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TEAM-TIB - Port-Edward Sardine Classic

The Port Edward Sardine Classic is one of the first races I ever attended way back when I first started riding a bike, and has been the stalwart of the mountain biking on the south coast for a number of years. Burry used to race it every year and I remember the proud moment of standing on the podium next to him on one occasion. The race definitely has its special place in my racing palmare's and I was really happy to be able to head down the KZN south Coast for another edition of this great event.

The route always has had some climbing, which is hard to avoid when you start at sea level and head up to the real gem of the track, Clear water trails bike park. The bike park is one of the original bike parks in South Africa and has an amazing network of trails setup for the race. The organizers often open up trails that haven't been used before or ride section of trail in reverse just for the race. This makes the race route fresh and something you cant just go do outside of the event. the normal tracks and old favorites were included but with over 18km of just single track in Clear waters park the race was definitely suited to the XCO riders. I was with a small group of riders who got into an early break from the start. We set a consistent hard threshold pace on all the initial sections of track, I put some hard short attacks in on each corner and the kicker climbs to see who would respond. I kept the pace consistent in between the kicks up till 15min of riding then put in a hard effort to dislodge the two other riders on my wheels. It was a tough effort to maintain the pace by myself but I could get some time splits when the track doubled back on itself and i could see the guys 40sec to 50 sec off my tail. This gap maintained all the way up till the 25km mark but after the beginning of Clear Water Trails I couldn't see them any more.

I managed to claim another win which really bodes well as I head into a block of training down the wild coast in preparation for the Imana Wildride starting later this month from Kie Mouth to Umgazi river 4 days later.

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