Jennie Stenerhag

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National marathon series #1 - wrong turn


It was an impressive field of girls on the start line, we must have been around 30 and probably the biggest and the best field we have ever had on a one day race in SA. We had Annika Langvad ,World XCO champ, Esther Süss former world XCM champ, Robyn in great form, Flora Duffy multiple world X-terra champ, Alessandra Keller good up and coming XCO rider from Switzerland who won the Swiss Epic last year, Vera and Candice who are always strong and riding in a team together this year, so it was set to be a hard race!


We started in a good pace, not too hard, for the first 10 km, until we hit the A-Z single tracks. I had a good position on Candice’s wheel on the first one but on the second Annika came passed and sneaked in first and the pace picked up. Candice could follow for a bit and I lost them. Alessandra also came passed me and caught up with the other 2 after a really rocky section. Robyn also caught me on a climb and we rode together for a long time and passed Alessandra. Robyn dropped me on the climb to the QOM and I could see that she also passed Candice. We were not far apart at the top and I started chasing on the way down. We had 3 guys between us and they crashed on the next single track and I got stuck behind them and lost sight of the girls. I could soon see Candice again but I was between 30-45 seconds behind without getting closer. We did a loop around a big dam after 55 km and on the open space I could see Robyn about 1,5min ahead and Candice about 30 seconds ahead and I thought that maybe I was not doing too badly after all and I got some extra motivation and could pick up the pace a little. At 59 km I managed to pass Candice and I was told that Robyn was a minute up. I started to feel better now.


But then the bad luck struck! I had 2 guys about 15-20 meters in front of me at 62km and they followed signs going left and I followed but I started to get a feeling that it was wrong since it was yellow signs we were following and our race had white signs. I knew there was another race at Oak Valley starting at 12.00 the same day but I realized (and trusted my feeling) too late and only turned after 1,5km. I climbed back up and when I got back to the point where I had gone wrong I saw there were both yellow and white boards at the same place. Afterwards when I looked at my Garmin it said I had been off the route for 9,5 minutes!! There was nothing else to do then just cruise to the finish, I was now in 7th place… I was extremely disappointed!


Hoping for better luck next time! My Cape Epic partner Esther finished strongly and took the 3rd spot instead and looking good for Epic. 


Craig had a very good ride and won the vets! So at least he had the right to celebrate with a CBC beer in the evening! ;)


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