Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Press Release: Speedy grits through broken clavicle and 2 ribs to win the ABSA Cape Epic with partner Catherine Williamson, and Academy members take four wins on Saturday.

ABSA Cape Epic – the tenth edition

On Sunday the ABSA Cape Epic came to an emotional finale, with Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy of team Burry Stander – SONGO winning the race overall in the name of the late Burry Stander.

Then in the ladies Yolande Speedy broke her clavicle and 2 ribs in a crash on stage 5, not only did she painfully finish the stage, in a display of true bravery, strength and determination she raced the final stage despite her injuries. With the support of teammate Catherine Williamson, they pushed through, finishing Fourth in the stage and won the ladies category overall! “It was better than I thought and we played it safe knowing we had the lead. We kept it steady on the climbs and I was very careful on the downhills. We’re very happy that we made it and we had amazing support. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. It’s amazing to take away this win. It’s such a prestigious event.” Said Speedy.

Speedy and Williamson of team Energas won $ of the 7 stages and despite Speedy’s injuries, the duo won the GC by an hour and a half. Their overall time was 38:58.51,9. Neville Ackerman and Partner Charles Nienaber had an outstanding race, coming 7th overall in the Grand Masters category, their overall time was 41:24:19:13.

ASG Tyger Valley
At the ASG Tyger Valley MTB race last Saturday, the ASG MTB Academy took three first places. Arno du Toit took the honours in the 70km men’s category, winning in a time of 2:22:39. “I was soon off the front of the group with 3 or four guys on my wheel, no one willing to help with the pace making. After about 40 km of this, I got frustrated and managed to split the group with a tactical move in a section of single track. Andrew McClean regained contact, but I had enough left in the tank to ride him off and take the win.” Amy McDougall won the ladies category in 2:38:25 and young talent, Jacques Pretorius, won the 40km in a time of 1:31:12. Other outstanding performances: Heinich Greve came second in the 40km, Edwill O’Neill came 4th overall in the 70km and Andrea de Boer came 4th in the ladies 70km race.

Then at a slightly different discipline Nicholas Popich came second in the Gauteng Duathlon Provincial Champs on Thursday the 21st of March and then went on to win the SAPPI MTB Challenge in Mankele just two days later!

The ASG Academy has performed outstandingly this past week and Yolande Speedy’s performance will be an inspiration to all! Next on the calendar is round 3 of the USN Cup and the 2nd round of the Gauteng XCO Provincial series.

Until then, happy cycling!
ASG MTB Academy

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Yolande Speedy, Elite Womans African Continental Champ

Another successful road trip with a[s]g PYCycling this time with a little XCO lap racing sandwiched in between... At least that's how it felt with preparation and build up for XC playing such an important role.

Amy, Paul and I travelled to PMB Thursday morning and met the rest of our team mates at Cascades for a few practice laps.

The 5.4km course, a tamed down version of the World Cup course still held plenty challenges with 170m ascent per lap, the main rock garden and loads of technical single track.

By the end of our practice on Friday I was starting to feel 'in control' of my line through the rock garden and feeling confident on the rest of the course. Great to have @pcordesracing and @arnodutoit to help with lines!!

We spent the rest of Friday afternoon focusing on recovery and getting our feet up safe in the knowledge that our Pinarello Dogma XC’s were in @pcordesracing's capable hands as he prepared them for race day.

Rain was on the cards for Saturday and as Murphy would have it it started to pelt down just before our start...
15sec countdown and bang we were off, we sprinted up the start straight and into the first steep climb.
With the now pretty slippery surface and the mud packing on our tires Sam Sanders lost traction in front of me letting Aurelie Halbwachs(Mauritius) get an early lead.  I chased after her taking the lead about halfway through the first lap gaining a few seconds on through the technical single track.
Reaching the rock garden I didn't hesitate to take the chicken run not having the confidence to tackle it with muddy tires :(, skills to be worked on!!

