Friday 19 October 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 12:30 | 1 comment

Battered and Bruised

The weekend started off with a road race in Worcester. Not really my sort of race - far too flat with no hills what so ever to break up the bunch. There was a gravel section on a gradual climb, and I think most guys were waiting to make their moves there.

The bunch was quite lethargic, and I just couldn't sit in the bunch, and so launched several pointless attacks. I didn't really want to get away - it was going to be a long hard ride on my own, but I wanted to have a look to see if anybody else had similar ideas. On each occasion that I tried to get off the front, the yellow jersey would close me down by himself. That made me feel quite good - he obviously thought I was enough of a threat to warrant closing me down.

The big move did happen on the gravel section, and I probably went a little early, and as a result got dropped on the incline. Nine riders got away with a 20 second gap, with 15 riders forming the chasing bunch. In 20kms we only took 10 seconds
off them. I think a couple of factors were to blame - some teams not really prepared to chase (like Maverick, as we had a rider in the break), and the general inexperience of some of the riders when it came to riding a pace line.

It ended up being a sprint for 10th position, where I got 12th. Not too bad.


Wow - I never noticed this view when I was riding.

The Apple Blossom. I thought the plan was to ride with the ladies today, but my dear Epic partner had other ideas. The race started slowly as we entered some single track just after the start and it got quite congested. Once we got out onto the farm roads, Craig decided to set the pace, and that was the last time I was in front of him. He towed me around Paul Cluver Estate for about 2 hours - inflicting serious pain. At one point my nose started bleeding, but I didn't get much sympathy. I can't recall much about the race - I just see Craig's rear wheel in my memory. We did come across a herd of cows that were running obstruction for the leaders. Craig had great fun herding them out of the way, while I took the time to recover slightly - to catch my breath, and wipe away some of the blood.

Amazing - you can't see my tongue dragging on the ground.

I hope the Epic isn't going to be 8 days of this. While I was on the limit, it looked like Craig still had quite a bit left in the tank. This is possibly revenge for Lourendsford and Citrusdal.

Thursday 11 October 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:02 | 2 comments


Once again Lourensford made its appearance on the cycling calendar. I treat every outing at Lourensford with a bit of trepidation, as I have suffered plenty of times there before. Just ask Tim. I think he fears it even more than I do, and that is saying something.

Me, on my own, concentrating
I had spoken to the guys who laid out the course, and I had been told that it was going to be an easier route than in previous years. So maybe I wouldn't cough up blood, or loose a kidney, but those weren't exactly reassuring words.

Yet again, it was threatening to rain - Lourensford without the wet is toast without the Marmite - they are just meant to go together.

Me, on my own, dodging some wetness

Craig and I agreed to treat this like another training ride, but I was already suffering on the 10 minute ride I did to get to the event from my house, so I knew that today I was going to be the weaker partner. As usual, Craig was trying to race the leaders, and I was hanging on for dear life. Slowly but surely a gap opened between the two of us, and got bigger and bigger. To Craig's credit, he did wait once, and I did tell him to go on without me. Which he did.

Five minutes into the race, and no Craig

I was racing my own race, and starting to feel quite good. The climbing suited me, and the ride was not too technical.

With almost all hope of ever seeing Craig again after being on my own for over 2 hours, I caught a glimpse of him up ahead. Slowly but surely the gap started to close, and while he will tell you he was waiting for me, I like to think that I got some legs towards the end of the ride.

Me, on my own, suffering

When I did eventually catch him, I had to dish out some payback, and we pushed hard to the finish. I almost lost my partner twice in the last 5 kms, not to him getting lost, but to two very near accidents. Craig (with a pair of very large eyes from a near crash) and I crossed the line in 3:17, in 34th position. Not bad going considering how bad I felt before the ride.

Thanks to my personal photographer Theunis for all the photos. I don't remember seeing photographers in half the places that I have photos from. They are very sneaky indeed. Check out

Wednesday 3 October 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:33 | 2 comments

Riding a road bike off road

After the training ride I had two weeks ago, I was not looking forward to the first league ride of the season. I had suffered like crazy for 3 hours in the wind and the rain, and the prospect of actually having to race in the wind had me doubting my abilities.

To add to my worries, the organisers of the Geco Durbanville Children's Home funride had decided to throw in a gravel section of about 1.7kms. How could I take Roxy, my delicate and beloved road bike, across such a section, and still expect her to speak to me afterwards? Just in case, I bought new tyres, and gave Roxy a good cleaning the day before the race (like giving a death-row prisoner his last meal).

After not getting my full 8 hours of sleep the night before, and probably drinking too much wine at Yolanda's birthday party, I was awoken by the sound of a howling South Easter. Now I really didn't want to ride - all I needed was a valid excuse, but none was forthcoming.

For the first time in ages, we had a neutral start as we wound our way through the residential areas of Durbanville. This meant that I got 10 minutes to nicely warm up before the racing began. It was good to have all three Maverick riders together again, and quite surprisingly, our little team was looking quite strong (all the hot shots are riding Elite this year).

Christian in his Maverick kit

With about 15kms on the clock, a break of four riders went off the front of the bunch - including a Maverick rider. And that was pretty much the end of the racing for us for the next 60kms. No one was quite prepared to chase the break down, and we were quite happy to let it get away.

Fast forward to about 75kms - I was starting to get a little bored with the slow pace, and I wanted to stretch my legs as we started riding over the rolling hills coming back into Durbanville. I had decided to ride quite hard on the gravel section - firstly to get rid of some of the riders in the bunch, and secondly to give myself a head start up the last two climbs of the day.

I was first onto the gravel, and found a nice line on the extreme right hand side, and really went quite hard. Two other riders came with me, and we quickly had a gap on the rest of the bunch. The gravel got a little scary as it went downhill and the speed started to pick up, but both Roxy and I made it over in one piece. I climbed Contermanskloof at a tempo pace, and was eventually joined by 5 or 6 other riders.

I am the little yellow dot on the extreme right - 3rd wheel.
Look at the gap we have :)

Once we got to the bottom of Vissershok, I could see that Cobus, my teammate, had been dropped by the break and was limping up on his own. At the steep section of Vissers the first move went, but I wasn't (or couldn't) follow it. Shortly afterwards, two other riders went, and I decided I had to go. Looking over to Marius, I told him we had to go too, and all he could do was respond that his legs were cramping. I went, and tried to get into a rhythm, which is hard up Vissers. I eventually got over the top about 150m behind the other two chaps, and it took me the next 3kms to close the gap down and catch them.

Marius limping up Vissers, with Donkey for company.

Four of us were now racing for 5th place. I went early, thinking I would soften the other two up for Cobus, only to realise that Cobus was finished, and I just really softened him up even more. The other two riders got to a traffic circle before me, and with 500m left it was going to be quite hard to get past them.

I ended up coming 7th in the SV, and more importantly, never really felt like I was under too much strain for the whole ride. A great way to start the Spring League.

(I hear there is a gravel section in the next league ride too :) )