Sunday, November 27, 2011

Double Century

Friday 25 November 12:00. Here I am ready for this year's Double Century. Danie Kotze and Mike Smit should be here by 12:45 and then we are off to Swellendam for tomorrow's big race. Joggie informed us yesterday that he would not make it, so we will only be 11 in our team. We left Cape Town just after 13:00 and arrives in Swellendam at 16:00. We were directed to the camping sites and selected two nice spots close to the river and, what we thought, a reasonable distance from the road. Daniel arrived shortly afterwards. Tents were erected and then we took a stroll to the Spar to buy some additional "goodies" for the race and some things for breakfast and coffee. We tried the local "take away" of lasagne for supper and made our own coffee. Clive and Suretha arrive between 18:00-19:00. Suretha got her tent up, but Clive decided to sleep in his Land Rover at the school, where he hoped it would be quieter. Theuns SMSed at 15:40 that he just finished in Stellenbosch. At 19:10 we got another SMS telling us that he only just left Stellenbosch and at 20:00 he was looking for our GPS co-ordinates! In the end he arrived at the campsite just before 23:00. By that time the rest of us were in dreamland or at least trying to get there! The local noise of people talking, disco music and traffic on the road ensured that our rest was not too piece full.

Movement started in the camping area at 04:05. When I got up at 04:25, I found a SMS on my phone asking me to phone my brother at 04:00, as they are not sure whether their alarm was working. I obliged at 04:25! Just as well, as their alarm did not go off! Everybody was ready by 05:00, ice was collected and the rest of the cooler boxes and supplements for the road, was taken to the backup vehicle. All of us were in our start shoot at 05:25, with the axception of Theuns. He was still at the campsite sorting various things including a car alarm that kept going off! He managed to join us just as we approached the starting line.

We started promptly at 05:42. We had our first puncture within the first 5 kilometers! Theuns and myself helped Clive repair his flat while the rest carried on. We managed to catch up with then just before the Suurbraak turn off. From there the ride was plain sailing. We had the normal split when we hit Tradouw Pass, but we "consolidated" again on the final hill just before Barrydale.
Nico van Zyl found himself in the middle of a bunch and did not see us with the result that he carried on ahead of us. Fortunately he saw our back vehicle at the foot of Op De Tradouw and waited for us there.

Nadat almal weer hulle voorrade aangevul het en van hulle oortollige water ontslae geraak het, het ons Op De Tradouw aangepak. Suretha het beluit om hierdie stop 'n "mis" te gee en aangery. Die was 'n "goeie roep" want toe ons haar in haal was sy al driekwart teen Op De Tradouw uit. Ek het haar toe die laaste entjie gehelp en bo het ons weer by die Coke-tafel gegroepeer. Na 'n hele rukkie se wag was daar egter geen teken van Theuns en Nico nie. Ons skakel hulle toe en word ingelig dat Nico se pedaal gebreek het en hulle probeer om Adre se fiets aan te pas sodat hy daarop kan ry. Ek gaan toe maar 'n entjie terug om vir hulle te wag. By verdere navraag hoor ek dat hulle nog sukkel. Ek skakel toe vir Sieg en laat weet dat hulle moet aan ry. Ons sal hulle by Montagu kry. Toe ek weer vir Theuns skakel laat weet hy dat hulle nie Nico se skoene kon kry om op Adre se fiets te pas nie en dat hy alleen oppad is. Hy sluit toe 'n rukkie later by my aan en ons trap saam verder. Net na die volgende afdraand val my ketting af. Dit het al van te vore gebeur, soos vroeer die oggend ook, en soos gewoonlik werk ek die ketting terug met die ratwissellaars. Skiellik besef ek iets groots is fout en hou stil. Dit blyk toe dat iets verkeerd gegaan het, die voorste klein rat het gebreek, horisontaal gebuig, die ketting gespan wat veroorsaak het dat die agterste deurallier afgebreek het. Ek skakel onmiddelik die opvolg voertuig en laat weet dat ek Adre se fiets nodig het om verder te ry. Hulle daag gou op, ons stel die saal 'n bietjie laer en is weer oppad. Halfpad teen die volgende bult af raak my voorwiel pap! Hou stil, spring af, buiteband af, binneband uit, nuwe bineband in, buiteband op, maak styf met "bommetjie", sit alles terug en daar gaan ons weer. Na 'n rukkie kom daar 'n "vinnige" span verby en Theuns "haak" hulle. Vir die volgende 37 kilometer handhaaf ons 'n gemiddelde spoed van 40 k.p.u. Toe ons in Montugu in kom sien ons hoe die res van die span by die opvolg voertuig stil hou!
Voorrade word weer aangevul en ons val gou weer in die pad. Van Montagu to by die ysterbrug net voor Bonnievale is redelik gelyk en 'n area waar 'n goeie gemiddelde spoed gehandhaaf kan word. Ons voltooi die 58 kilometer tot in Bonnievale in 2 uur 1 minuut, en dit sluit die reg maak van 'n papwiel in! Nie sleg nie.

