New terrain, new equipment and a little bit of nerves all came together on Saturday morning in Oudtshoorn for #TheHellOfTheSouth. Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter took their first MTB race in their stride, a tough 121km with 2900m ascent. A real baptism of fire, even in the pouring rain.
“I misjudged a line while in the front group and slashed my rear tyre at around the 20km mark. I had to stop multiple times to plug and bomb my wheel but had to put a tube in as the last resort as the leading Women’s bunch flew past me. I was 17 minutes down in 47th position at the second tech zone, and after a wheel change, I spent the rest of the day slowly clawing my way back in no man’s land. I finished 13th, 22 minutes down on Matt Beers’ winning time, so I’m pretty happy with my form at the moment, all things considered.” ~ Jaco Venter
“I was in the lead group for most of the day, really finding my rhythm on the climbs coming out of the Attakwas Valley. I had a small lapse in concentration while fighting back to the lead group after the KOM at 58km, and lost pressure in my front wheel. Jaco charged past me before the fourth tech zone, where I changed wheels, and tried to make up as much of the time deficit as I could. It was always going to be a tough first race, and the conditions gave an extra bit of bite. We obviously wanted to come away with a result better than 13th and 18th, but are still very happy with how we stacked up against the established SA mountain bikers.” ~ Jacques Janse van Rensburg
Janse van Rensburg and Venter now look ahead to the first team event of the season, the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen from 6 – 9 February 2020. This will be the first MTB stage race for the pairing to put their last 8 years of experience, partnership and tactics into use.