Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting ready

Time is getting short. Just delivered 2 liter boxes to Newlands after loading them with some "nice goodies" and the relevant narratives and maps. Nou is daar "min dae". Body feeling good and mentally I am ready. Trust I will still feel like this in two weeks time after two and a half days of racing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dirtopia 100 miler

Saturday 20 May 2011 was the day for the Dirtopia 100 miler in the Malmesbury district. The last event in preparation for the Freedom Challenge RASA. Picked up number at Dirtopia on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning I got up at 04:25 to ensure that I get all my ducks in a row before picking up my cycling buddy, Mike Smit at 06:00 to ensure we get to the start at Swartland Cellars in good time.
Arrived there at 06:45, in good time for the 07:20 start. We got going at 07:21 just as the sun was rising over the mountains east of Wellington. The pace was quite brisk and the route had a number of twists and turns as well as a sprinkling of reasonable hills and descents, but nothing too serious. We were onto some district roads as well as minor farm roads. The weather was just about perfect with a hint of chill in the air, but that would disappear quite quickly. We were traveling in a southerly direction but north of Paardeberg. After about an hour and a half's riding we turned left on the tar road linking Paardeberg with the Wellington/Malmesbury road. We went straight across this road and onto a gravel road linking this road with the Riebeeckkasteel/Hermon road. After some ups and downs, we took a left turn towards the first major climbs of the day. At the foot of this was the "breakfast stop" where we got some muffins and bananas. Here I took my warm jacket and gloves off as the day was already heating up and with a major climb coming up, the body would soon heat up. This climb lasted for approximately 5 km and included a number of serious down hills, where we were reaching speeds of close to 60 k.p.h. This led us back to the district road and to the Riebeeckkasteel/Hermon tar road. Once across this we were back onto some minor road which was relatively flat, but with lots of corrugations. This took us through to another water point, which even had some peanuts! After that we continued along some more minor roads to the lunch stop where we were treated to some noodle salad and more muffins. With only one more water point to go, we could start thinking about the end. After a short stretch on the Riebeeckkasteel/Moorresburg road, we turned left back onto some nice district gravel roads. This stretch was very undulating and the hills just would not stop. As soon as one thinks this is the end, there was another downhill followed by another uphill. At the 130 km mark the last water point was reached. Here I treated myself to mini Red Bull and some Wine Gums, ready for the last challenge which included some major climbs. The view from the top was breath taking, but the thought of a good time ensured that I kept pedaling rather than stop to take a photo. The air was also a bit murky, so it would not have come out as good. Unfortunately a photo cannot always portray the actual beauty as seen by the eye! Once I was over the last hill, it was mostly downhill to the end with quite a bit on corrugations which made it very difficult to build up a good momentum. After 7 hours 51 minutes I completed the 162 km, a minute longer than last year. A thoroughly enjoyable ride, although some of the corrugations made life difficult. The route had a good selection of climbs and gravel roads, quite similar to what the Freedom Challenge is like once we get past Rhodes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saronberg MTN National MTB

