Things are certainly starting to hot up in the mixed category of the DCM Cape Pioneer mountain bike tour.
After the second stage Kobus and Fienie Barnard (Klein Karoo) are the new leaders while stage one’s biggest losers, Johan Labuschagne and Yolande de Villiers (Cycle Lab), won the second stage from Mosselbay to George (110km).
Marcel Deacon and Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub) who won the first stage were the ones who were involved in a battle for survival during stage two, finishing fourth and slipping down to second overall.
Nobody was more surprised than Fienie Barnard to hear that she and her husband, Kobus, are the new leaders in the mixed category.
“I really did not expect us to be wearing the red jerseys because we are only racing to enjoy ourselves. We are leaving the overall victory to the professionals.”
Kobus Barnard agreed with his wife.
“Racing the DCM Cape Pioneer Trek beats being at the office any day. Stage two was really fantastic. The scenery was just amazing.”
By winning the second stage De Villiers proved that she was not just making small talk when she said that she and Labuschagne will keep on fighting until the last stage to try and ensure a podium finish.
Therefore it was no surprise when De Villiers/Labuschagne took the lead right from the start relentlessly fought the clock until they crossed the finish line in George.
Their aggressive approach certainly paid dividends because by winning in a time of 4 hours 57 minutes and 42 seconds Labuschagne/De Villiers managed to win back ten minutes on the leaders. They are now only 35 minutes behind the overall leaders compared to being 45 minutes down after stage one. They are now fourth overall.
Labuschagne was all smiles after the stage and with good reason. He did not have to stop and fix a puncture once during stage two.
“I will be honest stage one turned out to be pure hell the moment I cut my tyre. I have never battled so hard just to try and ensure that there is air in a bicycle tyre. The biggest workout I got during the whole stage was using my bicycle pump. At one stage I considered getting into the ‘broomwagon’.
“The only good news as far as I am concerned is that you only get to puncture so badly every ten years, so I guess I can relax for the rest of the tour.”
What is amazing about De Villiers’ performance is the fact that during the last three weeks she has raced some of the toughest endurance events. Not only did she win a three day mountain bike tour, she also finished third overall in the six day Southern Storm (running ,cycling), finished second in the MTN Crater Cruise and then won the Seweweeks Poort mountain bike marathon.
Andrew McLean and Bruce Diesel (Cycle Lab) also won the second stage in the men’s veteran category, but it was not all plain sailing.
Diesel had all sorts of mechanical problems.
“Luckily we were not under any pressure to defend our jersey so we did not have to kill ourselves. Actually it was nice not to be racing flat out for a change. It meant that we could just ride and enjoy ourselves.
“What I really like about mountain biking is the fact that you get to see places that very few other people get to see,” McLean said.
Diesel was quite philosophical about his mechanical problems.
“It does not help getting frustrated when you are having mechanical problems. It is a given that as a mountain biker that at one stage you will have problems, and if you cannot deal with it, you should not be racing.”
McLean and Diesel’s winning time was 4 hours 54 minutes and 39 seconds which was still the seven fastest of the day.