Skinny Wheel Action - State Championships 2012January 31, 2012
The 2012 season has begun, and man did it kick off with a bang. The first race of the season was the 2012 Kwa-Zulu Natal State Road Championships. Although it was State Championships all the big names in South African cycling had decided to make an appearance, especially from the mountain biking front. With names like Burry Stander, Kevin Evans, Davids George, Rourke Croeser and James Reid, the racing was never going to be easy.
At 8:00 sharp we rolled out into the super slick conditions... 9 laps of a fast, wet, 15km loop lay ahead of us. It wasn't long until the first couple of attacks went off the front, but they were all very short lived and brought back before any real gaps formed. It wasn't until the fourth lap that a major break got away. Myles van Musschenbroek and Aston Davies managed to open a gap to around 2minutes on the main group, with Burry and the rest of the big names sitting safely in the bunch, biding their time. I began to get a little anxious as both of the riders sitting in the break were both in the u23 category, thus meaning they were my competition for the State Title.
After around a lap and a half the main bunch began to get organized, and within another lap, the gap had been closed. Lap 6 put me in a spot of bother... I missed a feed when going through the tech/feed zone and I soon felt myself on the verge of bonking. It couldn't have come at a worse time... The group had now upped the pace drastically and as we made our way up the grueling 15minute climb I found myself in a very, VERY dangerous position, AT THE BACK... THE VERY BACK, and I was holding on for dear life. The group had been absolutely shelled, and was now only around 15 strong as we approached the final 3 laps. I eventually got my much needed feed, and almost instantly felt 100% better. Then came the major move of the race. With 2 laps to go, Burry (Specialized Factory) and Kevin (360-Life) attacked and no one could follow. Kevin's team mates, Davids George and James Reid then attacked and managed to get a gap on what was left of the main group. I was left to try and chase down the move. Over the final lap I closed the gap to James and Dave very slightly, but they simply proved to be too strong in the end. So with 400m to go the group had now been shelled down to 4... I attacked as hard as possible over the top of the final climb and time trialled to 5th Overall (2nd KZN Resident) and 1st u23, narrowly edging out Rourke Croeser!
A big thanks to Brandon Stewart and Clint Olsen for the use of their awesome Easton EC90 Aero Wheels, To Craig Paul for keeping my bike in check and to the entire Cyclelab PMB Team for being my back up and support!!