The Colourpress Crater Cruise 2007

So it is official!!!! Mountain Bikers are in fact very similar to Road Riders. They ALSO all lie about how fit they are and more importantly the difficulty of the course!

A Road Race of Dirt Roads! KAK!

It was a full-on MTB event designed to teach us Roadies that we are not quiet as good as we all like to think we are. And in my case successfully put me back in my place.

I awoke to clear blue skies and conditions that would make any Roadie smile. However, by the time we lined up for the start the black pregnant clouds looked ominous, so much so there was a healthy auction happening in my area of the bunch on a Fox raincoat.

Mountain bike racers one and all early on in the Mazda Drifter Series deciding race, the Colorpress Crater Cruise

The promised storm did not actually materialise, although there was plenty of thunder and lightning in the bunch to make up for it as the Roadies and Mountain Bikers squared up over the initial tar section.

Round one, went to the Roadies. Nolan Hoffman took the 1st Hot Spot, and that was where our points ended!

Once on the dirt roads it was not long and we were shepherded left onto the first single track and the gaps started to open. I have no idea why the event organisers sent us down that loop of single track when there was perfectly flat hard pack dirt road that we could have continued on.

It seemed the game was to be played by rules I didn’t understand in the single track sections. Talk about NOT respecting your elders...I enjoyed watching Rouke Crouser muscle past Jock Green on the single track ...and then enjoyed watching him get a tongue lashing of note for it.

Anyway, back onto the perfectly good dirt road again, a short chase and I was back with the main manne.

Then came the 1st and only real climb, well that's what I thought and based my race tactics on.
The previous year we enjoyed 5km's of tar road after the climb, and that seemed fair for a race with such a mix of Roadies and Mountainbikers. This year that same climb took us to the bottom of the real climb in the game reserve, [Kamanasie in the Epic came to mind] and then some real Mountain Biking.

All this was OK, in other words, I was still breathing. Ben Melt Swanepoel and Burry had bike issues [as one does off road] and came back past our chasing group and both eventually rode away.

Ben did eventually come back to our group, after chasing the leaders for 70km's after he had a crash and severe mechanicals at the start, and he was well and truly fried.

Burry did a great job of pulling our group back towards the lead group and eventually,
had enough of our ideal conversation and rode off in pursuit of the 8 leaders.

Riding with Richard Beswick, Dana Coetzee and Sean Mackenzie was great until...the dreaded last 10km's.

That’s when my personal storm happened all around me. Thunder, lightning, tempest, all centred just on me and my bubble burst. OK there was no storm but I exploded and then proceeded to limp home, a wounded roadie!

One extremely broken mtb racer after taking on the youngsters at the Crater Cruise

Some unfriendly Jeep rider [unfriendly because he did not offer to push or pull me home] flew past to rub salt into the wounds and another place into my result.

Paris might be the centre of the sporting universe for SA right now, but Parys, was so distant that not even with the Latest Lance [sorry Bart Brentjies] glasses could I see the town until I was riding over the 1st Cat metal bridge CLIMB in the last 200 meters, constructed to destroy every remaining roadie, and there was not many of us left.

A top 15 overall, and win in the Vet's category was about as good as it gets in this company.

What a wonderful festival of Bicycling; Road [The Master Blasters] and mountain biking [real mountain biking], a real family weekend that I will not miss next year, even if I had tickets to Paris World cup Final and SA were to be playing.

See you there next year,

Andrew Mclean