More than 3000 participants toed the line for this year’s edition of the Momentum 94.7 Mountain Bike Challenge. The race took place at the Waterfall Country Estate in Sunninghill, Johannesburg on the 10th of November.
The event offered three distances to choose from. The main 55km race, a shorter but still challenging 30km race and a 15km race for the kiddies and people looking for an introduction into mountain biking. The fairly flat course was laid out in and around the Waterfall Country Estate and had a mixture of terrain to keep things interesting. This included concrete bike/running paths within the estate, water crossings, short and steep climbs and the mountain biker’s beloved single track.
The route also included a short technical section where one could choose to take the ‘Bull Run’ or the ‘Chicken Run’. As a rule the ‘Bull Run’ is shorter but technically more challenging while the ‘Chicken Run’ is longer but easier to ride. Well, that’s normally the idea but in this case they were the same length with the ‘Bull Run’ including 2 small rock gardens making it much quicker to take the ‘Chicken Run’. The time I lost taking the ‘Bull Run’ would come back to haunt me later in the race. So my tip for next year’s edition is to take the Chicken Run (hope none of my competitors are reading this!)
I haven’t been racing for a while due to injury so I didn’t have any expectations going into the race. I was just glad to be on a start line again and looking forward to the challenge. As soon as the gun fired my nerves settled as finally I could channel my nervous energy into turning the pedals.
Robyn de Groot capped a brilliant season by claiming the victory in a superb time of 2:12:33. She was followed home by previous 94.7 road race winner Anriette Schoeman in a time of 2:18:37. I broke all personal heart rate records and somehow got myself onto the podium in 3rd place just 27 seconds behind Anriette. Although very happy with the result, I couldn’t help but wonder how much closer I would have been if I were a ‘Chicken’…
Next up I will be swapping my fat tyres for the skinny ones as I prepare for the Coronation Double Century on the 23rd of November. I will face this 204km challenge as part of the Northcliff Cycles team and I look forward to the unique challenge.