120kms, ca. 2500m of climbing
First Place, 4.56hrs, 1.37min ahead of Lourens Luus
The Attakwas is probably the hardest one day race in South Africa. It can be super hot, windy and the first two third of the race is rough rough rough! No idea how the hard tailies survive this race. Mechanicals are almost a defined, especially side cuts on the tires. I had one after 30min which I plugged it. Changing to a tube is a no go, because there are too many thorns and you need to have a good tire sealant in the tire remaining.
It took me a good half hour chasing until I was back in the leading group. Spirit was on again and I felt great, but one flat tire never comes alone, that is almost a guarantee! I lost my plug in the one downhill with probably 2hrs into the race, just before we entered into the wild Attakwas. Luckily I sill had one more plug, unfortunately no more co2 bomb so I had to hand pump it. It took me a while and I must say I felt pretty demotivated because I thought this is it, podium is gone. Somehow my head and legs came together again and I could not believe when I suddenly raced for the win again. My friend and training partner Erik Kleinhans also had a flat tire while leading the race. Max Knox, Lourens Luus and I just passed him before the last rolling hills with 30kms to with a very strong head wind. I was so happy to be racing group at that point! Max also had a small leak in his tire. I could borrow him my pump but his deserved podium spot was gone. I knew I could took the win now, although RSA’s big talent Lourens was still looking very strong. I attacked on the second last gravel climb and I quickly opened a 1.30min gap.
I must say Burry was in my head a lot during the race. Today I missed out drafting behind him especially into the head wind. He always was very strong at the Cape-Epic over those rolling hills. I felt so alive though, I did not really care suffering out there!