Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wine2Whales Day 2

Day 2 consisted of a 68 km circle route around Oak Valley. We were moved up to group C and our starting time was 07:20. We thought we will get up at 05:45, but the first people started moving at 05:10 and there was not much chance of sleeping after that! Breakfast was served from 05:30. Once again it was a wonderful spread. The only problem we had was to not eat too much! During the previous evening I felt that my rear tyre was not as hard as normal and I had to pump it.

Day 2 really is a “fun” day with about 70% single track including the exquisite Paul Cluver cycle park. We started off with a 70 meter climb during the first kilometer.  We lost that in the next 4 kilometers and then went on to a gentle climb, which took us onto the single tracks in the hills behind Oak Valley. This was the beginning of the “fun” part of Wine2Whales. For the next 25 kilometers we spent most of the time on single tracks. Farm roads connected some of these, but mostly the one led to the other. Some of them were single tracks that are used annually during the Dirtopia 24 hour race at oak Valley. This led us into the second water point. At one point I noticed that Mike Smit was not close to me anymore and had to wait for him. It transpired that his pedal hit a rock and he came down. Fortunately nothing serious was damaged, but he did have some minor problems with his gears after this mishap.

The magnificent Paul Cluver Cycle Park, with its wonderful single tracks and ingenuous bridges followed.
We really had  a wonderful time riding these tracks. Some farm and forestry roads up to the third water point followed this. I realized that my rear tyre was loosing air and I had to stop to pump it. After water point three we were back onto some forestry roads and then more singles tracks leading up to the final water pint at 56 kilometers.

A steady climb up some farm roads and more single tracks brought us to the Paul Cluver Packing shed. Here we were treated to some more ingenious tracks especially made for us amongst the packing crates. This included some nice berms and also a bridge, which took us above some of the tracks we road minutes earlier. On one of the berms, Mike lost his balance and toppled down the hill. Once again the bush came out worse than what mike did! When we came out the other side, I found that my rear tyre was fairly soft again. With only 8 kilometers left to the end, I went the pumping route again. From here it was also mostly downhill to the end. I very quickly realized that my rear tyre problem was more serious than I though, but I addressed it by spending more time standing up and not putting to much pressure on the rear wheel. The last three kilometers was Oak Valley single tracks again and riding with a flattish rear wheel was becoming a challenge, but it just help to the end and we crossed the finish line without any further incidents.

During the afternoon I plugged the offending tyre, taking care to cut the protruding pieces sticking out the sidewall down to a reasonable length. The problem was a cut in the sidewall, so the potential for more problems was very prevalent. I managed to get a pump from the Specialized boys and made sure that the tyre was inflated properly.

Total time 4:22:22; 67.85 km; 1,423 meters elevation gain; 1,4218meters elevation loss; average speed 15.5 k.p.h. We finished 214 out of 571 teams and fell back to 171 overall. We 14th in the 50+ age group on the day and overall.

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