Race report Xterra South Africa 23rd Feb 2014
I hadn’t been to Cape Town for 10 years (I was there for a few months doing some stunt work.)
It had changed, for the better. Gone was the scale and poverty of the shanty town as you drive through as they are replaced by smarter homes it seems much better.
As soon as we touched the ground we were welcomed warmly with a shuttle bus to the hotel in the beautiful area of Stellenbosch, the famous wine region. I had visited this area before and remember a wine farm named Simonsig -a wine so good that it stayed with me for all this time, in fact my last
MINI cooper was being built at the time in the UK whilst I was away and I named her SIMONSIG as she was a little red and white car.
The race was in another breathtakingly beautiful place named Grebrauw, The event was BIG, over 800 competitors for the full on Sunday and 1200 for the Lite race the day before.
Many athletes took part as this was THE bike COUNTRY on and off road. The Cape Epic is held here and many ultra distance bike events too. Three Xterra races in the year with its exceptionally organised by Nicola Collins and her team.
The schedule was full starting straight away with a
visit to SAS (a new complex for elite sportsman in SA), I had a swim in the pool on my own the next minute I was surrounded by all the SA rugby team in the water playing catch up as I swam lengths they ran the widths of the pool, not many swims I get to be joined by a bunch of young burly Rugby players in swim briefs.
Afterwards was a lovely evening of chatting to the organisers and other athletes. With hosting of lovely food and drink for the evening
The next day with the sun beating down on us as we prepared for our first interviews on TV. The red sofa in the middle of this beautiful countryside looked incongruous but also special.
After this I set off with two local MTB’ers Cherie (elite CX MTB’er and her friend, I had to admit I wasn’t prepared for the heat or the dry loose terrain, apart for the fact I had only been on my MTB twice since Hawaii in October hence was
a little rusty for the first 30 minutes.
e the fab single track and some wicked rock garden descents with added forest single track that flowed with everything added sand, a little jump/ drop off’s roots rocks all the ingredient for the best
mountain bike course on the circuit.
It took a good 2 hours to get round and I treated myself to a swim in the Damn, cool fresh water from the mountains with its unique reddy – brown colour it felt good on the skin, clean and fresh considering its colour.
The next day I went again to the race venue to check out the famous and beautiful run, only a the first few kms with rolling green hills with the damn one side and mountain the other. Breathtaking.
I felt really good about this race. And felt very relaxed at the start I know it was going to be a good day, all the ingredients that I favour, sun, dry heat, flat swim witho
ut wetsuit, technical MTB and rolling run on sweet trails in the beautiful countryside, what’s not to like?
An early start to the day ON Sunday at 5 am, I had organised an early
breakfast for the boys (there were a few
International athletes staying in Stellenbosch lodge ) and the van picked us up at 6 am , it lovely to see just how big the event was and how many women too, there must have been around 40% means XTERRA is getting more competitive for the girls which is a really good thing.
The swim start was epic, 800 people lined up and pros only having 1 minutes head start, us girls would be mowed down with in a few minutes and indeed we were ! I had to stop and keep out of trouble as the boys steamed rolled us . Hence my swim time was not great As I ran to T1 I had an official trying o tell me off for racking my bike in the wrong area, I po
litely replied it was probably NOT the time to be telling me this but he persisted ‘Can we discuss this AFTER the race?
I said as I hoped onto my bike and was away into the mountains.
I loved the bike but tired legs towards s the end and some faster single track efforts with a few mistakes ended with a few small tumbles, took a few seconds to get back on and off I went again. Pretty happy with my bike leg, it was done in 1 hour 48 and onto the run, feeling really quite strong, yes there was a hill or two but nothing like Hawaii, and so onto a lovely descent that lasted a few Km’s, I started to overtake some girls who had slowed down on the hills, and away on to the sand and home past the damn in just over an hour.
I didn’t know which position I was in the race as there was about 150 teams, as well as single competitors in fact one lady passed me so fast at end of the the run turned out she also was part of a team. THIS HAPPENED A LOT DURING THE BIKE TOO
I really loved the race, loved the whole experience but would also like to better my 9th overall position. Still the priz
e money wasn’t too bad …3000 ZAR
Thank you once again to my sponsors:
Bike and Run,