FNB Wines 2 Whales Adventure 2016

Wines2WhalesMy first Wines 2 Whales and my first mtb stage race. What an awesome event. A definite bucket list race for anyone who has a love for 2 wheels.

3 days of 65km – 70km of pristine, well manicured trails that takes you from Lourensford to Onrus.

With more scars on my knees than a leopard has spots I decided to race with my knee guards. They give me more confidence and I really didn’t want any more war wounds. Looking back now I could have easily gone without as my technical skills have definitely improved and there weren’t many rocks I could have fallen on!!

We had been seeded in C which meant there was slightly less pressure from the start which i was happy with, as long as we didnt get held up on the single track. And better to move up through the field than be kicked back!

It takes me a while to find my legs and I always dread the start of a mtb race as it’s generally a testosterone filled sprint up the first climb! I was very glad to have my team mate Alan to help me. This was our first race together but I knew from the start that we’d work well together.

Day 1 now seems like a blur of climbs, single track and a portage section. All great fun, no falls and only a broken spoke.

The portage section wasn’t as steep as I had envisaged and my calves felt fine by the time we reached the top. Often steep climbs in inflexible cycling shoes can cause serious cramping!

We finished the day in 3rd and pretty happy with our day.

Our good day 1 meant we had moved up into the A start. I felt a little intimidated by the guys so we started near the back. Stage 2 was ‘play day’ including Kromco play park. We had sooo much fun except for the cut back tyre which delayed us somewhat having to put a tube in. Sadly this dropped us down to 6th.

Day 3 we had to hit it hard from the start. We needed to try to get back onto the podium. We’d been dropped back into B so we started at the front as we didnt want to get held up.

My legs were actually feeling not too bad today, helped by visiting the EPT tent after the previous stages and using the Compex machines. Day 3 is downhill but there’s still 1000m of climbing! And more beautiful flowing single track!

We gave it our all and finished 3rd in the stage which moved us up to 4th. If only we’d been 23 seconds faster we would have made the podium!

An absolutely amazing event. Brilliantly organised. Superb trails. Fantastic food! Next year cant come soon enough!

I can’t think of a better way to spend three days 🙂

Big thanks to Alan, Cycles Direct, EnduroHub, WingmanMC, Dave, 32Gi and Enzo

Mixed Team: Cycles Direct
Day 1: 03:54:15 (3rd mixed team)
Day 2: 03:43:10 (6th mixed team in this stage which dropped us down to 6th overall – mechanical :-/)
Day 3: 03:33:10 (3rd mixed team in this stage which moved us up to 4th overall, 23 seconds off the podium!)

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