February 26, 2012 - Conrad "the Caveman" Stoltz and Carla Van Huyssteen captured the ninth-annual Totalsports XTERRA South Africa Championship presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT on a 'stunning day' at the Grabouw Country Club in the Western Province.
The victory is Stoltz fifth at XTERRA South Africa but first since 2007, and the first for fellow South African Van Huyssteen, who finished third at this race a year ago. Of note, the last time Stoltz opened the season with a win in his home country he finished the season with his third of four XTERRA World Championships.
Both Stoltz (pictured courtesy Oakpics.com) and Van Huyssteen were the first racers to hit the bike course and neither faltered thereafter in a race that combined a 1.5km swim, with a 25km mountain bike and 10km trail run.
Stoltz winning time was 2:26:02, more than two minutes ahead of XTERRA newcomer Stuart Marais, while Van Huyssteen came across in 2:50:28 - five minutes in front of last year's winner Carina Wasle from Austria.
According to Stoltz, he came into the race with a game plan. “I didn’t want to overcook on the bike, so I kept it steady and conservative. The course is challenging in every aspect of mountain biking. It is definitely all that XTERRA is about. It is good to see the amount of new single track in Grabouw, making it a mountain biking destination like it used to be. On the run leg I opted not to take a swim in the stream as shortly afterwards there is a big climb. The wet clothes can easily add on a kilogram or two.
Stuart Marais came in 2nd, while Dan Hugo finished 3rd. Misfortune hit Hugo on the mountain bike route. Hugo came through transition in 3rd place behind Nico Pfitzenmaier. It was at water point three on the trail run that Stuart Marais managed to pass Hugo. By water point four Marais had managed to pass Pfitzenmaier as well. Hugo, continuing to chase, managed to pass Pfitzenmaier in the final stages of the run and cross the finish line in third place.
For Van Huyssteen (pictured courtesy Oakpics.com), who finished 4th in the XTERRA European Tour last season (best showing was 3rd at XTERRA Italy), walking away with the title of XTERRA SA Champion was a dream come true.
“Winning at XTERRA Grabouw has been my goal for three years now. It truly is amazing to get the recognition for all the hard work that I’ve put into the sport. I think most supporters were hoping for a double win for SA today. This made crossing the finish line all the more sweet as everybody was so happy for me. I felt surprisingly good during the swim and just knew that I’d have a great race. The run route suited me perfectly. The climbs weren’t too long, with every climb being followed by nice long single track and downhill sections. The mountain bike discipline was technical with some serious down hills. All in all I had a great race and am really pleased with my performance on the day,” says Van Huyssteen.
Top 5 Men
1 Conrad Stoltz RSA 2:26:02 0:19:09 1:14:00 0:50:55
2 Stuart Marais RSA 2:28:14 0:20:18 1:19:08 0:45:52
3 Dan Hugo RSA 2:29:04 0:19:15 1:20:08 0:47:32
4 Nico Pfitzenmaier GER 2:29:18 0:22:09 1:13:58 0:50:59
5 Raynard Tissink RSA 2:37:13 0:19:16 1:25:37 0:49:45
Top 5 Women
1 Carla Van Huyssteen RSA 2:50:28 0:19:45 1:34:04 0:53:59
2 Carina Wasle AUT 2:55:31 0:21:09 1:37:26 0:54:01
3 Candice Davison RSA 3:16:44 0:25:03 - 0:57:28
4 Aileen Anderson RSA 3:18:40 0:24:39 1:44:51 1:04:52
5 Hilana Marais RSA 3:19:17 0:24:39 1:44:27 1:06:10