Preperation for the 2019 FNB Megalies Monster Interview with Team Pyga Euro Steel Pro-Cyclist, Phillimon Sebona
For our team, races like the Magalies Monster proves vital in the growth of our athletes. It also adds to their resumes and gives them the ability to test their form and performance before our bigger goals, such as the upcoming South African Marathon Championships at the end of June.
Sitting down and consulting with our athletes is vital for personal feedback and goal layout before an event, so we thought it would be wise to sit down with 2017 Magalies Monster victor, Phillimon Sebona and ask him ten questions about his season and the upcoming Magalies Monster.
Looking back at the past Sani2C, you and your teammate Pieter certainly achieved a massive milestone winning the final stage. Did this give you certainty about your form this season? Yes, it gives me confidence that my form has improved since last season in which I first rode with Pieter.
Does the feeling of winning a stage or an overall race ever change for you? Since my first race victory in 2007, every race victory since has given me the ambition to aim for more and achieve those goals. The feeling doesn’t change, but it adds to my drive for success in the upcoming races.
What is your biggest motivation going into an event like the Magalies Monster? Do previous races in this season affect this motivation and how? To see improvement based on my previous years competing at the event. Coming out of a victory, it is always important to stay humble but to still know what you are capable of. At the Sani2c, I and Pieter overcame the conditions we faced, and this proved to me that it is possible to stand up after being knocked down.
It is clear that having the right sponsors in a pro-mountain bike team is vital to consistency in training and races. How do our partners help you in preparation for an event? They understand that we are humans, not machines. We make mistakes, but they take into account who we are and that we can stand up after being shot down. No matter what.
Coming out of a final stage victory at the Sani2C, how did you adapt your preparation for the Monster? Recovery was vital. I pushed very hard during the Sani and the most critical consideration going into a tough race like the Monster recovery means strength. I needed to keep my mental health high, as well as my physical health.
Looking back at 2018, what would you change at this year's race? The thing that I will focus on the most, and buffered me last season was my tyre pressure.
You work at TRAILWOLF Cycles. How do you ensure that you recover during your day at work? I am always on my feet, which means that I am not recovering as much as my teammates during the day. This means I have used the time away from work for my recovery. Sleep and hydration is essential.
How do you prepare the day before? I try to drink as much water as I can, clearing out my body from toxins and lactic acid. I try and eat as healthy as possible. Carbs and Protein. Salads are also the right way of keeping the body clean and ready.
What about the FNB Magalies Monster makes you most excited? It is a one-day event, but they treat you as if you were going to stay. It is challenging to leave the event.
What are your goals for the 2019 round of the Monster? I want to slay the monster, and this means I will give my best to be in front of the race.
We are excited to be heading to ATKV Buffelspoort for the Magalies Monster, and we genuinely hope that both Phillimon and Pieter have a successful race tomorrow.
To everyone else competing, good luck and enjoy the ride.
Driving down to the start of the KAP Sani2c, all four of our athletes had their goals set high and were ready to battle against South Africa's best over the three days that laid ahead.
The Sani2c is a three-day stage race that takes place from Glencairn Farm, stops at Mckenzie Club and Jolivet then finishes in the coastal town of Scottburgh. For race organiser, Farmer Glen, a massive part of the event is the partners that contribute to the success of the race as well as tying in with the surrounding communities.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
"Our 2019 Sani2c was a race that went exactly according to plan. The first day was fast and usually comes down to a sprint finish, here we finished second without losing any time.
On day 2 our plan was to make things hard as we climbed out of the Umkomaas valley. After a few efforts we finally managed to crack the other teams. Keeping in mind that there is still a lot more racing coming up in the next few weeks we decided to play things safe and save the legs on the final stage to minimise recovery time after the race."
The final stage went smoothly and it felt like a formality crossing the final finish line in Scottburgh and taking the overall win. The cherry on the cake was witnessing Phillimon and Pieter taking the final stage win. An excellent result for the team going into the rest of the season!" ~ Philip Buys
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
For Matthys, it's been a while since a race plan came together as good as this past weekends Sani.
"Over the last four years I've had three wins and one third place finish at Sani2C, but this year was truly special!
Special because of the way the whole team operated as a unit. Everything was planned and executed perfectly and the whole team pulled together giving it their all. You guys are all legends and I am lucky to have you all as my teammates.
