Adventurous athletes braved cold conditions

2013-06-15 00:00

The second event in the Varsity College Multisport Series was met by grey skies and heavy clouds at the stunning Shongweni Dam last weekend. True to multisport spirit, participants were not deterred and relished the adventurous conditions.

Racing was fierce at the front of the field as the long-course Multisport and Multi-X athletes charged into the hills for the first five-kilometre trail run. The hilly terrain soon separated the field, as the leaders devoured the 20 km mountain bike course. On to the final 2,5 km trail run for the Multi-X competitors, it was Daniel Carleton, an experienced Xterra athlete, who claimed the honours ahead of Matthew Kretzmann in second and Gareth Harrington in third. Kim Westbrook took a commanding lead of the women’s Multi-X, recording a well-deserved win ahead of racing mom Sarah Gray in second and Jade Redman close behind in third.

For the paddlers, it was a battle against the elements as the wind picked up making for challenging paddling conditions. This was no issue for paddling ace Eric Zondi, who powered through the final five-kilometre paddle to claim a convincing win ahead of Michael Hay with Jedson Tooms in third place. Landy Puddu showed her tenacity by crossing the line first in the women’s Multisport with Carmen Donald in second and Brittany Petersen third.

Cape Epic Exarro athlete Siya Njiva took on multisport with success as he won the Multi-X short-course, having broken his chain at the start of the mountain bike race and making a quick conversion to the Multi-X to save the day. Dean Wortmann was close behind in second with Andrew Edwards in third. Surfski king Barry Lewin showed he can multi too, as he claimed first man home in the short-course Multisport.

The mountain bike and trail run specific races allow individuals to race their preferred discipline while still enjoying the camaraderie of multisport. Varsity College’s Evan van der Spuy was a fitting winner of the 40 km MTB race ahead of Werner Moolman and James Burne, while Isabel Moolman claimed the women’s title.

Merik Sparg and Sabine Thies were the respective winners of the 20 km MTB. Nonsikelelo Mbamo took an impressive win in the women’s 15 km trail run, placing second overall behind winner Mdu Zondi.

The third and final event in the series takes place on August 11. The organisers have made a decision to move the event from Albert Falls Dam to Eston Country Club.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Those looking for a fun and active Father’s Day tomorrow should head out to Baynesfield for the Safire Baynesfield MTB Classic. The 65 km route will be dominated by the Baynesfield Breaker (BB) and, thereafter, a smaller climb, called the Old Fire Tower hill (OFT), materialises on the home stretch. The 45 km tackles half the BB and all of OFT before heading for the finish line. A 20 km ride is also on offer. Late entries will be taken at registration between 6,30 am and 9.30 am. The 65 km race is first off at 8 am.

Newcomer to the MiWay Big 5 Series, the Pick n Pay Elephant Eshowe takes place next Sunday. “With more climbing than the other races in the series, it will be considered tougher, although in comparison to the Midlands races it has less climbing, with only 790 m elevation in the 50 km and 395 m in the 25 km,” said series co-ordinator Shane Webster. The race starts at the Gratton Prep School in Eshowe and heads out to the Ihlazi Dam, well-known for the Gratton Triathlon and the perfect spectator point for the 10 km, 25 km and 50 km races. From there the 10 km race splits off, and the 25 km and 50 km enter a very enjoyable single track section for almost all of eight kilometres along the Umlalazi river. Pre-entries at www.roag .co.za close on Wednesday evening.

In its 11th year, the Burry Stander Sardine MTB Classic event will be a very special one that commemorates a legend of our time — Burry Stander. This year the event aims to raise awareness and funds for the Burry Stander Foundation, an organisation inspired by Stander with the vision to advocate road safety measures for cyclists and runners utilising the roads for their training sessions. The weekend begins on June 29 with a 10 km and 20 km trail run. On June 30, there is a 10 km MTB Family Ride, a 20 km MTB Intermediate Ride and a 42 km MTB Classic. For more information, contact 083 549 6710 or 084 550 4138. Entries are open at www.roag. co.za

An event to look out for is the Single Speed South African Nationals, which takes place from Cowan House school in Hilton on June 29. If you’ve never ridden single speed before, now is your chance to experience it.

The course has been designed by master track-builder and single-speed guru Kim Philips, and as such is ideally suited to single-speed riding. A prime forestry single track in the Cedara and Hilton forests, the 35 km course comprises a big figure eight with two saloon stops (both in the same place, close to Cowan House, making this a good spectator point). Entries are open at www.ro ag.co.za

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