On Saturday, 24 August, Christie Hearder secured the Mandela Day MTB Dash race title, ahead of Hayley Smith in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.
Pietermaritzburg’s Christie Hearder (Team Absolute Motion) was able to secure a race-winning gap over Bell Equipment’s Hayley Smith on the first major climb of the race and then hold off the challenge of her South Coast rival for the rest of the event.
At the finish line Hearder had held her lead of just over a minute, despite spending much of the race looking over her shoulder and battling to keep Smith at bay. Smith made sure Hearder had to work hard for her victory.
“This race is always hard,” said Hearder soon after crossing the line.
“I did not do it last year, so I found it tougher than I expected, and I always find 40km races so hard. In a 60km race you can pace yourself, but 40, yoh, it is always hard.
“I had Hayley Smith chasing me all the way. I got away in the beginning on the first long climb. In the single-track Hayley caught me a bit because she is faster than me in technical riding and then on the climbs, I had to work hard to build a gap because I know her strength in the single-rack,” she added.
Despite working hard for her win, Hearder found the race particularly rewarding for more than just the victory and the R10 000 cheque.
“For us we are just racing, but Nelson Mandela built a whole legacy and so to race in his honour at this event is awesome.
“I also love this event just to see the development guys and to see how they have developed over time. I saw some of the young guys out on course today and it was incredible to see how well they are riding â€¦ they are flying, and it is because of events like this,” the winner ended.
1 Christie Hearder 2:02:58
2 Hayley Smith 2:04:21
3 Claudia Slattery 2:13:58
4 Shelley Higgo 2:14:00
5 Nadine Nunes 2:18:01
6 Chloe Bateson 2:22:50
1 Riley Smith 1:07:20
2 Jodi Mackinnon 1:08:26
3 Amy Salvesen 1:14:58
4 Madison Bateson 1:18:59
5 Lara Bateson 1:19:52
Photo 1 Caption: Christie Hearder all smiles after winning the women’s 42km race at the Mandela Day MTB Dash on Saturday, 24 August, 2019, in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Tim Whitfield/Sports Wrighte
With editing by gsport