With all the drama and fierce racing at Sani2c its great to be on the top step and take the overall win.
We want to thank each and everyone that supports us, whether it be through equipment, finances or emotional support all of these aspects is what keeps us on this top step. Winning is a great feeling but happiness only real when shared.
Below some words and pictures of the guys.
Day 1- We were a bit unsure of what to expect as Phil had a stomach bug the day before but we decided to take it easy and see how it goes. We were 4 teams that rolled together nicely the first 60k and as we hit the first of 3 climbs in the last 15k, Phil felt good and attacked. I jumped over to him and we got a small gap. We kept it fast but smooth through some single track and over the remaining 2 climbs to the finish to take the win, around 45sec on 2nd and 3rd placed teams. A surprisingly good day for us with everything in mind!
Day 2- This was the day that we knew would suit us best and where we could pun in huge time in our rivals. Unfortunately the stage had to be neutralized for rider safety after much more than expected rainfall.
Day 3- What is traditionally a super fast stage where it's difficult to gain time this years final stage was turned upside down with the extreme conditions on course. We know the muddy conditions suits us a bit better but we also knew that we would be kept busy with a lot of mechanical problems and that we just needed to stay calm and never give up. We managed to get through the first 20km without too much problems but a twisted chain on Phils bike but us around 2min back. We chased back calmly and regained contact with around 20km to go but then Phil had a nasty crash and were on the back foot again. Now with around 1.5min behind we set about chipping at the seconds. With 10 to go we were in sight of the leaders and what seemed would be a drag race for the final 2km, luck swung our way for once when Matt Beers had to stop for a dropped chain. Finally, after being on the back foot for nearly 70km we were in the lead and nothing was going to stop us now.
It was an amazing day on the bike filled with ups and downs but in the end we pulled through and Im super proud of that! It was a massive relief for me to have been successful in defending the title, especially with the way things turned against us.
Up next is SA Marathon Champs in Pietermaritzburg this coming Sunday. Looking to keep the momentum through into what will be an amazing race if all goes to plan. Thanks to everyone for the support, couldn't have done it without you!
My Sani2C buildup went pretty smooth up until Tuesday night the evening before we left for Underburg. I ate something that was off and started throwing up from about 7pm.
The next morning I could feel that what ever I had to eat was out the system, but was feeling very weak. During the drive down to Underburg I made sure I drank plenty of water and rehydrate.
By the morning of race start I felt much better but had no idea how my body would respond to racing. We kept things chilled until about 15km to go where I then put in my first effort. My body responded fine and we managed to win the first stage.
Our race strategy was to try and blow things apart on the long and though stage 2 of Sani2c, but because of the extreme weather conditions the stage was neutralized.
The final stage 3 felt like a frantic scramble to get to the coast. Our legs were strong, but on a day like this it was going to be the riders with the strongest minds that would come out on top. Our lead was only 40 seconds so we still had everything to race for.
Everyone had chain issues but we managed it calmly and just as I felt we were in a spot of comfort and in control of the race, just 20s off the front pairing of Matt Beers and Tim Hammond, in a slight lapse of concentration I found myself crashing into a 2m deep donga. Miraculously I climbed out of the donga with no major injuries or damage to the bike. The last 25km was a fight for survival and the scramble to the finish just continued.
We were super relieved to have pulled off this win and for our whole team this first part of the season has really been a blessing from above and we are grateful for the support from all of our partners.
This weekend is another big one. I feel a bit battered, but confident that we will have a solid race on Sunday.