MTN National MTB Series... 6th Leg... Van Gaalens

So I haven’t written in a while after a race... Probably because my mind hasn’t been in the right head space.. Rooiberg National Series (75.5Km, 1509m Ascent) was beyond horrid for me... I felt the gruelling hard race factor had been taken just a little too far - with that in mind I decided the next race would be about me and #PrincessPinarello having fun, finding our love and remembering why it was that I’d been insanely in love with this crazy sport.. and there it was.. found in Cullinan, the 1st leg of the Nissan Trailseeker Series. Perhaps I’d become soft but.. Twas a little laugh.. then a grin.. and as the route went through climbs and river crossings… was the most unexpected surprise as they took us through a place I would have assumed to be a part of Mamelodi.. Kids playing in the street and cheering us on, the complete change in scenery… in the middle of this all was the most gracious I’d felt in a while as we rode through the dirt roads parting the houses.. I fell in love.. The finish.. And a passion re-ignited!

Van Gaalens (76km, 1426m)
.. The car read 0.5 degrees at 8am... we were in for a very cold start, saw Fritz, the event organizer, and asked what today had in store for us, he said ‘Zandi I won’t lie, it’s a tough day’.. he always says ‘no you’ll be fine’ .. this had me in a panic of sorts!

… I loved this day.. I felt the best I’ve felt in a while, with every climb, with every gruelling descent was a reminder of the reward factor.. we climbed for what felt like forever, but the descents were so crazy, I’m almost certain I wore out my brakes.. I haven’t ridden downhills like I used to since my fall at Panorama Tour this year.. the realization and the reality of what could happen had shaken my inner.. but this day had me more playful.. I touched the surface of my no fear zone.. the rocks excited me.. I may not have ridden all but heaven it’s all I needed to spike the incessant greed that grows and grows.. the more gnarly.. the bigger the grin as my heart raced in nervousness and excitement and the little wins that had me saying ‘nice one Zans’ .. the joy was not only in the downhills but little wins in my climbing too.. comparing how much I’d grown in the last 2 years.. The Oom Piet climb section however left very little to be desired! The finish was sublime.. I’d forgotten how beautiful Van Gaalens is as the race started at the ‘5Km to go’ mark.. We’re a funny bunch, but even more, suckers for amazing single track and there it was .. yes..

 The Advendurance team has raised their game to a new level, I remember thinking Rooiberg reminded me a little of 1 of the stages at Bridge Cape Pioneer.. and Van Gaalens did too.. we don’t have much in Joburg to train for stage races that require constant hectic give from us, we simply don’t, and the last 2 national series were for me, a good measure of where you’re going if aiming for stage races, well done for an awesome event Advendurance!

The half marathon was tough as usual with a repeat of Oom Piet climb causing a second death.. The sight of the Powasol bike wash on Sunday was a reminder that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel ;)


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