Jennie Stenerhag

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Tankwa Trek


Another new MTB stage race, Tankwa Trek, was introduced this weekend in the Koue Bokkeveld outside of Ceres. The venue was the new and beautiful Kaleo Estate, probably the nicest venue I have seen at a stage race!! It was fun to be part of a race for the first time and I think this one will grow a lot next year! We were not that many riders this year, around 100, but I am sure everyone was happy with the routes, the venue and the food so we will all tell our friends and more people will want to do this next year!


It was a team event and me and Craig raced as a mixed team (Team Newline – Focus) and it was good preparation for the Epic starting in only one month! We even did some of the Epic route so we know a bit what to expect. We had tough competition in the mixed category from Jane Nuessli, the Brittish marathon champion riding for BMC, teaming up with Billy Stelling.


A nice thing with this race was that we stayed at the same place every night, so no need to pack bags and move every morning. There were indoor showers with hot water for everyone and very nice toilets (important stuff when you are camping) :-)


Stage 1, 89km and 1604 meters of climbing

It was freezing cold, only 6,5 degrees in the morning so the first 8 or so kilometres was a nice warm up before the elite men started to race hard, we were there for a bit but lost them in the sand and rocks. Jane and Billy were just ahead but they slowly but surely rode away from us. It was a great route with lots of nice single tracks and we rode well. We could see them again on the long climb of the day and finished 5 minutes behind them as second mixed team and 7th team overall.


Stage 2, 96km and 2060 meters of climbing

It was a bit warmer today, we started out the same way as yesterday, I think it took some time to get my concentration right though… We were together with Jane and Billy when we started the first single track down hill, but I came off my bike twice, don’t ask me why… and then dropped my chain and had to stop to get it back on. A bit later, after about 30km of riding, I saw a pipe over the single track, I saw it too late and my bike came to a complete stop when I hit it and I flew over the handle bar, not a bad crash but I landed on a rock or something with my leg and hurt the muscle badly, I was sore for the rest of the day. At the same time the chain came off again and got stuck and it took me a while to get it loose. The motivation sank a bit with all this happening, so when we hit the big climbs of the day I was tired both mentally and physically. The big “monster”, a 8km climb with a 10% gradient was a pain all way up, and the downhill on the other side was almost as bad, rocky and technical when I was hoping to relax and recover!!

We came in second but had lost a lot of time today.


Stage 3, 59km and 706 meters of climbing.

On the last day they took us in a bus to another stating point for us to do an amazing single track route on the Houdenbek farm, it was worth the travel cause that single track was amazing, it was like entering another world! Charl, the owner, had worked for 4 years on that track, so it was spot on!!

I had iced my leg the whole afternoon the day before so it was a lot better and it is strange how the brain can forget when the start goes. I had a much better day then yesterday and really enjoyed the beautiful route!

We came in second again and finished second overall.


Thank you Dryland, Big Shot media and Kaleo!! It was an amazing weekend and the food and venue did a lot to make it so good! Every lunch and dinner we got proper farm food and the deserts were absolutely wonderful! Exactly what you need at a stage race! We will absolutely be back for this race next year!


Start of stage 1

Stage 1

Doing some laundry


Bike park outside Kaleo estate


The accommodation


Stage 2


The start of the down hill after the monster!


Warming up for stage 3


Fantastic landscape on stage 3

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