Courteney Webb thought this year would serve as a transition from junior to elite mountain biker, but a successful season has her in the running for overall honours in the Western Cape TrailSeeker Series.
The first-year elite is second in the overall standings – 100 points behind Louise Ferreira – going into tomorrow’s grand finale on the Hemel en Aarde trails near Hermanus.
“Winning the overall series was far from my mind when I started,” said the 18-year-old University of Cape Town rider.
“It definitely wasn’t on my agenda and I didn’t think this year would amount to anything.”
Webb climbed another step of the ladder when she finished third behind Candice Lill and Carmen Buchacher – but ahead of her closest rival – in Wellington last month and said she could take some confidence from that performance.
She summed up the series as “tumultuous” and admitted that the opening round had served as a shocking introduction to marathon racing.
“It was my first proper full marathon so it was definitely not my best race. Having been used to riding and pacing for 40km, it was quite a big shock to the system.
“Since then they’ve been getting better and better in terms of the results and how I’ve been feeling.”
With the title in sight, Webb said her foremost goal would be to best Ferreira on the technical 70km route.
“I tell myself before every race that my goal is to have fun and do the best I can, but I’m quite a competitive person so there’s always some hidden goals.
“If I beat Louise it would mean I could win the series and to do that would be crazy cool; it would be awesome,” said the teenager from Rondebosch.
Having lost to Ferreira once since Wellington, Webb said the race could go either way and that there was no telling what the final outcome would be.
Tandi Kitching, third overall, will be absent from the final event due to injury.
No complete stranger to the course, Webb said the 1 365m of climbing would suit her well.
“I like climbing and I would say it’s what I’m most looking forward to.”
She said the single-track sections on the route could make for a challenging ride, but her progress this year had her less nervous than she would have been in the past.
The men’s category is led by Waylon Woolock, who won the opening event.