Friday, March 9, 2012

Argus MTB

The Grape Escape was followed by The Argus MTB at Boschendal on Sunday 4 March. I arranged to sleep with my friend Gerard Cooke, who lives on the grounds on the Boschendal Estate, on the Saturday night. On Saturday afternoon, as I was checking my bike over, I noticed that I routed the chain incorrectly through the rear chain guide, with the result that I had to break the chain again. This I did at one on the master links and at the same time I decided to add the piece, which I picked up on Friday when my chain broke the first time. I joined this with the chain with a normal chain pin. I did realise that I may pick up problems with this the next day, but that was a gamble I was willing to take.

My start time was 07:05 and I left the house at 06:35 and cycled to the start. The Boschendal course is quite hilly and the way the route for the Argus MTB is laid out is such that the main climbing is divided into two sections, with lots of smaller climbs in between. The first 12 km took me 38 minutes and included 194 meters of climbing. We then hit the first serious hills and the next 16 km, which include 319 meters of climbing, took me 56 minutes. We then had tackled the next big climb with the next 12 km including 407 meters of climbing and that took 59 minutes to complete. There after the going was easier again and the last 22 km, which included 240 meters of climbing, took me 1 hour 10 minutes. As I faired, the repair of the previous afternoon was not good enough and my chain broke again after 12 km. This time it took me only 4 minutes to repair and it lasted the rest of the day. The riding was very enjoyable with lots of other competitors around and a continual varying terrain. It did pass two guys, at different times, who must have fallen very hard because they were lying very still. Both were attended too. My riding was fairly uneventful until I got to the first river crossing after 50 km. It was fairly steep and the guys in front of me "chickened" out. They stopped to let me through, but I had to slow down and as I tried to get back onto my saddle, the point caught the back of my cycling shorts, with the result that my weight was to far forward leading into a spectacular somersault when my front wheel hit the first rock. The landing was not to bad and the guy behind me commented, "It is not why you fall, but how you fall!" At the next river crossing, on 61 km I was in the wrong gear and did not have enough momentum to take me through so that I had to stop just before the end and push up a small hill. The race ended after 62 km and my time was 3:52:06. We climbed 1,161 meters.

And so ended four days of mountain biking at an average of 70 km and on average 4:15 per day in the saddle.

Grape Escape Dag 3

Saterdag 3 Maart was die finale dag van 2012 se Grape Escape. Die skof het op Diemersfontein, die eindpunt van die Freedom Challenge, begin. Die tydsberekening van die organiseerdes was weereens perfek en ons val 07:00 in die pad. Die dag se roete begin egter met die ernstige klim en in die eerste 36 kilometer klim ons meer as 1,205 meter en dit neem my 2:46. My ketting breek weer, maar gelukkig kry het ek dit gou reg gemmak en weer in die pad geval. Die klim was teen die hange van die heuwels aan die voet van die Du Toitskloof berge, met heelwat paaie deur die plantasie en 'n paar baie oulike "single tracks" ingegooi. Die bome het heelwat skadu voorsien, met die gevolg dat ons nie te warm gekry het nie. Die laaste stukkie teen die berg af onderdeur die Hugenoottonnel se voerpad was nogal redelik tegnies, maar baie interessant. Van daar tot die einde was dit redelik op en af met die laaste redelik gelyk. Dit neem my 1:45 om die laaste 30 kilometer te voltooi. Ek eindig met 'n tyd van 4:58:01 vir die 71.82 km met 1,651 meter se klim en 166 uit 241 wat klaar maak.

Totale tyd oor die drie dae is 13:08:27 vir die 216 kilometer en ek eindig 132 uit 226 wat die wedren voltooi. 'n Heel skaflike vertoning vir die drie dae.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grape Escape Day 2