Saturday 14 May was the day for the next race in MTN National MTB series. I entered for the ultra marathon over 105 km. Good preparation for the FC RASA. The alarm woke me at 04:30 to ensure that I have sufficient time to do what I want to do and get to Tulbagh in time for registration and the start, which was scheduled for 07:45. Arrived at Saronberg at 07:15. Registration went off without a hitch. The race got going at 7:55. Initially the pace was quite reasonable and the first 10 km was fairly even. Then we went through the most beautiful autumn scene.
It was one of those scenes one normally only see in pictures! Thereafter the first lot of climbing started. This lasted until the 18.5 km mark. Now we were in the hills and cycled on the edge of the hill, among some fruit trees on a very undulating jeep track. Lots of loose stones and some very steep short ups and downs. What goes up must come down, so this was followed by some steep downhills. After racing for approximately 25 km, sanity returned and we were back on some fairly easy district and farm roads, with some rocky sections every here and there. At 45 km we went through the Technical assistance and feed zone. I thought that this would be a place where I could stock up on some nutrition, but there was none. Had to use my own. Passed the halfway mark with the good news that the Stormers were lead 20-3 at half time. At 56km disaster struck. My chain broke! Fortunately I had a master link and set about repairing my chain. To my dismay I noticed that there was something seriously wrong with my front derailleur guide. It was broken and bent. The only option was bend it out of the way and complete the race without the use of a front derailleu
r. This worked fine but I had to stop and do a manual change whenever I needed a different gear on the front chainring. By now a number of the 75 km riders were passing me on a regular basis. As the 75 km mark came closer, I started looking out for signs were the 105 km route would deviate from from the 75 km route. When 80 km appeared and I still had not seen a sign I started wondering if I missed a turn. Well shortly thereafter I saw the finishing area. Low and behold, my race finished at 83 km. On checking out the route map, I noticed that the 105 km included a second loop of the first section. Where I missed it, I do not know but as I was more interested in the ride than the result, it did not really matter. I really enjoyed the ride, had a good outing and I felt quite fresh at the end of the day. 83 km; 5h 39m; 1855 meters of climbing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nog 'n lang dag

Maandag 2 Mei was 'n vakansiedag en dus weer 'n geleentheid om 'n goeie dag so oeffening vir die Freedom Challenge in te kry. Pak sak die vorige aand om die effek van die volle gewig te ervaar. Klaar gepakte sak weeg 11kg! Ek spring 07:06 weg met die doel om so tussen 11 en 12 ure in die saal te spandeer, ongeveer 150 km te ry met voldoende klimme in. Roete begin by my huis in Bloubergstrand. Oor die Weskuspad en Noord van Parklands deur die bosse na die N7. Dan op met Hillcrest en af na Contermanskloof. Halfpad teen Contermanskloof af kom ek agter my waterbottel is leeg. Gelukkig het ek darem water in my rugsak gehad. Besluit om by Contermanskloof winkel 'n Coke te koop om bottlel vol te maak. Daar aangekom vind ek egter dat hulle besluit het om nie op die vakansiedag oop te maak nie. Gelukkig is daar 'n kraan en kan ek my bottel met water vul. Halfpad teen Contermanskloof se bult uit kry ek 'n kortpad na die Vissershokpad en van daar na Malanshoogte, verby Fair Cape Melkery, Adderleyweg, Klipheuwel en verby die drie windkragopwekkers. Neem afdraai na Leeuwendans en met grondpaaie na die agter Paarl pad en dan na die Eenzaamheidpad, waar ek weer water kry, deur na Klapmuts. Net voor Klapmuts draai ek regs en ry al langs die N1 op 'n goeie grondpad tot by die Stellenbosch/Klipheuwel aansluiting. Van daar na Joostenbergvlakte waar ek my voorrade aanvul met 'n Coke en 'n Lunchbar. Nou deur na Fisantekraal, oor die Spes Bona pad na D'banvale en die Vissershokpad. Dan volg ek die "groen roete" van Meerendal na Contermanskloof, verby die Telkom mas en met Hillcrest se rooi roete af na die Tiekiedraaipad. Nou is dit afdraand huistoe. By die Killarney Hotel bars 'n rëenstorm los. Gelukkig is my reënbaatjie naby en ek hou gou stil om dit aan te trek. Nou rëen dit honde en katte. Gelukkig is dit gou verby en die res van die rit huis toe is rustig. Arriveer 17:34 na 11:28 ure in die saal met 155.36km en 1954m se klim teen 'n gemiddeld van 12.5m/km, ongeveer dieselfde as die Freedom Challenge se gemiddeld. Goeie dag en ek het nooit gedaan gevoel en 'n redelik goeie gemiddelde hartklop gehandhaaf. Die volgende twee uitdagings is MTN se Saronberg wedren by Tulbagh oor twee weke en dan Dirtopia se 100 miler by Malmesbury. Daarna sal ek dit redelik rustig vat tot 12 Junie wanneer ek wegspring.