The route 66 mtb stage race was a new event for myself and Shaun-Nick. The event formed part of our plan heading into Epic next month as a good way to work on the fast starts and practice pushing the pace trying to simulate the extremely quick starts we’re going to have at come middle of March. The event is solo rider 3 day stage race in and around the cradle of human kind in Marapeng. Having never raced in this area I was keen to see how the trails would fair and what the conditions would be. I was very impressed with the overall layout of the event with each day having a great balance between single track and rolling jeep track.
Our aim was to push the first 45min of racing trying to max-out the hear rate and then settle into a marathon pace before the final 30min where we’d up the pace again. Its always great to have a team mate in a solo race where we could both work as hard as possible as if it was a team race but still compete tactically amongst the other riders when we needed to.
The three days were 79km 78km and 62km in distance and covered a variety of terrains and conditions after some heavy rains the previous couple of days before. There was even a chance the first day was going to be shortened due to some dangerously high water levels along the route. Fortunately the organisers kept the route complete and we were able to race the full distance. Heavy over night rain every night between the stages made for slippery and wet conditions each day but we stuck to our plans and raced hard from the gun. Day 1 took the win after Shuan-Nick sliced a tyre with 20km to go and then on stage 2 Shaun Nick took the win and on the final stage we crossed the line together to claim the two top steps of the podium.