Race Report: Chrissie Viljoen – Momentum Knysna Mountain Bike Race

Overnight rain made for muddy, slightly slippery conditions, but contributed to a brilliant day of cycling at the first major sporting event of this year’s Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour kicked off with four MTB events – 80km, 50km, 30km and 15km.

I only decided to enter the race on Thursday and with a late entry was seeded in the CB batch.  The start is always fast on the piece of tar road before the action up Simola hill starts. There the bunch quickly ripped to pieces as everyone settled into their own rhythm.

Not starting in the seeded batches meant I had no way of pacing myself against any competition. So, my race strategy for the day was to ride a comfortably hard but steady effort throughout the race taking it super cautiously on the downhills and technical sections.  With the World 70.3 champs in two months’ time I did not want to risk any injury.

The first hour and a bit felt mostly uphill and then the territory became more undulating. In this part of the world it seems you are always either going up or down and with roughly 1600 meters of climbing you seem to notice the ups more!

Usually as a race settles you find people that ride the same pace as you. For most of the day I was passing, two friends that rode together, on the hills and they again would catch me on the downhills.  It turned into a friendly banter about who would get to the finish line first. This continued until the last waterpoint where they made the fatal mistake of stopping for refreshments and I left them behind for good! LOL. My husband always says I can turn anything into a competition.. I guess he is right! 😊

I thoroughly enjoyed the race and was pleasantly surprised to see that I finished second in my age group behind Fienie Barnard, a local die-hard mountain biker.

The 80km event was won by Gert Heyns and the evergreen Robyn de Groot.

It was great to see so many people participating in the Cycle tour events and supporting the Oyster Festival, as it brings an economic boost to Knysna and surrounds after the devastating fires of last year.

Thank you Nevarest team and our sponsors, KeyHealth Medical Aid, first Ascent, Inov-8,   for your continued support