Thursday, 27 March 2014

The long and Winding road today.......and Rusty has a tough day out!!

Team Fixed Wheel leaving waterpoint 3. Note me with a mouthful off Food and
Buzz knows where the camera is!!
Yesterday was rain and mud… it was wind!  Stage 3 is what they call a transit stage in that we left one Valley in the Western Cape and rode overland over the range  through private farms and a nature reserve to the Greyton area.
Better Morning than yesterday

This was deemed to be the Queen stage of this year’s race. Like stage 1, also ranked a 5/5 for difficulty.   134km on a mountain bike in race conditions is a long long way. For us, around 6 hours on the bike.   I was a bit apprehensive about this stage if it was the hardest, as the 2 days before were brutal.  At least the rain kept away and it was quite mild as we lined up in the startline. Our mechanics had been busy, working on the bikes till 2am this morning after all the mud yesterday to get them ready for the 7am start. New chains were the minimum required as the mud had destroyed the chain from yesterday. 
In the start chute waiting for the start
The start was super fast, as every stage is.  However today they sent us out over district roads at the start so for us with roadracing experience, it was better start for us.  However after a few k’s in I could see Buzz wasn’t dancing on the pedals, or as we say….”he was pedaling squares’. Rusty and Damo went up the road as did the SXC Racing boys.  Buzz couldn’t get up the hills.  As this race is a team event, if you are feeling better, you just nurse your partner through, as it may (or will!) be you later in the ride or tomorrow.  We had to let a few strong groups go, however as we came into first feed station, we were stating to make up a few places as Buzz was getting into the groove.  We caught Rusty and Damo just before the feed station and we all left it together.  
Rusty looking good before the stage......
On the way past, Rusty didn’t look too good.  He went deep yesterday and it looked like he was having trouble keeping up.  When we finished, Damo came in about 10 mins behind us on his own.  Rusty had pulled out at the second feed station due to dehydration from vomiting (we did pass him earlier and he was stopped by the side of the road being ill).  He is ok, in fact, David has driven back to the race finish after dropping us off at the B&B to pick him up. It will be a long day for him and I am not sure if he will start tomorrow.  For Damo it will be tough riding by himself.
Buzz and I got stronger as the race went on, however he wasn’t doing as much on the front as usual. After riding so much with him, I can tell something is wrong with him by the way he pedals. The wind was brutal today and the last 40k was into a block headwind on district trails and roads.  We had a water crossing that was nearly waste deep across a river, and they had men in the water as well as rope to guide us as we went across holding our bikes above our head.  Damo had a big scare from the local wildlife when he crossed the river……a cow!  He said later he thought is was a lion!!
Not long before the water crossing, Buzz was sitting on the back of a pack and at 40k an hour he had a little “Chucky Chunder”.  So Damo is the only one who hasn’t had a little technicolor yawn on the bike as yet.
We picked up a few spots today and had a much better resultlt after the disappointment of yesterdays stage. We were 13th in Masters but only 5 minutes off the top 5 Masters. We lost a couple of spots just getting 
People cook up a BBQ (called Braai) here in their front lawns
Not, plenty of meat in this country!
over the last two hills. I started to ‘bonk” with 10k to go and had to shovel food and special gels into me to get home. Bonking is a cycling term when you don’t eat enough and your blood sugar level drops quickly. Once this happens, you have no energy and you go backwards.  I luckily managed to recover enough to get home.
When we were at the medical tent trying to find Rusty, Damo and David bumped into one of the many celebrities doing the race.
Damo and Alain Prost
 It was 3 time Formula One champion, Alain Prost. Damo managed to talk him into a photo.
We came to our new accommodation in the town of Caledon which is about 45 mins away from the race village. However after looking at the one man tent city and knowing how hard this race is, that is one option I wouldn’t take.
All in all a very tough day on the bikeand a disappointing one for Russ. 
Tomorrow we are back in the hills
The handlebars of my bike.  Note the profile map to tell me what
is coming up

Some Blokes hit the corner a little hard!

Damo looking a lonely figure as he came through checkpoint 3 without his partner

The Hampton and Fixed Wheel boys recovering after the finish

Buzz was 'benched" after todays stage

David is in the middle of everything. We got him a pass and he is talking to everyone!!

This is where Rusty ended up

At the medical tent looking for Rusty after we finished

We are too old (and Smart) to stay in one of these


  1. Geeze I hope Rusty pulls up ok. The race sounds even harder than 2012 after yesterday and now the winds. I'm passing the link onto all the blokes at work who think that they are moutain they realise their not. Keep going boys, one day you'll look back fondly on this adventure. By the way I'm impressed that you found someone shorter than Damo.....

  2. wow tough stuff. hang in there fellas!

  3. when you blokes leave for this event i always think one day i'd love to do it..................then i get about 2 days into the blog and think yeaaaaaaah - NOPE.
    Keep it up fella's, sounds like you have the chunders out of the way, the immune system will be strong now - just hitting the groove i reckon! Feel bad for Rusty, tough way to go out.

    and by the way - i'm amazed you have the energy to write a blog, fair play. Keep it up.

  4. Hopefully you didnt eat the BBQ!! Great efforts. keep it up

  5. I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Bicycle Shelter

  6. Alain Prost is a 4-time F1 world driving champion.