Ok so it’s been a long time since i wrote here but racing season is two days away and I should fill you in!
Round 3 of the WP XC series was a muddy affair, the rain came in thick and hard for two days and didn’t let up on race day, although we didn’t have much fall during the race. The course however was shot to bits. The jeep track was slush and the freshly cut singletrack was muddy and rocky underneath, no hardpack almost anywhere. The rain kept a fair few competitors away though, so with a small field to beat I liked my chances.
On lap one Carel and I set off in front and quickly had a gap, I let him lead into the singletrack and it went ok until the 2nd half where I got hasty and tried an overtake in a badly rutted area. I didn’t make the gap jump and took a fall. Front wheel needed straightening and it took me a few tries to get it straight. I lost a minute that I never made up, I rushed to catch but crashed again, and again… the singletrack climbing was unrideable as chainsuck set in on lap two, with only a 42/32 it was not possible to ride someof the terrain. With Carel’s superior running fitness I knew he was set to win. I consolidated my 2nd place and made sure I finished strong to get the points in the bag.
I worked on my bike setup for two weeks before the 4th round came. more rain though but the different venue of Coetzenberg made a big difference and the course drained well. more rain meant a small field again. This time though I needed a win to secure enough points to make the cut for colours.
I was more patient, I rode almost the entire 1st lap tailing Carel and another rider, learning the course first, I did manage to fall off my bike though in the singletrack on an off camber loamy dip. Skew bars again meant time lost but Carel wasn’t pushing it and I pushed hard to catch. by the time the lap was over I was back and we set off in chase of the leader, he was a little way up the main climb early in the lap and I didn’t panic. I reeled him in steadily and was on his tail until the singletrack again, I followed again and left Carel a bit behind. out of the singltrack there was a fast dip and sharp climb before a last singletrack section all the way to the line. It was critical to be here first on the last lap. I raced the guy in and beat him to the entry and led through the finish. Carel now found his legs again and chased us, I dropped my man and Carel had soon overtaken him too and joined me as we hit the downhill. we rode together and worked with each other most of the way. I led as Carel had again hit some chainsuck with the mud. I didn’t attack but we rode hard and stayed clear of any threats to the lead. On the final lap we had a little sprint for the lead into that last singletrack, I heard Carel coming and put the hammer down to maintain my position. We got held up by a develoment rider all the way to the line and agreed the outcome like gentlemen before the line came, he knew I had the better sprint anyhow 🙂
Win number one! and points for Joint 1st place in WP colours.