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!

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