At 72km, the second stage of the 2019 Cape to Cape would be one of the longest stages ever at the 4-day mountain bike race in Western Australia. Starting and finishing at Leeuwin Estate winery, the course would be less hilly than stage one, and likely to be super fast.
But you may not have guessed it would be a fast stage with the reasonably mellow start for the first 20kms. Soon enough the pace lifted and the groups split.
Reece Tucknott was one of the riders leading affairs, but Brendan Johnston said as they turned into the singletrack he took to the front.
“We lead from the trails at Boranup all the way until Highway to Hell,” said Brendan Johnston, “and then the attacks started. And it was pretty hectic actually! Right off the beach with the Nankervis brothers.”
“There were only two attacks,” added Jon Odams “everyone was quite worn out from the singletrack. We were going pretty hard I thought.”
“We got onto Reece and Brent as they attacked out of the last water crossing,” said Johnston, “which was good for us as we just had to sit on them and follow them in. We wanted to win the stage.” They crossed the line in first and third, taking the stage win. Johnston and Odams have their time bonus gap over Reece and Brent, but 30 seconds isn’t much with two days to go.
The Mixed category saw a big gap form yesterday, but today was much closer. Peta Mullens and Jarrod Moroni won the stage, after attacking Holly and Michael Harris close to the finish.
“We’re now 2nd on general classification for Mixed. We came here with pretty low expectations. But there is something about Cape to Cape, I seem to get fitter every day! We’re both on new bikes that we are getting used to, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s trails.”
Ella Bloor and Lucy Bechtel still lead the women’s pairs, but it was Anna Beck and Briony Mattocks who won the stage in a sprint with the leaders.
“Our plan was to get ahead in the singletrack and try to get a bit of a lead,” explained Anna Beck. “It started off well, but then I had 4 or 5 sticks jamming my wheel or my chain falling off. Each time I’d be off course and Ella and Lucy would pass again. It was a rough day for us. We worked pretty well tactically. It would be nice to get some time but to get the win was good. Hopefully we can flow through the singletrack tomorrow and get some time.
My day at Cape to Cape
Things started mellow and got increasingly difficult. Lots of riders were stopped in their tracks by sticks in wheels and drivetrains, and I had a small incident myself with a plant wrapping around my cassette. My team for this race, Chris Panozzo, was chill, and we rode a good tempo, until the tempo was more like threshold and over. We made up time but I couldn’t hold the pace and exploded in reasonably spectacular fashion!
We now sit 12th in men’s pairs and about 20th overall – dropping a bit but having fun.