Close finishing times show strong competition between mountain bike riders
The advanced level of competitiveness in mountain biking was amply demonstrated this past weekend when the top three male riders arrived at the finish with just six minutes separating them over the more than three hour trail.
The nail-biting event was the legendary Skyride MTB which took place in Heja Lodge’s environs. It is one of the most challenging rides in the Gravel & Dirt MTB Series.
Drikus Coetzee finished first in 03:08:26, less than five minutes ahead of Xavier Papo in 03:13:10. Following closely in third position was Ingram Cuff, just a minute later in 03:14:12.
Gerhard Mans Jnr, who suffered mechanical problems in the previous MTB ride and ended DNF, had to settle for fifth place overall in 03:18:23 while Kai Pritzen slipped into fourth position in 03:17:03.
Among the women, Michelle Doman finished first in 03:47:39 but only after veteran rider Irene Steyn who lead at the halfway mark suffered cramps making way for Michelle to overtake her. Irene eventually finished second in a very respectable 03:50:32 with sub-veteran Courtney Liebenberg third overall in 03:55:48.
Other favourites Marion Schoenecke and Michelle Vorster battled with the tough conditions. Marion finished seventh overall in 04:25 while Michelle ended DNF.
An indication of the Skyride’s demands on both riders and runners is shown by the fact that 26 of the 267 athletes did not make it to the finish.
For mountain bike athletes, the 2019 Skyride MTB consisted of three distances, the 64km full marathon, the 32km half marathon and the 12km fun ride. Trail runners could chose between 15km and 5km but for this event, the 32km trail was opened for more ambitious runners.
The Skyride is supported by its corporate partners, Hollard as main sponsor with E-Med 24, Cycletec, Windhoek Light and Food Lovers Market all helping to make the event a success.
Next in the 2019 Gravel and Dirt MTB Marathon Series is the Gobabis MTB Challenge, the last and deciding race of the year.
Caption: Many well-known faces were in the line-up for the start of the 2019 Skyride MTB at Heja Lodge but in the end, 26 athletes did not make it to the finish. (Photograph by Fotografika)