Barberton Ultra Marathon 2011

This was an interesting week starting off with the comfort of knowing that my form was coming on and all the hard work in December was starting to pay dividends. There was allot of rain this week but the focus was on getting in some good speed sessions and to focus on the MTN Barberton Ultra where I’ve had some good results in the past.


We were missing at couple team mates to the Tour of Gabon but the girls, support and I headed down to Barberton Friday afternoon to take on the monster climbs this region had to offer.  Larry-our mtb team VW Commercial vehicle sponsor was dressed in his new kit and was looking fantastic! The weather was perfect and everyone was in good spirits. Our Volcans had been prepped with DT Swiss carbon wheels as well as Continental Race king tires front and back to help with the almost 3000m of ascent they was in store for the day!

The race started quite leisurely with a couple km neutral zone but when road turned upwards then so did the pace. I had my DT Swiss suspension completely locked-out and crunched on the nose of the Fizik Tunda and my ears pinned back I soon found myself amongst a very select lead group which was a great feeling! The surges were continuous and I slipped off the back a couple times but then ground my way back into the group growing in confidence as race went on.

Problem started to come when I slipped out in a river crossing with my front wheel sliding out over a big rock which brought me crashing down on my left side spraining my hand, bruising my hip and bending the front derailleur. I made it back into the lead group before the second tech zone where Andre quickly straightened everything out, Nicole swopping me out with some fresh PVM and I rejoined the group a few kilometers later.

During the second climb I could feel that I was slipping and not too sure what was wrong I found myself stuck in cruise and as the leaders splintered up the 15km climb I knew it was survival time.  I refueled at the top of the hill with sugar and started feeling better but the damage was done and the time gaps out of reach. I kept it steady to the finish and rolled in in 10th place which was a huge improvement from Attakwas but a little disappointing after being near the front for so long.

Happy of how my training is going and that the bike set up from Activeworx was making a big difference I think the next few weeks are going to be interesting and the taste for success is growing stronger!  Well done to my team mates Eszter and Yolandes for their one/two result in the elite womans race bouncing back strong after Attakwas! Next up is the ultra in Clarence – 4th race of the season and 3rd over 5hrs –welcome 2011!!!

Regards, Paul Cordes

MTN Qhubeka MTB Team