Western Cape Enduro MTB series. It would be a four-stage, titanic battle to find who be would become Western Province and South African Champions for the year.
EWC #3 Video Highlights:
The EWC management team paid the weather gods a significant amount to deliver the riders a cool and calm day, perfect for enduro.
Stage one would be the Red Phoenix. A fast-flowing stage that got riders down to the bottom of the mountain with nothing but dead flies and insects on the number board and googles. Yes, it's that fast.
Riders then had to liaison back to where they'd just come from to take on the much-feared and ever-deteriorating "Plumber". The Plumber, on a good day, is a bike breaker and body shaker. After a week of practice, it had not deteriorated but up-teriorated (an enduro word for a stage that gets blown out and increases in gnarliness). Each new rider attempting the descent would face a completely different set of rocks and half a foot of brown powder which would either wipe them off the face of this earth, cover them in dirt or spit them out wide-eyed and frothing.
Once the riders had finished stage 2, they would commence the epic journey over to stage three. Stage three, or Armageddon, would present fitter riders with the opportunity to claw some time back. The long and winding stage had portions of the field whining to the “Stage Creator” about its opening flat sprint. Alas this was an enduro and an ounce of endurance is required. With this event being a Enduro World Series qualifier, riders would need this experience to help them overseas. Alas, this fell on deaf, tired ears.
The field was exhausted by the end of stage 3 but had one more assault up to stage 4. The climb back up to the top of the mountain would be a brutal push or ride for all but this is where MTB enduro races build character.
Stage 4 or “Iron Monkey” would be a 6 to 9-minute which brought on a tough rock garden and an abundance of loose, steep corners. Its real kicker was its length which would take riders right down to the parking lot and event HQ. Riders had lines of enthusiastic spectators to cheer/heckle them all the way back down to the finish line to conclude what was one hell of a day out!
Thankfully, at the end of the day, Western Province's Matt Lombardi (an enduro rider) took top spot in the men and the now "EWC proclaimed" enduro rider, Zandri Strydom from Mpumalanga took first in the females. Some very close times in both categories - times here.
The field had some of the top DH, XCO and marathon riders in the country competing for the title too. The entire field was filled with a mix of riders from all ages, disciplines, sexes, speeds, bike types, hair colours and provinces which had the scrap beaten out of them all day long. But the stages were worth it!
Thanks to our event partners for making this happen. Quick plug time... go demo the new Giant Reign and Trance, both 29ers that rock! Also, go and buy a permit to Tygerberg mountain bike club as they offer a plethora of awesome trails. Just follow the trail rules. Also a huge thanks to MTO for making some of SA' best trails in their valley. You guys are awesome.
Top Five Results
- Matt Lombardi 00:22:30.9
- Theo Erlangsen 00:22:38.0
- Johann Potgieter 00:22:43.0
- Martin Zietsman 00:23:09.1
- Sharjah Jonsson 00:23:10.8
- Zandri Strydom 00:26:34.3
- Frankie Du Toit 00:26:34.9
- Beani Thies 00:28:10.7
- Rika Olivier 00:28:29.2
- Jessi Nixon 00:29:18.4