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 :) )


  1. Awesome going dude!
    Long gone are the days of "just trying to finish in the main pack".

    Seems that dirt is the key here, even if it is just a short section...

    Hmm I can match this story with the threat to go for a ride in below 10 degree cold and possibly wet this weekend, anything to get a good "study break"

  2. very good dude. well done! i have to honest with you i am surprised that you managed to do anything after satday night... i mean really! those story of the dude with the big schlong as told by your wife and her friend is still mentally scarring me! oh yeah, and that story about the hairy nipples... eugh! Pity about MArius cramping up, guess it was cos it was only you there to pull him up and not craig too...