Xterra warriors from around the world battle it out in Grabouw.
On the weekend of the 20th and 21st of February, the largest Xterra event was held in the heart of the Western Cape. Warriors from around the world gathered to compete amongst the unforgiving yet breath taking terrain of Grabouw.
Race day turned out to be a perfect day, the sun was out and the right amount of a chilly wind cooled the athletes down. The precipitation the previous night aided the track compaction for a steady race. Xterra is a mass start for age groupers, men and women off at the same time. The bike leg in Grabouw is known to be one of the most grueling bike legs in Xterra packed with hill climbs, technical rock gardens, descents, and tracks and more rocks! Three of our Athletes not just competed but performed at peak level. Denine Van Heerden, who placed top of her age category and 7th female overall, Tracey Almirall 3rd in her age group and Bruce Campbell, who put out one of the best swims of the day and came out the water 2nd overall.
Our golden girl Denine, did not quite have the ideal lead up to the Xterra. She has previously been struggling with sinusitis and infection. Therefore she was placed under strict instruction to be operated on. Only 1 week before the Xterra, she was placed under anesthetic, was operated on and was in and out of training for several days encountering random nose bleeds while training before the lead up to the event.
Denine reports, “I was really pleased with my swim, despite the fact that I got 3 shots on my nose and it bled throughout the swim course.” She further explained the bike leg to be one of the toughest and most technical courses in Xterra- “There are just rocks everywhere”. Johandri Leicester and Denine challenged each other on the bike course, neck to neck all the way. Swopping places all the time. Just before the entered the rock garden Denine was able to make a 20sec gap and went into transition with that gap. She further explains, “I only remember that I ran my heart out. I literally gave everything. It was a surreal feeling of crossing the line as the overall age group winner which meant that I am SA champ in my age group!” Denine has been invited to compete in the Xterra World Champs in Maui, Hawaii this year.
STILLWATER Sports explains the Xterra in Grabouw to be a true celebration of South Africa’s active and healthy lifestyle that leaves overseas visitors in awe of the culture and atmosphere therein. This competition for not for the faint hearted it seems but is described as one of the most liberating races found on the Xterra calender.
Big up’s to STILLWATER Sports for hosting yet another unbelievable event.