Mountain biking: Masters pair home but not to rest

Geof Blance
Geof Blance
After placing fourth in the masters section of the Cape Epic in South Africa, Alexandra residents Geof Blance and Malcolm McLeod are looking forward to their next races this Saturday.

Blance (45) and McLeod (40) completed the annual African Epic - their first - in 36hr 55min 01sec.

In total, 93 teams (186 riders) completed the masters section of the 2010 race, for which more than 1200 competitors registered overall.

Malcolm McLeod
Malcolm McLeod
The eight-day, 800km race was held between March 21 and 28 in the Western Cape region, and included about 16km of mountain climbing.

Blance and McLeod have been home for two weeks, but rest was not on the agenda.

McLeod will compete in Saturday's Contact Epic Round Lake Hawea mountain bike race, while on the same day in Queenstown, Blance will take part in the national single-speed mountain bike championships.

"We should be as fit now as we've ever been," McLeod said.

Both started competing in cycle races a few years ago, and before that had been involved in multisport events.

When guaranteed a place in the Cape Epic at the end of last year's event in March, they geared their training towards the specialty mountain bike race.

Alexandra provided an ideal training ground for such an event, with a variety of terrain, Blance said.

With such a full training schedule for the March Epic, Blance and McLeod pared back their involvement in some of the smaller local races during summer.

"It would get to the point where we were too tired training to worry about other races.

"It's a lot to squeeze in with family and work," McLeod said.

They were classed as amateurs, maintaining full-time employment.

Competing against world professionals in an event that generated international media coverage was an exciting experience.

"Every day is like an individual race, and you can't help but feel a bit of a buzz when there's helicopters flying overhead," McLeod said.

It was possible they would compete in the South African race again, Blance said.

"We'll have to see if the organisers let us back in."


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