Race Report: Royal Drak MTB Challenge 18 & 19 April 2015
There is always a great buzz in the valley on race weekend and this year was no different. The weather was better than the forecast and Saturday’s warm up ride had a record number of attendees. This year riders could choose an easier or a harder route, and on each route the riders were divided into 3 ability groups, each of which was accompanied by a guide. This made for a really social morning and a great introduction to the trails.
The afternoon Cavern Family Tea ride / walks gets more popular every year, and this year the Cavern team served tea and scones to 91 happy participants.
Race day dawned sunny but cool, with the Adventure Centre abuzz from sun up with eager riders.
138 intrepid souls lined up for the 50km Three Cities Alpine Heath Extreme Classic and the lead out motorcyclist had to high tail it to keep ahead of them. The gruelling 7km climb past Alpine Heath to Greenfire Drakensberg Lodge soon split up the field, and the water table at the Lodge was really well received!
This year’s 50km route included the new Alpine Traverse which follows a beautiful contour trail between Montusi Lodge and Alpine Heath. This portion of trail provided the 50km riders with a completely separate route to the 25km and 10km riders, and no overlap meant that the front runners had ample opportunity to put the hammer down.
The first three riders finished in under two and a half hours – no small feat on a 50km route with over 1000 meters of climbing. First home was Brad Stroberg (2:23:13), followed by Nic White (2:26:34) with Greg Anderson in third place in 2:25:37.
First lady home was Daniella Lahav in 3:15:16, followed by Diane White and Julia Colvin in 3:27:10 and 3:33:18 respectively. Some of the mid fielders got chased off the mountain with an out of nowhere storm, so many of the 50km starters have some unfinished business with this route, and we trust they will return in 2016 to finish it!