Reid comes of age at SA Marathon Championship | SASCOC - SASCOC

Reid comes of age at SA Marathon Championship

The weekend’s Induna event of the South African Mountain Marathon Championship in Hazyview, developed into a classic scenario where the ‘runt’ managed to ride away with the spoils over which the ‘top dogs’ were fighting.

However, the mountain-bike racing CV of James Reid (Trek SA) provides impressive reading and it wouldn’t be entirely fair to call him a ‘runt’. As a junior rider he was the national cross-country champion. He also won the national Nissan half-marathon series and during the past two years he impressed as an Under-23 cross-country rider.

But, until Saturday, there was one obvious box that hadn’t been ticked in Reid’s racing CV.┬á And that is the fact that he has not been able to achieve good results in mountain-bike ultra-races.

The SA Championship on Saturday was only the fourth time that Reid competed in an ultra-race. He was unable to finish two of the previous ultra-races in which he competed and was second in last year’s MTN Ride Crater Cruise.

Reid is the first to admit that, up to Saturday, his performances in ultra-racing were nothing to get excited about. But his result on Saturday changed everything. at the age of 20 he became the youngest rider to win the SA Ultra-title.

Putting that into perspective is the fact that the late Burry Stander was 22 when he won the title in 2009.

Reid now wants to try to emulate his hero’s achievement by becoming only the second rider to win both the national ultra and cross-country titles in the same year. ÔÇ£I know that it will not be easy to win the cross-country title as well, but I am certainly going to give my all in an effort to do so. Whatever happens, happens.

Reid emphasised that he does not plan to compete in many more ultra-events during the rest of this year. His main focus will be to be at his best for the UCI World Cross-Country Championship in Pietermaritzburg. ÔÇ£The fact that I am only 20, means that my body takes strain when I compete in an ultra-race. That is why I have decided to rather compete in the MTN U-23 marathon series.

ÔÇ£The credit for coming up with the idea of having a national U-23 marathon series should go to Fritz Pienaar and his Advendurance team. It makes it slightly easier to bridge the gap between racing as a junior and becoming a pro-elite. I will certainly give serious consideration to competing at the MTN Rooiberg Marathon (15 June).ÔÇØ

In reply to a question about how Saturday’s ultra-race played out, Reid said that he deliberately took it easy during the first hour or so. ÔÇ£Because my main focus at the moment is cross-country, I do short high-intensity workouts. A long day for me would be four hours on the bike and, as you know, an ultra-race normally lasts for five hours.ÔÇØ

According to Reid, his cross-country training kicked in during the second part of the race. With 15 kilometres to go, he felt so strong that he decided to race from the front. He was chased by Nico Bell (Westvaal/Bell Cycles), Kevin Evans (FedGroup-Itec), Darren Lill (Cannondale/Blend Properties) and Max Knox (EAI Solutions/Specialized).

Reid, refusing to be intimidated, managed to keep his cool right to the end and his winning time was 4hr 40min 36sec. Bell was second in 4:41:08, Evans third in 4:41:41, Lill fourth in 4:42:34 and Knox (defending champion) fifth in 4:43:11.