For the season finale of the National Marathon series we travelled to a new venue Kaapsehoop.
The first day was very wet and misty but it didn’t stop Matthys powering to the stage win, Philip finished 2nd with Julian in 6th and Phillimon in the Top 20.
Day two the mist lifted and we were treated to a beautiful day, Matthys taking another win and Philip 2nd. Julian finished 10th and Phillimon 12th.
Below their reports and great shots from Graham Daniels, also a link to the Recap video on youtube - https://youtu.be/VSIufdN3GwE
Matthys Beukes - 1st overall
Coming toward the end of a 3 week racing block I knew the form was good and with good recovery and final training after Berg and Bush I was really looking forward to the series final.
Day 1 started off fast and soon it was only a small group of riders off the front with myself and Philip dictating the racing.
On the king of the mountain climb we distanced ourself from the rest and headed to the halfway mark where the real racing would begin.
Me and Phil were really close in the series standing and we came to the agreement that we would race for the title once we were sure that one of us would win. The long climbs in the 2nd half really suited me and I was happy to take the win at the end after we both had a strong ride.
Day 2 dawned and my plan was to firstly ride safe and then, from the 35km mark go for the win. The racing was on from the gun and I rode smart the first few km’s but quite soon had the opportunity to go on my own. It was still long before the 35km mark so I didn’t bury myself, riding tempo on the climbs and recovering on the downhills. The chasers caught me later on and I put in a few subtle accelerations to get some lactic in their legs before making my final move with about 15km to go.
I was really happy that I had a trouble free ride and super chuffed on taking the win for the weekend that should put me in the lead for the national marathon series, my first series win!
2017 has been an incredible year for me with very little bad luck and a well planed, well executed training/racing strategy made sure the form was good throughout the season. Firstly I want to thank my wife, Michele for all the effort and sacrifice she also puts in to support me 100% day in and day out, it really is quite incredible! To Ruan, Matt, Phil, Kombo, Philly and Julian… its a privilege to be working with you guys and thanks for all the good times throughout every event we go to!
Then to you guys, our sponsors, who believe in us and support us, a massive thank you! It is also such a privilege to have such an amazing group of people behind us and sharing in our dreams and passions, thank you!
Ive got a few days off now then the final prep for the final event of 2017 starts, Wines 2 Whales.
Whatever happens, here’s to a successful 2017!
Philip Buys - 2nd overall
The last race of the Ashburton National MTB series took us to a brand new venue in Kaapsehoop.
Day one was overcast and wet conditions. 9km into the stage the organizers marked out a Strava segment of around 3km. The fastest time over the weekend on this segment would win a laanie Maserati watch.
As we approached the segment I backed off to about 200m behind the leading bunch, with the idea to accelerate up to the bunch as the segment started and just sit there to clock up the fastest time. Gert Heyns had the same idea and he slowed down to start the segment with me. It then turned out to be quite the race against Gert with both of us passing the lead bunch and sprinting it out for this segment.
Both of us recorded a time of 5m16s and the next day on the half marathon race, one of the juniors, Pieter du Toit also posted the same time of 5:16. At prize giving It came down to a coin flip and I eventually walked away with the watch calling heads. The other two both chose tails.
Back to the real race. After that Strava sprint I was off the bunch but later made contact again after a downhill. Matthys and I managed to get a decent gap on the rest of the field and we had a drag race up the last climb for about an hour after which Matthys beat me. A one two for the team.
On stage two I suffered more than on the first day. We could not shake the rest of the field as easily as the previous day. Punches were flying from the gun but it was only in the last 40min of the stage were things really split up. Again a drag race to the finish with Matthys leading and me about 30s of and HB Kruger trailing another 30s behind me. That was how the day ended up and also the GC positions.
Congrats to Matthys for taking the overall series title. Also a 1, 2 for Team PYGA Euro Steel in the overall series rankings.
