Thursday, May 12, 2011


Round 2 of the South African National MTB Cross Country Championships was held in Port Elizabeh's Baakens river valley on Saturday 07 May 2011. Fat Tracks Club members put in a huge amount of work to cut new single track to ensure a national level course in the Baakens valley. The net result, was a significant increase in the number of trails in the valley.

I have not been doing much riding since the 2011 Cape Epic, but at the start of the Vets race it was quickly apparent that I had carried over some form. XC lap racing is the purist form of MTB and its very much like school work. If you have done your homework (training), you know your results once you've seen the question paper (the first few minutes of the race). Thereafter its just a case of answering all the questions (the race) and getting to the finish.

Charl Joubert set the pace with Chris Nel in hot pursuit. I found that I was easily able to keep the pace being set and picked off Chris Nel on the first major climb. As a race strategy, I decided to gradually close the gap which Charl had built up figuring that I would put in a hard charge on the last lap. After the first lap Charl had a lead of 15 seconds, which I closed down to 7 seconds after lap 2. Unfortunately, Charl dropped a chain on lap three and then flatted, thereby ending a race which was turning into a great contest. By then we had opened a large gap on Chris Nel and I cruised to the finish.

As far as choice of weapons, the 26er Scott Spark was an absolute winner. Charl had been riding a GT hardtail 26er and the first lap showed that the full suspension Spark would get better as the race progressed. I could clearly see the hardtail was battering Charl and that I would probably have the edge as long as I could stay in striking distance. As for the 29ers, well there were very few around. Chris Nel rode one, and I could see that the short stabbing climbs definitely gave the advantage to the 26er.

Support from spectators was phenomenal. Despite the rain, PE's MTB crowd were out in force. Having Mike, my Cape Epic partner shouting support, together with lots of old MTB friends, was great.

The full results of the days racing can be downloaded from the Cycling SA website and the press coverage of the event can be seen at the Mountain Biker website It would seem that my Powercote kit is fast maturing as my lucky charm. In my Powercote kit, Day 8 of the Cape Epic was a great ride and it did the same for me at this race.

You can view images of the race at Picasa

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