Also a big thanks to Ollie and Pat for taking the time to come and support us, its always great having you there and it really means a lot! To Philly and Pieter, I'm so proud of you guys and love seeing the progression you bring at almost every race! Can't wait to see what you are going to do in the near future!
Philip, thanks for the great ride! It was awesome having you back at full strength and that we could fly together again!
I could feel that JoBerg2c had quite a big effect on me and I didn't have the legs to race how I would have liked, thankfully it was still enough to be able to make a move and hang on! I'm now going to take a short break to freshen up and get ready for one of my top 3 goals for the year, national marathon champs!" ~ Matthys Beukes
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
For Phillimon Sebona the final stage victory showed him the importance of not giving up.
"The 2019 Sani2C was a huge success for me personally. The 2018 season has shown me how important it is to look forward and work hard towards your goals.
The first day myself and Pieter couldn't hold on to the leading group and as soon as we lost their wheel, we realised that we would have to try again the day after. On the second day, it was Pieter who didn't feel too well and right before Iconic climb I had a bad crash leaving us dangling from the front group again.
After regrouping at Jolivet and taking precautions towards my injuries, we set off with a blistering pace on the final stage. This time, we were fortunate enough to hold the wheels of the leading group, which contained team NAD and our team of Philip and Matthys.
We held onto the group and fought our way to the finish on the Scottburgh golf course. As long as we battled to hold on, both Matthys and Philip nursed myself and Pieter and with their help we won the stage with a sprint finish against Matt and Stuart from team NAD. Coming out of this racing week, I can certainly reflect on my improved understanding of racing at the top level." ~ Phillimon Sebona
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
Being the youngest in our team and also the newest member it was clear for Pieter Du Toit that the Sani was an event where he could truly enjoy himself on and off of the bike.
"In the start of the race, we struggled to hold on to the leading group but Phillimon and I never gave up and claimed fourth on the first day.
After being greeted by a cold morning at Mckenzie Club, the second day took it's a toll on me and was the toughest for me throughout the event. After successfully clawing ourselves onto the lead group, Phillimon had a bad crash and we both were left to survive the day.
The third day was undoubtedly one to remember after the events of the first two stages. Phillimon and I had the fantastic opportunity to take the stage win after fighting to hold on to the blisteringly fast train that headed to the finish at Scottburgh." ~ Pieter Du Toit
As most people may know, we headed to Heidelberg on the morning of the 26th of April. Our 2019 JoBerg2C journey started at Karan Beef. On the very first day, Matthys and Philip made it clear that we were there to have fun, but also train and experience a multi-day event from a few different perspectives.
Matthys Beukes, current third time champion at the Attakwas as well as the JoBerg2C, who also walked away with the solo title at this year's race thoroughly enjoyed the nine days. He also focussed himself on improving his form and also tested himself over the nine days.
Photos by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios.
"I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to ride my third joberg2c, it is such an extraordinary journey to experience and by sharing the good times with friends make it so much more memorable.
With it not being such a close race I could afford to experiment and learn about a couple of things from how to deal with illness leading up to the event, how to make sure I am firing on all cylinders, race craft and what to do in panic situations to limit the losses. One can never stop learning, and in the future, I can use what I learned as a valuable experience when I find myself in similar situations.
Apart from the spectacular riding, it was great to spend time with people who have a shared passion for this fantastic sport.
Big thanks to everyone who was a part of it, you guys are fantastic!" ~ Matthys "Pace" Beukes
On the other hand, Philip Buys took the ride to Scottburgh on from a different angle. After realising the goal for this coming month would be the 2019 Sani2C, he spent time on the route and also enjoyed the sights and people that make up the journey. Inevitably what this year's ride was all about — the journey. Philip also spent some time on his PYGA SLAKLINE, a full enduro mountain bike designed by the one and only Patrick Morewood.
"I had a great time at Joberg2C this year. With no prize money in the elite men's category, It provided us with the ideal opportunity to do something different and also to use it as a training camp for later races.
Most of the days I rode on my Pyga Stage, but on the days where I knew we were in for some excellent trail sections, I saddled up the SLAKLINE and made the most of it.
