Saturday 13th August 2011
Addicts Donovan Sims and Hanno Smit compete in this 230km MTB race from Willowmore to Jefferies Bay, finishing is a very credible 10th position. Hanno had this to report:
"This race runs annually between Willowmore and Jeffrey’s Bay via the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve and covers a distance of 230km. This year however the route was altered to run just north of the Baviaans, towards Steytlerville and then crossing the Grootrivier to Patensie and on to Jeffrey’s and was aptly termed “Langs-Baviaans”. It also covered an extra 5km’s, ascended an additional 300m and finished with a slightly different route with slightly slower tracks. The reason for this: too much water in the Kouga river, badly eroded roads and the Authorities denying the race to take place along the Baviaanskloof.
In the back of my mind I quickly formulated a new race format: faster, maybe a bit shorter as the road looks straighter and less climbing and that equals at least 30 minutes faster than our last ride!
The reality: Donovan and I lined up with full summer racing kit on, looking half foolish amidst the herd of cyclists dressed up like sheep or some like polar bears! Our intention was to ride solidly, but by no means race flat-out as we simply just started training again and need to do a build-up over the next 3 months in order to peak in November. We were lucky enough to have full support along the route from the Merrell guys.
Don ended up not paying much attention to our “solid approach” as he stormed through the Grootrivier like a wounded Wildebeest with myself in tow. The race went along without any disasters or the sort and we completed the new route in just under 10 hours, which was incidentally almost 30 minutes faster than our previous ride, but it was by no means easier and I’m tempted to say that it might have been more testing.
Hats off to our Merrell backup crew for their Spartan support and child like enthusiasm. Smelly."