Sunday, 17 March 2013

Gauteng Provincial #1
The first leg of the Gauteng XCO provincial series, held at Thaba trails in Johannesburg South. The last few training rides on my new Pinarello Dogma XC have been awesome, it is really fast and I feel super comfortable on it! So I was excited to put it to the ultimate test; a cross country race. I was also feeling anxious, as the last cross country race I did was SA champs last year in July and I was worried that I had “forgotten how”. Thank goodness it came back to me, kinda like riding a bicycle ;)

Standing on the start line, I could see I had tough competition with Yolande Speedy and Yolandi du Toit next to me. The start was only about a 100m sprint before we hit the single track. Yolande got in first with me just behind her, she went slightly wrong on the first left turn, so I zipped in front of her, only to get passed again a few meters later. Yolande and I quickly got a big gap on the rest of the field. I managed to catch her and got into the lead about half way through the first lap. My CyclOps GPS was showing my heart rate in the red, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to maintain it. I got into a rhythm, keeping a high cadence and making sure to enjoy the single track and few technical sections that are the reason I love mountain biking so much!
I was surprised at how fast I was riding, it felt good, all our tough training over the past few months is paying off, the Pinarello definitely helping out!

The laps went smoothly, with almost no errors or crashes, my heart rate maxing out all the way! My lap times were consistent which is the most important thing. I looked behind me at about 3 km to go and saw Yolande catching me. I had a few sub vet men in front of me who were slower in the single track, I forced my way past them (politely) and pushed hard to the end. I was ecstatic to have won and pleasantly surprised by my performance!

My team mates, and the rest of the Academy members all did excellently, killing it with 8 out of the 12 getting podiums, and a total of 5 wins for the day: Arno du Toit: 1st U23, Paul Cordes: 1st sub vet, Joel Hieber: 1st Junior and Neville Ackermann: 1st Master.
This coming weekend is the first national XCO in Cape Town.
Until then, keep the rubber side down
Amy Beth

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