Trek South Africa mountain biker James Reid continued his run of sublime form at the second round of the 2014 Southern African Mountain Bike Cup Series, held at AfriSki Resort in Lesotho on Sunday, 19 April. The Under-23 star dominated a strong field in the UCI Category 1 race with some of South Africa’s best U23 and Pro-Elite racers to claim victory on the demanding course.
At almost 3000m above sea level the AfriSki venue provided a tough test of speed and fitness. Reid was excited to take the win in Lesotho, following his solid fourth place at the Pietermaritzburg round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup the weekend prior.
Reid rode a powerful race, dropping the hammer mid-way through the first lap and setting a blistering pace for much of the seven-lap event. A three-man chasing pack formed briefly during the second lap, but they could do little to reel in SA’s National Marathon Champion.
Great Britain’s David Fletcher (Orange Monkey) finished second, just over two minutes adrift with Rourke Croeser (Kargo) rounding out the final podium spot.
“It was a bit of a strange race up here,” the smiling 21-year-old said. “I felt good last weekend at the World Cup, so it was a case of carrying those feelings and sensations into this weekend’s race and making it count. Everything about this race was a bit bizarre – the destination, the altitude and the barren landscape, but it was a great experience.”
“I know everybody was thinking about the altitude, but if you put it out of your mind and just go as hard as you can, it’s almost the same for everyone. Early on I found my happy place – at a speed just below the insanity of an all-out cross-country race pace, where you know it is ‘too much’. Then I just put my head down and went.”
“I’m on a good patch of form now, and doing everything to keep it together. I’m off to race in Europe for nearly seven weeks on Sunday, so this weekend was a great way to end off the racing here at home.”
Reid had spent the days leading up to the showdown in Lesotho with Elite SA Cross Country Champion, Phillip Buys (Scott). Buys was in the mix after a fast start but then faded before succumbing to mechanical troubles and finishing a distant fifth.
On Saturday, Reid rode his Trek Superfly Pro SL 29er with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain (34-tooth front chainring) on the bumpy, exposed course. “It was an ‘old-school track’, with longer climbs in quite open conditions. The bumpy and tufty terrain was perfect for my 29” Superfly – it really rolled like a dream” said Reid. He opted to use Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres (Snakeskin version – front at 22psi, rear at 25psi). He set his 90mm RockShox fork at a pressure of 80psi.
Southern Africa XCO Cup Series: Round 2, AfriSki Resort, Lesotho
1. James Reid – RSA (Trek Bikes SA) 1.23.54
2. David Fletcher – GBR (Orange Monkey) @ 1min 50sec
3. Rourke Croeser – RSA (Kargo Pro MTB Team) @ 2min 18sec
Source: Hebron Media Solutions