Floods and mud make for grip­ping cycling con­test

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - ZARA NI­CHOL­SON

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.

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