For the next four weekends, we will be racing flat out again and first up this weekend will be the Nissan Trailseeker race in Gauteng, if recovery goes well." ~ Philip "FACE THE" Buys.
As a team, we are very fortunate to be included in the mix at events like the JoBerg2C. Thanks to every individual that participated in the creation of such an iconic event. Our next big objective would definitely be the SANI2C. Good luck to everyone competing.
We are looking forward to the next 10 years with the event. Onwards and Upwards. #gooimielies
Looking back at the eventful Absa Cape Epic, our team left Cape Town with a lot of emotions. This race is brutal on the body, your mind and soul. A real Untamed experience!
" With a race like this, there is a massive amount of preparation on and off the bike. We do our best to control what we can and work on the best solutions on what we cannot manage.
I was very confident in our goals and ambitions for this years race and our team showed that the work they put in was also on point. Unfortunately we cannot control everything and when you fall down the first step is planning how to not only pick yourself up but staying up, finishing strong and confident. This we did as a team and I am so proud in the way we executed the final stretch of the race. I leave this race feeling even more confident for next year!" ~ Ruan Lochner - Team Manager.
With the first important race of the year behind us its time to reflect on our performance.
"We all know it was a rollercoaster week and that at the end of the day we failed at achieving our goals. Making the best out of a bad situation is all we could do, and in that sense, we did a good job.
I'm taking two things away from this year's Cape Epic. My mental capability has been proved on stage 5. I did not feel great, but giving up was not an option and although stats wise it's not my best day ever, the mental battle I won that day is something that I am immensely proud of.
A big race like the Epic is won by working through the bad days. It is easy to race hard and do well when things go according to plan but on the days that you don’t feel well or things go wrong, the damages should be limited because teams lose more time on those days than they gain on the good days.
Secondly, it's great to mix it up with the worlds best, and thankfully we did have a couple of chances to do that. I feel that every chance I had I could ride with the front guys, so the mental boost I got from that is significant, and something that will help me in the future.
Thanks to everyone who was part of that week, all the support makes a worlds difference and I feel that we have THE best support around us, thanks, guys!
I'm looking forward to the rest of this year and will keep you guys posted." ~ Matthys Beukes, Rider 7-2.
What started as a disappointing Epic turned out to be quite the show.
"A week before the start I woke up one morning to a nightmare of early flu or cold symptoms. This complication came after doing my best to isolate myself for the past three weeks and hitting PB’s in training.
I was supposed to fly to Cape Town on Monday but decided it would be best to recover in time at home hopefully. Being sick forced me off for five days, and I joined the team on Friday.
With the prologue stage, I felt solid, but my biggest worry was the first longer stages.
Stage one went well up until about 70km, and I thought that my body recovered well enough. But with the last 30km, everything started to go wrong. My power in the legs started fading, and even my arms started to become weak. It was a challenge to stay upright on the bike. I also had some severe muscle cramps, so bad that I had to stand still and wait for it to subside.
Stage 2 was even worse; I had no power and was off the bunch right from the start.
With stage 3 I tried to push through everything and saw a slight sign of power up the longest climb of the day, Groenlandberg. This power was short-lived after the hill and the rest of the day was a painful slog to the finish.
With stage 4, the midweek TT, we all had a discussion and decided to take this day easy with the hope of my body recovering, and we would try to go for stage podiums.
Stage 5 was a huge relieve. We did not go with the intense early accelerations and somewhat worked our way steadily through the field during the first 20km. We found ourselves right at the front of the race in a break with Nino and Lars. For the first half of this stage, I was a bit sceptic about how well my legs were going and wondered when they would explode again, but they did not, and we managed to win the stage!
Stage 6 was another easy day for us, but only after I tried to push my legs up the first climb and realised that they were not strong enough to stay at the front. We then backed off. I think with the hype and excitement of winning the previous day, our recovery was not according to the usual routine. Something to learn here for the future is to stick to our recovery routine after each stage.
The final grand finale stage was the one to win. Live TV and a vast crowd meant good publicity. It was a steady start for me on this day, not throwing any of the first punches and sitting in the bunch. It worked out well, and we again found ourselves in the winning break. In the final sprint to the line, I was really confident and maybe too excited to win this stage. In the last corner, I made a mistake to try and cut through the inside of the Kross rider and lost some speed. I could not get past their rider again in the final straight.
