It was a very chilly start to the race with the first 20km being extremely challenging and mostly uphill.
Johann and I knew it was going to be a hard start, so we tried to set the tempo for the first part of the race. Johann made it hard through the woods and set quite a blistering pace on the descents.
We anticipated that it was going to be a muddy affair, hence we decided on running Continental X-King tyres on the front as well as rear wheels for some extra grip.
After 35km we were only four guys in the leading group; Johann (Telkom) , Waylon Woolcock (USN), Matt Beers (Cannondale Red-E) and myself (Telkom).
Johann continued driving the group to make sure we stayed away from the rest of the field. I had a brief stop after 45km to bomb my wheels in order to add a slight bit of pressure to them and managed to catch up to the front guys 5km later.
With 15km to go, Waylon put the hammer down trying to get us to snap. Johann, who rode in front for most of the race dropped back a bit and Matt and I stayed quite close to Waylon's wheel.
Matt and Waylon rode hard to stay clear of Johann and I followed their wheel.
Getting closer to the finish I knew it would come down to a sprint between the three of us. I was confident that I would be able to take the win in the sprint. Matt tried to get away with about 2km to go but I reeled him in slowly. Coming in to the finish it was quite fast and furious even though we were on a couple of thick wheels.
I managed to take the win in front of Waylon Woolcock and Matt Beers, who followed in third place.
It was a really wet and muddy affair through the Knysna woods but was great fun and an awesome route!
On Monday Morning the mechanics will certainly have their hands full going through our Merida Ninety-Six Team bikes to make sure that they are ready for the weeks training coming up.
Next up for us with Team Telkom will be the Ashburton Ballito Ultra Marathon on the 23rd of July.
Over and out!