Floods and mud make for gripping cycling contest
MOUNTAIN bikers taking part in stage one of the Wines2Whale Mountain Bike Race yesterday took on muddy roads caused by flooding in Somerset West, making for challenging riding.
Flooding over the past three days changed the route a number of times as trees were blown over.
Stage one of the three-day race started at the Lourensford Estate in Somerset West and went through the Helderberg Basin, ending in the Elgin Valley.
Race director Hendrico Burger said the weather had a ‘huge impact”. “The route has changed three times due to trees which were blown over. As a result of heavy rains, the route is muddy and tougher to ride, resulting in a slower finish time. The feedback from riders has been positive though and it’s clear that stage one has been most enjoyable,” he said.
The race is a team event with each team consisting of two members who have to cross the finish line together, or close to one another, to secure a place.
Winners of the 68km stage one, Team William Simpson 2, finished around five minutes before second place takers, team Raubwood.
Mountain bikers Erik Kleinhans and Oliver Munnik of Team William Simpson 2 completed the route in 3 hours, 32 minutes and 31 seconds.
Kleinhans said: “We had an amazing race, the route was both challenging and fun. Our plan for day two is conservative, we’re going to stick to the lead riders. Hopefully we’ll be able to maintain our lead and just have fun.”
Team Fairbairn Private Bank finished third in 3 hours, 39 minutes and 26 seconds.
Tatum Prince and Penni Rawstorne from Team Hot Box took first place for the women riders, finishing in four hours, 25 minutes and 32 seconds.
Rawstorne said: “The course was absolutely amazing and the organisation was brilliant.
“We don’t have a strategy for tomorrow, we’re just going to have fun.”
Team Crazy Chicks came in second and team Grapes and Guppies third in the women’s race.
The cyclists will cover about 230km over the three days.
Today’s stage of the race starts at the Paul Cluver Wine Farm in Elgin.
THRILLING: Gavin Wood of Team Raubwood who came in second in Stage One of the Wines2Whales Mountain Bike Race on an exciting, muddy route.