I want to thank everyone, our team, sponsors and family for being there, keeping things positive and praying with us for the breakthrough." ~ Philip Buys, Rider 7-1.
"I want to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to participate in my seventh Cape Epic.
The Cape Epic is one of the events that not everyone can do, it’s the event that takes a lot of out of the person. Support is one of the major things a person needs during the part of racing and which is what plays a role on to the performance of the individual by all the support that you guys give us I would like to say thank you for everything.
At the beginning of the race I could not get my legs quickly by that I mean I did not have high power in them but with my partner Pieter we managed to work it out. Together we were getting closer because I know that the Epic need the all-rounder body performance, speed and power altogether in them and as the days went by I could get more out of them, and we got stronger and stronger.
The cape epic needs everything from you. This year my time, speed and power were way better than last year and this year the competition was very very high. What we could pick up, was that our performance was way better than last year. One thing that kept me back was my technical abilities. This year, I lost so much time on the downhills alone, but luckily on the climbs, I could go hard day by day to make up some time. I must be honest and admit that I kept Pieter back on the downhills and I am motivated to improve my control and confidence towards next year.
I want to say coming to the results we were planning for the top 20, but we just missed it. I am so thankful that I could see the difference from my previous results and this puts me on the spot to work harder this year.
One of my personal goals is to finish in the top 5 for a few stages and hope to finish in the top 10 on GC, at the end of the Epic I believe it’s possible in 2012 my best finish was top 100 and this year 22nd." ~ Phillimon Sebona, Rider 29-1.
"Overall, an excellent race for Phillimon and me. The week before the race we went down to Cape town to climatize and practice the prologue route and to get everything ready for the cape epic.
The prologue was the first part of the race. It was an excellent day for Phillimon and me, and from there we travelled to Hermanus for the first and longest stage of the epic. The team truck was all ready for us, and we could relax and prepare for the next stage.
We were looked after very good through the epic by the whole team, and we could race to our full potential. Phillimon and I were doing good in the race, and the best part for me was when we finished the Queen stage and Phillip and Matthys was standing on the top step of the podium.
It was a great team effort from everyone to get everything ready for the race. Andre was looking after every detail on the bike. Ruan planned everything and made sure everything arrived on time. JP looked after our legs us and got our bodies ready and Barry made some kick as food! Milan edited awesome videos and took some sick photographs. Lazarus was washing and cleaning everything for the whole day. Thank you all for making this one remember!" ~ Pieter Du Toit, Rider 29-2.
We are fortunate that none of our riders came to any injury or fell ill during the Epic. We are also blessed to say that we didn't incur any significant technical problems on any of our bicycles. Onwards and Upwards.
2019 Sabie Classic - York Timbers Sporting Grounds.
As we arrived in Sabie on Thursday we unpacked, unwinded and the guys went for a ride around town. "Ulusaba" which means "fearful river", which Sabie's name is derived from, not only perfectly describes the Sabie river that was once full of Nile crocodiles. It also has a significant effect when the idea of battling up the long and unpredictable Mamba climb comes to mind; something all participants at the Classic could relate too.
For Matthys Beukes, this all came to relief as he calmly crossed the finish line on Saturday, claiming victory almost three minutes ahead of teammate Philip Buys. "Knowing the conditions in Sabie during this time of year, going into the event I was a bit nervous. The terrain in Sabie could become very unpredictable, especially after some rain.
Sabie is also the place where I had my most serious crash in my career. I broke my shoulder, hand and foot in a split second. Ever since that day I have been nervous going into the Sabie Classic. From a more positive perspective, it is also the race where I did my first ever National Cup as a Sub Junior.
The weeks leading up to the event was good, and I knew that my form was excellent. Seeing that the Mamba was in the first 30 kilometres, I knew that the race would suit me well. I planned to put in a hard effort going up the climb, possibly creating a gap that I could use as "risk management" going down the rugged descent, creating less room for error.
I knew the final 20km would be hard racing and that I could put in the last move there once everyone is a bit more fatigued so risking it on the downhill would've been pointless. That was the plan, but things don't always go according to the method and I had to adapt.
All in all, I'm happy with my ride, and it was great to see my teammates do so well, Cape Epic here we come!
