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Series Report: Subaru WC XCO Series 2016 from Bikehub.co.za

I have wanted to ride XCO since I first saw Burry Stander riding in the Olympics in 2012. Never mind that at the time I hadn’t touched a bike since I was nine years old- a trivial detail. To me XCO is the ultimate athletic achievement- it requires above average bike handling skills, strength and some crazy cardiovascular fitness.

This year I decided to live the dream, and with some trepidation, entered the Subaru WC XCO series. The first race at Rhebokskloof knocked my socks off. I had not imagined anything half as scary or as fun.

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Getting a good start is vital in XCO. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock.

I can only describe it as a distillation of all the best bits of mountain biking: the sense of achievement you get from cresting a killer climb, combined with the reward of dealing with a tricky descent or a terrifying drop off. All experienced repeatedly, in a short space of time, without all the boring bits found in marathon racing. Every single line choice and decision made out on the course can mean the difference between coming out in front, or languishing at the back of the pack.

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Ariane Kleinhans attacking the Rhebokskloof course. Photo credit: Ewald Sadie | esphotography.co.za

The highs are high. The lows are low. I crashed. I was frequently terrified of the A-lines. I was pretty convinced I was going to have a heart attack on many of the climbs, and I was on more than one occasion put to shame by a ten-year-old. I also had to be rescued from the bushes after some over-enthusiastic cornering and found myself doubting my life choices while face down in the mud on a rainy Friday afternoon during course practice.

In short- XCO is brutal. That said, each time I got up from a fall, smashed an A-line, or reached the top of a hill alive, I felt so good that I forgot that I had ever been scared or sore, and couldn’t wait to try it all again. I have learned a lot about myself both psychologically and physically during the course of the series. XCO has been by far the most rewarding racing format that I have tried.

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The racing is fierce but friendly amongst the younger riders. Photo credit: WP MTB Commission.

On a more pragmatic note, if you are keen to brush up on your skills or work on your cardio, while enjoying a fun family event, the XCO series is an excellent way to spend a Saturday morning. Each event I attended ran smoothly, and the effort put into making the courses both challenging and rewarding was remarkable. There are usually B-lines for the less adventurous, and the lap format means that it is very spectator friendly, so you can drag your family and friends out to cheer you on (read: hold your bottles and feed you gels) and it is a lot of fun to watch the other categories race over a cold steri-stumpie afterwards.

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Cherie Redecker entering the A-line rock garden at Helderberg. Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock

It is also inspiring to see the number of young riders developing incredible skills racing these events. If they are anything to go by- the next generation will have far fewer bottlenecks on the single track at races.

Unfortunately, the WC XCO series is over for 2016, but there is one last event: the WC XCO Championships is scheduled for 28 May at Bloemendal. If nothing else it will force you out of your comfort zone, and teach you a thing or two about your limits- in the most enjoyable possible way.

 

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Knowing when to eat or drink (and having an attentive feeder) is a critical part of race strategy. Photo credit: Nicolé Dale Kuys

(Originally posted over at http://www.bikehub.co.za/features/_/articles/ride-reports/series-report-subaru-wc-xco-series-2016-r4463)

Subaru Cape Town WCMTB XCO#4: Picardie Guest Farm, Paarl. Photo Gallery.

Hi guys. These are the photos from the ladies, vets, elite and youth. Tania Horsford was on duty earlier in the day and will post her pics on Facebook. For those who rode, it was a dry and dusty course with a heap of off camber and sketchy bits. Hats off to those who raced a challenging course on a hot, hot day. On parts of the course we measured 40 degrees C.

Subaru Cape Town presents the WCMTB XCO #4 at Picardie Guest Farm, Paarl

Hey all, here is the schedule of events for the final Cup race at Picardie Guest Farm in Paarl on the 12th March 2016.

Programme - WC MTB XCO #4 12 Mar 16 Picardie

SA XCO Sub Vet / Vet Photo Gallery: Helderberg Farm

The Elite Ladies did get a little mixed up with the Vets and Sub-Vets. It was not just me…

SA XCO Sub Junior / Youth Photo Gallery: Helderberg Farm

 

 

SA XCO Ladies Race Photo Gallery: Helderberg Farm

Subaru Cape Town Presents WCXCO #4, Picardie Guest Farm, Paarl. Entry Form and Procedures.

Combined WCMTB Logo

Entries are now open for the 4th and final race of the WC XCO Series to be held at Picardie Guest Farm, Paarl on the 12th March 2016.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Entry forms only need to be completed by entrants who did not enter the XCO#1 or XCO#2 events.   New entrants to the series and those who only entered XCO#3, need to return their entry forms, preferably still in an Excel format, and proof of payment to info@wpmtb.co.za
  • If you entered XCO#1 or XCO#2,  you do not need to complete the entry form again.   To enter XCO#4, complete your payment using your WC Registration Number ( WC REG for xx MM ) as your payment reference and email your Proof of Payment to info@wpmtb.co.za.   Emailing the proof of payment is critical to us picking up your entry – without this, you may find that you are not entered.   Please do not use your last race number as reference – only your WC Registratioin Number.
  • We will email acknowledgement of your entry on Thursday 10 March.

Early Entries close on Tuesday 8 March 2016

Late Entries can be completed at Registration on Friday 11 March between 3:30pm and 6:00pm and at an extra cost.  No late entries on the day.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the website here.

A handful of you have asked if there is a WC XCO race on 9 April – to clear it for everyone, the answer is Nope – no race on 9 April.

Subaru Cape Town & WPMTB presents the Stihl SA XCO#2 at Helderberg Farm: Venue and Course Map

Hey all;

Here is the venue map and course for Saturday’s racing. Registration and practice are open on Friday until 16h00 and the racing starts with Nippers and Sprogs from 8am on Saturday. Good luck and safe riding to you all.

Saturdays racing also incorporates the WCMTB XCO#3 for all Western Cape riders to accumulate points.

Venue Map - Helderberg Farm - 27 Feb 16Route Map - Helderberg Farm - 27 Feb 16

Subaru Cape Town WCMTB XCO#2 : A brief photo gallery

Well done to you all. Anyone who participated in one form or another was a winner. I look forward to the SA Nationals / WC MTB XCO this weekend. I have found my favourite spot or two and will stick to those. Sadly every time Jolande Neff came by I developed some wobble of sorts. Gratefully Tania Horsford did not.