The BIG5 Day 1 – Mountainbike Race

by Dean Hopf

What a jol! 80km in the Knysna forest…what better way to start The Big 5!

Today the Big 5 participants were split at the start, with a couple of the Big 5 guys starting in the Elites start bunch with the rest of us starting 5 minutes behind in the next bunch.

In the Elites race it was pretty much a 1 man show with Stuart Marais blistering the course in a 3:05 and spending most of the day in the top 10 OVERALL! Mike Cannon and Theo Blignaut spent the day chasing Stu, with Theo finally getting the better of Mike for the 2nd step of the podium.

In the second start bunch Travys Wilkins and myself got a gap on the rest of the Big 5 bunch heading up Simola and enjoyed a 40km two man time trial chasing down slower riders from the Elite bunch ahead, followed by a 40km individual TT chasing down after Travys Wilkins decided to stop and gel his hair.

JD Neil pumped up his tyres half way through and had a blistering second half to the race to chase down Travys and secure the last spot in the top 5!

A tough day out, some awesome trail and an absolutely amazing experience. The Big 5 village after the race could not have been better with bike washes, massages and bottomless biltong.

Awards for the two biggest bonks of the day must go to Steve Attwell who we caught from the Elite bunch after about 700meters from the start and Dylan Pivo, who literally visited some DARK places in the Knysna Forest today… Luckily Dyl and Steve are both excellent swimmers though.

Bring on the swim tomorrow… but for now, Tour de France on the telly and legs up on the couch!

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