Reigning South African marathon champion, Robyn de Groot (Biogen Toyota), extended her lead in the 2014 Nissan Trailseeker Mountain Bike Series when she captured a dominant victory at Round 2, which took place at Hakahana, near Hartebeespoort Dam at the weekend.
The 31-year-old De Groot led the tough 65km race from start to finish to claim maximum points. Combined with her win at the opening round of the series in Cullinan last month, De Groot now holds strong advantage over her rivals with three events remaining.
“I only managed to do two rounds of the Trailseeker Series last year, but this year I’ve won the first two and plan to do as many of the others as possible. It seems as if it’s not possible for me to win the MTN National Series again, but I’m focussed on winning the Trailseeker Series, which is hugely popular and prestigious,” said De Groot.
De Groot, who finished sixth overall at the Marathon World Championships in Pietermarizburg last week, is now taking a break from racing in order to recover from a hard first half of 2014.
“We are so fortunate to have so many high profile marathon races and stage races on the South African calendar. I have really been racing a lot in the first half of the year and will now take a short break to recharge for the last five months where I’m aiming to compete in stage races like the Cape Pioneer Trek and the Wines2Whales as well as a few more marathons,” explained De Groot.
While De Groot was pleased with her Hakahana win at the weekend, she wasn’t thrilled with her performance.
“My time was slower than it was here last year. The course was pretty harsh and technical, which is why I chose to ride my dual-suspension Trek. But I do think it’s also a sign of my fatigue. My main goal was to win and I achieved that. Now I’ll focus on recovering and having a bit of a break from racing.”
De Groot’s continued rise to the top of South African mountain bike racing since she took to the sport last year has led her to reconsider her current employment status. De Groot works full time as a biokineticist, but will finalise an arrangement with her employers this week that will allow her a more flexible schedule.
“I have decided to cut back on my work time and focus more on mountain bike racing and training. I’m not getting any younger and I want to make a real go of the mountain biking, which I am really enjoying,” said De Groot, who represented South Africa at the 2012 London Olympics in the road race.
“Finishing sixth at the Marathon World Champs really made me realise that I’m suited to mountain bike racing and I’d like to explore this opportunity as best I can. I have such great support from my sponsors and family and I’d love to help them maximise their investment in me too,” added De Groot.
De Groot’s sixth place finish was the highest ever by a South African woman at a UCI Marathon World Champs.
Source: Release Centre