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Marriot Freedom race Race Report 2017

Now in its 3rd year the Marriot Freedom race is one of the KZN gems when it comes to really experiencing the Inanda valley to it's fullest. The event has grown dramatically over the years and morphed into a truly African experience where 90% of the field get to experience riding in areas that they'd not normally go. The dam is a mountain biking mecca from a raw unplugged side and can be really push the limits of many a mountain biker with a lot of climbs heading into the 20 to 30 minute range if you're out to find them. Luckily for the participants of the Freedom race there was only one big climb on day that was about 20 minutes in total. The riders were rewarded after the climb with some amazing views out towards the Umdloti river and back towards Durban and a rocky downhill trail even Nino would have to think twice about his speed.

Day 1 was the biggest day in terms of climbing and my team mate Julian Jessop used the climbs as an opportunity to put a lot of pressure on the other teams. the mixture of short sharp XCO kicker climbs and fast paced tight trails made our jobs a lot easier as we attacked each section as if it was a short course XC race thereby stretching the elastic over and over to the chasers. The plan worked and we had a sizable gap heading into the halfway point of the race at the end of day 1 of 4 minutes

Overall WIN for Team TIB Insurance

Day 2 was set to be perfect conditions for racing and the early 6:30 start meant we would miss a lot of the heat predicted later in the day. The misty heavy cloud at the start was a tell tale sign the day was going to heat up especially with the weatherman predicting lower 30's for the day with a gusting north easterly coming through in the later morning. Julian and I knew we had good lead heading into the 2nd stage but we had to make sure we didn't leave the door open with a chance of a wrong turn or mechanical killing our chances of an overall win. Heading into the first climb we sat comfortably in the group knowing the pace would ramp up as hit the first section of single track. As we approached the crest of the climb Julian kicked hard to tack the lead into the trail as he came around I followed him and put in a BIG 1 min effort reach the trail on his wheel. Our plan worked and we set into a fast pace around the culturally famous Shembe Plateau single track and gained a 40 second lead as we got onto the district and tar road.

Knowing the route was a lot of dirt road we decided to keep the pace high but allow the chasing team to join us on the road but tactically as they got onto the back we would accelerate to make their effort to catch pay over the next couple of kilometers. The rolling nature from there to the finish wouldn't be conducive to any big attacks for us to get away without huge risk on the trails but as approached 40km mark we started to climb out the river valley on a very steep 1 min climb and I ramped the pace up and we got a gap which we kept extending with some good team work to the Umgeni river mouth. From there it was fast paced ride to Suncoast beach and the finish line. Having successfully defended the overall title for the 3rd year it was great have raced with such a great up and coming talent in Julian. This result bodes well as we will be racing at SANI2C next month.  

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About TIG Holdings

Tuttle Insurance Brokers is a company of the TIG Holdings Group.

TIG Holdings is an investment holding business with strategic investments in a range of insurance intermediary and related businesses.

We at TIG Holdings believe that with all the changes in financial services and the insurance industry in particular, that it was time for a new approach. Our business is built around a collection of owner-managed companies, actively seeking growth opportunities by providing succession plans, exit strategies or improved administration efficiencies to independent brokers.

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