Till then, stay safe." - Matthys Beukes
As the front of the race approached the tail end of the Mamba, Philip Buys leapt into action creating a gap of about twenty seconds on the chasing group. As the Mamba was staring Philip and Matthys straight in the eyes, Philip managed to defeat the Mamba first, blissfully being titled "King of the Mountain".
"I could see the gap to Philip was coming down and decided to bide my time and see how things unfold as we approach the fifty-kilometre mark. After a few more ups and downs, twists and turns we were together and riding at a comfortable pace nicely towards the first and only tech zone at about 60 kilometres. Entering the harder parts of the final twenty, I put in a couple of efforts on the climbs and later found myself on my own with 15km to go." - Matthys Beukes
Unfortunately, right before we started our Trek across the Koue Bokkeveld two weeks ago, Philip Buys came across some unusual medical issue which has ever since caused problems during his riding, especially where he needs to sharpen up and concentrate.
"I have an eye infection, so this combined with the slippery terrain made navigating the downhills quite the challenge for me. I didn't want to risk crashing, so I tried to ride safer towards the end of the race. On the bottom of the descent, Matthys had already caught up with me and dropped me on the flat roads approximately twenty kilometres from the finish line. I am delighted with the 2nd place. Especially finishing right behind my Absa Cape Epic teammate, cashing in some useful UCI points."
The weekend also felt like a fun “team building” exercise with all of us camping it out in the Euro Steel team truck. The whole setup feels well “oiled”, and everyone seems to work together seamlessly. This weekend was a good exercise leading up to the Epic, and I'm sure that this past weekend will keep us motivated in the final preparation." - Philip Buys
For Phillimon Sebona, the race didn't correctly play along after he lost his water bottle on the first significant downhill section. The Mamba drained his energy without a sufficient amount of nutrition, especially when battling against world-class marathon athletes. Luckily Phillimon made it over the climb without losing too much time.
"Things started turning sour quickly after that. In the last 30 km, I managed to break my rear wheel. I exchanged my wheel at the tech zone ten kilometres after it got damaged.
These unfortunate events led to me losing vital energy, and I started cramping in the final two k's. All and all the race was a good test, and I enjoyed it nevertheless. I want to thank everyone who has been supporting me." - Phillimon Sebona
Young gun Pieter Du Toit never seems to disappoint with his performance. "Overall, the Sabie Classic was a great race. Going down on Thursday, sleeping in the team truck and spending time with the guys was a great experience.
The race started quite hard after Matthys and Phillip put in quite an effort on the first climb. Philip gained a few seconds on us on the first significant descent and right after regrouping Philip attacked the group of four up the Mamba, where Matthys followed leaving me behind like a rock.
As I crested the climb, I rode with Phillimon lying fifth and sixth places respectively. Then the fun part started, the long slippery and rocky downhills that Sabie is known for over the years. After fighting the slippery downhill terrain, I was out of fuel and started to feel fatigued. The final few kilometres of the race was brutal, but I kept my head and made it to the finish line in fifth place. I am super happy with the position that I managed to finish it. Very well done to Matthys for taking the win and Philip with his second-place finish.
As a team, we are very excited to be going into the Cape Epic on a positive note. We have in the past three races come across unforeseen events, made mistakes and also claimed victory. We are fortunate with the outcome, learnt valuable lessons and we are looking forward to making our mark amongst the worlds top teams in the Mountain Biking scene in three weeks.
Till then, good luck to all the athletes in preparation for the eight-day event. #thisisgoingtobeepic
2019 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen.
As a new week starts, our 2019 Tankwa Trek comes to an end with everyone who partook safe and resting.
For our riders, the four stages were unique, and each had their personality. The rocky terrain provided extraordinary challenges racing up some of our countries toughest climbs and most technical descents, a perfect partner to the preparation for the eight-day Absa Cape Epic. As the 2019 season started, we teamed up with some new partners, and this ensured that everyone had to adjust to previous conditions and routines.
The Tankwa is always a highlight for our team as a whole, as it officially marks the start to our stage race season being the first multi-day stage race in South Africa. It also ensures that our two teams start forming a strong dynamic and get to face challenges before the rest of the season approaches. We had a post-race chat with our riders to get more depth from their perspective.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
For Matthys Beukes, the 2019 Momentum Health Attakwas champion, the past couple of days did not go according to plan for the team as they had to endure setbacks over the final three stages of the Tankwa.
