Bianca Haw completed her trilogy of triumphs when she added the SA Junior Women MTB Marathon Championship title to her resume at Cascades, Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 8th June. She now holds the titles for SA Junior Women Road Cycling Champion, SA Junior Women Cross-Country Champion and now SA Junior Women MTB Marathon Champion !
Bianca crossed the line in a winning time of three hours, one minute and 38sec for the gruelling 50km MTB marathon course which included a daunting 1600m of ascent and many technical sections and testing descents, which ideally suited Haw’s strengths and technical ability. Not far behind in second place was team mate Frankie du Toit (3h04.50) who described the race in few words; “1600m of climbing in 50km was certainly not my idea of fun ! That was definitely a harsh lesson in mental and physical endurance!”. Alexandra Mapstone placed fourth (3h30.25) in a solid effort while Amy Williams bravely crossed the finish line in fifth place (4h07.54) after taking a nasty fall and injuring her shoulder.
The elite women and sub-veteran women raced over 70km. Candice Neethling claimed second place behind Robyn de Groot. Talented multisporter Carla van Huyysteen did well to finish seventh in the elite women. Team riders Kim Westbrook placed eleventh and Hazel Magill placed fourteenth.
Candice’s race report…
“When a race starts at the bottom of a valley, NEVER expect it to be easy! The hard work started from the gun, where Robyn de Groot decided to turn this into a cross-country race. I always enjoy the marathons for their relatively easier starts, giving me time to settle into a good pace before the real riding starts. But forget that. Lets just go full gas for the first 20km. I remember thinking to myself that if we keep this pace, nobody will see the finish line.
By the time we reached the summit in Hilton, the group was separated substantially. Robyn off the front with a 4min lead, and myself in second. I get the idea that I also had a 3min gap to those behind me. My tactic from now on was to ride conservatively, but try to make up time on the single track sections. I the gap ranged between 3 and 4 minutes the entire time, due to Robyn’s strength on the climbs and open sections. I rode the rest of the 4 hrs on my own. I didn’t see a soul out there. The trick was to stay motivated and remember that I am actually in a serious race. (it can be difficult when solo).
I loved the fast flowing sections of single track in Cascades, but those tight freshly cut sections were a real test for my blurred concentration. I was able to keep a constant pace to the end and came in second, a few minutes back on Robyn.
I am happy with this result. It is a reflection of where I am in training and I can take a lot from this race. It shows me what I need to work on and improve for the high profile XCO racing coming up. Robyn is a classy rider and I wish her huge success in the World Marathon Championships coming up. I will be back for more marathon racing later in the year.
Well done to My Time-Freight Velolife team mates who battled the physically and mentally demanding course! I am proud of all you girls. Here’s to many more !”
“I tried to start a bit conservative on the initial part of the race, knowing that the last 20km was going to make or break lots of the girls. So my game plan was to catch up to girls instead of being caught. The plan worked well and I managed to pass three girls on the last 20km of the race, as planned [not including my team members who had some bad luck on the way with mechanicals blehh, and getting lost, sorry girls, better luck next time!]. So after 4h32min of hard climbing, technical descending and great scenery, I crossed the line in 7th place. A top 10 performance I am quite proud of. No hiccups and no upsets, just racing, which is always a blessing.”
Additionally, it was recently announced that Lise Olivier has been selected for the South African Team to compete at the Commonwealth Games road race in Glasgow, Scotland between 23 July to 3 August. Well done Lise !
Source: Time Freight VELOlife