Merrell Racing Snakes Dominate at WCAD AR

wcad_logo-150x150Team Merrell’s mixed pair of Hanno Smit and SanMari Woithe won the 100km WCAD Woseley AR over the past weekend in a time of 7h37, just over 40 mins ahead of the competition. It was a great “speed” session before the 500km Expedition Africa which starts in two weeks time.  As usual the guys from WCAD put on an awesome show and staged a great race. They continue to drive AR in the western cape and there passion and love for the sport is infectious. Great work guys.  See some comments below from Hanno and Sannie:

Hanno “Smelly” Smit:

With the country’s premier AR expedition race looming in just two weeks time, I thought it a good idea to fine-tune on a 100km sprint-type adventure race.

I teamed up with our new girl in the team, SanMari Woithe from the Friendly City, knowing that any bit of pre-race experience would be a valuable contribution to her preparations for her first expeditionary AR and also wishing to gain some race navigation myself.

IMG_0872The start and finish venue was at Rustic Venues in the Witzenberg Nature Reserve on the foothills of the Witzenberg that acts as the watershed between the Breede River valley and the Ceres valley. This is also part of the area which was heavily disturbed by labour strikes and unrest recently and resulted in burnt plantations, making for much easier navigation!

The race consisted of a hike leg, biking leg, mountain hike leg and a returning bike leg. PC’s could be collected in any given order for that particular leg and created interesting racing strategies as well as spreading the field with racers not knowing how their opposition are progressing compared to themselves, almost Rogaine-like.

After 7 hours and 37minutes we finished first of the 20 long course teams with another 30 short course teams also competing on part of the same course.

The event had a healthy mix of course challenges and types of terrain and ended up being not only a brilliant adventure race for newbie’s to AR, but also to the experienced. For us, we succeeded in ironing out little glitches in our preparations and also race tested some new and much improved racing gear as well as new footwear from the Merrell stable.

A great new introduction to our racing arsenal is the Proterra hiking shoe and it was tested in varying terrain of harsh, exposed mountain rock to the continuous drenching of Kloofing, fynbos traverses, toe-pressing steep downhills and soft sand.

This shoe really excelled in all conditions and although labelled as a hiking shoe it served comfortably and efficiently on the fast and longer runs and although constructed of Gore-Tex upper, it drained efficiently and most importantly it was extremely comfortable and stable with the stiff and low sole construction.

Finally, it must also be noted that our team manager, Graham Bird and our new mother on the block, Hobbit, made their comeback to the outside environment and joined some novice teams on the course and provided some valuable direction and assistance to them.

It was great to spend some time in the Boland and equally great to see the enthusiasm and fire of the many teams tackling this great love of ours: Adventure Racing!

Signing off. Smelly

SanMari “Sannie” Woithe:

This past weekend myself and Hanno raced in the second race of the WCAR series in the Wolseley- Tulbach area.

We had a good race with little navigational errors, trying to push the pace a bit in preparation for the last part of training before EA in two weeks’ time. All went well and it was especially on the second hike/run leg that we pulled a gap between ourselves and the other teams. The terrain was challenging and good training for the Drakensberg’s mountains.

For me, every race is a learning curve and this was another race where I learn’t a lot! There are so many aspects of AR, and the only way to learn, is to get experience by doing races. Racing and preparing with the Addicts is a privilege. More experienced Adventure racers will be hard to find. I’m looking forward to EA!

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