Two years I go I came to race the Sunshine Cup for the first time. I had such a fantastic time that I vowed I’d be back the following year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it last year but thankfully I’ back this to to enjoy the amazing trails and great atmosphere of this prestigious race. This time I’m with my Cannondale Girls team mate Adel and Brotherton Cycles Rider Verity Appleyard. It’s great to see so many British riders out here and British team OMX.
The race consists of four stages; stage one a 4km TT, stage two a 47.9km point to point, stage three a 45km point to point and the final stage being an XCO. All have masses of climbing but you’re rewarded with some awe inspiring descents.
So today was the first stage, the TT. I quite like starting with a time trial, it gives me a chance to get my race head on and settle into the bike. It is based in the village of Pano Lefkara which is a small very pretty village with lots of lace and silver shops. We did a couple of practice laps yesterday. It consists of one huge climb with a wicked descent leading into an urban section with lots of steps both down and up.
There are 50 riders in the Elite Women’s category and I’ve counted about five world champions amongst them. It’s a bit of a strong field. For me this gives me a great gauge of how I’ll fair this season in the World Cups I’m planning on doing this season as well as getting some dry, sunny miles in my legs.
I’m on my lovely new race bike for the first time, a Cannondale Team FSI with 650B wheels. I was on a 29er last year so I’m still deciding which I find faster. I might tell you at the end of the week! It’s so responsive and light and really is a pleasure to ride.
Anyway the race; it was over in a blink of an eye. The climb going faster didn’t seem quite as steep as the practice although a whole load more painful. The descent seemed to go super fast and I didn’t even get a chance to really enjoy it. I just made one slight mistake in the urban section when I surprised myself clearing the step up and got caught on the wall, oops!
I was pleased with the way I felt but had forgotten just how much you push yourself in xc. I’m really looking forward to the remaining stages and I’ll keep you up to date on all our happenings!
Annie Last 14th
Maxine Filby 38th
Verity Appleyard 41st
Adel Tyson Bloor 1st
Grant Ferguson 2nd
Philip Pearce 51st
Jason Bouttell 57th
Calum Riley 82nd
Lee Williams 87th
A full list of results from stage 1 can be found here
And why not check out the highlights video from round...
Words: Maxine Filby (Cannondale Girls)
All Images courtesy of Tom Broyd