Rooiberg is a peaceful Bushveld village about 50km West of Warmbad. The town’s Golf Club played host to the 5th round in the MTN National MTB Series.
The Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland region and has a variety of landscapes and magnificent wildlife to boast about. As such, this semi-arid area is very popular for game watching especially in winter when the bush is not so dense.
As nice as that sounds, we were here for a race and the game viewing would have to take a back seat for a while. The ladies race started at 7:40am in chilly weather conditions and ahead of us lay 78km which included a total of 1342m of climbing.
Rooiberg’s terrain is fairly rocky and loose making for a hard and also quite technical course as sliding around slippery corners became the norm on the day. I was very impressed with my continental tires as they never let me down on a route that truly puts one’s equipment to the test.
It was my 2nd time competing at Rooiberg and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. The route and surface constantly keeps on changing making for an exciting challenge from start to finish.
In our race the pace was set high from the word go. Within the first 5km a group of three riders formed up front which included Arianne Kleinhans (RE:CM), Robyn de Groot (Biogen CycleLab) and myself (Garmin). It seemed as though the race was run in 3 parts and in the opening act, the 3 of us rode together and shared the workload.
After the Queen of the Mountain prime Arianne opened a small gap as we were all forced to walk the final steep inclines of Butcher’s hill. From there Arianne was in the lead with Robyn and me in hot pursuit.
The final third turned into an individual time trial with Arianne, Robyn and myself trailing each other by a few minutes in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Behind us the same individual pattern was followed by the other ladies in the race. It just goes to show how demanding the course was.
Just before the finish line lone leader Arianne missed a turn somewhere which saw her crossing the finish line behind Robyn, but Robyn showed true mountain biking sportsmanship and was happy for Arianne to take the win on the day while she settled for 2nd place. I managed to keep my position, finishing in 3rd place ahead of Amy Macdougall.
I am very happy with my first top three placing at a MTN National event for this year and hope it bodes well for some big races coming up in June (SA Champs and World Champs).
For one day races it’s mostly just a quick one night stopover in the race town or area before heading back home again after the event. Still no matter how short the visit, I always enjoy spending time in the beautiful areas that the MTN National series takes us to. The landscape, the people, the weather and of course the race route makes every event unique and this time around was no different. Thanks to the Advendurance team for always putting on great events.