So last weekend’s race wasn’t one for the books, however this weekend, things are looking on the up!
Although I am not used to riding in Gauteng we have ridden some superb trails, and I will definitely be paying Van Gaalens Cheese Farm a visit again.
Yesterday the Route 69 Mountain Bike Experience started off with an 80km stage with some 1100m of ascent.
The distances of each stage, not too long but countless kilometres of single track and rough terrain make up for it.
After an hour of racing my partner Sean Williams and I found ourselves at the front of the race with one of the solo riders, Shaun Leech (Honda/GT).
Not long after that… Sean suffered his first puncture of the day, we managed to plug it and get going again fairly quickly but that was not the end of it. Four punctures later, two tubes (including a 26” tube being stretched onto a 29” wheel), ten bombs and countless plugs we saw ourselves finish the day a good 19 minutes off the first team.
This morning we had our work cut out for us and Sean and I started racing from the gun. We were the only team in the front group with Shaun Leech, Henry Uys (Northcliff Cycles), Delanie Impey (Toyota/Cycle lab) and a Dutch rider whose name I didn’t get. We covered the first 23km in 55minutes which included a fair amount of single track, not bad going on mountain bikes!
At the base of the first climb the single riders hit it hard, while Sean and I backed off a bit; A steep, rocky technical climb brought us to the top of the first mountain.
Not more than 10kilometres later we caught the first two from the lead group who were now blowing and subsequently dropped them. The plan was not to chase Delanie and Shaun as they were not competing in the same category as us, but we did as they turned around after bad route marking. We found the track and continued on with them until they left us on the climbs towards the finish.
We pushed all the way to the line to take the stage in the team category some 14minutes after the next team. Feels great to win again!
Tomorrow we need to ride hard again to take back another 5 minutes to be in contention to win the team race overall.