Julian Jessop - 8th overall
The past weekend was the 7th and final round of the Ashburton Investments National Marathon MTB Series, which was held in the tranquil village of Kaapsche Hoop. I am currently studying BCOMPT in Financial Accounting through UNISA and Varsity College. With exams starting tomorrow I was under some time pressure. However, Ruan was extremely accommodating and supportive of my exams and organized for me to fly on Friday morning, race Saturday and Sunday and then fly back Sunday evening.
Day 1 – 65km.
The route profile was quite interesting as majority of the 1700m of elevation gain would be gained in the last 15km. However, our minds were occupied on what combination of warm garments from Kalas we should wear for the stage - I opted for the waterproof gillet and arm warmers. The race had a fast start, courtesy of Matthys and Philip, and I felt great. I could go with all the moves and was riding in the first five wheels – I was loving the race. But then at 12km into the race I punctured my front wheel, whilst riding right behind Matthys. I tried to repair the damage but after two CO2 cannisters my tyre was still flat when Phillimon arrived. Phillimon, being as selfless and generous as he is, gave me his wheel straight away. I thanked Phillie and then I was off. I was determined to try catch up as many people as possible. At the bottom of the climb I had worked myself to 6th position and I had both Gert Heyns and Waylon Woolcock in front. I climbed to my rhythm and lost sight of the other two. At the top of the climb I was caught by Shaun-Nick Bester as soon as I saw Gert. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay with Shaun for the last few kilometres but I did manage to pass Gert. I was really happy with how I felt and how I performed after spending 3.5minutes stationary.
Day 2 – 56km (10km too long…)
After such good sensations yesterday I was determined to back it up with another solid performance and no mechanical issues. However, in my warm up I could feel my body was tired after the previous day’s solo time trail for over 50km. The start was once again fast, due to the same protagonists once again- Matthys and Philip. Unlike yesterday, I could not hold the lead groups wheel and was distanced and isolated between the chasing group and the lead group. I rode the next 10km or so with the lead group in sight but I just did not have that little bit extra speed needed to catch them. With no one else near me it was purely a solo effort just behind the lead group. It stayed like this until just after the 30km mark where I put a big effort up the hardest hill to catch Declan Sidney and Waylon Woolcock who were roughly 20 – 30s in front of me. I got really close to catching them, I was only 15m off the back of them when my body started to shut down. I had dropped my bottle earlier on and didn’t have Cadence Carbofuel to help fuel my body. I took major shots. I was then caught by the chasing group, but when they came past me it felt like they were doing a XCO start and I could only hold onto them for a few minutes. Going up the last climb which was dead straight I hit the wall so hard, that I bounced backwards. Doing the last undulating 10km of the race was probably the hardest 10km I have ever ridden. I crossed the line in 10th overall.
Over the two days I finished 8th overall. It was quite a roller coaster of a ride, as I felt absolutely amazing on Day 1 to feeling completely empty at the end of Day 2. However, being a part of such an awesome team makes up for much more than my disappointment in my result. I loved being back with the team this weekend and I had such a good time with everyone! Thanks once again to Ruan and Matt for all their behind the scene work they do for us to race!
Phillimon Sebona - 15th overall
I would like to greet everyone.
About this weekends race, it was a great race and different weather conditions.
I was tested in different levels of weather conditions, the mist made it hard for me during the first day and the cold was not that easy for me to overcome
Early in the race I found jullien next to the road with a mechanical, I saw that its very important for me to help Julian with my wheel so he can make it to the line and in the top position. I was not feeling well because of the cold day and with no visibility. But I could give help to him, it could help the team with a good result. To put us in good team work for the future, a team is about honesty and fair racing, its also about working together so I needed to play a role.
The second day was a bit better but the weather was not forgiving on me, I was feeling good until i lost all my bottles just after the big down hill after the feed Zone. I had to ride the whole last 25-30 km without any bottles of water or anything to drink so I was forced to stop at all the water points in order for me to drink something, it was very hot but it was the great experience. I have experienced that I can overcome these situations. What I also learned is to know were I must fit my bottles when they are full and empty, its the first time that this happened to me during the race.
Thank you for everyone!