Sunday, November 9, 2014

Wine2Whales Day 3

Day 3 held the promise of moving from 300 meter above sea level to sea level, so there was the promise of more downhill than uphill. People started moving again at 05:00, so there was no point in trying to sleep any longer. After the usual breakfast, we got everything ready for the start at 07:20. We also had to pack our bags and deliver them to the DHL truck for collection in Onrus after the race.

We got going at 07:20 and like usual we started with some climbs, but today’s were very much gentler than the previous two days. None of then was as long either. While I was riding I felt an occasional spray over my back leg and realized that it must be tyre sealant coming out through the plug in my rear tyre!  A guy came past and wanted to know whether I knew that there was a problem with my rear tyre! I just ignored it and hoped and prayed for the best!

After some initial farm roads, which included a nasty mud pool, we were taken onto a single track, which ended as we went onto the old gravel Houwhoek Pass. This was quite rough and challenging, but exhilarating! The first water point was at the Botriver School, but we were first taken on a “senic” ride through the town before were arrived there! After a quick couple of Cokes and some eats, we were on our way again.

The next 15 kilometers was mostly downhill with the odd little hill in between and some nice single tracks. At 40 kilometers we took a left turn and started the day’s serious climbing. This started with a gentle climb, during which we gained 150 meters over the next 7 kilometers, followed by a kilometer downhill leading onto a 3 kilometer climb during which we gained 150 meters.  Some more gentle ups and downs took us through the second water point and onto water point three at Hamiton Russel Wine Farm. During the last couple of kilometers I started hearing a noise from the rear wheel, which I immediately identified as the ends of the plug tapping against the frame. That meant that the plug was busy coming out! I decided to ignore it and ride until I felt that the rear was getting to soft the carry on.

The Hamilton Russel water point was followed by the last climb of the race, 150 meter in 2 kilometers. Once over the top it was all downhill the finish, including some more wonderful single tracks down the Hemel en Aarde Valley and then onto the beach, where the track was marked with pallets over the sand, and onto the finish at the caravan park.

Total time 4:32:40; 75.86 km; 1,339 meters elevation gain; 1,631 meters elevation loss; average speed 16.7 k.p.h. We finished 165 out of 554 teams and fell back to 157 overall. We finished 9th in the 50+ age group on the day and also moved up to 9th overall.

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