Only crazy dedicated mountain bikers would get ready for a race when it is minus one outside...brrrr. Up early to be collected by Greg by 05:45, wearing a few more layers of clothes then normal. Greg arrived looking a nice green colour, as he had already vomited up the previous nights dinner. Fortunately Pretoria was one or two degrees warmer than Benoni, but it was still freezing whilst we set up our bikes and headed out to the start of the race.
|Before heading to the start at 1 degree celsius
Greg was in group E (after giving up his A status in the 40km race) and Clint and myself were in group G - which started at 08:00. And off we went - I managed to keep up with Clint for the first 5km on his 'training ride' and then my heart rate monitor was beeping like crazy, so I slowed it down. At 10km there was Greg on the side of the road, now a darker shade of green as he had just done another huge projectile deposit next to the single track. We had a quick chat and he told me he was heading back as he couldn't keep anything down - eish how unlucky.
A few km's later came my nemesis the dreaded bridge that I had been dreaming about. The 9m wooden bridge was crossing a river and there was a drop off and climb on the other side - I hesitated whilst going down and braked which sent me over the handle bars and landing square on the bridge (ok I am getting better as I fell into to the water off 2 bridges last year :-). My tool canister plopped in the water and bobbed down the river, I waved goodbye to my tubeless repair kit, bombs and multitool etc as there was no way I was going into the freezing water.
The rest of the race was hard - the cold wind was terrible and with the fall my confidence had taken a major knock, so I walked a lot of the technical stuff. I was also more carefull than normal as I did not want any punctures with my repair kit on its way to the sea. I switched on my headcam after 56km and got about half an hour of footage - below is a few minutes of what was recorded. There was some fantastic single track on the race that left me in awe well into the night.
This race wasn't my race, I was cold and my energy levels were just not there - so many people went past me like I was standing still. Eventually after 4 and 1/2 hours I trundled over the finish line - poor Greg was there to greet me after waiting for the past 3 odd hours, not feeling good at all (thanks you are a good mate). At least I managed to get some bling to take home, so I can remember this race and the challenge it threw my way. Well on the positive at least I got my value for money and was on the route longer than others.
P.S. I think I owe Jacques a bike wash
|After a 70km slog I deserve a medal....