The Catoridge 22% climb marks the starts of the Hill2Hill lead group attacks.
100km, 2000m climbing 3hr39min
Hill2Hill is always a local favourite of mine as it links up a lot of the training areas I really enjoy between Hilton and Hillcrest. The route has evolved marginally over the years but with that tradition it really allows for year on year comparison between times and conditions. Some years it’s raining and muddy and others it’s hot and windy. The 2014 edition was the later without the wind, thankfully, and provided the participants with the real opportunity to contend with the notion of beating personal records and putting their name up there amongst the times at the local pub. The other positive with a never changing route is that people tend to know what to expect along the way, where names like Friesland hill and the ark climb conjure real images and feelings similar to those associated with Polly shorts and Bothas hill in seasoned comrades runners. There are some pros and cons about fairly fixed routes but the Hill2hill route I believe is a local legend in the mountain biking circles.
The racing upfront usually takes shape only around the 60km mark as we climb up a very steep 22% gradient hill towards the Catoridge golf club. This is where you can make an impact on the race by picking the tempo up and placing pressure on the guys around you. Up until that point there really isn’t anywhere a group can get away as the flat rolling stretches of road and trial don’t lend themselves to a breakaway succeeding. This was the case this year where James Reid, Matt Beers and I put in a hard effort to leave the group on the steep climb before the golf club. The plan worked and we put a nice gap between the chasing group and us until the tech zone at the golf club, where the group came together after some hard chasing from Brendan Davids and his team mate Stuart Marais. This put the already hurting Brendan Davids into the hurt box as we hit the bumpy section of grass. Brendan had a fall during the week and was suffering from an injured wrist on his left hand side.
James made a break on the single track heading down to the nursery before Bartlett’s climb and got a 15 to 20 seconds gap on the rest of us. Matt beers and I were the only two to respond to James move and we worked hard to try and bridge the gap to the SA Marathon champs back wheel. I broke away from Matt after the woodcutters trail and held the gap at 45seconds for about 6km but then heading up the Ark climb James showed his class and took the gap to 1 minute. That gap stayed all the way till the finish line where I crossed the line in 2nd place a couple of minutes ahead of Matt.