Claiming victory at Hell of the South.
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..