Jennie Stenerhag

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2 podiums on one weekend in Port Elizabeth


It was a late decision to go to Port Elizabeth for the PE Herald MTB and road race. 2 races and a lift from Jay from Focus made it worth the trip. I have done the road race many times but never the MTB race and I was really looking forward to it.


We left Stellenbosch in the Focus van early on Thursday morning. It was a nice road trip and Jay was kind to do all the driving and let us rest. We stayed one night with Marilette (Thank you!!) in PE. On Friday we did a ride in the morning and got our numbers for the races. In the afternoon we moved up to Zuurberg Mountain Village just outside Addo, a beautiful resort up in the mountains! We went for another ride to check part of the route for the MTB race, unfortunately we did not see the most technical part of it…


The alarm went off at 3.30am and we packed up to go to the start, I could easily have stayed longer at Zuurberg! The start was in Addo at 6am, I was very nervous but it disappeared as we started. A lot of good girls were there! The first 20km was on flat gravel roads, so it was a bit of bunch riding. When we hit the first single track it was Candice Neehtling, me and Mariska Strauss together. Candice slowly but surely rode away from me when we hit the more technical stuff and when I missed a turn Mariska passed me, since we were on the XC course for the nationals she also just glided away from me. They are just too good on that technical stuff! I kept the pace as high as I could and my legs felt good. It was a very hard route, probably closer to 30km single tracks and 2 major climbs, no time to rest! Up the last climb I passed Mariska that had some tummy problems, I was up on second place. The last 20km was on flat open gravel roads. I pushed as hard as I could hoping no one was going to catch me from behind.


I finished 2nd 8 minutes behind Candice and 6 minutes ahead of Mariska that just managed to beat Ischen in a sprint for 3rd. It was an awesome route and I will definitely be back for this race next year.


Craig also did well and finished 12th in a tough race with many of SA’s top pro’s!


We left Addo after the prize giving heading back to PE to prepare for the road race the next day.


We could have a sleep in until 04.15 since we stayed at the Town Lodge just next to the start. It was a ladies only race and there was only 1 team with 7 riders, including Ashleigh and Sharon, and a lot of solo riders there. So when the attacking started the team killed us all and when Sharon attacked I had just gone on an attack from Ashleigh and had nothing to give, everyone seamed to be feeling the same cause she could just ride away. A few hills later Ashleigh did a massive attack, me and Anriette tried to go with, I gave up first and soon after also Anriette, and Ash was also away.


Our race turned out to be very slow and negative so all I focused my energy on was the sprint. When we entered PE on the beach front we had a strong side wind, it was important to get the sprint on the right side and since I did not want to risk getting boxed in I sat at the front, on the side of 2 other girls and with 200-250meters left I started the sprint and managed to stay away with a few bike lengths to take 3rd place in the race.


The podium was exactly the same as at Die Burger in December, Sharon first, Ashleigh 2nd and me 3rd.


The race organizers had introduced a new competition, the ultimate quest, the best combined rider for both races. Unfortunately it was on time and not on place, so since Candice was in my bunch in the road race (10th) she won that competition.


I was very happy with 2 podiums for the weekend!! Especially since Jay from Focus was so kind and helped us with so much over the weekend, it was nice to give him 2 podiums as a thank you:-). Thank you Jay!


Also a big thank you to Linda and the organizers for inviting us to the races!


It was 3 happy and very tired campers that came back to Stellenbosch late last night after driving back for 7,5 hours.


A nervous Focus rider before the start:-)


Craig and me ready for the race!


Tired after the race!


Candice shooting the Champagn:-)


Up Maitlands, last big hill of the road race



Podium after the road race, me, Sharon and Ashleigh


Ladies top 10


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