Meet the team
Q&A with Philip Buys
You’ve been to two World Cups this year, Nove Mesto and Albstadt. What is it like competing on the top level?
It’s always a tough game when we go overseas. Thankfully we have the support of our sponsors and are able to get to the whole team to the events with a mechanic. It’s always good to go overseas, you always learn something new.
How did the injury at Mankele impact your preparation?
Yes, at Mankele I torn some ligaments in my shoulder. It happened three weeks before we went over to Nove Mesto. I had had planned a month long trip to score some UCI points. I did three cross country races and a stage race. This interruption to my preparation didn’t help and none of the races went as I would have liked.
How do you find the cross country courses in Europe compared to the local tracks?
The courses are manageable despite being on a different level. But the local tracks are improving quickly.
The biggest difference is the amount of riders on the course. In South Africa you have time to pick your lines and have a clean run at an obstacle while at international events there are usually 3 or 4 guys fighting for the fastest line and you can’t always predict what they are going to do.
The atmosphere at Nove Mesto looks fantastic. What’s it like riding there?
This year was my third time riding there. It’s definitely the coolest event to race. The layout of the track allows the whole crowd to manoeuvre around to all the obstacles. The crowds follows you and the Czechs are also hardcore fans. Next years World Champs will also be there and that’s something worth looking forward to.
How have you found the local XCO series this year? It appears to be doing good things for sport.
This year you can definitely see an improvement. Sponsors getting involved has made a big contribution. The upcoming Rio Olympics has also seen the level of racing boosted. Instead of one or two riders, there are now four or five guys looking to qualify. There also a wealth of youngsters coming through in the series. I think it’s very good. Cross country is great platform for riders to come through the ranks. If you can ride cross country, you can ride marathon because you have the skills. Coming to cross country from a marathon background can be a more difficult conversion.
Do you see cross country the discipline local riders should focus on if they want to succeed internationally?
Definitely. Cross country has a much bigger following overseas than it does here. But that is changing. The Schools Series for example is helping grow it locally and hopefully events like this will help set a platform to get it to where it is internationally.
As you mentioned, the competition is fierce. How do you rate your chances this weekend?
Yes, there are four or five guys who could win it. It's a bit of a shot in the dark for me. I’ve just got my shoulder sorted and managed to get some quality training in. At Cascades I finished 3rd, it was the first positive result I’ve had since the injury and I feel like I’m getting somewhere again. And again, with the Olympic spot at stake and decent UCI points up for grabs, it’s going to be a proper battle up front tomorrow.
How do you find the Coetzenburg course?
It’s really cool. I enjoy the track. It flows well which makes for fast riding and fast racing. We rode it yesterday in the dry but we’re going to go out today in the wet and try and assess the conditions to decide on tyres if it stays wet.
Is going to Rio one of your goals. We all know how tough it is to get in. How do you see it going for you?
At the beginning of the year I had marked Olympic qualification as something I wanted to achieve. You can plan far ahead but it’s been a shaky build up for me. It’s been a bit frustrating for me. The year started out well but since the crash it’s been a bit bumpy. I’ve moved from the top ranking to 4th after the crash in Mankele. Going ahead now, I might miss the next two World Cups to get into proper shape. I want to go all in for World Champs and get a solid result there to boost my chances for Rio. I’m still positive and there is still opportunity to qualify.
In cross-country are you seeing changes in the bike choices, specifically hardtail vs. dual suspension?
It’s course dependant for us. With Scott as our sponsors we have the option between two proper bikes. They are both competitive against the other brands. Most of the year I have been riding the dual suspension Spark 29er.
Nationals will be only my second race on the hardtail. It was quite difficult to decide though. If it is going to be slightly wet the hardtail will be the better option. There are also lots of kicker climbs and sharp switchbacks where you have to accelerate hard and quickly. I feel it will be more efficient on a hardtail. The downhills will be bumpy but we will make up for it with the sharper accelerations.
Is there anything special you do with your setup?
The bike is mostly stock standard. I have custom wheels build to my liking. They are slightly heavier but are more robust and stiffer than usual. They suit my heavier riding style. Also the steerer on my RockShox fork is carbon over the standard aluminium steer. Making it a bit lighter but not as stiff as the aluminium one. But I feel my stiff wheels make up for this.
Electric gearing and electric anything on bikes?
I haven’t ridden electric on my bikes yet. So I don’t have an opinion on it. I’m happy with my mechanical set up but I’m keen to try anything.
Scott Scale 900 RC
- FrameScale Carbon, IMP technology / HMX / Tapered HT, PM 160 Disc / BB92, IDS SL dropouts for 142 × 12mm, SDS Shock Damping System
- ForkRock Shox SID RL3 Air, DNA3 custom damper with 3 modes, 15mm QR axle / Tapered steerer, reb. Adj. / 100mm travel
- Remote systemSCOTT RideLoc Remote Technology, 3 modes / integ. clamp
- HeadsetRitchey Pro Tapered 1.5" - 1 1/8", semi integ. OD 50/61mm / ID 44/55mm
- Rear derailleurSRAM XX1, 11 Speed
- ShiftersSRAM XO1 Trigger right only, multi adj. / with Carbon cap
- Brake leversShimano XTR XC M9000 Disc
- BrakesShimano XTR M9000 Disc, 180/F and 160/Rmm SM-RT81 CL Icetech Rotor
- CranksetSRAM XX1 GXP PF, Carbon crankarm / QF 156, 32 T
- BB-setSRAM GXP PF integated / shell 41x89.5mm
- HandlebarRitchey Carbon WCS 2X, T shape Flat / 9° / 700mm, Syncros Pro lock-on grips
- StemRitchey WCS C-260, oversize 31.8mm, 1 1/8" / 6° angle
- SeatpostRitchey WCS, Carbon 2B SDS / 34.9mm
- SeatRitchey WCS Streem Ti rails
- Front hubSyncros XR RC CL / 15mm, made by DT Swiss
- Rear hubSyncros XR RC CL / 142 × 12mm / RWS axle, Rachet System / XD / made by DT Swiss
- ChainSRAM PC X1
- CassetteSRAM XO1 / XG1195, 10-42 T
- TiresMaxxis Tires
- SpokesDT Swiss Aero Comp
- RimsSyncros XR RC 28H / Tubeless ready
- Approx. Weight KG8.90 kg