This past weekend we headed to Mpumalanga to the popular tourist destination, Dullstroom. With Dullstroom situated well above 2000m above sea level we knew we had a hard 98km of racing laying ahead of us. From previous experience we preferred to travel up the day before and found that it has the least negative impact on performance as opposed to traveling up earlier. We arrived in Dullstroom on Friday afternoon at 1pm and quickly got our pre-race ride done and dusted.
We had a pleasant start at 7am and with temperatures predicted to reach a maximum of 24 degrees for the day,this made for a very dry and dusty race.
It was quite a relaxed start to the race and for the first 15km the pace was actually
quite enjoyable for an ultra-marathon. As soon as we hit the first couple of rollers for the day, the pace picked up early on in the race and splits appeared. After 25km up the first big drag of the day the pace was made high by Max Knox and the front group splintered into pieces. Johann and myself rode steadily about 15 seconds behind the front guys not loosing too much ground. As we were riding back to the group of four in front, I lost my front wheel due to little visibility because of the dust. I crashed on a right hand bend and lost quite some time which resulted in me ending up in the next group chasing.
Johann managed to catch the front group and rode with them over the next 20km. The next big climb proved to be the decider of the day. Once again Max dictated the pace going up there and managed to drop everyone. I rode my own pace as soon as we started climbing and reeled some of the front guys in as we crested the big climb right after the King Of the Mountain at the 55km mark. I managed to join Johann right after the last feed zone at 70km. Soon after the tech zone we went up the last steep climb of the day, reaching sections that were close to 20%. It was quite tempting to get off to walk, but why walk when you have a Merida Ninety-Six Team bike to ride?
From the top of the last hill it was every man for himself. We crossed the line in drips and drabs, proof of how a proper Ultra marathon takes its toll on riders.
Johann and I managed to finish 5th and 6th respectively on the day. Not too bad for
guys coming from the coast. It was a tough race and our bike took some big shots from the challenging route, but they held up well.
Once again we had great support from Team Telkom from getting us there to servicing at each tech-zone.
After a dry and dusty race like Dullstroom the mechanics at Bike-Addict will definitely strip,check and re-grease where needed to get our ides smooth again.
If it was just as easy for our legs as well...
Next up is the Pikket-Bo-Berg MTB challenge on 10 September. If you are around, drop by our stand and come say hello.
Strava file for Dullstroom Ultra Marathon: https://www.strava.com/activities/698655526/segments/17186608080
1. Max Knox
2. Gawie Combrinck
3. Matthys Beukes
4. Philip Buys
5. HB Kruger
6. Johann Rabie
7. Timothy Hammond
8. Thinus Redelinghuys
9. Matt Beers
10. Arno Du Toit
(All photos taken by Zoon Cronje and team ZC Marketing Consulting)