Almost 700 riders participated in the event, which offered four distances and which took place in hot, breezy conditions. The prestigious series attracted most of the Western Cape’s top racers in the marathon event, with a strong Youth and Junior category showing in the half-marathon.
Waylon Woolcock and Jennie Stenerhag got their 2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Series, Western Cape off to the perfect start when they won the men and women’s marathon titles respectively at Round 1 at Tulbagh at the weekend.
In the men’s marathon, a lead group of six formed early on comprising Alan Hatherly (Team Spur), Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health), Woolcock (Team BCX), Matt Beers (Red-E Cannondale), HB Kruger (Team BCX) and Marco Joubert (Momsen Bikes). Hatherly, Beers and Heyns were the aggressors and the pace they set soon saw their rivals drop off as they charged clear on the 68km route.
But the unexpectedly hot conditions began to take their toll and with 20km remaining, the experienced Woolcock reeled the leaders in and focussed his efforts on maintaining his lead until the finish, even opting to skip a stop at a water point, despite having no water.
He survived the conditions better than his rivals and rolled across the finish line first in a time of 02 hours 56 minutes 02 seconds. Joubert managed the conditions well too and claimed the runner-up spot a minute and a half later, with Heyns rounding out the podium places in 2:59:10.
“Tulbagh never disappoints when it comes to a hard route. I also made the race bit harder for myself when I clipped a rock and damaged a pedal. That saw me struggle on the singletrack. Luckily the last half of the race had less singletrack so I was able to keep a good rhythm,” said Woolcock
In the women’s race, Stenerhag (CBC/Abro) and Vera Adrian (Team dormakaba), set the pace from the outset. They were locked together for more than half of the race with Stenerhag doing most of the pace-setting. But at 40km Adrian stopped to fill a bottle and Stenerhag pushed on, creating the race-deciding split.
Stenerhag rode on alone out front in the hot, windy conditions to finish first in a time of 3:24:46. Adrian secured second place in 3:28:15 with Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab) third in 3:37:26.
In the Half-marathon over 40km, Junior Rossouw Bekker, was the first male home in 1:48:45, while Junior Mia de Villiers was the first female to finish in 2:18:23.
2017 Nissan TrailSeeker Series, Western Cape
Round 1, Saronsberg, Tulbagh
Overall men 68km marathon
1 Waylon Woolcock (Team BCX) 2:56:02
2 Marco Joubert (Momsen Bikes) 2:57:36
3 Gert Heyns (Ascendis Health) 2:59:10
4 Alan Hatherly (Team Spur) 3:00:39
5 HB Kruger (Team BCX) 3:08:14
6 Matthew Beers (Red-E Cannondale) 3:09:44
7 Robert Hobson 3:11:25
8 Dylan Rebello (Imbuko Momsen) 3:11:47
9 Luke Evans 3:14:58
10 Craig Gerber 3:15:51
Overall women 68km marathon
1 Jennie Stenerhag (CBC/Abro) 3:24:46
2 Vera Adrian (Team dormakaba) 3:28:15
3 Carmen Buchacher (Velocity Sports Lab) 3:37:26
4 Katie Lennard 3:40:31
5 Louise Ferreira 3:55:44
6 Courteney Webb 3:56:22
7 Leorine de Wet 4:02:08
8 Tandi Kitching 4:06:29
9 Jana Kruger 4:14:00
10 Lehane Oosthuizen 4:16:08
Overall male 40km half-marathon
1 Rossouw Bekker 1:48:45
2 Jamie Penfold 1:50:47
3 Joshua Laughton 1:55:13
Overall female 40km half-marathon
1 Mia de Villiers 2:18:23
2 Tessa Keers 2:24:56
3 Alison Morton 2:26:42