Friday, 30 March 2012

Day 5, Stage 4...more mechanicals cost us!!

KMD after a hard day in the wind and dust

all the boys refuelling up after stage 4
Well, it had to happen…..the day I had been dreading didn’t play out well for KMD Racing. It started well enough. Once again the race had 14k of good gravel roads as a start, before we hit the first of 2 very serious climbs of the day. We made the selection with the big guns as we went over the undulating gravel roads towards the very serious mountains that surrounded the town of Caledon. Today was a 105k loop, very steep with 2700m of vertical climbing. I was feeling good at the start and as we took off, told Buzz to tuck in.

For the first feed station at 41k, we were well inside the top 50 teams. We had a quick stop as we didn’t want to lose the group as there was 20k of undulating tracks before we hit the second climb of the day, a very steep climb called Charlie’s Heaven. I thought if we could get the second climb in good shape, we would be in a good position for a good stage result.

About 6k through the first feed zone, we were on an open country dirt road, when disaster struck Team KMD. My chain snapped! We stopped to fix it as I was carrying a chain break and link pin, when in my haste, I didn’t have it through the rear derailleur wheel properly. I had to rebreak the chain. Now we were stuffed! Teams came streaming past up. Johnny and Mark came past and gave us another link, which didn’t fit. So Buzz and I had to walk my bike back against the race for 6km to the first feedzone and see the neutral mechanic who fitted a new chain. The walk back in my Mountain bike shoes nearly put an end to my heavily blistered feet. We went from top 50 to 400th on the stage, when we eventually rejoined the race 80 mins later.

the ride captain did all the work today
and it shows!!
Chain repaired, we then took off at a steady pace to ensure at the end of the day we didn’t fall outside the top 150, as we would have to move to group C and not be able to start in the first group of the day in future stages. It would be a big advantage lost. I didn’t feel so good when we took off after an hour and a half break and after 20k was what is known as “cooked”. I was having a bad day. Buzz was unbelievably strong and pulled me home for 50k, while I sat on his wheel with tunnel vision. I knew I had eaten and drunk enough, but the body plays some strange tricks when you put it to so much physical pressure over 8 days like this event.. We pushed our way through the field and ended the day in 230th position. The other thing to beat today was the wind. It was 50kph and blowing a gale. I don’t think I have ridden in such strong wind. Buz took the brunt of it as he did all the work in our team. We came in 43 mins behind the Weatherzone boys who “claimed” the win in the “Manly Showdown”!

The chain break had cost us dearly. We have slipped to 121st overall. Johnny and Mark had a good day and are now only 14 mins and 10 spots behind us in the GC.

We are now back at the hotel eating and drinking for tomorrow. Tomorrow, another horror stage asnd as I type this it is pouring with rain and wind as a big change has it.. I hope I recover or else it is going to be a long day!!

Not many photos today as we are in a patchy internet area.

1 comment:

  1. Well well the Epic has bitten you on the arse. Hopefully that is your worst day and you regroup tomorrow. Sleep well boys. I'm tipping you're all collapsing into the sack.