Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Grape Escape Day 3

Danie was responsible for transport and collected me at 05:15. We arrived in Wellington at 06:20 and collected our bikes. 

The race started once again at 07:00 sharp. The first 4 kilometers was a neutral zone, so racing only started there after. By this time we were among the vineyards again and the topography was very much ascending and descending with regular intervals. After 12 kilometers we started the climb past Beulah, which lasted for 4.5 kilometers with 326 meters climbing. Towards the top of this climb I noticed that my rear tyre was losing air. This was especially becoming a problem when we entered some single tracks through the pine trees. On entering the second single track, I decided to pull aside and attend to it by putting air in with a CO2 bomb. This was after 22 kilometers. There after it went much better with a rear wheel which was not moving all over the place. The problem was that I used only bomb! At the next water point I enquired after a foot pump to attend to the wheel, but nothing was available. As second best I asked if someone had a spare bomb for me. Guy Mckechnie, who was riding a single speed, came to my assistance. By this time we were at the bottom of the Du Toitskloof Mountains so the second big climb of the day started. Three quarters up the hill a passing rider asked me if I knew that my tear tyre was fairly flat. I confirmed that I knew, but decided to carry on for a while longer, but shortly got to a point where I had to attend to it again. By now we have only completed 38 kilometers and the race distance was 68 kilometers! 

We now encountered some hills which was just not rideable due to them being too steep. Towards the top I passed the late Burry Sander's dad, who was enjoying the outing, but not the hills! 

The top of the climb was followed by some riding on contour roads and then some scary downhills. This time nobody was chasing me and I reached to bottom without any mishaps. At the next water point I caught up with Ebrabim Levy, riding in Asrin colours, which I met while riding yesterday. I asked him for a spare bomb and he obliged. With this assurance in my pocket, I had more confidence in completing the day without running out of air! I picked up my pace and put the hammer down. From here to the end it was more downhill that uphill.  In the meantime my rear tyre was holding up well. I was passing riders with regular intervals. At the last water point I checked the wheel and it was fine. We encountered some sandy patches, crossed the Berg River, through the Bien Donne farmstead and onto the end. The crossing of the tar road was typical Meurant Botha by crossing underneath the tar road at a river crossing. The end was reached after 4:30:20 for 69 kilometers with 1,606 meters of ascent. Mike beat me by 1 minute 8 seconds, finishing 3rd in our age group and I as 4th. Danie finished in 5:08:48.

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