I came into this weekend’s race not really knowing what to expect from my body. After the Route 69 Mountain bike experience I thought I had rested up enough but it looks like I overcooked the training a bit last week. I started Tour de Boland on Tuesday and unfortunately went down in a crash not 5km from the start but the legs were terrible. After consulting with my coach Ian we decided it would be in my best interest to pull out of the tour, rest up as much as possible and give SA XCO Championships bash.
Over the past few years I have focused more on marathon racing but after Africa champs I started to enjoy XC racing again and I think I’ll give it more of a go this year.
Image Compliments of Hanno Lategaan.
Come race day Christiaan and I rode to the start. We did a bit of a detour to get a nice long warm up in. As we arrived at the venue, Delvera Farm, the usual nerves started but I felt focused as we lined up to go. Specialized star, Burry Stander, was the favourite for the race once again.
The course was not very technical for a national champ’s course but what it lacked for in terms of technical riding it made up for in terms of toughness. Steep vine yard climbs brought the total ascent up to 177metres per lap of which we would do 7.
The racing was hot off the line and I settled into a pace I felt sustainable with Petrus Malherbe. After shuffling positions on the first lap I settled into my own race in about 12th position. I managed to keep it quite consistent throughout, except for one or two little spills. The single track although not too technical was fun but the climbs became tougher as the race went on especially in the afternoon heat. Hometown support was cool and it was nice to have friends and my sister along to shout and cheer.
Image compliments of Cherie Vale Photography.
I was happy with how I rode and managed to move up to 10th place in the elite men category and 8th South African by the end. That would mean some nice UCI points in the bag and hopefully a little shift up in the world rankings.
Off to Durban next weekend for the SA Marathon champs which will be taking place at Inanada dam.
Thanks to Cherie Vale and Hanno Lategaan for the photos, much appreciated!