De Groot told In the Bunch going into this weekend that since recuperating after vascular surgery on her left leg earlier this year she had experienced no pain while riding and that her current form was good.
But because she was doubling up on racing this weekend she did not want to push herself too hard.
“In the same breath I also didn’t want to take it too easy, so I had to manage myself well today.”
De Groot said the women’s race started off at a decent pace.
“Initially we were quite a big group but up the first drag of the race Theresa, myself and Sarah got away.
“We rode together until we reached a more technical section, which was quite early on in the race.”
She said they caught up with some of the back riders of the men’s 70km event. “It was a real tricky section to be catching them,” she said.
De Groot said Hill used this opportunity to her advantage and broke away from her and Ralph.
She added that this part of the race saw some of the riders walking, so she and Ralph on occasion were also forced to get off their bikes.
“I don’t know if Sarah got those parts clear and if she was able to ride it, but we weren’t able to.”
After making their way through, De Groot said because she knew Ralph was Hill’s teammate it was up to her to close the gap.
“I did so soon after Sarah broke away and the two of us rode together until the 32km mark where I made a move.
“I pulled a gap of about two to two-and-a-half minutes and managed myself nicely from there on.”
De Groot maintained her lead and indeed gradually increased the gap on those behind her as she made her way towards the finish.
She said obviously a top step on the podium would always be “the cherry on the top”, but just to come out and race her bike, have fun and enjoy being out with like-minded people was great.
“The event is really well supported by the Gauteng riders so there are many faces I haven’t seen in a long time and it was nice to be able to socialise with them again.”
Regarding the weather conditions, De Groot, who recently won the Wines2Whales alongside Amy McDougall, said due to the event being on the Highveld the conditions were “super dusty, dry and hot”.
“But that’s how racing is on the Highveld at this time of year.”
She said having grown up in Joburg she wasn’t too fazed by the heat. However, having also lived in George for the past four to five years, she did feel and see the differences between the areas.
“George has different conditions and terrains but I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’m attracted to coming up and doing these events here.”
She said she would now focus on recovering ahead of tomorrow’s racing at the 947.
More results can be viewed here.