I only found out on Friday afternoon I would be racing the next day(bit of a communication mix up) and had to leave a 2 day shoot I was on to be there. A big thanks to Sandy for sorting this out, this race was something I could simply not pass up on. A rushed Friday evening and Saturday morning was spent getting the bike ready, sorting out my bottles (filled with PVM) and organising support crew for the feed and tech zones(thanks Jess and Tim).

Negotiating the rocky single track.

Image compliments Chloe Clegg


The race finally came around at 2pm on Saturday afternoon, as expected it was hot and the heat was on from the gun. The course had changed completely from when I had ridden it earlier in the week and was significantly more rocky and had more running sections than before, except if you were Burry Stander that is. I felt good on the climbs but struggled technically making silly stupid mistakes I would never usually make. This frustrated me more every time I faltered and ended up losing me more and more time. Need to keep my head in the future and settle into my own rhythm.

One of the bigger rocks on the technical descent.

Image compliments Cherie Vale.


Unfortunately I was lapped by none other than Mr Stander but 17th position was something I was fairly satisfied with and if my understanding of the UCI rules is correct I should now have enough points in the bag to compete in the Pietermaritzburg round of the XCO World Cup Series in April. Although the past few years I have focussed my attention on marathon racing I enjoyed the cross country race and will look to do a few more this year.

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