Winning the Herald Cycle Tour Ultimate Quest was another step in the right direction for Eastern Cape mountain biker Jason Peach.
The women’s winner was Anriette Schoeman.
“I feel quite lucky to have won it. I came sixth in the mountain bike race so I suppose I was fortunate that none of the top five guys came to do the road race,” said Peach, who came 25th in the latter event.
“I’m chuffed that I was able to finish it off and not drop it on the road. I’m quite happy to have won it.”
The 32-year-old said his MTB result was a little bit off pace compared to the top five.
“Personally I was very chuffed with my road result because I don’t really race on the road that much and I found it rather difficult to sit with the bunch when they really went hard up some of the climbs. It’s a bit different to mountain biking.”
He added that initially he was a bit worried about the MTB race because he was sick in the week leading up to the week of the race.
“I didn’t ride for eight days or something. I was really quite sick. I always knew the MTB race was going to be a bit of a challenge for me. I wasn’t going to be firing on all cylinders properly yet.
“The first hour I really struggled. It felt like I hit a brick wall. But slowly my legs started coming back. Time-wise I was a bit off the guys than I would have liked to have been.
“The road race was always going to be a bit of a challenge for me. It’s just a completely different ball game. When the road tilts up and the guys go, they go extremely hard.
“I don’t particularly train for road races so I knew it was going to be a challenge for me, but I was lucky enough to pull it off. When I knew I was in contention to win the Quest I just wanted to finish in a good time.”
This was the first time he has won the Ultimate Quest.
“The last two years I have done it as well, but I’ve always been seeded in the sub-vet category with the road race, so that sort of put me out of contention in terms of time with the other guys who raced in the elite category.
“This year I had an elite licence because I raced in the Attakwas pro-batch, so that put me into the elite batch with the road race. That gave me a chance to try and go for the win in the Quest.”
Peach said the Quest added another competition to the two events, which was “quite cool”.
“It adds a whole new dynamic to the two races. It also allows guys to enter both events and experience both of them, instead of just doing MTB and not road. It would be nice if a couple more of the road guys decided to do the MTB races.”
He said this year he would definitely carry on doing more mountain bike races than road events.
“I’m a mountain biker through and through. I don’t mind the odd road race here and there, but my focus is definitely on mountain biking.
“I don’t think I actually have any other road races planned for this year. Mountain bike races I will do include the Great Zuurberg Trek, Trans Baviaans, a couple of the 100-milers and then the odd local event.
“Trans Baviaans is a goal of mine. I do it every year. Last year I came ninth, but I had a shocking race. Hopefully I have a better race this year and try and get a top five. Great Zuurberg Trek is another goal. I just need to try and find a partner.
“These are my real main two goals I’d like to do well at. I’d also like to do well in the Trans Elands and Maluti 100-miler. I feel I do better at the very long events.”