Stage 2 of the 2017 Dryland Traverse took place on Saturday the 4th of November and took in 23km as it wound its way from the Rust en Vrede waterfall back to De Hoek, via the Raubenheimer Dam. The route took in 860m of climbing and mixed sections of jeep track with true trail runner’s delight: technical singletrack.
The pace was soon being set by the main protagonists from the previous two stages, with Gershwill Jacobs & Ettiene Plaatjies (Oudtshoorn 1), John April & Francois Massaqua (Oudtshoorn 2) and Robert Rorich & Timothy Chambers (Team Sabrina Love) at the front of the field. But after two days of struggling with the extreme heat Edson Kumwamba was revelling in the cooler temperatures on Stage 2 and joined the leading teams at the front of the race.
Kumwamba was even the first to try to forge ahead, eking out a lead of around 15 seconds by the end of the first singletrack section 5km into the stage. But once the runners turned onto the district road, which leads past the Raubenheimer Dam, the group brought Kumwamba back and seven runners crossed the dam wall and ascended a climb which provided stunning views; over the Dam and the folds of the Swartberg Mountains disappearing off into the distance. After the first water point, at the 8km mark, the climbing began in earnest; with a loose and rocky jeep track which soon took its toll on the trail runners.
It became clear that Jacobs & Plaatjies were once again the strongest team as April and Chambers in particular appeared to be struggling. The group contracted and regrouped numerous times in the next 4km until the next technical climb saw Rorich, Chambers and Kumwamba drop off the lead group for good. The two Oudtshoorn teams forged ahead and soon April was struggling again, leaving Jacobs & Plaatjies in the lead on their own as Massaqua slowed to assist him.
April & Massagua struggled so that Kumwamba eventually caught the second placed team in the final 5km, but there was no catching Jacobs & Plaatjies who ran home stage winners in a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes and 35 seconds, at an average pace of 04:40min/km.
Kumwamba was the first solo man to cross the finish line, and by winning the stage by 5 minutes and 32 seconds over the category’s general classification leader, Michael Bester, he moved up to second overall. The solo women’s category was once again dominated by Annalise Scholtz while Chris Walley & Danette Smith likewise continued their mixed category supremacy.
In the women’s team race Nicky Steel & Kate Warner (Jog Squad) overturned the order of the previous two stages by defeating category leaders Claire van der Nest & Lindi Georgiou by over five minutes. Their time of 2 hours, 35 minutes and 38 seconds sees the general classification gap reduced to just 2 minutes and 15 seconds, making the women’s team race the most fiercely contested category leading into the final stage – on Sunday.
Stage 3, is the final stage of the 2017 Dryland Traverse and starts at a leisurely 09:30 after the festivities of Saturday night’s Cirque du Karoo, fancy dress party. The 11km route features 450m of climbing and mixes technical hiking trails with a short obstacle course section along the banks of the Hoeksrivier.
Results | Stage 2
Results | General Classification after Stage 2
For all the results from the 2017 Dryland Traverse click here.