Consistency was the key for Bradley Weiss to win the XTERRA SA Championship title at Grabouw Country Club on Sunday with 29-year-old making the most of his home-ground advantage to retain his national title.
In the women’s event Hayley Preen was far too strong for her rivals on the bike and run legs as she built up huge 11-minute advantage over her nearest challenger. Preen finished in an impressive 14th overall with a time of 2:51:40. Vicky van der Merwe (3:02:41) was second across the line.
Weiss, who lives in nearby Stellenbosch and knows the area well enough to consider the popular X-TERRA Grabouw event to be something of a home race, made the most of the perfect conditions as he consistently swam, cycled and ran all three disciplines to build a four-minute win over Cameron Macnair. Weiss finished in a time of 2:29:08 with Macnair crossing the line in 2:33:10 and Michael Ferreira taking the bronze medal with a time of 2:36:16.
German Nick Emde was first out the water with Weiss on his shoulder, but the South African defending champion was comfortably quicker than any of his main rivals on the 17km mountain bike leg and had opened a lead of over two minutes on Macnair, and then doubled the gap on the final 12km run leg.
“It was perfect weather to race today,” said a very happy Weiss. “This is my 10th or 11th year racing in Grabouw and I think this is the best weather that we’ve ever had. There was no wind, the water was flat and it was cool, and a little bit overcast which is great racing weather.”
“Coming into the race having won the 70.3 South African Championship meant that my form was pretty good. It’s always tricky switching between road and mountain bike, so I had to do a bit of mountain biking leading into the event.
“I still didn’t feel like I’d spent enough time on the mountain bike, but I loved the new course. It had a lot of climbing and I really enjoyed the new single track sections that were added. The run was flat and fast, completely different to what I am used to racing here in Grabouw. I am very happy to take the win and another South African title.”
Preen was three minutes off the pace in ninth position when she came out the water after the 1.5km swim leg in the Eikenhof Dam. Russian Svetlana Ushakova was the first out the water, but the professional road triathlete quickly lost ground on the mountain bike leg and was 15 minutes off the pace at the second transition.
A quick first transition for Preen set the tone for the mountain bike leg where the eventual winner was almost four minutes quicker than the next best rider. That allowed her to move three minutes ahead of Johandri Leicester with Van der Merwe nearly five minutes further back as they started the final run leg.
On the run leg Preen was once again in a class of her own as she blitzed around the cross country course more than three minutes faster than a charging Van der Merwe. Despite losing time to Preen, Van der Merwe moved into second place and opened a gap on the struggling Leicester who came home third, followed by Taryn-Maie Wille and then Ushakova, who was third quickest on the run.
“The swim is always my weakest discipline, but I feel that I had a fairly good swim,” said Preen. “I caught Vicky and the leading woman on the first climb on the mountain bike route.
“I had a good run as well,” aded Preen. “I love XTERRA. I just love the whole off-road triathlon vibe. My goal was to make the podium today so crossing the finish line in first place was amazing.”
on Saturday the 2019 XTERRA racing season kicked off with Jamie Riddle and Linda Detering winning the XTERRA Lite events.
Riddle successfully defended his XTERRA Lite title in an impressive time of 59 minutes 35 seconds.
“It was a really good race,” said Riddle. “I came here in good form. I had a good block. I went to Namibia and had a good racing season. The swim is one of my strengths, so I wanted to take it out really hard. On the bike I just tried to keep a strong pace until the guys caught me. I broke away at the beginning of the run.
Khan Nothnagel came in second, while Maniora Regis finished third.
In the women’s half-distance race Detering finished in a time of 1:11:03 with Hannah Newman second and Susan Kruger third.
1 Bradley Weiss 2:29:08
2 Cameron Macnair 2:33:10
3 Micheal Ferreira 2:36:16
4 Adriaan Myburgh 2:37:38
5 Gaetan Vivien 2:38:59
6 Michael Ross 2:39:46
7 Jari Claes 2:42:08
8 Maniora Regis 2:43:26
9 Daniel Mannweiler 2:45:30
10 Nick Emde 2:45:44
1 Hayley Preen 2:51:40
2 Vicky van der Merwe 3:02:41
3 Johandri Leicester 3:06:12
4 Taryn-Maie Wille 3:10:28
5 Svetlana Ushakova 3:15:54
6 Pauline Aigon 3:16:32
7 Tanya Rabie 3:21:49
8 Rita Terblanche 3:24:10
9 Benita Kasch 3:25:35
10 Sandy Russell 3:27:05