My race report of the 2015 @SabieExperience. @GarminSA @Merida_SA

With hilly terrain, ​a moderate climate ​and quiet​ roads​, the Mpumalanga L​owveld is an attractive training ground for various outdoor sports. To top it ​off​, the ​region’s ​scenery​​ is absolutely breathtaking and this understandably makes training (and suffering) a lot more ​bearable​.

For these reasons​​ ​i​t​ just​ made sense to stay on in the Lowveld for an extra two days​ ​after finishing the MTN Panorama Road Tour​.​ ​There was more to it though,​​ as the Sabie Xperience MTB stage race,​ just down the road from my base in White River, was the next event on my racing calender. The 2 days in between races flew by and before I knew it I was back in the firing line.

The Xperience​ was held in and around the forestry town of Sabie​,​ with all the stages starting and finishing at the Floreat Riverside lodge. The race opened up with a 32km time trail on the first day​, ​followed by a 52km stage on day two, a 66km stage on day three and ​concluded with a 62km stage on the fourth and final day. The total distance of 211km might not sound daunting at first​,​ but if you consider the 4550m of climbing we had to do during the race, you soon realised the event w​ould be​ no easy feat.

This year marked my third participation​ at the event and ​for this edition​ I teamed up with Carel Bosman. Our last minute partnership was organised during a brief chat on the 3rd day of the MTN Panorama Tour when we learned we were both still without a confirmed teammate for the Sabie Xperience. Problem solved and ​4 days later we stood on the start line in Sabie!​ Like they say​,​ sometimes things really ​just ​have a way of working out for the best J.

Carel and I had a good team dynamic and got along very well on and off the bike. We were also fortunate to have an​  ​incident ​free ride ​through the race. All this contributed to our successful​ partnership as Carel and I placed 1st on all four stage​s​ to win the race overall in the mixed category. Andrew Hermanson & Tanielle Mandy placed 2nd  with Wayne Domnick & Tami Alves rounding out the podium in 3rd place.

A big ‘high five’​to the organisers of Sabie Xperience for changing the dates of the event​ from rainy December to cool and dry May​. In the past the event was run in the rain season to avoid potential fire hazards, but that made for a wet and muddy affair. With the event now happening in the dry autumn months, every day turned out to be an absolute pleasure. The routes were fun, ​yet challenging and the environment which we were so fortunate to cycle through made for one special Sabie Xperience. I already look forward to next year’s edition​ and can safely invite everyone (back) to join in the fun. Sabie Xperience is back with a vengeance!​

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