CENTURION VAUDE Young Gun Vinzent Dorn joined forces together with the emerging talent from Namibia Tristan De Lange for the 2019 edition of the Tankwa Trek stage race. Read Tristans race diary and experience the race once again from their perspective…
Stage 1 – Prologue
With Vinzent and myself not having raced together as a team before, we knew the prologue would be interesting. We both felt really good and could maintain the high pace of the front riders. We lost contact with the front riders at one stage but pulled the gap closed and we were in the race again. At this stage, Daniel and Jochen were with us and passed us to get to the front of the race.The day was extremely hot and a lot of riders suffered, but Vinzent and myself remained strong. We could finish the stage in 6th with big smiles. It was here that we knew that we’ll have a good race together as we were both in good shape.
Stage 2 started off really well for us. We stayed with the front riders for most of the race. Vinzent and Jochen fell back at one stage but regained contact to the front. Here, we were all together again. When the main climb of the day came the pace at the front was nice and consistent. Vinzent and I sat in the group nicely together. The pace picked up on the climb and we fell back a bit. At the top, we rode down the hill cautiously to the last water point. From here we worked together nicely along the tar road, up the last climb and to the finish line. Another good day.
On stage 3 we were confident that we could hold top 10 in GC. With the ‘Marino Monster’ climb on this stage we knew it will be hard but we were confident that we could stay at the front.
In the first 15km we were in the leading group and were feeling great. Then, at the start of the first single track, I punctured in my front wheel and had to fix and pump it twice until it held. I lost a lot of time here. I pushed to catch up to Vinzent who was waiting at the bottom of the trail. We pushed hard together to catch the group in front of us. At the water point, I stopped to pump up my front tyre again. Here we then saw that Daniel pulled out. Jochen was then by himself and helped us push hard to catch the group ahead. On the next big climb we caught them. Together with this group, we worked together to catch the leading group. We caught up to the leading group at the start of the main climb, the ‘Marino Monster’. Here my legs slowly started to fade but Vinzent was still very strong. I kept it constant and Vinzent helped. Vinzent then punctured badly in his rear wheel. Because Jochen was out of the race he gave Vinzent his wheel so that we could carry on racing and not lose more time. When we got to the main section of the main climb my heart Rate increased a lot and I felt very weak. I ate and drank as much as I could. Vinzent helped me a lot on this part. When we got to the top my Heart rate had come back down to normal and we could push on the downhill. Unfortunately, I again punctured in my front wheel, fixed it and then we carried on. We then worked together nicely to the finish.
I recovered very well from my “dip” on stage 3 and felt very good in the morning and Vinzent as well. The first 30km were dirt road and the group stayed together. In the first single track Vinzent and myself had a very good position. When the jeep track and first climb came, we lost contact with the front group. Team Pyga had also fallen back and we sat with them to catch the leaders again. Vinzent was then held up by a crash and lost contact with us. Him and another rider were working to catch us again. Vinzent and I re-joined to be wheel-on-wheel in the single track. There was a climb after this and here the front group pulled away. We then pushed together to the end to finish in 8th on GC.