Tuesday, May 27, 2014

AMA Rider 100 miler

AMA Rider 100 km

Saturday 24 May was the date for the annual AMA Rider 100 miler in the Malmesbury district. I looked at the weather forecast before I left home and saw the we were going to have sunshine until 15:00 from when light rain was forecasted. I planned to ride 7:30 and starting at 07:30 that meant that I should finish before the rain came! On the way to Malmesbury there was heavy thunder in the air!

I arrived at the start on time to collect my number and line up for the start. We got going at 07:30. I managed to line up towards the front and not being a fast starter, I was passed by numerous riders during the first couple of kilometers. The thunder which I saw on my way to the start brought some unwelcome thunder showers, but fortunately they did not last too long and did cause any problems. I passed the first water point after 1:34, 5 minutes slower than last year in spite of having a tail wind! I was enjoying the ride and maintained a good pace but losing time compared to last year. During this period we gained 560 meters in elevation and my average speed was 21 kph. I reached the second water point after another 58 minutes and maintaining an average of 21 kph. This time I stopped for some refreshments and got going again after 3 minutes.

The previous sections had a number of gentle climbs, but the first part if the next section had some serious uphills. After a while we joined a district road heading north. In the meantime the wind has picked up and was coming diagonally from the left front. Two ladies caught up with me and we managed to maintain a reasonable pace and I reached water point 3 after another 1:36 with my average speed coming down to 17 kph. During later part of this ride I was sure I had a slow puncture. Fortunately it was only my imagination and I was quite relieved when I stopped and that my tyre was perfect. This was the halfway point and by this time I was 24 minutes slower than last year, which was not that bad after taking the wind into consideration. I had some refreshments and got going again after 4 minutes. The ladies was  contemplating giving up, so I left on my own.

After about ten minutes of riding we turned north west and was riding into the teeth of the wind. Some guys and a girl caught up with me and left me standing! A little later some more people came past and I managed to join them and we formed a group of about nine, working well together and catching some other "stragglers". On one of the slopes the pace got just too much for me and I was left behind. Once over the hill I managed to maintain the gap. The group in front split up into further smaller groups and I actually gained time on them, arriving at the lunch stop on their heels. There we were treated to dome wholesome soup. I got going again on my own after a stop of 5 minutes. During this section of 28 km, I lost 32 minutes compared to last year. That gives some indication of how strong the wind was! My average speed over this section was only 15 kph!

The next 7 km was still against the wind, but shortly after joining the R311 we took a left turn and had the wind coming over our right shoulder. After a further 13 km we turned left again and I had the wind in my face again. To make matters worse, it started raining and I only had a windbreaker, which is only shower proof, on with the result that I was getting wet. The rain was very feint and did not drench me through and as it was coming from the left only my lefthand side was getting wet. I was also lucky in that it was not too cold. It took me 1:35, the same time as last year to complete the 29 km to the last water point.

Here I just stopped to top up my water bottle and got going immediately.
The last 24 km actually included the second most climbing, 469 meters, of the whole course and we had portions with wind on our backs and others with the wind from the front. When the wind was from the front we also had rain from that side with the result of getting drenched! After 11 km I went over the top of the last hill and from there it was downhill to the end. I saw another rider in front of me and put in a great effort to catch him, which I did with 1 km left. I actually passed him, but he re passed me just before  we crossed the finish line.

Total time 9:00; total distance 163.28; total ascent 2,213 meters; 7,864 calories burnt.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

FC training ride via Platteklip Gorge

With only 39 days until I start the Freedom Challenge, some serious training must be done. A while back I thought it would be good training to go up Platteklip Gorge and Saturday 3 May was d-day!

I met Mike Smit at his place at 06:00 as he agreed to join me on the ride to the bottom of Platteklip Gorge.
We reached the bottom of Platteklip Gorge after 1:56 and a leisurely ride to town and negotiating some of the contour roads up to the old tar service road, Mike bid me farewell and I started the epic  journey up Platteklip Gorge. I met a number of people on my up, some going up and some coming down. Most people was quite surprised to find somebody going up the mountain with a bike! One guy even enquired if I was training for the Freedom Challenge! All the other people did not know about it! The 1.6 km journey took me 1:54 and I gained 658 meters. At an average speed of 0.9 k.p.h.!

My plan was to cycle down the other side, because I remembered that there is quite a nice paved road down the other side. Unfortunately I forget that I still had to negotiate some very rough terrain before I got to the paved road.  The next 2.7 km took me 46 minutes! That is an average speed of 2.1 k.p.h.! Over this distance I gained 48 meters and descent 321 meters. The terrain was very rough and I had haul my bike over numerous rocks. I nearly jumped with joy when I finally reached the paved road.

During the next hour I covered 11.4 Km and lost 670 meters in height. The condition of the road was excellent and the views were just breath taking! About 15 minutes into my ride down this beautiful paved road, I was stopped by one of the local conscientious citizen who informed me that I was not allowed to cycle on the reservoir service roads or the local contour paths, but only of designated roads on the front of the mountain! A this point he was not going to stop me and after our brief chat, I was on my way again. I really enjoyed the descent down this service road which was like an Alpine Pass!

I managed to join Kirstenbosch/Constantianek road close to Cecelia Forest entrance. From there I went past Newlands Forest and joined up with the Rhodes Memorial/Table Mountain MTB track. After some ups and downs I exited from the mountain via Vredehoek and took the road back to Bloubergstrand.

Total riding time 8:13:07; total distance 80.32 km; elevation gain 1,852; calories burned per Polar watch 5,530.

For some reason my Garmin  did not measure properly from Blouberg to town, with the result that the Garmin data as far as elevation gained is not correct.