BOE Sani2C

As I mentioned in my previous blog to the race the Sani 2 C is one of the iconic races in South African mountain biking which I have yet to have had the chance to take part in until this last weekend.

The race was all and more than what I expected it to be. The event is phenomenal to say the least in all aspects of it from the riding to the hospitality of the local communities!

Our trip started with in Pietermaritzburg where my parents hosted the team for the evening. Thanks Mom and Dad! I took the boys down to the Pietermaritzburg World Cup Course at Cascades on Wednesday for our pre-race spin. The course blew their minds and I could understand why, I had forgotten how fun it was since I was last there.

Asrin Cycling Team Camper

Team meeting at the infamous rock garden!

Oli Munnik getting into the Sani vibe!

Last spin before the race.

That afternoon we made our way up to Underberg for the event registration.

Racing on day 1 heated up quickly with the 360 Life team of: George and Evans spicing things up at the sharp end some 10km into the stage. Hasi and I found ourselves chasing with the RE:CM pair of Woolcock and Roberts before finally settling into a group including the pairing of Oli Munnik and Andrew Mclean(Cycle Lab/Toyota/Go Pro), Team Contego’s Hannekom brothers and the Robert Daniel/Momsen pairing. The course was so fast and I was surprised at how quickly we arrived at the finish of the 80 km’s at an average speed a whisker under 29km/h.

Mckenzie Club overnight stop day 1.

Day 2 promised to be the queen stage with just under 100kilometres of racing and almost 2000m of ascent awaiting us. The highlight of the day would surely be the descent into the Umkomaas valley on some pristine single track! The views were amazing with the sun piercing through the horizon. It was an experience I won’t forget anytime soon. My legs had now ‘woken up’ and Hasi and I combined well together riding out of the valley and along the flatter roads to the finish we turned the gas on to finish the stage in 11th position which moved us up to 10th position in the general classification.

Singletrack into the Umko Valley.

Image Credit: Sani2c

A ‘donkey’ used to heat water for the showers. It’s seriously HOT!!

Ishmail showing us his culinary skills!

The third and final day of the race promised to be a fast one with but it wasn’t all downhill to the C and we encountered a few tough climbs along the way. We had a 50 second buffer on the Robert Daniel/Momsen pairing of Sim and Pfietzmeir and we were eager to defend our top 10 position. We found ourselves with the pair some 15km into the stage and comfortably rode with them. This was until I had a chain problem which we managed to quickly fix. Hasi rode like a machine to pace us back to our group. Unfortunately a second chain problem, this time worse than the last, also saw a group ride past us as I fixed it. We now had to put in a serious team time trial effort to try and hang onto our top 10. Crossing the palates laid across the beach we could just make out the group ahead of us. A huge effort up the tar road climb to the finish saw us catch them. Hasi and I had really laid it all out and had come so agonisingly close.

Pushing up one of the cane road climbs.

Image Credit: Fullstop Communications

We finished in 11th place overall only 12 seconds off the 10th placed team of and 40 seconds of the 9th placed team of. We had finished 10th in the elite men’s teams.

All in all, the race was an amazing experience and one which I really enjoyed.

Both Asrin Cycling Teams finished!

I have some big thank you’s to make. Firstly to Asrin property Developers for getting us to the start line and for your support through the event, thank you Nizaam and Ishmail, I value and appreciate your support so much. To give you an idea, in order to make sure we had coffee in the morning Nizaam organised a lead cable to a nearby camper’s generator to plug the coffee machine into!

Thank you to Grant and his crew at Adrenaline Cycles for looking after my Cube and the team’s bikes.

Thank you to Megan and her team at R.E.S.T for the massages.

Lastly but certainly not least, to Hasi, for being a great partner and for all your help. Riding with someone of Rene’s calibre is such a privilege and I learnt so much. Off the bike it was a laugh a minute and I had so much fun!

If you haven’t yet, catch the race highlights on Supersport and see what we got up to.

