Mountain Biker, Renay Groustra, won first place in the elite men’s race at the Western Province Cross Country Championship on 31 May, 2014.
The race took place at the Contermanskloof mountain bike trails on the H.L. Starke farm. There a challenging course was laid out for the riders, starting with a 150 meters ascent that led to the top of Cheeky Corners (a climb that reached a difficult 17% mark), and a descent that eventually divided the riders as they glided past the gum trees and raced towards the big jump of the day.
We had a short Q&A with Groustra, and this is what he had to say about the race:
How would you define the 2014 Western Province Cross Country Championship?
We had a relatively short course which meant we had more laps for the race to add up to the 90 minute time limit that elite cross country races are supposed to run for. There was a very small elite field, but the participants were quality such as Vet World Champ, Nico Pfitzenmaier.
The course had one long and really steep climb to the top followed with a really sweet fast and flowing single-track back down to the bottom. We were going really fast!
Which aspects of the ride did you find most challenging?
The climb was really steep and very rocky. Going up there 8 times really hurt! There were also sections of bumpy grass track which hurt on a hardtail bike.
Which aspects of the ride did you find most enjoyable?
Cross country races are never easy, but the fact that the track doubled back on itself multiple times made it great for spectators.
What went through your mind once you realised you achieved 1st place?
I was really stoked to take me first win for the season. It was a bit bitter-sweet though, as there was a World Cup in Germany on the same weekend that I would have loved to attend. Racing on the world scene is really special, especially in Europe.
What advice would you give future riders who are planning to participate in the Western Province Cross Country Championship?
Cross country racing is very intimidating for most riders because of the hype. Don’t let that scare you. Focus on having fun and ride a little within yourself and you’ll fall in love with this discipline of the sport!
Any last thoughts before you go?
A big thanks must go out to RSAWEB for their continued support! I also really couldn’t do this at the same level without my equipment sponsors, Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Cadence Nutrition, Adidas eyewear, Giro helmets, gloves and shoes, Look pedal, Skins compression, Mizuno running, Suunto sports watches, Evoc bags, Sram components, Fizik Saddles, Geax Tyres.
Groustra may have missed the epic UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Germany, but having won gold at the Western Province Champ is definitely a silver-lining worth celebrating. If you would like to stay informed about Groustra’s future races have a look at his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Good luck for the next one, Renay!