Sunday, May 27, 2012

AMA Rider 100 miler

Saturday 26 May and time for the AMA Rider 100 miler in the Malmesbury District.  I had some business in Stellenbosch, so on Friday my wife and I took a drive put there and I popped in at Dirtopia to pick my number up. Took my bike to Cycles Direct to get the gears sorted out. They were not 100% after my Prince Albert/Wellington ride. That got done and I stocked up with "bombs" for the race. Our Trans Baviaans team agreed to use this race as part of our training, but on Friday Rob pulled out due to lack of training and on Saturday Danie pulled out due to a bad might with chest pains! Pierre was still riding, but I only had his email and having not yet met him I gad no way of finding him.  Mike Smit picked up at 06:00 and we arrived in Malmesbury just before 07:00. It was just as well that we were early, because there was a 10 minutes Stop and Go due to roadwork’s just before the start. Mike still had to get his "tag" validated with the result that we missed one another at the start. I down loaded last years course onto my Garmin so that I could monitor my progress. We got going promptly at 07:30 and as we were making our way through the vineyards, I saw guys, who were cutting it fine and were caught out by the Stop and Go, still arriving!
The tracks/roads were wet, but although it was over casted there was no rain. It was quite misty but the mist was not very thick. The first part of the course involves quite a bit of climbing. Nothing serious, but enough to ensure that your average speed remained under 20kph. My aim was to try and finish in 8 hours again, so I had to try and maintain an average above 20kph. At the first water point I have managed to get my average to 19. There is still quite a lot of climbing up to just after the "Breakfast Stop" where after we get into the undulations of some District and Farm roads. The wet roads are causing havoc with my gears. I oil them at the stop, but do not find an improvement. I cannot get into my big blade at the back, but as the climbing is not that serious; I manage to get over them without having to revert to pushing. I start maintaining a good rhythm and lead a bunch of riders into the next water point. At the point I decide to see how I am progressing compared to last year. I find that I am behind. At this point my average have increased to 19.7kph. By this time I am still optimistic of finishing at around 8 hours. The selection at the water point is not very good and I settle for a couple of glasses of Coke, a bit of banana and some oranges. I get going on my own. After a while some of the guys who were following before the water point comes past. I fall in behind them, but after a while decide that their pace is too high and fall back. Another lot went past me before the "lunch stop", with the same result. The "lunch stop" arrives at 110 km and we have a choice of soup, pasta, bananas and oranges. I settle for two cups of very nice vegetable soup. I also fill my water bottle with Powerade. I get going on my own again. The last 50 km will be a lonely  "slog" as I will most probably not be able to keep up with whoever comes past.  This is confirmed ad some guys come past. I do mot even try and stay with them. The route involves a number of steady climbs from this point to about 145km, so it is difficult to maintain a good average. I start accepting that 8 hours is out of the question and adjust my aim to 8:15-8:30. A number of other riders, including a guy and a girl, whom I passed earlier, came past. I manage to maintain eye contact! Just before the last water point Louis Loubscher, from Fairview Dairies comes past. We meet up again at the last water point and he tells me I "look strong"! My reply is the I do not feel so strong! Adrian Winsor is at hand to give my chain and rear derailleur a good dose of oil. Hopefully they will work better for the last 20km. I set off on my own again, in front of the guy and girl who passed me earlier. They come past before we start the climb of the hill just past this water point. Three quarters of the way up the hill I pass her and him just before the top. Over the top and onto a very nice down hill. I give it all I can to distance them. At the bottom of the hill we turn right onto a farm track, over some more ups and downs that leads onto the road that signals that the end is in sight. Along the way I pass a number of other riders. My Garmin also informs me that I have reached the finish at this time a year ago. From this vantage point I can see the buildings at the finish line in the distance. I still have 18 km to go and I have been in the saddle for 8 hours. I realise that I will only finish in about 8:45! By now I give it everything I have got. I want to make sure I come in before the guy and girl I passed on that long hill as well as the guys I have passed since then. My heart jumps with joy when I can see the Swartland Kelder buildings. Just before the end they have found a novel way if getting us over the R45. A single track has been constructed, taking us along the river and underneath the road. I complete the last km and finish in 8:48, a whole 57 minutes longer than last year. Well, at least I do have the challenge of improving again next year. Mike came in at about 8:30 and Pierre at 9:10. It seems at though Pierre and me are at the same strength for the Trans Baviaans!
Race distance 163km; 2,394m climbing; average speed 18.5kph; actual riding time 8:26:09. 

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