2016

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MTO Songo.Info Champions Race

Image: esphotography

My writing has been scarce of late and whist there have been efforts to get something onto the site, the intentions to post something is there, but it seems to fail to materialise. The age old ‘I don’t have enough time’ has repeated itself, more than once.

This year, has been a good one thus far, actually a great one! It would just not be possible without support of some really passionate sponsors, family and friends who have all come together in terms of each playing an important role in the team.

Imbuko Wines and Freewheel Cycology have been amazing and I can’t thank them enough for their fantastic support, as have been a number of the supporting sponsors, they all bring something special to the party and I am grateful for it. In and amongst this, we have built a family like atmosphere involving all of the supporting sponsors and close friends and family. Their excitement in following and being involved with the racing has made us feel quite rockstar like.

The first main goal of the season for us was the Cape Epic, us you may ask? Craig Boyes, part time fast bike rider, and full time sales manager at the Specialized Stellenbosch store, had joined me in our quest for the Epic.

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Garden Route 300

Image: Julie Ann Photography

Our build up included the Garden Route 300, an event well positioned in the calendar and in the physical and technical challenge required for Epic preparations. Craig was super strong and won 2 of 3 stages until unfortunately puncturing on the last stage to finish 3rd overall. I managed 3rd on the first stage and 2nd on the last, it was enough to finish 2nd overall behind youngster Dylan Rebello who had displayed some great climbing form.

The build up also included a trip to PE for the Herald, one of my favourite places to visit and then the first round of the national marathon series in Cape Town at Meerendal, perhaps that was a day to forget. Also thrown into the mix were a number of road races, well used in building speed and higher end power.

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Ashburton National Marathon: Meerendal

Image: Zoon Cronje

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Herald MTB Marathon

Image: The Herald

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Killarny 

Image: Cycle Technix

It was then time for the big one, the Epic itself. The stages had become shorter than pervious years, but included more vertical ascent per kilometre and more technical terrain than ever before. Shorter does not equal easier.

Craig and I had a good week, and although we were satisfied with 20th overall and 4th ABSA African Team, there was also an air of disappointment. We had started the week a bit further back in the field and had steadily worked out way up to a virtual 3rd place in the African Team competition, a big goal for us before the race.

What should have been a simple puncture fix, just a few kilometres before the finish of the 2nd last stage, turned into disaster with broken valves and what not. On the side of a jeep track, the finishing village in sight, we frantically tried to fix the problem as we watched other teams and our rivals come past. In hindsight, we could have perhaps ridden the rim to the line. In hindsight. Hindsight is a bitch.

Nonetheless, the support we enjoyed through the week was unbelievable and the experience will play a crucial role in going back.

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Stage 4 start, Wellington

Image: Ash Smit

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On the charge, stage 6.

Image: Theo Bruwer

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Stage 1, WP 1.

Image: Ash Smit


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The Finish @ Meerendal 8 days later.

Selfie Image: Ash Smit

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So close, yet so far.

Image: Johann Badenhorst

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