UCI World Marathon Championships
Image credit: QuickPix
UCI World Marathon Championships
Image credit: Boogs Photography
The racing continued to go well as I secured a couple more podiums in local races before it was off to Pietermaritzburg for the SA and World Marathon Championships in June. The tough hilly course which I was not suited to, meant more suffering, really any bike racing comes down to who can suffer the hardest for the longest. Despite mechanical issues on the day the World Marathon Champs was a career highlight, especially with a strong start that had me higher up the field that what I felt was possible.
The second half of the season did not start off as well. A crash at Die Burger Marathon triggered an on off knee injury that plagued me for weeks. There was more than one occasion where I thought it was better before realising it was not, many cases of 1 step forward, 2 backwards. Fortunately I eventually got in touch with a physio: Anzel Brink who diagnosed the route of the problem as opposed the actual problem. Eventually back on track there wasn’t much time to train for a big end of season objective, the Cape Pioneer Trek.
Before the big objective at the Cape Pioneer Trek I was able to take part in two events with less of a racing emphasis. First was the Storms River Traverse, a 3 day race which I was able to ride with my Dad and really enjoy. This was followed by the Altech Autopage Jozi2Kozi, a 7 day adventure from Joburg to Kozi Bay as the name suggests. It was a fantastic experience where I met some awesome new people and rode through very remote beautiful areas of our country.
36ONE Storms River Traverse
Image credits: Oakpics
Hanco & his dog.
Moving into the final build up to Pioneer my crash course of training-racing started off with the 3 day race, Ride the Rhino, followed by another tough 3 days at the Isuzu 3 Towers and then the big one. Under the guidance of my coach Leon and support of my family, girlfriend and friends I arrived at the start line in Oudtshoorn in decent shape. Hanco and I had a decent Pioneer, sneaky moves off the front on the 3rd and 6th stages unfortunately both ended in punctures, but we showed that we could hit it out on the front. Ultimately we finished in 10th place after a week of tough racing against some of South Africa’s and Europe’s best.
The final objective for 2014 was the FNB Wines2Whales. I had good shape coming out of the Pioneer and just needed to put the icing on the cake so to speak. A season highlight was a 3rd on the 2nd stage alongside some hot-shot euro profis and then a 4th overall.
Isuzu 3 Towers
Image credit: showmenelspruit.co.za
Image credits: Cherie Vale
Hanco meanwhile carried on, on the road, up in Gauteng, rather successfully I might add. An 8th place at the 94.7 Cycle Challenge was a hint of what was to come the following week. At the inaugural Mandela Challenge, Hanco was 2nd in the sprint to world tour rider, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg. It was a big payday and an even more impressive result when you scan down the results sheet and see the names he had beaten.
With 2015 just around the corner, training is well under way for another season on the racing circuit.
Image credits: Zoon Cronje