Over the past weekend the vibrant little Free State town of Parys welcomed cyclistsfrom all quarters of the country for the annual Crater Cruise MTB Festival. The unique setting of the event is surely a feature which attracts competitors every year. Not only does the town form part of a World Heritage site,but it also offers various outdooractivities in and around town. Coffee-, artist- and antique shops ensure the whole family is entertained while the racers do their thing.
The Crater Cruise event has always been a firm favourite on my cycling calendar. I enjoy the racing conditions and being born & raised in the Free State means I get to spend time with my family and cycling friends who also come to participate at the event. This meansI’m sure to have a good time no matter what the result at the end of the race!
To keep the event exciting the organisers made slight route and format changes to the 2015 edition. The 80 km distance was the main event instead of the 115 km distance as in previous years and both men and woman were set off together on the Sunday.
The Crater Cruise is very well known for the demanding, corrugated, district roads and combined with the fast pace the elite men were setting, it turned the battle into an elimination race of sorts. All said and done,I ended up in the 2nd group out on track along with 7 other riders as we flew around the course in a time of 2h 57 min.
I was very happy to cross the finish line of a ‘home ground’ race in first place. Amy MacDougall finished in 2nd place with Maricel Bekker rounding out the podium in 3rd place.
The Crater Cruise offers something completely different to other mountain bike courses due to the exposed and corrugated gravel roads, fast racing and the application of some road tactics. It’s great to have an MTB race that adds some spice to our racing calendar.