Saturday, October 22, 2011
Saturday 22 October and time for the Eselfontein MTB in Ceres. The course was part of the 2010 Absa Cape Epic and as a number of people have commented about the superb single tracks at this venue, it was a race I really was looking forward to. I left Cape Town at 06:00 to ensure that I arrive in good time for the registration, which opened at 07:30. It took me 1 hour 40 minutes to cover the 160 km via Malmesbury. I arrived with Kootjie Viljoen, my son-in-law's brother, who also had Corne Krige and his family in their Merecdes Vito bus. Corne was fortune enough to "test ride" a new trek full suspension 29er! Registration went without a hitch and I had about an hour to kill! I used this time to "explore" the farms facilities. There are 6 Echo Huts in a planation about 3 km away from the farmstead, as well as a self catering house about 1 km away. The race got away promptly at 09:00. Initially the going was fairly easy with some moderate climbs. Most of the tracks were purpose built single tracks with lots of turns, a little bit of soft sand, a number of rocky areas and some stream crossings. After 15 km we entered a local blue gum planation with the most awesum single tracks. It felt as though this went on for hours, but it was only about 2 km. I must say the switch backs, ups and downs and the odd tree around which we had to go made the going very enjoyable, the consentrating intence and quite tiring! After this we had a short flat section before the first serious climb of the day started. The next 5 km was a steady climb of 270m vertical ascend. That was followed by some awesum and quite scary descents. After 4 km, during which our elevation reduced from 800m to 570m, we started the real big climb of the day. With the exception of 1.3 km, it was all uphill until we reached the 35 km mark at 1,035 meters. This was followed by a 2 km downhill section on a district road where lost 90 meters and then a 1 km section of single track where we gained another 70 meters. There after came a 5 km section where we lost another 500m. This once again included some scary sections over rocks and loose stones. Fortunately I was "up to the challenge" and managed to negotiate all of them with some resulting in quite an adrenaline rush! The last 15 km consisted of some of the intial route, in reverse. I was quite pleased that the final distance was 10 km short of the advertised 70 km. Total distance was 60.49 km, which took me 4:46:39 and include 1,348 meters of climbing.