'Super-happy' Strauss takes 24th at world championships | SASCOC - SASCOC

‘Super-happy’ Strauss takes 24th at world championships


By Mark Etheridge

Despite pre-race and actual race mishaps South Africa’s Commonwealth Games mountain biker Mariske Strauss says she’s super-happy with her performance at the UCI MTB World Championships in Cairns, Australia.

Strauss ended 24th in the elite women’s XCO race, her time of 1hr 34min 47sec putting her 7:30 down on race winner Jolanda Neff of Switzerland.

The Swiss rider had a ride-away victory, beating Britain’s Annie Last by an impressive 2:23.

Last and Strauss had teamed up to tackle the gruelling Cape Epic multi-stage race in the Western Cape earlier this year.

Cape Town’s Strauss would be the first person to admit that her cycling life (indeed her day-to-day life) can never be described as ‘normal’ and so her race day proved to be.

‘It went great, but even before my race there was a bit of a mishap when I tried to bend the frozen towel and ended up dislocating my finger,’ the OMX Pro Team/Silverback rider told Team SA from Cairns.

‘Luckily it went back in, so all good – and I practised my strapping skills so I could at least lock and unlock the fork.’

As for her actual race, there were more good points than bad points. ‘It went super smoothly for the most part. I had an amazing start and felt great.

‘Then coming into the second lap I went a little bit hot into one of the corners of the start loop and washed out.

‘Not too badly for me, just a few scrapes and bruises, but I bent either the derailleur or hanger, so my gears were a bit stuffed.’

That saw her stalling and having to fix them on more than one occasion as she negotiated some of the monstrous climbs on the dusty course. But her improvisation skills came to the fore once more.

‘I would fight forward and then drop back, and so it went… but by the end of the first lap I had kind of worked out which gears worked and which didn’t, so that’s how we rolled.’

But overall she wore a smile rather than a snarl after her finish.

’Twenty-fourth… exciting times for me. I really enjoyed it, super happy with how it went and just happy that I could at least race the way I know I can, technical problems aside.

‘Now I just want to improve more and head on… hopefully top 10, here we come.

‘I’m looking forward to next year, but must first send a huge thank you to all the sponsors and amazing people behind me who have helped get me here.’

Picture of Strauss coming across the finish line in Cairns, courtesy of Diana Carolin

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