African X 2014

I was happy and nervous to see myself on a starting line of SA’s best and biggest three day stage racing with likes of AJ Calitz, Michael Bailey, Bernard Rukadza, Ben Brimble and my team mate Kane Reilly. Day one was a little bit difficult for me because when I left Pretoria, it was pouring with and when I arrived in Cape Town it was warm and sunny.

Race pace contributed a lot because we were moving at a pace of 4min/km and below for the whole 33km and my body was still tight. Fortunately I started to feel better at 15km to go and that’s when we caught Michael and Ben. Mike controlled the race from start to finish, unfortunately for Kane and I, we lost them at 5km to go but managed to settle for second position followed by AJ and Bernard in third position.

Day 2 things didn’t go our way and we lost both teams at 17km (half way) because my partner had a stomach bug and we had to reduce our pace. If we kept pushing that hard we knew that we were not going to finish the stage together and that’s why we held back to protect our position. Stage racing with a partner is one of the best types of racing I’ve ever done because we gave each other full support throughout and is not always about winning. Finishing together, feeling strong is a major thing. Podium finishes were re-shuffled with a huge gap because day 2 was favoring AJ, he’s a good climber and there were about four very steep climbs. AJ and Bernard managed to out run us and won the stage. Mike and Ben came second and we came third with a 12min gap between us and the stage winners.

Day 3 was my favorite because we started a half marathon with a downhill and 70% of the route was flat and fast. I was very happy because Kane was doing very well and we were in the leading pack whilst pushing sub 3min/km and faster and I was feeling comfortable.

We had to dig deep to reduce the leading time of AJ and Bernard, with God’s grace we finished second overall after closing more than a two minute gap. We caught and passed Mike and Ben but they managed to come back at 3km to go. We out sprinted them at 1km on a  steep downhill to the finish. AJ and Bernie won stage three, two minutes ahead of us.

Congratulations to everyone who took part and especially the podium finishers. A big thank you to all my sponsors, Salomon SA, Stanlib SA, Bryton SA GM Fury Rivonia , GU Energy SA, Sterk Span Academy and Kane Reilly. I really appreciate the opportunity and support. Finishing third overall in 6:45:18 covering 78km-80km. It is a big achievement and I really enjoyed myself racing against SA’s best.

Photo Gallery (Photos credit Cherie Vale | Newsport Media)
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