My first race back in the Cape, after my two month racing stint in Belgium and racing up in Joburg last week, was the Swartland Mountain bike Classic.
It was a pretty long drive out to the Org de Rac Wine Estate which hosted the event. A fairly competitive field lined up with most noticeably Charles Keey of MTN Qhubeka there, along with 3 Daiken Gu riders, Neil Bradford (Toyota/Cycle Lab) and a few other lads.
The race stayed together for the first twenty kilometres until we hit Koringberg for the first time, a tough rocky, steep and loose climb. A split of three including Craig Boyes, Greef Moolman and myself chased Charles who had managed to get away until I lost the other two as I had to stop to sort out technical issues.
I managed to chase back on the flats only to have further problems and lose the chase group again which now had six riders present. I was given a bit of a “get out of jail free card” when the group took a wrong turn and then suddenly came back up behind me again.
An old race photo from SA XC Championships earlier in the year.
Image Credit: Hanno Lategan
As we ascended Koringberg again, but now from another angle, I attacked on the steepest section of the climb. This gave me a gap and I didn’t look back. A thorn got stuck in my front wheel towards the top but the Sludge sealed the hole quickly so no problems there. After a technical downhill I had about 15km of rolling terrain to the finish. This became quite hard as I started cramping and some of the climbs, although not particularly long, were steep.
I held onto 2nd with Charles taking a solid win and Craig finishing up in 3rd. I was quite happy with my ride considering my legs weren’t feeling too rock star on the day