Xterra Grabouw – Keeping the Faith

I was forwarded this email from a friend containing this race report from Kevin, one of the brave competitors of last weekends Xterra Grabouw. The email stated:  ‘Sounds like a tough day at the office :)’ And that it was.

Dan Hugo won in spectacular fashion, destroying the competition on the bike leg. Keep reading below for a hilarious account of the race from slightly further down the results list.

Keeping the Faith – Xterra race report

Don’t worry; I’ll be that good oke! I’ll give you +-300 days of warning before the next Xterra. If you think you are going to pitch up on the day, take on the Xterra, go out there and dazzle someone, please kindly get back in your car and go home. I had been warned, I had seen the weather the report (42 C°), I had even put in some extra training, but crisis I did not get told I was going to be racing in hell.

Prior to Xterra I was unsure about religion, God and all holy matters concerned, but after Saturday all my questions were answered. The devil is real, and I am sure of this because no man could create a bike course and run like the Xterra, it must have been the work of the devil. (Just ask Hansie)

Kevin at the finish

The swim was the calm before the storm.  The only down side was the 50 meter wade through knee deep water with toe nail removing rocks and tree stumps. Once onto the bike we all slipped through a vortex into hell. Good bye Grabouw and welcome to the devils arm pit of mountain bicycling. You know you are chin deep in “it” when you are walking up the first hill only 2km into the course. However I when I saw a 250cc motorbike struggling to summit the cliff we were stuck on, I felt somewhat better about the situation.

I discovered god on the bike course, and I finally found the time to squeeze in a pray or 30 during the race. Mostly I prayed for my head not explode from the heat, second to that I prayed for my heart not to burst into flames like an over cooked marshmallow.

I would report more about the bike leg, but I have severe memory loss.  I think the scientific name is post traumatic memory loss / amnesia. Either way the bike leg was a blur of heat, sweat, blood and possibly a tear. The only clear recollections I have were the angles at the water points, who I thanked for saving my life of numerous occasions.

Normally the transition from bike to run is flat out, as you try and match Clark Kent (superman) for clothing changing speed.  None of that silly behaviour this time, as I dragged myself into transition like a bunny that had just had his back legs blown off by a 12 gauge shot gun. My ice cold waters bottles had turned into hot water bottles fit for polar exploration.  I tried to pop a Gu energy sachet, which was like releasing a shot of lava into my mouth. I might as well have packed chilli poppers.

The run can only be described a bad joke gone horribly wrong. One small highlight was the ice cold river crossing, where upon myself and a group of fellow reborn Christians spent a good 15 minute baptising ourselves. After that, we started to climb Everest’s baby brother. We had given up the idea of running by now and we simply swayed from one side of the jeep track to the other. At one water point we all got hold of some ice and crammed it down our pants to try cool down. The sensation was amazing and we spent a good 20 min giggling like naughty school boys who had just farted in a packed elevator.

In the end I survived, got another medal, a story to go with it and even found my faith……..but Xterra was no joke, consider yourself warned.


Some photos of race winner Dan Hugo courtesy Oakpics