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The Racing Block: Part 1

Taking the Liberty Cape Winelands Encounter title with Craig
Taking the Liberty Cape Winelands Encounter title with Craig. (Image Credit: Ewald Salie)

After a whirlwind two months of racing and travelling all over the country and even abroad, its time for some rest. Time to look back and see what was done right, and what can be done better next time around.

The rest is welcomed and I could feel towards the end of this racing block, I had perhaps gone one race too far at Van Gaalens. It is important to push the boundaries though, otherwise we would not know where they stand.

The rest is is followed by a period of planning and rebuilding. The focus for the latter part of the season will be towards the Cape Pioneer and Wines2Whales, both big races and it’s exciting that they again form a part of the race calender.

Before moving forward, as I said, it is important to reflect on what has been a successful racing stint. After a week long race like the Epic, I’ve found that from past experience I can either come off the race very well, into an almost second higher peak or be crawling, there is no middle ground. The later more the case after the Cape Pioneer last year and the first probably how I came off the Cape Pioneer in 2014. The most important factor is to first ensure some good recovery time and then in these cases a few short sharp tune up rides before the Wines2whales.

Following the Epic this year I had some good rest, indulged in some food and wine and then was mentally and physically ready to go again. The first outing would be a short and exceptionally intense effort at the 99er Classic, a 45km race in and around the Tygerberg network of trails. I was happy with a 3rd on the day behind the USN duo of Waylon Woolcock and Darren Lill.

Rounding out the podium at the 99er Classic
Rounding out the podium at the 99er Classic.

In action at the Liberty Cape Winelands Encounter
In action at the Liberty Cape Winelands Encounter. (Image Credits: Ewald Sadie)

The following week Craig and I again teamed up to take on the Liberty Cape Winelands Encounter. Although there were a few minor issues on the first stage, they were just a minor dent into our efforts and we again combined well to win 3 of 3 stages and the overall race. The mojo was good and I was keen to carry it moving forward.

After a criterium at Killarny, I lined up for probably my longest one day race ever, the Transkaroo. A 240km marathon which would prove to be a sharp contrast to Killarney. Nonetheless the good mojo continued and the race would ultimately prove to be a battle of attrition. I made my move up the Ouberg pass and opened a gap of a few minutes as I crested the climb and the escarpment. A final top up at the last tech zone would be my sustenance until the finish line another 40km later. After riding from sunrise to sunset I had managed to bag the win. Good times indeed.

Winter League skinny wheel action
Winter League skinny wheel action. (Image credit: Cycle Technix)

Lonely road up the Ouberg Pass
Lonely road up the Ouberg Pass.
(Image credit: TCB Photogrpahy)

It's steep and it hurts
It’s steep and it hurts.

Power to beat your best, you’re stronger than you think.
Power to beat your best, you’re stronger than you think.

Taking the road less travelled?
Taking the road less travelled?
(Image credits: Living Light Photography)

Done
Done. Ecstatic. Broken. Relieved. (Image credit: TCB Photography)

With just a few short days for recovery it was back on the road again, this time to the Gravel and Grape. I would form a new partnership with Dylan Rebello, as Craig was unable to get leave for the race. Our new relationship got off on the right foot and we managed to take the first stage, and then the second and finally the third and overall title. Winning had become a very good habit.

Gravel and Grape
Gravel and Grape. (Image credits: Chris Hitchcock)

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