Well it looks like Karoo to Coast will be as close as I come to a road race this year. Having said that I am not too far off the real thing. High speeds, bunch riding and team tactics all came into this years edition of the Penny Pinchers Karoo to Coast.
This event over the years has shown tremendous growth, and with our beloved public holiday, “National Braai Day” falling on the Tuesday people were up the Garden Route in their 1000’s to take a sneaky long weekend. This year the organisers had to cap the entries at 4000 riders. Even national marathon James Reid struggled to get a late entry! Needless to say this is fast becoming the Argus of mountain biking, and the sport is showing tremendous strength.
Another positive(or in my case negative!) is that one of SA’s biggest and well paid marathon races, Hill2Hill had been moved to an earlier date which freed up many top marathon racers to come and once again light up the Karoo trails. On the start line was the full RECM team of Erik Kleinhans, Waylon Woolckock, Lourens Luus and Ariane Kleinhans, as well as national marathon champ James Reid, Fedgroups Neil Mc Donald and Brandon Stewart and a few other speedsters like Timo Cooper, Jason Meaton and Gert Heyns.
As per usual it was the Old Wagon Trail kicking out of Uniondale that selected the lead group of 7 Riders, who kept a high tempo to open up a decent gap before relaxing and soaking up the 15km downhill. So far I was LOVING life on my dual suss. Two attacks later, and 50km in and James Reid and Walyon Woolcock set a lightning pace up the 3rd climb for the day which saw them drag Gerty Heyns along with them. I attempted to go with, but to be honest I was just not feeling as fresh as I would have liked. Perhaps a little too much surfing the last few weeks!
With Erik, Jason and myself left behind, it was only Jason and myself who could set chase, as some team tactics entered the race and Erik chose not to chase his team mate Waylon down. No matter how much I tried, I just could not convince him that Waylon could not out sprint James and needed his help! Jason and I worked well together and managed to haul a fading Gert Heyns into sight with 10km to go, and bridged across to him up the last climb up, and then down Simola thanks to a few hand slings from Erik, dropping Jason in the process.
It was now down to a sprint finish, a 58kg me, vs two riders with at least 10kg extra on me, into a block headwind. I lost. Big time. Not even my lumo orange socks helped! I finished in 5th in a time of 3hrs 8mins. I’m shrugging this one off as training for the Cape Pioneer Trek. Up ahead, James Reid did eventually outs print ex roadie Waylon to take the win and do the SA Champs jersey proud. Mountain bikers reign supreme!
Take a look at the data from my Suunto Ambit, pretty interesting http://www.movescount.com/moves/move19073362 .
Until next time, Keep it rubber side down.