Yolande Speedy Tells All
The 2nd XC MTB National was held this weekend at Fountains in Pretoria.
The twisty mainly single track course, although fairly flat with one 'long' gravel climb makes for a very demanding race as it requires constant acceleratory efforts to keep momentum going and does not allow much room for recovery or error with plenty of tricky rock and root drop offs and short steep climbs.
Knowing that a fast start would be vital to get into the technical single track ahead of the rest of the field I warmed up really well and standing at the start tried to pick out the best line along the starting stretch of tar. We set off at a blistering pace everyone going flat out to get in front. I just managed to slip in front of Amy through the first corner taking the lead into the technical single track.
The first lap was a serious cat and mouse game Amy and myself sitting right on each other’s wheels and taking every opportunity to get in front and try to create a gap. With the nature of the course being very technical this added extra pressure not to make mistakes and to keep riding smoothly and in control.
I reached the last technical drop off at the end of the 1st lap just in front of Amy and managed to get a small lead on her, I pushed hard to try and increase the gap and had about 30 sec on her about halfway through. Unfortunately my 2nd lap was not to be trouble free and I had to stop to untangle a vine that wrapped itself firmly around my rear cassette. I lost my lead, Amy passing me just as I was getting going again. I was able to pick up my pace quickly though and once again take the lead just before a really twisty single track section. I rode it smoothly my Gary Fisher proving it's superior off-road handling and started to increase my lead.
Pushing my pace a bit too hard on one of the final single track descents I lost concentration (I would like to blame it on my tyres but my Schwalbe's gripped awesomely and it was definitely not them that let me down!) and slipped out on a right hand corner (this would later result in a trio of stitches in my left knee but fortunately did not affect my performance for the rest of the race), I quickly jumped back on my Gary and after tackling overtaking a few slower riders, almost taking out one of the cameraman on the final berm and grabbing a much needed water bottle from my team mate made it through for my 3rd lap.
I kept my pace consistent for the next 2 laps, keeping as smooth as possible, trying not to make any mistakes and had 2 trouble free laps. I crossed the finish line just over 2 minutes ahead of Amy, Sara finishing in 3rd place.
The race organizers went all out to build a fantastic XC course and create a great atmosphere at the event, thanks to everyone involved.
A very big thanks to my sponsors, IMC Reaction, Activeworx, Gary Fisher, Schwalbe, Rudy Project and Giro for making my racing possible
Yolande Speedy - IMC Racing