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.

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