shew what a week its been!cherise and i drove to pretoria on monday with a brief stop at usn's warehouse in durban to stock up for the coming weeks.we got to our destination pretty late and by then it was realy was a rather unwelcomed surprise after enjoyin the warmth at home for the last few weeks.

we checked out the course on tuesday after it warmed up to a reasonable temp which was only around mid day.the combined cold with the thin air made going tough for the first few practice sessions.the course was pretty standard for a fountains course with loads of tecnical sections and not alot of ascent.i was on my 29er stumpy for most of the week and only tested the epic out once or the course was short,quite sandy with minimal climbing. the 29er felt was a bit bumpy at the start of each lap but once in the wooded sand sections and tight turns the bike came alive.i was also on some beefier pedals this weekend.i usualy run with the eggbeater 11 pedal from crankbrothers but since they have an awesome new candy with loads of platform ive been swapping back and forth between training sessions.i finaly decided on the candy 11 as it has more power transfer and only a 40gr weight penalty over the eggbeaters.

on thursday we checked out "the big 5" at the barnyard was a musical production featuring mj,rod stewardt,elton john,maddona and tina was a great show with a cool vibe.the singers played the roles perfectly so it was rather funny.

race day dawned pretty quick as the course was fun to ride and i was having a good time in pretoria.cherise had a good race on saturday morning ending up 3rd in u/23 and 5th overall in the womens race.our race started at 12 45 which suited me as i could use the hour ride to the track from cherises' house as a warm up without er... cooling down.the crownd that came out was the biggest ive seen at a sa xc for years.that got me psyced for the gun went phillip buys moved into the lead with his trademark kick off the line closely followed by matthys beaukes with me riding in third.after the first singletrack i moved past matthys as he slowed and i moved onto phillip's wheel.i stayed there as passing on this track was tough and settled in before making a move at the end of the first lap.i got a small gap and then set about keeping those big wheels turning.once i was off the front i could ride much smoother and limit the big accelerations which is realy the best way to ride a 29er.i felt strong all race and i sense that all the xc specific training paid off in the last laps as the course was very demanding on the upper body.

i took my 8th national title on the trot infront of many friends and family including my grandma who got to see me race for the first time was very special and i cant wait to rock the national jersey at next weekends world cup in switzerland

team mate todd wells did a stellar job in the us champs to win the xc title for the first time in his carreer which is about time as he is no spring chicken,ha!

cherises' aim has realy improved...

till next time...