Despite almost losing his newly built Merida to thieves, Jamie Penfold focuses on the many positives of what has been an extremely successful season.
At the time of writing this I am a good few thousand metres above sea level on a green plane flying at 900km/h heading towards Gauteng. I am really excited to be competing in the annual Mankele 3 towers stage race. After the race which takes place from the 29 September until the 1 of October. I will remain in Pretoria for a week before heading to Magaliesberg with my school MTB team for the Spur high School MTB League finals. I will then be heading back to Cape Town and the very next weekend I will be participating in yet another stage race, this time in Ceres in the Western Cape.
I have had a very interesting last few weeks. My bicycle was stolen and then a week later my friend and I were on a training ride from Stellenbosch to Durbanville when we were met by some gangsters who wanted to rob us. The men managed to steal my cell phone and then attempted to seal my Merida but thankfully a truck driver started ferociously hooting at the gangsters. They dropped my bike and ran away with my phone.
Despite all this negativity I have had a really awesome few weeks of racing. On 16 September I raced and managed to take the win in the final round of the Western Cape Spur League as well as managed to take the win in the Fedhealth MTB race the following day (also the final round of the WC XCM series.) The Fedhealth race was held at the beautiful Boschendal Wine Estate situated between Franshoek and Stellenbosch. The Distance that I had to race was the 26km half marathon race which was about 20km shorter than what I am used to racing in the marathon series.
Two other competitors and I were able to make a break on the first climb. We then however made it into the single track section where we joined a very slow moving line of riders from the 65km race. Even though we could only ride though the single track at a very slow pace it was still some of the best single track that I have ridden in my life. The relentless track once again proved why dual suspension bikes are the best when the going gets tough.
On the 23 Sep (the day after my unfortunate encounter with the thieves) I was able to take the win in the Paul Roos Bestmed MTB the race. The Paul Roos Bestmed race took place in the beautiful Coetzenberg in Stellenbosch. This race gave many of us the opportunity to race on the newly built XCO track which in a few months time will host the opening round of the UCI World Cup MTB. The track is a real marvel and has a good mix of technical and gunner single tracks. The track also has multiple shorter climbs which make for a very explosive race.
After these last few races I will be taking a short break before beginning my preparation for next year’s racing season. As a junior next year, I look forward to competing in the national MTB Cup Series. The junior category is an official UCI category and this means that UCI points are allocated to riders achieving certain positions in races. These points accumulate and give the rider a “world ranking”.
Until next time cheers,