Friday, March 1, 2013

The Grape Escape Day 2

The second day was my turn to do the driving. I picked Mike and Danie up at 05:15 and we arrived in Wellington at about 06:20. The origanisers arranged for a free bike wash and oil. Security was also provided for overnight storage, so we had to collect them first.

Day 2 also included the riders who entered for the 2-day option, with the result that there were more people and they started 5 minutes after us. We got going at 07:00 sharp. The first couple of kilometers were along local roads and through some vineyards. Then we got into the single tracks. This really was amasing. Initially through some blue gum trees and then through local “fynbos”. The quality and the variety of the single track were just mind-boggling. It most definitely is the best I have ridden. Better than those we normally ride in the Durbanville area and also what I have encountered at Oak Valley. What make this Waldenplas tracks special is all the trees and the variety in elevation. It is not just one long climb and then a descent, but it goes up and down with some nice switchbacks, in and out of tree covering with some very good smooth sections and some fairly rough patches. A test for the experienced rider and a challenge for the novice.

At 21 kilometers there was a special a choice of two routes: the chicken run or crossing the river via a fairly narrow bridge, which was also a touch shorter. Everybody who opted for the bridge would be rewarded with a bottle of wine with a photo of him or her crossing the bridge on it.

Here after we had some local farm roads before going onto the single tracks on the farm Doolhof. The tracks are more exposed, but as challenging with a specific section called “the rock garden” and that is with a reason. This was at the halfway point. These singles track lead us onto the slops of Bains Kloof and onto a section of the pass. After a while we went left again, off the pass and uphill. I caught up to my friend Mike, who was having problems with cramping, at this stage.
With 15 kilometers to go we started descending towards the end. This again included some very challenging rocky sections and some very steep down hills. While I am a good climber, I am not too good at going down hill. It may be age, but this resulted in some guys blowing down my neck. I should have just let them past, but as they were not complaining and we were maintaining a good pace, I decided to keep going. That was until I got a very steep down hill with a very sharp right turn. I am not sure what went wrong, but the next minute I went head over heel and ended up in the bushes. Fortunately it was a soft landing and I managed to get going with no injuries except for a bent in my ego!

We took a last few unexpected excursions and after 4:05:54; 60.5 kilometers and 1,611 meters ascent we reached the finish line. I managed 2 in my age group and finished 2:36 in front of Mike, who was once again 3 rd in our age group. Danie finished in a time of 4:30:54.

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