"Although these occurrences are out of our control, we can, fortunately, look at our performance on the bike, and I am incredibly positive about how we rode our bikes throughout the four stages.
We did not win the war, but we got the opportunity to fight it out against some of the worlds best mountain bike riders. Barring in all of the bad luck we had to face, I believe that we performed well as a team. Overall, there are much more positive's to take from the past week, and I genuinely look forward to the hard work that lies ahead in preparation for The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race."
Anticipation grew around Philip Buys as onlookers kept wondering about his form. Well, there was no better way to prove it than on the #MerinoMonster, definitely one of South Africa's most robust and most extended climbs. Philip and Matthys, riding with the numbers 2-1 and 2-2 led a fantastic attack and safely secured their spot as the Kings of the Mountain with Team Bulls claiming the second spot over the mountain. With this tremendous performance, they blew us all away on the 3rd stage and had slain the Monster, ensuring that Philip is on form and ready for the upcoming ABSA Cape Epic.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
"Tankwa was rough and brutal, but a great reminder of how hard stage racing can be on the bike and body. We were dealt with many blows during the event but luckily got the chance to test new equipment. More personally, the event was a mental and physical test, but my shape was the most significant consideration for the start of the season.
My confidence has received a boost after the past few days of racing in the Koue Bokkeveld, after having a huge setback due to a knee injury leading up to the Attakwas. In general, my shape is looking good, but I would still love to be stronger and faster going into the Epic. Luckily we have a few weeks left to add some extra power before the Epic kicks off.
The whole team pulled their weight during the incredible event, and it was an excellent rehearsal for the 2019 racing season."
Apart from the four riders making up the professional team, we had five guys battling it out behind the scenes to make sure the riders and their bikes perform in optimal condition. The race venue also supplied an excellent atmosphere for all the teammates before and after each stage. We are thankful for Dryland Event Management for again putting together a successful race. They exceeded everyone's expectations with the management of the race and venue.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
"Consistently racing for four days is always something to get excited about. Add this to a large international field, and you are sure to have an exciting and top class event with intense challenges.
I will never forget the first stage due to the scorching heat that we had to endure at 3 in the afternoon. The stage kicked off, and we received an average temperature of 40 degrees. I was quite excited to cross the finish in the top 20. I then went to bed at an early hour and had a good rest before the second stage.
After a successful start on the second day, Matthys unfortunately got a puncture and I exchanged wheels with Matthys ensuring that he could continue fighting on. After myself and Phillimon repaired the damaged wheel, we got on our bikes and fought back only a few minutes later finding that our A team punctured for a second time. We luckily had a tube and could insert it into the wheel before setting off to the finish." ~ Pieter Du Toit
Entering the 3rd stage, our riders were well rested and had a lot of motivation after significant setbacks on the 2nd stage. They started their day at Kaleo Guest Farm that for the duration of our stay played race village and home to our team and Euro Steel Truck. The #MerinoMonster is well known for being one of the toughest climbs to do as a mountain biker. Philip and Matthys broke away from the pack and claimed the King of the Mountain title, right before being caught by the Bulls pair of Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios
Our team then joined the Bulls team on the way home, but unfortunately, both teams took a wrong turn. After a long talk to race officials and the commissar, the ruling was made that the results would remain as per finish. This resulted in a 6th place for the pair.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone who has given our team the amazing opportunity to partake in the Tankwa. I am also fortunate that I was able to keep up with the faster riders, as last year I was unable to do so. This opportunity has grown my confidence and has also shown me that my form and skill has improved dramatically in a year.
A massive thank you to my amazing partner Pieter who rode with me. Thank you to the team for always understanding the situations we have to endure as professional riders, to my coach who walked every step of the way with me and to Ruan who still find a way for everything to come together perfectly." ~ Phillimon Sebona
We are excited about this coming year, and our targets are set. During the preparation for the upcoming events, we'll be ensuring that we are ready for every race day ahead of us in the season ahead.
As the years racing is getting underway, we are excited to be racing in multiple disciplines within the mountain biking scene.
