Grahamstown’s Jason Meaton took home first place in the Zambian Mine2Mine Road Race on Sunday 20 May. Meaton defended his title over the daunting 140km race from Kansanshi Mine to Kalumbila Mine.
Meaton won the shorter version of the race last year when it was 120km in length. He managed to finish the new, extended route in a time of 3:34:03, beating Michael Olokani and Ray Keane in a sprint to the finish.
There was more competition this year for Meaton, as his opponents looked more prepared than they did the previous year. “I was a bit nervous. I had seen that the guys that I raced last year had done a bit of training. They had been to the Tour de Limpopo and the Tour Durban,” said Meaton.
“It is always nice to try and defend your title in a different country,” added Meaton.
“This year it was a little bit harder than last year. It was a bit of a fun one this year, and a much better race,” said Meaton. “It was more suited for a road bike race. Last year it was a bit more relaxed.”
Meaton, who specialises in mountain-biking, said it was a challenge adjusting to the road again. He at first focused on the King of the Mountain title, before he realised that he was in with a chance of winning.
Looking ahead, Meaton believes that next year’s race will be even better. “I am very happy to be able to defend the title again. I am definitely looking forward to next year, because if this is the kind of competition that we are going to be having, then next year is going to be really tough,” said Meaton.
Meaton will now turn his focus back to mountain-biking and will take part in the three-stage 1Zambia MTB race from June 1 to 3. “The [1Zambia MTB] race is a bit of a tough race; I have never done it,” said Meaton.
It is a three-day stage race, which starts at Lilly’s Lodge, just outside of Lusaka. The first stage is a 70km loop, while the second stage is closer to a 72km loop that goes back to Lilly’s Lodge. The third day is a challenging ride from Lilly’s Lodge to the Zambezi river.
“I am hoping to get a podium finish,” said Meaton. “My [riding]partner at the moment is also looking for a podium finish. We have both been working really hard, and we are looking forward to that event,” added Meaton.
From Zambia, Meaton will return to South Africa to take part in the Trans Elands race on 9 June, at the Gamtoos River Lodge. He hopes that the training and riding at altitude in Zambia will help him pull off a big victory there, before he heads for the SA Champs in July.