Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Known as South Africa’s toughest one-day mountain bike race, this year’s Momentum Medical Scheme Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge presented by Biogen was made even more difficult by the extreme heat. Liv Factory athlete Sarah Hill managed the challenge well, finishing second.
The first race of the year for Liv Factory athlete Sarah Hill was no ride in the park. The Attakwas Extreme is a 121 km point-to-point race through unforgiving terrain with 2900m of elevation gain. This year, the temperatures were also extreme, ranging from 35-47 degrees Celsius (95-116.6 Fahrenheit) during the 6 hours 47 minutes Hill was on course.
“At the QOM (about half was through the race), I decided to stop at the waterpoint,” said Hill. “I normally don't stop, but with the weather being so hot I knew it was the right thing to do. I took a minute to cool myself down and prepare myself for the next tough segment for the race. I had just been passed up the climb and was feeling a bit defeated. By the bottom of the descent, I started to feel like myself again as my core temperature decreased slightly. I decided to try chase the women who had passed me, and managed to catch her! I could feel my confidence coming back, so I powered through and ended up finishing in second place! The race is never over, and it was so special finishing so high on the podium!”
Liv South Africa athlete Mariske Strauss also rode a strong race, finishing behind Hill in third.
Next up, Hill will tackle the Tankwas Trek (UCI Stage Race) in February, her final preparation for Cape Epic in March.