Some 200 brave mountain bikers tackled torrential rain squalls, high winds and chilly temperatures for the second edition of the JBay MTB Open, which formed part of the JBay Winterfest.
So harsh were the conditions, that the 85 km long route was cancelled as it was deemed to be too dangerous. The 2014 event then featured three routes, a 20 km fun ride, a 40 km and 60 km.
All routes included fast farm roads, cattle tracks and purpose-built single-track. Riders struggled with traction as the mud clogged their tread and made the open stretches very slippery. There was also a stretch of open district road with a block headwind.
The 60 km route required good technical proficiency and some serious training in the legs. With the added competitive element of the 85 km riders being grouped with the original 60 km entrants, the pace was fierce from the start.
The women’s 60 km race was won by favourite and defending champion Anriëtte Schoeman who also finished fifth overall. "It was muddy and messy the conditions were pretty rough out there,” commented the diminutive Port Elizabeth local and multiple Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour winner. "It was a mud bath and they shortened the distance but the route was well marked and it was good fun.”
"I always enjoy the open road, being a roadie,” said Schoeman, going on to say how the singletrack was pretty tricky. "It was a slip and slide and I had to get off my bike a few times.”
Schoeman used her vast racing experience to get an early lead and hold on to it from there. "I tried to get a good lead early on, in case I got mechanicals or anything,” she said. "Fortunately everything went according to plan.”