G'Day Fellow Mountain Bikers,

Its no secret that Aussies as a species are easy to hate. We speak English as if it were a 3rd language but are totally xenophobic about being multi lingual. Our slang is impenetrable at best, childish at worst, and usually we are universally foul mouthed. We are a force to be reckoned with at whatever sport takes our fancy despite having a total population less than a small mid-west US town. We are good losers, but the worst winners in the world with the possible exception of the Americans from who we learnt it.

Mountain Bikers find Roadies easy to hate in much the same sort of way. Lets face it, their love of colour synchronised riding kit (bike, helmet, shoes, socks, jersey), fondness for chatter about their eating plan or waking heart rate, and blow by blow descriptions of a 1000 km ride in a straight line on tar make them an easy target. This is exacerbated by their ability to ride us off their wheel at will even after losing time to us by getting off their mountain bike to carry it over a "bumby section" and then chat happily as they ride past seated on a climb. What's not to hate. They get in the way walking downhills for goodness sake.

All this said, I have heard a whole bunch of marathon racers (note the lack of capitals) who are very quick to criticize David George's (MTN) less than stunning race performances of the last few weeks. At risk of being controversial, I would like to remind anyone stupid enough to listen to me that David is a true Blue Blood of the highest calibre. He has achieved the sort of things on skinny tyres that put him in the same ranks as Robbie Hunter, and represented South Africa doing it. He is a thoroughbred. My prediction is to wait and watch what Kevin Evans (MTN) and David do at the Trans Alps this year. I know for a fact they will be riding close enough to the front to do South Africa proud. Kevin is starting to show good form after a slow start to the SA season, but a perfectly timed start to the Euro Marathon Competition. David is what would be called in rugby terms "a big match player". As soon as you put him up against the best in the world at the Trans Alps where his partner is counting on him, you will see a very different David George I promise you. He may be a Roadie, but he has seen the light and rather than rest on his laurels and keep getting paid to ride road, has come across to the Dark Side of muddy 26" wheels. RESPECT.

Now amongst Mountain Bikers let me make it plain that my loyalties reside firmly in Gauteng, but I freely admit that KZN produces the best mountain bike riders in South Africa. The mountainous terrain makes them good climbers and technically skilled on the descents. The lower altitude allows them to train at a higher intensity (heaven help me if Andrew Mclean ever moves down there) and yet the acclimatisation process for Gauteng altitude is only a matter of days for them. Their MTB Commission is the best organised in the country, with races of all standards and all age groups every weekend year round. They have a school series second to none ensuring that there is a constant stream of new talent. Everyone in Natal rides, and almost all of them race.

So I will risk being shouted down and say that Bryce Munro (DCM Chrome) rather than Rourke Crouser (DCM Chrome) will be the next Burry Stander (Specialized). What can make me say such a thing? I believe that whilst Rourke is a champion rider and will always be on the podium at any race, Bryce is a long way from his full potential yet. He is consistent, and getting consistently better. He has very few mechanical problems in races because of his technical skill and lightness on the bike, and has been cast in the mould of "finish no matter what" by his Dad who would rather die than walk his bike.

Enough ranting and raving from this fat old Aussie. I am so wide I need an escort flag vehicle to ride on the road, and can't fit into an armchair to really be an armchair critic, but I am entitled to an opinion in the new South Africa.

The Toyota MTN Cycle Park will (as you know) be hosting Gauteng Provincial XC racing on Sunday. This is an event for all the family, not just race snakes. Check it out. As such the XC Trails will be closed on Saturday afternoon from 2 pm, and there will be closures affecting the whole Park Sunday. Take a look at the opening and closing times.

Anti Gravity Zone is open. Look out for men in baggy pants flying through the air and causing air traffic controllers heart attacks. Remember that this is an over 18 only area, and special protective clothing and a super strong bike is required. Medical removal of the fear organ (brain) is also recommended before entry.

The scary part of Angle Grinder, and the entrance to Trials and Tribulations are scheduled for this coming week. If you can read this without moving your lips you probably shouldn't be going in either of these specialist areas without the a' fore mentioned medical removal procedures.

In BMX news, Sifiso has had a MASSIVE crash in Europe. Expect more news soon. He was leading the European seasons BMX Points Standings, but may be out for the rest of the season. Personally I can imagine cute Danish nurses chasing him around the hospital with sedative syringes as he manuals up and down the halls on his bike (we know Mark Squire would have smuggled it in). Even though he is UNSTOPABLE, send him good vibes for a fast recovery anyhow.

OK, that's enough from me. See you Sunday for the XC party. Till then keep the rubber side down,

Geoff the Aussie

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