“What a journey it has been the last 7 days at the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, granted UCI status for the first time this year and attracted many top international riders!
I teamed up once again with Robyn De Groot, who I won Sani2C and PE2Plett with earlier this year, we ride very well together and without having to use many words we understand each other both on and off the bike! It is in difficult situations that you really see if you are a good team, we got tested a lot during this week, it started with great success and ended with some tough days. This is what happened…” – Jennie Stenerhag
Day 1: Prologue 15km at Buffelsdrift. #BuffelsBattle
“We started at 12 o’clock, when it was at its warmest! I do not know if I’ve ever been so nervous on a start line, my heart rate was already close to racing beats as they were counting down for us to start. My adrenaline went into my legs and I took off like a bullet, which I paid for closer to the end! We started as the last women’s team and after a few kilometers we passed the team who started in front of us, and after about 6km we passed the team that would become our biggest competition during the week, Cathrine Williamsson from England and Alice Pirard from Belgium, team Asrin. We managed the technical bits nicely and with a few kilometers left, we passed the team which started three minutes before us, Yolandi Du Toit from South Africa and Aurelie HALBWACHS from Mauritius, team Garmin. We gave everything at the end and won the prologue by 19 seconds ahead of Cherise Stander and Candice Neethling, team iRideforBurry. We were happy to start the proper stages in the pink leaders jersey!”
Day 2: Stage 1, Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp, 100km, 1600 meters climbing #RedstoneRumble
“We packed up all our stuff and moved in to our camper which would be our home for the next 5 nights and headed to the start in central Oudtshoorn, it was sunny and nice and would be a hot day, unlike this stage last year, which was the muddiest I have ever ridden in, so we were grateful for the heat! When the lead car let us go the race was in full swing and it was hard from the start. We got away as the first women’s team but did not find any good groups to sit in and were mostly on our own, I struggled to find my legs a bit. Soon Cathrine and Alice caught up with us together with a bunch, and a bit later when the track did a U turn and we saw other riders we could see Theresa Ralph (my Epic partner) and Esther Suss of team Meerendal, not far behind. We put the hammer down on the uphills and managed to get away from both teams. We saw Cathrine and Alice again during the course so we had to ride hard all the time because we did not know how far behind they were. Towards the end we had a really heavy uphill and I battled a bit but enjoyed the technical descent on the other side before the final 15 last kilometers on gravel road. It was difficult today to determine how much energy should be spent because tomorrow’s stage was the most important in the whole week! We won today’s stage with about 4.5 minutes over Cathrine and Alice.”
Day 3: Stage 2, Calitzdorp to the top of the Swartberg Pass, 87km, 2700 meters climbing #SwartbergShowdown
“R125.000 (9000 euros) for first place on today’s stage !! Nothing for second place! It is said that it is the MTB stage (or one-day race) with the largest prize money in the world. obviously we were a little extra nervous because we would love to win this stage! To win, we had to be first up the last hill, a climb of 10km with 1200 meters of ascent that finishes with an average gradient of about 12-15% over the last 3 kilometers!”
Read Stage 4 to 6 Race Reports on Jennie’s website > click here.
Follow Jennie on Twitter @JennieStenerhag