The course was super slippery and despite being quite cautious had some close calls my back tire trying to overtake me around a few corners.
I made it through the start finish and headed into our 2nd lap. The U23's had a separate start 2minutes after us and Candice and Mariske caught and passed me in the first half.  I pushed hard to try and minimize the time gap but after the rock garden managed to get a 'tree' caught in my rear cassette losing all but about three gears. Knowing Paul had a spare rear wheel with a Conti X-King on in the tech-zone and having already decided to swop out my Race-King wheel for more grip I nursed the gears for the next 2kms not wanting to stop twice. In retrospect not such a great idea as I lost quite a bit of time and it would take Paul and several helpers valuable time to prize the 'tree' out of the cassette in preparation for Arno's race. 
Reaching the tech-zone Paul was ready with the wheel and quickly and calmly (not an easy feat) made the exchange for me. I got going just before Aurelie came through and managed to hang on to a small lead.
The X-King gripped up much better on the course allowing me to keep rubber side down and my speed up :) 
Going through for my last 2 laps I gratefully grabbed my 2nd HIGH5 bottle and gel from Paul and maintained fairly consistent laps slowly increasing my lead to the finish.

I crossed the finish very happy to take the Elite African Champ title for a[s]g PYCycling, Aurelie took 2nd place, Sam Sanders 3rd and Amy 4th.
 I feel however that the true Champs of the day were Mariske and Candice who had a fantastic race finishing 1st and 2nd overall on time. well done!!

Well done to my team mates; Amy for her 4th place, Arno taking 3rd U23 in a very exciting and break through race, Joel racing despite not being hundreds and Michelle for her 7th place in the junior ladies!

A big thanks to @pcordesracing for all the expert support throughout the weekend, all very much appreciated!!
And to all my sponsors @asg_PYCycling @EpicSports @asgsport @Conti_SA @Bicicletta_ZA @CycleOpsJHB @SquirtLube_SA for making elite level racing possible.

Next up Epic...

Take care,
Yolande Speedy

Monday, 11 March 2013

Press Release - African Champs

Muddy success for the a[s]g mtb academy at African Continental Champs

Last Saturday, cross country racers from across the African continent descended upon Cascades in Pietermaritzburg to compete in the African Continental Championships.

Representing South Africa from the a[s]g mtb academy was Elite Women: Yolande Speedy and Amy McDougall, U23 Men: Arno Du Toit, Junior Men: Joel Hieber. Junior Women: Michelle Benson and Youth Women: Lynette Benson.

Cascades is a world class Cross Country course renowned for its gnarly rock gardens, steep climbs, hairy drops, switch back climbs and when it rains, MUD! Practicing the course on the two days prior to the race, the course was hard packed, dry, and fast. But weather reports and gloomy looking clouds had other plans for race day.

The girls had an early 8am start. The track was already wet from rain the previous evening and it started drizzling as the girls lined up. First off were the Elite ladies, Yolande led the race with a Mauritian in second and Amy and Sam Saunders battling it out for third place. Amy lost valuable time and her 3rd place to Sam in a slippery struggle with the mud in the first 3 laps. The drizzle subsided and she got stronger in the last 2 laps, kept it steady and managed a respectable 4th place in the Elite category. Yolande blitzed the field, her gap on the Mauritian growing with each lap. She won the Elite category convincingly. “Good weekend for our team at the African Continental Champs! Happy to bring home the Elite Women’s title on a very wet and muddy course!” - Yolande Speedy.

Michelle Benson came 7th in the Junior Women’s category, also struggling in the mud with numerous crashes but still put up a good fight until the end! Lynette Benson managed a new highest heart rate in her fight for 4th youth women, another excellent result for the a[s]g Academy!

The rain held up for the men’s race making it fast and furious. The U23 mens race was a close and exciting battle. Arno was in a ping pong match with Rourke Croeser, Luke Roberts, Gert Heyns, James Reid and Brendan Davis. Going into the last lap Arno was in 6th place, he fought all the way to the end, gaining three positions and finished in 3rd place, a top class performance! “The racing was so close that our positions changed between about 2nd and 6th all the time. I tried to avoid most of the early attacks, but had to fight to stay in contact with the group. With some serious “vasbyt” and a bit of luck, I managed to finish 3rd” - Arno Du Toit

It’s exciting to see these young athletes able to grow from strength to strength in the academy with the support of quality sponsorship from:  a[s]g, Bicicletta, Squirt, CycleOps, Continental and Epic Sports Cycle Shop