The first event of the 2015 Stihl SA MTB XCO Series will take place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday 28 February 2015. The course location is at William Moffet Retail Park - the same venue that held the XCO Provincial ECC Series #1 just one week ago. Kargo Pro MTB Team Rider Alan Hatherly, shares some of his training preparation secrets, and his views on the Eastern Cape track.
The 2014 SA Junior XCO Champion, who only last weekend won gold in his first provincial XCO of the year in PE, said that he is beyond excited for the SA Cup, especially because he is familiar with the track, and that he had thoroughly enjoyed himself the last time that he rode it.
“I enjoyed the technical sections especially. This shows that a lot of time and effort has been put into the track,” said Hatherly. “The terrain is awesome, mainly consisting of rocks, which suits both me and my full suspension Momsen Vipa,”he said.
Hatherly found the course jam-packed with technical sections, which allowed for minimal rest. “This, in my opinion, makes a perfect course for close racing,” he said.
“Having ridden and being familiar with the course will most definitely be in my favour, as I know what to expect and what the course actually races like, but with saying that, there will be a few curve balls like dealing with lap traffic.”
Riding the track again does not necessarily make it any easier for anybody, as the SA Cup is a whole new ball game, especially with Olympic points up for grabs. He mentioned that he feels fairly confident, but with next weekend’s National being the first of the series, and him now included in the U23 category, he will be starting at the back due to his UCI ranking in that category. “So I’ll have to ride a clever race and try my best to make my way through the pro-elite field,” he said.
In terms of training and preparation, Hatherly used to train on the track for two hours a day, followed by an hour at the gym, however, he has since then changed things a bit.
“My training routines have changed slightly with me now being coached by the Science 2 Sport group, but my focus still maintains to be XCO specific with most of my goals set in the discipline. Basically most of my training is done on the mountain bike in the Hillcrest area to keep the bike skills up as well as be familiar with the set up at all times.
“I like to mix up my training however with being a part of the EADP (Elite Athlete Development Program) and going down to Prime Gym in Durban to do some 'high' altitude training in their chamber to give me the extra edge,” he said.
On Saturday 21 February, Hatherly will ride the first round of the KZN provincial XCO series and looks forward to it.
The organisers of the ECC Series event were all very surprised at the number of spectators at the track during the provincial in the Eastern Cape. They say that it definitely is one of the most spectator-friendly tracks. Not only because of the technical sections, but also, large sections of the track are visible at once.
There will be a luck draw competition for riders who do a lap on the Strava App. The winner of the lucky draw will win a GoPro camera. The competition will only close on Friday evening 27 February.
Entries for the event close on 24th February 2015. Enter online here.
Late entries will be accepted at registration with an additional R50 to the entry fee.
Clear here to download the program of event.
More information on the course:
The track covers an official distance of 4.7km, with close to a 171m elevation per lap.
There will be two feeding/Tech zones on the track: one at the start-finish, the other will be 1.8km into the lap. This is easily accessible and within 500m walking distance from the start-finish.
There are six official spectator points on the track, including the second Tech zone, each point will have a gazebo and marshals. Most of these points are visible from the start-finish. Maps of the track will also be available for spectators. There are 5 technical sections on the track with A, B and in some cases even C lines.