Race report by Enduren's Adriaan Louw
Jurgens Uys of Team PSG asked me to race PE<Plett with him and I jumped at the opportunity as it is perfect prep for Pioneer and it's great to race at these new events.
It is a four day stage race from Plett to PE (changes direction every year) dubbed the 'tough one' and the organisers work hard at making the route really tough. This is a unique approach but a great opportunity for riders that are preparing for tough events such as Pioneer or Epic to test their abilities. As a second year event they still have to fine tune a few things but the race certainly has a lot of potential.
Stage one - 126km, 2500m
Stage two - 91km, 1800m
Stage three - 72km, 2000m
Stage four - 72km, 1600m
Total ride time - 15:50 hours
Jurgens was a great partner and we fought as hard as we possibly could for a stage win but the Kargo team of Rourke and Travis gave us limited opportunities to work with. Jurgens is a young rider with a lot of potential but as a full time student it was a tall order to race against two pro riders but I am extremely proud of how deep he dug and how hard he pushed right to the last km of every stage.
We finished 2nd overall and 2nd every day, and on the grueling first stage we were a mere 100 seconds off the two leaders. Perhaps we pushed a bit too hard on day one but it was the only real shot we had as Jurgens can handle the long distances very well. I am really happy with my form and recovery on each stage as I gave my all on the front every day to make sure that I take as much punch as possible to simulate what Pioneer will have in store come October.
I also used the event to test the SWIFT D'Vore Hardtail as a option for Pioneer but I am quite sure that I will go with the brand new SWIFT dual suspension bike (The Evil Twin) rather.
Lourens Luus and I will be going on a Karoo training camp from 27 Sept - 1st Oct to test equipment, train hard and scout the route. After that we will race the Seweweekspoort MTB race in Ladismith before resting up in the final week before Pioneer.
I also want to thank Schalk Louw from PSG for the opportunity and for respecting my sponsors by making custom kit just for the event.
I am currently in Knysna where I will be starting the PE2Plett with young Jurgens Uys (Team PSG) Saturday until Tuesday. I am sending a quick report on my experience at the York Enduro experience last weekend.
The York Enduro is a corporate event that invites 20 pro riders from South Africa to come partake in a charity event that they organise for all their clients. York is based in Sabie and put simply they supply the whole of Southern Africa with plywood.
The corporates bid on the riders and you then ride with a group of 4 guys from the respective companies. I rode with a young team of York employees. Other companies that were there were; Avis, Alexanders Forbes, RBS, PWC, to name a few.
The teams are all on very different fitness but that is not the point of the event. The aim is to ride with these guys, exchange knowledge on all fronts and enjoy the amazing trails. The three day event consist of 40km stages and each stage has 3/4 special stages of about 10min downhill segments and two hill climbs over the three days.
I took the new SWIFT Carbon dual suspension prototype for it's comfort and speed and because it is a great marketing opportunity.
You start with your team, basically pushing and pulling them up the climbs haha, and then when you reach the special stages the pro rider goes down first to race the clock for prize money and then waits for the rest at the bottom. At the finish (every day on a different location in the forests) you have lunch with everyone and wait for the last team before the pro's race each other on specially made tracks.
Day 0 was a downhill event fpr the pros only, day two a once off lap race, day three a dual slalom eliminator and on the last day there was a XC race. All these events had quite a lot of prize money up for grabs so the racing was hot up front.
Over the 4 days I had a few podiums and lots of fun. We rode for 15 hours in total with 17 flat box 10min efforts over the 4 days and about 40 30sec laps on the dual slalom course. Needles to say I was quite tired on Monday.
Overall it was a great event and even better to meet big corporates that are really interested in the sport of mountain biking.
PE2Plett (For PSG)
Seweweeks Classic (solo)
Cape Pioneer Trek (Team Fairview with Lourens Luus)
Sabie, the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ of the Lowveld, was awakened by the York Timbers Enduro MTB Rally over the past weekend. 24 Corporate teams descended on the little town for 3 days of mountain biking, socializing and fun in general, all with the aim of raising funds to be used for York Timbers initiated community projects in the area.
As one of the biggest employment providers in the region, York Timbers has a strong sense of social responsibility and this was one way for them to give something back to the local community.
During a silent auction on Thursday evening, two dozen 4-man Corporate teams each ‘bought’ a pro rider who would then accompany them for 2 days of Enduro racing as well as a half marathon. The Enduro stages each had 4 timed sections (3 downhill and 1 uphill) which would count towards the overall team standings by the end of the weekend.
Day 1 was all about seeding as the Corporate teams raced each other on a newly built Cross Country course at the York Timbers office park, to determine starting positions for the first Enduro stage. In the afternoon the professional riders raced each other on a 3,4km downhill course to show off their skills to potential bidders at that night’s silent auction. Arno du Toit (ASG/Epic Sports Academy) was the fastest of the men, taking revenge for his second place from last year in spectacular fashion.
On Friday the event started with a 40km stage which included plenty of climbing. The reward for all this toil was some fast, flowing singletrack descents. I rode with the Timrite team and the boys (Kevin Bentley, Philip Cox, Pieter Le Roux and Theunis Bester) made the time fly by as we hammered the timed sections and rode comfortably everywhere else, chatting up a storm when the gradients would allow it.
Day 2 was a little shorter (35km) but not much easier as the Sabie mountains still took their toll before we had the relative luxury of racing the downhill sections back into town. In the afternoon there was also a spectator friendly dual eliminator race just to make sure we stayed on our toes.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and in the evenings we enjoyed dinner while well known artists such as the Blues Broers and Jakkie Louw entertained everyone. This was a great opportunity for the professional riders and the corporate cycling enthusiasts to mingle and share ideas in a very relaxed environment.
Sunday morning dawned with a half marathon event which was also open to the public and finally a pro’s only Cross Country race straight afterwards. The XC race was good fun and a spectacular way to end proceedings with us busting a lung and the crowds able to see almost every minute of our painful effort.
All said and done this unique and innovative event is a great success in no small part due to the organizing team who did everything they could to make the weekend as enjoyable as possible. From the hand built trails to the food and accommodation at the Floreat Lodge, no effort was spared in pursuit of the finest hospitality.
Long may the York Timbers Enduro MTB Rally live and I look forward to being part of this ground breaking event as it evolves to reach its full potential.
Until next time, happy trails!
Posts by various Enduren Athletes and other authors will appear in this Blog.