The magnificent valley of Grabouw needs no introduction. Mountain bikers travel from all over the country to add this renowned trail to their bucket list. Advendurance and race director Francois Theron made sure this year’s event is going to be momentous. Oak Valley is filled with breath-taking views of vineyards, fruit orchards and panoramic mountainscapes.
With the cold front passing through the Cape, spectators and riders faced the cold morning breezes with lots of coffee and warm up sessions. Pro riders were yet again responsible for bringing the heat to the start of the SA XCM Champs.
Vanessa Bell and Francois Theron reported live from the race and ensured fans are updated with the latest news from the track. Here’s what happened:
The pro men were first out of the blocks with Shaun-Nick Bester in the lead within the first 10-kilometres. Rain poured down and made the trail even more muddy and slippery after the previous night’s rain. Matt Beers caught up with the leaders and soon after Gert Heyns attacked along with the rest of the batch where they to take over the lead. Their positions stayed unchanged throughout the day and left the rest of the field consistently playing catch up. Gert Heyns claimed the title of Elite Men SA XCM Champion when he crossed the line with a phenomenal finish.
The pro ladies stepped up to the start and headed onto the cold wet track. Samantha Sanders took the lead, along with Amy Beth McDougall, Sarah Hill and Robyn de Groot at 14-kilometres. Robyn de Groot lead the climb with Samantha and Amy Beth close behind. 35-Kilometres in, Amy Beth took over the lead and set the pace for the long climb ahead. Robyn de Groot dominated the rest of the race, increasing the gap with every kilometre she covered. A strong finish after a tough day out, made Robyn de Groot the Elite Women SA XCM Champion for the sixth time.
The Oak Valley Wine Estate and surroundings provided a memorable day out for both spectators and the competitors. Congratulations to all who finished the race.
Elite Men Podium
Gert Heyns winner of 2018 Nissan Trailseeker MTB #3 Grabouw
- Gert Heyns – 03:29:30
- Matt Beers – 03:33:25
- Gawie Combrinck – 03:34:09
Elite Women Podium
Robyn de Groot winner of 2018 Nissan Trailseeker MTB #3 Grabouw
- Robyn de Groot – 03:58:47
- Amy Beth McDougall – 04:00:05
- Samantha Sanders – 04:20:23