The 2017 season started this weekend up at the EuroSteel Dark descent with some muddy but fun conditions on the Sani Spoors trails. The race was a 2 day event and started towards the Gooderson Drak Gardens hotel and finished on the river near the Colford nature reserve. I raced as a solo rider and was up against some stiff competition in the form of the new Eurosteel Pyga team of Phillip Buys and Matthys Beukes. The heavy overnight conditions had made the day 1 track very muddy and slippery but for the most of it i really enjoyed the day out on the new dual sus bike. The hand build trails of the sani spoors network were really technical in some spots along the river as we passed some the paddlers of the N3 Drak challenge race being held over the same weekend.
Euro Steel Drak Descent
Both days followed a similar pattern with the Eurosteel guys and myself getting a gap on the chasing teams of riders. Positioning was key and I found I got a small gap on a slippery portage section up onto the cliffs above the river valley. This gap widened to 5min and after 35km of track I had a good lead over the next riders who were now wrestling the bikes through the mud of the 20km race who had started before us as we caught the back end of them. By the end of day 1 I had cemented a healthy lead over the next solo riders including the teams as well.
The conditions on Day 2 were near perfect and played out along simialar lines to the day before, the early break was made by Matthys who had found his legs overnight and pushed the up all the early kicker climbs into the Sani Spoors trails that overlooked Underberg town. Some of the trails were a bit slippery after the heavy rain the previous morning but on the whole the conditons were near perfect. I found myslef with a small gap after about 30km of racing and with another portage i managed to open the gap up to about 2min on chasing team to cross the line as the Overall winner.