It has been 4 weeks since Cape Epic and it was time to race again this weekend. It was the 3 day Winelands Encounter from Stellenbosch to Wellington together with Katie Lennard as Team Cape Brewing Company.
It has been some really nice weeks since the Epic win and I have tried to enjoy it and soak it all up. I want to say thank you to everyone for all the congratulations and it has made me realize how big the Cape Epic is here in South Africa, I have recieved so many congrats out whilst rding and people coming up to me to say well done on Epic or wanting to take pictures, I really really appreciate every single one of you!
I was first really tired and then started training again and felt surprisingly good and then back to feeling tired again. So it was nice to start racing again at a smaller event without any pressure or having to dig deep.
Day 1 Stellenbosch to Franshoek, 54km 1000 meters of climbing
It was a brutal start to the race with the longest climb of the 3 days right from the start! We found our rhythm and climbed up Botsmanskop at our own pace and enjoyed the reward of Skyfall on the other side! We had a good day and got into a bunch here and there but we mostly rode on our own. The newly cut single track next to the Bergriver dam was lots of fun! We did not really have any close competition and finished some 32 minutes ahead of the next ladies team. So instead of racing hard we were just going to enjoy the riding and the trails.
At the start of day 1
On the new single track next to the dam
Day 2 Franshoek to Wellington, 58km 1000 meters of climbing
After a few fast kilometres on some open gravel roads we hit the same route of the last day of Cape Epic and followed it for a long while, it was nice to get reminded of that last day . We rode most of the day on our own and the biggest climb of the day came towards the end. It felt like we were riding up on the moon since it was a moon landscape at the top, it was sand, ash and rocks after the big fire in that area not so long ago. We once again got rewarded with a new single track down and I must admit that it was a bit scary with the steep edge just next to the trail, I concentrated on not looking that way!! We once again won the ladies cat by around 30 minutes.
We had a bunch with us for a while ;)
Riding in a fantastic landscape!
Day 3 Wellington to Wellington, 45km 800 meters of climbing
There was a very strong wind blowing from the start and we had to fight hard in the head wind. It was supposed to be the fun day with all the single tracks but knowing the area we were hoping for even more single tracks. Katie is very good on the technical stuff and she sat in front on those parts and we had lots of fun!! We had decided to stop at the water point to enjoy some of the goodies we always see but never stop for, just because we had the time. We were glad that we had so much time to spend since Katie punctured her back tyre after 36 km and we had to stop and fix it. It was a small whole just by the rim (exactly the same as Esther got at Tankwa) and we had to plug it. In a way it is good that it happens at the smaller races so that we get to practice :-) We plugged and it worked well and we could finish the stage and win the race.
Fun at Welvanpas :-)
The plug ;)
It has been a really nice weekend with great organization and with CBC sponsoring the race all the riders were relaxing on the grass with an ice cold beer after the stages socializing with other riders. We were spoiled with nice lunches every day as well. Thank you CBC for supporting Katie and I for this race! Thank you Katie for doing this race with me, it was good fun! Craig also raced and finished 5th overall together with David.
All photos: Ewald Sadie