Wow, First Race Win of 2017
The Fairtree Capital Simonsburg Contour Stage Race, held just a short ride away from our base camp here in Stellenbosch, was our chance to get in some speedy race practice. It’s one thing to train hard, but the rhythm, tactics, and constant focus required in racing takes practice.
During the first stage, my teammate Kristian Hynek attacked from our steady charging lead group and I went after his surge. This got us a small gap, but then Kristian flatted and regrouped with our other teammate Alban Lakata along with Dominik Buska of Future Cycling. I got a small gap on the chasers, but when they took a wrong turn off the course, my lead was magnified. I crossed the finish line to take the win and the leader’s jersey going into the second stage.
For those of you into power data, below is a screen shot of my work from Stage 1. As you can see, the hills were sharp at the beginning and end. From the KOM on (the last 40 minutes) is where you see the race really heated up. NP close to 355 for me at 72 kilos. I’d say the hard thing to see is how winning versus finishing well in mountain bike race requires closing speed or the ability to still put out high power efforts. Here I did a 850 watt surge and many at 600 to accelerate out of turns while getting my heart rate down on the very short descents.
Day two had some tough single track, and Kristian came back looking to prove his form. He attacked late in the stage on the serpentine single track climb of Never Say Never. A ripping downhill that was really fun followed. I was hot on Kristian’s heels and he and I both almost crashed racing the descent!
In the final kilometers, knowing the over all win was safe, I drove the pace and Kristian came around for the stage win.
A perfect ending to the weekend was hanging out at the after-party under the big tent listening to music and chatting with the racers and enjoying the first taste of Champagne in 2017!
Thanks to Team Topeak-Ergon for the support and great equipment that stands the toughest races in the World.