SA XCO Champs – Cape Town

Mark Austin Photography - SA XCO Champs

The weekend of SA XCO champs is normally very well organized in advance so I can relax with the build up to the race. Well nobody can be organized when your flight is delayed by 9 hours, but been over the weekend of the Argus this only get worse when the airports lose your bikes and make you walk everywhere to try find them. Almost two hour of searching for bikes we finally got them but was too late to head down to the race course as it was already getting dark.

Good thing the track was not technical at all because with the loss of a day in airports we only had one day to test the track out. While riding the track for the first time, was really not feeling good and didn’t know how the legs would feel the following day. A few more laps and was a bit more confident to race a round this course with the steep hills around every corner for the first 3km of the 5.7km track.

After the practice laps and a chat with the boys around the lack of single track and was time for the carbo-loading and relaxing to finally begin, while we watched the Sharks win there forth straight game in the Super 15. Unlike most SA races I was feeling really relaxed knowing the pressure wouldn’t be on as I wasn’t a favorite as I was still trying to make up for the month holiday in January.

An early nights sleep and a late wake up call as I was only racing after 12 meant I was well rested by the time us and the bikes were in the car heading to the course at 11. Got to say after a tough African Champs I was felling very intimidated as I road along the road during the warm up and watched others fly past during some sprints.

With a second row seed I knew the start would be important to a good race and this proved as standing behind Luke Roberts as he missed his pedal at the start cause a few guys further back to go down in the start straight. The first hill also had its technicalities as people were littered everywhere and made passing and riding the smoother lines impossible forcing myself to go up on the harder side of the hill in order to pass a few riders. This however worked as by the top I was in a good position to have a good race.

By end of he first lap I found myself chasing down a few more riders and had two riders on my wheel trying to hold on. This continued as we made our way up the last climb up to the second tech zone on lap 3 where Charles Stander miss counted and said I was in 5th when I would later find out it was 7th. I pushed on the 4th lap to hold on to my “5th” and eventually dropped the two riders on my back wheel up to the second tech zone on the second last lap. The way back to the start/finish I tried to maintain a good speed to hold this gap while saving the legs for the last lap. This paid off as the last lap I was able to extend the gap as I went around the track for the last time. This secured a good race in which I was able to pull of a 7th while being a little under trained. Congrates to Luke Roberts for the brilliant race to become SA XCO champion and team mate Brendon Davids who pulled off a good 3rd for Team Jeep SA.

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