Two weeks after the WP XC win it’s time to hit the road and test the legs there. The 4th Drakenstein Super Series event out in Wellington.

Great weather was gifted to us and I took a nearly full team with me. There weren’t that many entries again so the organisers joined the Elites with the SubVets and Vets guys. The course was the same for all but right near the finish there was a 10km circuit. 3 Laps for Elites and 1 for Subvets and Vets.

We headed out towards Malmesbury and the CTM guys cracked on the gas out the blocks, the legs burned a little but nothing major,the idea was to let the elites dictate a bit until the climb and then make some racing after that depending on how we felt. Daneel and Tredoux went away 15km before the climb and the bunch wasn’t too crazy about the chase, they got a decent sized gap of 2 minutes.

We settled into a rythym until the climb got underway. The elites put the hammer down at the first bend about 1/3 way up the climb and about 12-15 guys formed a gap of about 15-20 seconds over the top. I sat in the 2nd bunch and rode comfortably until after 2/3rds and then I picked up the pace to make sure I went over with enough guys to chase. Unfortunately not many came with me, but Luke was not far behind and I sat up to take him and Albertus Rust with me on the chase.

It took way longer than I thought to catch, the Elites were driving hard and only Luke and I  doing the work to close, we were catching but slowly. We turned left into the slight headwind and pushed harder. The elites were playing cat and mouse and this helped us rejoin more quickly.

Once in the bunch we rested and checked out who was there…only three Subvets including Luke and I, Daneel had been caught on the climb and Tredoux was also brought back. Cape Town Market took pot shots every km and daiken chased, we ebbed and flowed while they tested each other. Luke and I were weary of being caught from behind and allowing more SV’s to join us again so we got to work on with nothing to lose. Luke Legs had no more to give soon enough and I didn’t want to tire out, but just then Charles Solomon attacked and I quickly lept to his wheel. There was no immediate counter from anyone so we buried the pedals and took long turns each. Charles is a diesel engine of note so I knew we had a fair chance at a long break, I still had 35km to go, 50km for Charles!

We took out 45seconds and could see the chase group for a long time as they tried to close, but without making enough headway they couldn’t keep it up. We were averaging 45km/h so it was not going to be easy. Once we were out of sight we took a little more upping to 1:40sec at the start of the final loops. The Officials car gave us a time check halfway and we’d taken another minute. Charles hung back and rested the whole first lap, he still had to do two on his own to survive. I still had good legs and took more time out of the bunch.

As Charles started his 2nd lap at the left turn I went straight on to the finish… with over three minutes to spare I could savour the win as I rolled over the line all alone. I had got my revenge after so closely finishing 2nd in the same series race 1.

Two Wins in a row, I felt on top of the world.

Neville Cragg
Harder than it looks