TeamRSAWEB’s Renay Groustra fills us in on his recent success at Karoo to Coast where he came a very respectable 2nd place! This was Renay’s 7th time at this competition, was a very successful day for him. Congrats Renay! Race report and pictures below…
Karoo to Coast is one of those funny events that, although the route never changes, always seems to attract more and more riders each year, as well as the old faithfuls who can’t seem to get enough out of riding the fantastic 100km route from Uniondale to Knysna on the fast and winding gravel roads.
This year was like no other for me. I headed up to Karoo to Coast along with a record 5500 others to take the start line on Sunday morning at 7 30 am. This year was my 7th attempt at the race, and so far 4th place was the highest I have been able to manage. After doing a quick loop around the town we hit the famed Old Wagon Trail where the steep technical roads separated 4 riders off of he front with the likes of myself, Charles Keey(Blend Properties), Matthys Beukes(MTB Destination), and Gert Heyns. Year on year, the winner of the event has come from this initial split. Things were looking good! Geax Mezcal is the best tyre I have ever used for this race. Ultra low profile for low rolling resistance yet super grippy on the corners!
First to drop off was Matthys when a slow puncture made him stop to re-inflate just before we dropped down the 10km long hair raising Prince Albert pass descent. The 3 of us charged down with no hassle before taking on the next two climbs. On the second steeper climb I tested things slightly. First off the back was Gert. Charles looked like he was struggling slightly, but with 50km of open gravel roads to go, and riders like Erik Kleinhans, Christiaan Kriek and Matthys Beukes chasing it made sense to wait and work together.
The high tempo set by Charles meant we stayed clear of the chase group, but also meant that I was riding slightly above my comfort zone on the flat open roads which wore me down. With 25km still to go I found myself seeing stars as I tried my hardest to stay on his wheel. Rather than hit the wall, I made the hard choice to sit up and ride my own tempo in order to survive. Which is what I did. Just.
I crossed the line 3 or so minutes behind Charles in about 3Hours and 5 minutes, just under Kevin Evans’ old record. Less than a minute behind me was pro road cyclist Christiaan Kriek(Jelly Belly), Erik Kleinhans(Contego 28e), and Matthys Beukes. I was pretty happy to finally crack a podium at this race after 7 attempts, although the top step would have been just that extra bit sweeter. Having had a virus the last few weeks and not being able to train properly, I really cannot complain about this result.