After the Momentum Health Attakwas, in which we took the overall victory with Matthys Beukes finishing in just over 4 minutes in front of Gert Heyns, our team was off to a great start. Surprisingly, our young Academy Rider, Pieter Du Toit blew us away with his amazing performance. He rounded off the podium with a 5th position, claiming victory over his U/23 category competitors by over 11 minutes.
Photograph by Milan de Beer for Mediatic Studios, taken 200m before waterpoint 3.
After the Attakwas, Pieter spent about two weeks in the Western Cape riding with professional rider and teammate Matthys Beukes in the George region.
" I spent two weeks in George training with Matthys, which was overall a good block before the week leading up to the SA Cup in Bloemendal. The weeks spent with Matthys helped me with the lead up to the race.
The week leading up to the race, I tapered my training to ensure that my body received the rest it needed. On the Friday before the event, I came down to Durbanville to do course practice, and I loved the track and how it was laid out. Upon track practice, I approached the course as always ensuring that I leave no room for error."
As a well-known mountain bike rider, Pieter knows that line choice and pre-race tactics are crucial to a successful race and leaves smaller room for error.
"The morning of course practice, I rode my usual four laps and there-after I rested sufficiently before race day. On Saturday morning I headed over to support the younger riders before heading back to the guest house where I stayed for the race period. At the Guesthouse I got myself, my Pyga Stage and other essentials ready for the gun. I then warmed up for about 40 minutes, which for me is a bit longer than usual."
Photograph by Craig Kolesky during the SA Cup in Bloemendal.
"I had an excellent start for the first day of racing. Upon starting the race, I felt quite confident in the intense international field. On the one section, I took a drop and unfortunately, my one cleat came out of the pedal. I landed straight on my saddle leading to it breaking on impact. Luckily I brought along an extra saddle and could replace it in the tech zone thanks to many supporters.
After losing many places, I still felt great and fought back finishing 17th overall and 2nd U/23 — a great result due to the unforeseen events happening in the race. I look forward to racing the upcoming XC races and very fortunate to gain some valuable points, climbing the ranks in South Africas racing scene. "
As the Tankwa Trek approaches, Pieter will team up with Phillimon Sebona. They have been a usual pair since last seasons Absa Cape Epic, and we cannot wait to see them in action behind Matthys and Philip on Thursday.
Steadily getting ready to Trek through the Tankwa.
As the first stage race in the South African Mountain Bike season approaches our team, we had a chat with Philip Buys about his mental and physical preparation going into the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen. The event is also adding a stage to last years event.
"I look forward to taking part in Tankwa Trek as one of the first races of my season. Last year was my first time taking part in this event, so I now know a bit more of what to expect, and that always helps when planning your race strategy."
Photograph by Zoon Cronje for the ZC Marketing Consulting Team at the 2018 edition of the Tankwa Trek.
For our team, the strategy has always been critical. Especially as unplanned circumstances had shown up in last years season. To conquer the extreme terrain while battling local and international riders is going to be quite the test before the Absa Cape Epic. Both our teams are entered and ready to put their all into the 4-day event in the mountains of the Koue Bokkeveld.
"I had one-speed bump in my preparation for this event just before Attakwas. I sustained a knee injury during training and was forced to stay off the bike for two weeks. I did, however, use this setback to spend some more time on my gym work.
My knee issue seems to have been resolved now, and I had a solid few weeks on the bike again, so I am excited to test my form against some of the best riders in the world." ~ Philip Buys
We are excited to put ourselves to the test after the announcement of the strong field of riders that have entered for the event. We are ready to claim victory on home soil.
Philip Buys will be pairing up with the 2019 Momentum Health Attakwas Champion Matthys Beukes. We have also entered a second team which will consist of Phillimon Sebona and young gun Pieter du Toit.
Good luck to everyone in their final preparation towards the event.
It's always good to start the year with a bang! This weekend we travelled down to Oudtshoorn to take on the toughest single stage race in South Africa, the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme ending down at the Pine Creek Resort next to the Great Brak River, near Mosselbaai.
It was great to see the whole team together and we had a good time in George leading up to the race. Also good to welcome Milan our full time media guy to his first race with the team. Below we are providing race reports from each of our riders individually, so sit back and relax as they reflect how they #survivedtheattakwas.
1st Place for Matthys Beukes It's always an exciting start to the new season with the challenge that Attakwas brings. I prepared well and was determined to defend my title from last year but also try and go for the course record held by Swiss power house, Urs Huber.
