The past weekend our team raced the first leg of the National Marathon series in Grabouw. Philip and Kombo travelled down to do some performance tests on Thursday and I joined them that evening. Matthys came through on Friday and we all stayed in a nice farm house in Grabouw, the perfect place to get ready for race day on Saturday.
Below some comments from the riders regarding the race:
Matthys Beukes (10th)
Saturdays Ashburton Investments National MTB Series was a bitter sweet day for me. After riding really well the majority of the race and in with a shot at the win, a wrong turn 8k's from the end put me out of contention.
Still had so much fun on one of the best routes I've ever raced on... The shorter distance (3hrs winning time) is also much better and allows for proper racing!👍 Also very happy to see that Im over the injuries and that the hard work over December and January is going to pay off in 2017!👌
Now its just a question of fine tuning and not make stupid mistakes!🙈 Onwards to Sabie in 3 weeks time! Yeawww!!✊️😜 Team PYGA Euro Steel
Kombo Bere (12th in age cat)
The Vo2 max was an absolutely full on maximum power effort. Looking Back at 2015 which was of course the last time i had a vo2 max test , there has been a massive improvement in power stats as well as threshold stats. The vo2 max test is a painful yet very important test for any athlete looking to compete at an international level and Olympic level.
Two days after my test had the 70km Ashburton race in Grabouw #Race no. 1
The race was primarily stocked with world class athletes and local athletes. The start was extremely fast with rolling hills added to the surprise. Sadly the vo2 max test was just too much for my legs to bare, which saw me dropping back from the main bunch and riding a more relaxed yet painful race. Climbing which is normally one of my strong points was just fused with painful legs but a very strong mindset. As an athlete it is important to establish a relationship between the mind and the body sometimes pushing to the limits can only do harm if the body is in a very tired state of mind.
Progress over the years to come will surely be the winning factor. For now the experience of Phillip Buys and Matthys Beukes is something I will treasure and also learn from.
Philip Buys (DNF)
Our first real test as Team PYGA Euro Steel was at the National MTB series in Grabouw.
Rocking up at the event in new colors and gear was exciting and we got a bunch of compliments cruising around before the start. We definitely look fast on the bikes.
With the strong field of riders present, this race would also serve as a good gauge of where our shape is compared to the competition.
The Thursday before the race Kombo and I visited Sports & Science institute at Newland stadium. We did some lab testing to determine base training values for Kombo and for me just a monitoring test with my coach Jeroen Swart to check training progress since I started buildup for Epic early December. All seems on tack and going according to plan. We also did bike fitments on the ErgoFit system and found that I was not too far off with my current bike fit that I just went on with feeling.
Planning going forward would be less volume and more intensity from now on. It is time to start with the real intensity work now and bolt on the turbo.
After a chat with Jeroen, predictions for the race was that I should not go with all the accelerations, as we have not yet done a lot of intensity work. In the race I did not struggle to stick with any of the accelerations until we hit the KOM climb at around 30km. I backed off a bit on this climb and started to make contact with the lead group on the following downhill again. At this point around the 40km mark I cut my front tire to a degree that it was not repairable.
It was great to see that Matthys really looked solid and in control. I am sure the next race will have a very different outcome.
We are busy testing tyres for the Epic in race conditions, on the front I had a slightly lighter Maxxis tyre with less protection. After this puncture incident we have come to the conclusion to rather take the weight penalty and go with the stronger tyres all round for the Cape Epic.
We have 3 weeks now to put in another big important training block before we race the second National MTB Series race in Sabie. We should all be stronger at this event if training goes according to plan.
The bikes, wheels, kit and everything feels and looks amazing.
Thank you for all the support.