A classic day on the Bike at Lourensford

The Lourensford is one of Kate Slegrova’s favourite races – it’s set in a beautiful valley, surrounded by magnificent mountains and vineyards, the route is always fun, challenging and little different each time, and it’s great family outdoor event. Plus it’s superbly organised. 

The 2013 Spur Lourensford MTB Classic started on a chilly but clear morning and the blue sky had attracted not only the experienced riders but also lots of first timers and everyone seemed to be accompanied by the whole family. Despite the 1 500 odd entrants registration went smoothly, leaving me with time for a quick warm up and a chance to say hello to the familiar faces, before heading off on the 60km long challenging route.

The start was uphill for a good hour mainly on gravel road. It spread the fi eld out very quickly and soon I was riding alone with Diana Carolin, breathing on my back. I managed to get to the top fi rst, but she is better downhiller and passed me quite quickly. I enjoyed the mud and river crossings, but had to stop as my back wheel was going fl at. Two gentlemen to helped me bomb it, but by the time I got going Di was out of sight. The route was quite technical: with sharp climbs, descents, a few wooden bridges and river crossings to ensure wet feet. And the water was not warm, Brrrrr.Race Action

The rewards were stunning views of the Helderberg Mountains and fun single track descents. Speaking of which, I had to stop at the bottom of a long descent, at about 30km, to pump some more air into my back wheel. After more fun single track in forest we got to the second long climbing section and I tried to make up some lost time. Somewhere near the 45km mark the route connects with the shorter, 38km route. Which wasn’t ideal as it was still single track and the riders are bit slower (no off ence) and one must wait for a good spot to pass them. I was quite sorry for some of them, as they looked tired already and some struggled with the technical route.

At about 50km mark the route heads down back to the valley in a fast descent on gravel road. Some riders may have thought that it’s all downhill from there on home, but not yet. Some more single track with a new section packed with fun switchbacks – no rocky stuff but nice and smooth, just the way I like it.

Lourensford Race
By having shorter distances for the kids and the less fit, the 2013 Lourensford MTB Classic didn’t disappoint.

On the organisation front there were a lot of water points. I must say I only stopped once quickly at the 45km mark, to get water but there was also coke and energy drinks. There were quite a lot of kids too, as there was 5km route and beginner MTBers who did the 15 or 27km. Spur did their famous burgers and many pancakes were also eaten. I have heard from a few people who started in later groups that they were timed as if they started in fi rst group. But the timing was corrected later, so if you want to confi rm your real time you can check it out on Trailtag.co.za. Also some people complained of not being seeded if they only entered on the day. But I think that is fair as the organisers need people to motivate people to enter beforehand.

Our Itec Cycle Training got three podium finishes so we were very happy. Diana Carolin fi rst, myself second and Nicola Walker 3rd, nine month old baby and all! James Reid won the men’s overall race, Renay Groustra was 2nd and Nico Pfi tzemayer came 3rd. Caren Henschel, also riding for my team got 2nd in her category. Overall the organising was great and it was fun day out for all. Thank you: Lourensford, Dirtopia and Trailtag.

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