Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wine2Whales Day 3

I decided to set my alarm for 05:30 to ensure I get an opportunity to use the FNB VIP toilets again, but the campsite lighting went on ay 05:00 with the result that I woke up at 05:00. As we went to bed quite early, it was easy to also get up early. Breakfast was the same as the day before. We once again got prompted and were moved up to group C, with a starting time of 07:20.

The day’s route was generally downhill, starting at 293 meters through some local fruit plantations and past Paul Cluver, but not through the amphitheater again and ending at sea level at Onrus Caravan Park. The first 40 kilometers included some more single tracks and the old Houwhoek Pass down to Botriver. The single track leading to the pass was sublime! Unfortunately we ended up behind some guys who were less proficient on the technical sections, resulting in a lot of stop/start cycling as these guys were struggling to negotiate the single tracks.  We reached Botriver covering the 26-kilometer in 1:30.

As we reached the old pass, I started noticing a very ominous sound coming from my bike’s bottom bracket. Every now and then it sounded as though I was grinding ball bearings. The only re-assuring thing was that the noise was not constant, so the hope remained that it will hold out until the end and not seize before then! It also had not apparent effect on the performance of my bike.

After Botriver we dissented the Botriver, which went down to 7 meters above sea level at a distance of 40 kilometers. We had 35 kilometers left, but now the big climbing of the day started. We still had to negotiate three major hills before we reached the top of Rotary Way from where it was 10 kilometer down hill to the end. We went up a jeep track and around a hill on a contour path through some quite beautiful scenery of fields of purple flowers, into a single track through some blue gum trees. This took us the Heel en Aarde Valley and the Hamilton Russel Vineyards where we had our last water point. Just before we reached Hamilton Russel we went down a hill past some vineyards. Some guys came racing past us and one on them miss judged a contour water furrow, lost his balance and careered head first into a support pole. We stopped to see if he was OK, but as he was attended to by one of his mates, we left them. We are not sure what the outcome of this was, but we did not get any bad reports, so we presumed that he was fine.

After stopping at the water point we went up Rotary Way, a 135-meter climb over a distance of 2.5 kilometers. This took us onto a district road past the Hermanus Hang Glider launch pad, with breath taking views over the bay, onto a single track down to the Hemel en Aarde tar road. The next stretch was a magnificent single track down the valley to the Hemel en Aarde shopping complex on the Onrus/Hermanus road. Was crossed this road under a culvert and sprinted the last kilometer to the end at the finish line. Total riding time 4:40 and finishing 171 out of 507 teams and moving up to 148th overall. and13th in the Master category for 50+ year olds. Not bad for two old buddies with a combined age of 127!



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