The weekends racing kicked off with a tough 120km marathon in the small mining town of Barberton on mpumalanga.as this is a seriously mountainous area the route was super tough and the route comprised some 3500m of vertical ascent.
The race kicked of fast,very fast seeing as we had to go for atleast 5 hours.i started off weel and the specialized epic was flying over the rough parts that we traversed over the first couple of km’s.it wasn’t long before we started the first major climb of the day.i expected it to be long but I didn’t quite expect it to be in the region of a 30km ascent.at the front I was setting a steady tempo along with jaques jv rensburg(dcm chrome).jaques is more known for his specialist climbing abilities on the road but has certainly lifted his game on the mtb.after around 5km of going up we were down to a group of 6.the group comprised 3 dcm chrome riders,2 mtb riders and myself.
As we neared the top jaques and I had a sprint for the k.o.m prize with myself managing to be first over the top.along the top of the climb the going got alittle rough and muddy and the epic was feeling all the more at home.we rode steady in the group and pretty fast on the small descents.the mtn riders started dropping gback alittle until the group only contained 5 riders.max knox,Brandon stewardt,jaques and Kevin evans still keeping me company and I was getting ready for an epic battle over the last half of the race until I took an unplanned dirt nap on one of the fast descents.i had been following Brandon and max with very little sight of what was coming up when I got stuck in a muddy rut and spat over the handlebars.my left knee took just about all of the impact along with my head after I flipped over.i jumped up in a hurry but felt striking pain in my left leg.that was that for the days racing as I didn’t want to risk further injury to my knee and headed for the finish.i had a docter take a look and besides major swelling, luckily not much was wrong.
I drove back to Pretoria on staurday afternoon to try and race a road race on Sunday.after a lot of icing and anti-inflammatories my leg felt good enuf to ride when I woke on Sunday morning.the elite men had an early start at 5 30 am so it was still darkish when we took off to cover the 102km route.this is sa’s fastest road ride and its even called the fast one.the pace was super fast early on and the bunch was large.its quite scary riding shoulder to shoulder at like 90k/h on the descents and I reckon way more dangerous than any part of single track.at around the 40km mark the stronger teams started to shell everyone in the gutter.i stayed close to the front onboard my new specialized tarmac and that meant out of any trouble.the split came at around the half way mark and the new team on the circuit(medscheme) were driving hard at the front.i pretty much had a free ride at the back of the group that contained around 25 riders.the course from here on out was pan falt so there was no reason to put my nose out front.
With about 3km to the finish the bunch came back and swallowed our break away.this didn’t matter much seeing as it was going to be a pretty big group sprint anyway.it just meant all the sprinters were now there to duke it out.i tried to stay near the front even though im by no means a sprint ace but felt that again it was the safest place to ride. The run in to the line ended up being probably the fastest one ive had and I managed to get across the line in the top 10 which was rather cool.the average speed for the day was a brisk 50.5km/h!after the race cherise and I rode back to the start with a group to get in the extra miles and enjoyed some good company.
This week im off to cape town