Thursday 13 March 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 12:53 | 4 comments

Another year, another Argus.

It is amazing how every year the Argus sneaks up on us. It really shouldn't though - there are enough warning signs out there warning us of its imminent approach.

1. The larger Summer League participation. In the Spring League I was finishing in the top 10 of each race, and feeling quite unstoppable. Come the Summer League, and I don't think I finished in the top 25 once.

2. Colleagues riding to work. Apart from the sky-rocketing petrol price, the only other reason people ride to work is to get some much needed Argus training.

3. Bike shops with no stock. If you need a special thingy dooh dah from the bike shop in the months of January and February, you can be sure that you will be clean out of luck. Almost everything is sold out.

4. Radio DJs going on about cyclists. It seems to be very trendy these days to be very anti-cyclist, and I think this reaches its highest point around Argus time.

5. Congested cycling routes. Your normal route that you take, where you seldom see another cyclist in 2 hours suddenly resembles a mass participation event - cyclists everywhere, in various shapes and sizes.

6. Bike mags reusing their "How to do your best Argus ever" articles. Never mind the fact that certain 24hr events only get one photo and a small blurb - pages and pages are dedicated to providing the definitive advice on how to do that elusive sub [3/4/5/6] hour ride.

This year was no different. Before I knew it I was waking up at 4:45 to get ready for yet another Argus. We had spent the night at the Betts' flat in Sea Point, where we gorged ourselves on tasty pasta and rice pudding.

I thought I wasn't nervous - but when you wake up at 3 in the morning and can't sleep anymore, perhaps the nerves are showing. A quick breakfast and cycling to the start, and the Argus was about to begin.

As usual, the A bunch (with far too many people taking this cycling thing far too seriously) set off at breakneck speed. I have perfected my bunch riding skills, and now sit right at the back, out of trouble from crashes and testosterone fueled agro Gautengers. And just before the hills I move forward in the bunch. Quite simple really. And if all goes to plan, you finish in a time of 2:42 (I was a little annoyed at losing the front of A, but I did have rubbish legs).

Craig had a good ride too, although because he was chatting so much, he road through some glass, and ended up having to deal with 3 punctures. Well done to all the Hermanus riders who didn't stop to help/offer a tube - I am now going to feel the brunt of Craig's wrath as we go about setting the record straight.

The real stars of this year's Argus (sorry Robbie, after winning a TDF stage the Argus pails in comparison) were Bonte and Yolanda. Starting WAY down in T, the time trialled most of the way to a well deserved 3:30 (or so we are led to believe - we have no photographic evidence of them actually out on the course).

Craig and I did another lap, starting about 10 minutes after the last group went off. We had a rather leisurely ride, helping out back markers, waving at spectators, and helping ourselves to Coca-Cola that we had missed out on the first lap. We stopped in Glenn Cairn for a beer, and finally caught Steph and Kannas just before Chappies.

And then it was time to retire to the Dulux tent - for the last time. I don't think the Argus is ever going to be the same without it :(

Monday 3 March 2008

Posted by Velouria Posted on 15:15 | No comments

Fun in the Sun

Saturday saw Craig and I doing our last long ride before the Epic. We needed one last tough weekend, and the next day's Argus MTB ride would give us a good indicator of how the training had gone. To add to matters - we were going to be riding with some of the other teams from Hermanus, and it was safe to say that each rider would be sussing the next one out.

The result of the ride is that we have sowed fear and panic amongst the competition. We rode every single one of them off of our wheels, and at the same time still felt comfortable.

Bonte decided to impart some of her stretching knowledge on us - the dogs we not too amused that we were using their cushions.


If anything, I had been more nervous about the long ride on Saturday, than I had been for the race. Yolanda, on the other hand, was very nervous. All her other cycling buddies had instead decided to do the 35k, leaving her to do the 55km on her own.


The weather had been perfect - for going to the beach. It was hot and windless, and the conditions proved quite testing. Yolanda finishing the race - in much better spirits that last year.


The dirtier you are, the more fun you had. Looks like Yolanda had a lot of fun :)


Very proud of her medal. She even wanted to go to bed with it. I had to draw the line at that!


Craig and I both rode well, and had good legs, and once again beat all the Hermanus guys. We both rode new personal best times, and finished together, which bodes well for the Epic.