Xterra Czech - solid working my way up to the podium
August 8, 2015
April 5, 2017
GR300 - 3 day MTB stage race
March 4, 2015
Knysna - Second week in South Africa, second race and this time a 3 day MTB stage race set in Knysna.
A 500km drive along the coast line of the Western Cape, discovering more of this beautiful country and the stunning beautiful city of Knysna. The GR300 race is know as THE hardest 3 day stage race in South Africa. The stages consisted of day 1: 90km and 1700m climbing, day 2: 102km with 2500m and day 3: again 90km and 1800m.
It was also a first for me racing in a team together with my Swiss friend Thomas Kammermann. Racing not only for yourself, but trying to feel into your partner and helping each other out when needed was a very different experience. Adapting the race strategy to it was a big learning and accepting when things just don’t want to work out was also part of it.
Stage 1, started with rain, lots of rain and the course was one big muddfest. Thomas and I started well and the first hill was no big problem. On the downhill misfortune struck and Thomas announced that his rear break was acting up. At 15km I rod fast through a mud puddle and the thing was deeper then expected. Next thing, I ended up in a thorn bush and having needles pocking me on every side. Thomas fished me out again and we were quick back on our bikes. At 20km the break problem manifested and Thomas had to remove the rear pads starting to block the wheel. Ok now we had 70km to go in the rain, the big hill and cliff single trail still ahed of us and has only one break. I started to be his eyes riding ahead and announcing any difficulty so he had more time to break. Biggest worry was that his front break would also soon fail. We arrived with a good hour lost time safe and sound at the finish line taking 8th place. This is racing and a lot can happen - lesson once more learned.
Stage 2: A remote start in Rheenendal cycling though the mountains and back through the forest to Knysna was on the menu. The race briefing was hilarious:“Watch out, the trails are heavily damaged, due to the elephants passing this night tearing them up and leaving lots of dung for you - have fun!“. The Swiss Team started strong and we managed to ride the first 25km in the lead group. Latter in the race we were in a group of seven riders riding all at about the same level of skills for 80km. In the very last downhill Thomas and I managed to break away and fighting strong head winds we finished 5th that day. Lekker, lekker!
Stage 3: Started with some nervousity when I could not find Thomas until 2min before the start. Again the start was fast and hard, due to a bonus price money on top of the first hill and all shooting for it. We once more managed to catch the lead group train and ride the first 20km with them. The first long ascent was very hard and we rod our pace - again with some of the guys from the previous day(s). The stage had again a river crossing and a very steep uphill section on the other side. Misfortune was again on board on this stage and after several chain drops and stops we lost contact with the fast train and the teams we tried to beat. Again finishing 8th and also in the GC 8th we enjoyed the race a lot and take good memories from it back home.