Himeville – The dust stirred up by 2015 Old Mutual joBerg2c victors Johann Rabie and Gawie Combrinck has hardly settled and already the pair are relishing a return to the trails from Sani Pass down to Scottburgh Main Beach at this year’s Nedbank sani2c which takes place from 14-16 May.
The EAI duo stood head and shoulders above the rest of the elite men’s field at the recent nine day clash and they believe their second successive joBerg2c victory stands them in good stead ahead of this year’s tough three day long sani2c clash.
“joBerg2c is a long race and a lot of miles so its good training for the legs and good race preparation for sani2c as well,” says Rabie.
“sani2c will obviously see a lot more teams racing than there were at joBerg2c so the competition will definitely be taken up a notch – something we saw last year when we also won the joBerg2c but then finished third at sani,” he adds.
Rabie believes the time on the sani2c route during the final three days of this year’s joBerg2c also provided them with an invaluable opportunity to refresh their memory of the intricate details of all three stages and will aid them in the quest for another strong showing.
“It’s nice to have had the opportunity to run the sani2c route beforehand and have another look at where the quicker sections are, where the more dangerous stretches are, etc. so joBerg2c was definitely great preparation for us ahead of sani.
“sani2c’s second stage is a really important stage; it’s probably the hardest of the three and its important not to make any mistakes going down into the Umkomaas Valley – which can cost you a bit of time – and then again heading back of out the valley – which is where most of the splits usually happen.
“sani’s section stage is also one of those special days as far as mountain biking routes go. I think the stretch down into the Umkomaas Valley is one of the best sections of single track you will ever get in mountain biking throughout the world; it’s just a really awesome day’s riding and one we always look forward to,” he says.
Having spent quite some time together as a pair, particularly on the sani2c trails, Rabie also believes his and Combrinck’s understanding of one another should be another advantage the pair will enjoy come 14 May’s start.
“We’ve known each other for a couple of years having both come from a road background and I’d say we’re quite similar in strength.
“Even though Gawie has a bit more mountain biking experience than I have, I think we complement each of quite well and work together as a team quite well.
“When things start going south – which can quite easily happen on the bike – then we don’t often fight; we get along well – something that I believe is really important as far as a team goes.
“Gawie is probably the calmer one of the two of us; when I start to worry about things or get a little frustrated then Gawie is able to calm me down quite well and we seem to work well together, something I’m sure will help during this year’s sani!” says Rabie.
The 11th edition of the Nedbank sani2c’s gets underway when the Trail event takes place from 12-14 May 2015. The Adventure then unfolds from 13-15 May before the cream of the the country’s top mountain bikers do battle during the Race from 14-16 May. More information can be found at www.sani2c.co.za