Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 11:09 | No comments

Oranges and Midges!

In our quest to have the perfect Epic next year, Craig and I headed off to Citrusdal for some "team building". Last week was supposed to be a team ride, but we know how that turned out. Our aim was to ride together, and get some back to back racing in.

It is rather sad to see an event like this so poorly attended - the riding was great - the venue is scenic, and the organiser's enthusiasm can't be beaten.

As always, Craig started like a rat up a drainpipe, and I was left trailing a lung trying to catch him. I got tangled up with some slower riders in a very sandy patch, only to see Craig disappearing into the distance.

It took me about 15 minutes to catch him (although I do think he waited), and from there on we set about trying to get into a rhythm to catch Marius up ahead.

There was loads of climbing, mostly up rocky jeep track, but with the odd sandy bit thrown in for good measure. On one of the big climbs, I could see the gap to Marius dropping - we started out about 2 minutes behind him, and by the time we went over the top, the gap was down to 45 seconds.

We both had a couple of hairy moments on some of the descents - my back wheel tried to overtake my front wheel, and Craig decided that he didn't like the jeep track and veered off into the fynbos - making his trail. I chose to follow the trail.

We thought we had got lucky when we saw Marius trying to pump a tyre. We stopped and lent him a bomb. As we were about to leave, I discovered that I too had a puncture, and Uncle Stan wasn't going to fix it, so we had to put in a tube. This gave Marius time to open up a gap on us again.

With more climbing and bundu bashing through fynbos (I still have splinters in my hands, arms and legs) we were finally greeted with some appreciated downhill. And to make it even better - we could see Marius in the distance. I had a target to aim at. As we got to Marius, he stopped and I lent him my pump to do some running repairs. We thought we had him now, but all credit to him, he chased hard and was able to hop onto our wheels.

We tried to ride him off, but we didn't do it particularly well - we had discussed it before the race, but when the pressure was on, we lacked in the brain department, and never really threatened Marius. As a result, he was able to out sprint us both on the line.

All in all, a good days racing - we both learned a lot, and had a good workout.

That afternoon we cruised Citrusdal, eventually finding the local rugby match to be the only thing of interest in the town. We spent the afternoon watching the locals pummel Tulbagh, while swarms of midges tried to suck us dry. I also learned a couple of new insults from the locals. The phrase of the moment is "Jy is n gemorse!"

Day Two dawned, and although we hadn't entered the race, we were going to sneak onto the course. Plenty climbing awaited us, but we worked well together, until I punctured again. We then had to play catch up and just as we were about to get in front again, we missed a turn (I was trying to catch a guy who wasn't in the race). More climbing awaited us, and it felt like we climbed for hours - before we finally popped out in a wheat field. That was a new experience for me - I have never ridden in a wheat field before. A couple more stops to attend to my tyre before we got to fly down the old pass back to the finish line. We took day two much more at Epic pace, and it was good to have a hard 4 hour workout.

While all this was going on, the wives were busy racing the Tour de Vino. Yolanda had some mechanical problems - which are naturally all my fault, and so their time was a little slower than expected, but judging from the photo, fun was had all round.

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