So 2013 is now well underway and the year’s race season has begun. The first weekend of February had a full calendar with an invitational race in Cape Town and the first round of the KZN mountain bike cup, both taking place. Which to do?
Budget restraints made it an easy choice, plus racing at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg is alway great fun. Max Cluer Marketing has taken over the organizing and running of KZN Cup races and made some big changes. Some of which are not making everyone happy. The major one that affects the DH crowd is that the races are now on Saturday, along with the Cross Country events. This just makes logistics easier and cheaper, and in my opinion is good for the sport. More people on the same day means more crowd participation, more spectators means a better vibe.
The corse was a short, fun one used a few years back as the season opener. It had a bit of everything and certainly kept you on your toes. The start was padaly and a bit flat, then took you over a road gap and into a very steep shoot and then into the end of the World Cup track.
The bottom of the track is still in great shape and pretty scary to ride, in some places. I followed Alasdair down for a practice run and even though he was chilling, I felt pretty out of shape most of the time. I even managed to lie down in one of the rock gardens. Luckily I escaped with just a few bruises.
As the XC racing wound down, more and more people started to line the DH track and shout for us as we came down on our practice runs. Practice ended at 12 and after a hour lunch break, we started seading.
My seeding run went well and I sat at the bottom, waiting to see how Alasdair went. He was still saving himself for the race run, so he took it easy and qualified 6th. So back up to the top for race runs. By this time the track was lined with spectators, and the vibe was great. I had done a 2:04 in quali, so was aiming for a sub 2 minute in my final. Al just wanted to put together a solid run, as nationals in Cape Town this week are more important.
I got out the start gate fast and hit the road gap fully committed, but I landed a bit funny and slipped off my inside pedal, waiting the bike a bit funny. That lost me the few seconds I needed to make up. The rest of my run was solid, but I couldn’t make up the time I needed and ended up on the same time as in my qualifier. Had tons of fun though.
Alasdair seemed too relaxed. He cruzed the track and made it look easy, showing off a bit. At the line he finished up 5th, but was happy with his result. He said he wanted to just have fun and get used to the new bike and that is exactly what he did.
To end I just want to say well done to my new team mate. I know this year is going to be great for you. Well done to Max and all the organizers for an awesome event and thank you to all our sponsors for your support.
All photos are courtesy of Aldine van Dyk Photogrophy