i got news to today confirming that i will line up at the 2008 epic along side 2007 marathon world champ christoph sauser.kinda scary but im realy excited to see how well i can do in my first go...
this weekend saw the opening of the national marathon mtb series in the lowveld.the series now sponsered by mtn and mazda will comprise 6 events all over the country and is a leader in tv coverage and prize money.as is always the case everyone who is anyone was out in barbrton in their new team colours and fresh equipment.for the past three years now ive come close to winning here ,but have always lost out in the dying kilometers.this year i was realy eager to change this and after last weekends dissapointment in cape town i was very hungry to race hard from the gun...and thats exactly what i set about doing.the first 5km of the race took us out of barberton on the tar and as we turned off onto the dirt and up the first climb i rode off the front.i was soon joined by mr price/gt team mate johan van zyl who managed to do one or two pulls before feeling the pressure and going back to the 2man chase group that was trailing by 25seconds.marc bassingthwaite
of garmin-trek and kevin evans of mtn-raleigh didnt feel like letting me go that easily and after 2km of fast undelating dirt roads they caught me,marc's company was short lived as we started the long steady climb that would last for more than 20km.i set a hard pace and kevin followed.we got time checks frequently and as long as the gap was growing i was happy to ride out front.we rode steady over the top of the climb with a four minute plus advantage and i knew it was time to start riding smarter so we shared the work from here on out.as we neared the finish i felt good and in the sprint i came by in the last few meters to clinch my first win of the season.kevin and i managed to build a 6minute lead to marc and beat last years time by 8minutes!
shortly after prize giving we took off for pretoria to race the first big road race of the year named the fast one.and oh yes it is very fast.we covered the 103km in just 2hr 03min and i ended up in 12th.not bad seeing as all the big road teams were present and i aint exactly a flat road king.this weekend ill be up in pmb training the course for the national champs and racing the provincial in ashburton.
getting ready for one of our national xc cup races requires total focus for atleast a week and months of training.however one mechanical and you can be sidelined before you know what hit you.this was the case for me at the opening round of our series in stellenbosch, cape town.some of the worlds best riders were present namely christoph sauser(current marathon world champ )and bart bretjens(olympic gold and silwer medalist).for this reason i was realy excited and hungry to race.the weeks practice and preperation went realy well with no bike troubles to speak of.on race day there was a huge turnout for our race and loads of spectators to catch a glimpse of the international stars.i was realy focused and right off the startline i took the lead on board my full susspension gt.the course was realy demanding and this was definitely the machine for the job!after the first climb and technical single track section i had built up a 40 sec margin over sauser and feeling great.this was short lived ans soon after i flatted,not only did i flat but the tire rolled off the rim and tore the rear deraileur off.this meant the end off my race and i spent the rest of the afternoon getting rid of my frustation while riding out on the road to get some training in.
the last few days ive been getting some good miles in and with the first mazda marathon taking place in barberton this weekend,im feeling rather optimistic...lets hope i can keep it together.
this weekend opened up my racing season early and on my way to cape town i knew it was going to hurt.the challenge comprised 7 atheltes in different disciplines taking turns in relay format to complete a total distance of 130km over land and water.the mr price was star studded and by the time my turn came i had a 2min 30 sec cushion to play with.sounds easy right?wrong! when you have the current world marathon champion chasing you down that time gap seems like nothing.i also hadnt gone into the red zone for close on 2months now and the course started of with a 6,5km climb!i started real hard and about half way up the climb i was in serious difficulty.i could see christoph sauser closing but i couldnt get anything more into the pedals.luckily for me the engine started firing soon after and i could maintain the remainder of my advantage over the last half of the course and actually started feeling realy good towards the end.sauser had ridden just under a minute into me over the 24km track,but mr price held on for the win so i was happy...
this weekend is the first round of our national series down here in cape town and the like of christoph sauser and olympic medalist bart brentjens have already been confirmed to be on the start line.this is great news for the local mtb seen as our younger riders will see their heroes in action.its also good for me as i can use these races to prepare for europe later in my season.