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.

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