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.


  1. Well done. Sounds like you are going to enjoy the freedom challenge. I will shout a greeting when you zip past me. Your bike now needs a thorough rebuild. Then you are ready to go.

  2. Dankie Jaco. Stuur my jou e-pos na sodat ons 'n bietjie direk kan kommunikeer.