MTN Hilton Ultra Marathon

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Start grid.

Image credit: Linda Wolhuter

After a weekend off after the SA champs it was back on the program over the past weekend with the next round of the MTN Hilton National Marathon series taking place literally right on my doorstep.

 

It’s crazy to think that as a junior training in and around Pietermaritzburg and fantasizing about taking part in World Cups and travelling the globe was always a dream, and now it has become somewhat of a reality. Whilst I have been privileged to train and race in both Europe and America I would never have thought that I would race a World Championships that would literally come right through my parents farm, only metres away from the wattle forest where my school riding buddies and I crafted single track.

 

The Hilton marathon would see us ride on sections of the World Champs course allowing us to scout the terrain once again before the final showdown this coming weekend. Whilst we would not be racing through our farm this time we would be racing past our front gate twice.

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Early morning traffic.

Image credit: Zoon Cronje

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Racing through ASS MAGIC country again.

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Enjoying some of Hilton’s finest trails.

Image Credits: Zoon Cronje

I also had my team mate Hanco join down from Joburg and it would be great to race together once again. The front group of 12 riders remained intact for the first 20 or so kilometres before it split going up the first major climb to Otto’s Bluff. Hanco was in the front split whilst I was in the second. After a tough battle over relentless terrain for 5 hours Hanco finished the day in a solid 10th position and myself in 13th. A slightly better result than SA champs for me, although I felt like it was a one speed day, but some positives to draw and improvements made. There are still area’s to improve on for future reference.

 

I was fortunate to have my super back up team once again with my sister joining my Mom, Alison and Rob whilst my Dad tackled the 45km race. This in preparation for another event coming up in the near future in which we will be riding together, more on this soon!

 

With the World Championships only a few days away this is an easier week with just a few short sharp efforts. It will be important to be fresh for another brutal race on a course which I have become somewhat more familiar with. It will also mark the end of my first half of my racing season before I take a break to refresh for a busy second half.

 

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Hanco smashing it.

Image Credit: Zoon CronjeP1050378

The tech zone crew keeping up to date via Tweeta!

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All important stretch before the bottle handover.

Image credits: Rob Gee

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Refuled for the final 27km stretch!

Image credits: Rob Gee

Pop’s logging in a couple of miles.

Image credit: Jess Wolhuter