After the York Enduro Rally it only made sense to stay on in the Lowveld and participate in the Isuzu 3 Towers stage race which started a mere 4 days after York. The event was held at Mankele Mountain Bike Park, situated adjacent to the Sudwala Caves only 35km from Nelspruit.
Back in 2010 I got my first taste of the ISUZU Three Towers race and ever since then I simply can’t get enough of the event. Fortunately I’ve been able to attend the race every year since then and it was with huge excitement that I lined up for Isuzu Three Towers 2015!
The attitude of the organisers has a lot to do with the success and enjoyment of this event. It’s incredible to witness the effect of a positive approach on a project when the entire family (non-blood related members included) work together to create something extraordinary.
During the event we get to race on remarkable trails, pick up weight thanks to the delicious food (more gravity for the downhills), and sleep in comfortable tents every night. The campground atmosphere is very pleasant with family members welcome to camp at Mankele alongside the racers.
The 2015 edition revealed a changed route on day one and a modified version of stage 3’s course to keep things interesting. This offered riders more single track sections along with picturesque riding next to the Houtbosloop River. Over the 3 days of racing we covered a total distance of 184km, which might not sound too challenging until you note the 4400m of ascending it included. Well I guess life is not all downhill but during 3 Towers at least your climbing efforts are always rewarded with fun trails through the surrounding tree plantations or the event’s famous bush tunnels.
For this year’s edition I teamed up with Namibian Vera Adrian. I’ve seen and raced against Vera a handful of times and was looking forward to finally get to know her better as a racer and as a person.
Despite the fledgling partnership our rapport quickly flourished and it turned out that Vera and I shared similar strength and weaknesses on the bike. From the start of day one until the end of day three we were on the same page. There was no discussion of tactics before any of the stages or much communication during the race, even when stage victory on day two was only decided in the last 10km. Somehow we stayed synced without having to say too much. And, yes we did manage to take the victory on stage two J along with stage victories on day 1&3.
Isuzu three towers has always been a favourite race of mine and winning the overall title in the ladies category alongside a great teammate is truly the icing on the cake.
Thanks to the organisers for putting together such a unique event and may your race only keep on growing!