An adventurous battle in the Berg

Expedition Africa Full Moon Drakensberg 120km
2 November 2019

Team Keyhealth Nevarest
Team Members: Michael Joubert, Malcolm Dunkeld, Emily Clark and Juan Oosthuizen

 

Race report by Malcolm Dunkeld.

This was the final race in what’s been a hugely successful season for Team Keyhealth Nevarest, and it was always going to be a tough one up against the top teams in the country; Jabberwock, Red Ants and Spot Racing, they all experienced a tough day out there in howling winds, hot weather, and steep country.

The race started with a brutal 17km running leg, which included 1000m of climbing. Fortunately the beauty of the Drakensberg made this leg very pleasant. After a fast start the top four teams were all within 100m of each other. A clever move in finding CP 4 quickly saw them jump from fourth place into second.

“After climbing the escarpment we dropped off again just behind Red Ants, who took a completely different route to CP5 which unfortunately gave them a good bit of distance on us. However we chose a strong tiger line and managed to get into the transition in first place.”

On the first bike leg, Team KeyHealth Nevarest left heading for the zip line and continued on the leg, and an unfortunate small navigation error saw team Jabberwock catch up and pass them.

“We rode hard to try and make a small gap on them but didn’t get away.”

Into the paddle on the mighty Tugela River and short run leg, they were neck-on-neck with Jabberwock, and once again arrived back at transition at the same time. They pushed hard to leave the transition ahead of them and had about a five minute gap starting the
final bike leg.

However once again some smart navigation from Jabberwock allowed them to catch up and make up that gap.

“We continued together until a steep climb at CP 13, where Jabberwock was just too strong for us and they broke away. We continued to
push hard despite suffering from the heat, some bad nutrition and poor gear choice.”

In the final stages of the race they had to make a decision to take a lower more technical route or a higher route with more climbing but less technical.

“Thinking Jabberwock had taken the higher route we decided to take the lower road. Unfortunately, this was the wrong decision as it involved a lot of hike-a-bike, and Jabberwock had also in fact taken this route.

None the less Team KeyHealth Nevarest made up some ground but just couldn’t get ahead of Jabberwock.
“Jabberwock definitely deserved this win as they raced really well and made excellent decisions.”
Its been a great season of racing for Team Keyhealth Nevarest who has won three out of the last four races.
“We are looking forward to the 2020 season and especially Expedition Africa Lesotho.”