At Bonnievale we stock up again. Now it is "crunch" time. The last 37 kilometers with a number of "nasty" hills before we finish. Every goes fine up to the last "water point" at Drew. We grab some refreshments, shed water at the portable toilets and get going again. Kobus wants us to carry on and not wait for him. We convince him to stay with us. We say together up to the Swellendam turn off. Now for the last three hills. At the top of the first hill Theuns complain about ITB. Suretha, who is biogeneticus, jump into action and treats his leg. We all agree and can see that the pain that Theuns experience under her thumbs is enough for him not to agree for second treatment! Kobus arrives just as she completes her treatment. Now there are two more hills. We get over both hills with a fair share of "pushing" and "pulling". There is 7 kilometers left and most of it is either downhill or flat. We start "motoring". Kobus loose contact and Rob start cramping and we loose Theuns. Sieg has gone ahead. We keep the pace up, ensuring that Suretha is not left behind. Just before the end we catch up with Sieg, who is waiting for us. Seven of us hit the final hill. I tell Suretha to hang onto my tail and pull her up the last hill. The 7 of us cross the line after 7 hours 38 minutes riding time and a total of 8 hours 45 minutes in the saddle. We waited for Rob, Theuns and Kobus to join us. Rob and Theuns arrive shortly after us. Kobus only rejoins us at the show grounds.

A wonderful experience and a good team effort. Thanks to everybody for the effort and to Leonico and Rina who ably managed the back vehicle for us and who always was at the right place at the right time. Until next year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SCAS 24 marathon

On Sunday 13 November (may be the 13 was an omen!!) Theuns Pauw, one on our Double Century team members, posted a message to me asking if our DC team would be interested in entering the SCAS 24 hour marathon on spinning bikes at the Neelsie in Stellenbosch, starting on Friday 18 November at 14:00. I decided that it sounded like an interesting challenge and if enough members were interested, we could go for it. One of the conditions was that one of the team members had to be a lady. So the first hurdle was to get the lady on the team. As we have one lady on the team, I gave the guys the option that we will enter if she agrees and secondly provided we get enough interest.

First to come back with a positive answer, was Suretha, the lady on our DC team. Next for a yes was Joggie Prinsloo. I was game and I was sure we could count Theuns in. That gave us 4! Minimum was 6. Later Clive and Kobus also indicated that they would participate, so we had a team. Joggie then came up with two "mates" who would join us, but Theuns decided that he would opt out. That left us with 7 team members. Two had "conditions". Suretha was only available until 09:30 on Saturday morning and Kobus was only available during the night. Well, I felt we can work around those problems and our entry was confirmed!

I was a "bit" disappointed when I herd that there were only 4 teams entered. This disappointment became even bigger when I realised who the competition was! I was hoping for at least 8 teams with "some" reasonable competion, but come as it may, we were now in for it and had to make the best of it.

