Corrugated roads, blistered hands, headwind, amazing views, endless climbs, rutted descents, wheezing from dust!…
Thankfully I was stronger this year, having actually ridden my mountain bike more than 3 times and having done some hill climbs in my training! So no pushing from Peter was required! 🙂
The first 100 kays, up to check point 2, is fast jeep track. This year a headwind and corrugation made it much tougher. My hands were burning; later to discover a massive blister on my right hand! I was extremely glad to be riding a dual suspension with the bumpy road and I even softened the front shock. I’m not sure how I managed on a hard tail last year, except that the road was much less corrugated.
Our bunch worked reasonably well together. I took my turns in front but was wary of working too hard too early in the race!
After check point 2 the climbing starts and the teams spread out. One can relax slightly and go at a comfortable manageable pace. There’s still a long way to go, with some decent climbing to come, so you need to save some energy for later.
The food at the check points is fantastic, from Rooster Brood, Sosaties and Jaffels to marshmallows, bananas and chocolate milk, so you only need to carry gels in your pockets.
We reached check point 4 at the top of Bergplaas in daylight as planned, so we descended down the rutted track without fearing our lives. Riding down there in the dark must be crazy scary!; to the left of you is a sheer drop!
By check point 5 (175km) our lights were turned on. This is the fist time you get to see your support crew since the start. It’s always great to have support here and someone to inspire you to get you through to the finish.
Its amazing that as you ride through the darkness you can rarely see lights from other teams, despite over 400 teams being out there, somewhere! You constantly think you are on the wrong route, but there are very few turns and when there are they are very well marked.
The last few kays go on forever! You can see the lights at the finish but as you ride along the railway line the finish doesnt get any closer!
Thanks Peter for being an awesome team mate! We seem to ride well together and are able to help each other when hitting any lows! Thanks Alan for being the best support driver and lending/giving 😉 me your bike after I broke mine!! Thanks Dave for fitting in mtb training into my ironman training program!
Time: 10hrs 33mins
8th mixed team