Heinrich Visser said he was “super stoked” with his result at The Munga ultra-endurance mountain-bike race at the weekend. He was the first South African to complete the 1 075km trek and finished second overall.
The Cape Town local said he had no specific goal in mind going into the event, with his main aim being “just to finish”.
“In a race like this it’s difficult to have any specific plans. It’s such a long way that things and conditions change all the time,” Visser told In the Bunch today.
“I just took it as it came, and as the race went on and developed I figured I was in with a shot,” he said, adding that he was especially happy with the result considering what he described as a “quality field” this year.
He said his legs did not feel particularly strong at the start of the race, until “fireworks flew” and a break suddenly formed comprising him, Bekkenk, Kevin Benkenstein and a couple of others.
“I was sitting in the second group with Marco Martins, Chris van Zyl and two others and the pace was hard. When the pace picked up it was furious.
“We were all giving chase and we eventually caught up, but by then Ramses was gone.
“Eventually it was only Marco and me after Britstown [approximately a third of the way in] after we corrected a wrong turn early. It was only the two of us for a while.”
He said Martins “pushed quite hard” but struggled to keep up due to a stomach bug.
“We were both on our own from Loxton and we kept pushing on. When we got to Fraserburg, the next water point, I was told he had started to get sick after eating something.
“That’s when I knew things weren’t looking too good for him and just before Sutherland I was told he was under observation by the medics.
“I just pushed on and by that point I wasn’t really looking ahead of me [towards Bekkenk], I was more looking at what was happening behind me.”
Visser said in hindsight he did not think he could have caught Bekkenk as by then he was “pretty broken”.
“I just decided to maintain my position and I’m sure everyone, after riding at that pace, was beginning to feel it.
“I think Ramses was also taking some strain,” he said, adding that he had no sleep throughout the race.
“Strangely enough, I never felt like I really needed to lie down. I was never really sleepy tired.
“But when I left the Tankwa Padstal my vision was completely blurry and weird.”