Description: Marathon Race
121km, 2600m of climbing, 4.52hrs
First Place, 4.25min ahead of Stefan Sahm
I started with my training seriously for the new season since I am here in South Africa mid December. I stayed quite fit during my off season. I believe it is important not to lose too much fitness so I don’t have to grind myself for weeks until the quality training hits in.
Racing out of training is always hard especially when it is the first race of the season in January and on top of it it is the Attakwas Extreme, probably the hardest one day race in South Africa. If you make it through without mechanicals it is already a huge bonus too! My bonus this year was that the competition was not as good as last year plus I know I have the very best bike and tires (Renegade Control)! We rode very slow the first two hours where one year ago we never looked back that year I came out so cooked off the Attakwas Valley. So I was not unhappy to safe some energy at the beginning but the time record obviously was out of reach. There was even a bonus of zar100’000.- for the first guy finishing below 4.30h but that is a mission (almost) impossible. Ok never say impossible…
It seems it is almost a mind game entering the Attakwas valley after 2hrs into the race. More and less everyone rides his own speed, conserving energy or what is left. Hardly no group riding anyway since it is slow and rough going. I really believe with my S-Works Epic Brain suspension technology I have a big bonus, especially I come out of it more recovered. The only survivors were Gert Heyns and Stefan Sahm. Gert did not look good any more and got dropped at the beginning of the never ending gravel roads towards the finish near the sea. Also Stefan ran out of power later so it was a long time trial to the finish. I was surprised that my finisher time was also my new personal record since we went so slow for the first 2hrs. The last year’s all time record (4.47h) from Huber is still untouched tough.
Hats off to every finisher or tried to finish or just got stuck out there and had at least a great story to tell afterwards!