Sunday, March 6, 2011

Grape Escape day 3

We slept over at Samburu, about 5 km from Boschendal. I was up early and left at 06:15 to be in time for the 07:00 start. Once again it was a mad rush as soon as the gun went off. Fortunately we first did some fairly flat roads, which gave us ample time to "warm up", but that lasted for only about 2 km, then we encountered the first hill. Once again nothing too serious and the pace remained high. The first "big hill" came at 7 km. 550 meters of climbing in less than 3 km. Then followed a nice, mostly downhiil section of 9 km. Thereafter the climb of the day. 500 meters in 3 km with a final climb of 130 meters during the last 180 meters. The rest of the course was quite senic with some minor ups and downs and some nice single tracks and a couple of wet river crossings. Total time 3 hrs 35 min; 59.09 km; 1108 meters climbing and 2361 kalories burnt. I finished 171 out of 404. Overall I finished 126 out of 400. All in all a wonderful event and another milestone in my preparation for the Freedom Challenge. Next challenge will be the Karoo 1 24 hour race on 9/10 April.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grape Escape day 2

I slept over at Kabous' place on Friday because he lives very near to Nelson's Creek. We therefore cycled to the start at 06:45 and got there at 07:00, well in time for the 07:30 start. All the "big guns" were there again, but as it was racing from the gun, I did not see much of them. The route took us through the vineyards and district roads north of Nelsons Creek via some twists and turns, across the Berg River and up to the railway line going north. We then went some distance along the railway and crossed the Wellington/Hermon road heading into the farms on the slope of Groenberg. I thought we would do some of Welvanpass' single tracks, but we did not go there. We did use some of the tracks used for the Wilde and Gravel Travel MTB races. The "cherry" was the road past Beulah and up to the forest just below the old Du Toitskloof Pass. 348 meters of climbing over a distance of 5.35 km. That was quite a challenge! The views were breathtaking. From there it was mostly downhill to the Paarl/Franschoek road. The interesting fact was that there were a number of "unridable" sections on this stretch. Fortunately none were much longer than 10 meters or so. Once we crossed the tar road the route was fairly flat with a nice "cool" crossing of the Berg River were it was flowing over a low water bridge. When we crossed the Simondium road and my trip meter was showing 73 km of the supposed 74 km race distance, I was looking forward to finishing. One of the marshals showed 4 fingers as I passed her, which I thought ment 400 meters. I very quickly realized that that was 4 km, especially when the route took us on a detour around Boschendal. My joy was great when we finally reach the end with a nice little "jump" to finish off the race. 78 km; 4 hrs 43 min; 1367 meter climbing and 3113 calories burnt. I finished 171 out of 505. Although my behind was getting a little tender, I enjoyed the day, especially the fact that I overhauled a number of people, whom dropped me at the beginning, at some of the bigger hills and towards the end. Now I am looking forward to the final day, which includes some "monster" climbs. Fortunately we are starting at 07:00 so the heat should not be that bad.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grape Escape dag 1

Vrydag 4 Maart 2011. Die Grape Escape begin vanoggend 09:00 op my voorstoep. Ons spring vanaf Eden on the Bay weg. Kabous Marra arriveer 07:30. 'n Werkskrisis duik op en ons kom eers 08:25 weg. Dit is egter so naby dat ons 08:30 by die wegspring is. Ek is in Groep A, saam met al die "Groot manne". Gelukkig is die eers 8 km "nutraal" as gevolg van verkeer, dus kan ek darem so 'n rukkie saam met hulle ry. Een groot bondel ry saam tot by die Caltex Garage in Gieweg. Dan begin die wedren in alle erns. Ons volg paadjies aan die Noorde kant van Du Noon tot by die N7 wat ons onderdeur met 'n stormwater bruggie kruis. Dan op na Contermanskloof. Klim redelik baie tot by begin van Kliprug en dan af na die plaas. Kabous, wat in die groep na my begin het, vang my by die eerste waterpunt. Daar verby, op teerpad en met Malanshoogte oor na Adderleyweg. Regs met Occultdale en dan verby die windkragopwekkers. Gelukkig is die kwaai klimme vir die dag verby. Draai regs na Leenwendans en dan terug in die rigting van die Boland Landbou Skool. Laaste waterpunt so 18 km van einde. Kabous sê ek moet aan ry, hy voel 'n bietjie op. Ons volg grond en plaaspaaie deur tot by Nelsons Creek. 87 km, 4 uur 20 min, 3291 kalorië verbrand en 993 meter geklim. Kabous kom so 10 min na my in. Lekker dag. Stert 'n bietjie seer maar bene voel redelik. Sien uit na dag twee wat 07:30 by Nelson's Creek begin. Eindig 144ste uit 595 beginners.