Ariane Kleinhans was victorious in the ladies division of the 2011 Karoo2Coast mountain bike race on Sunday.
This 100 kilometre event between Uniondale and Knysna was held in summer-like conditions with over 3000 participants.
It was a welcome return to form for Kleinhans, who sustained a broken hand while leading the World Marathon MTB Chamionships in Montebelluna this past June.
“The hand was fine today” confirmed a relaxed Kleinhans in Knysna after beating Leana de Jager and Samantha Oosthuysen in a time of 3hr34min.
“Erik and I had a mini-training camp this week, which included riding the Karoo2Coast route although, it was very cold compared to today.”
The couple had ridden an off road circuit of over 300 kilometres, starting in George and on to Uniondale, Knysna and back as part of their preparation for their main season-ending events, which includes the Contego Wines2Whales 3-day stage race in November.
“I was ready for a rest when I broke my hand, so it wasn’t too disappointing,” remarked a philosophical Kleinhans, who pursued an interesting recovery method while at home in Switzerland.
“Daily walks in the Swiss Mountains maintained a basic level of fitness and I found this extremely rejuvenating” said the Contego-sponsored professional.
This timely return to form bodes well for the upcoming Cape Pioneer Trek stage race in the Klein Karoo next month, a race which is special for “Team Kleinhans”.
“I met Erik at the 2010 Pioneer Trek when a Swiss friend and I came out for the race” remembers Kleinhans.
“Christoph Sauser accompanied my friend and I to South Africa – we still call him our God Father!”
In the men’s race, Team RECM’s Waylon Woolcock claimed the victory, crossing the line with team mate Neil MacDonald. Dave Morison (Blend Properties) finished third in his comeback race.
An interesting participant in the men’s race was retired professional Nic White (CycleLab), who finished 18th overall behind his former teammates Woolcock and MacDonald.
“I was a scared cyclist today,” said White of the steep and winding downhills that make up a large part of the event.
“We’ve just completed a week long bike tour in this area, so I must say that I was rather tired today.”
Full race results here.