the dry city of windhoek played host to the african mtb champs for 2007.
a big contingent of riders were sent to the champs by mountainbiking sa
and we all flew there on wednesday last week.i took both bikes as i heard
the course was quite diverse and this made for heavy traveling.we stayed in the
windhoek country club hotel and i think its the best place ive stayed in all year.
as we were expecting ,windhoek turned out to be very dry and hot for this time of the year.
kevin evans (mtn raleigh) and i were room mates for the week and he was suffering from a serious saddle sore
that he got from the trans alps where he and team mate brandon steward won a stage so there were some
good stories told in our room.on thursday we were up early as namibia is an hour behind sa.after breakfast
we were off to the track,i rode the ht at first to see how it would go but after two laps i decide to head back
to the hotel and fetch the full suss.the gt marathon was the perfect bike for the job as the course was super
rocky and the descents were long.after another two laps i rode back to the hotel pretty tierd after riding a total
of four hours and it was starting to get dark.
friday i took it much easier before the race and i was done practicing by 12 and in bed for the rest of the day.
kevin and i even got room service while we watched the stage of the tour.afterwards i washed my bike in the tub
and got it prepped for race day.
on saturday i tried to sleep in but that wasnt happening so i went down to breakfast early.all the teams were
there and looked eager for the days racing.it was again a perfect day and it was realy hot and dry.i went back
to bed to rest up as long as i could.at 12 30 we got ready and left for the course at 1.on arrival at the course
i was surprised by the amount of spectators and press that had lined the course already for the ladies race.
i left for my warm up and felt pretty good.the heartrate seemed to agree.
i had my best start of the year and ripped over a railwayline and into the first singletrack ahead of the pack,
keeping the pace high as i went up the first steep climb.near the top i looked back and could see the gap opening so
i decided to push on even though i was weary of the high altitude and in the back of my mind i thought i should start easy.
this tactic paid off as i had a 90 second lead after just one lap.lap two was solid aswell and i had settled into a good rythm,
when i hit a slight problem.my rear tyre had got caught on a rock and was leaking air.i managed to ride toi the nearest tech
zone and got a wheel change so it only cost me about 30 seconds.
by the third lap i was enjoying the race and taking in the tremendous crowd support that we had along the way.i kept it smooth for
the duration of the race an came home smiling in 2hrs 01.ben melt swanepoel came in 2nd (+ 9min) and manni heymans 3rd both from raleigh mtn.
this was my first african championship win and it stretched my lead in the olympics chase aswell.i now look forward
to the world championships in september.