15 October 2017
Today I started the Cape Pioneer Trek with my partner Marchal Hendricks. This is my first MTB Multi-stage race. For those not familiar with the Cape Pioneer Trek it is a 7 day Stage race in Garden Route and Klein Karoo region in South Africa. We started this morning with a 7 km neutral zone where after the route was fairly technical for the next 30 km especially for us not spending much time on the MTB. On the open roads we were able to go full gas. Unfortunately my partner did not feel good the last 35 km and bonked .Then the real racing started . Having to nurture your partner home that far was a real challenge but we made it . Lessons learner #eatmoremarchal , but tomorrow is a new day and we look forward to some more racing . 📸 Zoon Cronje, Oakpics
16 October 2017
Stage 2 done: Another tough day done and dusted . Today went a lot better then yesterday but still room for a lot of improvement. Marchal Hendricks technical skills improved so much that he can almost be considered a xco rider by now . It was a fun day in the saddle and we did really well for the first part of the race being in 6th place at the first water point but Marchal started to struggle soon after with yesterday’s bonk started to catch up with him . Tomorrow is another day and we are taking it as it comes and having fun doing it . We ended up with 10th place on the elite men GC so we’ll keep fighting . #racewithsoul #dryland#capepioneertrek
17 October 2017
Surprisingly today was the easiest so far, 99 km of Mountain biking with 2000m of climbing through some of the most beautiful tracks the Western Cape can offer . Today we tried something else, we backed of the front guys and just sticked to the group that always caught us in the end and it worked. Marchal finally felt better and we moved up to 8th on elite men GC . We were in a group with the leading ladies and I was driving the pace most of the day until the last 10 km of the race where the single track started and we lost a big chunk of time .
Tomorrow is going to be a big ask for us to keep our place with a 30 km time trail on mostly single track trials so we’ll try our best again.
Last but not least thanks to everyone for the most amazing support we wouldn’t be able to do it without you guys
18 October 2017
Another one bites the mud . Today was a really big surprise for us . We had a fun day out and finished 11th overall and kept our 8th place on the elite category.
We just kept it steady and tried to make it to the finish without crashing . We couldn’t do it , Marchal Hendricks crashed in the mud and I went over the bars and managed to land on all fours .
Looking forward to tomorrow stage and all the adventure that lies ahead .
Thanks for everything everyone .
19 October 2017
We’re almost at the end of the week now . Today started out with a neutral zone for a few minutes and then we hit the Montaqu pass. I felt really strong and stayed at the front of the race still feeling comfortable but soon after realized Marchal Hendricks was nowhere to be found.
I slowed down and waited for a while and found him riding in a little group. We made it over the top just behind the group and then got dropped on a technical single track. Then we got caught again by the leading ladies and stayed with them until just before the finish where Marchal finally felt better and we rode away from the rest of the group finishing 12th on the day and keeping our 8th place.
20 October 2017
Stage 6 ,
Only one day left . Legs felt pretty beat up early on in the race but hen gradually got better throughout the stage .
Marchal Hendricks was a proper powerhouse throughout the the day and for I didn’t have to look back even once to see where he is. We were just outside of the overall top 10 in a group containing the leading mixed team and the second ladies team.
We kept riding together for the whole stage until we started going uphill to the finish we me and Marchal went to the front and just rode away from the group. We then had a small technical section and Marchal walked over a bridge, but when he got back on his bike it wasn’t the same Marchal. We crawled up Swartberg pass and kept our position yet again.
What a week it’s been, lots of ups and downs but definitely one to remember. The biggest congratulations must go to Marchal Hendricks . Not once did he get mad, he never gave up even after bonking the first day. He always kept his cool en carried the pain in his legs like a boss . He got stronger by the day . For someone to work and compete at this level costs a lot of dedication so a appreciation post is in order.
So at the end of the week we ended todays stage in 8th plce overall keeping our 8th place in the Elite men’s team and an overall 14th position. What an experience racing the Cape Pioneer Trek the past week was. Thanks to the Dryland team for this world class event. I have watched this event finishing in my home town many times and did not really understood the meaning of #racewithsoul. After this week’s experience I can truly understand that this race has soul. Being a roadie at heart and racing in Europe I don’t know if i will be back next year, but if the opportunity is there, I will be back.