Monday, January 18, 2016

Attakwas 2016

January is Attakwas time and this would by my 8th! I contacted my friend Hoffie Conradie and we decided to join forces for the occasion.  I left Cape Town at 11:00 on Friday 15 January and joined up with Hoffie in Worcester. We left there at 13:30 in his car. Along the way we stopped at Ronnie's Sex Shop for a bite and just to see the place again. The novelty definitely is in the name! 

Ons het so om en by 18:00 in Oudtshoorn aangekom en eers geregistreer. Daarna het ons voorade vir ontbyt by Pick n Pay gaan koop en by NA Smit Oord in geklok. Aandete was by Dolcevita en ons was teen 10:00 in die bed. 

Ons was albei voor ons wekkers kon afgaan (05:00) wakker en het teen 05:45 die pad Chandeler toe gevat. Daar aan gekom was daar 'n lang tou om in te kom, maar dit het darem redelik vinnig beweeg. 

We made use of the car transfer service and therefore dropped our car off at the designated area, handed the keys in and proceeded to the start shoots. As I got into the shoot, I realised that I forgot to fill my water bottle. The bladder on my backpack was full and if would be just too much of a hassle to go back to the  car, so I decided to ride to the first water point on water only.  

Ons het teen 06:45 weggespring. Die eerste paar kilometer was baie sowwerig as gevolg van al die deelnemers en die veld het eers na ongeveer 10 km begin uitsprei. Gelukkig is daar ook 'n paar bulte wat help om "spasie" te skep. Ek het, soos besluit, my water bottel by die eerste waterpunt laat vol maak met Coke. 

I managed a good pace and was passed by some people while I also passed others.  There was a number of technical river crossings, but I managed to negotiate all of them without any problem. The big hill after approximately 30 km was the usual challenge with large loose rocks and the incline forcing me to push the last third. 

Just after the top we entered the Outeniqua Nature Reserve. The track now consisted of fairly rough jeep tracks with a number of steep hills. Most of these were rideable but some were just too steep and with loose rocks again, necessitating some pushing. I reached water point three, after we crossed the Oudtshoorn/Mossel Bay road, just short of 3 hours. I was also please to see Steve Thorhton-Smith in the crowd and appreciated his encouragement.

Nadat ek weer my water bottel laat vul het, ketting laat olie het en 'n ietsie ge-eet het, pak ek die volgende skof aan. Die roete deur hierdie area is besonder mooi en dit help om die bulte "makliker" te maak. Ons het nou deur die Attakwaskloof gery. Dit was 100 jaar gelde die hoof roete tussen Mosselbaai en Oudtshoorn. Ek het die halfweg punt teen 3:56 bereik. 'n Sub 8 uur was dus moontlik! Ek het vanjaar vir die eerste keer dit reggekry om die laaste bult voor die Spur waterpunt af te ry sonder om my voete op die grond te sit. Ek vermoed egter dat daar 'n bietjie werk aan hierdie stuk gedoen is wat die 'n klein bietjie makliker gemaak het. 

I filled my water bottle again, had half a Spur Buger, got my chain oiled, cooled myself down under the mist spray and got going in double quick time. According to my Garmin, I was marginally behind last year's time up to this point, but by the time I left I was marginally in front. 

The last 52 km from here to the end is mostly on good gravel roads with an number of big downhills and some monster climbs. The first climb started as we left this water point. The temperature was reasonable and there was not much of a wind. I have been in the saddle for close to 5 hours and the time was about 12:00, so the heat of the day was going to become a factor. In the meantime time, I just continued the grind out the kilometers. 

I have set my Garmin on the terrain function so that I could see wath was coming in terms if hills and downhills. This also compared my progress to last year and I was pleased to see that I was stretching the gap. It was also interesting to see my progress against some other riders. Sone passed me, never to be seen again and others were hauled in me again on a different section. At the second last water point I stocked up again and new that from there to the end we had to negotiated another two monster hills. The temperature was now touching 33 degrees Celsius. 

Teen 'n paar van die bulte het ek heelwat mense gesien wat in die koelte rus of met krampe sukkel. Ek het ook vir die eerste keer in my fietsry loopbaan probleme met ligte krampe gehad. Dit was gelukkig van so 'n aard dat ek kon aanhou trap. My vordering was goed, maar ek het besef dat  ek om en by 8 uur sou klaar maak, dus moes ek maar aandruk om my mikpunt te bereik. By die laaste waterpunt was dit duidelik dat ek teen ongeveer 8:05 sou klaar maak, dus het ek so hard moontlik getrap om te kyk of ek nie daardie 5 minute kan afsny nie. My vreugde was groot toe ek die laaste stukkie teer haal met 5 minute oor om 2 km te ry. 

I knew that my finishing time was going to be in the region of 8 hours, but it was touch and go to break it. As I rounded the last turnoff to the finishing area I gave it all I got. As I went under the Spur banner, I stopped my Garmin, but unfortunately the actual finish was round the corner and I crossed the finishline the announcer said my finishing time was 8 hours. My Garmin indicated 7:59:56 and my Polar 8:00:22. The final actual time was 8:00:15!

So that was Attakwas number 8 successfully negotiated. 

My friend Hoffie Conradie, who did not do any long distance training during the previous month, finished in 9:05.

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