I had missed round 4 by virtue of it falling on the same day as the Plett race, but I looked forward to the final round and hoped to be fully fit after racing went well the week before. The course was new to me and I arrived early with a rigid setup and scouted the course.
The initial climb was a beast, really long and around a 8% grade, the rigid fork would come in handy, but the rest of the course wouldn’t allow for it. The singletrack was free flowing but hardpack with lots of stones and rocks making hard work for the wrists. I decided to re-fit the suspension fork and rather enjoy the downhills than the climbs.
The start was rather feverish with everyone trying to get into the climb in a good position. I managed to hold 4th place and was overtaken a little way up to place 5th by the top. The leading trio had a little advantage and I rode steady on the wheel to recover and try gain some lost ground. We made good time and were back in touch at the end of the singletrack section. I moved up into 2nd place level pegging with the leader Tim Osrin. The 5 of us started lap two and I statered sliding back again on the climb, I tried to limit my losses as much as possible, and raced into 4th place into the singletracks. I made 2 mistakes by losing my way and missing the turns, I held onto 4th though and kept at it. I wasn’t too far behind but I could feel the intensity taking it’s toll on the third lap up the beast. I slowed and riders caught me one by one as my lap times slowed by a minute a lap.
I didnt want to give up and I kept riding, through semi cramps and exhaustion by lap 5. I was now relegated to being passed by riders I hadn’t even seen for 4 laps, I knew it was my lungs again and just kept going. I eventually came home in tenth overall, and about 6th in my age cat to score the points. I had given up hope of having enough points in the bag for WP colours already but enjoyed the last run down the DH course, taking in some jumps and the tabletop as well.
Surprisingly I had still made enough point to retain my WP colours and am really happy to keep the stripes considering I was fit and had bad luck through the season. I’ll be back next year!