De Lange, Lennard claim dominant wins at TrailSeeker Hemel & Aarde

    2016 Nissan TrailSeekerWC3 Hemel & Aarde by Marike Cronje for www.zcmc.co.za
    2016 Nissan TrailSeekerWC3 Hemel & Aarde by Marike Cronje for www.zcmc.co.za

    Tristan de Lange and Katie Lennard claimed dominant wins in the men and women’s marathons respectively at Round 3 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series Hemel & Aarde event held near Hermanus at the weekend.

    De Lange (Mannie’s Bike Mecca) clocked a time of 02 hours 48 minutes 51 seconds for the 62km distance, which included 1 365 metres of vertical ascent. Stephan Senekal (Specialized) finished second, just over two minutes later with CP van Wyk (Maties) rounding out the podium a further three minutes back.

    Jurgens Uys (Kargo Pro) set a fast pace from the start. This led to the establishment of a five-rider leading group until just before 20km was covered. Then De Lange put in an attack and Van Wyk was the only rider that could stay with him. The pair worked together until De Lange powered away up a steep switchback climb just after 50km in.

    De Lange maintained a steady pace over the last 12km to capture the victory, but Van Wyk was caught and passed by a fast-finishing Senekal less than 3km from the finish.

    “I was quite surprised at how much climbing there was. That last climb to the finish was quite a kicker! The route was stunning and the trails were fantastic. It was a really enjoyable race,” said an elated De Lange, a student from Stellenbosch.

    “After having done the race last year, I knew what to expect. For me it’s the perfect mix of singletrack and road sections. I really enjoyed it. You have to work throughout the race – no free kilometres. I paced myself quite well and was happy to catch CP before the finish,” said Senekal.

    In the women’s race, the pace was reasonably quick from the start and the pack began to splinter after 20km where the technical sections began. Lennard was the strongest on the technical terrain and was the lone leader before the halfway mark.

    She kept a constant pace and steadily increased her lead, clocking a winning time of 3:24:26. Tanja Oosthuyse was second in 3:29:19 with Catherine Colyn claiming the final podium spot a minute later.

    “This is the first time I’ve done this race. The route delivered proper mountain biking, which I like. Lots of rough surfaces, some mud, lots of climbing and descending and plenty of singletrack. And there was beautiful scenery,” smiled a delighted Lennard.

    “I struggled a bit in the first 20km as I’ve been ill this week. I was just hanging in there and talking myself through it. On the technical sections I started to open up a bit of a gap on the other ladies and then at around 30km I was on my own. I quite enjoy being on my own as there’s no pressure and I started to feel stronger in the second half,” added Lennard, a medical research scientist at UCT.

    “Riding out here is awesome! This area has the best mountain biking in the Western Cape. The conditions were perfect too – no heat, wind or rain and the trails were just beautiful,” said runner-up Oosthuyse.

    “The weather is always a bit unpredictable in the Cape, so the pre-entry numbers were a little lower than what we expected, but there were a lot of late entries so we are happy with the final numbers. This area boasts some of the best riding in the country and it’s a pleasure to be able to offer a round of the Nissan TrailSeeker Series here again,” said Fritz Pienaar, director of Advendurance, the event organisers.

    In the 36km Half-marathon, Robert Hobson and Vicky van der Merwe won the male and female races overall respectively.

    For complete results, visit www.saseeding.co.za

    Round 4 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series will be at Bosman Wines, Wellington on 19 November 2016. To enter, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za