Jennie Stenerhag

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Cape Pioneer Trek 2013



Last year this was our first stage race for Craig and I as a team, we had a lot of fun and learnt a lot about riding together. We did well considering that it was our first race and finished 3rd overall after a stage win, a second place and the rest 3rd places.


We are now on our way to Oudtshoorn, you can follow us on 

We are looking forward to get started tomorrow!


2013-10-20 Prologue

The prologue was a 15km route consisting of mainly single tracks with some short steep hills thrown in here and there. We were ready to get this race started and got off to a good start! My legs felt good in the beginning and I could see Cath, that started 30 seconds ahead of us, already on the first climb. The first downhill single track started off well until we caught the only tandem in the race, first they did not want to let us pass and then they got stuck between 2 trees and we had to try pass between them and the trees… Since there was no seeding for the start we got caught a lot behind slower riders, it was not easy to pass and also not easy to let people pass. I lost a bit of racing spirit since it did not feel like we could get going and I thought we were really far behind, so I was happy to hear that we got 3rd close behind Cath and Nizaam in 2nd. Great to get two podium  spots in the mixed for Asrin. We also got a 2nd place in the mens cat with James and Jens and also a 3rd place by Craig Boyes in the solo mens, good start for Asrin!! The winners in our category was Mirre and Nard from Holland riding for team Cube Nutswerk 1.


2013-10-21 Stage 1 Oudtshoorn – Calitzdorp 105km

It was raining in the morning when we left our ”home" for 2 nights in Oudtshoorn to move in to the campers that would be our homes for the following 5 nights. The start was at Buffelsdrift where we had the prologue yesterday, it went nice and easy for a few kilometers until the chaos started! It got muddier and muddier and people went slower and slower, eventually there were riders standing still everywhere cause the mud was like clay that got stuck to the bikes, the wheels just did not spin any longer… This was only 8-10km into the race! We ran with the bikes for a long while before we eventually could start riding again, everything was covered in mud, the chain, casette, breaks, clothes, glasses, everything! When we passed a river we spent some time there to wash of the worst! It turned in to a 5,5 hours survival mud bath and the most important was to keep the bike in one piece!  I could not use my small chain ring so had to grind it up on the big one, legs were cramping and I just wished to get to the finish line. It was difficult to see if anyone got away in the mudd section but I thought we were first, Craig did not know, I was right and for the first time in a stage race me and Craig got to put on the leaders jersey!

The mechanics had a busy night, many of them did not sleep at all and 10 min before the start the next day people were still running around asking the mechanics to help with their problems. I think every single bike needed new break pads and cables, at least!!


2013-10-22 Stage 2 Calitzdorp – Swarberg pass 85km

Luckily the sun was shining when we woke up and due to the weather the stage had been shortened and the start delayed, so all riders were happy:-). We started with a 18km gravel road, fast bunch riding! Cube Nutwerk 1 (who won the prologue) got away as we turned in to the first technical single track. I struggled a bit up the technical up hills but the down hills went a lot better today then in the mud yesterday, and there were a lot of them in the beginning! On a tar section just before we started to climb Swartberg pass, Cube Nutwerk 2 (Birgit and Marco) caught us with great speed and soon left us, they ended up winning the stage and were now only 30 seconds behind us on GC, at least we got on the podium again and held on to the jersey for another day! We later found out that Birgit and Marco are both in pro road teams in Holland, we could see that on the road;)

It was a happy day for Team Asrin, James and Jens won the stage and the R112000 prize money!!! Now all they needed to do was to finish the race and get 35 points to receive the money!


2013-10-23 Stage 3 Prins Albert – De Rust 106km

Todays stage started with a 25km straight flat gravel road in to the wind, which made the pace slow and we got a good warm up. A while after we went off road we were 4 mixed teams together, Cube Nutswerk 1 broke a deraiuler and was gone. We climbed up together and down on the other side, through a quick feed and on to the road. The roadies tried a road attack but did not get away, but when they rode away from us on a drag we had nothing to answer with. A bit later out team mates Cath and Nizaam also rode away from us, we could see them all the way to the finish and were 30 seconds behind them on the stage and 4,5 minutes down on Birgit and Marco who took over the jersey from us.

