It’s going to be pretty sad come Monday as the withdrawals kick in and real life hits us slap-bang in the face. There was a palpable air of sadness in and around the race village this morning as everyone ate their final breakfast together, packed up and sent their bags to the truck for the last time.
The conditions were great – probably the best we’ve experienced all week with only the slightest of breezes. A 10km neutral zone took us to Chandelier Game Reserve where a short but punchy course awaited, 64km and 1150m to be precise. Many will recognise sections of today from the mighty Attakwas MTB race so you can imagine the nature of the course and the surfaces.
The climbs were indeed very rocky but we were rewarded with views that overlooked the picturesque Chandelier Farm and even caught a glimpse of Swartberg Pass in the distance. The up and down nature of the course meant the descents were fast and flowing but the type of rock formations – sharp shale – meant tyre trouble wreaked havoc with many teams. We got through unscathed, thankfully.
We were welcomed in by the Dryland team on the main road outside the Queens Hotel in Oudtshoorn with champagne, a sizeable medal and a buffet lunch. All-in-all, we had a great race and finished 4th overall in the Elite Ladies category. Will we be back? Of course. The Cape Pioneer Trek is – in our opinion – the best stage race in the country with something for everybody not to mention hospitality of the highest order.