Theo Erlangsen Wins 2019 SA Downhill Mountain Biking National Championships.
Afriski, Lesotho – Theo Erlangsen is the two times SA Downhill Mountain Biking Champion, after taking this year’s win on the weekend. The National Championships took place during Round Two of the SA National Cup Series, and a very happy Erlangsen banked his second SA Downhill Champion title in a row.
The event took place at Afriski, Lesotho, and it was chilly at times, with a fresh wind blowing down the mountainside. Afriski is located at high altitude, and this added to the fresh conditions. Great for racing however, as Erlangsen can attest to with his win. He was first to cross the finish line with a time of 02:14.22, beating more established guys like Johan Potgieter (02:16.81) and Stefan Garlicki (02:17.21), who took second and third place respectively.
“It was a challenge competing at Afriski, as it is 3222 meters above sea level,” said a stoked Erlangsen on his win. “Even a walk up a flight of stairs is super tiring with such little oxygen, so you have to be really efficient with your energy, and not waste any of it.”
It was a fairly difficult track to traverse as well. “The track freezes overnight, so in the morning it’s still pretty wet even though it hasn’t rained,” said Erlangsen. “We had been waiting for it to dry for our practice days, and going at about eleven in the morning, but on the competition day we raced quite early in the morning, so it was still a bit damp. It was hard to tell how grippy it was going to be, so we just had to feel our way down.”
Erlangsen was a very thankful two-time winner. “The first year is obviously really hard to get a win as the proverbial underdog,” said Erlangsen on last year’s victory. “It seems however that getting a second win is possibly harder, as you now have a target on your back, and everyone is watching you. I was a bit nervous, but that all turned out well.”
The Europen racing season is about to open, and Erlangsen will be heading to The Alps for a number of events and races. “I need to go over and prove myself, and the competition overseas is formidable,” said Erlangsen. “Still, when you’re competing in Europe, you develop as a rider and you get attuned to so many different and more advanced tracks, as well as coming up against all the stiff competition in every event.”