Monday, May 27, 2013

AMA Rider 100 miler

Saturday 25 May 2013 and it is time for the AMA Rider 100 miler in the Malmesbury area.

Preparations for this have gone well with the 36ONE and a number 100 km plus rides in anticipation of the 100 miler. Three of us planned to travel together to the start at Swartland Cellars in Malmesbury and we arrived in good time for the start, which was scheduled for 07:30.

As is custom with most races these days, we got going promptly at 07:30. The first 8 km was through some farmlands and jeep tracks east of Malmesbury and included a number of small sharp climbs. We then hit the local district roads passing on the eastern side of Paardeberg to the first water point at 32 km. This included a stretch of 4.2 km where we climbed 162 meters. We left the district roads for a while and had to negotiate some farm tracks leading onto the short stretch of tar road to cross the R45 running from Wellington to Malmesbury. This took us onto a good district road again before we had the turn off to the “breakfast” stop. After the breakfast stop we encountered our first serious climb of the day. 130 meters over a distance of 2.23 km followed by a 150 meter descent in 2.43 km, which led us back onto district roads, with the exception of crossing the R46 leading from Hermon to Riebeek-Kasteel. This was negotiated through some farmlands and using the bank of the Berg River where the road bridge for the R46 crosses it at 70 km. During this stretch we formed a nice group, which was working together well and managed to maintain a good pace. The next water point was at 82 km. Total time to here was about 3:50, which meant I was on for completing the course in less than 8 hours. I ate a couple of slices of banana bread, had a couple of glasses of Coke, stuffed my pocket with jelly babies and had my chain oiled. After the water point we formed another group, with most of the previous people, and cracked on the pace. We got onto one of the local large district roads, but due to the fact that it one of more regularly used roads, the corrugations were very bad. It was virtually impossible to find a piece of road that was smooth. We really were pleased when we were guided to left onto a lesser road, which was narrower, but with a much better surface.

The lunch stop came at 110 km. By this time I have spent 5:53 in the saddle. We were treated to some pasta salad and a cup of soup. After I ate and had my water bottle filled, I was on my way again. This time I left on my own. There were three guys a bout a kilometer in front of me, but I was not making any impression in catching them. I therefore decided to continue a pace that was comfortable for me. We turned right onto  the R311 running from Riebeek-Kasteel to Moorreesburg and continued on this road for one km before turning left onto gravel again. I was not catching anybody, but nobody was catching me either.  This continued for about 11 km, when I heard wheels grinding on the ground behind me. I tried to latch onto the guy as he came past, but gave up very quickly. The pace was just too high. We covered 30 km from the lunch stop, climbing 110 meters in the process. Nothing serious, but a nice energy sapping grind not giving an opportunity to rest. After 15 km we turned left again. We now had a stretch of 5 km during which we climbed 87 meters to the final water point.

After a short climb we had a descent of 3 km before the final big climb of the day. 191 meters over a distance of 4.84 km. I passed one guy on this stretch, but he caught up with me at the next climb. I managed to drop him during one of the number of ups and downs before we hit the final, mostly downhill, stretch to the finish. Here somebody caught up with me again and we worked nicely together to the finish. We once again used one of Meurant Botha’s signature under passes to cross the R45 with some single tracks through the local cow grazing area to the finish, which I reached in 7:55:43 after 163.25 km and 2,276 meters of climbing. Actual riding tome came to 7:40:21, which meant I spent 15 minutes at the various water points. I managed 96 from 215 finishers, 10th from 35 in the 50+ category, which was won by a 60 year old in a time of 6:16:55. He is a real machine!

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