Friday 24 August 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 13:08 | 1 comment

Trans Baviaans

Registration at the high school

For the first time ever, the start was not a balls to the wall affair, and I hadn't lost a lung by the time we turned off the tar onto the road that heads through the Baviaans.
The first section of gravel

My partner was very keen to ride hard, and I could see that if I wasn't careful, I might just make checkpoint one and then have to call it quits (This being my year of riding on experience rather than fitness).

We got into a bunch moving at a nice pace, with a view of the leaders as they quickly left us in a cloud of dust. We both took our turns on the front, and as is often the case, when we would pull over to let someone else take a turn, suddenly everyone was too tired to contribute. I haven't ridden in such a quiet bunch in ages. I reckon the chaps felt that if they weren't talking, nobody would notice them and ask them to take a turn on the front.
Dropping into the kloof

Getting a bit tired of all this cat and mouse, my partner and I decided to head off on our own - leaving the safety of the pack behind us. From checkpoint two to checkpoint 3 we went quite hard, and climbed "The Fangs" quite well, all the while opening the gap on that "lazy bunch" behind us. We got so caught up in the moment that we missed checkpoint 3, and carried on for abut 2kms before realising that something was wrong. We turned around, and headed back, and as we got to the checkpoint, the rest of our "lazy bunch" were coming in.
Early days still - lots of riding to come
The second checkpoint - so far so good

Feeling quite annoyed, and with the adrenaline flowing, we tried to rush the checkpoint. Mix juice, get the token, get back on the bike. The only problem was that this was supposed to be our feeding stop, and I almost completely forgot to eat solid food. Back on the bike things were ok, legs were a little tired, tummy was a little squishy, but nothing unexpected. My partner took a tumble in the loooooong river crossing - we saw people ahead of us carrying their bikes, and we decided to ride through the river. With about 5 meters to go I heard this big splash sound followed by a gulp as my partner disappeared from view. Thankfully I survived a similar fate.
The long river crossing - John went swimming here

As soon as we started climbing Bergplaas it felt like I had an alien in my belly trying to eat its way out. And the last thing I felt like doing was eating. I tried to crawl up Bergplaas in my granny, but that wasn't working for me either, so for the first time in 4 years, I got off my bike, and walked up the steeper sections. I am not proud of it, and nothing hurts more than seeing the remnants of the "lazy bunch" come crawling by with that smirk on their face.
At least I wasn't the only one pushing

Struggling through my personal hell, we eventually arrived at checkpoint 4, only for my partner to decide to see how many times he could wrap his chain around his crank in such a way that it wouldn't come off. I was so grateful for that. It gave me time to eat and drink and try to find some life in my legs. My partner was particularly good in forcing some soup down my throat (which I think he later regretted - more about that later).

By my partner's own admission, he is not mechanically minded, so I was more than impressed to watch him untangle his chain armed only with a screw driver. Just to prove his newfound mechanical ability he even broke his chain, and took out the offending link and replaced it with a quick link.

With both of us feeling better, lights on the bikes, and change of clothes we headed off down Bergplaas - in the light. My first time in the light. That almost made the suffering worth it.

My legs came back to me nice and strongly, and from the bottom of Bergplaas to the end of the ride I repaid my partner for pushing my bike up that big hill. We picked up most of the occupants in the "lazy bunch" - one by one, and you should have seen the smirk on my face as we came flying past.

We finally made it to checkpoint 5, and the first checkpoint where we got to see our backup crew. I reckon they had been waiting for us all day, practicing their routine, because when we got there, our bikes where whisked away, there were chairs for us to sit it, the tea was hot, the snacks were tasty, and they even dished out just the right amount of TLC. A Formula One pit crew has nothing on Bonte and Craig. Five minutes later we were back on the road with Jeffery's getting closer all the time.

The neverender was just that, a never ending climb, but still a nice ride, and we were riding well. Craig accompanied us on this leg, and succeeded in constantly dropping me up this climb. Either he is super strong, or we were just very tired.

We got to the finish (after almost getting lost in Jeffery's Bay - I still am not sure which road leads to the camp site) in just under 12 hours - 11:58, and in 18th (16th after disqualifications) position overall. (We almost beat our seconders to the line from checkpoint 6 - to say that I suffer from white line fever is an understatement!)

Another great year, and with weather like we had, one of the easiest. There are a couple of issues with this ride, and the organisers have to be careful about not chasing away the MTBers with high costs, but I will be back, at least once more.
(All photos off, as Bonte drove over her camera!)

1 comment :

  1. thanks for that. i was awaiting a good post on here. Well done, very informative and not nearly as long as something that Lenore would have written.
    How the hell did Bonts manage to drive over her camera???? sheesh, tell her to bring the memory card with on the weekend, i will at least try and rescue whats on it.