As it was in 2011 the Francehoek Lions/Porcupine Ridge mountain bike classic was my first mountain bike of 2012. With the Herald mountain bike race almost being flooded out I was grateful that we had sunny skies on the day. A competitive field lined up including riders from Future Life, Contego/Giant, Nedbank 360 Life, Smith and Associate/ O-bike Maties to name but a few.
A rather rapid pace off the start line resembled something out of a XCO race! Not far down the road I was caught behind a crash and was unable to ride back to the front group of 6 riders following this. To be quite honest I struggled up the first loose and rocky climb and just couldn’t find a rhythm on the day. I felt something like a truck stuck in reverse with everyone zooming past in their Ferrari’s!
I managed to pull myself together a bit on the other side of the mountain and caught 1 or 2 riders along the way. I found a bit more of a rhythm up the last climb and then hung it out a bit on the technical rocky downhill to the finish and have a bit of fun. I lost a bit of air in my rear wheel after bumping it a bit hard on a rock but after bombing it the Sludge did what it does best and I was on my way again to finish just inside the top 10.
Sunny skies in Francehoek.
The following morning was another early wake up and I was now back on the tar for the Roller Coaster Aca Joe Pro Classic Series League race. As the name suggests we had a couple of climbs to contend with including Ou Kaapse Weg from both sides.
The first ascent of Ou Kaapse Weg saw a break of 6 riders move clear including current SA road champion Darren Lill(Bonitas), Stefen Infledt, David Garrett, Lance Muller. I was hanging onto the tail end of the front group with my legs feeling the effects of the mountain bike race the day before and a heavy training week.
Fortunately as the kilometres ticked over my legs got warm and ‘rode into the race’. I handled the climbs on Black Hill, Smitswinkel and Slangkop much better and felt ready for the last ascent of Ou Kaapse Weg. The front 6 had maintained their advantage hovering just over a minute in front of our group and this is how it stayed until the climb. My luck on the day came to an end about a kilometre into the climb I as ‘switched’ by a development rider and paid the tar a quick visit. I banged up my knee a bit and added a few fresh roasties to my new healed ones.
On the whole a not very successful weekend of racing but onwards and upwards, and I’m hoping for better things to come.