Tour of Good Hope 2017

Stage 1
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!
Time: 00:47:

(Followed by a 9km easy run in the evening)

Stage 3
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!)

Stage 4
Cancelled due to crazy wind conditions!

(Did a 4km swim and track session instead – I would rather have ridden 135km in hectic wind conditions!!)

Stage 5
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.

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