Amy McDougall and Samantha Sanders from Team dormakaba won the 3 Towers women’s race this past weekend in a time of 8:56:30. This provides them with a strong platform for the upcoming Berg & Bush mountain biking race at the Drakensberg escarpment.
The 3 Towers took place in the Mankele Bike Park in Mpumalanga and, according to Samantha provides a unique riding experience.
“The famous Bush Tunnels (kilometres of single track cut through the vegetation) are fantastic and the trails are also quite technical. It really is a physical race as you must work hard on your bike. However, every tired muscle is worth it when you hit the trails and shred down for kilometres. The event is a great balance of tough and fun,” says Samantha.
“The 3 Towers is a race that is technical enough and can be won on having the best skills as a team. Sam and I did not need to break away on the climbs or flats, but we were able to make our own decisive moves in the Bush Tunnels. Not many races are technical enough to be able to do this,” she says.
Amy admits that the first day was one of the toughest she has had on her bike.
“Day 1 was horrible for me because my form was just nowhere. The only thing I can put it down to is the heat. My power numbers were low and heart rate very high. I had to dig super deep and Sam had to nurse me to the finish. Luckily, the last two days were cooler, I came right, and we managed to win,” says Amy.
For Samantha, their strategy on riding their own race and taking each day as it came paid off.
“You can have something in mind, but ultimately your legs and body can let you down. We knew from previous experience to look after our tires and ride smooth. This is not the race to take unnecessary risks. Mankele is very rough and rocky, and always claims many victims.”
With several stage races remaining in the season, Samantha believes they will continue to prepare hard and race as best they can on the day.
“We always try to maintain a level of enjoyment racing. Obviously not in a way that it is not focused, but it is important to love what you do and remain passionate to keep the motivation levels high. Naturally, we would want to finish the season off with a few more podium finishes,” she says.
The team races again from tomorrow at the Berg & Bush.