Want to know how you can lose 3kgs in one day of cycling?
The answer is simple: Gear up in full downhill protective kit and head out to Paarl in the heat of the Cape summer season to race downhill from 9am to 3pm – you are guaranteed to lose a few litres of sweat in the 40 degree+ heat! And that’s exactly what the downhill community of Cape Town did on Sunday 17 January in a bid to open the race season 3 weeks ahead of the first SA Cup race to be held in Johannesburg on 7 February.
A star studded field was in attendance, including Andrew Neethling (Trek World Cup Racing professional), 2009 SA Cup Champion and SA National Champion, Johann Potgieter and a number of previous SA national champions including Jonty Neethling, Gary Barnard and Myles Kelsey. The race was a very relaxed affair as riders came out of the off season for the first time to test their skills and fitness against the clock on what is predominantly a smooth, level track at the base of the Afrikaanse Taal Monument in Paarl. A fun course, the route incorporates a handful of challenging obstacles including a few table-top jumps, a double rock drop and road gap jump with the pedaling in between these obstacles proving to be the defining factor in setting a good time.
Racing was a tight affair as there was technically not much to separate competitors and at the end of the day, once the dust had settled after each rider’s 2 runs, the fastest time belonged, unsurprisingly, to Andrew Neethling (TWR) as he set a blistering time of 2min 16sec. Johann Potgieter was hot on his heels despite forfeiting his first race run due to a broken chain and he came down the hill only 1 second back in 2.17 on his second run. Jonty Neethling rounded out the podium in 3rd at 2.20.
First time race organizer and downhiller, Stefan Garlicki, put some hard work into organising the race with the help of some volunteer time-keepers and marshals and despite a few hiccups the race ran smoothly with everyone being very impressed with the level of organization and slick operation of the shuttles ferrying riders to the top of the course. Hopefully this is the first of many to come in the Western Cape as the SA Cup Series gives the province a skip in 2010.
Just Plain Rood
Awesome photo’s courtesy Eric Palmer