WPCA Winter League Criterium # 2 Atlantis

It started off with Wenty and I discussing life, love and everything in between whilst driving slightly over the speed limit to a venue we hadn’t been to before. We made our start, just, arriving at 8.25 for an 8.30 start is good in the sense that your adrenalin is still running on high as we rolled off the line, but, kids don’t do this at home.

The day’s circuit was some 7.7km of which we did 10 laps with two sprint primes thrown in between. There was a bit more wind than last week but the course was relatively sheltered so it didn’t have as much of an impact as it potentially could have.

There were a few big moves going off the front through the first 3rd of the race and some gutter riding which made things hard, but not hard enough to create the elusive split I had hoped would occur.

The first sprint prime was after 4 laps, I went a bit late but managed to get a 3rd as Wentworth (Berge Farrel) took maximum points.

The race settled down a bit over the next few laps with anything potentially dangerous being given no lee way. Some of the vet teams riding with us rode a solid tempo on the front keeping the pace up.

With 3 laps to go the race started getting exciting. Matthew Evans (Berge Farrel) launched a big move down the right hand side of the bunch, there was no response and Evans soon opened his gap up to 45seconds. There was a real lack of a focussed chase with some teams committing a bit and then letting up resulting in the gap opening and closing. Evans stuck it out at the front and it looked like he actually may make it.

On the last lap Peter Wheeler launched a move going away with another rider, they were probably 15 seconds in front of the bunch and 25 behind Evans. With 4km to go there was no sense of any team in the peleton committing to the chase so I followed what looked to be a potentially strong move, the other rider sat up and I carried on going. I reached a bit of a cross roads here as riding 4km solo to the finish in the wind with the bunch breathing down my neck didn’t look particularly promising. Fortunately JP Jacobs (Anderson Transport) came across and I just managed to grab onto his wheel. We combined well together and started closing the gap to the two riders in front of us and held the bunch at bay. We caught them in probably the last 150meteres and as we did Jacobs attacked and I got onto his wheel but couldn’t come around him as he took 2nd and I 3rd.

Sprint for second place.

The ride of the day must surely go to Evans, AKA “Fabian”, who rode the last 3 laps solo to take a good win.

All in all it was a fun criterium and I’m enjoying some road racing at the moment.

The Podium

All images credit City Cycling Club

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Bridgestone Route 69 TV Schedule

The Bridgestone Roue 69 Mountain bike Experience was a race Sean and I took part in late in February. The race will be shown tonight on Supersport 6 at 20:30.

My blog from the race can be viewed here

And here is a sneak preview of tonight’s show.

WPCA Winter League Criterium #1: Sacks Circle

After 8 days on the fat wheels it was back to skinny wheel action in the form of some hard fast crit racing. For me it’s always a bit of a dilemma of whether to attack a lot and try get away in a few moves or sit in more and wait for the bunch sprint on the road. I enjoy mixing it up at the end but sitting in the whole race doesn’t feel like a good workout especially with bigger things on the horizon. So I find myself trying to reach some sort of equilibrium.

The Sacks Circle circuit was the venue of the first winter league races hosted by Kinetic Cycling Club. It was my first time on the circuit, 4.8km long with a false flat drag up the home straight and a slight downhill down the back straight. We also had a bit of wind to spice things up and a railway line crossing but they didn’t seem to claim any significant number victims in the Cat 1 race.

Image Credit: Kobus Roux

The through the opening 5 of 14 laps I followed a few moves which had the potential to stick. The most successful of these initiated after the first sprint prime which I managed to win by a few bike lengths. I found myself at the sharp end with Peter Wheeler, an Anderson Transport and Intellibus rider. We worked well together and stayed away for close on 3 laps.

An old team mate Matt Evans(Berge Farrel) managed some solo time off the front and there were a few other moves which slipped off but it ultimately came down to a bunch sprint at the end. I positioned myself well but didn’t read the finish correctly and went disastrously early and could only watch as Stefan Ihlenfeldt (Smith & Associate/O-Bike/Maties) kicked around me in the last 100m and I finished a disappointing 6th. With a bit of speed work this week I feel I can mix it up at the end more impact next weekend.

5 things about the ABSA Cape Epic

I decided to not write a traditional report on the Epic as it could become a bit long and maybe boring. During the Epic week I gave you snippets of how long and tough each day can be especially when Mother Nature decides to throw a curve ball to a ridiculously tough course already. I do question at times where does Dr Evil find some of the ‘roads’ we ride on.

I instead wanted to write about some of the different aspects of the race, a more ‘behind the scenes’ look at the race if you will, something you may not see on the daily highlights package.

The Epic vibe is awesome. Quote this. 🙂 In ten years’ time on some of the major climbs of the epic we are going to see 100+ people lining the slopes. Granted there were a couple of thousand people at the prologue (where I thought I had rewound a week and was back in Pietermaritzburg at the World Cup), compared to when I last rode the epic in 2010 there are much more people at the spectator points and out in what feels like the middle of nowhere supporting the riders. If you were one of these people thank you very much. I know we didn’t always acknowledge you, sometimes we were k@kking off, but thank you very much. Your support is incredible en ons waardeer dit!

The pro’s bikes are meticulously prepared. Our first camp was in Robertson and for two nights we stayed next door to the Topeak Ergon Pro team. After every stage their mechanics would literally strip their entire bikes, clean, re-grease, check for wear and rebuild them. To give you an idea of this, after the second stage the mechanic took apart the front shock, thoroughly examined it, changed the oil and seals and rebuilt it. They also changed tyres almost every day when to the normal rider there would seem to be nothing wrong with them.

 

Cool people do the Epic. In general there are cool people associated with mountain biking and I have made some of my best friends through the sport. As I mentioned earlier our camper was parked next to Alban Lakata(Topeak Ergon) for two nights in Robertson, what a cool guy. For those not in the know he is a legend in marathon mount ain bike racing and a former world champion. This same guy was camping next to us and was down to earth and super friendly.

We were fortunate enough to be in the ‘A’ group every morning and would line up alongside numerous world and national champions every day, all friendly guys and girls and all sharing a laugh or a smile. Don’t get me wrong when the gun goes things get serious out there!

 

Behind the scenes is where the difference is made I have some huge thank you’s to say here. To Sean for sponsoring my whole Epic and without his backing I wouldn’t have been on the start line. Staying in the camper definitely made life a bit easier. One day I’ll have to do a ‘real’ Epic and stay in the tents. To those of you that did, I think you’re pretty hard core. Tash and Mike: our awesome support crew. I couldn’t begin to list how much they did for us without filling another two pages of sentences. Their help and support made the world of difference to our Epic and I am so grateful. To Caryn for the massages, strapping and listening our bitching every day and finally to Luke for looking after our bikes.

 

Finishing at Lourensford is amazing. Our finish to the Epic involved a dice in the last few km’s with two other teams which we managed to get the better of, it made it that bit more satisfying. Riding the last few hundred metres on the green grass fields at Lourensford with hundreds of spectators lining the chute was an amazing experience and it was great to soak up the atmosphere after a very tough week on the bike.

All images credit: Sportograf.com

Overall Result:

41st Overall

3oth Senior Men

11th African Team