Friday 2 March and time for day 2 of the 2012 Grape Escape. The journey to the start was longer than yesterday, but as I could travel down the back roads, I left at about the same time and arrived at the Boland Aricultural School in good time. Light breakfast was available again and this I helped myself to a cup of coffee. Timing was perfect again and we got going at 07:00. The initial riding was pretty fast as most of the route, at this point was fairly flat. A matter of fact, the first 40 km took me 1:46 at an average speed of 22.6 k.p.h.! Then to tougher section started, but fortunately the initial climbing was not too strenuous. That was until we were past Groenberg. When we hit the slopes of the Bianskloof mountains, things started getting serious. At about 46 km my chain broke. I had all the necessary equipment to repair it and got going again after 8 minutes. Just as I was about to get going again, I saw three links on the ground. I was not sure if it was mine, but put them in my pocket for "just in case"! When we got onto the tar road, I realised that I had another problem. My front derailleur was not working properly! It seems to have shifted down and was touching the front big blade. As there was still a fair amount of climbing to do, I moved it over to the middle blade and continued in this manner. It was not sounding to good because the chain was rubbing against the derailleur, but it did not really effect my peddling. After "fiddling" around with the adjusters while riding, I managed to get it work without making a noise. I did not want to put much strain on the chain and therefore "walked" a number of technical steep sections, without loosing too much time. Everything lasted well and I reached the end after 4:15:52, having covered 69.01 km and climbed 1,311 meters. In spite of my problems, I managed to finish 138 from 264. The schuttle got me back to the start by 12:30 and I had my bike at Cycles Direct by 14:00 for a check over to ensure that I could tackle Day 3. I got it back at 18:00 and was ready for the final day of the Grape Escape.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grape Escape Dag 1

Registrasie was onder andere Woensdag 29 Februarie by Columbia Store se winkel in Canal Walk. Behalwe vir jou nommer het elkeen ook 'n mooi wit langmou top en 50 liter Columbia sak gekry! Ons kon ook op die dag enig iets teen 50% van die normale prys koop. Ek het toe maar vir my nog 'n lekker kortbroek aangeskaf.

Donderdag 1 Maart 2012. Dit is dag 1 van 2012 se Grape Escape, wat vanjaar oor drie dae strek, en wat nie die Argus MTB, soos verlede jaar, insluit nie. Die begin is ook vanaf Eden on the Bay na die Durbanvile Perde Renbaam verskuif. Ek kon dus nie net op my fiets klim en na die wegspring ry nie! Verder moes ek sorg dat ek 06:00 deur Blaauwbergweg se verkeer kom. Ek moes dus maar redelik vroeg wikkel om seker te maak ek is betyds. Alles het goed afgeloop, Blaauwbergweg was nog nie te besig nie en ek het ongeveer 06:20 by die renbaan aangekom. 'n Ligte ontbyt is voorsien en ek het myself gehelp met 'n piesang en 'n ekstra "Energy Bar". Vir die eerste keer in 'n baie lang tyd het ek skielik 'n groot "nommer twee" ontwikkel. Gelukkig was daar 'n hele paar mobiele toilette en ek het gou in een ingeduik en van die nodige ontslae geraak!

Net voor 07:00 is ons nader geroep en stiptelik op 07:00 val ons in die pad. Na 'n neutrale stukkie deur Durbanville daar ons langs Aurora op en begin met die eerste klim. Dit neem ons langs Aurora om, links om die koppie teen die hange bo die Durbanville/Tiekiedraai pad tot net duskan Boemendal Restourant verby. Net na die restourant sluit ons by die Hillcrest roete aan en gaan bo oor Kanonkop en teen Contermanskloof af tot heel onder. Halfpad met die terug roete van Contermanskloof op draai ons links en vat die pad Malanshoogte toe. Bo op Malanshoogte draai ons regs deur 'n hek en kies koers in 'n Oostelike rigting deur 'n paar graanlande. Oor Adderley pad en dan sluit ons by die Spes Bona pad aan. Na die eerste draai hou ons egter reguit aan voordat ons later eers weer regs draai in die rigting van die Wellingtonweg. Net voor Melish kruis ons Wellingtonweg en vat weer koers in 'n Oostelike rigting. So gaan ons aan met redelike goeie plaas paaie en en elke nou en dan deur 'n land of verby 'n plaas huis. Ons ry onder andere verby Leeuwenkuil. Net anderkant die Perdeberg Kelder kruis ons 'n teerpad. Verby 'n paar wingerde, met 'n paar kronkelinge en na 78 km eindig ons by die Boland Landbou Skool. Daar word ons ingewag met 'n gratis fiets was en 'n middag ete van 'n lekker Woolies toebrooitjie, aartappel slaai en 'n bakkie sjokolade mouse! My tyd vir die dag was 3:54:39 en ons het 1,128 meter geklim. Ek eindig 132 uit 272 wat klaar gemaak het. Deel van vanjaar se pakket het vervoer terug na die begin ingesluit. Dit was redelik effektief, maar die verkeer in Blaauwbergweg teen 13:00 was nie, aangesien daar verbouings is. Dit het langer geneem om die 2 km daar af te le as die hele rit van Durbanville tot in Bloubergstrand.