With the current drought in Cape Town we expected nothing less than a very dry, dusty and warm race.
The first XCO race of the season is early and most of our athletes are still in their buildup toward the year, their training is tailored to marathon racing so the short fast XCO always proves to be a good kickstart to their longer intensity training block. Thanks Warren, Chris and Jeremy from SRAM & Cape Cycles for putting up a world class event and supporting our sport!
There was a big international field and the worlds best lined up for the race, it was good day out with a lot of valuable lessons. Our whole team now head for the Tankwa Trek hosted by Dryland Events in Ceres 9-11 February. Be sure to follow our action with Phil & Matthys leading the charge, Julian & Phillimon partnering and Pieter & Kombo representing our academy.
Below words from the athletes:
Philip Buys - 6th overall
It was great to race a cross country event again and the ideal opportunity for a solid intensity workout.
I was seeded 10th and had a really good start finishing the first half of lap one in second, but unfortunately over the last obstacle before we headed out for our second lap I put my back wheel down too hard in a rut and blew out about 50% air.
The tech zone was close and I ended up losing about 45s with the wheel change.
Otherwise the rest of my race went pretty smooth and the bike rolled perfectly. I finished up 6th on the day.
Matthys Beukes - 10th overall
I was really looking forward to some XC racing and with some of the best riders in the world lining up it was always going to be a super fast race.
Conditions were really hot and dry and that proved to be my greatest challenge on the day. I could only go hard on the first climb that was shaded and had to back off a lot on the open climb later in the lap. Coupled with getting tangled in the start it wasn’t really my day.
On lap 2 I was really struggling with the heat and mentally wasn’t in a good place. I started wondering if it is worth taking the risks and not maybe safer to pull out and this mind game went on for most of the 2nd lap. I soon decided that I can just back off where I felt it might be risky and use the day as good training and also try to get used to the heat.
Soon I was starting to catch riders and a few laps later found a good rhythm that I could sustain for the rest of the race. I could feel I was getting better and better every lap and going into the final lap I was in 12th and put in an effort to get up to 10th that Im quite happy with all things considered. All in all I feel it was good training and there is a few positives I can take out.
Looking forward to Tankwa Trek this weekend with the team.
Ive never done it before but only heard good things about it.
Julian Jessop - 14th overall 4th u23
The first cross-country race of the year is almost always the hardest. It is the first time your body goes that deep for that duration. This year followed suite. It was a very hard race in challenging conditions – it was very hot with severe dust. The competition that lined up was nothing short of world class.
I had a good start and managed to ride alongside Nino Shurter – current Olympic and World Champion - for a brief moment. My body then rejected the intensity. With my shortest interval prior to the race being 10minutes, I battled with the intensity and the surges. I really suffered after a fast first lap but then managed to recover a bit for the middle of the race before fading again near the end. It was the longest xco race I had ever done as it took me 1 hour and 48minutes. I finished 14th in Pro elite and I was the 4th U23.
I was quite disappointed with my race as I had much bigger expectations for myself. So I have decided to learn from the race and move forward in a positive direction. I am changing one or two things in my preparation for the world cup in 5 weeks time but I should be in much better shape as I will have done some more intensity by then.
I am looking forward to being back with the team this weekend for the Tankwa Trek!
Pieter Du Toit - 29th overall 9th u23
SA cup #1 in Stellenbosch . It was almost like a world cup , because the best guys in the world were there .
My race started of very good . I was seated in the 3rd row and as the gun went the I took of . After the first corner I was in front of the whole race . But that just stayed to the top of the hill .
On the flat section the other racers came past me and I dropped to the back . But the pro’s pace was to high for me . And unfortunately they laped me .
And I finished 29th overall and 9th in the u/23 category. But well done to Phillip Buys with his 6th place After having a flat .
And thanks for Ruan and Matt for all the help in the tech zone .