Returning to the Wines to Whales event for the second year in a row now as defending champion has been quite an experience! With my last year’s partner Matthys Beukes not taking the start line after a tough Cape Pioneer Trek, we weren’t short on competition. With team duo’s like RE:CM(Waylon Woolcock and Erik Kleinhans), Blend Cannondale(Darren Lill and Andrew Hill), EAI(Johan Rabie and Hanco Kachelhoffer) and Contego (Adriaan Louw and Jurgens Uys), my team mate Nico and I certainly didn’t feel like race favourites!
I am pleased to say that things went much better than expected! After leaving Lourensford , about 4 teams stayed together until we hit the compulsory portage up the wagon trail going over Sir Lowreys Pass. With Nico being an ex-triathlete he shot off the front like a Greyhound out os a start box, and left me to see what I could do against the others. Coming over the top we had about a minute gap.
Keeping the pace steady and controlled, we wound our way through the many kilometres of pristine Grabouw singletack. Surviving a puncture we kept our composure and steadily built up our lead over terrain that suited us really well from our Cross Country backrounds. Nico isn’t masters World Champion for nothing!
The hard effort up the portage, as well as a slight nutritional mistake by me lead to me hitting the wall and slowing down over the last 10km and losing a lead of a reported 5minutes. Fortunately we held on to take the win by 2mins35!
Behind us Darren Lill and Andrew Hill managed to leave the other teams behind with Erik and Waylon trailing us by about 5 minutes give or take due to a crash and broken pedal.
Tomorrow sees us tackling 63km over the most sublime single track through Oak Valley and Paul Cluver. Last year we made our race winning move on this stage. Let’s see what happens!
For a detailed account of what went on, see what my Suunto Ambit 2 recorded suring the race –>http://www.movescount.com/moves/move21002756
Keep it rubber side down.