Didn’t quite go according to plan!
Ladies Elite category…. I felt a little intimidated lining up on the start line along side Ariane Luthi, Bestmed ASG team, British Specialized team ….
The bunch set off at a steady pace and all was going great (I even found myself at the front of the bunch at one point which scared me a little!) until 15kms when I knew the noise wasn’t just the road surface but me riding on my rim. Damn thorn in my tyre. I was hoping for a quick tube change, but managed to burst the first tube so used my other spare.
It was going to be a lonely 85km ride! Good ironman training I thought, and I just settled into a rhythm.
At about 60kms I could see something on my front tyre. Not another thorn? Could I leave it? No, better to get it out quick and maybe it wont puncture. All seemed fine…until a km further and again I found myself riding on the rim. No tubes or CO2 bombs left and very few cyclists on the road to help!
The next feed station was just up the hill. I was contemplating walking there as I sat by the roadside and then a backup vehicle appeared who gave me a lift there.
I managed to scrounge a spare tube off another cyclist but it was a short valved tube: fortunately I had brought my valve extenders with me. Someone gave me a little hand pump and all looked good til the valve extender snapped off in the valve!
At least I made great use of the feed station: banana bread, bar ones, jelly sweets, water melon….! I was kind of thinking I was going to get a lift back with the sweep vehicle. But then another back up van turned up with spare tubes and a decent track pump.
So over an hour later I was on my way again. Another 40km solo cruise back to the finish. And some entertainment on the back road behind Paarl where I had to dodge some cattle who had decided to cross the road!
The week can only get better!!
(Followed by a nice(?) 4km IM training swim in the evening!)
Stage 2: TT
I decided not to use my TT bike. UCI regulations meant I would need a shorter stem and bars as mine aren’t adjustable. So at 9pm the night before, after a chat with Dave, my race wheels and power meter were put back on my road bike.
I would have preferred a 180km tt! but I was just going to have to find some ‘sprinting’ legs for a 25km tt.
There wasn’t much road to do a warm up and it was a case of dodging cars and keeping out the way of tt finishers. I should have taken my trainer to warm up on.
Bikes are weighed as you go to the start shoot. No worries there with my bike! A healthy 8.7kg and that’s with light race wheels! Lol
Since yesterday was a shocker for me it meant I started first in our category, with riders set off every 30 seconds after. I’ve never done a cleated in standing start so I was slightly nervous about this but fortunately it went smoothly and I was away before I knew it. My aim was to try and keep a constant power, and not be overtaken by too many ladies!!
It certainly wasn’t a flat tt route and a headwind in the middle section made it more testing too.
I was delighted not to have any punctures or mechanicals today! Legs were a bit heavy but I did my best and was happy enough.
It was lovely chatting to some of the British girls afterwards, and found out we have some mutual uk friends! Small world!
(Followed by a 9km easy run in the evening)
135km including two decent climbs – Franschhoek Pass and Du Toitkloof Pass
And a 30km cruise back to the start afterwards.
(I only managed 1km of my 4km swim set…I decided sleep was more important!)
Cancelled due to crazy wind conditions!
(Did a 4km swim and track session instead – I would rather have ridden 135km in hectic wind conditions!!)
The final day!
The surges on the climbs killed my legs and I eventually got dropped with 20km to go. But I managed to catch a few on the final hectic climb up to the Taal Monument.
A good week of cycling but road cycling is very different from triathlon riding. I’m used to maintaining a constant power, not these surges.