Pfitzenmaier leads solo charge in Knysna
Former world masters cross-country champion Nico Pfitzenmaier will lead the field in the men’s solo category at the three-day RECM Knysna 200 mountain bike race, which starts in the Garden Route town on Saturday.
Pfitzenmaier, who took all three stages en route to the overall win alongside Renay Groustra in the team category last year, will be without his partner due to conflicting racing commitments this weekend.
“We had a great race last year,” said the German-born Pfitzenmaier.
“The conditions were quite tough through the rain and mud, so the more technically demanding parts suited us.”
The Cape Town-based rider will now be on the hunt for his first individual win after podiuming in this category before.
While stage racing has traditionally been a team event, events like the RECM Knysna 200 have begun to see a growing solo field for a variety of reasons.
“It’s not always easy to find a partner who has the same endurance and skill level you have,” said Pfitzenmaier, who races in the colours of Dorma.
“Sometimes it’s quite relaxing to race solo and not have to worry about anybody else.”
One of the riders he may have to worry about, however, is Plettenberg Bay resident Kevin Evans.
Despite announcing his impending retirement from the sport, the four-time national marathon champion will be a fierce contender on his home trails.
But Pfitzenmaier is not perturbed by his competition.
“I want to enjoy the trails and the scenic terrain – everything on top of that is a bonus.”
Although his form has been consistent this season, a series of mechanicals and bad luck has seen him relegated to the runner-up spot in various high-profile races.
“At joBerg2c I had a bad mechanical on the second stage, where I lost a lot of time and diminished my chances of winning the solo category,” he said.
At the Cape Epic, Pfitzenmaier broke his hand with two days to go and a vehicle hit his partner Robert Sim, but the pair still managed second overall in the masters category.
The 44-year-old said he remained motivated to race nationally and internationally by more than just his quest for gold.
“From my point of view, we are just scratching the surface of what is mentally and physically possible.
“My 90 per cent raw and vegan diet has helped me to recover a lot faster, have more consistent energy levels and better overall health.”
He said daily meditation and yoga practice helped to centre him and provided better mental focus when pushing the boundaries in races.
“I want to motivate others to experience the same by trying something new with their diet and daily lives.”
The public will be able to see Pfitzenmaier and other top mountain bikers in action when the race rolls out from the Knysna Elephant Park at 9am on Saturday.
One particular highlight for spectators will be Sunday’s hill climb enduro section up to the Krisjan-se-Nek lookout point in Garden Route National Park. The public is advised to be at the lookout point by 8.45am.
The 200km race takes participants through the Fisantehoek, Goudveld and Harkerville forests around Knysna, and finishes each day at Thesen Harbour Town.
For more information, visit www.recmknysna200.co.za, follow @recmknysna200 or find the Garden Route Events page on Facebook.
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