|The boys leaving after a hard days racing|
Every morning when I open the race book to read about the days stage, I see the same headline….”Today will be the hardest stage of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic.” I thought yesterday was?? When is there ever an easy stage.
Dinner last night was up at the local pizza and pasta place. It was quite good. It is interesting in a farm town
|Damo with his race face on - again.|
like Caledon, that there is definitely a “whites shopping area” and then there is the rest. The whites shopping area is normally built in a quadrangle with all the shops facing in to the quad with only one entry in and out and the car park is in the middle. It is either that or a razor wire fence around the whole complex. You do need to be aware of where you are in some of these small towns. The security in the B&B’s we have been staying in is way beyond what we are used to in Oz. Walls, electric gates, razor wire, cameras, bars on all windows and doors. Like the owner of the place we were staying in said: now that Mandela is dead, there is going to be big trouble in South Africa.
|The Fixed Wheel team leaving the waterpoint|
It is amazing what a good dinner, massage and early to bed does. Yesterday, I couldn’t turn a pedal, today, I was feeling like a new person. We had early breakfast, I even got a few eggs on toast down and we got to the race earlier than the day before. It was foggy when we arrived and stood in the start chute. Every day there is a special guest firing the start gun. Today it was the farmer whose property the Absa Cape Epic was leaving from. The announcer said that he had bought his grandson along, who also bought his own gun. And he was about 8 years old!! This is a gun culture for sure.
The race took off and it took about 50 minutes for the pace to settle down. Damo was away and I also got a
|Me -showing the effects of a hard weeks racing|
good start, right at the front of the field. However when I looked around for Buzz, he wasn’t there, so I had to soft pedal for a while until we were back together. We were much further up the road than on yesterday ‘s start and had made good position. However today was 114k (it is always longer than what is in the race book), with just under 3000m of climbing. After the first food station, we hit the biggest climb of this years race, a 6km 650 metre ascent on what was basically a track. That is 11% average gradient. To give you an idea, if you drive up Spit road in Seaforth in Sydney, that is about 11% gradient, and that is 800m long and paved. Imaging doing it on a rocky old trail for 6k?
|Buzz showing the effects of a hard weeks racing|
We hit the hill. I find it best to get your own rhythm. Buzz just behind me for the first half of the hill and then he takes over for the second half. You are basically doing between 5-7kph, the sun is beating down on you, there is no air, and you cant see the top. It is relentless. Sweat pours off you, running down you arms, back, legs, filling your shoes. You can’t wait for the pain to stop. Your mind is telling you all sorts of things. Oh, and there is one other thing, you are racing, so you do everything to not get overtaken or make sure you catch the team in front of you.
Eventually, after about 45 minutes of relentless pedaling, we stop climbing, and reach the crest. Then comes the reward – the descent. It is exhilarating, flying down a track on the side of a mountain, skipping over the rutted surface, concentrating on keeping a good line. One mistake and it will be a big one!
|Damo leaving the first waterstation|
We knew we were having a good ride. I had recovered from yesterdays hole and Buzz was riding well. We ended up coming in about 82nd overall and are now 12th in the Masters category. A good result for the day. Damo also whizzed around the course and he was flying, but even the good guys can have a mistake. He hit a rock and was over. Broken helmet and a corked thigh, otherwise he is fine. He finished as well and is enjoying the race, even if he is on his own. Another Aussie team from the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney also lost a rider. We heard Brian from SXC Racing was in Hospital after his fall yesterday,so we hope he recovers quickly as well.
Tonight we are at new place to stay, Gordons Bay, a very nice part of the Western Cape. Dinner at the Juicy Oyster!!
|Off we go for another punishing day - going to the start area|
|Foggy start area|
|foggy start area|
|And the're away|
|I am too old to do a race this demanding, then have to sleep in oneof these!!|
|Rusty at the finish - 29c today. Nice and hot|
|Damo coming into the finish chute|
|Tough day for the Rad Man today with a fall|
|Lucky Damo had a helmet on. This one is for the bin now|