14th March 2020 – Thaba Trails

Antonie Joubert – A day before the race, I went to go check out the course – it was very wet and slippery; and for some reason, the track was covered in ants!  The bike tires threw them up onto my legs as and the nasty buggers kept biting me, that was definitely a first 😂. I had an Engineering test week the week leading up to the race and I could really feel the lack of sleep and long hours starting to take its toll on me. My legs started cramping within the first 2km.

Track practice was also quite frustrating because my Cannondale is still not “functioning” as it should (I’m still waiting on the insurance) so I had to use an old hardtail with quick-release skewers. The back wheel kept coming out and I punctured my tire twice trying to get through one lap. I was forced to call it a day without even doing a full lap. Luckily, Michael’s bike was not too far away, and we started fixing it up the morning of the race. We finished it with two hours to go before the start of the race. I drove to the venue and started warming up, the bike felt smooth.

Dankie boeta! 😅

The race started and within the first 200m the mechanical problems, which I hoped would stay away this time around started. Most of the climbing is in the first half of the lap, therefore I quickly caught up with the elite leader but as the descending started the mechanical problems continued. I had to stop quite often to get the bike fixed. I couldn’t catch the elite leader again, but I managed to keep a good gap between me and the rest of the group finishing 1 st U/23 and 2nd overall. I think it went well despite the mechanical problems and I’m happy with overall good performance. It was definitely good preparation for a big race to come in June if the spreading of the Coronavirus calms down.

📸: Black Tulip Visual

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