It was an excited group of athletes and celebrities who gathered at the Fountains Mall for the start of the inaugural Oakley X-Over Challenge – a multi discipline event forming part of the JBay Winterfest.
The first event of the three discipline cross over challenge was a 21 kilometre mountain bike race through the seldom explored Jeffreys Bay hinterland.
The route took the athletes from sporting codes as varied as golf, triathlon and trail running over fast farm roads, cattle tracks and purpose built single track through pockets of indigenous forest along the Seekoei River.
As expected it was the two mountain biking athletes, three time World Downhill champion Greg Minnaar and South African marathon specialist Kevin Evans who made the early break.
They were followed closely by triathlete Raynard Tissink and ultra trail-running phenom Ryan Sandes.
It was a sprint finish for the win, with Minnaar again getting the edge. “Yeah you know I think I was a bit lucky,” he commented after the race. “Every time we got to a hill I started chatting to Kevin, trying to hold him back. He’s such a nice guy that I didn’t really want to be rude. My golfing is terrible and my surfing is very terrible, so hopefully I can hang in there with this result.”
1. Greg Minnaar
2. Kevin Evans
3. Raynard Tissink
4. Ryan Sandes
With Oakley surfer Jordy Smith added to the mix, the crew headed out for the golf tournament at the Links Golf Course in St Francis.
One athlete who was looking forward to the golf event was professional golfer Ruan de Smidt. De Smidt had a very tough time on the mountain bike event where he finished last.
“I was no good in the mountain bike event,” he commented before the golf. “My legs and bum are a bit sore from not being used to a bike, but it’s all in the arms. So I’m keen, I need all the points I can get,” De Smidt said.
Lying in fourth after the mountain bike event, Ryan Sandes was also looking forward to the golf and had been preparing well. He even went for a professional lesson last week just to get his eye in. “It was at the SA Golf Institute in Westlake and it was good. Well, interesting, I woke up the next morning and was more stiff than after a 100-mile trail race,” he said.
The Oakley X-Over Challenge is set to continue today with the surfing contest taking place at The Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay. The first heat is set to paddle out at 9am
There will be an awards function at the Jolly Dolphin tonight, with the Parlotones set to play afterwards.