Words: Dean Venish & Jason Reed | Photos: Dean Venish
This was my first time at an event like this, so it was a sort of Tour de Border for me. There was Traffic Police patrolling, medical staff from Alderson’s Ambulances in abundance, marshals with red flags, big tents, and Twizza cool drinks on hand to quench your thirst. I was so impressed by the NFB Border 1000 Cycle Tour, organised by Brett Armstrong and EventPro, I almost forgot to take photographs.
Photo credit: Dean Venish
Held on 10 November 2013, this was the 30th edition of the event and it was well received, with a record entry list of over 450 cyclists competing in the race. The annual 80 km race from Stutterheim to East London, and 36 km race from Macleantown, saw local cyclists put in some impressive performances and it was all action from start to finish.
36 km race
With the temperature heating up and sirens blaring, we knew the leaders in the 36 km race Men's division were fast approaching. I took up my position at the finish line, which was situated at the top of a final hill climb, camera poised and ready for action. Seconds later, we saw the lead pack come into view and it was clear that this hill climb was NOT slowing them down. It was a three-way sprint to the finish between Hano Jacobs, Wickus Saunders, and Shane Kemp. And with a mere hundredth of a second separating them, it was Hano who crossed the line first in a time of 54:51, with Wickus in second, and Shane third.
The first lady home was Nicole Venter, who totally dominated the race and crossed the line in 56:25, almost 11 minutes ahead of second-placed Cathy Cloete. In third place was Alison Langree. Nicole finished in sixth overall, beating her father, Lukas who came in seventh overall, in a road race.
80 km race
In the Women’s division, Cindy Schwultz was in a class of her own and comfortably crossed the line almost four minutes ahead of her closest competitor in 1:56:24. In second was Carmen Klaasen, while 15 seconds back was Lauren van Wyk, who rounded out the top three podium places.
After an amazing tussle in the front group, MTB racing machine Jason Reed won the NFB Border 1000 Cycle 80 km Road Cycle Race in a time of 1:48:21. Hot on his heels was Jonas Schomburg, to claim second place, and Jevandre Pauls in third. For a blow-by-blow account of this exciting race, read Jason's blog below.
Photo credit: Dean Venish
Inside story by Jason Reed
The following blog excerpt is courtesy of the Champion of the day, Jason Reed, and is step-by-step account of what took place on the tough course from Stutterheim to East London.
Today I competed in the annual NFB Border 1000 road race it started in the small inland Eastern Cape Town called Stutterheim and it gradually winds its way down to the coast and finishes on the north east express way in the heart of East London.
Having completed the race many times before I had a pretty good idea on how the race would unfold. It started off with a very big group going at an average of about 45km/h for the first 20ks.
Riders continuously fight to remain in the front of the group to stay out of trouble. There was a large contingent of Cycle Lab Riders with some top local roadies in that team like Donovan O’rielly and Awie Jacobs both who have won this race in the past.
My plan was to keep out the wind and wait for the Komga flyover uphill to launch an attack or at least cause a small breakaway group to be formed. There was some bad luck for Donovan who punctured early on in the race and race favourite Jevandre Pauls (SA Junior Champ 2013) also succumbed to flats which also played into my favour.
Anyways back to my race, so just before the Komga flyover something very strange happened the bunch got blown apart on the downhill towards the komga flyover I was riding a Cervelo Soloists with deep section wheels and a massive 53 tooth chain wheel which allowed me to accelerate and blow right past most of the front contenders and catch up to Jonas Schomburg he is also a professional triathlete and very good cyclists. I jumped onto his wheel and along with Juan Scholtz the three of us made a nice gap on the chasing bunch. Then came the Komga fly over uphill the three of us went up that hill at just about full out sprint pace trying to test each other out and as we crested the uphill we had very little distance between each other.
My plan then was to get the three of us to work together and hopefully keep it to the end that would be no easy task with a 20-30 man chase group behind you. We worked together nicely but as the km’s were clocking down I was starting to notice some were no longer pulling as hard as they should in this mini breakaway group so I wanted to make this three man break into a two man break.
At Macleantown Jonas Schomburg took a chance and accelerated away from Juan and myself, I chased a bit and so did Juan but he maintained a gap on us than at the very next uphill I decided to test Juan and attacked on the uphill and managed to move across to Jonas Schomburg alone.
We were now a two man break with about a 2 min lead on the chasing peloton with about 30ks to go. At Duckkets settlement I was starting to notice Jonas Schomburg pace was easing up a little and with only 10ks to go I needed to get ready for the final move of the day. I planned that I would attack him on the last uphill on the north east express and solo to the finish line. Going up the last uphill I took the lead riding at about 90% than about one third of the way up I changed down 4 or 5 gears and gave an all-out uphill sprint I did not look back for about 15secs but when I did finally look back I could see I had opened up a nice 100m lead on Jonas Schomburg. I then knew I just needed to keep my rhythm and this win was going to be my first having come 2nd a couple times and some top 10’s in the past.
Down the North East Express Way we went my legs and lungs were bursting with pain, looking back to see my opponent also hammering away on the pedals I pushed to get over the line in front of him by just maybe 20-30s in the end.
I enjoyed the race today, there is no better feeling than to be on a bicycle flying at 50km/h on the flats listening to carbon fibre deep sections roaring along...”wooommmmwooommm...wooommmm”
So that is how it went down on a warm Sunday in East London. And now that I've had my first taste of road cycling at its best, I will definitely be back for more.
For full results, visit www.nfbborder1000.co.za. To view Jason Reed's blog, visit www.jasonreed.co.za