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Clarens MTN Ultra Marathon 2011

Last week our MTN Qhubeka Team headed down or make that up to Clarens for round 3 of the MTN National mtb series. Since Barberton the training had been going well and Charles and I were able to get away to Sabie for a few days and put in some good time on the bikes. With the Epic around the corner I have been pretty happy with my training progression and was looking forward to giving it some horns this weekend.

 

We had our usual team dinner the evening before with once again a full team except for Andre who had broken his collar bone in the week but was substituted by Epic Sport shops OB who did a fantastic job on all the bikes. The feel around the team was good and one could sense the confidence growing in the camp every weekend as this season progresses.

The evening before the race the rain poured down so I knew that this hard race was about to become mad! It wasn’t long before we split the group up and headed along the muddy gravel roads and through the first tech point. Was a pretty select group of 3 DCM, 4 Garmin,  3 MTN, Green, Bell and 3other riders all playing a tactical game but not wanting to show too much. The race split apart up the first major climb but seemed to concertina throughout the race over taking and been over taken by various cyclist while our bikes went through a constant form of degeneration.

I decided to stop at the second tech zone and replace rear pads having taken a big off a few km earlier with levers pressed to the grips. This put me back in 13th but through all the technical bits I soon made ground and with 30km to go I was in sight of 4th position. I wasn’t going to be my day as I lost both front and back brakes again and with 15km to go could no longer control the bike on the downs so had to run everything only loosing time but thankfully no positions finally finishing in 8th place!

A big up to my team-mates Yolande and Adrien for taking the wins as well as a great back up job in the woman by Eszter finishing a strong 3rd overall. Also it was good to see Charles gritting his teeth and getting on the board in 9th overall showing that we are all starting to gain good form. Next week is the Sabie Classic and it is going to be brutal with 3200m vertical ascent so hopefully can recover well before that!

Till then, keep out of the traffic!

Paul Cordes

MTN Qhubeka MTB Team