“This was my first time competing in this event and I was actually surprised to win,” said the 19-year-old.
“I had hoped for a win before the start, but my goals were pretty much just to give my best and enjoy being back on my mountain bike.”
Janse van Rensburg, who rides for Absolute Motion on the mountain bike, said the pace in the 60km race was very fast from the outset.
“Christie Hearder and myself rode together until around 30km, or rather I tried to hang on to her wheel,” she said, referring to last year’s winner who ultimately placed second today.
“She was flying. My legs only started to come around at about 25km into the race when I took the Queen of the Mountains. I put in a bit of an attack at 30km and got a gap and just gave it my all from there to the finish.”
She added that she could definitely feel that breathing was more difficult at the 1 600m-plus altitude, but it did not have a huge effect.
“Luckily it was the same for everyone.
“I also didn’t feel very well the first half, but just decided to push through and I’m glad it all worked out well. Otherwise everything went pretty smoothly today and I’m very happy about that.”
Janse van Rensburg said a highlight was to race in “such a beautiful place”. The trails were “absolutely amazing”.
“It was a beautiful route, but very hard and challenging with lots of climbing.
“The downhills were quite technical and challenging and the climbs short and steep, so it was very much like a cross-country race and that did favour me.”
She was unsure what her plans were following today’s race.
“With this coronavirus going around a lot of events are being cancelled.