It was a crisp morning in Malmesbury as we prepared for the 100 miles of dirt road ahead. There was the chatter of teeth as we shivered while we made sure our bikes and Garmin’s were ready to go! #strava!!! Aaron and Waldo lined up for Team Pure Savage and were looking forward to a MTB race where roadies could come and strut their stuff too! Both are under cover Mountain biker’s anyway so fit the profile perfectly.

While Waldo pulled a true Pure Savage move and ran around looking for a timing chip before the start, Aaron was as cool as a cucumber, looking calm and very focused.

The toughest part of the race was the neutral zone through Malmesbury where everyone was following the start vehicle with  Waldo kept shouting, “track, racer coming through” a couple of times before realizing what is going on, classic.

Once the race was underway and off the tar, things heated up quickly. The lead group started dropping the hammer through the dirt roads and the sandy sections sapped much needed energy from the legs! Aaron was up front, looking very comfortable while Waldo was lagging behind still trying to warm up the diesel motor. It was still early days and the first proper climb would split the group anyway.

The first split of the race happened at around the 18km mark. Waldo made the 2nd group on the road and Aaron the 3rd group. The front group started spewing out riders who could not hold on and group 2 started to grow a little. The group settled in and continued the race working well together.

Up front, Eric Kleinhans was setting the pace, he then broke away and had a lead of around 8min at the halfway mark. Max Sullivan, Etnard Louw, Richard Simpson and Rikus Visser followed, while Waldo was in the group 5 min back. In this group Rickus Jooste did an awesome job early on setting the pace while Luca Stermin, Jaco Davel, Neville Cragg and Martin Cilliers complete the units of the chasing pack.

Aaron’s race had left him a little deflated having multiples punctures to his rear tyre. Sometimes you are the hammer and sometimes you are the nail, but in this case his tires got nailed! At the 60km mark he had to plug the tyre, he then had used so many bombs it sounded like war zone. Ten or so kilometers later another one, and after using a few more of those precious little air canisters he realized it wasn’t sealing and there was no way to continue. Tyre’s time of death, 97.4km.

In the meantime Waldo was also doing battle, hammering along spinning like a hamster trying to keep up with Neville, only having 32T was not ideal. Neville’s weapon of choice was a Niner BSB 9 RDO with a Lauf Forks setup and was dishing out pain on the flats after initially taking a few hits on a few rocky sections. Waldo decided he was done pretending to be Chris Froome and returned to his normal grind.

Eric was showing everyone how it was done with a massive lead at the last checkpoint. Etnard was followed by Rikus Visser who was less than a minute behind. Richard tagged in just over another minute later and the podium was still for play in the last few climbs to the finish. Richard played it cool and sneaked in from behind leapfrogging both to take 2nd while Rikus came home in 3rd overall.

 

After the last waterpoint it was every man for himself in Waldo’s group. The water bottle was filled and a banana was gobbled up! (Now his hamster cheeks matched his hamster cadence) A top 10 was still on the cards for Team Pure Savage! Waldo couldn’t hold Luca’s wheel but tapped out a steady pace to keep some daylight between him and the rest of the chasing pack.

Overall Jaco and Neville caught up to Max Sullivan who buried himself early on. This rounded out positions 5, 6 and 7 while Luca came in at 8th. Waldo powered home to 9th after a last ditch hammer. Marc Wells did a marvelous job making up around 4min from the last checkpoint to finish in the top 10.

Lots of records broken! Eric had a new course record of 5:33:16, won it on a gravel grinder and didn’t even look tired. Aaron used a record number of bombs in one race while Waldo is now the new record holder for highest cadence curing the 100 miler!

 

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