Thursday 20 December 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 14:07 | 3 comments

The day I almost drowned.

Caution - Viewer discretion required

Gross pictures at bottom

The team

My personal professional photographer (bonte) managed to convince me to enter a team into the JailBreak Triathlon held at Brandvlei prison. I was the weak link in a mixed team consisting of Jayne (a regular member of Team 4x4), and Gareth, and we had high hopes of doing quite well.

There had been talk of unseasonal overnight rain in Worcester which I hoped "they" had got wrong. When we awoke at 4 in the morning it was still raining, and it didn't look like it was going to clear any time soon. It was going to be a long, hard, wet day.

Waiting for the start

The start of the race was delayed by an hour, which just meant we spent more time standing around in the rain, getting wet. Jayne wasn't too phased by the rain - she was about to get very wet with a 2.2km swim.

Jayne after the first lap

Jayne had a brilliant swim - she was the second lady out of the water, and about 8th overall.

On her way to the transition

Run Jayne run

See Jayne run

Brenton managing a smile - sort of

Craig wondering why everyone chose to wear wetsuits

I had the rather daunting task of doing a 100km time trial, in the pouring rain. The route consisted of two laps of an out and back course to Slanghoek, which was thankfully rather flat. The headwind on the way out did make it rather tough though.

"A Maverick rider in the second team"

Looking mean

One lap done

Towards the end of the ride I was praying for hills for two reasons - I discovered that I could climb faster than the guys on proper time trial bikes, and the fact that my back was killing me from sitting in the drops for almost 3 hours.

At last - a hill

What great photography

At one point I thought I was going to die - a massive bolt of lightning lit up the sky, just as I was going under some power lines, and the whole earth shook. I was saved a quick and painless death, and instead was slowly tortured to near death over 100km.

The support team staying dry, and getting friendly with the gate guards

I lost about 20 minutes to the leading team - William Robinson was going so fast the leading motorcycle was struggling to keep up.

Warm and dry, for now

After almost 3 hours of suffering I handed over to Gareth to make up some time on the 25km run. While he was able to close the gap on the individuals, the was unable to make a dent in the lead of the leading team.

Proof that running kit looks worse than cycling kit

Almost there

What? No dancing girls?

We were soundly beaten into second place, with each of us being beaten in our own disciplines by the leaders, but we had a great day out - despite all the rain. And we got some prizes which made it all worth it. Like most events, I am already scheming about next year.

A happy team after the event

Give us our medals Gareth!

Caution - Viewer discretion required

Jogger's nipple

Why white is never a good colour

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Posted by Velouria Posted on 13:51 | No comments

Fun rides

The last two rides of the season have come and gone, and after the Double Century, no one really wanted to be racing anyway.

First up was the Burger. A great ride - well organised, a "nice" route, and great weather. I chose to ride in the Sub Vets (I was still a little worried after the implosion at the DC), but really shouldn't have been. The race started off by taking us up the old Helshoogte pass. That was great, and before we knew it we were at the top - I love those sort of hills. I got over the top in the first bunch of about 10 riders, but on the downhill on the other side, most people were able to rejoin the bunch (everyone except Tim - don't know where he went - he was looking good up the climb - well placed in the bunch one minute, and the next minute he was nowhere to be seen.)

From there on in it was a cruise through Pniel, past the prison, round some back roads in Paarl, and finally on our way to Wellington. After we had crossed a massive trench in the road on the way out of Wellington, the racing started. With every acceleration we lost a couple of riders, and the bunch got a little smaller. I was feeling good, and even took a few turns on the front to try to close a gap to two adventurous riders who went on the attack with about 30 kms to go. The big move came on the hill outside Liefland wine farm on the R44, and I was able to stay with the leaders, closing the gaps as they opened. About 7 of us got away, and we desperately tried to open the gap on the rest. On the next hill, 5 of us got clear at the front, when another attack came in, leaving two riders off the front. Several chase riders joined us, and we slowly closed the gap to the leaders with about 5kms to go, all the while the chasing riders were rejoining the bunch.

It came down to a bunch sprint, and I watched it all from the safety of the back of the bunch - happy with my time of 2:38.

The top of Helshoogte

The Maverick tandem at the top of Helshoogte

The last race of the season was the Tour de Winelands. I was not supposed to do this ride, but I had had such a terrible ride the year before I felt I had unfinished business.

A and B started together, and it was clear to see that this wasn't going to be a fun ride. The A boys were out to prove a point, and the surges kept coming. I hung on to the back of the bunch for the first half of the race while I waited for my legs to get going. We had ridden to the start of the race in Brackenfell, and so my legs were feeling a little lazy.

On the AgterPaarl road the moves began to happen, and I was quite comfortable keeping up with the surges. A few gaps opened up thanks to some Club100 riders, and I found myself in a 4 man group about 30 meters behind the lead bunch of about 12 riders. We chased for about 12 kms, before I decided that we were getting nowhere and decided to wait for the chase group. When the chase group did eventually arrive, it was rather pedestrian, and there was no way we were going to catch anything. I took some long hard turns on the front, and couple other riders helped out. I really was quite impressed at how my legs were coping. The run in to the finish was over a couple hills, and I was able to easily stay with the leaders of the chase group. It always amazes me how people jump out of the woodwork when the finish comes into sight. For 40kms 3 or 4 people had shared the work on the front, and suddenly there were 25 people racing for 12th spot. I just sat up and watched...

Just chilling at the back of the bunch (along with Marius)

Cobus and "friend" riding in the lower groups

Now it is the Jail Break to come, and lots and lots of Epic training.