Mountain Biking race (Munga Grit) 27:31:37  535.04 km (19.4 kph) +5375m
ahr:130 weight:79.5kg shoes: Specialized Epic FSR Mthn 2014
Munga Grit 530+ km Race from Bidon Bistro
I've been building up for this for 3 months. Lots of long distance training, bought a new seat bag and a 2nd feed bag and even scouted the probable route 2 weeks before. I didn't know what a realistic goal would be, nor how strong the field was. I had a wide aim of ideally finishing sub-24 hours and a top 10 result, and also beating Pete and MC, who've I've been racing against fairly unsuccessfully over the last few months in the Mini Mungas.
Weather was ominous for the weekend, but we got lucky from a rain perspective (the scattered showers all missed us). We weren't as lucky with the wind and it pumped at about 30km/hr from the north during the days, dropping a bit at night. There didn't feel like there was many sections of tail-wind out there. It got worse on the Saturday morning as well, with the sun unexpectedly coming out to add a bit of heat / dehydration issues.
Speaking to Alex Harris beforehand, I was happy to hear that he didn't think gravel bikes were the way to go, too rocky in some places and too corrugated in many others.
We had quite a fast start and after about 30km I realized there were a lot of good riders around. I was floating around 10-18th position, with 8 or so fast guys long gone off the front. It settled down a bit going over the technical section on the Mount Grace hill, finding myself with 2 guys (Dewalt and Sithembiso) for a short while before I decided I better let them go on the New Thorndale road. I was on my own for a long time after that, except for 1 or 2 riders coming flying past. Towards evening a couple more riders caught me, then missed a turn, and then more so that we pulled into Water Point 2 @ 188k, just after crossing the N4, in a bunch of 7 riders, making up positions 12-19 or so.
Great waterpoint with some lovely vetkoek and fruit juice.
From WP2 drafting wasn't allowed anymore. Everyone in my part of the field was faster than me on the dirt, so I just clicked along in endurance mode through the dark. The headwinds going north on this section wasn't as bad as it could have been and the tail wind on the return south to Swartruggens must have helped. I caught and passed the first rider who had overcooked it at 225km.
I was very quick through the halfway Race Village at 269km in Swartruggens just after midnight, in about 3 minutes, jumping about 5 places to 12th in the process. We had another technical section after town and then the Marico Pass, where 4 guys caught up again. One of them must have missed a turn, and I never saw him again. I also caught and passed 1 of the 2 gravel bike riders ahead in the race, when he had slashed a tire wall on the slate outcrops on the tracks into Bokkraal (WP3 - 332km). Gave him a 29" tube, but don't know if that helped. At the waterpoint I spent a few minutes with the other 3 guys but they quickly pulled away from me on the mielieland flats after that as we got the first glimmer of dawn. Still in 12th place.
The was a lot of cross wind and slight headwind across these sections as it also got hotter and hotter as the cloud cover broke up. A few headwind sections where I struggled to get above 15km/hr on flat dirt sections destroyed the idea of finishing before midday. I spent about 10 minutes in WP4 (427km) recovering before finding a bit of a second wind. We also had a tough off-trail section leaving the WP which further slowed the speed.
Got to the last race village (500km, with 30km to go) and saw down the road that there wasn't a rider within 15 min of me. Though I would be safe to the finish to secure 12th, but a charging Pete destroyed that idea, catching and passing me just after the caves at a phenomenal speed after a poor first half of the race.
So 13th in the end in 27h30. Actual wheel-spinning time as 26h30, so exactly 1hr spent in 2 race villages, 4 water points, 5 jojo tanks and a couple of extra pit stops. That was probably a bit better than others in my area, but still would have wanted to cut it down more. Average wheel spinning time was 20.1km/hr, relieved that I kept it above the 20 marker.
Generally enjoyed the race, although I hated the last morning with all the headwinds. Well organized by Alex.
Top 25 Results: (dd:hh:mm)
1 Hansie Joubert 00:22:54
2 Kent Main 01:00:08
3 Dewald Lotter 01:00:20
4 Ruan Botes 01:00:56
5 Wade Harris 01:01:40
6 Simon Rollo 01:02:13
7 Luan Nieuwoudt 01:02:16
8 Michael Chumbley 01:02:25
9 Martin Bain Venn 01:02:26
1 0Michael McDermot 01:02:40
11 Sithembiso Masango 01:02:48
12 Piet Laubscher 01:03:27
13 Nicholas Mulder 01:03:29
14 Coenraad Steenkamp 1:04:07
15 Brian Brummer 1:04:46
16 Aiden Choles 1:04:56
17 Jonathan Moss 01:05:22
18 Devon Main 01:05:23
19 Gert Janse Van Vuuren 01:05:25
20 Imandie Kruger 01:05:25
21 Jaco Crous 01:05:52
22 M.C. Lamprecht 01:05:52
23 Carl Crous 01:05:52
24 Timothy Calitz 01:06:36
25 Riccardo Stermin 01:06:39