XTERRA South African champion Carla van Huyssteen and Pieter van der Mescht continued their winning streaks in the second Sasol Cross Triathlon and Duathlon race at Buffelspoort near Rustenburg on Sunday.
Van der Mescht won the men’s race in 1:23:12 while Van Huyssteen took the women’s event in a blistering 1:24:25, showing her class by finishing second overall.
The Pretoria-based Team Inov-8 athletes also triumphed in the first race at Abrahamsrust near Sasolburg in January.
South African XTERRA champion Carla van Huyssteen (Team Inov-8) en route to victory in the cross triathlon event at Buffelspoort near Rustenburg on Sunday. Photo: Ocker Odendaal
Van Huyssteen said she was very pleased with her form ahead of the ATU African Cross Triathlon Continental Championships on April 15.
“I’m very happy. I worked very hard over December and January because the season starts quite early and it’s been paying off.”
The 27-year-old started the race with a solid 600m swim and emerged from the water 10 seconds behind rival Sylvia van Tromp. “She’s a very strong mountain biker so I knew I’d have to work very hard on the bike.”
Van Huyssteen turned up the heat on the 20km course and caught up with Van Tromp within the first kilometre. “The course had a little bit of everything – trail, single track and lots of dirt road, so it was very exciting racing.”
After opening up the gap on the bicycle, Van Huyssteen pushed the pace on the 5km trail run and extended her lead on the climbs around the 3km mark.
She eventually crossed the line to finish five minutes ahead of Van Tromp (1:29:18) with Genevieve van Coller (1:42:02) third.
“It was really a very good course and the route was quite technical and on par with the other top events,” said Van Huyssteen.
Pieter van der Mescht (Team Inov-8) en route to victory in the Cross Triathlon event at Buffelspoort near Rustenburg on Sunday. Photo: Ocker Odendaal
In the men’s race, Van der Mescht outclassed his fellow competitors despite nursing a hip injury sustained at the XTERRA event at the same venue two months ago. “I just went at a steady pace in the swim and built up a 30-second lead.”
The 22-year-old held on to his lead in the mountain bike leg and redoubled his efforts on the run to cement his overall lead.
“When I got to the top of the climb, I looked down and couldn’t see any chasers and then I knew I was far enough ahead. So I just kept the pace and made sure I finished well.”
Dreyer van Huyssteen crossed the line two minutes behind (1:25:02), with Phillipe van der Leeuw in third (1:26:17).
Van der Mescht started competing seriously in triathlons in 2009, when he won his age group (20-24) at the South African championships in the Olympic distance event.
Last year, he finished sixth overall in the BSG Energade Triathlon Series. The young triathlete is relatively new to off-road racing but said he had decided to make it his focus in order to compete against the likes of Conrad Stoltz and Dan Hugo.
The third event in the Sasol series takes place at Emerald Resort & Casino in Vanderbijlpark on March 25.
For full results, see www.spectrumsport.co.za.