Team Principal, Ruan Lochner:
As most of you know, Team PYGA were in Sabie this past weekend for the National Marathon, but also represented in Hilton KZN for the first Provincial XCO race. With news of cyclone Dineo hitting Mpumalanga, we were geared for heavy rain and expected a lot of mud. While the rain stopped on Friday, the course was shortened for the race on Saturday and Sunday, cutting out a lot of singletrack. Kombo represented the team at the Provincial XCO.
Words from the team below:
Matthys Beukes (10th day1, DNF day2)
The National Marathon Series in Sabie was one I was looking forward to, knowing I’ve got good shape I can put to use on the big climbs. However my weekend was spoiled before it began, as I got a nasty bee sting in the face during training on Friday. I didn’t think much of it at first, but on Saturday morning the swelling was so bad that it affected my breathing and sight. Not much I could do about it, and decided to give it a go and see how I fared on the first big climb and take it from there. Even though I didn’t feel great, my power was good and I crested the King of the Mountain in 2nd place, securing some good points. On the very wet and slippery descent I had to back down a lot in order to make sure I stayed safe. From there it was just a matter of getting to the finish without issues and saving the legs for Day 2.
The plan on Day 2 was to help get Philip into 2nd overall, but on the first climb it was very clear that my breathing had gotten a bit worse and there was no way I could stick to the front group and support Phil. I decided to call it a day, reducing the risks and getting an extra day’s rest before the first XC National this coming Saturday.
Once again some bad luck, but I think both me and Phil are showing signs of super form coming into the last bit of preparation for Cape Epic, super excited!
Philip Buys: (3rd day1, 3rd day2 – 3rd overall)
After the race in Grabouw, my training went according to plan and training figures showed steady improvement.
Ashburten National MTB Series Race #2 in Sabie was a problem-free race for me and a good confidence booster and indication of where my shape is currently. We had the opportunity to measure ourselves against Epic race favourites Karl Platt and Urs Huber. Day one started off with an hour-long climb, where it was great to see that Matthys and I could both stay at the front of the race. The rest of the day was all about keeping it wide and letting it slide. The trails were ridiculously slippery. On this first day I finished third behind Urs Huber.
With day two being shorter (50km) and time gaps close, we were in for a fast day. When you see all the pro riders suddenly doing proper warm-up routines 30min before the start and Karl having a Red Bull on the start line, then you know its on! Early in the race we were a bunch of 4 strong riders (Karl, Urs, Gert and I) chasing the lone leader. With about 20km to go when Nico Bell joined us, my tactics changed a bit from trying to get away from Urs and take 2nd overall, to defending my 3rd spot. It was up to Nico to try and get away from us, as he was lying in 4th spot overall. Finally it came down to a 5-man sprint where I managed to get 3rd again and take the final overall podium position.
The next race for us this weekend will be even more intense as we shift to the XCO lap racing format for the first SA XCO Cup race in Rhebokskloof. I am sure this will add some extra explosiveness to our riding.
Kombo Bere: (5th overall, 3rd u/23)
Greetings! Competed at the first KZN XCO race over the weekend. My thoughts towards the race, in terms of fitness levels and progress are very much positive.
Had the opportunity to either compete at marathon level in Sabie or get into the XCO race routine here in KZN. The cross country race proved to be the best option, with the first SA XCO cup race just a week away.
The under 23 and elite riders all started at once, with seeded riders in the front. Track conditions made it very difficult to make up places as we raced in-between trees and narrow paths. At the end of the first lap, I finally got into a racing rhythm – slowly but surely making my way up the ranks. I’m happy to say my form is really looking great considering it’s so early in the season. Lap times got quicker every single time with a lot more consistency. At the end of 7 laps, I finished 5th overall and 3rd in the under 23 category. Looking forward to the next XCO event in KZN and some good seeding this time. Happy to say the XCO was great preparation for this week’s race in Cape Town.
To all our sponsors and my newfound family, have a blessed week!
Team PYGA race with the brand-new Sidi Tiger
Sidi’s TIGER MTB shoes stand out for their MTB SRS carbon ground full-carbon sole. This sole primarily impresses with high power transfer to the pedal and best grip in sections where you have to push or carry your bike. A precise closing mechanism for individual adjustment tops off the package.
• TECHNOPRO outer fabric: microfibre synthetic leather made in Italy with OEKO-TEX certificate – durable, breathable, water-resistant and lightweight.
• MTB SRS CARBON GROUND SOLE: lightweight and adjustable full-carbon sole. Replaceable plastic tread inserts in toe, midfoot and heel are for high durability. High power transfer with best performance in sections where you have to push or carry your bike. Replaceable nylon plate and thread inserts. Additional inserts for optionally available studs.
• SOFT INSTEP 3 closure system: anatomic ratchet strap for a precise adjustment and even pressure distribution over the instep.
• DOUBLE TECNO 3 SYSTEM: two reels for precise adaptation to the foot, easy to open by pushing.
• COMFORT FIT insole: slightly padded insole made of ergonomic foam with memory effect.
• INTEGRATED AIR INTAKE: Strategically placed air inlets with mesh inserts for a pleasant foot climate.
• REFLEX ADJUSTABLE HEEL RETENTION DEVICE: individual adjustability of the heel area by means of two screws.
• Compatible with MTB pedal systems that use cleats with SPD standard (2-hole standard), such as: Shimano SPD, Time ATAC, CrankBrothers, CrankBrothers Race, Look MTB, Xtreme MTB, Wellgo MTB. Also suitable for indoor trainers in gyms etc.
Weight: approx. 680 g (per pair, size 40)