This past weekend saw me taking part in my first MTN marathon event. Wellington, hosting round 5 of the series, is mountain biking heaven and its been one race I have always wanted to do. The 110km Ultra marathon is the big daddy, but after examining the route map and profile I decided to do the more fun looking 75km marathon.
Saturday morning started with a 6am trip down the road to Stor-age in Roeland street to collect my race wheels for the day, thank goodness for their 24hr access. It was then onto Diemersfontein wine estate, known for its tranquil beauty, and more importantly its amazing pinotage. The riders were greeted with amazing weather, a sightly chilly start but otherwise ideal conditions to race in.
The start was frantic as usual, with the first 10km being predominantly up hill. I managed to stay in the front bunch of ten or so riders until the first very steep, lung-busting climb where a couple of us fell off. In the frantic chase back that followed, two of us missed a turn and headed off into some vineyards. Although a beautiful detour still a kilometer or 2 that would cost us dearly.
After having a few select words with myself, I settled into a comfortable yet solid pace and ticked off the kilometers. Riding alone for most of the race was a treat, its not often that you get to ride down single track in a race environment with nobody around. And, the single track was sublime, kilometer upon kilometer of manicured trails kept me highly entertained. I managed to claw my way back to 16th place overall, and first subvet for the 75km route.
It was great to be out racing again, its been too long since I have suffered properly. Next up is the Western Province XCO champs on 1 June at The Slammer track (Durbanville), cant wait.