It is an awesome ending to this stage, first an 8km flowing downhill single track and then 15km tar through one of the most beautiful places in South Africa, the Merringsport!

Jens and James won another stage for Asrin and secured the points they needed to win the big prize, all they needed now was to finish the race!.


2013-10-24 Stage 4 De Rust – Lovain 66km

Maybe the shortest stage but the hardest! We were going through the Kamanasi national park, it is only open once a year and that is for this race! No vehicles can get in there which also means that it is very rough and rugged. This is the walking stage of the Cape Pioneer!

I struggled to eat yesterday and already after a few kilometers I felt that something was wrong. My heart rate was sky high but everyone left us as if we were standing still, when I thought of drinking or getting any other energy my tummy turned around and I knew that i had only 2 options: to stop the race or just ride through the stage at what ever pace my body could cope with. Cath and Nizaam and also Marco and Birgit were long gone when we were walking up the Kamanassi. At the bottom on the other side we passed Marco and Birgit when they were fixing a puncture and they ended up having 3 punctures missing the podium and the leaders jerseys were handed over to us once again, felt a bit strange to get 2nd and the jersey after a day like this. We were also happy for our team mates taking the win today!!!

I saw the doctor after the race and he said it was a gastric bug and I got some medicine.


2013-10-25 Stage 5 Lovain – George

The rain increased during the morning and 15 minutes before the start it was raining so hard that some people said they will probably delay the start, but no…it was going to be another day in mud and rain, therefore making a long night for the mechanics to come, at the same time as the bike shops were counting the coins. 

We started with a 3km uphill single track and the bunch spread out straight away. Unfortunately I had lost too much energy yesterday and did not feel fully recovered, we got a bit behind the 2 other teams already on that climb. After the first long downhill I suddenly felt my back brake leaver going all the way in without my bike slowing down, brakes were gone!! I still had a tiny bit left on the front one. I was crawling down a 7km hill down a mountain, but at least I could ride, we passed a lot of people walking since they had no breaks at all, everyone was in the same boat.

We finished 3rd, 17 minutes behind Marco and Birgit, our worst day of the race, and lost the jersey once again.

Luckily we were in a camper, the camp site was flooded so everyone who was supposed to be in a tent had to sleep in the school. I was a bit surprised when we got gum boots and umbrellas in or goody bags at registration, but I tell you it all came in handy this afternoon!! The organisers must have known something beforehand;)



2013-10-26 Stage 6 George – Oudtshoorn

The last and final stage of this years Cape Pioneer also got shortened due to the weather, the single tracks that we were supposed to race on were no longer, they were washed away by the rain, so we were in for a road stage starting with Montegue pass! The roadies had an advantage on us here, even though by now I was so tired from the week and I had nothing left in my legs or body when we climbed up the pass. It was yet another muddy day when you could not see anything with or without glasses, we were in a bunch with Esther and Jane most of the day which was nice, even though it was sad to see Jane get taken out by a guy in the bunch only a few kilometers from the finish….

We sat in 3rd place from start to finish and could secure our second place overall!  I was extremely relieved when we crossed the finish line, it was so nice to get off the bike knowing that I did not need to get on it again the next day!! It had been a tough week! It is funny how you love doing things like this but it is also so nice when it is over:-). We ended up behing 17 minutes behind the winner, we were the only mixed team that were on the podium everyday and funny enough we got exactly the same results as last year with one stage win, one second place and the rest 3rd places, even though overall we were one step higher this year. So next year we will be back to try to go for the top spot!

A huge thank you to Asrin for supporting us for this event! It has been incredable and we could not have done it without the support from our mechanic JP and our massuers Kurt and Angela. Also thank you to the rest of the team that made the week so much fun, I dont think I have had such a fun stage race before with so many laughs, thank you Nizaam, Cathrine, James, Jens, Craig, Nic and Sipho!! And what a week it was for the team on the podium! I think we had 5 stage wins and 22 stage podiums and 3 overall podiums, and of course to top it up the grand prize was in our team!!


 Also a big thank you to Continental for the tyres, not one puncture for the whole week, and to Focus for bikes that held up in the mud, thank you to T-nutrient for giving me the energy and to Rudy project that helped me see and kept me safe:-)

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