Hill climbs his way to victory

2017-12-12 06:00
PHOTO: SuppliedSharkie takes charge of the start of the Sharkie Fun Ride at the STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure at Summerveld Estate.

PHOTO: SuppliedSharkie takes charge of the start of the Sharkie Fun Ride at the STIHL Sharks Trail Adventure at Summerveld Estate.

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A
NDREW Hill extended his reign as the King of the Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure by winning his fifth title in six years at the 40km mountain bike race, mastering hot, dusty conditions to romp to a comfortable victory.

His dominance at a race that the Hillcrest native considers his home event, and one that he can ride to from his home, underscores his class and his knowledge of the local trails.

“It’s a great way to end the competitive year,” said the elated TIB Insurance rider.

“I am actually really pleased with how the race went, because it came at the end of a very hard week of training, and I could feel real fatigue in my legs,” said Hill.

Starting the 40km layout, which
was reversed for the 2017 edition of
this popular and well supported event, Hill set out to assert himself on
the rest of the elite contenders and
by halfway he had earned a sizeable buffer.

“I was able to stop at one of the watering tables and catch my breath, and I could see the others some way back on the switchbacks,” he said.

He praised the decision of course builder Andrew van Rensberg to reverse the layout, even if it did create a long hard climb up to the finish at the
Summerveld Estate.

“It really freshened up the race,” said Hill.

“We race this every year and we ride these trails in training, so to mix it up made a welcome difference.”

Hill showed his class in the dry, hot conditions, stressing that the trails through the Shongweni sugar-cane farmlands were a lot more appealing in dry conditions as they become treacherously slippery when it rains.

Hill said that while the Stihl Sharks Trail Adventure was his last competitive outing for the year, he would continue with a hard block of training through the holidays.

“That’s why this race was all part of the bigger picture,” he added.

“This event has such a great chilled family vibe that it such a good way to end the racing year, surrounded my friends, family and people that you ride with.”

Cayde Muldoon took the second place, with Ndumiso Dontso securing the last place on the podium. The women’s race was comfortably won by veteran Brenda Potts. Thami Kunene won the 20km MTB race by more than two minutes.

In popular trail running events, Zimbabwean-born runner Nomore Mandivengerei emulated the rampant Andrew Hill by defending his title, loping home to win the 18km trail run by a massive
seven minute margin. The 34-year-old Pietermaritzburg athlete revelled in the reversed course and conditions.

“We started going into the sun, which helped us when we were coming back, and we get to enjoy the views over the dam in this reversed course,” he said.

Zoe Papadakis took the women’s 18km trail running title, finishing an excellent eighth place overall, with second placed Kirsty Allen also racing into the top 10 overall.

The day was well supported by families, taking full advantage of the relaxed atmosphere at the Summerveld Estate and the stall holders from the Shongweni Farmers’ Market.

Cell C Sharks handed out cold
aQuellés to every finisher, while their mascot Sharkie was the centre of selfie attention before helping the younger children in their 2km Sharkie fun ride and run that brought the curtain down on the day’s activities, allowing families to enjoy the shade of the plane trees and the live music on offer. - Supplied.

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