My tactics would be much the same as last year, make sure the competition has tired legs by the halfway mark then set off in search of that record pace. I felt good from early on and knew that it was going to be a good day so I pushed the pace as planned. Unlike last year we battled a strong headwind over the first half of the race and I could see that we were close to 8min behind the pace and thought that riding a new record time wouldn’t be possible on the day…
At the halfway point I went off on my own and were able to ride a good tempo, opening a gap on the chasers and gaining time back on the course record with a nice tailwind now pushing along. I was starting to believe that a new record might be possible with the wind now in my back and just needed to make sure I stay hydrated and not run out of energy. Unfortunately, with 30km to go I started feeling slight cramps in my hamstrings and had to back off quite a bit just to make sure I don’t cramp up.
Stats wise, I did 10% less power over the last 30km than last year which means I have mixed feelings about the day. Anyway, overall I must be happy as I did indeed defend the title and took home my 3rd Attakwas rock! In the end I missed the record by around 3 minutes to set the 2nd fastest time ever and considering my final that is not too bad. It just means that I have already started thinking about next years race, tactics and preparation.
Looking forward to the rest of 2019! ~ Matthys Beukes
5th place for Pieter Du Toit
I had a good week of training leading up to the Attakwas and I felt highly prepared. So let's talk about the race. It was a fast and dusty start, but I pushed through and rode with the front batch. After the first 20km we were about 8-10 riders pushing each other.
Then at the Attakwas climb it all fell apart when Matthys attacked, he and Gert Heyns went off and left Arno du Toit and me behind. That is how I continued the race. Nicol Carstens then passed both of us placing us at 4th and 5th place. As we reached the last 20km I started pulling amps and Arno rode on without me putting me in 5th place.
I kept my 5th place till the finish, I’m very proud of my results. A big thanks to Ruan, Milan and Udo for the support at the feeds zones. ~ Pieter Du Toit
Rounding off the TOP 10 was Phillimon Sebona.
I would like to greet everyone and also like to welcome everyone into my 2019 cycling season. My first race in 2019 was something I will always cherish.
What a way to start the year with a race like the Attakwas. It was the most interesting race to start the year with. Attakwas has always been the race that I have been wishing to race in my cycling career and this year I had a chance to give it my all. I was told that it's hard and I did not want to try to break my motivation coming into this season and to start the race too hard.
I was not sure what the race held in for me, I asked Matthys for advice regarding the route and pace as he has won it twice before. I then kept a steady pace for the race and after the big climbs there was a very long district road that was still a long way from the finish line. So I was keeping my head together and tried to keep pace and stay in my zones.
I think 2019 will be one of the best years regarding improvement for my performance and experience. Much more than ever before. My motivation this year is much higher than the previous years. I never imagined a TOP 10 finish at my very first Attakwas. It is something that I didn't see coming and I am very excited and motivated for the coming season.
I would like to say thank you for all the support and help from everyone. I have good people behind me. ~ Phillimon Sebona
11th Place Overall for Philip Buys.
My training during December went really well and numbers were looking good, but unfortunately everything came to a halt when I started experiencing an unusual pain on my left knee patella. The pain started on the last day of a big block of training and at first I did not think much of it because I thought that It just needed a day or two rest, and that was the plan anyway.
After a few easy days the pain was still there and persisted for two weeks. It seemed to be an overwork injury and needed more rest. It was so frustrating to deal with this sort of uncontrollable thing again. During this time I was in George area with the idea of training in the bigger mountains before Attakwas.
Just a few days before Attakwas, my knee seemed to be better and I could squeeze in a few rides and ended up doing Attakwas as a training ride and to also get what ever UCI points that a could for World champs later in the year. ~ Philip Buys
For Team Pyga Euro Steel and its riders, the following weeks will be dedicated to preparation for the Tankwa Trek, taking place from the 7th - 10th of February in the Koue Bokkeveld region of Ceres.
You will also be able to catch academy rider, Pieter Du Toit at the upcoming first round of the South African Cross-Country Cup in Boschendal, Durbanville.
Keep your eyes peeled on our social media pages for regular updates
Below is our update of what went down at the 2019 Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme, presented by Biogen from our Facebook Page..