Advertisements

BOE Sani2C Preview

I have been fortunate to race in many of the iconic mountain bike races across South Africa over the last few years but one race that has always eluded me is the famed BOE Sani 2 C. This year I have been privileged to be afforded the opportunity to race the event with former European road pro, Rene Haselbacher, or Hasi. Hasi has really been there and done it having ridden for teams such as Gerolsteiner and Astana. Hasi done events such as the Tour de Franc, Giro de Talia and numerous spring classics, including: Paris Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold. Hasi and I will be racing in the Asrin colours this week, something I am really looking forward to.

Also representing Asrin will be brothers Ishmail Essa and Nizaam Esa. They will be heading up the Asrin challenge amongst the corporates at the event and logging in some good miles for their onslaught on the Knysna Oyster Festival Challenge in July.

We will make our way down to Durban tomorrow, up to Underberg on Wednesday and then start racing on Thursday through to Saturday.

I am really looking forward to the famed single track that the race promises and I am sure it will live up to its expectations.

Hasi

Sharing a laugh. Hasi wants to know how his hair looks in this photo? Ladies please feel free to comment?

Trucape Mountain Bike Classic and WPCA Winter League Racing

On some Monday’s there are races from the last weekend which you don’t want to write about and some you do. Today was one of those Mondays where I had both of these feelings.

First let’s rewind the clock a week. Last weekend was the 3rd WPCA Winter League criterium, as it was a long weekend my writing decided to take a break too. The race was once again well organised but I didn’t come away with the result I wanted. A break of 3 riders had managed to go clear earlier on in the race and in the later stages I found myself in a strong move with 3 laps to go, including Charles Keey(Blend Property), James Reid(360 Life) and JP Jacobs(Anderson Transport). We combined well together but left things a bit late and finished a handful of seconds off the front 3. I sprinted like an amateur and took 4th from four in our group and 7th overall.

Back to this last weekend, on Saturday it was time to get back on the fat tyres, my first mountain bike race since the Epic and it was to be the Trucape Classic in Grabouw, a tough race renowned for its awesome single track.

For me the race was one to forget, I didn’t warm up properly and struggled a bit in the first 10km with the fast pace being set up front. When I eventually did manage to settle in things took a turn for the worse. The course marking was poor in areas and this saw me getting lost twice, I wasn’t the only one to suffer this misfortune, something for the organisers to look at in the future perhaps. To make matters worse I then cut my tyre badly, a hole the kind of size plugs don’t have a chance of fixing so it was in with a tube. I decided my day at front was now over and cruised home with some of the guys from the Asrin Property Team.

That evening I ate enough to support a small village for a week and recovered as best I could to get out on the road the next morning for the 4th WPCA Winter League criterium in Ottery.

The usual suspects were there as well as 2011 SA road champion Darren Lill (Bonitas). We were racing on a short 1.2km circuit with quite a few corners in the mix. A proper criterium course, this excited me! More corners meant more accelerations which in turn makes the race harder and thins the peloton out.

I knew which were the wheels to watch on the day and when Stefan Ihlenfeldt (Smith and Associate/O-Bike/Maties) went clear with Peter Wheeler I knew I needed to get across to them. Fortunately Lill had a similar idea and the two of us managed to bridge across. This was within the first 15 minutes of the hour long race but I felt it would be the defining move of the day. We worked well together and managed to put a lap into the chasing bunch as we neared the end.

This is also when the attacks started coming but we were all attentive and watching each other. With two laps to go Wheeler snuck off the front and as we all watched each other, each not wanting to be the one who chased him down Wheeler managed to go clear to take the win. The race was now on for second. Approaching the last corner which led into the finishing straight Ihlenfeldt was in front, with Lill on his wheel and myself on Lill’s. I knew I had to be patient and follow the sprint rather than initiate it. Lill went and I jumped, coming out the gates a bit slow at first but once I got the gear rolling I managed to pass Ihlenfeldt and then started gaining on Lill. On the line I threw my bike forward as much as I could but Lill just managed to take it by a couple of cm.

I was happy to be on the podium on the day but not wholly satisfied with the result.

 

All Images Credit: Deon Raath Photography