I got to Stellenbosch at 13:15 and found the "setup" in quite a state of flux. Jan Scannel was still busy setting up the bikes! Clive and Suretha arrived in good time, and the "competition" got underway at 14:30. Our "competition consisted of a SCAS team and 2 teams of "Developement Riders" from Jonkershoek, a senior and a very junior team.

Suretha got us going and we did 18 km in the first 30 minutes. Clive was next up and did 19 km. I followed that up with 20 km. Joggie then also did 20 km. One of his "mates" was next and did a 16 km. This "mate" turned out to be Ferdinand Rabie, the winner of SA's first Big Brother series. His other "mate" (Bjorn) arrived shortly afterwards and did 20 km. Thereafter most people settled on 19-21 km per 30 minute session. That was until hit the saddle again and surprised all of us with a 24 km stint. Even Ferdinand managed 20 km during all his subsequent stunts. During my second shift I really "went" for it, only to be disappointed in only posting a 21 km! I felt that the extra effort would at least have given me 24. I then decided that there is not much point in going harder, because your extra distance is not proportionate the effort!

Teen hierdie tyd het ek begin om 'n tydskedule vir die res van die maraton saam te stel. Hiervoor moes ek in agneem dat niemand meer as 2 uur voor 'n ander spanlid met tyd op die fiets mag wees nie en dat sekere mense na 'n sekere tyd nie meer aanwesig sal wees nie, dat kobus net tussen 24:00 en 08:00 beskikbaar sou wees en dat Ferdinand nie later as 22:00 beskikbaar sou wees nie! Die skedule is saamgestel met Joggie, Suretha en kobus wat die meeste van die trapwerk tussen 22:00 en 09:30 sou doen. Clive, Bjorn en ek sou die laaste 5 uur 30 minute saam deel.

Op hierdie stadium het Bjorn besluit dat hy sterk genoeg voel om 'n dubbel skof te doen en te kyk hoeveel km hy in 60 minute op die meter sit. Ongelukkig het die "paw-paw die fan gestrike" na 50 minute toe hy skielik begin sleg voel het en moes tou opgooi. Om sake te vereger het hy so sleg gevoel dat hy glad nie kans gesien het om enigsins langer te trap nie. Die tydskedule moes gou hersien word, maar die grootse bekommernis was dat Clive en ek die laaste deel alleen sou moes doen!

At this stage we were about 12 km in front of the Jonkershoek "Young Guns". Everybody was keeping to about 20 km per shift. When Kobus arrived, he informed us that he would prefer to do 60 minute shifts. Once again the time schedule had to be adjusted! Not a train smash and things kept rolling on. The atmosphere that prevailed was quite jovial and everybody was having a good time. The Young Guns were checking out our distance on a regular basis and was definitely concerned about the fact that we were ahead. Unbeknown to us, they had a plan and were determined to beat us.

Joggie did his last shift at 06:30, Kobus at 08:00 and Suretha at 09:00. From there on it Clive and myself. We were quite concerned about this would do to our energy levels and when fatigue would start taking its toll! To our surprise, we coped very well and maintain 20 km per 30 minute shift right to the end. While doing my stints I saw that the legs of the Young Guns seemed to be going much faster than mine. I did realise that there is not much I can do about it and just had to keep going, ticking off 20 km at a time.

Teen 10:00 kom ek egter agter dat ons nie meer voor is nie, maar 9 km agter die Young Guns, is! Op navraag bevestig een van die Young Guns dat hy gedurende die laat oggend ure 'n "maraton" sessie van 60 minute ingesit het, waar tydens hulle ons verby gesteek het.

Clive and myself kept the rhythm going and continued through to the end. We were rewarded for our efforts with the knowledge that we kept going and were ready for next Saturday's Double Century.

It was a good team building exercise for myself, Clive, Suretha, Joggie and Kobus. The rest of the team did join us at some or other time during the previous two months for some training rides down the Cape Peninsula and as a team I feel we are ready for enjoyable DC 2011!