Total Distance: 47km, 1hr53min, Ave speed 24.5km/hr
The compendium derby is a local 45km classic that attracts well over 1500 people. The event has grown year on year and this year the track was the best yet. With a new improved route down into GIBA then out in the sugar cane, riders were shown the best the area has to offer on the mountain bike whist still being tested technically and physically. The track had relinquished its “loose over hard” conditions with some over night rain. The rain had settled the dust and made for very quick conditions through GIBA gorge especially.
The racing up front this year was contested by myself, RECM’s Luke Roberts and Marshall world of sports new team member Carl Calverley. Both other athletes have had some impressive results over the past couple of months and would be keen to stand at the top of the podium at the end of the day. The pedestrian paced start was well received by many of the racers but as the ride kicked up the first hill so the paced upped with an attack from Calverley. This put the field under pressure and resulted in the three podium riders getting away 4km from the start line. Calverley dropped off after a steep rocky climb which the two Cannondale 29ers of Hill and Roberts soaked up with ease. The race was now on to stay away from Calverley and test Roberts on his tired legs form the day before. My plan was to get into GIBA first and then let the RECM rider follow my wheel rather than me trying to match the very skilful young athlete. My plan worked into GIBA and as we were climbing out of GIBA on a steep tar road section I put a big effort in and managed to break the elastic between Luke and I. I knew I would have to maintain and dig deep to pull keep the gap and increase it over the next 25km.
As we came through the Shongweni Club and the finishing area to do our next 22km loop I had a slender 30second gap but had planned to attack again from the bottom of the 5min dam climb up to the ridge. It worked and I couldn’t see Luke chasing me down. The final 15km of the route was a fast flat out ride with some nasty kicker climbs interspersed with hard cane roads and I put my head down and kept a consistent steady pace slowly increasing the gap between 2nd and 3rd place.
At the finish line my lead was in the realm of 4min to 2nd place and another 3min to 3rd, a comfortable margin at the end of the day but nether the less a hard tough event for 45km.
1st Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance) 1hr53min
2nd Luke Roberts (RECM)
3rd Carl Calverley (Marshalls Work of Sport)
Photo credit: firstname.lastname@example.org